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Much adoe about Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Scanner's Notes: What this is and isn't. This was taken from
a copy of Shakespeare's first folio and it is as close as I can
come in ASCII to the printed text.

The elongated S's have been changed to small s's and the
conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the spelling,
punctuation, capitalization as close as possible to the
printed text. I have corrected some spelling mistakes (I have put
together a spelling dictionary devised from the spellings of the
Geneva Bible and Shakespeare's First Folio and have unified
spellings according to this template), typo's and expanded
abbreviations as I have come across them. Everything within
brackets [] is what I have added. So if you don't like that
you can delete everything within the brackets if you want a
purer Shakespeare.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that there are textual
differences between various copies of the first folio. So there may
be differences (other than what I have mentioned above) between
this and other first folio editions. This is due to the printer's
habit of setting the type and running off a number of copies and
then proofing the printed copy and correcting the type and then
continuing the printing run. The proof run wasn't thrown away but
incorporated into the printed copies. This is just the way it is.
The text I have used was a composite of more than 30 different
First Folio editions' best pages.

If you find any scanning errors, out and out typos, punctuation
errors, or if you disagree with my spelling choices please feel
free to email me those errors. I wish to make this the best
etext possible. My email address for right now are haradda@aol.com
and davidr@inconnect.com. I hope that you enjoy this.

David Reed

Much adoe about Nothing

Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter Leonato Gouernour of Messina, Innogen his wife, Hero his
and Beatrice his Neece, with a messenger.

Leonato. I learne in this Letter, that Don Peter of Arragon,
comes this night to Messina

Mess. He is very neere by this: he was not
three Leagues off when I left him

Leon. How many Gentlemen haue you lost in this
Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name

Leon. A victorie is twice it selfe, when the atchieuer
brings home full numbers: I finde heere, that Don Peter
hath bestowed much honor on a yong Florentine, called

Mess. Much deseru'd on his part, and equally remembred
by Don Pedro, he hath borne himselfe beyond the
promise of his age, doing in the figure of a Lambe, the
feats of a Lion, he hath indeede better bettred expectation,
then you must expect of me to tell you how

Leo. He hath an Vnckle heere in Messina, wil be very
much glad of it

Mess. I haue alreadie deliuered him letters, and there
appeares much ioy in him, euen so much, that ioy could
not shew it selfe modest enough, without a badg of bitternesse

Leo. Did he breake out into teares?
Mess. In great measure

Leo. A kinde ouerflow of kindnesse, there are no faces
truer, then those that are so wash'd, how much better
is it to weepe at ioy, then to ioy at weeping?
Bea. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto return'd from
the warres, or no?
Mess. I know none of that name, Lady, there was
none such in the armie of any sort

Leon. What is he that you aske for Neece?
Hero. My cousin meanes Signior Benedick of Padua
Mess. O he's return'd, and as pleasant as euer he was

Beat. He set vp his bils here in Messina, & challeng'd
Cupid at the Flight: and my Vnckles foole reading the
Challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at
the Burbolt. I pray you, how many hath hee kil'd and
eaten in these warres? But how many hath he kil'd? for
indeed, I promis'd to eate all of his killing

Leon. 'Faith Neece, you taxe Signior Benedicke too
much, but hee'l be meete with you, I doubt it not

Mess. He hath done good seruice Lady in these wars

Beat. You had musty victuall, and he hath holpe to
ease it: he's a very valiant Trencher-man, hee hath an
excellent stomacke

Mess. And a good souldier too Lady

Beat. And a good souldier to a Lady. But what is he
to a Lord?
Mess. A Lord to a Lord, a man to a man, stuft with
all honourable vertues

Beat. It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man:
but for the stuffing well, we are all mortall

Leon. You must not (sir) mistake my Neece, there is
a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick, & her:
they neuer meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between

Bea. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict,
foure of his fiue wits went halting off, and now is
the whole man gouern'd with one: so that if hee haue
wit enough to keepe himselfe warme, let him beare it
for a difference betweene himselfe and his horse: For it
is all the wealth that he hath left, to be knowne a reasonable
creature. Who is his companion now? He hath
euery month a new sworne brother

Mess. Is't possible?
Beat. Very easily possible: he weares his faith but as
the fashion of his hat, it euer changes with y next block

Mess. I see (Lady) the Gentleman is not in your

Bea. No, and he were, I would burne 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
Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble

Beat. O Lord, he will hang vpon him like a disease:
he is sooner caught then the pestilence, and the taker
runs presently mad. God helpe the noble Claudio, if hee
haue caught the Benedict, it will cost him a thousand
pound ere he be cur'd

Mess. I will hold friends with you Lady

Bea. Do good friend

Leo. You'l ne're run mad Neece

Bea. No, not till a hot Ianuary

Mess. Don Pedro is approach'd.

Enter don Pedro, Claudio, Benedicke, Balthasar, and Iohn the

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

Leon. Neuer came trouble to my house in the likenes
of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
remaine: but when you depart from me, sorrow abides,
and happinesse takes his leaue

Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly: I
thinke this is your daughter

Leonato. Her mother hath many times told me so

Bened. Were you in doubt that you askt her?
Leonato. Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a

Pedro. You haue it full Benedicke, we may ghesse by
this, what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers
her selfe: be happie Lady, for you are like an honorable

Ben. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
haue his head on her shoulders for al Messina, as like him
as she is

Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior
Benedicke, no body markes you

Ben. What my deere Ladie Disdaine! are you yet
Beat. Is it possible Disdaine should die, while shee
hath such meete foode to feede it, as Signior Benedicke?
Curtesie it selfe must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in
her presence

Bene. Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is certaine
I am loued of all Ladies, onely you excepted: and
I would I could finde in my heart that I had not a hard
heart, for truely I loue none

Beat. A deere happinesse to women, they would else
haue beene troubled with a pernitious Suter, I thanke
God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that, I
had rather heare my Dog barke at a Crow, than a man
sweare he loues me

Bene. God keepe your Ladiship still in that minde,
so some Gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate
scratcht face

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

Bene. Well, you are a rare Parrat teacher

Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of

Ben. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
and so good a continuer, but keepe your way a Gods
name, I haue done

Beat. You alwaies end with a Iades tricke, I know
you of old

Pedro. This is the summe of all: Leonato, signior Claudio,
and signior Benedicke; my deere friend Leonato, hath
inuited you all, I tell him we shall stay here, at the least
a moneth, and he heartily praies some occasion may detaine
vs longer: I dare sweare hee is no hypocrite, but
praies from his heart

Leon. If you sweare, my Lord, you shall not be forsworne,
let mee bid you welcome, my Lord, being reconciled
to the Prince your brother: I owe you all

Iohn. I thanke you, I am not of many words, but I
thanke you

Leon. Please it your grace leade on?
Pedro. Your hand Leonato, we will goe together.

