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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING

[DRAMATIS PERSONÆ

A Boy.

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DON PEDRO, prince of Arragon.

DOGBERRY, a constable. Dox Jonx, his bastard brother.

VERGES, a headborough.
CLAUDIO, a young lord of Florence.

A Sexton.
BENEDICK, a young lord of Padua.
LEONATO, governor of Messina.
ANTONIO, his brother.

HERO, daughter to Leonato.
BALTHASAR, esquire to Don Pedro.

BEATRICE, niece to Leonato.
CONRADE,
BORACHIO,

MARGARET,
followers of Don John.

URBULA,

gentlewomen attending on Hero. FRIAR FRANCIS.

Messengers, Watch, Attendants, etc.

SCENE: Messina.)
ACT I

Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina and

challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my un- (40 SCENE I. (Before Leonato's house.) cle's fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd Enter LEONATO, HERO, and BEATRICE, with a

for Cupid, and challeng'd him at the bird-bolt. MESSENGER.

I pray you, how many hath he kill'd and eaten

in these wars? But how many hath he kill'd ? Leon. I learn in this letter that Don Pedro for indeed I promised to eat all of his killing: 45 of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick Mess. He is very near by this. He was not too much ; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt three leagues off when I left him.

it not. Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in this action?

these wars. Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath (50

Leon. A victory is twice itself when the holp to eat it. He is a very valiant trencherachiever brings home full numbers. I find here man; he hath an excellent stomach. that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on Mess. And a good soldier too, lady. a young Florentine called Claudio.

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady. But what Mess. Much deserv'd on his part and equally is he to a lord ? rememb'red by Don Pedro. He hath borne him- Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man; self beyond the promise of his age, doing, in stuff'd with all honourable virtues. the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion. He Beat. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a hath indeed better bett'red expectation than stuff'd man. But for the stuffing, — well, we you must expect of me to tell you how.

are all mortal. Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece. be very much glad of it.

There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Mess. I have already delivered him letters, Benedick and her. They never meet but there's and there appears much joy in him; even so a skirmish of wit between them. much that joy could not show itself modest Beat. Alas! he gets nothing by that. In enough without a badge of bitterness.

our last conflict four of his five wits went haltLeon. Did he break out into tears?

ing off, and now is the whole man govern'd Mess. In great measure.

with one; so that if he have wit enough to keep Leon. A kind overflow of kindness. There himself warm, let him bear it for a difference are no faces truer than those that are so wash'd. between himself and his horse ; for it is all the How much better is it to weep at joy than to wealth that he hath left, to be known a [70 joy at weeping!

reasonable creature. Who is his companion Beat. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto re- now? He hath every month a turn'd from the wars or no?

brother. Mess. I know none of that name,

lady. There Mess. Is 't possible ? was none such in the army of any sort.

Beat. Very easily possible. He wears his Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece ? faith but as the fashion of his hat; it ever

Hero. My cousin means Signior Benedick of changes with the next block. Padua.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your Mess. O, he's return'd; and as pleasant as books. ever he was.

Beat. No; an he were, I would burn my (86

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study. But, I pray you, who is his companion ? Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. Is there no young squarer now that will make Beat. A bird of my tongue is better than a a voyage with him to the devil ?

beast of yours. Mess. He is most in the company of the right Bene. I would my horse had the speed of noble Claudio.

your tongue, and so good a continuer. But Beat. O Lord, he will hang upon him like a keep your way, i' God's name; I have done. disease. He is sooner caught than the pesti- Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I lence, and the taker runs presently mad. God know you of old. help the noble Claudio ! If he have caught the D. Pedro. That is the sum of all, Leonato. Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pounds Signior Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear ere 'a be cur'd.

friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady. we shall stay here at the least a month; and Beat. Do, good friend.

he heartily prays some occasion may detain (158 Leon. You will never run mad, niece. us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but Beat. No, not till a hot January.

prays from his heart. Mess. Don Pedro is approach'd.

Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, Bal

forsworn. (To Don John.] Let me bid you (15

welcome, my lord. Being reconciled to the THASAR, and John the Bastard.

Prince your brother, I owe you all duty. D. Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, are you D. John. I thank you. I am not of many come to meet your trouble? The fashion of words, but I thank you. the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it. Leon. Please it your Grace lead on?

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato; we will go the likeness of your Grace, for trouble being together. [Exeunt all' except Benedick and gone, comfort should remain; but when you (100

Claudio. depart from me, sorrow abides and happiness Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughtakes his leave.

ter of Signior Leonato ? D. Pedro. You embrace your charge too Bene. I noted her not; but I look'd on her. 155 willingly. I think this is your daughter.

Claud. Is she not a modest young lady? Leon. Her mother hath many times told me Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man

should do, for my simple true judgement; or Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you ask'd would you have me speak after my custom, as her ?

being a professed tyrant to their sex? Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were Claud. No; I pray thee speak in sober

judgement. D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick. Bene. Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low We may guess by this what you are, being a for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise man. Truly, the lady fathers herself. Be

and too little for a great praise; only this (175 happy, lady; for you are like an honourable commendation I can afford her, that were she father.

other than she is, she were unhandsome; and Bene. If Signior Leonato be her father, she being no other but as she is, I do not like would not have his head on her shoulders for her. all Messina, as like him as she is.

Claud. Thou thinkest I am in sport. I pray Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, thee tell me truly how thou lik'st her. Signior Benedick. Nobody marks you.

Bene. Would you buy her, that you inquire Bene. What, my dear Lady Disdain! are after her ? you yet living ?

Claud. Can the world buy such a jewel? Beat. Is it possible disdain should die while Bene. Yea, and a case to put it into. But she hath such meet food to feed it as Signior speak you this with a sad brow, or do you Benedick ? Courtesy itself must convert to dis- play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a 185 dain, if you come in her presence.

good hare-finder and Vulcan a rare carpenter ? Bene. Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is Come, in what key shall a man take you, to go certain I am loved of all ladies, only you ex

in the song ? cepted; and I would I could find in my heart Claud. In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that I had not a hard heart, for, truly, I love that ever I look'd on.

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles and I Beat. A dear happiness to women; they see no such matter. There's her cousin, an she would else have been troubled with a pernicious were not possess'd with a fury, exceeds her as suitor. I thank God and my cold blood, I iso much in beauty as the first of May doth the last am of your humour for that. I had rather hear of December. But I hope you have no intent my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he to turn husband, have you ? loves me,

Claud, I would scarce trust myself, though Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that I had sworn the contrary, if Hero 'would be my mind! So some gentleman or other shall scape wife. a predestinate scratch'd face.

Bene. Is 't come to this? In faith, hath not Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an the world one man but he will wear his cap 't were such a face as yours were.

with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor (:00

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of threescore again? Go to, i' faith, an thou wilt needs thrust thy peck into a yoke, wear the print_of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look ! Don Pedro is returned to seek you.

Re-enter Don PEDRO. D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's ?

Bene. I would your Grace would constrain me to tell.

D. Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegiance. 210

Bene. You hear, Count Claudio. I can be secret as a dumb man; I would have you think so; but, on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance. He is in love. With who ? Now that is your Grace's part. Mark how short his answer is:— With Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

Claud. If this were so, so were it utt’red.

Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: “It is not so, nor 't was not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.

Claud. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it should be otherwise.

D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.

Claud. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. D. Pedro. By my troth, I speak my thought. Claud. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

Bene. And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

Claud. That I love her, I feel.
D. Pedro. That she is worthy, I know.

Bene. That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me. I will die in it at the stake.

D. Pedro. Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.

Claud. And never could maintain his part but in the force of his will.

Bene. That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks; but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the [245 right to trust none; and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.

D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

Bene. With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love. Prove that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid. 256

D. Pedro. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove notable argument.

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot at me ; and he that hits me, let him be clapp'd on the shoulder, and called Adam, 261

D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try. “In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke."

Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever the

sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's (266 horns and set them in my forehead ; and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters as they write “Here is good horse to hire," let them signify under my sign, Here you may see Benedick the married man.

Claud. If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.

D. Pedro. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wiltquake for this shortly.

Bene. I look for an earthquake too, then. 275

D. Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to Leonato's; commend me to him, and tell him I will not fail him at supper ; for indeed he hath made great preparation.

Bene. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage ; and so I commit you —

Claud. To the tuition of God. From my house, if I had it,

D. Pedro. The sixth of July. Your loving friend, Benedick.

Bene. Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither. Ere you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience; and so I leave you.

[Exit. 291 Claud. My liege, your Highness now may do

me good. D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach ; teach

it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

Claud. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ?
D. Pedro. No child but Hero; she's his only

heir.
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ?
Claud.

0, my lord, When you went onward on this ended action, I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye, That lik’d, but had a rougher task in hand Than to drive liking to the name of love. But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts Have left their places vacant, in their rooms Come thronging soft and delicate desires, All prompting me how fair young Hero is, Saying, I lik d her ere I went to wars.

D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently And tire the hearer with a book of words. If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it, And I will break with her and with her father And thou shalt have her. Was 't not to this end That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

Claud. How sweetly you do minister to love, That know love's grief by his complexion ! But lest my liking might too sudden seem, I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise. D. Pedro. What need the bridge much

broader than the flood ? The fairest grant is the necessity. Look, what will serve is fit: 't is once, thou

lovest,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night.
I will assume thy part in some disguise
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,

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And in her bosom I 'll unclasp my heart
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong encounter of my amorous tale ;
Then after to her father will I break;
And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
In practice let us put it presently. (Exeunt. 330

(SCENE II. A room in Leonato's house.] Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, meeting. Leon. How now,

brother! Where is my cousin, your son ? Hath he provided this music

Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother, I can tell you strange news that you yet dreamt not of.

Leon. Are they good ?

Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have a good cover, they show well outward. The Prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached alley in mine orchard, were [10 thus much overheard by a man of mine. The Prince discovered to Claudio that he loved my niece your daughter and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance; and if he found her accordant, he meant to take the present time by the top

and instantly break with you of it. 16 Leon. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?

Ant. A good sharp fellow. I will send for him ; and question him yourself.

Leon. No, no; we will hold it as a dream till it appear itself; but I will acquaint my daughter withal, that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you and tell her of it. (Several persons cross [25 the stage.] Cousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you mercy, friend ; go you with me, and I will use your skill. Good cousin, have a care this busy time.

(Exeunt. (SCENE III. The same.] Enter John the Bastard and CONRADE. Con. What the good-year, my lord! Why are you thus out of measure sad ?

D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds; therefore the sadness is without limit.

Con. You should hear reason.

D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?

Con. If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.

D. John. I wonder that thou, being, as thou say'st thou art, born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am. I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait (16 for no man's leisure ; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business ; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour,

Con. Yea, but you must not make the full show of this till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his

grace; where it is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself. It is needful that you frame ( the season for your own harvest.

D. John. I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace, and it better fits my blood to be disdain'd of all than to fashion a ** carriage to rob love from any. In this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle and enfranchis'd with a clog; therefore I have decreed is not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite ; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking. In the meantime let me be that I am and seek not to alter me. Con. Can you make no use of your discon

tent? D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here?

Enter BORACHIO. What news,

Borachio? Bora. I came yonder from a great supper. The Prince your brother is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

D. John. Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?

Bora. Marry, it is your brother's right hand. D. John. Who? The most exquisite Claudio ? Bora. Even he. D. John. A proper squire! And who, and who? Which way looks he?

Bora. Marry, one Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

D. John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?

Bora. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the Prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference. I whipt me behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon that the Prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtain'd her, give her to Count Claudio.

D. John. Come, come, let us thither; this may prove food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow. If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me? *

Con. To the death, my lord.

