Internet Shakespeare Editions


Jump to line
Help on texts

About this text

  • 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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Leonato, Benedick, Margaret Vrsula, old man, Frier, Hero.
    2555Frier Did I not tell you shee was innocent?
    Leo. So are the Prince and Claudio who accusd her,
    Vpon the errour that you heard debated:
    But Margaret was in some fault for this,
    Although against her will as it appeares,
    about Nothing.
    2560In the true course of all the question.
    Old Wel, I am glad that all things sorts so well.
    Bened. And so am I, being else by faith enforst
    To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
    Leo. Well daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
    2565Withdraw into a chamber by your selues,
    And when I send for you come hither masked:
    The Prince and Claudio promisde by this howre
    To visite me, you know your office brother,
    You must be father to your brothers daughter,
    2570And giue her to young Claudio. Exeunt Ladies.
    Old Which I will doe with confirmd countenance.
    Bened. Frier, I must intreate your paines, I thinke.
    Frier To doe what Signior?
    Bened. To bind me, or vndo me, one of them:
    2575Signior Leonato, truth it is good Signior,
    Your niece regards me with an eye of fauour.
    Leo. That eye my daughter lent her, tis most true.
    Bened. And I do with an eye of loue requite her.
    Leo. The sight whereof I thinke you had from me,
    2580From Claudio and the Prince, but whats your will?
    Bened. Your answere sir is enigmaticall,
    But for my wil, my will is, your good will
    May stand with ours, this day to be conioynd,
    In the state of honorable marriage,
    2585In which (good Frier) I shal desire your help.
    Leo. My heart is with your liking.
    Frier And my helpe.
    Heere comes the Prince and Claudio.
    Enter Prince, and Claudio, and two or three other.
    Prince Good morrow to this faire assembly.
    2590Leo. Good morrow Prince, good morrow Claudio:
    We heere attend you, are you yet determined,
    To day to marry with my brothers daughter?
    Claud. Ile hold my mind were she an Ethiope.
    Leo Call her foorth brother, heres the Frier ready.
    2595P. Good morrow Bened. why whats the matter?
    I3 That
    Much adoe
    That you haue such a Februarie face,
    So full of frost, of storme, and clowdinesse.
    Claud. I thinke he thinkes vpon the sauage bull:
    Tush feare not man, weele tip thy hornes with gold,
    2600And all Europa shall reioyce at thee,
    As once Europa did at lustie Ioue,
    When he would play the noble beast in loue.
    Bene. Bull Ioue sir had an amiable lowe,
    And some such strange bull leapt your fathers cowe,
    2605And got a calfe in that same noble feate,
    Much like to you, for you haue iust his bleate.
    Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.
    Clau. For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
    Which is the Lady I must seize vpon?
    2610Leo. This same is she, and I do giue you her.
    Claud. Why then shees mine, sweet, let me see your face.
    Leon. No that you shall not till you take her hand,
    Before this Frier, and sweare to marry hir.
    Claud. Giue me your hand before this holy Frier,
    2615I am your husband if you like of me.
    Hero And when I liu'd I was your other wife,
    And when you loued, you were my other husband.
    Claud. Another Hero.
    Hero Nothing certainer.
    2620One Hero died defilde, but I do liue,
    And surely as I liue, I am a maide.
    Prince The former Hero, Hero that is dead.
    Leon. She died my Lord, but whiles her slaunder liu'd.
    Frier All this amazement can I qualifie,
    2625When after that the holy rites are ended,
    Ile tell you largely of faire Heroes death,
    Meane time let wonder seeme familiar,
    And to the chappell let vs presently.
    Ben. Soft and faire Frier, which is Beatrice?
    2630Beat. I answer to that name, what is your will?
    Bene. Do not you loue me?
    Beat. Why no, no more then reason.
    about Nothing.
    Bene. Why then your vncle, and the prince, and Claudio,
    Haue beene deceiued, they swore you did.
    2635Beat. Do not you loue me?
    Bene. Troth no, no more then reason.
    Beat. Why then my cosin Margaret and Vrsula
    Are much deceiu'd, for they did sweare you did.
    Bene. They swore that you were almost sicke for me.
    2640Beat. They swore that you were welnigh dead for me.
    Bene. Tis no such matter, then you do not loue me.
    Beat. No truly, but in friendly recompence.
    Leon. Come cosin, I am sure you loue the gentleman.
    Clau. And ile besworne vpon't, that he loues her,
    2645For heres a paper written in his hand,
    A halting sonnet of his owne pure braine,
    Fashioned to Beatrice.
    Hero And heres another,
    Writ in my cosins hand, stolne from her pocket,
    2650Containing her affection vnto Benedicke.
    Bene. A miracle, heres our owne hands against our hearts:
    come, I will haue thee, but by this light I take thee for pittie.
    Beat. I would not denie you, but by this good day, I yeeld
    2655vpon great perswasion, and partly to saue your life, for I was
    told, you were in a consumption.
    Leon. Peace I will stop your mouth.
    Prince How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
    Bene. Ile tel thee what prince: a colledge of witte-crackers
    2660cannot flout me out of my humour, dost thou think I care for
    a Satyre or an Epigramme? no, if a man will be beaten with
    braines, a shall weare nothing hansome about him: in briefe,
    since I doe purpose to marrie, I will think nothing to anie pur-
    pose that the world can saie against it, and therfore neuer flout
    2665at me, for what I haue said against it: for man is a giddie thing,
    and this is my conclusion: for thy part Claudio, I did thinke
    to haue beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman,
    liue vnbruisde, and loue my cousen.
    2670Clau. I had wel hopte thou wouldst haue denied Beatrice,
    that I might haue cudgelld thee out of thy single life, to make
    Much adoe
    thee a double dealer, which out of question thou wilt be, if my
    coosin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee.
    Bene. Come, come, we are friends, lets haue a dance ere we
    2675are maried, that we may lighten our own hearts, and our wiues
    Leon. Weele haue dancing afterward.
    Bene. First, of my worde, therefore plaie musicke, Prince,
    thou art sad, get thee a wife, get thee a wife, there is no staffe
    2680more reuerent then one tipt with horne.
    Enter Messenger.
    Mess. My Lord, your brother Iohn is tane in flight,
    And brought with armed men backe to Messina.
    Bene. Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise thee
    braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers. dance.
    2685 FINIS.