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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Leonato, and the Constable, and the Headborough.
    Leonato. What would you with mee, honest neigh-
    Const. Dog. Mary sir I would haue some confidence
    with you, that decernes you nearely.
    1600Leon. Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time
    with me.
    Const. Dog. Mary this it is sir.
    Headb. Yes in truth it is sir.
    Leon. What is it my good friends?
    1605Con. Do. Goodman Verges sir speakes a little of the
    matter, an old man sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as
    God helpe I would desire they were, but infaith honest
    as the skin betweene his browes.
    Head. Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man li-
    1610uing, that is an old man, and no honester then I.
    Con. Dog. Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neigh-
    bour Verges.
    Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
    Con. Dog. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are
    1615the poore Dukes officers, but truely for mine owne part,
    if I were as tedious as a King I could finde in my heart to
    bestow it all of your worship.
    Leon. All thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
    Const.Dog. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more
    1620than 'tis, for I heare as good exclamation on your Wor-
    ship as of any man in the Citie, and though I bee but a
    poore man, I am glad to heare it.
    Head. And so am I.
    Leon. I would faine know what you haue to say.
    1625Head. Marry sir our watch to night, excepting your
    worships presence, haue tane a couple of as arrant
    knaues as any in Messina.
    Con. Dog. A good old man sir, hee will be talking as
    they say, when the age is in the wit is out, God helpe vs,
    1630it is a world to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges,
    well, God's a good man, and two men ride of a horse,
    one must ride behinde, an honest soule yfaith sir, by my
    troth he is, as euer broke bread, but God is to bee wor-
    shipt, all men are not alike, alas good neighbour.
    1635Leon. Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you.
    Con. Do. Gifts that God giues.
    Leon. I must leaue you.
    Con. Dog. One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede
    comprehended two aspitious persons, & we would haue
    1640them this morning examined before your worship.
    Leon. Take their examination your selfe, and bring it
    me, I am now in great haste, as may appeare vnto you.
    Const. It shall be suffigance.
    Leon. Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well.
    1645Messenger. My Lord, they stay for you to giue your
    daughter to her husband.
    Leon. Ile wait vpon them, I am ready.
    Dogb. Goe good partner, goe get you to Francis Sea-
    coale, bid him bring his pen and inkehorne to the Gaole:
    1650we are now to examine those men.
    Verges. And we must doe it wisely.
    Dogb. Wee will spare for no witte I warrant you:
    heere's that shall driue some of them to a non-come, on-
    ly get the learned writer to set downe our excommuni-
    1655cation, and meet me at the Iaile.