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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
Dox PEDRO, Prince of Arragon.
BENEDICK, a young lord of Padua, Favorite like
BALTHAZAR, Servant to Don Pedro.
Followers of Don John.
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
Lum. How many gentlemen have you lost in this action!
Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. Lan. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here that don Fedro hath bestowed much honor on a young Florentine, called Claudio.
Ms. 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 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 appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not show itself modest enough, without abadze of bitterness.
Ln. Did he break out into tears?
Lon. A kind overflow of kindness: There are
Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there
Mess. O, he is returned; and as pleasant as ever
Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and
HERO, Daughter to Leonato.
two foolish officers.
MARGARET, Gentlewomen attending on HER
Messengers, Watch, and Attendants.
challenged Cupid at the flight: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt.-I pray you, how many hath 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 meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these
Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a very valuable trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.
Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.
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 honorable 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 my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick and her: 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 companion now? He hath every month a new sworn
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 block.
Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.
Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study, But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is here no young squarer3 now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil.
• A cuckold.
Mess. He is most in the company of the right noole 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 noble 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.
Leon. You will never run mad, niece.
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 into 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 willingly. 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 honorable father.
Bene. If signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders, for all Messina, as like him as she is.
Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior Benedick; no body marks you.
Bene. What my dear lady Disdain! are you yet living?
Beat. Is it possible, disdain should die, while she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Benedick? 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 my heart that I had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
Beat. A dear happiness to women; they would else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your humor for that; I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow, than a man swear he loves me.
Claud. I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. Bene. Is it come to this, i'faith? Hath not the world one man, but he will wear his cap with sus picion Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again? Go to, i'faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away Sundays. Look, don Pedro is returned to
Re-enter Don PEDRO.
D. Pedro. What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's?
Bene. I would your grace woul! constra n me to tell.
D. Pedro. I charge thee, on thy allegiance. 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 uttered.
Bene. Like the old tale, my lord: it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but, indeed, God forbid it should be so.
Bene. God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such a face as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
Bene. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue; and so good a continuer: But keep your way o' God's name; I have done.
Beat. You always end with a jade's trick; I know
you of old.
D. John. I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you.
Leon. Please it your grace lead on?
D. Pedro. Your hand, Leonato: we will go together. [Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO. Claud. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of signior Leonato?
Bene. I noted her not; but I looked on her. Claud. Is she not a modest young lady? Bene. Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?"
Claud. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judgment.
forbid it should be otherwise.
D. Pedro. Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.
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.
D..Pedro. This is the sum of all: Don John, signior Claudio, and signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him, we shall stay here at the least a month; and he heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his heart. Leon. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn: Let me bid you welcome, my lord: be-winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an ing reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe you cause I will not do them the wrong to mistrust invisible baldric, all women shall pardon me. Be all duty. any. I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I will live a bachelor.
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
D. Pedro. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale
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.
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.
D. Pedro. Well, if ever thoa dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument.
The tune sounded to call off the dogs.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, and shoot at me; and he that hit's me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam.s
D. Pedro. Well, as time shall try:
Bene. The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns, and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted; and in such great letters as they write. Here is goot 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
D. Pedre Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly. Bene. I look for an earthquake too then. 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 bin, I will not fail him at supper; for, indeed, he bath made great preparation.
Bent. I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I commit you Ciant. To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it.)D. Pedro. The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.
alley in my orchard, were thus much overheard by a man of mine: The prince discovered to Claudio. that he loved my niece your daughter, and mean, 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. 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 the stage. Cousins, you know what you have to do.-0, use your skill:- Good cousins, have a care this cry you mercy, friend; you go with me, and I wil busy time. [Exeunt. SCENE III.—Another Room in Leonato's House
Enter Don JOHN and CONRADE.
thus out of measure sad?
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 BENEDICK. Claud. My liege, your highness now may do me good. D. Pedro. My love is thine to teach; teach it
The fairest grant is the necessity:
Look, what will serve, is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st;
I knox, we shall have revelling to-night;
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart,
[Exeunt. SCENE II-A Room in Leonato's House. Enter LEONATO and ANTON10.
Leon. How now, brother? Where is my cousin,
Ant. He is very busy about it. But, brother,
Leon. Are they good?
Ant. As the event stamps them; but they have good cover, they show well outward. The prince and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached: 'The name of a famous archer. 6 Once for all. : Thickly interwoven.
D. John. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without limit.
D. John. I wonder that thou being (as thou say'st thou art) born under saturn, goest about to I cannot hide what I an: I must be sad when I apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. have cause, and smile at no man's jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's business:
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
D. Pedro. No child but Hero, she's his only heir; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
D. Pedro. Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And I will break with her, and with her father,
Con. You should hear reason.
D. John. And when I have heard it, what blessing bringeth it?
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 s 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 disdained 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 that I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed 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 mean time, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no use of your discontent? D. John. I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here? What news Borachio?
Bord. 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. A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks he?
Bora. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
D. John. A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?
Bora. Being entertained 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 obtained 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
The veneral disease.
him any way I bless myself every way: You are is the greater, that I am subdued: Would the cook boh sure, and will assist me? were of my mind!-Shall we go prove what's to be done? Bora. We'll wait upon your lordship. [Exeunt.
Con. To the death, my lord.
D. John. Let us to the great supper; their cheer
SCENE I-A Hall in Leonato's House.
Scotch jig, a measure, and cinque-pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as
Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a
measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.
Leon. Was not count John here at supper?
