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  • Title: Much Ado About Nothing (Quarto 1, 1600)
  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 (Quarto 1, 1600)

    415 Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
    Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.
    Leonato Was not counte Iohn here at supper?
    brother I saw him not.
    Beatrice How tartely that gentleman lookes, I neuer can see
    420him but I am heart-burn'd an hower after.
    Hero He is of a very melancholy disposition.
    Beatrice He were an excellent man that were made iust in
    the mid-way between him and Benedick, the one is too like an
    image and saies nothing, and the other too like my ladies eldest
    425sonne, euermore tatling.
    Leonato Then halfe signior Benedickes tongue in Counte
    Iohns mouth, and halfe Counte Iohns melancholy in Signior
    Benedickes face.
    Beatrice With a good legge and a good foote vnckle, and
    430money inough in his purse, such a man would winne any wo-
    man in the world if a could get her good will.
    Leonato By my troth neece thou wilt neuer get thee a hus-
    band, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
    brother Infaith shees too curst.
    435Beatrice Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen
    B3 Gods
    Much adoe
    Gods sending that way, for it is saide, God sends a curst cow
    short hornes, but to a cow too curst, he sends none.
    Leonato So, by being too curst, God will send you no
    440Beatrice Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which bles-
    sing, 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 on a husband that hath no beard.
    Beatrice What should I do with him, dresse him in my ap-
    parell 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 he that is more then a youth, is not for me, and
    450he that is lesse then a man, I am not for him, therefore I will
    euen take sixpence in earnest of the Berrord, and leade his
    apes into hell.
    Leonato Well then, go you into hell.
    Beatrice No but to the gate, and there will the diuell meete
    455me like an old cuckold with hornes on his head, and say, get
    you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen, heeres no place for
    you maids, so deliuer I vp my apes and away to saint Peter: for
    the heauens, he shewes me where the Batchellers sit, and there
    liue we as mery as the day is long.
    brother Well neece, I trust you will be rulde by your fa-
    Beatrice Yes faith, it is my cosens duetie to make cursie and
    say, father, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let him be a
    465handsome 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
    Beatrice Not til God make men of some other mettal then
    470earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-masterd with
    a peece of valiant dust? to make an account of her life to a clod
    of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none: Adams sonnes are my
    brethren, and truely I holde it a sinne to match in my kin-
    about Nothing.
    475Leonato Daughter, remember what I told you, if the prince
    do solicite you in that kind, you know your answer.
    Beatrice The fault will be in the musique cosin, if you be
    not wooed in good time: if the prince be too important, tell
    480him there is measure in euery thing, and so daunce out the an-
    swer, for here me Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting, is
    as a Scotch ijgge, a measure, and a cinquepace: the first suite is
    hot and hasty like a Scotch ijgge (and ful as fantasticall) the
    wedding manerly modest (as a measure) full of state and aun-
    485chentry, and then comes Repentance, and with his bad legs
    falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, til he sincke into his
    Leonato Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly.
    Beatrice I haue a good eie vnckle, I can see a church by
    Leonato The reuellers are entring brother, make good
    Enter prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthaser,
    or dumb Iohn.
    495Pedro Lady will you walke about with your friend?
    Hero So, you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say no-
    thing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I walk a-
    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 is
    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 ma-
    510ny ill qualities.
    Bene. Which is one?
    Mar. I say my praiers alowd.
    B4 Bene.
    Much adoe
    Bene. I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
    Marg. God match me with a good dauncer.
    515Balth. Amen.
    Marg. And God keepe him out of my sight when the
    daunce is done: answer Clarke.
    Balth. No more words, the Clarke is answered.
    Vrsula I know you well enough, you are signior Antho-
    Antho. At a word I am not.
    Vrsula I knowe you by the wagling of your head.
    Antho. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
    Vrsula You coulde neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse you
    525were the very man: heeres his drie hand vp and downe, you
    are he, you are he.
    Antho. At a word, I am not.
    Vrsula Come, come, do you thinke I do not know you by
    your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? go to, mumme, you
    530are he, graces will appeere, and theres an end.
    Beat. Will you not tell me who tolde you so?
    Bened. No, you shall pardon me.
    Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
    535Bened. Not now.
    Beat. That I was disdainefull, and that I had my good wit
    out of the hundred mery tales: wel, this was signior Benedick
    that said so.
    Bened. Whats he?
    540Beat. I am sure you know him well enough.
    Bened. Not I, beleeue me.
    Beat. Did he neuer make you laugh?
    Bened. I pray you what is he?
    Beat. Why he is the princes ieaster, a very dul fool, only his
    545gift is, in deuising impossible slaunders, none but Libertines
    delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but in
    his villanie, for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
    they laugh at him, and beate him: I am sure he is in the Fleete,
    I would he had boorded me.
    Bene. When I know the Gentleman, ile tell him what you
    about Nothing.
    Beat. Do, do, heele but break a comparison or two on me,
    which peraduẽture, (not markt, or not laught at) strikes him in-
    555to melancholy, and then theres a partrige wing saued, for the
    foole will eate no supper that night: wee must follow the lea-
    Bene. In euery good thing.
    Beat. Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them at the
    560next turning. Dance exeunt
    Iohn Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath with-
    drawne her father to breake with him about it: the Ladies fo-
    low her, and but one visor remaines.
    565Borachio And that is Claudio, I knowe him by his bear-
    Iohn Are not you signior Benedicke?
    Clau. You know me well, I am he.
    Iohn Signior, you are very neere my brother in his loue, he
    570is enamourd on Hero, I pray you disswade him from her, she
    is no equall for his birth, you may doe the parte of an honest
    man in it.
    Claudio How know you he loues her?
    Iohn I heard him sweare his affection.
    575Borac. So did I too, and he swore hee would marry her to
    Iohn Come let vs to the banquet.
    exeunt: manet Clau.
    Claud. Thus answer I in name of Benedicke,
    But heare these ill newes with the eares of Claudio:
    580Tis certaine so, the Prince wooes 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 euery eie negotiate for it selfe,
    585And trust no Agent: for Beauty is a witch,
    Against whose charmes, faith melteth into blood:
    This is an accident of hourely proofe,
    Which I mistrusted not: farewel therefore Hero.
    Enter Bene- ( dicke
    590Benedicke Count Claudio.
    Claudio Yea, the same.
    C Bene.
    Much adoe
    Bene. Come, will you go with me?
    Claudio Whither?
    Bene. Euen to the next willow, about your owne busines,
    595county: what fashion will you weare the garland of? about
    your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? or vnder your arme, like a
    Lieutenants scarffe? you must weare it one way, for the prince
    hath got your Hero.
    Claudio I wish him ioy of her.
    600Bened. Why thats spoken like an honest Drouier, so they
    sell bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince would haue ser-
    ued you thus?
    Claudio I pray you leaue me.
    Benedicke Ho now you strike like the blindman, twas the
    605boy that stole your meate, and youle beate the post.
    Claudio If it will not be, ile leaue you. exit
    Benedicke Alas poore hurt foule, now will hee creepe into
    sedges: but that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, and not
    know mee: the princes foole! hah, it may be I goe vnder that
    610title because I am merry: yea but so I am apte to doe my selfe
    wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the base (though bitter) dispo-
    sition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her person, and so
    giues me out: well, ile be reuenged as I may.
    615 Enter the Prince, Hero, Leonato, Iohn and Borachio,
    and Conrade.
    Pedro Now signior, wheres the Counte, did you see him?
    Benedicke Troth my lord, I haue played the part of Ladie
    Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a War-
    620ren, I tolde him, and I thinke I tolde him true, that your grace
    had got the goodwil of this yoong Lady, and I offred him my
    company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as be-
    ing forsaken, or to binde him vp a rod, as being worthie to bee
    625Pedro To be whipt, whats his fault?
    Benedicke The flatte transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
    being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his com-
    panion, and he steales it.
    Pedro Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? the transgres-
    about Nothing.
    630sion is in the stealer.
    Benedicke Yet it had not beene amisse the rodde had beene
    made, & the garland too, for the garland he might haue worn
    himselfe, and the rodde he might haue bestowed on you, who
    (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
    635Pedro I wil but teach them to sing, and restore them to the
    Benedicke If their singing answer your saying, by my faith
    you say honestly.
    Pedro The ladie Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the Gen-
    640tleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much wrongd by
    Bened. O shee misusde me past the indurance of a blocke:
    an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue answered
    her: my very visor beganne to assume life, and scold with her:
    645she tolde me, not thinking I had beene my selfe, that I was the
    Princes iester, that I was duller than a great thawe, huddleing
    iest vpon iest, with such impossible conueiance vpon me, that
    I stoode like a man at a marke, with a whole army shooting
    at me: she speakes poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her
    650breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no liu-
    ing neere her, shee would infect to the north starre: I woulde
    not marry her, though shee were indowed with al that Adam
    had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made Her-
    655cules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to make the
    fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall find her the infernall
    Ate in good apparell, I would to God some scholler woulde
    coniure her, for certainely, while she is heere, a man may liue
    as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuarie, and people sinne vpon pur-
    660pose, because they would goe thither, so indeede all disquiet,
    horrour, and perturbation followes her.
    Enter Claudio and Beatrice.
    Pedro Looke heere she comes.
    665Benedicke Will your grace command me any seruice to the
    worldes end? I will go on the slightest arrand now to the An-
    typodes that you can deuise to send mee on: I will fetch you a
    tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia: bring you
    C2 the
    Much adoe
    the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch you a haire off the great
    670Chams beard: doe you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather
    than holde three words conference, with this harpy, you haue
    no imployment for me?
    Pedro None, but to desire your good company.
    675Benedicke O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in-
    dure my Ladie Tongue. exit.
    Pedro Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of signi-
    or Benedicke.
    Beatrice Indeed my Lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gaue
    680him vse for it, a double heart for his single one, mary once be-
    fore he wonne it of me, with false dice, therefore your grace
    may well say I haue lost it.
    Pedro You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put him
    685Beatrice So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest I
    should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought Counte
    Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
    Pedro Why how now Counte, wherefore are you sad?
    Claudio Not sad my Lord.
    690Pedro How then? sicke?
    Claudio Neither, my Lord.
    Beatrice The Counte is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
    nor well: but ciuill Counte, ciuil as an orange, and something
    of that iealous complexion.
    695Pedro Ifaith Lady, I think your blazon to be true, though
    ile be sworne, if he 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 thee ioy.
    Leonato Counte take of me my daughter, and with her my
    fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say A-
    men to it.
    Beatrice Speake Counte, tis your Qu.
    705Claudio 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 doate vpon the
    about Nothing.
    Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a
    710kisse, and let not him speake neither.
    Pedro Infaith 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
    her heart
    715Clau. And so she doth coosin.
    Beat. Good Lord for aliance: thus goes euery one to the
    world but I, and I am sun-burnt, I may sit in a corner and crie,
    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 maide coulde come by them.
    Prince Will you haue me? lady.
    Beatr. No my lord, vnles I might haue another for work-
    725ing-daies, your grace is too costly to weare euery day: but I
    beseech your grace pardon me, I was born to speake all mirth,
    and no matter.
    Prince Your silence most offends me, and to be merry, best
    becomes you, for out a question, you were borne in a merry
    Beatr. No sure my lord, my mother cried, but then there
    was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne, cosins God
    giue you ioy.
    Leonato Neece, will you looke to those things I tolde you
    Beat I crie you mercy vncle, by your graces pardon.
    exit Beatrice.
    Prince By my troth a pleasant spirited lady.
    Leon. Theres little of the melancholy element in her my
    740lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleeps, & not euer sad then:
    for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath often dreampt of
    vnhappines, and wakt her selfe with laughing.
    Pedro She cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
    745Leonato O by no meanes, she mockes al her wooers out of
    C3 Prince
    Much adoe
    Prince She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
    Leonato O Lord, my lord, if they were but a weeke married,
    they would talke themselues madde.
    750Prince Countie Claudio, when meane you to goe to
    Clau. To morow my lord, Time goes on crutches, til Loue
    haue all his rites.
    Leonato Not til monday, my deare sonne, which is hence a
    755iust seuennight, and a time too briefe too, to haue al things an-
    swer my mind.
    Prince Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing,
    but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not go dully by vs, I
    wil in the interim, vndertake one of Hercules labors, which is,
    760to bring Signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a moun-
    taine 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 assistance as I shall giue you direction.
    765Leonato My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights
    Claud. And I my Lord.
    Prince And you too gentle Hero?
    Hero I wil do any modest office, my lord, to help my cosin
    770to a good husband.
    Prince And Benedicke is not the vnhopefullest husband
    that I know: thus farre can I praise him, he is of a noble strain,
    of approoued valour, and confirmde honesty, I will teach you
    how to humour your cosin, that she shall fal in loue with Be-
    775nedicke, and I, with your two helpes, wil so practise on Bene-
    dicke, that in dispight of his quicke wit, and his queasie sto-
    macke, he shall fall in loue with Beatrice: if we can do this, Cu-
    pid is no longer an Archer, his glory shall bee ours, for we are
    the onely loue-gods, goe in with mee, and I will tell you my
    780drift. exit.