Internet Shakespeare Editions

About this text

  • Title: Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)
  • Editor: Gretchen Minton
  • ISBN: 978-1-55058-516-2

    Copyright Gretchen Minton. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Gretchen Minton
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

    Enter Sir Iohn the Bastard, and Conrade his companion.
    345Con. What the good yeere my Lord, why are you
    thus out of measure sad?
    Ioh. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds,
    therefore the sadnesse is without limit.
    Con. You should heare reason.
    350Iohn. And when I haue heard it, what blessing brin-
    geth it?
    Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.
    Ioh. I wonder that thou (being as thou saist thou art,
    borne vnder Saturne) goest about to apply a morall me-
    355dicine, to a mortifying mischiefe: I cannot hide what I
    am: I must bee sad when I haue cause, and smile at no
    mans iests, eat when I haue stomacke, and wait for no
    mans leisure: sleepe when I am drowsie, and tend on no
    mans businesse, laugh when I am merry, and claw no man
    360in his humor.
    Con. Yea, but you must not make the ful show of this,
    till you may doe it without controllment, you haue of
    late stood out against your brother, and hee hath tane
    you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you
    365should take root, but by the faire weather that you make
    your selfe, it is needful that you frame the season for your
    owne haruest.
    Iohn. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose
    in his grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of
    370all, then to fashion a carriage to rob loue from any: in this
    (though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man)
    it must not be denied but I am a plaine dealing villaine, I
    am trusted with a mussell, and enfranchisde with a clog,
    therefore I haue decreed, not to sing in my cage: if I had
    375my mouth, I would bite: if I had my liberty, I would do
    my liking: in the meane time, let me be that I am, and
    seeke not to alter me.
    Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
    Iohn. I will make all vse of it, for I vse it onely.
    380Who comes here? what newes Borachio?
    Enter Borachio.
    Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the Prince
    your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can
    giue you intelligence of an intended marriage.
    385Iohn. Will it serue for any Modell to build mischiefe
    on? What is hee for a foole that betrothes himselfe to
    Bor. Mary it is your brothers right hand.
    Iohn. Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
    390Bor. Euen he.
    Iohn. A proper squier, and who, and who, which way
    lookes he?
    Bor. Mary on Hero, the daughter and Heire of Leo-
    395Iohn. A very forward March-chicke, how came you
    to this?
    Bor. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoa-
    king a musty roome, comes me the Prince and Claudio,
    hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt behind the Ar-
    400ras, and there heard it agreed vpon, that the Prince should
    wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue
    her to Count Claudio.
    Iohn. Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food
    to my displeasure, that young start-vp hath all the glorie
    405of my ouerthrow: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse
    my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and will assist
    Conr. To the death my Lord.
    Iohn. Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the
    410greater that I am subdued, would the Cooke were of my
    minde: shall we goe proue whats to be done?
    Bor. Wee'll wait vpon your Lordship.