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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    114 Much adoe about Nothing.
    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. Exeunt.

    Actus Quartus.

    Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio, Benedicke,
    Hero, and Beatrice.

    Leonato. Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the
    1660plaine forme of marriage, and you shal recount their par-
    ticular duties afterwards.
    Fran. You come hither, my Lord, to marry this Lady.
    Clau. No.
    Leo. To be married to her: Frier, you come to mar-
    1665rie her.
    Frier. Lady, you come hither to be married to this
    Hero. I doe.
    Frier. If either of you know any inward impediment
    1670why you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your
    soules to vtter it.
    Claud. Know you anie, Hero?
    Hero. None my Lord.
    Frier. Know you anie, Count?
    1675Leon. I dare make his answer, None.
    Clau. O what men dare do! what men may do! what
    men daily do!
    Bene. How now! interiections? why then, some be
    of laughing, as ha, ha, he.
    1680Clau. Stand thee by Frier, father, by your leaue,
    Will you with free and vnconstrained soule
    Giue me this maid your daughter?
    Leon. As freely sonne as God did giue her me.
    Cla. And what haue I to giue you back, whose worth
    1685May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
    Prin. Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe.
    Clau. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulnes:
    There Leonato, take her backe againe,
    Giue not this rotten Orenge to your friend,
    1690Shee's but the signe and semblance of her honour:
    Behold how like a maid she blushes heere!
    O what authoritie and shew of truth
    Can cunning sinne couer it selfe withall!
    Comes not that bloud, as modest euidence,
    1695To witnesse simple Vertue? would you not sweare
    All you that see her, that she were a maide,
    By these exterior shewes? But she is none:
    She knowes the heat of a luxurious bed:
    Her blush is guiltinesse, not modestie.
    1700Leonato. What doe you meane, my Lord?
    Clau. Not to be married,
    Not to knit my soule to an approued wanton.
    Leon. Deere my Lord, if you in your owne proofe,
    Haue vanquisht the resistance of her youth,
    1705And made defeat of her virginitie.
    Clau. I know what you would say: if I haue knowne (her,
    You will say, she did imbrace me as a husband,
    And so extenuate the forehand sinne: No Leonato,
    I neuer tempted her with word too large,
    1710But as a brother to his sister, shewed
    Bashfull sinceritie and comely loue.
    Hero. And seem'd I euer otherwise to you?
    Clau. Out on thee seeming, I will write against it,
    You seeme to me as Diane in her Orbe,
    1715As chaste as is the budde ere it be blowne:
    But you are more intemperate in your blood,
    Than Venus, or those pampred animalls,
    That rage in sauage sensualitie.
    Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speake so wide?
    1720Leon. Sweete Prince, why speake not you?
    Prin. What should I speake?
    I stand dishonour'd that haue gone about,
    To linke my deare friend to a common stale.
    Leon. Are these things spoken, or doe I but dreame?
    1725Bast. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
    Bene. This lookes not like a nuptiall.
    Hero. True, O God!
    Clau. Leonato, stand I here?
    Is this the Prince? is this the Princes brother?
    1730Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne?
    Leon. All this is so, but what of this my Lord?
    Clau. Let me but moue one question to your daugh- (ter,
    And by that fatherly and kindly power,
    That you haue in her, bid her answer truly.
    1735Leo. I charge thee doe, as thou art my childe.
    Hero. O God defend me how am I beset,
    What kinde of catechizing call you this?
    Clau. To make you answer truly to your name.
    Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
    1740With any iust reproach?
    Claud. Marry that can Hero,
    Hero it selfe can blot out Heroes vertue.
    What man was he, talkt with you yesternight,
    Out at your window betwixt twelue and one?
    1745Now if you are a maid, answer to this.
    Hero. I talkt with no man at that howre my Lord.
    Prince. Why then you are no maiden. Leonato,
    I am sorry you must heare: vpon mine honor,
    My selfe, my brother, and this grieued Count
    1750Did see her, heare her, at that howre last night,
    Talke with a ruffian at her chamber window,
    Who hath indeed most like a liberall villaine,
    Confest the vile encounters they haue had
    A thousand times in secret.
    1755Iohn. Fie, fie, they are not to be named my Lord,
    Not to be spoken of,
    There is not chastitie enough in language,
    Without offence to vtter them: thus pretty Lady
    I am sorry for thy much misgouernment.
    1760Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou beene
    If halfe thy outward graces had beene placed
    About thy thoughts and counsailes of thy heart?
    But fare thee well, most foule, most faire, farewell
    Thou pure impiety, and impious puritie,
    1765For thee Ile locke vp all the gates of Loue,
    And on my eie-lids shall Coniecture hang,
    To turne all beauty into thoughts of harme,
    And neuer shall it more be gracious.
    Leon. Hath no mans dagger here a point for me?
    1770Beat. Why how now cosin, wherfore sink you down?
    Bast. Come, let vs go: these things come thus to light,
    Smother her spirits vp.
    Bene. How doth the Lady?
    Beat. Dead I thinke, helpe vncle,
    1775Hero, why Hero, Vncle, Signor Benedicke, Frier.
    Leonato. O Fate! take not away thy heauy hand,
    Death is the fairest couer for her shame
    That may be wisht for.m
    Beat. How