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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Benedicke and Margaret.
    Bened. Praie thee sweete mistris Margaret, deserue well at
    2425my hands, by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
    Mar. Wil you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beau-
    Bene. In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing shall
    2430come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deseruest it.
    Mar. To haue no man come ouer me, why shal I alwaies
    keep below staires.
    Bene. Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth, it
    Mar. And your's, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which hit,
    but hurt not.
    I Bene.
    Much adoe
    Bene. A most manly witte Margaret, it will not hurt a wo-
    man: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the buck-
    Marg. Giue vs the swordes, wee haue bucklers of our
    Bene. If you vse them Margaret, you must putte in the
    pikes with a vice, and they are daungerous weapons for
    Mar. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke hath
    legges. Exit Margarite.
    Bene. And therefore wil come. The God of loue that sits
    aboue, and knowes mee, and knowes me, how pittifull I de-
    2450serue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Leander the good
    swimmer, Troilus the first imploier of pandars, and a whole
    booke full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names
    yet runne smoothly in the euen rode of a blancke verse, why
    they were neuer so truly turnd ouer and ouer as my poore selfe
    2455in loue: mary I cannot shew it in rime, I haue tried, I can finde
    out no rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent rime: for scorne,
    horne, a hard rime: for schoole foole, a babling rime: very omi-
    nous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a riming plannet,
    2460nor I cannot wooe in festiuall termes: sweete Beatrice wouldst
    thou come when I cald thee?
    Enter Beatrice.
    Beat. Yea signior, and depart when you bid me.
    2465Bene. O stay but till then.
    Beat. Then, is spoken: fare you wel now, and yet ere I goe,
    let me goe with that I came, which is, with knowing what
    hath past betweene you and Claudio.
    Bene. Onely foule words, and therevpon I will kisse thee.
    Beat. Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind is but
    foule breath, and foule breath is noisome, therfore I wil depart
    Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sence,
    2475so forcible is thy wit, but I must tel thee plainly, Claudio vnder-
    goes my challenge, and either I must shortly heare from him,
    or I will subscribe him a coward, and I pray thee now tell me,
    about Nothing.
    for which of my bad parts didst thou first fal in loue with me?
    2480Beat. For them all together, which maintaind so politique
    a state of euil, that they will not admitte any good part to inter-
    mingle with them: but for which of my good parts did you first
    suffer loue for me?
    Bene. Suffer loue! a good epithite, I do suffer loue indeed,
    2485for I loue thee against my will.
    Beat. In spight of your heart I thinke, alas poore heart, if
    you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for I wil ne-
    uer loue that which my friend hates.
    Bene. Thou and I are too wise to wooe peaceably.
    Beat. It appeares not in this confession, theres not one wise
    man among twentie that will praise himselfe.
    Bene. An old, an old instance Beatrice, that liu'd in the time
    of good neighbours, if a man do not erect in this age his owne
    2495toomb ere he dies, he shall liue no longer in monument, then
    the bell rings, and the widow weepes.
    Beat. And how long is that thinke you?
    Bene. Question, why an hower in clamour and a quarter in
    2500rhewme, therefore is it most expedient for the wise, if Don
    worme (his conscience) find no impediment to the contrary, to
    be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as I am to my self so much
    for praising my selfe, who I my selfe will beare witnes is praise
    worthie, and now tell me, how doth your cosin?
    Beat. Verie ill.
    Bene. And how do you?
    Beat. Verie ill too.
    2510Bene. Serue God, loue me, and mend, there wil I leaue you
    too, for here comes one in haste. Enter Vrsula.
    Vrsula Madam, you must come to your vncle, yonders old
    coile at home, it is prooued my Lady Hero hath bin falsely ac-
    cusde, the Prince and Claudio mightily abusde, and Don Iohn
    2515is the author of all, who is fled and gone: will you come pre-
    Beat. Will you go heare this newes signior?
    Bene. I will liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried in
    thy eies: and moreouer, I wil go with thee to thy vncles.
    I2 Enter
    Much adoe