D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer is the greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were o' my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done ? Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship.

[Exeunt.

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ACT II [SCENE I. A hall in Leonato's house.) Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE,

and a kinsman. Leon. Was not Count John here at supper? Ant. I saw him not.

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Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you. never can see him but I am heart-burn'd an If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you hour after.

know your answer. Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition. Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin,

Beat. He were an excellent man that were if you be not woo'd in good time. If the Prince made just in the midway between him and be too important, tell him there is measure in Benedick. The one is too like an image and every thing and so dance out the answer. says nothing, and the other too like my lady's For, hear me, Hero : wooing, wedding, and [15 eldest son, evermore tattling.

repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a Leon. Then half Signior Benedick's tongue cinque pace; the first suit is hot and hasty, in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the melancholy in Signior Benedick's face, - wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full

Beai. With a good leg and a good foot, of state and ancientry; and then comes re- [80 anele, and money enough in his purse, such a pentance and, with his bad legs, falls into the man would win any woman in the world, if 'a cinque pace faster and faster, till he sink into could get her good-will.

Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy shrewdly, tongue.

Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a Ant. In faith, she's too curst.

church by daylight. Beat. Too curst is more than carst. I shall Leon. The revellers are entering, brother; lessen God's sending that way; for it is said, make good room. (All put on their masks. "God sends a curst cow short horns ; cow too curst he sends none.

Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send

BALTHASAR, Don JOHN [BORACHIO, MARyou no horns.

GARET, URSULA, and others, masked], with a Beat. Just, if he send me no husband;

for

drum. the which blessing I am at him upon my

D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with knees every morning and evening. Lord, I (30

your friend ? could not endure a husband with a beard on his Hero. So you walk softly and look sweetly face! I had rather lie in the woollen.

and say nothing, I am yours for the walk; and Leon. You may light on a husband that hath especially when I walk away. no beard.

D. Pedro. With me in your company ? Beat. What should I do with him ? Dress him Hero. I may say so when I please. in my apparel and make him my waiting-gen- D. Pedro. And when please you to say so? tlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than Hero. When I like your favour ; for God dea youth, and he that hath no beard is less than fend the lute should be like the case ! a man; and he that is more than a youth is not D. Pedro. My visor is Philemon's roof; for me, and he that is less than a man, I am (40 within the house is Jove. not for him; therefore I will even take sixpence Hero. Why, then, your visor should be in earnest of the bear-'ard, and lead his apes thatch'd. into hell.

D. Pedro. Speak low, if you speak love. Leon. Well, then, go you into hell ?

(Drawing her aside.] Beat. No, but to the gate ; and there will the Balth. Well, I would you did like me. devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; (106 on his head, and say, “Get you to heaven, for I have many ill qualities. Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place Balth. Which is one ? for you maids: so deliver I' up my apes, and Marg. I say my prayers aloud. away to Saint Peter for the heavens. He shows Balih. I love you the better; the hearers me where the bachelors sit, and there live we

may cry, Amen. as merry as the day is long.

Marg. God match me with a good dancer ! Ant. [To Hero.) Well, niece, I trust you will Balth. Amen. be rul'd by your father.

Marg. And God keep him out of my sight Beat. Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to when the dance is done! Answer, clerk. make curtsy and say, Father, as it please Balth. No more words; the clerk is anyou." But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a swered. handsome fellow, or else make another curtsy Urs. I know you well enough; you are Signand say, “ Father, as it please me."

ior Antonio. Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day Ant. At a word, I am not. fitted with a husband.

Urs. I know you by the waggling of your Beat. Not till God make men of some other head. metal than earth. Would it not grieve a Ant. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. woman to be overmaster'd with a piece of Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unvaliant dust ? to make an account of her life less you were the very man. Here's his dry to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I'll [05 hand up and down. You are he, you are he. none. Adam's sons are my brethren; and, Ant. At a word, I am not. truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred. Urs. Come, come, do you think I do not

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