Exeunt. Manet Benedicke and Claudio.

Clau. Benedicke, didst thou note the daughter of signior
Bene. I noted her not, but I lookt on her

Claud. Is she not a modest yong Ladie?
Bene. Doe you question me as an honest man should
doe, for my simple true iudgement? or would you haue
me speake after my custome, as being a professed tyrant
to their sexe?
Clau. No, I pray thee speake in sober iudgement

Bene. Why yfaith me thinks shee's too low for a hie
praise, too browne for a faire praise, and too little for a
great praise, onely this commendation I can affoord her,
that were shee other then she is, she were vnhandsome,
and being no other, but as she is, I doe not like her

Clau. Thou think'st I am in sport, I pray thee tell me
truely how thou lik'st her

Bene. Would you buie her, that you enquier after
Clau. Can the world buie such a iewell?
Ben. Yea, and a case to put it into, but speake you this
with a sad brow? Or doe you play the flowting iacke, to
tell vs Cupid is a good Hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare
Carpenter: Come, in what key shall a man take you to
goe in the song?
Clau. In mine eie, she is the sweetest Ladie that euer
I lookt on

Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no
such matter: there's her cosin, and she were not possest
with a furie, exceedes her as much in beautie, as the first
of Maie doth the last of December: but I hope you haue
no intent to turne husband, haue you?
Clau. I would scarce trust my selfe, though I had
sworne the contrarie, if Hero would be my wife

Bene. Ist come to this? in faith hath not the world one
man but he will weare his cap with suspition? shall I neuer
see a batcheller of three score againe? goe to yfaith,
and thou wilt needes thrust thy necke into a yoke, weare
the print of it, and sigh away sundaies: looke, don Pedro
is returned to seeke you.

Enter don Pedro, Iohn the bastard.

Pedr. What secret hath held you here, that you followed
not to Leonatoes?
Bened. I would your Grace would constraine mee to

Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegeance

Ben. You heare, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a
dumbe man, I would haue you thinke so (but on my allegiance,
marke you this, on my allegiance) hee is in
loue, With who? now that is your Graces part: marke
how short his answere is, with Hero, Leonatoes short

Clau. If this were so, so were it vttred

Bened. Like the old tale, my Lord, it is not so, nor 'twas
not so: but indeede, God forbid it should be so

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

Pedro. Amen, if you loue her, for the Ladie is verie
well worthie

Clau. You speake this to fetch me in, my Lord

Pedr. By my troth I speake my thought

Clau. And in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine

Bened. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I
speake mine

Clau. That I loue her, I feele

Pedr. That she is worthie, I know

Bened. That I neither feele how shee should be loued,
nor know how shee should be worthie, is the
opinion that fire cannot melt out of me, I will die in it at
the stake

Pedr. Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the despight
of Beautie

Clau. And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the
force of his will
Ben. That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that
she brought mee vp, I likewise giue her most humble
thankes: but that I will haue a rechate winded in my
forehead, or hang my bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all
women shall pardon me: because I will not do them the
wrong to mistrust any, I will doe my selfe the right to
trust none: and the fine is, (for the which I may goe the
finer) I will liue a Batchellor

Pedro. I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue

Bene. With anger, with sicknesse, or with hunger,
my Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more
blood with loue, then I will get againe with drinking,
picke out mine eyes with a Ballet-makers penne, and
hang me vp at the doore of a brothel-house for the signe
of blinde Cupid

Pedro. Well, if euer thou doost fall from this faith,
thou wilt proue a notable argument

Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, & shoot
at me, and he that hit's me, let him be clapt on the shoulder,
and cal'd Adam

Pedro. Well, as time shall trie: In time the sauage
Bull doth beare the yoake

Bene. The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible
Benedicke beare it, plucke off the bulles hornes, and set
them in my forehead, and let me be vildely painted, and
in such great Letters as they write, heere is good horse
to hire: let them signifie vnder my signe, here you may
see Benedicke the married man

Clau. If this should euer happen, thou wouldst bee
horne mad

Pedro. Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his Quiuer in
Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly

Bene. I looke for an earthquake too then

Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the houres, in
the meane time, good Signior Benedicke, repaire to Leonatoes,
commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile
him at supper, for indeede he hath made great preparation

Bene. I haue almost matter enough in me for such an
Embassage, and so I commit you

Clau. To the tuition of God. From my house, if I
had it

Pedro. The sixt of Iuly. Your louing friend, Benedick

Bene. Nay mocke not, mocke not; the body of your
discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the
guardes are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flout
old ends any further, examine your conscience, and so I
leaue you.


Clau. My Liege, your Highnesse now may doe mee

Pedro. My loue is thine to teach, teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learne
Any hard Lesson that may do thee good

Clau. Hath Leonato any sonne my Lord?
Pedro. No childe but Hero, she's his onely heire.
Dost thou affect her Claudio?
Clau. O my Lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd vpon her with a souldiers eie,
That lik'd, but had a rougher taske in hand,
Than to driue liking to the name of loue:
But now I am return'd, and that warre-thoughts
Haue left their places vacant: in their roomes,
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting mee how faire yong Hero is,
Saying I lik'd her ere I went to warres

Pedro. Thou wilt be like a louer presently,
And tire the hearer with a booke of words:
If thou dost loue faire Hero, cherish it,
And I will breake with her: wast not to this end,
That thou beganst to twist so fine a story?
Clau. How sweetly doe you minister to loue,
That know loues griefe by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sodaine seeme,
I would haue salu'd it with a longer treatise

Ped. What need y bridge much broder then the flood?
The fairest graunt is the necessitie:
Looke what will serue, is fit: 'tis once, thou louest,
And I will fit thee with the remedie,
I know we shall haue reuelling to night,
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell faire Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosome Ile vnclaspe my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong incounter of my amorous tale:
Then after, to her father will I breake,
And the conclusion is, shee shall be thine,
In practise let vs put it presently.


Enter Leonato and an old man, brother to Leonato.

Leo. How now brother, where is my cosen your son:
hath he prouided this musicke?
Old. He is very busie about it, but brother, I can tell
you newes that you yet dreamt not of

Lo. Are they good?
Old. As the euents stamps them, but they haue a good
couer: they shew well outward, the Prince and Count
Claudio walking in a thick pleached alley in my orchard,
were thus ouer-heard by a man of mine: the Prince discouered
to Claudio that hee loued my niece your daughter,
and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance,
and if hee found her accordant, hee meant to take the
present time by the top, and instantly breake with you
of it

Leo. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
Old. A good sharpe fellow, I will send for him, and
question him your selfe

Leo. No, no; wee will hold it as a dreame, till it appeare
it selfe: but I will acquaint my daughter withall,
that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if peraduenture
this bee true: goe you and tell her of it: coosins,
you know what you haue to doe, O I crie you mercie
friend, goe you with mee and I will vse your skill,
good cosin haue a care this busie time.


Enter Sir Iohn the Bastard, and Conrade his companion.

Con. What the good yeere my Lord, why are you
thus out of measure sad?
Ioh. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds,
therefore the sadnesse is without limit

Con. You should heare reason

Iohn. And when I haue heard it, what blessing bringeth
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance

Ioh. I wonder that thou (being as thou saist thou art,
borne vnder Saturne) goest about to apply a morall medicine,
to a mortifying mischiefe: I cannot hide what I
am: I must bee sad when I haue cause, and smile at no
mans iests, eat when I haue stomacke, and wait for no
mans leisure: sleepe when I am drowsie, and tend on no
mans businesse, laugh when I am merry, and claw no man
in his humor

Con. Yea, but you must not make the ful show of this,
till you may doe it without controllment, you haue of
late stood out against your brother, and hee hath tane
you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you
should take root, but by the faire weather that you make
your selfe, it is needful that you frame the season for your
owne haruest

Iohn. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose
in his grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of
all, then to fashion a carriage to rob loue from any: in this
(though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man)
it must not be denied but I am a plaine dealing villaine, I
am trusted with a mussell, and enfranchisde with a clog,
therefore I haue 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 meane time, let me be that I am, and
seeke not to alter me

Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
Iohn. I will make all vse of it, for I vse it onely.
Who comes here? what newes Borachio?

Enter Borachio.

Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the Prince
your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can
giue you intelligence of an intended marriage

Iohn. Will it serue for any Modell to build mischiefe
on? What is hee for a foole that betrothes himselfe to
Bor. Mary it is your brothers right hand

Iohn. Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
Bor. Euen he

Iohn. A proper squier, and who, and who, which way
lookes he?
Bor. Mary on Hero, the daughter and Heire of Leonato

Iohn. A very forward March-chicke, how came you
to this:
Bor. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoaking
a musty roome, comes me the Prince and Claudio,
hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt behind the Arras,
and there heard it agreed vpon, that the Prince should
wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue
her to Count Claudio

Iohn. Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food
to my displeasure, that young start-vp hath all the glorie
of my ouerthrow: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse
my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and will assist
Conr. To the death my Lord

Iohn. Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the
greater that I am subdued, would the Cooke were of my
minde: shall we goe proue whats to be done?
Bor. Wee'll wait vpon your Lordship.


Actus Secundus.

Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
Beatrice his
neece, and a kinsman.

Leonato. Was not Count Iohn here at supper?
Brother. I saw him not

Beatrice. How tartly that Gentleman lookes, I neuer
can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an howre after

Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition

Beatrice. Hee were an excellent man that were made
iust in the mid-way betweene him and Benedicke, the one
is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too
like my Ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling

Leon. Then halfe signior Benedicks tongue in Count
Iohns mouth, and halfe Count Iohns melancholy in Signior
Benedicks face

Beat. With a good legge, and a good foot vnckle, and
money enough in his purse, such a man would winne any
woman in the world, if he could get her good will

Leon. By my troth Neece, thou wilt neuer get thee a
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue

Brother. Infaith shee's too curst

Beat. Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Gods
sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst Cow
short hornes, but to a Cow too curst he sends none

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

Beat. Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which
blessing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and
euening: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen

Leonato. You may light vpon a husband that hath no

Beatrice. What should I doe with him? dresse him in
my apparell, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? he
that hath a beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath
no beard, is lesse then a man: and hee that is more then a
youth, is not for mee: and he that is lesse then a man, I am
not for him: therefore I will euen take sixepence in earnest
of the Berrord, and leade his Apes into hell

Leon. Well then, goe you into hell

Beat. No, but to the gate, and there will the Deuill
meete mee like an old Cuckold with hornes on his head,
and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen,
heere's no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my Apes,
and away to S[aint]. Peter: for the heauens, hee shewes mee
where the Batchellers sit, and there liue wee as merry as
the day is long

Brother. Well neece, I trust you will be rul'd by your

Beatrice. Yes faith, it is my cosens dutie to make curtsie,
and say, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let
him be a handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie,
and say, father, as it please me

Leonato. Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted
with a husband

Beatrice. Not till God make men of some other mettall
then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouermastred
with a peece of valiant dust: to make account of
her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none:
Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sinne
to match in my kinred

Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you, if the
Prince doe solicit you in that kinde, you know your answere

Beatrice. The fault will be in the musicke cosin, if you
be not woed in good time: if the Prince bee too important,
tell him there is measure in euery thing, & so dance
out the answere, for heare me Hero, wooing, wedding, &
repenting, is as a Scotch jigge, a measure, and a cinquepace:
the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch jigge
(and full as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest,
(as a measure) full of state & aunchentry, and then comes
repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinquepace
faster and faster, till he sinkes into his graue

Leonato. Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly

Beatrice. I haue a good eye vnckle, I can see a Church
by daylight

Leon. The reuellers are entring brother, make good
Enter Prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthasar, or
dumbe Iohn,
Maskers with a drum.

