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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Much adoe about Nothing. 103
    Ben. That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that
    she brought mee vp, I likewise giue her most humble
    thankes: but that I will haue a rechate winded in my
    forehead, or hang my bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all
    235women shall pardon me: because I will not do them the
    wrong to mistrust any, I will doe my selfe the right to
    trust none: and the fine is, (for the which I may goe the
    finer) I will liue a Batchellor.
    Pedro. I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue.
    240Bene. With anger, with sicknesse, or with hunger,
    my Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more
    blood with loue, then I will get againe with drinking,
    picke out mine eyes with a Ballet-makers pe
    nne, and
    hang me vp at the doore of a brothel-house for the signe
    245of blinde Cupid.
    Pedro. Well, if euer thou doost fall from this faith,
    thou wilt proue a notable argument.
    Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, & shoot
    at me, and he that hit's me, let him be clapt on the shoul-
    250der, and cal'd Adam.
    Pedro. Well, as time shall trie: In time the sauage
    Bull doth beare tne yoake.
    Bene. The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible
    Benedicke beare it, plucke off the bulles hornes, and set
    255them in my forehead, and let me be vildely painted, and
    in such great Letters as they write, heere is good horse
    to hire: let them signifie vnder my signe, here you may
    see Benedicke the married man.
    Clau. If this should euer happen, thou wouldst bee
    260horne mad.
    Pedro. Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his Quiuer in
    Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
    Bene. I looke for an earthquake too then.
    Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the houres, in
    265the meane time, good Signior Benedicke, repaire to Leo-
    natoes, commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile
    him at supper, for indeede he hath made great prepara-
    Bene. I haue almost matter enough in me for such an
    270Embassage, and so I commit you.
    Clau. To the tuition of God. From my house, if I
    had it.
    Pedro. The sixt of Iuly. Your louing friend, Benedick.
    Bene. Nay mocke not, mocke not; the body of your
    275discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the
    guardes are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flout
    old ends any further, examine your conscience, and so I
    leaue you. Exit.
    Clau. My Liege, your Highnesse now may doe mee
    Pedro. My loue is thine to teach, teach it but how,
    And thou shalt see how apt it is to learne
    Any hard Lesson that may do thee good.
    Clau. Hath Leonato any sonne my Lord?
    285Pedro. No childe but Hero, she's his onely heire.
    Dost thou affect her Claudio?
    Clau. O my Lord,
    When you went onward on this ended action,
    I look'd vpon her with a souldiers eie,
    290That lik'd, but had a rougher taske in hand,
    Than to driue liking to the name of loue:
    But now I am return'd, and that warre-thoughts
    Haue left their places vacant: in their roomes,
    Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
    295All prompting mee how faire yong Hero is,
    Saying I lik'd her ere I went to warres.
    Pedro. Thou wilt be like a louer presently,
    And tire the hearer with a booke of words:
    If thou dost loue faire Hero, cherish it,
    300And I will breake with her: wast not to this end,
    That thou beganst to twist so fine a story?
    Clau. How sweetly doe you minister to loue,
    That know loues griefe by his complexion!
    But lest my liking might too sodaine seeme,
    305I would haue salu'd it with a longer treatise.
    Ped. What need ye bridge much broder then the flood?
    The fairest graunt is the necessitie:
    Looke what will serue, is fit: 'tis once, thou louest,
    And I will fit thee with the remedie,
    310I know we shall haue reuelling to night,
    I will assume thy part in some disguise,
    And tell faire Hero I am Claudio,
    And in her bosome Ile vnclaspe my heart,
    And take her hearing prisoner with the force
    315And strong incounter of my amorous tale:
    Then after, to her father will I breake,
    And the conclusion is, shee shall be thine,
    In practise let vs put it presently. Exeunt.
    Enter Leonato and an old man, brother to Leonato.
    320Leo. How now brother, where is my cosen your son:
    hath he prouided this musicke?
    Old. He is very busie about it, but brother, I can tell
    you newes that you yet dreamt not of.
    Lo. Are they good?
    325Old. As the euents stamps them, but they haue a good
    couer: they shew well outward, the Prince and Count
    Claudio walking in a thick pleached alley in my orchard,
    were thus ouer-heard by a man of mine: the Prince dis-
    couered to Claudio that hee loued my niece your daugh-
    330ter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance,
    and if hee found her accordant, hee meant to take the
    present time by the top, and instantly breake with you
    of it.
    Leo. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
    335Old. A good sharpe fellow, I will send for him, and
    question him your selfe.
    Leo. No, no; wee will hold it as a dreame, till it ap-
    peare it selfe: but I will acquaint my daughter withall,
    that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if per-
    340aduenture this bee true: goe you and tell her of it: coo-
    sins, you know what you haue to doe, O I crie you mer-
    cie friend, goe you with mee and I will vse your skill,
    good cosin haue a care this busie time. Exeunt.
    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