The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing
Part 2 out of 3
If it prove so, then loving goes by haps;
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
[Exeunt Hero and Ursula.]
[Beatrice advances from the arbour.]
What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?
Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!
No glory lives behind the back of such.
And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
To bind our loves up in a holy band;
For others say thou dost deserve, and I
Believe it better than reportingly. [Exit.]
A room in Leonato's house.
[Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, and Leonato.]
I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then go I
I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe me.
Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss of your
marriage as to show a child his new coat and forbid him to wear
it. I will only be bold with Benedick for his company; for,
from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, he is all
mirth. He hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's bowstring, and the
little hangman dare not shoot at him. He hath a heart as sound as
a bell; and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinks,
his tongue speaks.
Gallants, I am not as I have been.
So say I. Methinks you are sadder.
I hope he be in love.
Hang him, truant! There's no true drop of blood in him to be
truly touch'd with love. If he be sad, he wants money.
I have the toothache.
You must hang it first and draw it afterwards.
What? sigh for the toothache?
Where is but a humour or a worm.
Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.
Yet say I he is in love.
There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that
he hath to strange disguises; as to be a Dutchman to-day, a
Frenchman to-morrow; or in the shape of two countries at once, as
a German from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from
the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a fancy to this
foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you
would have it appear he is.
If he be not in love with some woman, there is no believing old
signs. 'A brushes his hat o' mornings. What should that bode?
Hath any man seen him at the barber's?
No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him, and the old
ornament of his cheek hath already stuff'd tennis balls.
Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
Nay, 'a rubs himself with civet. Can you smell him out by that?
That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.
The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
And when was he wont to wash his face?
Yea, or to paint himself? for the which I hear what they say of
Nay, but his jesting spirit, which is new-crept into a
lutestring, and now govern'd by stops.
Indeed that tells a heavy tale for him. Conclude, conclude, he is
Nay, but I know who loves him.
That would I know too. I warrant, one that knows him not.
Yes, and his ill conditions; and in despite of all, dies for him.
She shall be buried with her face upwards.
Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old signior, walk aside
with me. I have studied eight or nine wise words to speak to you,
which these hobby-horses must not hear.
[Exeunt Benedick and Leonato.]
For my life, to break with him about Beatrice!
'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts
with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite one another
when they meet.
[Enter John the Bastard.]
My lord and brother, God save you.
Good den, brother.
If your leisure serv'd, I would speak with you.
If it please you. Yet Count Claudio may hear, for what I would
speak of concerns him.
What's the matter?
[to Claudio] Means your lordship to be married tomorrow?
You know he does.
I know not that, when he knows what I know.
If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.
You may think I love you not. Let that appear hereafter, and aim
better at me by that I now will manifest. For my brother, I think
he holds you well and in dearness of heart hath help to effect
your ensuing marriage--surely suit ill spent and labour ill
Why, what's the matter?
I came hither to tell you, and, circumstances short'ned (for she
has been too long a-talking of), the lady is disloyal.
Even she--Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.
The word is too good to paint out her wickedness. I could say she
were worse; think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it.
Wonder not till further warrant. Go but with me to-night, you
shall see her chamber window ent'red, even the night before her
wedding day. If you love her then, to-morrow wed her. But it
would better fit your honour to change your mind.
May this be so?
I will not think it.
If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know. If
you will follow me, I will show you enough; and when you have
seen more and heard more, proceed accordingly.
If I see anything to-night why I should not marry her to-morrow,
in the congregation where I should wed, there will I shame her.
And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to
I will disparage her no farther till you are my witnesses. Bear
it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.
O day untowardly turned!
O mischief strangely thwarting!
O plague right well prevented! So will you say when you have
seen the Sequel.
[Enter Dogberry and his compartner [Verges], with the Watch.]
Are you good men and true?
Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer salvation, body
Nay, that were a punishment too good for them if they should have
any allegiance in them, being chosen for the Prince's watch.
Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.
First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable?
Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and
Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath bless'd you with a good
name. To be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune, but to
write and read comes by nature.
Both which, Master Constable--
You have. I knew it would be your answer. Well, for your favour,
sir, why, give God thanks and make no boast of it; and for your
writing and reading, let that appear when there is no need of
such vanity. You are thought here to be the most senseless and
fit man for the constable of the watch. Therefore bear you the
lanthorn. This is your charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom
men; you are to bid any man stand, in the Prince's name.
How if 'a will not stand?
Why then, take no note of him, but let him go, and presently call
the rest of the watch together and thank God you are rid of a
If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the
True, and they are to meddle with none but the Prince's subjects.
You shall also make no noise in the streets; for the watch to
babble and to talk is most tolerable, and not to be endured.
We will rather sleep than talk. We know what belongs to a watch.
Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet watchman, for I
cannot see how sleeping should offend. Only have a care that your
bills be not stol'n. Well, you are to call at all the
alehouses and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
How if they will not?
Why then, let them alone till they are sober. If they make you
not then the better answer, You may say they are not the men you
took them for.
If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your
office, to be no true man; and for such kind of men, the less you
meddle or make with them, why, the more your honesty.
If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Truly, by your office you may; but I think they that touch pitch
will be defil'd. The most peaceable way for you, if you do take a
thief, is to let him show himself what he is, and
steal out of your company.
You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who
hath any honesty in him.
If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse
and bid her still it.
How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?
Why then, depart in peace and let the child wake her with crying;
for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes will never
answer a calf when he bleats.
'Tis very true.
This is the end of the charge: you, constable, are to present the
Prince's own person. If you meet the Prince in the night, you may
Nay, by'r lady, that I think 'a cannot.
Five shillings to one on't with any man that knows the statutes,
he may stay him! Marry, not without the Prince be willing; for
indeed the watch ought to offend no man, and it is
an offence to stay a man against his will.
By'r lady, I think it be so.
Ha, ah, ha! Well, masters, good night. An there be any matter of
weight chances, call up me. Keep your fellows' counsels and your
own, and good night. Come, neighbour.
Well, masters, we hear our charge. Let us go sit here upon the
church bench till two, and then all to bed.
One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you watch about Signior
Leonato's door; for the wedding being there tomorrow, there is a
great coil to-night. Adieu. Be vigitant, I beseech you.
[Exeunt Dogberry and Verges.]
[Enter Borachio and Conrade.]
[aside] Peace! stir not!
Conrade, I say!
Here, man. I am at thy elbow.
Mass, and my elbow itch'd! I thought there would a scab follow.
I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy
Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain,
and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.
[aside] Some treason, masters. Yet stand close.
Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?
Thou shouldst rather ask if it were possible any villany should
be so rich; for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor
ones may make what price they will.
I wonder at it.
That shows thou art unconfirm'd. Thou knowest that the fashion of
a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Yes, it is apparel.
I mean the fashion.
Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
Tush! I may as well say the fool's the fool. But seest thou not
what a deformed thief this fashion is?
[aside] I know that Deformed. 'A bas been a vile thief this seven
year; 'a goes up and down like a gentleman. I remember his name.
Didst thou not hear somebody?
No; 'twas the vane on the house.
Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is? how
giddily 'a turns about all the hot-bloods between fourteen and
five-and-thirty? sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh's
soldiers in the reechy painting, sometime like god Bel's priests
in the old church window, sometime like the shaven Hercules in
the smirch'd worm-eaten tapestry, where his codpiece seems as
massy as his club?
All this I see; and I see that the fashion wears out more apparel
than the man. But art not thou thyself giddy with the fashion
too, that thou hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of
Not so neither. But know that I have to-night wooed Margaret, the
Lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero. She leans me out at
her mistress' chamber window, bids me a thousand times good
night--I tell this tale vilely; I should first tell thee how the
Prince, Claudio and my master, planted and placed and possessed
by my master Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable
And thought they Margaret was Hero?
Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio; but the devil my master
knew she was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which first
possess'd them, partly by the dark night, which did
deceive them, but chiefly by my villany, which did confirm any
slander that Don John had made, away went Claudio enrag'd; swore
he would meet her, as he was appointed, next morning at the
temple, and there, before the whole congregation, shame her with
saw o'ernight and send her home again without a husband.
We charge you in the Prince's name stand!
Call up the right Master Constable. We have here recover'd the
most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the
And one Deformed is one of them. I know him; 'a wears a lock.
You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.
Never speak, we charge you. Let us obey you to go with us.
We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these
A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
A Room in Leonato's house.
[Enter Hero, and Margaret and Ursula.]
Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice and desire her to rise.
I will, lady.
And bid her come hither.
Troth, I think your other rebato were better.
No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.
By my troth, 's not so good, and I warrant your cousin will say
My cousin's a fool, and thou art another. I'll wear none but
I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a
thought browner; and your gown's a most rare fashion, i' faith.
I saw the Duchess of Milan's gown that they praise so.
O, that exceeds, they say.
By my troth, 's but a nightgown in respect of
yours--cloth-o'-gold and cuts, and lac'd with silver, set with
pearls down sleeves, side-sleeves, and skirts, round underborne
with a blush tinsel. But for a fine, quaint, graceful, and
excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't.
God give me joy to wear it! for my heart is exceeding heavy.
'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.
Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?
Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not marriage honourable
in a beggar? Is not your lord honourable without marriage? I
think you would have me say, 'saving your
reverence, a husband.' An bad thinking do not wrest true
speaking, I'll offend nobody. Is there any harm in 'the heavier
for a husband'? None, I think, an it be the right husband and
the right wife. Otherwise 'tis light, and not heavy. Ask my Lady
Here she comes.
Good morrow, coz.
Good morrow, sweet Hero.
Why, how now? Do you speak in the sick tune?
I am out of all other tune, methinks.
Clap's into 'Light o' love.' That goes without a burden. Do you
sing it, and I'll dance it.
Yea, 'Light o' love' with your heels! then, if your husband have
stables enough, you'll see he shall lack no barnes.
O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.
'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; 'tis time you were ready.
By my troth, I am exceeding ill. Hey-ho!
For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?
For the letter that begins them all, H.
Well, an you be not turn'd Turk, there's no more sailing by the
What means the fool, trow?
Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!
These gloves the Count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.
I am stuff'd, cousin; I cannot smell.
A maid, and stuff'd! There's goodly catching of cold.
O, God help me! God help me! How long have you profess'd
Ever since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?
It is not seen enough. You should wear it in your cap. By my
troth, I am sick.
Get you some of this distill'd carduus benedictus and lay it to
your heart. It is the only thing for a qualm.
There thou prick'st her with a thistle.
Benedictus? why benedictus? You have some moral in this
Moral? No, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I meant plain
holy thistle. You may think perchance that I think you are in
love. Nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what I list;
nor I list not to think what I can; nor indeed I cannot think, if
I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love, or
that you will be in love, or that you can be in
love. Yet Benedick was such another, and now is he become a man.
He swore he would never marry; and yet now in despite of his
heart he eats his meat without grudging; and how you may be
converted I know not, but methinks you look with your eyes as
other women do.
What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?
Not a false gallop.
Madam, withdraw. The Prince, the Count, Signior Benedick, Don
John, and all the gallants of the town are come to fetch you to
Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.
The hall in Leonato's house.
[Enter Leonato and the Constable [Dogberry] and the
What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you that decerns
Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.
Marry, this it is, sir.
Yes, in truth it is, sir.
What is it, my good friends?
Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter--an old man,
sir, and his wits are not so blunt as, God help, I would desire
they were; but, in faith, honest as the skin between his
Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living that is an old
man and no honester than I.
Comparisons are odorous. Palabras, neighbour Verges.
Neighbours, you are tedious.
It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor Duke's
officers; but truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a
king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your
All thy tediousness on me, ah?
