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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.
    Prince. I doe but stay till your marriage be consum-
    1210mate, and then go I toward Arragon.
    Clau. Ile bring you thither my Lord, if you'l vouch-
    safe me.
    Prin. Nay, that would be as great a soyle in the new
    glosse of your marriage, as to shew a childe his new coat
    1215and forbid him to weare it, I will onely bee bold with
    Benedicke for his companie, for from the crowne of his
    head, to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth, he hath twice
    or thrice cut Cupids bow-string, and the little hang-man
    dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart as sound as a bell,
    1220and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinkes,
    his tongue speakes.
    Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
    Leo. So say I, methinkes you are sadder.
    Claud. I hope he be in loue.
    1225Prin. Hang him truant, there's no true drop of bloud
    in him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sad, he wants
    Bene. I haue the tooth-ach.
    Prin. Draw it.
    1230Bene. Hang it.
    Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
    Prin. What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
    Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme.
    Bene. Well, euery one cannot master a griefe, but hee
    1235that has it.
    Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue.
    Prin. There is no appearance of fancie in him, vnlesse
    it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to bee a
    Dutchman to day, a Frenchman to morrow: vnlesse hee
    1240haue a fancy to this foolery, as it appeares hee hath, hee
    is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it to appeare
    he is.
    Clau. If he be not in loue vvith some vvoman, there
    is no beleeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings,
    1245What should that bode?
    Prin. Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
    Clau. No, but the Barbers man hath beene seen with
    him, and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath alreadie
    stuft tennis balls.
    1250Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than hee did, by the
    losse of a beard.
    Prin. Nay a rubs himselfe vvith Ciuit, can you smell
    him out by that?
    Clau. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in
    Prin. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
    Clau. And vvhen vvas he vvont to vvash his face?
    Prin. Yea, or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare
    vvhat they say of him.
    1260Clau. Nay, but his iesting spirit, vvhich is now crept
    into a lute-string, and now gouern'd by stops.
    Much ado about Nothing. 111
    Prin. Indeed that tels a heauy tale for him: conclude,
    he is in loue.
    Clau. Nay, but I know who loues him.
    1265Prince. That would I know too, I warrant one that
    knowes him not.
    Cla. Yes, and his ill conditions, and in despight of all,
    dies for him.
    Prin. Shee shall be buried with her face vpwards.
    1270Bene. Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old sig-
    nior, walke aside with mee, I haue studied eight or nine
    wise words to speake to you, which these hobby-horses
    must not heare.
    Prin. For my life to breake with him about Beatrice.
    1275Clau. 'Tis euen so, Hero and Margaret haue by this
    played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two Beares
    will not bite one another when they meete.
    Enter Iohn the Bastard.
    Bast. My Lord and brother, God saue you.
    1280Prin. Good den brother.
    Bast. If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you.
    Prince. In priuate?
    Bast. If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare,
    for what I would speake of, concernes him.
    1285Prin. What's the matter?
    Basta. Meanes your Lordship to be married to mor-
    Prin. You know he does.
    Bast. I know not that when he knowes what I know.
    1290Clau. If there be any impediment, I pray you disco-
    uer it.
    Bast. You may thinke I loue you not, let that appeare
    hereafter, and ayme better at me by that I now will ma-
    nifest, for my brother (I thinke, he holds you well, and in
    1295dearenesse of heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing
    marriage: surely sute ill spent, and labour ill bestowed.
    Prin. Why, what's the matter?
    Bastard. I came hither to tell you, and circumstances
    shortned, (for she hath beene too long a talking of) the
    1300Lady is disloyall.
    Clau. Who Hero?
    Bast. Euen shee, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery
    mans Hero.
    Clau. Disloyall?
    1305Bast. The word is too good to paint out her wicked-
    nesse, I could say she were worse, thinke you of a worse
    title, and I will fit her to it: wonder not till further war-
    rant: goe but with mee to night, you shal see her cham-
    ber window entred, euen the night before her wedding
    1310day, if you loue her, then to morrow wed her: But it
    would better fit your honour to change your minde.
    Claud. May this be so?
    Princ. I will not thinke it.
    Bast. If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not
    1315that you know: if you will follow mee, I will shew you
    enough, and when you haue seene more, & heard more,
    proceed accordingly.
    Clau. If I see any thing to night, why I should not
    marry her to morrow in the congregation, where I shold
    1320wedde, there will I shame her.
    Prin. And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I will
    ioyne with thee to disgrace her.
    Bast. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my
    witnesses, beare it coldly but till night, and let the issue
    1325shew it selfe.
    Prin. O day vntowardly turned!
    Claud. O mischiefe strangelie thwarting!
    Bastard. O plague right well preuented! so will you
    say, when you haue seene the sequele. Exit.