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MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice Proposing with the Prince and Claudio: Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse Is all of her; say, that thou overheard'st us; And bid her steal into the pleached bower, Where honey-suckles ripen'd by the sun, Forbid the sun to enter-like favourites, Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
Against that power that bred it:-there will she hide her,
To listen our purpose: This is thy office, Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone. Marg. I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently. [Exit. Hero. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth
As we do trace this alley up and down,
Enter BEATRICE, behind.
For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.-
Urs. But are you sure,
That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely? Hero. So says the prince, and my new-trothed lord.
Crs. And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?
Hero. They did intreat me to acquaint her ofit: But I persuaded them, if they lov'd Benedick, To wish him wrestle with affection, And never to let Beatrice know of it.
Urs. Why did you so? Doth not the gentle
She'd swear, the gentleman should be her sister;
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
Hero. No: not to be so odd, and from all fashions,
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
Urs. Yet tell her of it; hear what she will say.
Hero. No; rather I will go to Benedick, And counsel him to fight against his passion: And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders To stain my cousin with: One doth not know, How much an ill word may empoison liking.
Urs. O, do not do your cousin such a wrong. She cannot be so much without true judgement, (Having so swift and excellent a wit, As she is priz'd to have,) as to refuse So rare a gentleman as signior Benedick. Hero. He is the only man of Italy, Always excepted my dear Claudio.
Urs. I pray you, be not angry with me, maSpeaking my fancy; signior Benedick, [dam, For shape, for bearing, argument, and valour, Goes foremost in report through Italy.
Hero. Indeed, he hath an excellent good
Beat. What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true? [much? Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so 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.
SCENE II-A room in LEONATO'S House.
Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and LEONATO.
D. Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then I go toward Arragon. Claud. I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe me.
D. Pedro. Nay, that would be as great a soil
Ready. Conversation. + Ensnared with birdlime
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 bow-string, 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.
Bene. Gallants, I am not as I have been. Leon. So say I; methinks, you are sadder. Claud. I hope, he be in love.
D. Pedro. 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.
Bene. I have the tooth-ach.
D. Pedro. Draw it.
Bene. Hang it'
Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
D. Pedro. What? sigh for the tooth-ach? Leon. Where is but a humour, or a worm? Bene. Well, Every one can master a grief, but he that has it.
Claud. Yet say I, he is in love.
D. Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as, to be a Dutchman today; 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.
Claud. If he be not in love with some woman, there is no believing old signs: he brushes his hat o' mornings; What should that bode?
D. Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the barber's?
Claud. No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him; and the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.
Leon. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
D. Pedro. Nay, he rubs himself with civet: Can, you smell him out by that?
Claud. That's as much as to say, The sweet youth's in love.
D. Pedro. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
Claud. And when was he wont to wash his face?
D. Pedro. Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear what they say of him.
Claud. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into a lutestring, and now governed by stops.
D. Pedro. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him: Conclude, conclude, he is in love.
Cland. Nay, but I know who loves him. D. Pedro. That would I know too; I warrant, one that knows him not.
Cland. Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite of all, dies for him.
D. Pedro. She shall be buried with her face upwards.
Bene. Yet is this no charm for the toothach.-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. D. Pedro. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.
* Large loose breeches.
Claud. '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 Don JOHN.
D. John. My lord and brother, God save you. D. Pedro. Good den, brother.
D. John. If your leisure served, I would speak with you.
D. Pedro. In private?
D. John. If it please you ;-yet count Claudio may hear; for what I would speak of, concerns him.
D. Pedro. What's the matter?
D. John. Means your lordship to be married to-morrow?
[TO CLAUDIO. D. Pedro. You know, he does. D. John. I know not that, when he knows what I know.
Claud. If there be any impediment, I pray you, discover it.
D. John. 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 holp to effect your ensuing marriage: surely suit ill spent, and labour ill bestowed!
D. Pedro. Why, what's the matter? D. John. I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shortened, (for she hath been too long a talking of.) the lady is disloyal. Claud. Who? Hero?
D. John. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.
D. John. 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 chamberwindow entered, 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.
Claud. May this be so?
D. John. 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.
Claud. If I see any thing to night why I should not marry her to-morrow; in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
D. Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
D. John. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself. D. Pedro. O day untowardly turned! Claud. O mischief strangely thwarting! D. John. O plague right well prevented! So will you say, when you have seen the sequel. [Exeunt.
SCENE III-A Street. Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES, with the WATCH.
Dogb. Are you good men and true?, Verg. Yea, or else it were pity they should suffer salvation, body and soul.
Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment tood for them, if they should have any allegianc them, being chosen for the prince's watch."
Verg. Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry. Dogb. First, who think you the most desartless man to be constable?
1 Watch. Hugh Oatcake, Sir, or George Seacoal; for they can write and read.
Dogb. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal. God hath blessed you with a good name: to be a well-favoured man is the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.
2 Watch. Both which, master constable,Dogb. 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 lantern: This is your charge; You shall comprehend all vagrom men: you are to bid any man stand, in the prince's name. 2 Watch. How if he will not stand?
Dogb. 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 knave.
Verg. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects:-You shall also make no noise in the streets; for, for the watch to babble and talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured.
2 Watch. We will rather sleep than talk; we know what belongs to a watch.
Dogb. 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 stolen :-Well, you are to call at all the ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.
2 Watch. How if they will not? Dogb. 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.
2 Watch. Well, Sir.
Dogb. 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 is for your honesty.
2 Watch. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him?
Dogb. Truly, by your office you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable way for you, if you take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
Verg. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Dogb. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it. 2 Watch. How if the nurse be asleep, and
will not hear us.
Dogb. 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 it bleats.
son; if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay him.