Yea, in 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; for I hear as
good exclamation on your worship as of any man in the city; and
though I be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.
And so am I.
I would fain know what you have to say.
Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your worship's
presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in
A good old man, sir; he will be talking. As they say, 'When the
age is in, the wit is out.' God help us! it is a world to see!
Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges. Well, God's a
good man. An two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An
honest soul, i' faith, sir, by my troth he is, as ever broke
bread; but God is to be worshipp'd; all men are not alike, alas,
Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.
Gifts that God gives.
I must leave you.
One word, sir. Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two
aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined
before your worship.
Take their examination yourself and bring it me. I am now in
great haste, as it may appear unto you.
It shall be suffigance.
Drink some wine ere you go. Fare you well.
[Enter a Messenger.]
My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to her husband.
I'll wait upon them. I am ready.
[Exeunt Leonato and Messenger.]
Go, good partner, go get you to Francis Seacoal; bid him bring
his pen and inkhorn to the jail. We are now to examination these
And we must do it wisely.
We will spare for no wit, I warrant you. Here's that shall drive
some of them to a non-come. Only get the learned writer to set
down our excommunication, and meet me at the jail.
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ACT IV. Scene I.
[Enter Don Pedro, [John the] Bastard, Leonato, Friar [Francis],
Claudio, Benedick, Hero, Beatrice, [and Attendants.]
Come, Friar Francis, be brief. Only to the plain form of
marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties
You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady?
To be married to her. Friar, you come to marry her.
Lady, you come hither to be married to this count?
If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be
conjoined, I charge you on your souls to utter it.
Know you any, Hero?
None, my lord.
Know you any, Count?
I dare make his answer--none.
O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily do, not
knowing what they do!
How now? interjections? Why then, some be of laughing, as, ah,
Stand thee by, friar. Father, by your leave:
Will you with free and unconstrained soul
Give me this maid your daughter?
As freely, son, as God did give her me.
And what have I to give you back whose worth
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
Nothing, unless you render her again.
Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.
There, Leonato, take her back again.
Give not this rotten orange to your friend.
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.
Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
O, what authority and show of truth
Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
Comes not that blood as modest evidence
To witness simple virtue, Would you not swear,
All you that see her, that she were a maid
By these exterior shows? But she is none:
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
What do you mean, my lord?
Not to be married,
Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.
Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof,
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth
And made defeat of her virginity--
I know what you would say. If I have known her,
You will say she did embrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the forehand sin.
I never tempted her with word too large,
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
Bashful sincerity and comely love.
And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?
Out on the seeming! I will write against it.
You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
But you are more intemperate in your blood
Than Venus, or those pamp'red animals
That rage in savage sensuality.
Is my lord well that he doth speak so wide?
Sweet Prince, why speak not you?
What should I speak?
I stand dishonour'd that have gone about
To link my dear friend to a common stale.
Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
This looks not like a nuptial.
'True!' O God!
Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the Prince, Is this the Prince's brother?
Is this face Hero's? Are our eyes our own?
All this is so; but what of this, my lord?
Let me but move one question to your daughter,
And by that fatherly and kindly power
That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
O, God defend me! How am I beset!
What kind of catechising call you this?
To make you answer truly to your name.
Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name
With any just reproach?
Marry, that can Hero!
Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight,
Out at your window betwixt twelve and one?
Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.
Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry you must hear. Upon my honour,
Myself, my brother, and this grieved Count
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber window,
Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
A thousand times in secret.
Fie, fie! they are not to be nam'd, my lord--
Not to be spoke of;
There is not chastity, enough in language
Without offence to utter them. Thus, pretty lady,
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou been
If half thy outward graces had been plac'd
About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!
But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! Farewell,
Thou pure impiety and impious purity!
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
And never shall it more be gracious.
Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
Why, how now, cousin? Wherefore sink you down?
Come let us go. These things, come thus to light,
Smother her spirits up.
[Exeunt Don Pedro, Don Juan, and Claudio.]
How doth the lady?