Pedro. Lady, will you walke about with your friend?
Hero. So you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say
nothing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I
walke away

Pedro. With me in your company

Hero. I may say so when I please

Pedro. And when please you to say so?
Hero. When I like your fauour, for God defend the
Lute should be like the case

Pedro. My visor is Philemons roofe, within the house
is Loue

Hero. Why then your visor should be thatcht

Pedro. Speake low if you speake Loue

Bene. Well, I would you did like me

Mar. So would not I for your owne sake, for I haue
manie ill qualities

Bene. Which is one?
Mar. I say my prayers alowd

Ben. I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen

Mar. God match me with a good dauncer

Balt. Amen

Mar. And God keepe him out of my sight when the
daunce is done: answer Clarke

Balt. No more words, the Clarke is answered

Vrsula. I know you well enough, you are Signior Anthonio

Anth. At a word, I am not

Vrsula. I know you by the wagling of your head

Anth. To tell you true, I counterfet him

Vrsu. You could neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse
you were the very man: here's his dry hand vp & down,
you are he, you are he

Anth. At a word I am not

Vrsula. Come, come, doe you thinke I doe not know
you by your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? goe
to mumme, you are he, graces will appeare, and there's
an end

Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Bene. No, you shall pardon me

Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
Bened. Not now

Beat. That I was disdainfull, and that I had my good
wit out of the hundred merry tales: well, this was Signior
Benedicke that said so

Bene. What's he?
Beat. I am sure you know him well enough

Bene. Not I, beleeue me

Beat. Did he neuer make you laugh?
Bene. I pray you what is he?
Beat. Why he is the Princes ieaster, a very dull foole,
onely his gift is, in deuising impossible slanders, none
but Libertines delight in him, and the commendation is
not in his witte, but in his villanie, for hee both pleaseth
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
boorded me

Bene. When I know the Gentleman, Ile tell him what
you say

Beat. Do, do, hee'l but breake a comparison or two
on me, which peraduenture (not markt, or not laugh'd
at) strikes him into melancholly, and then there's a Partridge
wing saued, for the foole will eate no supper that
night. We must follow the Leaders

Ben. In euery good thing

Bea. Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them
at the next turning.


Musicke for the dance.

Iohn. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath
withdrawne her father to breake with him about it: the
Ladies follow her, and but one visor remaines

Borachio. And that is Claudio, I know him by his bearing

Iohn. Are not you signior Benedicke?
Clau. You know me well, I am hee

Iohn. Signior, you are verie neere my Brother in his
loue, he is enamor'd on Hero, I pray you disswade him
from her, she is no equall for his birth: you may do the
part of an honest man in it

Claudio. How know you he loues her?
Iohn. I heard him sweare his affection

Bor. So did I too, and he swore he would marrie her
to night

Iohn. Come, let vs to the banquet.

Ex. manet Clau.

Clau. Thus answere I in name of Benedicke,
But heare these ill newes with the eares of Claudio:
'Tis certaine so, the Prince woes for himselfe:
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Saue in the Office and affaires of loue:
Therefore all hearts in loue vse their owne tongues.
Let euerie eye negotiate for it selfe,
And trust no Agent: for beautie is a witch,
Against whose charmes, faith melteth into blood:
This is an accident of hourely proofe,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero.
Enter Benedicke.

Ben. Count Claudio

Clau. Yea, the same

Ben. Come, will you goe with me?
Clau. Whither?
Ben. Euen to the next Willow, about your own businesse,
Count. What fashion will you weare the Garland
off? About your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? Or
vnder your arme, like a Lieutenants scarfe? You must
weare it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero

Clau . I wish him ioy of her

Ben. Why that's spoken like an honest Drouier, so
they sel Bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince wold
haue serued you thus?
Clau. I pray you leaue me

Ben. Ho now you strike like the blindman, 'twas the
boy that stole your meate, and you'l beat the post

Clau. If it will not be, Ile leaue you.

Ben. Alas poore hurt fowle, now will he creepe into
sedges: But that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, &
not know me: the Princes foole! Hah? It may be I goe
vnder that title, because I am merrie: yea but so I am
apt to do my selfe wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the
base (though bitter) disposition of Beatrice, that putt's
the world into her person, and so giues me out: well, Ile
be reuenged as I may.
Enter the Prince.

Pedro. Now Signior, where's the Count, did you
see him?
Bene. Troth my Lord, I haue played the part of Lady
Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a
Warren, I told him, and I thinke, told him true, that your
grace had got the 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 binde him a rod, as being
worthy to be whipt

Pedro. To be whipt, what's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his
companion, and he steales it

Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression? the
transgression is in the stealer

Ben. Yet it had not been amisse the rod had beene
made, and the garland too, for the garland he might haue
worne himselfe, and the rod hee might haue bestowed on
you, who (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest

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

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

Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the
Gentleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much
wrong'd by you

Bene. O she misusde me past the indurance of a block:
an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue answered
her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold
with her: shee told mee, not thinking I had beene my
selfe, that I was the Princes Iester, and that I was duller
then a great thaw, hudling iest vpon iest, with such impossible
conueiance vpon me, that I stood like a man at a
marke, with a whole army shooting at me: shee speakes
poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her breath were
as terrible as terminations, there were no liuing neere
her, she would infect to the north starre: I would not
marry her, though she were indowed with all that Adam
had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made
Hercules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to
make the fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall finde
her the infernall Ate in good apparell. I would to God
some scholler would coniure her, for certainely while she
is heere, a man may liue as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary,
and people sinne vpon purpose, because they would goe
thither, so indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation
followes her.
Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato, Hero.

