Much Ado About Nothing


DON PEDRO	prince of Arragon.

DON JOHN	his bastard brother.

CLAUDIO	a young lord of Florence.

BENEDICK	a young lord of Padua.

LEONATO	governor of Messina.

ANTONIO	his brother.

BALTHASAR	attendant on Don Pedro.

	|  followers of Don John.


DOGBERRY	a constable.

VERGES	a headborough.
	A Sexton.
	A Boy.

HERO	daughter to Leonato.

BEATRICE	niece to Leonato.

	|  gentlewomen attending on Hero.

	Messengers, Watch, Attendants, &c. (Lord:)
	(First Watchman:)
	(Second Watchman:)

SCENE	Messina.



SCENE I	Before LEONATO'S house.

	[Enter LEONATO, HERO, and BEATRICE, with a

LEONATO	I learn in this letter that Don Peter of Arragon
	comes this night to Messina.

Messenger	He is very near by this: he was not three leagues off
	when I left him.

LEONATO	How many gentlemen have you lost in this action?

Messenger	But few of any sort, and none of name.

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

Messenger	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.

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

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

LEONATO	Did he break out into tears?

Messenger	In great measure.

LEONATO	A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces
	truer than those that are so washed. How much
	better is it to weep at joy than to joy at weeping!

BEATRICE	I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from the
	wars or no?

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

LEONATO	What is he that you ask for, niece?

HERO	My cousin means Signior Benedick of Padua.

Messenger	O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever he was.

BEATRICE	He set up his bills here in Messina and 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.

LEONATO	Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much;
	but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.

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

BEATRICE	You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it:
	he is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
	excellent stomach.

Messenger	And a good soldier too, lady.

BEATRICE	And a good soldier to a lady: but what is he to a lord?

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

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

LEONATO	You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a
	kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
	they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit
	between them.

BEATRICE	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 brother.

Messenger	Is't possible?

BEATRICE	Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as
	the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
	next block.

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

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

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

BEATRICE	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 a' be cured.

Messenger	I will hold friends with you, lady.

BEATRICE	Do, good friend.

LEONATO	You will never run mad, niece.

BEATRICE	No, not till a hot January.

Messenger	Don Pedro is approached.


DON PEDRO	Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your
	trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid
	cost, and you encounter it.

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

DON PEDRO	You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this
	is your daughter.

LEONATO	Her mother hath many times told me so.

BENEDICK	Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?

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

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

BENEDICK	If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
	have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as
	like him as she is.

BEATRICE	I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
	Benedick: nobody marks you.

BENEDICK	What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet living?

BEATRICE	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.

BENEDICK	Then is courtesy a turncoat. 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.

BEATRICE	A dear happiness to women: they would else have
	been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I thank God
	and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that: I
	had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man
	swear he loves me.

BENEDICK	God keep your ladyship still in that mind! so some
	gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate
	scratched face.

BEATRICE	Scratching could not make it worse, an 'twere such
	a face as yours were.

BENEDICK	Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

BEATRICE	A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

BENEDICK	I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and
	so good a continuer. But keep your way, i' God's
	name; I have done.

BEATRICE	You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old.

DON PEDRO	That is the sum of all, Leonato. 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.

LEONATO	If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.


	Let me bid you welcome, my lord: being reconciled to
	the prince your brother, I owe you all duty.

DON JOHN	I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank

LEONATO	Please it your grace lead on?

DON PEDRO	Your hand, Leonato; we will go together.

	[Exeunt all except BENEDICK and CLAUDIO]

CLAUDIO	Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

BENEDICK	I noted her not; but I looked on her.

CLAUDIO	Is she not a modest young lady?

BENEDICK	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?

CLAUDIO	No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.

BENEDICK	Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low for a high
	praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little
	for a great praise: only this commendation I can
	afford her, that were she other than she is, she
	were unhandsome; and being no other but as she is, I
	do not like her.

CLAUDIO	Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell me
	truly how thou likest her.

BENEDICK	Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?

CLAUDIO	Can the world buy such a jewel?

BENEDICK	Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this
	with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack,
	to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a
	rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take
	you, to go in the song?

CLAUDIO	In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I
	looked on.

BENEDICK	I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such
	matter: there's her cousin, an she were not
	possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty
	as the first of May doth the last of December. But I
	hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you?

CLAUDIO	I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the
	contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

BENEDICK	Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world
	one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?
	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 seek you.

	[Re-enter DON PEDRO]

DON PEDRO	What secret hath held you here, that you followed
	not to Leonato's?

BENEDICK	I would your grace would constrain me to tell.

DON PEDRO	I charge thee on thy allegiance.

BENEDICK	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.

CLAUDIO	If this were so, so were it uttered.

BENEDICK	Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor
	'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should be

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

DON PEDRO	Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.

CLAUDIO	You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.

DON PEDRO	By my troth, I speak my thought.

CLAUDIO	And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

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

CLAUDIO	That I love her, I feel.

DON PEDRO	That she is worthy, I know.

BENEDICK	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.

DON PEDRO	Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite
	of beauty.

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

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

DON PEDRO	I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

BENEDICK	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.

DON PEDRO	Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou
	wilt prove a notable argument.

BENEDICK	If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot
	at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on
	the shoulder, and called Adam.

DON PEDRO	Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bull
	doth bear the yoke.'

BENEDICK	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
	good horse to hire,' let them signify under my sign
	'Here you may see Benedick the married man.'

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

DON PEDRO	Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in
	Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.

BENEDICK	I look for an earthquake too, then.

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

BENEDICK	I have almost matter enough in me for such an
	embassage; and so I commit you--

CLAUDIO	To the tuition of God: From my house, if I had it,--

DON PEDRO	The sixth of July: Your loving friend, Benedick.

BENEDICK	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.


CLAUDIO	My liege, your highness now may do me good.

DON PEDRO	My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,
	And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
	Any hard lesson that may do thee good.

CLAUDIO	Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

DON PEDRO	No child but Hero; she's his only heir.
	Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

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

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

CLAUDIO	How sweetly you do minister to love,
	That know love's grief by his complexion!
	But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
	I would have salved it with a longer treatise.

DON PEDRO	What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
	The fairest grant is the necessity.
	Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest,
	And I will fit thee with the remedy.
	I know we shall have revelling to-night:
	I will assume thy part in some disguise
	And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
	And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
	And take her hearing prisoner with the force
	And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
	Then after to her father will I break;
	And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
	In practise let us put it presently.




SCENE II	A room in LEONATO's house.

	[Enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, meeting]

LEONATO	How now, brother! Where is my cousin, your son?
	hath he provided this music?

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

LEONATO	Are they good?

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

LEONATO	Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?

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

LEONATO	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.

	[Enter Attendants]

	Cousins, you know what you have to do. O, I cry you
	mercy, friend; go you with me, and I will use your
	skill. Good cousin, have a care this busy time.




SCENE III	The same.


CONRADE	What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out
	of measure sad?

DON JOHN	There is no measure in the occasion that breeds;
	therefore the sadness is without limit.

CONRADE	You should hear reason.

DON JOHN	And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?

CONRADE	If not a present remedy, at least a patient

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

CONRADE	Yea, but you must not make the full show of this
	till you may do it without controlment. You have of
	late stood out against your brother, and he hath
	ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is
	impossible you should take true root but by the
	fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful
	that you frame the season for your own harvest.

DON 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
	but 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 meantime let me be that I am and
	seek not to alter me.

CONRADE	Can you make no use of your discontent?

DON JOHN	I make all use of it, for I use it only.
	Who comes here?


	What news, Borachio?

BORACHIO	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.