Dead, I think. Help, uncle!
Hero! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!
O Fate, take not away thy heavy hand!
Death is the fairest cover for her shame
That may be wish'd for.
How now, cousin Hero?
Have comfort, lady.
Dost thou look up?
Yea, wherefore should she not?
Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly thing
Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood?
Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes;
For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
Myself would on the rearward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one?
Child I for that at frugal nature's frame?
O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates,
Who smirched thus and mir'd with infamy,
I might have said, 'No part of it is mine;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins'?
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on--mine so much
That I myself was to myself not mine,
Valuing of her--why, she, O, she is fall'n
Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again,
And salt too little which may season give
To her foul tainted flesh!
Sir, sir, be patient.
For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder,
I know not what to say.
O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!
Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
No, truly, not; although, until last night,
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made
Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
Would the two princes lie? and Claudio lie,
Who lov'd her so that, speaking of her foulness,
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let her die.
Hear me a little;
For I have only been silent so long,
And given way unto this course of fortune,
By noting of the lady. I have mark'd
A thousand blushing apparitions
To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames
In angel whiteness beat away those blushes,
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire
To burn the errors that these princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool;
Trust not my reading nor my observation,
Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenure of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.
Friar, it cannot be.
Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
Is that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury: she not denies it.
Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness?
Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of?
They know that do accuse me; I know none.
If I know more of any man alive
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy! O my father,
Prove you that any man with me convers'd
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
There is some strange misprision in the princes.
Two of them have the very bent of honour;
And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practice of it lives in John the bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
I know not. If they speak but truth of her,
These hands shall tear her. If they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
Nor age so eat up my invention,
Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall find awak'd in such a kind
Both strength of limb and policy of mind,
Ability in means, and choice of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.
And let my counsel sway you in this case.
Your daughter here the princes left for dead,
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it that she is dead indeed;
Maintain a mourning ostentation,
And on your family's old monument
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites
That appertain unto a burial.
What shall become of this? What will this do?
Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf
Change slander to remorse. That is some good.
But not for that dream I on this strange course,
But on this travail look for greater birth.
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Upon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shall be lamented, pitied, and excus'd
Of every hearer; for it so falls out
That what we have we prize not to the worth
Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
Why, then we rack the value, then we find
The virtue that possession would not show us
Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio.
When he shall hear she died upon his words,
Th' idea of her life shall sweetly creep
Into his study of imagination,
And every lovely organ of her life
Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
More moving, delicate, and full of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soul
Than when she liv'd indeed. Then shall he mourn
(If ever love had interest in his liver)
And wish he had not so accused her--
No, though he thought his accusation true.
Let this be so, and doubt not but success
Will fashion the event in better shape
Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
The supposition of the lady's death
Will quench the wonder of her infamy.
And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusive and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.
Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you;
And though you know my inwardness and love
Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
As secretly and justly as your soul
Should with your body.
Being that I flow in grief,
The smallest twine may lead me.
'Tis well consented. Presently away;
For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.
Come, lady, die to live. This wedding day
Perhaps is but prolong'd. Have patience and endure.
[Exeunt all but Benedick and Beatrice.]
Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
I will not desire that.
You have no reason. I do it freely.
Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.
Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!
Is there any way to show such friendship?
A very even way, but no such friend.
May a man do it?
It is a man's office, but not yours.
I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that
As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to
say I loved nothing so well as you. But believe me not; and yet I
lie not. I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my
By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.
Do not swear, and eat it.
I will swear by it that you love me, and I will make him eat it
that says I love not you.
Will you not eat your word?
With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest I love thee.
Why then, God forgive me!
What offence, sweet Beatrice?
You have stayed me in a happy hour. I was about to protest I
And do it with all thy heart.
I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.
Come, bid me do anything for thee.
Ha! not for the wide world!
You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
Tarry, sweet Beatrice.
I am gone, though I am here. There is no love in you. Nay, I
pray you let me go.
In faith, I will go.
We'll be friends first.
You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.
Is Claudio thine enemy?