Pedro. Looke heere she comes

Bene. Will your Grace command mee any seruice to
the worlds end? I will goe on the slightest arrand now
to the Antypodes that you can deuise to send me on: I
will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch
of Asia: bring you the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch
you a hayre off the great Chams beard: doe you any embassage
to the Pigmies, rather then hould three words
conference, with this Harpy: you haue no employment
for me?
Pedro. None, but to desire your good company

Bene. O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot indure
this Lady tongue.

Pedr. Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of
Signior Benedicke

Beatr. Indeed my Lord, hee lent it me a while, and I
gaue him vse for it, a double heart for a single one, marry
once before he wonne it of mee, with false dice, therefore
your Grace may well say I haue lost it

Pedro. You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put
him downe

Beat. So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest
I should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought
Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke

Pedro. Why how now Count, wherfore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad my Lord

Pedro. How then? sicke?
Claud. Neither, my Lord

Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
nor well: but ciuill Count, ciuill as an Orange, and something
of a iealous complexion

Pedro. Ifaith Lady, I thinke your blazon to be true.
though Ile be sworne, if hee be so, his conceit is false:
heere Claudio, I haue wooed in thy name, and faire Hero
is won, I haue broke with her father, and his good will
obtained, name the day of marriage, and God giue
thee ioy

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

Beatr. Speake Count, tis your Qu

Claud. Silence is the perfectest Herault of ioy, I were
but little happy if I could say, how much? Lady, as you
are mine, I am yours, I giue away my selfe for you, and
doat vpon the exchange

Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth
with a kisse, and let not him speake neither

Pedro. In faith Lady you haue a merry heart

Beatr. Yea my Lord I thanke it, poore foole it keepes
on the windy side of Care, my coosin tells him in his eare
that he is in my heart

Clau. And so she doth coosin

Beat. Good Lord for alliance: thus goes euery one
to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may sit in a corner
and cry, heigh ho for a husband

Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one

Beat. I would rather haue one of your fathers getting:
hath your Grace ne're a brother like you? your father
got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them

Prince. Will you haue me? Lady

Beat. No, my Lord, vnlesse I might haue another for
working-daies, your Grace is too costly to weare euerie
day: but I beseech your Grace pardon mee, I was borne
to speake all mirth, and no matter

Prince. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry,
best becomes you, for out of question, you were born
in a merry howre

Beatr. No sure my Lord, my Mother cried, but then
there was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne: cosins
God giue you ioy

Leonato. Neece, will you looke to those things I told
you of?
Beat. I cry you mercy Vncle, by your Graces pardon.

Exit Beatrice.

Prince. By my troth a pleasant spirited Lady

Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her
my Lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleepes, and not
euer sad then: for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath
often dreamt of vnhappinesse, and wakt her selfe with

Pedro. Shee cannot indure to heare tell of a husband

Leonato. O, by no meanes, she mocks all her wooers
out of suite

Prince. She were an excellent wife for Benedick

Leonato. O Lord, my Lord, if they were but a weeke
married, they would talke themselues madde

Prince. Counte Claudio, when meane you to goe to
Clau. To morrow my Lord, Time goes on crutches,
till Loue haue all his rites

Leonato. Not till monday, my deare sonne, which is
hence a iust seuen night, and a time too briefe too, to haue
all things answer minde

Prince. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing,
but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not goe
dully by vs, I will in the interim, vndertake one of Hercules
labors, which is, to bring Signior Benedicke and the
Lady Beatrice into a mountaine of affection, th' one with
th' other, I would faine haue it a match, and I doubt not
but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance
as I shall giue you direction

Leonato. My Lord, I am for you, though it cost mee
ten nights watchings

Claud. And I my Lord

Prin. And you to gentle Hero?
Hero. I will doe any modest office, my Lord, to helpe
my cosin to a good husband

Prin. And Benedick is not the vnhopefullest husband
that I know: thus farre can I praise him, hee is of a noble
straine, of approued valour, and confirm'd honesty, I will
teach you how to humour your cosin, that shee shall fall
in loue with Benedicke, and I, with your two helpes, will
so practise on Benedicke, that in despight of his quicke
wit, and his queasie stomacke, hee shall fall in loue with
Beatrice: if wee can doe this, Cupid is no longer an Archer,
his glory shall be ours, for wee are the onely louegods,
goe in with me, and I will tell you my drift.

Enter Iohn and Borachio.

Ioh. It is so, the Count Claudio shal marry the daughter
of Leonato

Bora. Yea my Lord, but I can crosse it

Iohn. Any barre, any crosse, any impediment, will be
medicinable to me, I am sicke in displeasure to him, and
whatsoeuer comes athwart his affection, ranges euenly
with mine, how canst thou crosse this marriage?
Bor. Not honestly my Lord, but so couertly, that no
dishonesty shall appeare in me

Iohn. Shew me breefely how

Bor. I thinke I told your Lordship a yeere since, how
much I am in the fauour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman
to Hero

Iohn. I remember

Bor. I can at any vnseasonable instant of the night,
appoint her to looke out at her Ladies chamber window

Iohn. What life is in that, to be the death of this marriage?
Bor. The poyson of that lies in you to temper, goe
you to the Prince your brother, spare not to tell him, that
hee hath wronged his Honor in marrying the renowned
Claudio, whose estimation do you mightily hold vp, to a
contaminated stale, such a one as Hero

Iohn. What proofe shall I make of that?
Bor. Proofe enough, to misuse the Prince, to vexe
Claudio, to vndoe Hero, and kill Leonato, looke you for any
other issue?
Iohn. Onely to despight them, I will endeauour any

Bor. Goe then, finde me a meete howre, to draw on
Pedro and the Count Claudio alone, tell them that you
know that Hero loues me, intend a kinde of zeale both
to the Prince and Claudio (as in a loue of your brothers
honor who hath made this match) and his friends reputation,
who is thus like to be cosen'd with the semblance
of a maid, that you haue discouer'd thus: they will scarcely
beleeue this without triall: offer them instances which
shall beare no lesse likelihood, than to see mee at her
chamber window, heare me call Margaret, Hero; heare
Margaret terme me Claudio, and bring them to see this
the very night before the intended wedding, for in the
meane time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall
be absent, and there shall appeare such seeming truths of
Heroes disloyaltie, that iealousie shall be cal'd assurance,
and all the preparation ouerthrowne

Iohn. Grow this to what aduerse issue it can, I will
put it in practise: be cunning in the working this, and
thy fee is a thousand ducates

Bor. Be thou constant in the accusation, and my cunning
shall not shame me

Iohn. I will presentlie goe learne their day of marriage.

