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PERSONS REPRESENTED.

Don Pedro, Prince of Arragon.
Don John, his bastard brother.
Claudio, a young lord of Florence, favourite to

Don Pedro.
Benedick, a young lord of Padua, favourite like-

wise of Don Pedro.
Leonato, governor of Messina.
Antonio, his brother.
Balthazar, servant to Don Pedro.
Borachio,
Conrade,
Dogberry,

two foolish officers.
Verges,
A Sexton.
A Friar.

} followers of Don John
}

A Boy.

Hero, daughter to Leonato.
Beatrice, niece to Leonato,
Margaret

gentlewomen attending on Hero. Ursula,

}

Messengers, watch, and attendants,

Scene, Messina.

MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.

ACT I.

SCENE I. Before Leonato's house.

Enter Leonato, Hero, Beatrice, and others, with a

Messenger.

Leonato. I

LEARN in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon, comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this; he was not th leagues off when I left bim.

Leon. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Mess. But few of any sort*, and none of pame.

Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, called Claudio.

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age ; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion : he hath, indeed, better

* Kind.

bettered expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not show itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Mess. In great measure*.

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness : There are no faces truer than those that are so washed. How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weep

ing?

Beat. I pray you, is signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no?

Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece?

Hero. My cousin means signior Benedick of Padua.

Mess. O, he is returned; aud as pleasant as ever

he was.

Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at the fightt: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird bolt.--I pray you, how many bath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed ? for, indeed, I promised to eat all of his killing.

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meets with you, I doubt it not.

Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.

Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.

* Abundance.

+ At long lengths.

# Even.

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady;-But what is he to a lord?

Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.

Beat. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed man*: but for the stuffing -Well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake ny niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt siguior Benedick and ber: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one : so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse: for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature.- Who is his com. panion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.

Mess. Is it possible?

Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next blockt.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No: ap he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young squarert now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?

Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the poble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
Beat. Do, good friend.

• A cuckold.

+ Mould for a hat, Quarrelsome fellow.

Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
Beat. No, not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approached.

Enter Don Pedro, attended by Balthazar, and

others, Don John, Claudio, and Benedick. D. Pedro. Good signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Leon. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

D. Pedro. You embrace your charge* too willing. ly.--I think, this is your daughter.

Leon. Her mother hath many times told me so. Bene. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?

Leon. Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

D. Pedro. You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, the lady fathers herself :- Be happy, lady! for you are like an honourable father.

Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head ou her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.

Beat. I wonder, that you will still be talking, sige nior Benedick ; no body marks you.

Bene. What, my dear lady Disdain! are you yet liviug?

Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Bene. dick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence.

Bene. Then is courtesy a turn.coat:But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted : and I would I could find in iny heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.

Trust.

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