Is 'a not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered,
scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O that I were a man! What?
bear her in hand until they come to take hands,
and then with public accusation, uncover'd slander, unmitigated
rancour--O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the
Hear me, Beatrice!
Talk with a man out at a window!-a proper saying!
Nay but Beatrice--
Sweet Hero! she is wrong'd, she is sland'red, she is undone.
Princes and Counties! Surely a princely testimony, a goodly
count, Count Comfect, a sweet gallant surely! O that I were a man
for his sake! or that I had any friend would be a man for my
sake! But manhood is melted into cursies, valour into compliment,
and men are only turn'd into tongue, and trim ones too. He is now
as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie,and swears it. I
cannot be a man with wishing; therefore I will die a woman with
Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.
Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wrong'd Hero?
Yea, as sure is I have a thought or a soul.
Enough, I am engag'd, I will challenge him. I will kiss your
hand, and so I leave you. By this hand, Claudio shall render me a
dear account. As you hear of me, so think of me. Go comfort your
cousin. I must say she is dead-and so farewell.
[Enter the Constables [Dogberry and Verges] and the Sexton, in
gowns, [and the Watch, with Conrade and] Borachio.]
Is our whole dissembly appear'd?
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
Which be the malefactors?
Marry, that am I and my partner.
Nay, that's certain. We have the exhibition to examine.
But which are the offenders that are to be examined? let them
come before Master Constable.
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?
Pray write down Borachio. Yours, sirrah?
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.
Write down Master Gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God?
Yea, sir, we hope.
Write down that they hope they serve God; and write God first,
for God defend but God should go before such villains! Masters,
it is proved already that you are little better than false
knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer
you for yourselves?
Marry, sir, we say we are none.
A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but I will go about with
him. Come you hither, sirrah. A word in your ear. Sir, I say to
you, it is thought you are false knaves.
Sir, I say to you we are none.
Well, stand aside. Fore God, they are both in a tale.
Have you writ down that they are none?
Master Constable, you go not the way to examine. You must call
forth the watch that are their accusers.
Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch come forth.
Masters, I charge you in the Prince's name accuse these men.
This man said, sir, that Don John the Prince's brother was a
Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury, to
call a prince's brother villain.
Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
What heard you him say else?
Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John for
accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.
Flat burglary as ever was committed.
Yea, by th' mass, that it is.
What else, fellow?
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero
before the whole assembly, and not marry her.
O villain! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlasting redemption for
This is all.
And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this
morning secretly stol'n away. Hero was in this manner accus'd, in
this manner refus'd, and upon the grief of this
suddenly died. Master Constable, let these men be bound and
brought to Leonato's. I will go before and show him their
Come, let them be opinion'd.
Let them be in the hands--
God's my life, where's the sexton? Let him write down the
Prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them.--Thou naughty varlet!
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O
that he were here to write me down an ass! But, masters, remember
that I am an ass. Though it be not written down, yet forget not
that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as
shall be prov'd upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow;
and which is more, an officer; and which is more, a householder;
and which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in
Messina, and one that knows the law, go to! and a rich fellow
enough, go to! and a fellow that hath had losses; and one that
hath two gowns and everything handsome about him. Bring him away.
O that I had been writ down an ass!
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The street, near Leonato's house.
[Enter Leonato and his brother Antonio.]
If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
I pray thee cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so lov'd his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak to me of patience.
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem' when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters--bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man; for, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words.
No, no! 'Tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel.
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
Therein do men from children nothing differ.
I pray thee peace. I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself.
Make those that do offend you suffer too.
There thou speak'st reason. Nay, I will do so.
My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;
And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Prince,
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
[Enter Don Pedro and Claudio.]
Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
Good den, Good den.
Good day to both of you.
Hear you, my lords!
We have some haste, Leonato.
Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord.
Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.
Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Some of us would lie low.
Who wrongs him?
Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou!
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
I fear thee not.
Marry, beshrew my hand
If it should give your age such cause of fear.
