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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
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    Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

    Much ado about Nothing. 117
    Kemp. Flat Burglarie as euer was committed.
    Const. Yea by th'masse that it is.
    Sexton. What else fellow?
    2045Watch 1. And that Count Claudio did meane vpon his
    words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and
    not marry her.
    Kemp. O villaine! thou wilt be condemn'd into euer-
    lasting redemption for this.
    2050Sexton. What else?
    Watch. This is all.
    Sexton. And this is more masters then you can deny,
    Prince Iohn is this morning secretly stolne away: Hero
    was in this manner accus'd, in this very manner refus'd,
    2055and vpon the griefe of this sodainely died: Master Con-
    stable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato,
    I will goe before, and shew him their examination.
    Const. Come, let them be opinion'd.
    Sex. Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe.
    2060Kem. Gods my life, where's the Sexton? let him write
    downe the Princes Officer Coxcombe: come, binde them
    thou naughty varlet.
    Couley. Away, you are an asse, you are an asse.
    Kemp. Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
    2065suspect my yeeres? O that hee were heere to write mee
    downe an asse! but masters, remember that I am an asse:
    though it be not written down, yet forget not yt I am an
    asse: No thou villaine, yu art full of piety as shall be prou'd
    vpon thee by good witnesse, I am a wise fellow, and
    2070which is more, an officer, and which is more, a houshoul-
    der, and which is more, as pretty a peece of flesh as any in
    Messina, and one that knowes the Law, goe to, & a rich
    fellow enough, goe to, and a fellow that hath had losses,
    and one that hath two gownes, and euery thing hand-
    2075some about him: bring him away: O that I had been writ
    downe an asse! Exit.

    Actus Quintus.

    Enter Leonato and his brother.
    Brother. If you goe on thus, you will kill your selfe,
    2080And 'tis not wisedome thus to second griefe,
    Against your selfe.
    Leon. I pray thee cease thy counsaile,
    Which falls into mine eares as profitlesse,
    As water in a siue: giue not me counsaile,
    2085Nor let no comfort delight mine eare,
    But such a one whose wrongs doth sute with mine.
    Bring me a father that so lou'd his childe,
    Whose ioy of her is ouer-whelmed like mine,
    And bid him speake of patience,
    2090Measure his woe the length and bredth of mine,
    And let it answere euery straine for straine,
    As thus for thus, and such a griefe for such,
    In euery lineament, branch, shape, and forme:
    If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
    2095And sorrow, wagge, crie hem, when he should grone,
    Patch griefe with prouerbs, make misfortune drunke,
    With candle-wasters: bring him yet to me,
    And I of him will gather patience:
    But there is no such man, for brother, men
    2100Can counsaile, and speake comfort to that griefe,
    Which they themselues not feele, but tasting it,
    Their counsaile turnes to passion, which before,
    Would giue preceptiall medicine to rage,
    Fetter strong madnesse in a silken thred,
    2105Charme ache with ayre, and agony with words,
    No, no, 'tis all mens office, to speake patience
    To those that wring vnder the load of sorrow:
    But no mans vertue nor sufficiencie
    To be so morall, when he shall endure
    2110The like himselfe: therefore giue me no counsaile,
    My griefs cry lowder then aduertisement.
    Broth. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
    Leonato. I pray thee peace, I will be flesh and bloud,
    For there was neuer yet Philosopher,
    2115That could endure the tooth-ake patiently,
    How euer they haue writ the stile of gods,
    And made a push at chance and sufferance.
    Brother. Yet bend not all the harme vpon your selfe,
    Make those that doe offend you, suffer too.
    2120Leon. There thou speak'st reason, nay I will doe so,
    My soule doth tell me, Hero is belied,
    And that shall Claudio know, so shall the Prince,
    And all of them that thus dishonour her.

    Enter Prince and Claudio.
    2125Brot. Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
    Prin. Good den, good den.
    Clau. Good day to both of you.
    Leon. Heare you my Lords?
    Prin. We haue some haste Leonato.
    2130Leo. Some haste my Lord! wel, fare you wel my Lord,
    Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.
    Prin. Nay, do not quarrell with vs, good old man.
    Brot. If he could rite himselfe with quarrelling,
    Some of vs would lie low.
    2135Claud. Who wrongs him?
    Leon. Marry yu dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou:
    Nay, neuer lay thy hand vpon thy sword,
    I feare thee not.
    Claud. Marry beshrew my hand,
    2140If it should giue your age such cause of feare,
    Infaith my hand meant nothing to my sword.
    Leonato. Tush, tush, man, neuer fleere and iest at me,
    I speake not like a dotard, nor a foole,
    As vnder priuiledge of age to bragge,
    2145What I haue done being yong, or what would doe,
    Were I not old, know Claudio to thy head,
    Thou hast so wrong'd my innocent childe and me,
    That I am forc'd to lay my reuerence by,
    And with grey haires and bruise of many daies,
    2150Doe challenge thee to triall of a man,
    I say thou hast belied mine innocent childe.
    Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
    And she lies buried with her ancestors:
    O in a tombe where neuer scandall slept,
    2155Saue this of hers, fram'd by thy villanie.
    Claud. My villany?
    Leonato. Thine Claudio, thine I say.
    Prin. You say not right old man.
    Leon. My Lord, my Lord,
    2160Ile proue it on his body if he dare,
    Despight his nice fence, and his actiue practise,
    His Maie of youth, and bloome of lustihood.
    Claud. Away, I will not haue to do with you.
    Leo. Canst thou so daffe me? thou hast kild my child,
    2165If thou kilst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
    Bro. He shall kill two of vs, and men indeed,
    But that's no matter, let him kill one first: