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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.
    Prince I doe but stay til your mariage be consummate, and
    1210then go I toward Arragon.
    Claud. Ile bring you thither my lord, if youle vouchsafe
    Prince Nay that would be as great a soyle in the new glosse
    of your marriage, as to shew a child his new coate and forbid
    1215him to weare it, I wil only be bold with Benedick for his com-
    pany, for from the crowne of his head, to the sole of his foot,
    he is al mirth, he hath twice or thrice cut Cupides bow-string,
    and the little hang-man dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart
    as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper, for what his
    1220heart thinkes, his tongue speakes.
    Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
    Leo. So say I, me thinkes you are sadder.
    Clau. I hope he be in loue.
    1225Prince Hang him truant, theres no true drop of bloud in
    him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sadde, he wantes mo-
    Bene. I haue the tooth-ach.
    Prince Draw it.
    1230Bene. Hang it.
    Clau. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
    Prince What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
    Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme.
    Bene. Wel, euery one cannot master a griefe, but he that
    1235has it.
    Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue.
    Prince There is no appeerance of fancie in him, vnlesse it
    be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to be a Dutch-
    man to day, a French-man to morrow, or in the shape of two
    countries at once, as a Germaine from the waste downward,
    all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip vpward, no dublet: vn-
    1240lesse he haue a fancie to this foolery, as it appeares he hath,
    he is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it appeare he
    about Nothing.
    Clau. If he be not in loue with some woman, there is no be-
    leeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings, what should
    1245that bode?
    Prince Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
    Clau. No, but the barbers man hath bin seene with him,
    and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath already stufft tennis
    1250Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than he did, by the losse of
    a beard.
    Prince Nay a rubs himselfe with ciuit, can you smell him
    out by that?
    Claud. Thats as much as to say, the sweete youthe's in
    Bene. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
    Claud. And when was he woont to wash his face?
    Prince Yea or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare what
    they say of him.
    1260Claud. Nay but his iesting spirit, which is now crept into a
    lute-string, and now gouernd by stops.
    Prince Indeed that tells a heauy tale for him: conclude, con-
    clude, he is in loue.
    Claud. Nay but I know who loues him.
    1265Prince That would I know too, I warrant one that knows
    him not.
    Claud. Yes, and his ill conditions, and in dispight of al, dies
    for him.
    Prince She shall be buried with her face vpwards.
    1270Bene. Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old signior,
    walke aside with me, I haue studied eight or nine wise wordes
    to speake to you, which these hobby-horses must not heare.
    Prince For my life to breake with him about Beatrice.
    1275Claud. 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.
    Bastard My lord and brother, God saue you.
    1280Prince Good den brother.
    E2 Bastard
    Much adoe
    Bastard If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you.
    Prince In priuate?
    Bastard If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare, for
    what I would speake of, concernes him.
    1285Prince Whats the matter?
    Bast. Meanes your Lordship to be married to morrow?
    Prince You know he does.
    Bast. I know not that when he knowes what I know.
    1290Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you discouer it.
    Bast. You may think I loue you not, let that appeare here-
    after, and ayme better at me by that I now will manifest, for
    my brother (I thinke, he holdes you well, and in dearenesse of
    1295heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing mariage: surely sute ill
    spent, and labor ill bestowed.
    Prince Why whats the matter?
    Bast. I came hither to tel you, and circumstances shortned,
    (for she has bin too long a talking of) the lady is disloyall.
    Clau. Who Hero?
    Bastar. Euen she, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery mans
    Clau. Disloyall?
    1305Bast. The word is too good to paint out her wickednesse, I
    could say she were worse, thinke you of a worse title, and I wil
    fit her to it: wonder not till further warrant: go but with me
    to night you shall see her chamber window entred, euen the
    night before her wedding day, if you loue her, then to morow
    1310wed her: But it would better fitte your honour to change your
    Claud. May this be so?
    Prince I wil not thinke it.
    Bast. If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not that
    1315you knowe: if you will follow mee, I will shew you enough,
    and when you haue seene more, and heard more, proceede ac-
    Claudio If I see anie thing to night, why I should not mar-
    ry her to morrow in the congregation, where I should wed,
    1320there will I shame her.
    about Nothing.
    Prince And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I wil ioyne
    with thee, to disgrace her.
    Bastard I will disparage her no farther, till you are my wit-
    nesses, beare it coldely but till midnight, and let the issue shew
    1325it selfe.
    Prince O day vntowardly turned!
    Claud. O mischiefe strangely thwarting!
    Bastard O plague right well preuented! so will you say,
    when you haue seene the sequele.