Enter Benedicke alone.

Bene. Boy

Boy. Signior

Bene. In my chamber window lies a booke, bring it
hither to me in the orchard

Boy. I am heere already sir.

Bene. I know that, but I would haue thee hence, and
heere againe. I doe much wonder, that one man seeing
how much another man is a foole, when he dedicates his
behauiours to loue, will after hee hath laught at such
shallow follies in others, become the argument of his
owne scorne, by falling in loue, & such a man is Claudio.
I haue known when there was no musicke with him but
the drum and the fife, and now had hee rather heare the
taber and the pipe: I haue knowne when he would haue
walkt ten mile afoot, to see a good armor, and now will
he lie ten nights awake caruing the fashion of a new dublet:
he was wont to speake plaine, & to the purpose (like
an honest man & a souldier) and now is he turn'd orthography,
his words are a very fantasticall banquet, iust so
many strange dishes: may I be so conuerted, & see with
these eyes? I cannot tell, I thinke not: I will not bee
sworne, but loue may transforme me to an oyster, but Ile
take my oath on it, till he haue made an oyster of me, he
shall neuer make me such a foole: one woman is faire, yet
I am well: another is wise, yet I am well: another vertuous,
yet I am well: but till all graces be in one woman,
one woman shall not come in my grace: rich shee shall
be, that's certaine: wise, or Ile none: vertuous, or Ile neuer
cheapen her: faire, or Ile neuer looke on her: milde,
or come not neere me: Noble, or not for an Angell: of
good discourse: an excellent Musitian, and her haire shal
be of what colour it please God, hah! the Prince and
Monsieur Loue, I will hide me in the Arbor.
Enter Prince, Leonato, Claudio, and Iacke Wilson.

Prin. Come, shall we heare this musicke?
Claud. Yea my good Lord: how still the euening is.
As husht on purpose to grace harmonie

Prin. See you where Benedicke hath hid himselfe?
Clau. O very well my Lord: the musicke ended,
Wee'll fit the kid-foxe with a penny worth

Prince. Come Balthasar, wee'll heare that song again

Balth. O good my Lord, taxe not so bad a voyce,
To slander musicke any more then once

Prin. It is the witnesse still of excellency,
To slander Musicke any more then once

Prince. It is the witnesse still of excellencie,
To put a strange face on his owne perfection,
I pray thee sing, and let me woe no more

Balth. Because you talke of wooing, I will sing,
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit,
To her he thinkes not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he sweare he loues

Prince. Nay pray thee come,
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Doe it in notes

Balth. Note this before my notes,
Theres not a note of mine that's worth the noting

Prince. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks,
Note notes forsooth, and nothing

Bene. Now diuine aire, now is his soule rauisht, is it
not strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of
mens bodies? well, a horne for my money when all's

The Song.

Sigh no more Ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceiuers euer,
One foote in Sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant neuer,
Then sigh not so, but let them goe,
And be you blithe and bonnie,
Conuerting all your sounds of woe,
Into hey nony nony.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heauy,
The fraud of men were euer so,
Since summer first was leauy,
Then sigh not so, &c

Prince. By my troth a good song

Balth. And an ill singer, my Lord

Prince. Ha, no, no faith, thou singst well enough for a

Ben. And he had been a dog that should haue howld
thus, they would haue hang'd him, and I pray God his
bad voyce bode no mischiefe, I had as liefe haue heard
the night-rauen, come what plague could haue come after

Prince. Yea marry, dost thou heare Balthasar? I pray
thee get vs some excellent musick: for to morrow night
we would haue it at the Lady Heroes chamber window

Balth. The best I can, my Lord.

Exit Balthasar.

Prince. Do so, farewell. Come hither Leonato, what
was it you told me of to day, that your Niece Beatrice
was in loue with signior Benedicke?
Cla. O I, stalke on, stalke on, the foule sits. I did neuer
thinke that Lady would haue loued any man

Leon. No, nor I neither, but most wonderful, that she
should so dote on Signior Benedicke, whom shee hath in
all outward behauiours seemed euer to abhorre

Bene. Is't possible? sits the winde in that corner?
Leo. By my troth my Lord, I cannot tell what to
thinke of it, but that she loues him with an inraged affection,
it is past the infinite of thought

Prince. May be she doth but counterfeit

Claud. Faith like enough

Leon. O God! counterfeit? there was neuer counterfeit
of passion, came so neere the life of passion as she discouers

Prince. Why what effects of passion shewes she?
Claud. Baite the hooke well, this fish will bite

Leon. What effects my Lord? shee will sit you, you
heard my daughter tell you how

Clau. She did indeed

Prince. How, how I pray you? you amaze me, I would
haue thought her spirit had beene inuincible against all
assaults of affection

Leo. I would haue sworne it had, my Lord, especially
against Benedicke

Bene. I should thinke this a gull, but that the whitebearded
fellow speakes it: knauery cannot sure hide
himselfe in such reuerence

Claud. He hath tane th' infection, hold it vp

Prince. Hath shee made her affection known to Benedicke:
Leonato. No, and sweares she neuer will, that's her

Claud. 'Tis true indeed, so your daughter saies: shall
I, saies she, that haue so oft encountred him with scorne,
write to him that I loue him?
Leo. This saies shee now when shee is beginning to
write to him, for shee'll be vp twenty times a night, and
there will she sit in her smocke, till she haue writ a sheet
of paper: my daughter tells vs all

Clau. Now you talke of a sheet of paper, I remember
a pretty iest your daughter told vs of