Verg. Nay by'r lady, that, I think, he can
Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues, 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. Verg. By'r lady, I think, it be so.
Dogb. Ha, ha, 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.
2 Watch. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here upon the church-bench till · two, and then all to bed.
Dogb. One word more, honest neighbours: I pray you, watch about signior Leonato's door; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night: Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you. [Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES. Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE. Bora. What! Conrade,Watch. Peace, stir not. Bora. Conrade, I say!
Con. Here, man, I am at thy elbow. Bora. Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought, there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.
Bora. Stand thee close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, utter all to thee.
Watch. [Aside.] Some treason, masters; yet stand close.
Bora. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
Con. Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?
Bora. Thou should'st 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. Con. I wonder at it.
Bora. That shows, thou art unconfirmed:* Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man. Con. Yes, it is apparel.
Bora. I mean, the fashion.
Con. Yes, the fashion is the fashion.
Bora. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
Watch. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name. Bora. Didst thou not hear somebody?
Con. No; 'twas the vane on the house. Bora. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns 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 smirched worm-eaten tapestry, where the cod-piece seems as massy as his club?
Con. All this I see; and 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 the fashion?
Bora. 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 en
Con. And thought they, Margaret was Hero? Bora. Two of them did, the prince and Claudio; but the devil my master knew she was Margaret; and partly by his oaths, which first possessed 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 enraged; swore he would meet her as he was appointed, next morning at the temple, and there, before the whole congregation, shame her with what he saw over-night, and send her home again with
out a husband.
1 Watch. We charge you in the prince's
2 Watch. Call up the right master constable : We have here recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that ever was known in the commonwealth.
1 Watch. And one Deformed is one of them; I know him, he wears a lock.
Con. Masters, masters.
Marg. 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 Beatrice else, here she comes.
Hero. Good morrow, coz.
Beat. Good morrow, sweet Hero.
Hero. Why, how now! do you speak in the sick tune?
Beat. I am out of all other tune, methinks. Marg. Clap us into-Light o' love; that goes without burden; do you sing it, and I'll dance
Beat. Yea, Light' o love, with your heels!then if your husband have stables enough, you'll see he shall lack no barns.
Marg. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.
Beat. 'Tis almost five o'clock cousin; 'tis time you were ready. By my troth I am exceeding ill-hey ho!
Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?
2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed no more sailing by the star. forth, I warrant you.
1 Watch. Never speak; we charge you, let us obey you to go with us.
Bord. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's bills. Con. A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.
SCENE IV.-A Room in LEONATO's House. Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA. Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire her to rise.
Jrs. I will, lady.
Hero. And bid her come hither.
[Exit URSULA. Marg. Troth, I think, your other rabato* were better.
Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.
Marg. By my troth, it's not so good; and I warrant, your cousin will say so.
Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; I'll wear none but this.
Marg. I like the new tiret 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
Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.
Marg. By my troth it's but a night-gown in respect of yours: Cloth of gold, and cuts, and laced with silver; set with pearls, down sleeves, side-sleeves, and skirts round, underborne with a blueish tinsel: but for a fine, quaint, graceful, and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't.
Hero. God give me joy to wear it, for my heart is exceeding heavy!
Marg. "Twill be heavier soon, by the weight
Beat. What means the fool, trow?
Marg. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!
Hero. These gloves the count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.
Beut. I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell. Marg. A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold.
Beat. O, God help me! God help me! how long have you profess'd apprehension?
Marg. Ever since you left it: doth not my wit become me rarely?
Beat. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your cap.-By my troth, I am sick.
Marg. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, and lay it to your heart; it is the only thing for a qualm.
Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thistle. Beat. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moralt in this Benedictus.
Marg. 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.
Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?
Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula. [Exeunt. SCENE V.-Another Room in LEONATO'S
Enter LEONATO, with DOGBERRY and VERGES. Leon. What would you with me, honest neighbour?
Dogb. Marry, Sir, I would have some confidence with you, that decerns you nearly.
Leon. Brief, I pray you; for you see, 'tis a busy time with me.
Dogb. Marry, this it is, Sir. Verg. Yes, in truth it is, Sir. Leon. What is it, my good friends? Dogb. 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 brows.
Verg. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.
Dogb. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
Dogb. 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 worship.
Leon. All thy tediousness on me! ha!
Dogb. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times 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.
Verg. And so am I.
Leon. I would fain know what you have to
Verg. Marry, Sir, our watch to-night, excepting your worship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina. Dogb. 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 worshipped: All men are not alike; alas good neighbour!
Hero. I do.
Friar. If either of you know any inward
Friar. Know you any, count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, none. Claud. O, what men dare do! what men may do what men daily do! not knowing what they do!
Bene. How now! Interjections? Why, then some be of laughing, as, ha! ha! he?
Claud. Stand thee by, friar:-Father, by
Give me this maid, your daughter?
Leon. As freely, son, as God did give her me.
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift. D. Pedro. Nothing, unless you render her again.
Claud. Sweet prince, you learn me noble
There, Leonato, take her back again;
Leon. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short,
Dogb. Gifts that God gives.
Leon. I must leave you.
Dogb. One word, Sir: our watch, Sir, have, indeed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examined before your worship.
Leon. Take their examination yourself, and bring it me; I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
Dogo. It shall be suffigance.
what authority and show of truth
Leon. What do you mean, my lord?
Not knit my soul to an approved wanton.
Leon, Drink some wine ere you go: fare you Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth, well.
Enter a MESSENGER.
Mess. My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to her husband. Leon. I will wait upon them; I am ready. [Exeunt LEONATO and MESSENGER. Dogh. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol; we are now to examination these
It is worth seeing.