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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    1595 Enter Leonato, and the Constable, and the Headborough.
    Leonato What would you with me, honest neighbour?
    Const. Dog. Mary sir I would haue some confidence with
    you, that decernes you nearely.
    1600Leonato Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time with
    Const. Dog. Mary this it is sir.
    Headb. Yes in truth it is sir.
    Leonato What is it my good friends?
    1605Con. Do. Goodman Verges sir speaks a little of the matter,
    an old man sir, and his wittes are not so blunt, as God helpe I
    would desire they were, but infaith honest, as the skin between
    his browes.
    Head. Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man liuing,
    1610that is an old man, and no honester then I.
    Const. Dog. Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neighbour
    Leonato Neighbors, you are tedious.
    Const. Dog. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the
    poore Dukes officers, but truly for mine owne part, if I were as
    1615tedious as a King I could find in my heart to bestow it all of
    your worship.
    Leonato Al thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
    Const. Dog. Yea, and't twere a thousand pound more than tis,
    for I heare as good exclamation on your worshippe as of any
    1620man in the citie, and though I be but a poore man, I am glad to
    heare it.
    Head. And so am I.
    Leonato I would faine know what you haue to say.
    Head. Mary sir our watch to night, excepting your wor-
    1625ships presence, ha tane a couple of as arrant knaues as any in
    Const. Dog. A good old man sir, he will be talking as they
    say, when the age is in, the wit is out, God help vs, it is a world
    about Nothing.
    to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges, well, God's a good
    1630man, and two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind, an ho-
    nest soule yfaith sir, by my troth he is, as euer broke bread, but
    God is to be worshipt, all men are not alike, alas good neigh-
    Leonato Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you.
    1635Const. Do. Gifts that God giues.
    Leonato I must leaue you.
    Const. Dog. One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede com-
    prehended two aspitious persons, and wee woulde haue them
    this morning examined before your worship.
    1640Leonato Take their examination your selfe, and bring it me,
    I am now in great haste, as it may appeare vnto you.
    Constable It shall be suffigance.
    Leonato Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well. (exit
    Messenger My lord, they stay for you, to giue your daugh-
    1645ter to her husband.
    Leon. Ile wait vpon them, I am ready.
    Dogb. Go good partner, goe get you to Francis Sea-cole,
    bid him bring his penne and inckehorne to the Gaole: we are
    now to examination these men.
    1650Verges And we must do it wisely.
    Dogbery We will spare for no witte I warrant you: heeres
    that shall driue some of them to a noncome, only get the lear-
    ned writer to set downe our excommunication, and meet me
    at the Iaile.