Leon. O when she had writ it, & was reading it ouer,
she found Benedicke and Beatrice betweene the sheete

Clau. That

Leon. O she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence,
raild at her self, that she should be so immodest to write,
to one that shee knew would flout her: I measure him,
saies she, by my owne spirit, for I should flout him if hee
writ to mee, yea though I loue him, I should

Clau. Then downe vpon her knees she falls, weepes,
sobs, beates her heart, teares her hayre, praies, curses, O
sweet Benedicke, God giue me patience

Leon. She doth indeed, my daughter saies so, and the
extasie hath so much ouerborne her, that my daughter is
somtime afeard she will doe a desperate out-rage to her
selfe, it is very true

Prince. It were good that Benedicke knew of it by some
other, if she will not discouer it

Clau. To what end? he would but make a sport of it,
and torment the poore Lady worse

Prin. And he should, it were an almes to hang him,
shee's an excellent sweet Lady, and (out of all suspition,)
she is vertuous

Claudio. And she is exceeding wise

Prince. In euery thing, but in louing Benedicke

Leon. O my Lord, wisedome and bloud combating in
so tender a body, we haue ten proofes to one, that bloud
hath the victory, I am sorry for her, as I haue iust cause,
being her Vncle, and her Guardian

Prince. I would shee had bestowed this dotage on
mee, I would haue daft all other respects, and made her
halfe my selfe: I pray you tell Benedicke of it, and heare
what he will say

Leon. Were it good thinke you?
Clau. Hero thinkes surely she wil die, for she saies she
will die, if hee loue her not, and shee will die ere shee
make her loue knowne, and she will die if hee wooe her,
rather than shee will bate one breath of her accustomed

Prince. She doth well, if she should make tender of her
loue, 'tis very possible hee'l scorne it, for the man (as you
know all) hath a contemptible spirit

Clau. He is a very proper man

Prin. He hath indeed a good outward happines

Clau. 'Fore God, and in my minde very wise

Prin. He doth indeed shew some sparkes that are like

Leon. And I take him to be valiant

Prin. As Hector, I assure you, and in the managing of
quarrels you may see hee is wise, for either hee auoydes
them with great discretion, or vndertakes them with a
Christian-like feare

Leon. If hee doe feare God, a must necessarilie keepe
peace, if hee breake the peace, hee ought to enter into a
quarrell with feare and trembling

Prin. And so will he doe, for the man doth fear God,
howsoeuer it seemes not in him, by some large ieasts hee
will make: well, I am sorry for your niece, shall we goe
see Benedicke, and tell him of her loue

Claud. Neuer tell him, my Lord, let her weare it out
with good counsell

Leon. Nay that's impossible, she may weare her heart
out first

Prin. Well, we will heare further of it by your daughter,
let it coole the while, I loue Benedicke well, and I
could wish he would modestly examine himselfe, to see
how much he is vnworthy to haue so good a Lady

Leon. My Lord, will you walke? dinner is ready

Clau. If he do not doat on her vpon this, I wil neuer
trust my expectation

Prin. Let there be the same Net spread for her, and
that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry:
the sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of anothers
dotage, and no such matter, that's the Scene that I
would see, which will be meerely a dumbe shew: let vs
send her to call him into dinner.


Bene. This can be no tricke, the conference was sadly
borne, they haue the truth of this from Hero, they seeme
to pittie the Lady: it seemes her affections haue the full
bent: loue me? why it must be requited: I heare how I
am censur'd, they say I will beare my selfe proudly, if I
perceiue the loue come from her: they say too, that she
will rather die than giue any signe of affection: I did neuer
thinke to marry, I must not seeme proud, happy are
they that heare their detractions, and can put them to
mending: they say the Lady is faire, 'tis a truth, I can
beare them witnesse: and vertuous, tis so, I cannot reprooue
it, and wise, but for louing me, by my troth it is
no addition to her witte, nor no great argument of her
folly; for I wil be horribly in loue with her, I may chance
haue some odde quirkes and remnants of witte broken
on mee, because I haue rail'd so long against marriage:
but doth not the appetite alter? a man loues the meat in
his youth, that he cannot indure in his age. Shall quips
and sentences, and these paper bullets of the braine awe
a man from the careere of his humour? No, the world
must be peopled. When I said I would die a batcheler, I
did not think I should liue till I were maried, here comes
Beatrice: by this day, shee's a faire Lady, I doe spie some
markes of loue in her.
Enter Beatrice.

Beat. Against my wil I am sent to bid you come in to

Bene. Faire Beatrice, I thanke you for your paines

Beat. I tooke no more paines for those thankes, then
you take paines to thanke me, if it had been painefull, I
would not haue come

Bene. You take pleasure then in the message

Beat. Yea iust so much as you may take vpon a kniues
point, and choake a daw withall: you haue no stomacke
signior, fare you well.

Bene. Ha, against my will I am sent to bid you come
into dinner: there's a double meaning in that: I tooke
no more paines for those thankes then you took paines
to thanke me, that's as much as to say, any paines that I
take for you is as easie as thankes: if I do not take pitty
of her I am a villaine, if I doe not loue her I am a Iew, I
will goe get her picture.

Actus Tertius.

Enter Hero and two Gentlemen, Margaret, and Vrsula.

Hero. Good Margaret runne thee to the parlour,
There shalt thou finde my Cosin Beatrice,
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio,
Whisper her eare, and tell her I and Vrsula,
Walke in the Orchard, and our whole discourse
Is all of her, say that thou ouer-heardst vs,
And bid her steale into the pleached bower,
Where hony-suckles ripened by the sunne,
Forbid the sunne to enter: like fauourites,
Made proud by Princes, that aduance their pride,
Against that power that bred it, there will she hide her,
To listen our purpose, this is thy office,
Beare thee well in it, and leaue vs alone

Marg. Ile make her come I warrant you presently

Hero. Now Vrsula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley vp and downe,
Our talke must onely be of Benedicke,
When I doe name him, let it be thy part,
To praise him more then euer man did merit,
My talke to thee must be how Benedicke
Is sicke in loue with Beatrice; of this matter,
Is little Cupids crafty arrow made,
That onely wounds by heare-say: now begin,
Enter Beatrice.

