Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Gretchen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

104 Much adoe about Nothing.
late stood out against your brother, and hee hath tane
you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you
365should take root, but by the faire weather that you make
your selfe, it is needful that you frame the season for your
owne haruest.
Iohn. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose
in his grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of
370all, then to fashion a carriage to rob loue from any: in this
(though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man)
it must not be denied but I am a plaine dealing villaine, I
am trusted with a mussell, and enfranchisde with a clog,
therefore I haue decreed, not to sing in my cage: if I had
375my mouth, I would bite: if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking: in the meane time, let me be that I am, and
seeke not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
Iohn. I will make all vse of it, for I vse it onely.
380Who comes here? what newes Borachio?

Enter Borachio.
Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the Prince
your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can
giue you intelligence of an intended marriage.
385Iohn. Will it serue for any Modell to build mischiefe
on? What is hee for a foole that betrothes himselfe to
Bor. Mary it is your brothers right hand.
Iohn. Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
390Bor. Euen he.
Iohn. A proper squier, and who, and who, which way
lookes he?
Bor. Mary on Hero, the daughter and Heire of Leo-
395Iohn. A very forward March-chicke, how came you
to this?
Bor. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoa-
king a musty roome, comes me the Prince and Claudio,
hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt behind the Ar-
400ras, and there heard it agreed vpon, that the Prince should
wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue
her to Count Claudio.
Iohn. Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food
to my displeasure, that young start-vp hath all the glorie
405of my ouerthrow: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse
my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and will assist
Conr. To the death my Lord.
Iohn. Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the
410greater that I am subdued, would the Cooke were of my
minde: shall we goe proue whats to be done?
Bor. Wee'll wait vpon your Lordship.

Actus Secundus.

415 Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.

Leonato. Was not Count Iohn here at supper?
Brother. I saw him not.
Beatrice. How tartly that Gentleman lookes, I neuer
420can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an howre after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beatrice. Hee were an excellent man that were made
iust in the mid-way betweene him and Benedicke, the one
is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too
425like my Ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling.
Leon. Then halfe signior Benedicks tongue in Count
Iohns mouth, and halfe Count Iohns melancholy in Sig-
nior Benedicks face.
Beat. With a good legge, and a good foot vnckle, and
430money enough in his purse, such a man would winne any
woman in the world, if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth Neece, thou wilt neuer get thee a
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Brother. Infaith shee's too curst.
435Beat. Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Gods
sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst Cow
short hornes, but to a Cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no
440Beat. Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which
blessing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and
euening: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leonato. You may light vpon a husband that hath no
Batrice. What should I doe with him? dresse him in
my apparell, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? he
that hath a beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath
no beard, is lesse then a man: and hee that is more then a
450youth, is not for mee: and he that is lesse then a man, I am
not for him: therefore I will euen take sixepence in ear-
nest of the Berrord, and leade his Apes into hell.
Leon. Well then, goe you into hell.
Beat. No, but to the gate, and there will the Deuill
455meete mee like an old Cuckold with hornes on his head,
and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen,
heere's no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my Apes,
and away to S. Peter: for the heauens, hee shewes mee
where the Batchellers sit, and there liue wee as merry as
460the day is long.
Brother. Well neece, I trust you will be rul'd by your
Beatrice. Yes faith, it is my cosens dutie to make curt-
sie, and say, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let
465him be a handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie,
and say, father, as it please me.
Leonato. Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted
with a husband.
Beatrice. Not till God make men of some other met-
470tall then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-
mastred with a peece of valiant dust? to make account of
her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none:
Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sinne
to match in my kinred.
475Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you, if the
Prince doe solicit you in that kinde, you know your an-
Beatrice. The fault will be in the musicke cosin, if you
be not woed in good time: if the Prince bee too impor-
480tant, tell him there is measure in euery thing, & so dance
out the answere, for heare me Hero, wooing, wedding, &
repenting, is as a Scotch ijgge, a measure, and a cinque-
pace: the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch ijgge
(and full as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest,
485(as a measure) full of state & aunchentry, and then comes
repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-
pace faster and faster, till he sinkes into his graue.