Beat. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour after, Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition. Beat. He were an excellent man, that were made just in the mid-way between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image, and says nothing; and the other, too like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Leon. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in count John's mouth, and half count John's melancholy in signior Benedick's face,
Beat. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world,-if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue. Ant. In faith, she is too curst.
Beat. Too curst is more than curst: I shall lesson God's sending that way; for it is said, God sends a curst cow short horns; but to a cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Beat. Just, if he send me no husband: for the which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening; Lord! I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face; 1 had rather lie in the woollen.
Leon. You may light upon a husband mat hath no beard.
Beat. What should I do with him? dress him in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard, is more than a youth; and he that hath no beard, is less than a man: and he that is more than a youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore, I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-herd and lead his apes into hell.
Leon. Well then, go you into hell?
Beat. No; but to the gate; and there will the devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here's no place for you maids: so deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.
Ant. Well, niece, To HERO.] I trust you will be ruled by your father.
Beat. Yes, it is my cousin's duty to make courtesy. and say, Futher, as it please you:-but yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another, courtesy, and say, Father, as it pleuse
Leon. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day
fitted with a husband.
Beat. Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmaster'd with a piece of valiant dust to mike an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl! No, uncle, I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly. I hold it a sin to match in my kindred. Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answers.
Beat. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo'd in good time: if the Prince be too important tell him, there is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero; Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a 1 Importunate,
Leon. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. Beat. I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by day-light.
Leon. The revellers are entering; brother, make good room.
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BAL
D. Pedro. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
Hero. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk: and, spe cially, when I walk away.
D. Pedro. With me in your company?
D. Pedro. And when please you to say so?
D. Pedro My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Hero. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd.
Takes her aside.
Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Marg. So would not I, for your own sake; for
Marg. I say my prayers aloud.
Bene. I love you the better; the hearers may cry Amen.
Marg. God match me with a good dancer!
Marg. And God keep him out of my sight, when the dance is done!-Answer, clerk.
Balth. No more words; the clerk is answered. Urs. I know you well enough; you are signior Antonio.
Ant. At a word, I am not.
Urs. I know you by the waggling of your head,
Urs. You could never do him so ill-well, unless
Urs. Come, come; do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he: graces will appear, and there's an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
Beat. That I was disdainful,-and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales;-Well, this was signior Benedick that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. I am sure, you know him well enough.
Beat. Did he never make you laugh?
Beat. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull
have worn himself: and the rod he might have be
D. Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and re
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.
D. Pedro. The lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the gentleman that danced with her, told her, she is much wronged by you.
[Dance. Then exeunt all but Don JoHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO.
D-John Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it; The ladies follow her, and but one visor remains. Bora. And that is Claudio; I know him by his
D. John. Are not you signior Benedick? Claud. You know me well; I am he. D. John. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love; he is enamored on Hero; I pray you dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his birth; you may do the part of an honest man in it. Cland. How know you he loves her!
D. John. I heard him swear his affection. Bora. So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to night.
Bene. O, she misused me past the endurance of a block; an oak, with but one green leaf on it, would have answered her; my very visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me, not thinking 1 had been my self, that I was the prince's jester; that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upor jest, with such impossible conveyance, upon me that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me: She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: if her breath were as terrible as I would not her terminations, there were no living near her, she would infect to the north star. marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed: she would have made Hercules have turned spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire too.Come, talk not of her: you shall find her the infernal Até in good apparel. I would to God, some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary; and people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follow her.
D. Juhit. Come, let us to the banquet.
And trust no agent: for beauty is a witch,
Which I mistrusted not: Farewell therefore, Hero!
Bene. Count Claudio?
Claud. Yea, the same.
Bene. Come, will you go with me?
Bene. Even to the next willow, about your own business, count. What fashion will you wear the garland of! About your neck, like a usurer's chain? or under your arm, like a lieutenants scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.
Cloud. I wish him joy of her.
Bene. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover: so they sell bullocks. But did you think, the prince would have served you thus.
Re-enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, LEONATO, and
D. Pedro. Look, here she comes.
Bene. Will your grace command me any service to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send me on: I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the farthest inch of Asia: bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words conference with this harpy: You have no employment for me?
D. Pedro. None, but to desire your good company Bene. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I Exit. cannot endure my lady Tongue. D. Pedro. Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of signior Benedick.
Beat. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while; and I gave him uses for it, a double heart for his single one: marry, once before, he won it of me with false dice, therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
D. Pedro. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek. D. Pedro. Why, how now, count, wherefore are you sad?
Catud. I pray you, leave me.
Bent. Ho! now you strike like the blind man; 'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
Claud. If it will not be, I'll leave you. Bene. Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep Into sedges. But, that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince's fool!Ha, it may be, I go under that title, because I am merry. Yea; but so; I am apt to do myself wrong: Ian not so reputed: it is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice, that puts the world into her perst, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.
Re-enter Don PEDRO.
D. Pedro. Now, signior, where's the count? Did you see him?
Bene. Troth, my lord. I have played the part of lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a kaze in a warren; I told him, and, I think, I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company to a wilow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worEv to be whipped.
D. Pe tro. Te be whipped! What's his fault? Bene. The flat transgression of a school-boy; ho. being overjoyed with finding a birds nest, hows it to his companion, and he steals it.
D. Petro. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in the stealer.
Bene. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had been made, and the garland too; for the garland he night a Carriage, demeanor.
Claud. Not sad, my lord.
Beat. The count is neither sad, nor sick nor merry, nor well: but civil, count; civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.
D. Pedro. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained: name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!
Leon. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and all grace say Amen to it!
Beat. Speak, count, 'tis your cue.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I
D. Pedro. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
The goddess of Discord.