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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Leonato, Bene. Marg. Vrsula, old man, Frier, Hero.
    2555Frier. Did I not tell you she was innocent?
    Leo. So are the Prince and Claudio who accus'd her,
    Vpon the errour that you heard debated:
    But Margaret was in some fault for this,
    Although against her will as it appeares,
    2560In the true course of all the question.
    Old. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
    Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd
    To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
    Leo. Well daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
    2565Withdraw into a chamber by your selues,
    And when I send for you, come hither mask'd:
    The Prince and Claudio promis'd by this howre
    To visit me, you know your office Brother,
    You must be father to your brothers daughter,
    2570And giue her to young Claudio. Exeunt Ladies.
    Old. Which I will doe with confirm'd countenance.
    Bene. Frier, I must intreat your paines, I thinke.
    Frier. To doe what Signior?
    Bene. To binde me, or vndoe me, one of them:
    2575Signior Leonato, truth it is good Signior,
    Your neece regards me with an eye of fauour.
    Leo. That eye my daughter lent her, 'tis most true.
    Bene. And I doe with an eye of loue requite her.
    Leo. The sight whereof I thinke you had from me,
    2580From Claudio, and the Prince, but what's your will?
    Bened. Your answer sir is Enigmaticall,
    But for my will, my will is, your good will
    May stand with ours, this day to be conioyn'd,
    In the state of honourable marriage,
    2585In which (good Frier) I shall desire your helpe.
    Leon. My heart is with your liking.
    Frier. And my helpe.
    Enter Prince and Claudio, with attendants.
    Prin. Good morrow to this faire assembly.
    2590Leo. Good morrow Prince, good morrow Claudio:
    We heere attend you, are you yet determin'd,
    To day to marry with my brothers daughter?
    Claud. Ile hold my minde were she an Ethiope.
    Leo. Call her forth brother, heres the Frier ready.
    2595Prin. Good morrow Benedicke, why what's the matter?
    That you haue such a Februarie face,
    So full of frost, of storme, and clowdinesse.
    Claud. I thinke he thinkes vpon the sauage bull:
    Tush, feare not man, wee'll tip thy hornes with gold,
    2600And all Europa shall reioyce at thee,
    As once Europa did at lusty Ioue,
    When he would play the noble beast in loue.
    Ben. Bull Ioue sir, had an amiable low,
    And some such strange bull leapt your fathers Cow,
    2605A got a Calfe in that same noble feat,
    Much like to you, for you haue iust his bleat.
    Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.
    Cla. For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
    Which is the Lady I must seize vpon?
    2610Leo. This same is she, and I doe giue you her.
    Cla. Why then she's mine, sweet let me see your face.
    Leon. No that you shal not, till you take her hand,
    Before this Frier, and sweare to marry her.
    Clau. Giue me your hand before this holy Frier,
    2615I am your husband if you like of me.
    Hero. And when I liu'd I was your other wife,
    And when you lou'd, you were my other husband.
    Clau. Another Hero?
    Hero. Nothing certainer.
    2620One Hero died, but I doe liue,
    And surely as I liue, I am a maid.
    Prin. The former Hero, Hero that is dead.
    Leon. Shee died my Lord, but whiles her slander liu'd.
    Frier. All this amazement can I qualifie,
    2625When after that the holy rites are ended,
    Ile tell you largely of faire Heroes death:
    Meane time let wonder seeme familiar,
    And to the chappell let vs presently.
    Ben. Soft and faire Frier, which is Beatrice?
    2630Beat. I answer to that name, what is your will?
    Bene. Doe not you loue me?
    Beat. Why no, no more then reason.
    Bene. Why then your Vncle, and the Prince, & Clau-
    dio, haue beene deceiued, they swore you did.
    2635Beat. Doe not you loue mee?
    Bene. Troth no, no more then reason.
    Beat. Why then my Cosin Margaret and Vrsula
    Are much deceiu'd, for they did sweare you did.
    Bene. They swore you were almost sicke for me.
    2640Beat. They swore you were wel-nye dead for me.
    Bene. 'Tis no matter, then you doe not loue me?
    Beat. No truly, but in friendly recompence.
    Leon. Come Cosin, I am sure you loue the gentlemã.
    Clau. And Ile be sworne vpon't, that he loues her,
    2645For heres a paper written in his hand,
    A halting sonnet of his owne pure braine,
    Fashioned to Beatrice.
    Hero. And heeres another,
    Writ in my cosins hand, stolne from her pocket,
    2650Containing her affection vnto Benedicke.
    Bene. A miracle, here's our owne hands against our
    hearts: come I will haue thee, but by this light I take
    thee for pittie.
    Beat. I would not denie you, but by this good day, I
    2655yeeld vpon great perswasion, & partly to saue your life,
    for I was told, you were in a consumption.
    Leon. Peace I will stop your mouth.
    Prin. How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
    Bene. Ile tell thee what Prince: a Colledge of witte-crackers
    2660cannot flout mee out of my humour, dost thou
    think I care for a Satyre or an Epigram? no, if a man will
    be beaten with braines, a shall weare nothing handsome
    about him: in briefe, since I do purpose to marry, I will
    thinke nothing to any purpose that the world can say a-
    2665gainst it, and therefore neuer flout at me, for I haue said
    against it: for man is a giddy thing, and this is my con-
    clusion: for thy part Claudio, I did thinke to haue beaten
    thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, liue vn-
    bruis'd, and loue my cousin.
    2670Cla. I had well hop'd yu wouldst haue denied Beatrice, yt
    I might haue cudgel'd thee out of thy single life, to make
    thee a double dealer, which out of questiõ thou wilt be,
    if my Cousin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee.
    Bene. Come, come, we are friends, let's haue a dance
    2675ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts,
    and our wiues heeles.
    Leon. Wee'll haue dancing afterward.
    Bene. First, of my vvord, therfore play musick. Prince,
    thou art sad, get thee a vvife, get thee a vvife, there is no
    2680staff more reuerend then one tipt with horn. Enter. Mes.
    Messen. My Lord, your brother Iohn is tane in flight,
    And brought with armed men backe to Messina.
    Bene. Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise
    thee braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers. Dance.
    L FINIS.