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  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    110 Much ado about Nothing.
    To wish him wrastle with affection,
    And neuer to let Beatrice know of it.
    Vrsula. Why did you so, doth not the Gentleman
    Deserue as full as fortunate a bed,
    1135As euer Beatrice shall couch vpon?
    Hero. O God of loue! I know he doth deserue,
    As much as may be yeelded to a man:
    But Nature neuer fram'd a womans heart,
    Of prowder stuffe then that of Beatrice:
    1140Disdaine and Scorne ride sparkling in her eyes,
    Mis-prizing what they looke on, and her wit
    Values it selfe so highly, that to her
    All matter else seemes weake: she cannot loue,
    Nor take no shape nor proiect of affection,
    1145Shee is so selfe indeared.
    Vrsula. Sure I thinke so,
    And therefore certainely it were not good
    She knew his loue, lest she make sport at it.
    Hero. Why you speake truth, I neuer yet saw man,
    1150How wise, how noble, yong, how rarely featur'd.
    But she would spell him backward: if faire fac'd,
    She would sweare the gentleman should be her sister:
    If blacke, why Nature drawing of an anticke,
    Made a foule blot: if tall, a launce ill headed:
    1155If low, an agot very vildlie cut:
    If speaking, why a vane blowne with all windes:
    If silent, why a blocke moued with none.
    So turnes she euery man the wrong side out,
    And neuer giues to Truth and Vertue, that
    1160Which simplenesse and merit purchaseth.
    Vrsu. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
    Hero. No, not to be so odde, and from all fashions,
    As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable,
    But who dare tell her so? if I should speake,
    1165She would mocke me into ayre, O she would laugh me
    Out of my selfe, presse me to death with wit,
    Therefore let Benedicke like couered fire,
    Consume away in sighes, waste inwardly:
    It were a better death, to die with mockes,
    1170Which is as bad as die with tickling.
    Vrsu. Yet tell her of it, heare what shee will say.
    Hero. No, rather I will goe to Benedicke,
    And counsaile him to fight against his passion,
    And truly Ile deuise some honest slanders,
    1175To staine my cosin with, one doth not know,
    How much an ill word may impoison liking.
    Vrsu. O doe not doe your cosin such a wrong,
    She cannot be so much without true iudgement,
    Hauing so swift and excellent a wit
    1180As she is prisde to haue, as to refuse
    So rare a Gentleman as signior Benedicke.
    Hero. He is the onely man of Italy,
    Alwaies excepted, my deare Claudio.
    Vrsu. I pray you be not angry with me, Madame,
    1185Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedicke,
    For shape, for bearing argument and valour,
    Goes formost in report through Italy.
    Hero. Indeed he hath an excellent good name.
    Vrsu. His excellence did earne it ere he had it:
    1190When are you married Madame?
    Hero. Why euerie day to morrow, come goe in,
    Ile shew thee some attires, and haue thy counsell,
    Which is the best to furnish me to morrow.
    Vrsu. Shee's tane I warrant you,
    1195We haue caught her Madame?
    Hero. If it proue so, then louing goes by haps,
    Some Cupid kills with arrowes, some with traps. Exit.
    Beat. What fire is in mine eares? can this be true?
    Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorne so much?
    1200Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adew,
    No glory liues behinde the backe of such.
    And Benedicke, loue on, I will requite thee,
    Taming my wilde heart to thy louing hand:
    If thou dost loue, my kindenesse shall incite thee
    1205To binde our loues vp in a holy band.
    For others say thou dost deserue, and I
    Beleeue it better then reportingly. Exit.

    Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.
    Prince. I doe but stay till your marriage be consum-
    1210mate, and then go I toward Arragon.
    Clau. Ile bring you thither my Lord, if you'l vouch-
    safe me.
    Prin. Nay, that would be as great a soyle in the new
    glosse of your marriage, as to shew a childe his new coat
    1215and forbid him to weare it, I will onely bee bold with
    Benedicke for his companie, for from the crowne of his
    head, to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth, he hath twice
    or thrice cut Cupids bow-string, and the little hang-man
    dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart as sound as a bell,
    1220and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinkes,
    his tongue speakes.
    Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
    Leo. So say I, methinkes you are sadder.
    Claud. I hope he be in loue.
    1225Prin. Hang him truant, there's no true drop of bloud
    in him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sad, he wants
    Bene. I haue the tooth-ach.
    Prin. Draw it.
    1230Bene. Hang it.
    Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
    Prin. What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
    Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme.
    Bene. Well, euery one cannot master a griefe, but hee
    1235that has it.
    Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue.
    Prin. There is no appearance of fancie in him, vnlesse
    it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to bee a
    Dutchman to day, a Frenchman to morrow: vnlesse hee
    1240haue a fancy to this foolery, as it appeares hee hath, hee
    is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it to appeare
    he is.
    Clau. If he be not in loue vvith some vvoman, there
    is no beleeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings,
    1245What should that bode?
    Prin. Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
    Clau. No, but the Barbers man hath beene seen with
    him, and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath alreadie
    stuft tennis balls.
    1250Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than hee did, by the
    losse of a beard.
    Prin. Nay a rubs himselfe vvith Ciuit, can you smell
    him out by that?
    Clau. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in
    Prin. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
    Clau. And vvhen vvas he vvont to vvash his face?
    Prin. Yea, or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare
    vvhat they say of him.
    1260Clau. Nay, but his iesting spirit, vvhich is now crept
    into a lute-string, and now gouern'd by stops.