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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne clearke
    in gownes.
    Keeper Is our whole dissembly appeard?
    2000Cowley O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton.
    Sexton Which be the malefactors?
    Andrew Mary that am I, and my partner.
    Cowley Nay thats certaine, we haue the exhibition to exa-
    2005Sexton But which are the offenders? that are to be exami-
    ned, let them come before maister constable.
    Kemp Yea mary, let them come before mee, what is your
    about Nothing.
    name, friend?
    Bor. Borachio.
    2010Ke. Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra.
    Con. I am a gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade.
    Ke. Write downe maister gentleman Conrade: maisters,
    do you serue God?
    Both Yea sir we hope.
    Kem. Write downe, that they hope they serue God: and
    write God first, for God defend but God shoulde goe before
    such villaines: maisters, it is prooued alreadie that you are little
    better than false knaues, and it will go neere to be thought so
    2015shortly, how answer you for your selues?
    Con. Mary sir we say, we are none.
    Kemp A maruellous witty fellowe I assure you, but I will
    go about with him: come you hither sirra, a word in your eare
    2020sir, I say to you it is thought you are false knaues.
    Bor. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
    Kemp VVel, stand aside, fore God they are both in a tale:
    haue you writ downe, that they are none?
    2025Sexton Master constable, you go not the way to examine,
    you must call foorth the watch that are their accusers.
    Kemp Yea mary, thats the eftest way, let the watch come
    forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name accuse these
    Watch 1 This man said sir, that don Iohn the Princes bro-
    ther was a villaine.
    Kemp Write downe, prince Iohn a villaine: why this is flat
    periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine.
    2035Borachio Maister Constable.
    Kemp Pray thee fellowe peace, I doe not like thy looke I
    promise thee.
    Sexton VVhat heard you him say else?
    Watch 2 Mary that he had receiued a thousand duckats of
    2040don Iohn, for accusing the Ladie Hero wrongfully.
    Kemp Flat burglarie as euer was committed.
    Const. Yea by masse that it is.
    Sexton VVhat else fellow?
    Much adoe
    2045Watch 1 And that Counte Claudio did meane vppon his
    wordes, to disgrace Hero before the whole assemblie, and not
    marrie her.
    Kemp O villaine! thou wilt be condemnd into euerlasting
    redemption for this.
    2050Sexton VVhat else? Watch This is all.
    Sexton And this is more masters then you can deny, prince
    Iohn is this morning secretlie stolne awaie: Hero was in this
    manner accusde, in this verie manner refusde, and vppon the
    2055griefe of this, sodainlie died: Maister Constable, let these men
    be bound, and brought to Leonatoes, I will goe before and
    shew him their examination.
    Constable Come, let them be opiniond.
    Couley Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe.
    2060Kemp Gods my life, wheres the Sexton? let him write down
    the Princes officer Coxcombe: come, bind them, thou naugh-
    ty varlet.
    Couley Away, you are an asse, you are an asse.
    Kemp Doost thou not suspect my place? doost thou not
    2065suspect my yeeres? O that he were here to write me downe an
    asse! but maisters, remember that I am an asse, though it bee
    not written downe, yet forget not that I am an asse: No thou
    villaine, thou art full of pietie as shal be prou'de vpon thee by
    good witnes, I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer,
    2070and which is more, a housholder, and which is more, as pret-
    ty a peece of flesh as anie is in Messina, and one that knowes
    the Law, goe to, and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow
    that hath had losses, and one that hath two gownes, and euery
    thing hansome about him: bring him away: O that I had bin
    2075writ downe an asse!