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
Tush, tush, man! never fleer and jest at me
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do,
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I say thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors-
O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, fram'd by thy villany!
Thine, Claudio; thine I say.
You say not right, old man.
My lord, my lord,
I'll prove it on his body if he dare,
Despite his nice fence and his active practice,
His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
Away! I will not have to do with you.
Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child.
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
He shall kill two of us, and men indeed
But that's no matter; let him kill one first.
Win me and wear me! Let him answer me.
Come, follow me, boy,. Come, sir boy, come follow me.
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence!
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
Content yourself. God knows I lov'd my niece,
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man indeed
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!
Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,
Scambling, outfacing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dang'rous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all.
But, brother Anthony--
Come, 'tis no matter.
Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death;
But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proof.
My lord, my lord--
I will not hear you.
No? Come, brother, away!--I will be heard.
And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
See, see! Here comes the man we went to seek.
Now, signior, what news?
Good day, my lord.
Welcome, signior. You are almost come to part almost a fray.
We had lik'd to have had our two noses snapp'd off with two old
men without teeth.
Leonato and his brother. What think'st thou? Had we fought, I
doubt we should have been too young for them.
In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek you
We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof
melancholy, and would fain have it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy
It is in my scabbard. Shall I draw it?
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I
will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrel--draw to pleasure us.
As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou sick or angry?
What, courage, man! What though care kill'd a cat, thou hast
mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career an you charge it against
me. I pray you choose another subject.
Nay then, give him another staff; this last was broke cross.
By this light, he changes more and more. I think he be angry
If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
Shall I speak a word in your ear?
God bless me from a challenge!
[aside to Claudio] You are a villain. I jest not; I will make it
good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare. Do me
right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have kill'd a sweet
lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from
Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
What, a feast, a feast?
I' faith, I thank him, he hath bid me to a calve's head and a
capon, the which if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife's
naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?
Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
I'll tell thee how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other day. I
said thou hadst a fine wit: 'True,' said she, 'a fine little
one.' 'No,' said I, 'a great wit.' 'Right,' says she, 'a great
gross one.' 'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit.' 'Just,' said she, 'it
hurts nobody.' 'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman is wise.'
'Certain,' said she, a wise gentleman.' 'Nay,' said I, 'he hath
the tongues.' 'That I believe' said she, 'for he swore a thing to
me on Monday night which he forswore on Tuesday morning. There's
a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus did she an hour
together transshape thy particular virtues. Yet at last she
concluded with a sigh, thou wast the proper'st man in Italy.
For the which she wept heartily and said she cared not.
Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate
him deadly, she would love him dearly. The old man's daughter
told us all.
All, all! and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the
But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible
Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick, the married
Fare you well, boy; you know my mind. I will leave you now to
your gossiplike humour. You break jests as braggards do their
blades, which God be thanked hurt not. My lord, for your many
courtesies I thank you. I must discontinue your company. Your
brother the bastard is fled from Messina. You have among you
kill'd a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he
and I shall meet; and till then peace be with him.
He is in earnest.
In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for the love of
And hath challeng'd thee.
What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose
and leaves off his wit!
[Enter Constables Dogberry and Verges, with the Watch, leading
Conrade and Borachio.]
He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a doctor to such
But, soft you, let me be! Pluck up, my heart, and be sad!
Did he not say my brother was fled?
Come you, sir. If justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh
more reasons in her balance. Nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite
once, you must be look'd to.
How now? two of my brother's men bound? Borachio one.
Hearken after their offence, my lord.
Officers, what offence have these men done?
Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have
spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and
lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified
unjust things; and to conclude, they are lying knaves.
First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what's
their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and to
conclude, what you lay to their charge.
Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and by my troth
there's one meaning well suited.
Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your
answer? This learned constable is too cunning to be understood.
What's your offence?
Sweet Prince, let me go no farther to mine answer. Do you hear
me, and let this Count kill me. I have deceived even your very
eyes. What your wisdoms could not discover, these
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