Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editor: Gretchen Minton
Not Peer Reviewed

Much Ado About Nothing (Folio 1, 1623)

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.
Much adoe about Nothing 105
Leonata. Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beatrice. I haue a good eye vnckle, I can see a Church
490by daylight.
Leon. The reuellers are entring brother, make good
Enter Prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthasar,
or dumbe Iohn, Maskers with a drum.
495Pedro. Lady, will you walke about with your friend?
Hero. So you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say
nothing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I
walke away.
Pedro. With me in your company.
500Hero. I may say so when I please.
Pedro. And when please you to say so?
Hero. When I like your fauour, for God defend the
Lute should be like the case.
Pedro. My visor is Philemons roofe, within the house
505is Loue.
Hero. Why then your visor should be thatcht.
Pedro. Speake low if you speake Loue.
Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Mar. So would not I for your owne sake, for I haue
510manie ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Mar. I say my prayers alowd.
Ben. I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
Mar. God match me with a good dauncer.
515Balt. Amen.
Mar. And God keepe him out of my sight when the
daunce is done: answer Clarke.
Balt. No more words, the Clarke is answered.
Vrsula. I know you well enough, you are Signior An-
Anth. At a word, I am not.
Vrsula. I know you by the wagling of your head.
Anth. To tell you true, I counterfet him.
Vrsu. You could neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse
525you were the very man: here's his dry hand vp & down,
you are he, you are he.
Anth. At a word I am not.
Vrsula. Come, come, doe you thinke I doe not know
you by your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? goe
530to, mumme, you are he, graces will appeare, and there's
an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Bene. No, you shall pardon me.
Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
535Bened. Not now.
Beat. That I was disdainfull, and that I had my good
wit out of the hundred merry tales: well, this was Signi-
or Benedicke that said so.
Bene. What's he?
540Beat. I am sure you know him well enough.
Bene. Not I, beleeue me.
Beat. Did he neuer make you laugh?
Bene. I pray you what is he?
Beat. Why he is the Princes ieaster, a very dull foole,
545onely his gift is, in deuising impossible slanders, none
but Libertines delight in him, and the commendation is
not in his witte, but in his villanie, for hee both pleaseth
men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and
beat him: I am sure he is in the Fleet, I would he had
550boorded me.
Bene. When I know the Gentleman, Ile tell him what
you say.
Beat. Do, do, hee'l but breake a comparison or two
on me, which peraduenture (not markt, or not laugh'd
555at) strikes him into melancholly, and then there's a Par-
tridge wing saued, for the foole will eate no supper that
night. We must follow the Leaders.
Ben. In euery good thing.
Bea. Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them
560at the next turning. Exeunt.
Musicke for the dance.
Iohn. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath
withdrawne her father to breake with him about it: the
Ladies follow her, and but one visor remaines.
565Borachio. And that is Claudio, I know him by his bea-
Iohn. Are not you signior Benedicke?
Clau. You know me well, I am hee.
Iohn. Signior, you are verie neere my Brother in his
570loue, he is enamor'd on Hero, I pray you disswade him
from her, she is no equall for his birth: you may do the
part of an honest man in it.
Claudio. How know you he loues her?
Iohn. I heard him sweare his affection,
575Bor. So did I too, and he swore he would marrie her
to night.
Iohn. Come, let vs to the banquet. Ex. manet Clau.
Clau. Thus answere I in name of Benedicke,
But heare these ill newes with the eares of Claudio:
580'Tis certaine so, the Prince woes for himselfe:
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Saue in the Office and affaires of loue:
Therefore all hearts in loue vse their owne tongues.
Let euerie eye negotiate for it selfe,
585And trust no Agent: for beautie is a witch,
Against whose charmes, faith melteth into blood:
This is an accident of hourely proofe,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero.
Enter Benedicke.
590Ben. Count Claudio.
Clau. Yea, the same.
Ben. Come, will you go with me?
Clau. Whither?
Ben. Euen to the next Willow, about your own bu-
595sinesse, Count. What fashion will you weare the Gar-
land off? About your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? Or
vnder your arme, like a Lieutenants scarfe? You must
weare it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Clau: I wish him ioy of her.
600Ben. Why that's spoken like an honest Drouier, so
they sel Bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince wold
haue serued you thus?
Clau. I pray you leaue me.
Ben. Ho now you strike like the blindman, 'twas the
605boy that stole your meate, and you'l beat the post.
Clau. If it will not be, Ile leaue you. Exit.
Ben. Alas poore hurt fowle, now will he creepe into
sedges: But that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, &
not know me: the Princes foole! Hah? It may be I goe
610vnder that title, because I am merrie: yea but so I am
apt to do my selfe wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the
base (though bitter) disposition of Beatrice, that putt's
the world into her person, and so giues me out: well, Ile
be reuenged as I may.
615 Enter the Prince.
Pedro. Now Signior, where's the Count, did you
see him?
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
Much ado about Nothing. 107
married, they would talke themselues madde.
750Prince. Counte Claudio, when meane you to goe to
Clau. To morrow my Lord, Time goes on crutches,
till Loue haue all his rites.
Leonata. Not till monday, my deare sonne, which is
755hence a iust seuen night, and a time too briefe too, to haue
all things answer minde.
Prince. Come, you shake the head at so long a brea-
thing, but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not goe
dully by vs, I will in the interim, vndertake one of Her-
760cules labors, which is, to bring Signior Benedicke and the
Lady Beatrice into a mountaine of affection, th'one with
th'other, I would faine haue it a match, and I doubt not
but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assi-
stance as I shall giue you direction.
765Leonata. My Lord, I am for you, though it cost mee
ten nights watchings.
Claud. And I my Lord.
Prin. And you to gentle Hero?
Hero. I will doe any modest office, my Lord, to helpe
770my cosin to a good husband.
Prin. And Benedick is not the vnhopefullest husband
that I know: thus farre can I praise him, hee is of a noble
straine, of approued valour, and confirm'd honesty, I will
teach you how to humour your cosin, that shee shall fall
775in loue with Benedicke, and I, with your two helpes, will
so practise on Benedicke, that in despight of his quicke
wit, and his queasie stomacke, hee shall fall in loue with
Beatrice: if wee can doe this, Cupid is no longer an Ar-
cher, his glory shall be ours, for wee are the onely loue-
780gods, goe in with me, and I will tell you my drift. Exit.