DON JOHN	Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?
	What is he for a fool that betroths himself to

BORACHIO	Marry, it is your brother's right hand.

DON JOHN	Who? the most exquisite Claudio?


DON JOHN	A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks

BORACHIO	Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.

DON JOHN	A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?

BORACHIO	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.

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

CONRADE	To the death, my lord.

DON JOHN	Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the
	greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of
	my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?

BORACHIO	We'll wait upon your lordship.




SCENE I	A hall in LEONATO'S house.


LEONATO	Was not Count John here at supper?

ANTONIO	I saw him not.

BEATRICE	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.

BEATRICE	He were an excellent man that were made just in the
	midway 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.

LEONATO	Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's
	mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior
	Benedick's face,--

BEATRICE	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 a' could get her good-will.

LEONATO	By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a
	husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

ANTONIO	In faith, she's too curst.

BEATRICE	Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen 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.

LEONATO	So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

BEATRICE	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: I had rather lie in the woollen.

LEONATO	You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

BEATRICE	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-ward, and lead his
	apes into hell.

LEONATO	Well, then, go you into hell?

BEATRICE	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.

ANTONIO	[To HERO]  Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled
	by your father.

BEATRICE	Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make curtsy
	and say 'Father, as it please you.' But yet for all
	that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else
	make another curtsy and say 'Father, as it please

LEONATO	Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

BEATRICE	Not till God make men of some other metal than
	earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be
	overmastered with a pierce of valiant dust? to make
	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.

LEONATO	Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince
	do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.

BEATRICE	The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be
	not wooed 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 Scotch jig,
	a measure, and a cinque pace: the first suit is hot
	and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as
	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.

LEONATO	Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

BEATRICE	I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church by daylight.

LEONATO	The revellers are entering, brother: make good room.

	[All put on their masks]


DON 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 especially when I walk away.

DON PEDRO	With me in your company?

HERO	I may say so, when I please.

DON PEDRO	And when please you to say so?

HERO	When I like your favour; for God defend the lute
	should be like the case!

DON PEDRO	My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.

HERO	Why, then, your visor should be thatched.

DON PEDRO	Speak low, if you speak love.

	[Drawing her aside]

BALTHASAR	Well, I would you did like me.

MARGARET	So would not I, for your own sake; for I have many

BALTHASAR	Which is one?

MARGARET	I say my prayers aloud.

BALTHASAR	I love you the better: the hearers may cry, Amen.

MARGARET	God match me with a good dancer!


MARGARET	And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is
	done! Answer, clerk.

BALTHASAR	No more words: the clerk is answered.

URSULA	I know you well enough; you are Signior Antonio.

ANTONIO	At a word, I am not.

URSULA	I know you by the waggling of your head.

ANTONIO	To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

URSULA	You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were
	the very man. Here's his dry hand up and down: you
	are he, you are he.

ANTONIO	At a word, I am not.

URSULA	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

BEATRICE	Will you not tell me who told you so?

BENEDICK	No, you shall pardon me.

BEATRICE	Nor will you not tell me who you are?


BEATRICE	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.

BENEDICK	What's he?

BEATRICE	I am sure you know him well enough.

BENEDICK	Not I, believe me.

BEATRICE	Did he never make you laugh?

BENEDICK	I pray you, what is he?

BEATRICE	Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull fool;
	only his gift is in devising impossible slanders:
	none but libertines delight in him; and the
	commendation is not in his wit, but in his villany;
	for he both pleases men and angers them, and then
	they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
	the fleet: I would he had boarded me.

BENEDICK	When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.

BEATRICE	Do, do: he'll but break a comparison or two on me;
	which, peradventure not marked or not laughed at,
	strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a
	partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no
	supper that night.


	We must follow the leaders.

BENEDICK	In every good thing.

BEATRICE	Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at
	the next turning.

	[Dance. Then exeunt all except DON JOHN, BORACHIO,

DON 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.

BORACHIO	And that is Claudio: I know him by his bearing.

DON JOHN	Are not you Signior Benedick?

CLAUDIO	You know me well; I am he.

DON JOHN	Signior, you are very near my brother in his love:
	he is enamoured 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.

CLAUDIO	How know you he loves her?

DON JOHN	I heard him swear his affection.

BORACHIO	So did I too; and he swore he would marry her to-night.

DON JOHN	Come, let us to the banquet.


CLAUDIO	Thus answer I in the name of Benedick,
	But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
	'Tis certain so; the prince wooes for himself.
	Friendship is constant in all other things
	Save in the office and affairs of love:
	Therefore, all hearts in love use their own tongues;
	Let every eye negotiate for itself
	And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
	Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
	This is an accident of hourly proof,
	Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore, Hero!

	[Re-enter BENEDICK]

BENEDICK	Count Claudio?

CLAUDIO	Yea, the same.

BENEDICK	Come, will you go with me?

CLAUDIO	Whither?

BENEDICK	Even to the next willow, about your own business,
	county. What fashion will you wear the garland of?
	about your neck, like an usurer's chain? or under
	your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear
	it one way, for the prince hath got your Hero.

CLAUDIO	I wish him joy of her.

BENEDICK	Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier: so they
	sell bullocks. But did you think the prince would
	have served you thus?

CLAUDIO	I pray you, leave me.

BENEDICK	Ho! now you strike like the blind man: 'twas the
	boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.

CLAUDIO	If it will not be, I'll leave you.


BENEDICK	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; I am not so reputed: it
	is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice
	that puts the world into her person and so gives me
	out. Well, I'll be revenged as I may.

	[Re-enter DON PEDRO]

DON PEDRO	Now, signior, where's the count? did you see him?

BENEDICK	Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame.
	I found him here as melancholy as a lodge 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 willow-tree,
	either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or
	to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.

DON PEDRO	To be whipped! What's his fault?

BENEDICK	The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who, being
	overjoyed with finding a birds' nest, shows it his
	companion, and he steals it.

DON PEDRO	Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The
	transgression is in the stealer.

BENEDICK	Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made,
	and the garland too; for the garland he might have
	worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed on
	you, who, as I take it, have stolen his birds' nest.

DON PEDRO	I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to
	the owner.

BENEDICK	If their singing answer your saying, by my faith,
	you say honestly.

DON PEDRO	The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you: the
	gentleman that danced with her told her she is much
	wronged by you.

BENEDICK	O, she misused me past the endurance of a block!
	an oak but with 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 I had been
	myself, that I was the prince's jester, that I was
	duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon 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 her terminations,
	there were no living near her; she would infect to
	the north star. I would not marry her, though she
	were endowed with all that Adam bad 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 Ate 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 follows her.

DON PEDRO	Look, here she comes.


BENEDICK	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 tooth-picker now from the
	furthest 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?

DON PEDRO	None, but to desire your good company.

BENEDICK	O God, sir, here's a dish I love not: I cannot
	endure my Lady Tongue.


DON PEDRO	Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of
	Signior Benedick.

BEATRICE	Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile; and I gave
	him use 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.

DON PEDRO	You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

BEATRICE	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.

DON PEDRO	Why, how now, count! wherefore are you sad?

CLAUDIO	Not sad, my lord.

DON PEDRO	How then? sick?

CLAUDIO	Neither, my lord.

BEATRICE	The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor
	well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and
	something of that jealous complexion.

DON 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!

LEONATO	Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my
	fortunes: his grace hath made the match, and an
	grace say Amen to it.

BEATRICE	Speak, count, 'tis your cue.

CLAUDIO	Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I were
	but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as
	you are mine, I am yours: I give away myself for
	you and dote upon the exchange.

BEATRICE	Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth
	with a kiss, and let not him speak neither.

DON PEDRO	In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

BEATRICE	Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on
	the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his
	ear that he is in her heart.

CLAUDIO	And so she doth, cousin.

BEATRICE	Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the
	world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a
	corner and cry heigh-ho for a husband!

DON PEDRO	Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

BEATRICE	I would rather have one of your father's getting.
	Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your
	father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

DON PEDRO	Will you have me, lady?

BEATRICE	No, my lord, unless I might have another for
	working-days: your grace is too costly to wear
	every day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me: I
	was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

DON PEDRO	Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best
	becomes you; for, out of question, you were born in
	a merry hour.

BEATRICE	No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then there
	was a star danced, and under that was I born.
	Cousins, God give you joy!

LEONATO	Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?

BEATRICE	I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's pardon.


DON PEDRO	By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

LEONATO	There's little of the melancholy element in her, my
	lord: she is never sad but when she sleeps, and
	not ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say,
	she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked
	herself with laughing.

DON PEDRO	She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

LEONATO	O, by no means: she mocks all her wooers out of suit.

DON PEDRO	She were an excellent wife for Benedict.

LEONATO	O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married,
	they would talk themselves mad.

DON PEDRO	County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

CLAUDIO	To-morrow, my lord: time goes on crutches till love
	have all his rites.

LEONATO	Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just
	seven-night; and a time too brief, too, to have all
	things answer my mind.

DON PEDRO	Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing:
	but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go
	dully by us. I will in the interim undertake one of
	Hercules' labours; which is, to bring Signior
	Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of
	affection the one with the other. I would fain have
	it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if
	you three will but minister such assistance as I
	shall give you direction.

LEONATO	My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten
	nights' watchings.

CLAUDIO	And I, my lord.

DON PEDRO	And you too, gentle Hero?

HERO	I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my
	cousin to a good husband.

DON PEDRO	And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that
	I know. Thus far can I praise him; he is of a noble
	strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty. I
	will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she
	shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with your
	two helps, will so practise on Benedick that, in
	despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he
	shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this,
	Cupid is no longer an archer: his glory shall be
	ours, for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me,
	and I will tell you my drift.




SCENE II	The same.


DON JOHN	It is so; the Count Claudio shall marry the
	daughter of Leonato.

BORACHIO	Yea, my lord; but I can cross it.

DON JOHN	Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be
	medicinable to me: I am sick in displeasure to him,
	and whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges
	evenly with mine. How canst thou cross this marriage?

BORACHIO	Not honestly, my lord; but so covertly that no
	dishonesty shall appear in me.

DON JOHN	Show me briefly how.

BORACHIO	I think I told your lordship a year since, how much
	I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting
	gentlewoman to Hero.

DON JOHN	I remember.

BORACHIO	I can, at any unseasonable instant of the night,
	appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber window.

DON JOHN	What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?

BORACHIO	The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go you to
	the prince your brother; spare not to tell him that
	he hath wronged his honour in marrying the renowned
	Claudio--whose estimation do you mightily hold
	up--to a contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.

DON JOHN	What proof shall I make of that?

BORACHIO	Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex Claudio,
	to undo Hero and kill Leonato. Look you for any
	other issue?

DON JOHN	Only to despite them, I will endeavour any thing.

BORACHIO	Go, then; find me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and
	the Count Claudio alone: tell them that you know
	that Hero loves me; intend a kind of zeal both to the
	prince and Claudio, as,--in love of your brother's
	honour, who hath made this match, and his friend's
	reputation, who is thus like to be cozened with the
	semblance of a maid,--that you have discovered
	thus. They will scarcely believe this without trial:
	offer them instances; which shall bear no less
	likelihood than to see me at her chamber-window,
	hear me call Margaret Hero, hear Margaret term me
	Claudio; and bring them to see this the very night
	before the intended wedding,--for in the meantime I
	will so fashion the matter that Hero shall be
	absent,--and there shall appear such seeming truth
	of Hero's disloyalty that jealousy shall be called
	assurance and all the preparation overthrown.

DON JOHN	Grow this to what adverse issue it can, I will put
	it in practise. Be cunning in the working this, and
	thy fee is a thousand ducats.

BORACHIO	Be you constant in the accusation, and my cunning
	shall not shame me.

DON JOHN	I will presently go learn their day of marriage.







	[Enter Boy]

Boy	Signior?

BENEDICK	In my chamber-window lies a book: bring it hither
	to me in the orchard.

Boy	I am here already, sir.

BENEDICK	I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again.

	[Exit Boy]

	I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much
	another man is a fool when he dedicates his
	behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at
	such shallow follies in others, become the argument
	of his own scorn by failing in love: and such a man
	is Claudio. I have known when there was no music
	with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he
	rather hear the tabour and the pipe: I have known
	when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a
	good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake,
	carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to
	speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man
	and a soldier; and now is he turned orthography; his
	words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many
	strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with
	these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not
	be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but
	I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster
	of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman
	is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am
	well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all
	graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in
	my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise,
	or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her;
	fair, or I'll   never look on her; mild, or come not
	near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good
	discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall
	be of what colour it please God. Ha! the prince and
	Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.



DON PEDRO	Come, shall we hear this music?

CLAUDIO	Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,
	As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!

DON PEDRO	See you where Benedick hath hid himself?

CLAUDIO	O, very well, my lord: the music ended,
	We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.

	[Enter BALTHASAR with Music]

DON PEDRO	Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.

BALTHASAR	O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice
	To slander music any more than once.

DON PEDRO	It is the witness still of excellency
	To put a strange face on his own perfection.
	I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.

BALTHASAR	Because you talk of wooing, I will sing;
	Since many a wooer doth commence his suit
	To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,
	Yet will he swear he loves.

DON PEDRO	Now, pray thee, come;
	Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,
	Do it in notes.

BALTHASAR	                  Note this before my notes;
	There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.

DON PEDRO	Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks;
	Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing.

BENEDICK	Now, divine air! now is his soul ravished! Is it
	not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out
	of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my money, when
	all's done.

	[The Song]

BALTHASAR	     Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,
	Men were deceivers ever,
	One foot in sea and one on shore,
	To one thing constant never:
	Then sigh not so, but let them go,
	And be you blithe and bonny,
	Converting all your sounds of woe
	Into Hey nonny, nonny.

	Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
	Of dumps so dull and heavy;
	The fraud of men was ever so,
	Since summer first was leafy:
	Then sigh not so, &c.

DON PEDRO	By my troth, a good song.

BALTHASAR	And an ill singer, my lord.

DON PEDRO	Ha, no, no, faith; thou singest well enough for a shift.

BENEDICK	An he had been a dog that should have howled thus,
	they would have hanged him: and I pray God his bad
	voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the
	night-raven, come what plague could have come after

DON PEDRO	Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee,
	get us some excellent music; for to-morrow night we
	would have it at the Lady Hero's chamber-window.

BALTHASAR	The best I can, my lord.

DON PEDRO	Do so: farewell.


	Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of
	to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with
	Signior Benedick?

CLAUDIO	O, ay: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits. I did
	never think that lady would have loved any man.

LEONATO	No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she
	should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in
	all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.

BENEDICK	Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?

LEONATO	By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think
	of it but that she loves him with an enraged
	affection: it is past the infinite of thought.

DON PEDRO	May be she doth but counterfeit.

CLAUDIO	Faith, like enough.

LEONATO	O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of
	passion came so near the life of passion as she
	discovers it.

DON PEDRO	Why, what effects of passion shows she?

CLAUDIO	Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.

LEONATO	What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heard
	my daughter tell you how.

CLAUDIO	She did, indeed.

DON PEDRO	How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I
	thought her spirit had been invincible against all
	assaults of affection.

LEONATO	I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially
	against Benedick.

BENEDICK	I should think this a gull, but that the
	white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot,
	sure, hide himself in such reverence.

CLAUDIO	He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.

DON PEDRO	Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?

LEONATO	No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.

CLAUDIO	'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'Shall
	I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered him
	with scorn, write to him that I love him?'

LEONATO	This says she now when she is beginning to write to
	him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and
	there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a
	sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.

CLAUDIO	Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a
	pretty jest your daughter told us of.

LEONATO	O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she
	found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?


LEONATO	O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;
	railed at herself, that she should be so immodest
	to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I
	measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I
	should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I
	love him, I should.'

CLAUDIO	Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs,
	beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O
	sweet Benedick! God give me patience!'

LEONATO	She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the
	ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my daughter
	is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage
	to herself: it is very true.

DON PEDRO	It were good that Benedick knew of it by some
	other, if she will not discover it.

CLAUDIO	To what end? He would make but a sport of it and
	torment the poor lady worse.

DON PEDRO	An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an
	excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion,
	she is virtuous.

CLAUDIO	And she is exceeding wise.

DON PEDRO	In every thing but in loving Benedick.

LEONATO	O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender
	a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath
	the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just
	cause, being her uncle and her guardian.

DON PEDRO	I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would
	have daffed all other respects and made her half
	myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear
	what a' will say.

LEONATO	Were it good, think you?

CLAUDIO	Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she
	will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere
	she make her love known, and she will die, if he woo
	her, rather than she will bate one breath of her
	accustomed crossness.

DON PEDRO	She doth well: if she should make tender of her
	love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the
	man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.

CLAUDIO	He is a very proper man.

DON PEDRO	He hath indeed a good outward happiness.

CLAUDIO	Before God! and, in my mind, very wise.

DON PEDRO	He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.

CLAUDIO	And I take him to be valiant.

DON PEDRO	As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of
	quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he
	avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes
	them with a most Christian-like fear.

LEONATO	If he do fear God, a' must necessarily keep peace:
	if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a
	quarrel with fear and trembling.

DON PEDRO	And so will he do; for the man doth fear God,
	howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests
	he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall
	we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?

CLAUDIO	Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with
	good counsel.

LEONATO	Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.

DON PEDRO	Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter:
	let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I
	could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see
	how much he is unworthy so good a lady.

LEONATO	My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.

CLAUDIO	If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never
	trust my expectation.

DON PEDRO	Let there be the same net spread for her; and that
	must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The
	sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of
	another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the
	scene that I would see, which will be merely a
	dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.


BENEDICK	[Coming forward]  This can be no trick: the
	conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of
	this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it
	seems her affections have their full bent. Love me!
	why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured:
	they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive
	the love come from her; they say too that she will
	rather die than give any sign of affection. I did
	never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy
	are they that hear their detractions and can put
	them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a
	truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis
	so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving
	me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor
	no great argument of her folly, for I will be
	horribly in love with her. I may chance have some
	odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me,
	because I have railed so long against marriage: but
	doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat
	in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.
	Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of
	the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?
	No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would
	die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I
	were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day!
	she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in


BEATRICE	Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.

BENEDICK	Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.

BEATRICE	I took no more pains for those thanks than you take
	pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would
	not have come.

BENEDICK	You take pleasure then in the message?

BEATRICE	Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's
	point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach,
	signior: fare you well.


BENEDICK	Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in
	to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that 'I took
	no more pains for those thanks than you took pains
	to thank me.' that's as much as to say, Any pains
	that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do
	not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not
	love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.






HERO	Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;
	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 honeysuckles, 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.

MARGARET	I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.


HERO	Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
	As we do trace this alley up and down,
	Our talk must only be of Benedick.
	When I do name him, let it be thy part
	To praise him more than ever man did merit:
	My talk to thee must be how Benedick
	Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
	Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
	That only wounds by hearsay.

	[Enter BEATRICE, behind]

		       Now begin;
	For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
	Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

URSULA	The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
	Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
	And greedily devour the treacherous bait:
	So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
	Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
	Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

HERO	Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
	Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.

	[Approaching the bower]

	No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;
	I know her spirits are as coy and wild
	As haggerds of the rock.

URSULA	But are you sure
	That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

HERO	So says the prince and my new-trothed lord.

URSULA	And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?

HERO	They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;
	But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
	To wish him wrestle with affection,
	And never to let Beatrice know of it.

URSULA	Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
	Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
	As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

HERO	O god of love! I know he doth deserve
	As much as may be yielded to a man:
	But Nature never framed a woman's heart
	Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
	Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
	Misprising what they look on, and her wit
	Values itself so highly that to her
	All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,
	Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
	She is so self-endeared.

URSULA	Sure, I think so;
	And therefore certainly it were not good
	She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

HERO	Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
	How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
	But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
	She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
	If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antique,
	Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
	If low, an agate very vilely cut;
	If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
	If silent, why, a block moved with none.
	So turns she every man the wrong side out
	And never gives to truth and virtue that
	Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

URSULA	Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

HERO	No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
	As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
	But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
	She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
	Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
	Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
	Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:
	It were a better death than die with mocks,
	Which is as bad as die with tickling.

URSULA	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.

URSULA	O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
	She cannot be so much without true judgment--
	Having so swift and excellent a wit
	As she is prized 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.

URSULA	I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,
	Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
	For shape, for bearing, argument and valour,
	Goes foremost in report through Italy.

HERO	Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.

URSULA	His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.
	When are you married, madam?

HERO	Why, every day, to-morrow. Come, go in:
	I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel
	Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow.

URSULA	She's limed, I warrant you: we have caught her, madam.

HERO	If it proves so, then loving goes by haps:
	Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

	[Exeunt HERO and URSULA]

BEATRICE	[Coming forward]
	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.




SCENE II	A room in LEONATO'S house


DON PEDRO	I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and
	then go I toward Arragon.

CLAUDIO	I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll
	vouchsafe me.

DON PEDRO	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
	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.

BENEDICK	Gallants, I am not as I have been.

LEONATO	So say I	methinks you are sadder.

CLAUDIO	I hope he be in love.

DON PEDRO	Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of blood in
	him, to be truly touched with love: if he be sad,
	he wants money.

BENEDICK	I have the toothache.

DON PEDRO	Draw it.


CLAUDIO	You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.

DON PEDRO	What! sigh for the toothache?

LEONATO	Where is but a humour or a worm.

BENEDICK	Well, every one can master a grief but he that has

CLAUDIO	Yet say I, he is in love.

DON 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.

CLAUDIO	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?

DON PEDRO	Hath any man seen him at the barber's?

CLAUDIO	No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him,
	and the old ornament of his cheek hath already
	stuffed tennis-balls.

LEONATO	Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.

DON PEDRO	Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell him
	out by that?

CLAUDIO	That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.

DON PEDRO	The greatest note of it is his melancholy.

CLAUDIO	And when was he wont to wash his face?

DON PEDRO	Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear
	what they say of him.

CLAUDIO	Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into
	a lute-string and now governed by stops.

DON PEDRO	Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him: conclude,
	conclude he is in love.

CLAUDIO	Nay, but I know who loves him.

DON PEDRO	That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows him not.

CLAUDIO	Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite of
	all, dies for him.

DON PEDRO	She shall be buried with her face upwards.

BENEDICK	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.


DON PEDRO	For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.

CLAUDIO	'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]

DON JOHN	My lord and brother, God save you!

DON PEDRO	Good den, brother.

DON JOHN	If your leisure served, I would speak with you.

DON PEDRO	In private?

DON JOHN	If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; for
	what I would speak of concerns him.

DON PEDRO	What's the matter?

DON JOHN	[To CLAUDIO]  Means your lordship to be married

DON PEDRO	You know he does.

DON JOHN	I know not that, when he knows what I know.

CLAUDIO	If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.

DON 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.

DON PEDRO	Why, what's the matter?

DON JOHN	I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
	shortened, for she has been too long a talking of,
	the lady is disloyal.

CLAUDIO	Who, Hero?

DON PEDRO	Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero:

CLAUDIO	Disloyal?

DON 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 chamber-window 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.

CLAUDIO	May this be so?

DON PEDRO	I will not think it.

DON 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.

CLAUDIO	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.

DON PEDRO	And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join
	with thee to disgrace her.

DON JOHN	I will disparage her no farther till you are my
	witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and
	let the issue show itself.

DON PEDRO	O day untowardly turned!

CLAUDIO	O mischief strangely thwarting!

DON JOHN	O plague right well prevented! so will you say when
	you have seen the sequel.




SCENE III	A street.

	[Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES with the Watch]

DOGBERRY	Are you good men and true?

VERGES	Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
	salvation, body and soul.

DOGBERRY	Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if
	they should have any allegiance in them, being
	chosen for the prince's watch.

VERGES	Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.

DOGBERRY	First, who think you the most desertless man to be

First Watchman	Hugh Otecake, sir, or George Seacole; for they can
	write and read.

DOGBERRY	Come hither, neighbour Seacole. 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.

Second Watchman	Both which, master constable,--

DOGBERRY	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.

Second Watchman	How if a' will not stand?

DOGBERRY	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.

VERGES	If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none
	of the prince's subjects.

DOGBERRY	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 to
	talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.

Watchman	We will rather sleep than talk: we know what
	belongs to a watch.

DOGBERRY	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.

Watchman	How if they will not?

DOGBERRY	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.

Watchman	Well, sir.

DOGBERRY	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.

Watchman	If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay
	hands on him?

DOGBERRY	Truly, by your office, you may; but I think they
	that touch pitch will be defiled: 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.

VERGES	You have been always called a merciful man, partner.

DOGBERRY	Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more
	a man who hath any honesty in him.

VERGES	If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call
	to the nurse and bid her still it.

Watchman	How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?

DOGBERRY	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.

VERGES	'Tis very true.

DOGBERRY	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 stay him.

VERGES	Nay, by'r our lady, that I think a' cannot.

DOGBERRY	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.

VERGES	By'r lady, I think it be so.

DOGBERRY	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.

Watchman	Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here
	upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.

DOGBERRY	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.



BORACHIO	What Conrade!

Watchman	[Aside]  Peace! stir not.

BORACHIO	Conrade, I say!

CONRADE	Here, man; I am at thy elbow.

BORACHIO	Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought there would a
	scab follow.

CONRADE	I will owe thee an answer for that: and now forward
	with thy tale.

BORACHIO	Stand thee close, then, under this pent-house, for
	it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard,
	utter all to thee.

Watchman	[Aside]  Some treason, masters: yet stand close.

BORACHIO	Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.

CONRADE	Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?

BORACHIO	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.

CONRADE	I wonder at it.

BORACHIO	That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou knowest that
	the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is
	nothing to a man.

CONRADE	Yes, it is apparel.

BORACHIO	I mean, the fashion.

CONRADE	Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

BORACHIO	Tush! I may as well say the fool's the fool. But
	seest thou not what a deformed thief this fashion

Watchman	[Aside]  I know that Deformed; a' has been a vile
	thief this seven year; a' goes up and down like a
	gentleman: I remember his name.

BORACHIO	Didst thou not hear somebody?

CONRADE	No; 'twas the vane on the house.

BORACHIO	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 reeky painting, sometime like god Bel's
	priests in the old church-window, sometime like the
	shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
	where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?

CONRADE	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 the fashion?

BORACHIO	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 encounter.

CONRADE	And thought they Margaret was Hero?

BORACHIO	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 o'er night
	and send her home again without a husband.

First Watchman	We charge you, in the prince's name, stand!

Second Watchman	Call up the right master constable. We have here
	recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that
	ever was known in the commonwealth.

First Watchman	And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a'
	wears a lock.

CONRADE	Masters, masters,--

Second Watchman	You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.

CONRADE	Masters,--

First Watchman	Never speak: we charge you let us obey you to go with us.

BORACHIO	We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken
	up of these men's bills.

CONRADE	A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.




SCENE IV	HERO's apartment.


HERO	Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire
	her to rise.

URSULA	I will, lady.

HERO	And bid her come hither.



MARGARET	Troth, I think your other rabato were better.

HERO	No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.

MARGARET	By my troth, '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.

MARGARET	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.

HERO	O, that exceeds, they say.

MARGARET	By my troth, 's but a night-gown in respect of
	yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and laced with
	silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves,
	and skirts, round underborne with a bluish 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.

MARGARET	'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.

HERO	Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

MARGARET	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:' and bad
	thinking do not wrest true speaking, I'll offend
	nobody: is there any harm in 'the heavier for a
	husband'? None, I think, and 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.

BEATRICE	Good morrow, sweet Hero.

HERO	Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?

BEATRICE	I am out of all other tune, methinks.

MARGARET	Clap's into 'Light o' love;' that goes without a
	burden: do you sing it, and I'll dance it.

BEATRICE	Ye light o' love, with your heels! then, if your
	husband have stables enough, you'll see he shall
	lack no barns.

MARGARET	O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.

BEATRICE	'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; tis time you were
	ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill: heigh-ho!

MARGARET	For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

BEATRICE	For the letter that begins them all, H.

MARGARET	Well, and you be not turned Turk, there's no more
	sailing by the star.

BEATRICE	What means the fool, trow?

MARGARET	Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!

HERO	These gloves the count sent me; they are an
	excellent perfume.

BEATRICE	I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.

MARGARET	A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold.

BEATRICE	O, God help me! God help me! how long have you
	professed apprehension?

MARGARET	Even since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?

BEATRICE	It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your
	cap. By my troth, I am sick.

MARGARET	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 prickest her with a thistle.

BEATRICE	Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in
	this Benedictus.

MARGARET	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.

BEATRICE	What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

MARGARET	Not a false gallop.

	[Re-enter URSULA]

URSULA	Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior
	Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the
	town, are come to fetch you to church.

HERO	Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.




SCENE V	Another room in LEONATO'S house.


LEONATO	What would you with me, honest neighbour?

DOGBERRY	Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you
	that decerns you nearly.

LEONATO	Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.

DOGBERRY	Marry, this it is, sir.

VERGES	Yes, in truth it is, sir.

LEONATO	What is it, my good friends?

DOGBERRY	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.

VERGES	Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living
	that is an old man and no honester than I.

DOGBERRY	Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.

LEONATO	Neighbours, you are tedious.

DOGBERRY	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 it in
	my heart to bestow it all of your worship.

LEONATO	All thy tediousness on me, ah?

DOGBERRY	Yea, an '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.

VERGES	And so am I.

LEONATO	I would fain know what you have to say.

VERGES	Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your
	worship's presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant
	knaves as any in Messina.

DOGBERRY	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!

LEONATO	Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.

DOGBERRY	Gifts that God gives.

LEONATO	I must leave you.

DOGBERRY	One word, sir: our watch, sir, have indeed
	comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would
	have them this morning examined before your worship.

LEONATO	Take their examination yourself and bring it me: I
	am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.

DOGBERRY	It shall be suffigance.

LEONATO	Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.

	[Enter a Messenger]

Messenger	My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to
	her husband.

LEONATO	I'll wait upon them: I am ready.

	[Exeunt LEONATO and Messenger]

DOGBERRY	Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole;
	bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol: we
	are now to examination these men.

VERGES	And we must do it wisely.

DOGBERRY	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 gaol.




SCENE I	A church.


LEONATO	Come, Friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain
	form of marriage, and you shall recount their
	particular duties afterwards.

FRIAR FRANCIS	You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.


LEONATO	To be married to her: friar, you come to marry her.

FRIAR FRANCIS	Lady, you come hither to be married to this count.

HERO	I do.

FRIAR FRANCIS	If either of you know any inward impediment why you
	should not be conjoined, charge you, on your souls,
	to utter it.

CLAUDIO	Know you any, Hero?

HERO	None, my lord.

FRIAR FRANCIS	Know you any, count?

LEONATO	I dare make his answer, none.

CLAUDIO	O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily
	do, not knowing what they do!

BENEDICK	How now! interjections? Why, then, some be of
	laughing, as, ah, ha, he!

CLAUDIO	Stand thee by, friar. Father, by your leave:
	Will you with free and unconstrained soul
	Give me this maid, your daughter?

LEONATO	As freely, son, as God did give her me.

CLAUDIO	And what have I to give you back, whose worth
	May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

DON PEDRO	Nothing, unless you render her again.

CLAUDIO	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.

LEONATO	What do you mean, my lord?

CLAUDIO	Not to be married,
	Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.

LEONATO	Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof,
	Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
	And made defeat of her virginity,--

CLAUDIO	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:
	No, Leonato,
	I never tempted her with word too large;
	But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
	Bashful sincerity and comely love.

HERO	And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?

CLAUDIO	Out on thee! 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 pamper'd animals
	That rage in savage sensuality.

HERO	Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?

LEONATO	Sweet prince, why speak not you?

DON PEDRO	What should I speak?
	I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
	To link my dear friend to a common stale.

LEONATO	Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?

DON JOHN	Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.

BENEDICK	This looks not like a nuptial.

HERO	True! O God!

CLAUDIO	Leonato, stand I here?
	Is this the prince? is this the prince's brother?
	Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?

LEONATO	All this is so: but what of this, my lord?

CLAUDIO	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.

LEONATO	I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.

HERO	O, God defend me! how am I beset!
	What kind of catechising call you this?

CLAUDIO	To make you answer truly to your name.

HERO	Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name
	With any just reproach?

CLAUDIO	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.

HERO	I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.

DON PEDRO	Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,
	I am sorry you must hear: upon mine 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.

DON JOHN	Fie, fie! they are not to be named, 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.

CLAUDIO	O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been,
	If half thy outward graces had been placed
	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.

LEONATO	Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?

	[HERO swoons]

BEATRICE	Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?

DON JOHN	Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,
	Smother her spirits up.


BENEDICK	How doth the lady?

BEATRICE	                  Dead, I think. Help, uncle!
	Hero! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!

LEONATO	O Fate! take not away thy heavy hand.
	Death is the fairest cover for her shame
	That may be wish'd for.

BEATRICE	How now, cousin Hero!

FRIAR FRANCIS	Have comfort, lady.

LEONATO	Dost thou look up?

FRIAR FRANCIS	Yea, wherefore should she not?

LEONATO	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. Grieved I, I had but one?
	Chid 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 smirch'd thus and mired with infamy,
	I might have said 'No part of it is mine;
	This shame derives itself from unknown loins'?
	But mine and mine I loved and mine I praised
	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 fallen
	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!

BENEDICK	Sir, sir, be patient.
	For my part, I am so attired in wonder,
	I know not what to say.

BEATRICE	O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!

BENEDICK	Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?

BEATRICE	No, truly not; although, until last night,
	I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

LEONATO	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 loved her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
	Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let her die.

FRIAR FRANCIS	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 observations,
	Which with experimental seal doth warrant
	The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
	My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
	If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
	Under some biting error.

LEONATO	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?

FRIAR FRANCIS	Lady, what man is he you are accused of?

HERO	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 conversed
	At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
	Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
	Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!

FRIAR FRANCIS	There is some strange misprision in the princes.

BENEDICK	Two of them have the very bent of honour;
	And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
	The practise of it lives in John the bastard,
	Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.

LEONATO	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, awaked 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.

FRIAR FRANCIS	Pause awhile,
	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.

LEONATO	What shall become of this? what will this do?

FRIAR FRANCIS	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 so be maintain'd,
	Upon the instant that she was accused,
	Shall be lamented, pitied and excused
	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,
	The 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 lived 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.

BENEDICK	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.

LEONATO	Being that I flow in grief,
	The smallest twine may lead me.

FRIAR FRANCIS	'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]

BENEDICK	Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?

BEATRICE	Yea, and I will weep a while longer.

BENEDICK	I will not desire that.

BEATRICE	You have no reason; I do it freely.

BENEDICK	Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.

BEATRICE	Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!

BENEDICK	Is there any way to show such friendship?

BEATRICE	A very even way, but no such friend.

BENEDICK	May a man do it?

BEATRICE	It is a man's office, but not yours.

BENEDICK	I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is
	not that strange?

BEATRICE	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 cousin.

BENEDICK	By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

BEATRICE	Do not swear, and eat it.

BENEDICK	I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make
	him eat it that says I love not you.

BEATRICE	Will you not eat your word?

BENEDICK	With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest
	I love thee.

BEATRICE	Why, then, God forgive me!

BENEDICK	What offence, sweet Beatrice?

BEATRICE	You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to
	protest I loved you.

BENEDICK	And do it with all thy heart.

BEATRICE	I love you with so much of my heart that none is
	left to protest.

BENEDICK	Come, bid me do any thing for thee.

BEATRICE	Kill Claudio.

BENEDICK	Ha! not for the wide world.

BEATRICE	You kill me to deny it. Farewell.

BENEDICK	Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

BEATRICE	I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in
	you: nay, I pray you, let me go.

BENEDICK	Beatrice,--

BEATRICE	In faith, I will go.

BENEDICK	We'll be friends first.

BEATRICE	You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

BENEDICK	Is Claudio thine enemy?

BEATRICE	Is he 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, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,
	--O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart
	in the market-place.

BENEDICK	Hear me, Beatrice,--

BEATRICE	Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!

BENEDICK	Nay, but, Beatrice,--

BEATRICE	Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.


BEATRICE	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 courtesies, valour into
	compliment, and men are only turned 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 grieving.

BENEDICK	Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

BEATRICE	Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

BENEDICK	Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

BEATRICE	Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.

BENEDICK	Enough, I am engaged; 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.




SCENE II	A prison.

	[Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and
	the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO]

DOGBERRY	Is our whole dissembly appeared?

VERGES	O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.

Sexton	Which be the malefactors?

DOGBERRY	Marry, that am I and my partner.

VERGES	Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.

Sexton	But which are the offenders that are to be
	examined? let them come before master constable.

DOGBERRY	Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your
	name, friend?

BORACHIO	Borachio.

DOGBERRY	Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, sirrah?

CONRADE	I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

DOGBERRY	Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do
	you serve God?

	|  Yea, sir, we hope.

DOGBERRY	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?

CONRADE	Marry, sir, we say we are none.

DOGBERRY	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.

BORACHIO	Sir, I say to you we are none.

DOGBERRY	Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are both in a
	tale. Have you writ down, that they are none?

Sexton	Master constable, you go not the way to examine:
	you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.

DOGBERRY	Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch
	come forth. Masters, I charge you, in the prince's
	name, accuse these men.

First Watchman	This man said, sir, that Don John, the prince's
	brother, was a villain.

DOGBERRY	Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat
	perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.

BORACHIO	Master constable,--

DOGBERRY	Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like thy look,
	I promise thee.

Sexton	What heard you him say else?

Second Watchman	Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of
	Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.

DOGBERRY	Flat burglary as ever was committed.

VERGES	Yea, by mass, that it is.

Sexton	What else, fellow?

First Watchman	And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to
	disgrace Hero before the whole assembly. and not marry her.

DOGBERRY	O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting
	redemption for this.

Sexton	What else?

Watchman	This is all.

Sexton	And this is more, masters, than you can deny.
	Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away;
	Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner
	refused, 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 examination.


DOGBERRY	Come, let them be opinioned.

VERGES	Let them be in the hands--

CONRADE	Off, coxcomb!

DOGBERRY	God's my life, where's the sexton? let him write
	down the prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them.
	Thou naughty varlet!

CONRADE	Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

DOGBERRY	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 proved 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 every
	thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
	I had been writ down an ass!




SCENE I	Before LEONATO'S house.


ANTONIO	If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:
	And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
	Against yourself.

LEONATO	                  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 loved his child,
	Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
	And bid him speak 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.

ANTONIO	Therein do men from children nothing differ.

LEONATO	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.

ANTONIO	Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
	Make those that do offend you suffer too.

LEONATO	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.

ANTONIO	Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.


DON PEDRO	Good den, good den.

CLAUDIO	Good day to both of you.

LEONATO	Hear you. my lords,--

DON PEDRO	We have some haste, Leonato.

LEONATO	Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:
	Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

DON PEDRO	Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

ANTONIO	If he could right himself with quarreling,
	Some of us would lie low.

CLAUDIO	Who wrongs him?

LEONATO	Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:--
	Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
	I fear thee not.

CLAUDIO	                  Marry, beshrew my hand,
	If it should give your age such cause of fear:
	In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

LEONATO	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 forced 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, framed by thy villany!

CLAUDIO	My villany?

LEONATO	          Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

DON PEDRO	You say not right, old man.

LEONATO	My lord, my lord,
	I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,
	Despite his nice fence and his active practise,
	His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

CLAUDIO	Away! I will not have to do with you.

LEONATO	Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:
	If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

ANTONIO	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.

LEONATO	Brother,--

ANTONIO	Content yourself. God knows I loved 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!

LEONATO	Brother Antony,--

ANTONIO	Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
	And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,--
	Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
	That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
	Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
	And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
	How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
	And this is all.

LEONATO	But, brother Antony,--

ANTONIO	Come, 'tis no matter:
	Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.

DON PEDRO	Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
	My heart is sorry for your daughter's death:
	But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing
	But what was true and very full of proof.

LEONATO	My lord, my lord,--

DON PEDRO	I will not hear you.

LEONATO	No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.

ANTONIO	And shall, or some of us will smart for it.


DON PEDRO	See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.


CLAUDIO	Now, signior, what news?

BENEDICK	Good day, my lord.

DON PEDRO	Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part
	almost a fray.

CLAUDIO	We had like to have had our two noses snapped off
	with two old men without teeth.

DON PEDRO	Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? Had
	we fought, I doubt we should have been too young for them.

BENEDICK	In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came
	to seek you both.

CLAUDIO	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 wit?

BENEDICK	It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?

DON PEDRO	Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?

CLAUDIO	Never any did so, though very many have been beside
	their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the
	minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

DON PEDRO	As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou
	sick, or angry?

CLAUDIO	What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat,
	thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

BENEDICK	Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you
	charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.

CLAUDIO	Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was
	broke cross.

DON PEDRO	By this light, he changes more and more: I think
	he be angry indeed.

CLAUDIO	If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.

BENEDICK	Shall I speak a word in your ear?

CLAUDIO	God bless me from a challenge!

BENEDICK	[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 killed a sweet
	lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me
	hear from you.

CLAUDIO	Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

DON PEDRO	What, a feast, a feast?

CLAUDIO	I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf'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?

BENEDICK	Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

DON PEDRO	I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised 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 properest man in Italy.

CLAUDIO	For the which she wept heartily and said she cared

DON PEDRO	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.

CLAUDIO	All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he was
	hid in the garden.

DON PEDRO	But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on
	the sensible Benedick's head?

CLAUDIO	Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the
	married man'?

BENEDICK	Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave
	you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests
	as braggarts 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 killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord
	Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till
	then, peace be with him.


DON PEDRO	He is in earnest.

CLAUDIO	In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for
	the love of Beatrice.

DON PEDRO	And hath challenged thee.

CLAUDIO	Most sincerely.

DON PEDRO	What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his
	doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!

CLAUDIO	He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a
	doctor to such a man.

DON PEDRO	But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, and
	be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?

	[Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE

DOGBERRY	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 looked to.

DON PEDRO	How now? two of my brother's men bound! Borachio

CLAUDIO	Hearken after their offence, my lord.

DON PEDRO	Officers, what offence have these men done?

DOGBERRY	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.

DON PEDRO	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.

CLAUDIO	Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and, by
	my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

DON PEDRO	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?

BORACHIO	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 shallow fools have brought
	to light: who in the night overheard me confessing
	to this man how Don John your brother incensed me
	to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into
	the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
	garments, how you disgraced her, when you should
	marry her: my villany they have upon record; which
	I had rather seal with my death than repeat over
	to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
	master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire
	nothing but the reward of a villain.

DON PEDRO	Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

CLAUDIO	I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

DON PEDRO	But did my brother set thee on to this?

BORACHIO	Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.

DON PEDRO	He is composed and framed of treachery:
	And fled he is upon this villany.

CLAUDIO	Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear
	In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

DOGBERRY	Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our
	sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter:
	and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time
	and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

VERGES	Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the
	Sexton too.

	[Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton]

LEONATO	Which is the villain? let me see his eyes,
	That, when I note another man like him,
	I may avoid him: which of these is he?

BORACHIO	If you would know your wronger, look on me.

LEONATO	Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd
	Mine innocent child?

BORACHIO	Yea, even I alone.

LEONATO	No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:
	Here stand a pair of honourable men;
	A third is fled, that had a hand in it.
	I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death:
	Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
	'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

CLAUDIO	I know not how to pray your patience;
	Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;
	Impose me to what penance your invention
	Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
	But in mistaking.

DON PEDRO	                  By my soul, nor I:
	And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
	I would bend under any heavy weight
	That he'll enjoin me to.

LEONATO	I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
	That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
	Possess the people in Messina here
	How innocent she died; and if your love
	Can labour ought in sad invention,
	Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
	And sing it to her bones, sing it to-night:
	To-morrow morning come you to my house,
	And since you could not be my son-in-law,
	Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
	Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
	And she alone is heir to both of us:
	Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
	And so dies my revenge.

CLAUDIO	O noble sir,
	Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
	I do embrace your offer; and dispose
	For henceforth of poor Claudio.

LEONATO	To-morrow then I will expect your coming;
	To-night I take my leave. This naughty man
	Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
	Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,
	Hired to it by your brother.

BORACHIO	No, by my soul, she was not,
	Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
	But always hath been just and virtuous
	In any thing that I do know by her.

DOGBERRY	Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and
	black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call
	me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his
	punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of
	one Deformed: they say be wears a key in his ear and
	a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's
	name, the which he hath used so long and never paid
	that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing
	for God's sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.

LEONATO	I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

DOGBERRY	Your worship speaks like a most thankful and
	reverend youth; and I praise God for you.

LEONATO	There's for thy pains.

DOGBERRY	God save the foundation!

LEONATO	Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.

DOGBERRY	I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which I
	beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the
	example of others. God keep your worship! I wish
	your worship well; God restore you to health! I
	humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry
	meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.


LEONATO	Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

ANTONIO	Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-morrow.

DON PEDRO	We will not fail.

CLAUDIO	                  To-night I'll mourn with Hero.

LEONATO	[To the Watch]  Bring you these fellows on. We'll
	talk with Margaret,
	How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.

	[Exeunt, severally]




	[Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting]

BENEDICK	Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at
	my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.

MARGARET	Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

BENEDICK	In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living
	shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou
	deservest it.

MARGARET	To have no man come over me! why, shall I always
	keep below stairs?

BENEDICK	Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.

MARGARET	And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit,
	but hurt not.

BENEDICK	A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a
	woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give
	thee the bucklers.

MARGARET	Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.

BENEDICK	If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the
	pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.

MARGARET	Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.

BENEDICK	And therefore will come.



	The god of love,
	That sits above,
	And knows me, and knows me,
	How pitiful I deserve,--

	I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good
	swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
	a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers,
	whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
	blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned
	over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I
	cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
	out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent
	rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for,
	'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous
	endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
	nor I cannot woo in festival terms.


	Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?

BEATRICE	Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.

BENEDICK	O, stay but till then!

BEATRICE	'Then' is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere
	I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with
	knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.

BENEDICK	Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.

BEATRICE	Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but
	foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
	will depart unkissed.

BENEDICK	Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense,
	so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee
	plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either
	I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
	him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for
	which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

BEATRICE	For them all together; which maintained so politic
	a state of evil that they will not admit any good
	part to intermingle with them. But for which of my
	good parts did you first suffer love for me?

BENEDICK	Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love
	indeed, for I love thee against my will.

BEATRICE	In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart!
	If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
	yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.

BENEDICK	Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

BEATRICE	It appears not in this confession: there's not one
	wise man among twenty that will praise himself.

BENEDICK	An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in
	the lime of good neighbours. If a man do not erect
	in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live
	no longer in monument than the bell rings and the
	widow weeps.

BEATRICE	And how long is that, think you?

BENEDICK	Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in
	rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the
	wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no
	impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his
	own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
	praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
	praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?

BEATRICE	Very ill.

BENEDICK	And how do you?

BEATRICE	Very ill too.

BENEDICK	Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave
	you too, for here comes one in haste.

	[Enter URSULA]

URSULA	Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old
	coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been
	falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily
	abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is
	fed and gone. Will you come presently?

BEATRICE	Will you go hear this news, signior?

BENEDICK	I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
	buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with
	thee to thy uncle's.




SCENE III	A church.

	[Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and three or four
	with tapers]

CLAUDIO	Is this the monument of Leonato?

Lord	It is, my lord.

CLAUDIO	[Reading out of a scroll]
	Done to death by slanderous tongues
	Was the Hero that here lies:
	Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
	Gives her fame which never dies.
	So the life that died with shame
	Lives in death with glorious fame.
	Hang thou there upon the tomb,
	Praising her when I am dumb.

	Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.

	Pardon, goddess of the night,
	Those that slew thy virgin knight;
	For the which, with songs of woe,
	Round about her tomb they go.
	Midnight, assist our moan;
	Help us to sigh and groan,
	Heavily, heavily:
	Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
	Till death be uttered,
	Heavily, heavily.

CLAUDIO	     Now, unto thy bones good night!
	Yearly will I do this rite.

DON PEDRO	Good morrow, masters; put your torches out:
	The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle day,
	Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
	Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey.
	Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well.

CLAUDIO	     Good morrow, masters: each his several way.

DON PEDRO	Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;
	And then to Leonato's we will go.

CLAUDIO	And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's
	Than this for whom we render'd up this woe.




SCENE IV	A room in LEONATO'S house.


FRIAR FRANCIS	Did I not tell you she was innocent?

LEONATO	So are the prince and Claudio, who accused her
	Upon the error that you heard debated:
	But Margaret was in some fault for this,
	Although against her will, as it appears
	In the true course of all the question.

ANTONIO	Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.

BENEDICK	And so am I, being else by faith enforced
	To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.

LEONATO	Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all,
	Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
	And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.

	[Exeunt Ladies]

	The prince and Claudio promised by this hour
	To visit me. You know your office, brother:
	You must be father to your brother's daughter
	And give her to young Claudio.

ANTONIO	Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

BENEDICK	Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

FRIAR FRANCIS	To do what, signior?

BENEDICK	To bind me, or undo me; one of them.
	Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
	Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

LEONATO	That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true.

BENEDICK	And I do with an eye of love requite her.

LEONATO	The sight whereof I think you had from me,
	From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?

BENEDICK	Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
	But, for my will, my will is your good will
	May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
	In the state of honourable marriage:
	In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

LEONATO	My heart is with your liking.

FRIAR FRANCIS	And my help.
	Here comes the prince and Claudio.

	[Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or
	three others]

DON PEDRO	Good morrow to this fair assembly.

LEONATO	Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
	We here attend you. Are you yet determined
	To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?

CLAUDIO	I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.

LEONATO	Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.


DON PEDRO	Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,
	That you have such a February face,
	So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?

CLAUDIO	I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
	Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold
	And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
	As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
	When he would play the noble beast in love.

BENEDICK	Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
	And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
	And got a calf in that same noble feat
	Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

CLAUDIO	For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.

	[Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked]

	Which is the lady I must seize upon?

ANTONIO	This same is she, and I do give you her.

CLAUDIO	Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

LEONATO	No, that you shall not, till you take her hand
	Before this friar and swear to marry her.

CLAUDIO	Give me your hand: before this holy friar,
	I am your husband, if you like of me.

HERO	And when I lived, I was your other wife:


	And when you loved, you were my other husband.

CLAUDIO	Another Hero!

HERO	                  Nothing certainer:
	One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
	And surely as I live, I am a maid.

DON PEDRO	The former Hero! Hero that is dead!

LEONATO	She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.

FRIAR FRANCIS	All this amazement can I qualify:
	When after that the holy rites are ended,
	I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:
	Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
	And to the chapel let us presently.

BENEDICK	Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?

BEATRICE	[Unmasking]  I answer to that name. What is your will?

BENEDICK	Do not you love me?

BEATRICE	Why, no; no more than reason.

BENEDICK	Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
	Have been deceived; they swore you did.

BEATRICE	Do not you love me?

BENEDICK	Troth, no; no more than reason.

BEATRICE	Why, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula
	Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.

BENEDICK	They swore that you were almost sick for me.

BEATRICE	They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.

BENEDICK	'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?

BEATRICE	No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

LEONATO	Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

CLAUDIO	And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her;
	For here's a paper written in his hand,
	A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
	Fashion'd to Beatrice.

HERO	And here's another
	Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
	Containing her affection unto Benedick.

BENEDICK	A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts.
	Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
	thee for pity.

BEATRICE	I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield
	upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life,
	for I was told you were in a consumption.

BENEDICK	Peace! I will stop your mouth.

	[Kissing her]

DON PEDRO	How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?

BENEDICK	I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of
	wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost
	thou think I  care for a satire or an epigram? No:
	if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear
	nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
	purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any
	purpose that the world can say against it; and
	therefore never flout at me for what I have said
	against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my
	conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to
	have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my
	kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin.

CLAUDIO	I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,
	that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single
	life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of
	question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
	exceedingly narrowly to thee.

BENEDICK	Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ere
	we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
	and our wives' heels.

LEONATO	We'll have dancing afterward.

BENEDICK	First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince,
	thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:
	there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.

	[Enter a Messenger]

Messenger	My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,
	And brought with armed men back to Messina.

BENEDICK	Think not on him till to-morrow:
	I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.
	Strike up, pipers.