Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Gretchen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

106 Much ado about Nothing.
Bene. Troth my Lord, I haue played the part of Lady
Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a
620Warren, I told him, and I thinke, told him true, that your
grace had got the will of this young Lady, and I offered
him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a
garland, as being forsaken, or to binde him a rod, as be-
ing worthy to be whipt.
625Pedro. To be whipt, what's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his
companion, and he steales it.
Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression? the
630transgression is in the stealer.
Ben. Yet it had not beene amisse the rod had beene
made, and the garland too, for the garland he might haue
worne himselfe, and the rod hee might haue bestowed on
you, who (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
635Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them
to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith
you say honestly.
Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the
640Gentleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much
wrong'd by you.
Bene. O she misusde me past the indurance of a block:
an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue an-
swered her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold
645with her: shee told mee, not thinking I had beene my
selfe, that I was the Princes Iester, and that I was duller
then a great thaw, hudling iest vpon iest, with such im-
possible conueiance vpon me, that I stood like a man at a
marke, with a whole army shooting at me: shee speakes
650poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her breath were
as terrible as terminations, there were no liuing neere
her, she would infect to the north starre: I would not
marry her, though she were indowed with all that Adam
had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made
655Hercules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to
make the fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall finde
her the infernall Ate in good apparell. I would to God
some scholler would coniure her, for certainely while she
is heere, a man may liue as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary,
660and people sinne vpon purpose, because they would goe
thither, so indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation
followes her.

Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato, Hero.
Pedro. Looke heere she comes.
665Bene. Will your Grace command mee any seruice to
the worlds end? I will goe on the slightest arrand now
to the Antypodes that you can deuise to send me on: I
will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch
of Asia: bring you the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch
670you a hayre off the great Chams beard: doe you any em-
bassage to the Pigmies, rather then hould three words
conference, with this Harpy: you haue no employment
for me?
Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
675Bene. O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in-
dure this Lady tongue. Exit.
Pedr. Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of
Signior Benedicke.
Beatr. Indeed my Lord, hee lent it me a while, and I
680gaue him vse for it, a double heart for a single one, marry
once before he wonne it of mee, with false dice, therefore
your Grace may well say I haue lost it.
Pedro. You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put
him downe.
685Beat. So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest
I should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought
Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
Pedro. Why how now Count, wherfore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad my Lord.
690Pedro. How then? sicke?
Claud. Neither, my Lord.
Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
nor well: but ciuill Count, ciuill as an Orange, and some-
thing of a iealous complexion.
695Pedro. Ifaith Lady, I thinke your blazon to be true,
though Ile be sworne, if hee be so, his conceit is false:
heere Claudio, I haue wooed in thy name, and faire Hero
is won, I haue broke with her father, and his good will
obtained, name the day of marriage, and God giue
700thee ioy.
Leona. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, & all grace
say, Amen to it.
Beatr. Speake Count, tis your Qu.
705Claud. Silence is the perfectest Herault of ioy, I were
but little happy if I could say, how much? Lady, as you
are mine, I am yours, I giue away my selfe for you, and
doat vpon the exchange.
Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth
710with a kisse, and let not him speake neither.
Pedro. In faith Lady you haue a merry heart.
Beatr. Yea my Lord I thanke it, poore foole it keepes
on the windy side of Care, my coosin tells him in his eare
that he is in my heart.
715Clau. And so she doth coosin.
Beat. Good Lord for alliance: thus goes euery one
to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may sit in a cor-
ner and cry, heigh ho for a husband.
Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
720Beat. I would rather haue one of your fathers getting:
hath your Grace ne're a brother like you? your father
got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Prince. Will you haue me? Lady.
Beat. No, my Lord, vnlesse I might haue another for
725working-daies, your Grace is too costly to weare euerie
day: but I beseech your Grace pardon mee, I was borne
to speake all mirth, and no matter.
Prince. Your silence most offends me, and to be mer-
ry, best becomes you, for out of question, you were born
730in a merry howre.
Beatr. No sure my Lord, my Mother cried, but then
there was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne: co-
sins God giue you ioy.
Leonato. Neece, will you looke to those rhings I told
735you of?
Beat. I cry you mercy Vncle, by your Graces pardon.
Exit Beatrice.
Prince. By my troth a pleasant spirited Lady.
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her
740my Lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleepes, and not
euer sad then: for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath
often dreamt of vnhappinesse, and wakt her selfe with
Pedro. Shee cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
745Leonato. O, by no meanes, she mocks all her wooers
out of suite.
Prince. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leonato. O Lord, my Lord, if they were but a weeke