For looke where Beatrice like a Lapwing runs
Close by the ground, to heare our conference

Vrs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden ores the siluer streame,
And greedily deuoure the treacherous baite:
So angle we for Beatrice, who euen now,
Is couched in the wood-bine couerture,
Feare you not my part of the Dialogue

Her. Then go we neare her that her eare loose nothing,
Of the false sweete baite that we lay for it:
No truely Vrsula, she is too disdainfull,
I know her spirits are as coy and wilde,
As Haggerds of the rocke

Vrsula. But are you sure,
That Benedicke loues Beatrice so intirely?
Her. So saies the Prince, and my new trothed Lord

Vrs. And did they bid you tell her of it, Madam?
Her. They did intreate me to acquaint her of it,
But I perswaded them, if they lou'd Benedicke,
To wish him wrastle with affection,
And neuer to let Beatrice know of it

Vrsula. Why did you so, doth not the Gentleman
Deserue as full as fortunate a bed,
As euer Beatrice shall couch vpon?
Hero. O God of loue! I know he doth deserue,
As much as may be yeelded to a man:
But Nature neuer fram'd a womans heart,
Of prowder stuffe then that of Beatrice:
Disdaine and Scorne ride sparkling in her eyes,
Mis-prizing what they looke on, and her wit
Values it selfe so highly, that to her
All matter else seemes weake: she cannot loue,
Nor take no shape nor proiect of affection,
Shee is so selfe indeared

Vrsula. Sure I thinke so,
And therefore certainely it were not good
She knew his loue, lest she make sport at it

Hero. Why you speake truth, I neuer yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, yong, how rarely featur'd.
But she would spell him backward: if faire fac'd,
She would sweare the gentleman should be her sister:
If blacke, why Nature drawing of an anticke,
Made a foule blot: if tall, a launce ill headed:
If low, an agot very vildlie cut:
If speaking, why a vane blowne with all windes:
If silent, why a blocke moued with none.
So turnes she euery man the wrong side out,
And neuer giues to Truth and Vertue, that
Which simplenesse and merit purchaseth

Vrsu. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable

Hero. No, not to be so odde, and from all fashions,
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable,
But who dare tell her so? if I should speake,
She would mocke me into ayre, O she would laugh me
Out of my selfe, presse me to death with wit,
Therefore let Benedicke like couered fire,
Consume away in sighes, waste inwardly:
It were a better death, to die with mockes,
Which is as bad as die with tickling

Vrsu. Yet tell her of it, heare what shee will say

Hero. No, rather I will goe to Benedicke,
And counsaile him to fight against his passion,
And truly Ile deuise some honest slanders,
To staine my cosin with, one doth not know,
How much an ill word may impoison liking

Vrsu. O doe not doe your cosin such a wrong,
She cannot be so much without true iudgement,
Hauing so swift and excellent a wit
As she is prisde to haue, as to refuse
So rare a Gentleman as signior Benedicke

Hero. He is the onely man of Italy,
Alwaies excepted, my deare Claudio

Vrsu. I pray you be not angry with me, Madame,
Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedicke,
For shape, for bearing argument and valour,
Goes formost in report through Italy

Hero. Indeed he hath an excellent good name

Vrsu. His excellence did earne it ere he had it:
When are you married Madame?
Hero. Why euerie day to morrow, come goe in,
Ile shew thee some attires, and haue thy counsell,
Which is the best to furnish me to morrow

Vrsu. Shee's tane I warrant you,
We haue caught her Madame?
Hero. If it proue so, then louing goes by haps,
Some Cupid kills with arrowes, some with traps.

Beat. What fire is in mine eares? can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorne so much?
Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adew,
No glory liues behinde the backe of such.
And Benedicke, loue on, I will requite thee,
Taming my wilde heart to thy louing hand:
If thou dost loue, my kindnesse shall incite thee
To binde our loues vp in a holy band.
For others say thou dost deserue, and I
Beleeue it better then reportingly.

Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.

Prince. I doe but stay till your marriage be consummate,
and then go I toward Arragon

Clau. Ile bring you thither my Lord, if you'l vouchsafe

Prin. Nay, that would be as great a soyle in the new
glosse of your marriage, as to shew a childe his new coat
and forbid him to weare it, I will onely bee bold with
Benedicke for his companie, for from the crowne of his
head, to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth, he hath twice
or thrice cut Cupids bow-string, and the little hang-man
dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart as sound as a bell,
and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinkes,
his tongue speakes

Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin

Leo. So say I, methinkes you are sadder

Claud. I hope he be in loue

Prin. Hang him truant, there's no true drop of bloud
in him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sad, he wants

Bene. I haue the tooth-ach

Prin. Draw it

Bene. Hang it

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

Prin. What? sigh for the tooth-ach

Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme

Bene. Well, euery one cannot master a griefe, but hee
that has it

Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue

Prin. There is no appearance of fancie in him, vnlesse
it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to bee a
Dutchman to day, a Frenchman to morrow: vnlesse hee
haue a fancy to this foolery, as it appeares hee hath, hee
is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it to appeare
he is

Clau. If he be not in loue with some woman, there
is no beleeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings,
What should that bode?
Prin. Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
Clau. No, but the Barbers man hath beene seen with
him, and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath alreadie
stuft tennis balls

Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than hee did, by the
losse of a beard

Prin. Nay a rubs himselfe with Ciuit, can you smell
him out by that?
Clau. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in

Prin. The greatest note of it is his melancholy

Clau. And when was he wont to wash his face?
Prin. Yea, or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare
what they say of him

Clau. Nay, but his iesting spirit, which is now crept
into a lute-string, and now gouern'd by stops

Prin. Indeed that tels a heauy tale for him: conclude,
he is in loue

Clau. Nay, but I know who loues him

Prince. That would I know too, I warrant one that
knowes him not

Cla. Yes, and his ill conditions, and in despight of all,
dies for him

Prin. Shee shall be buried with her face vpwards

Bene. Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old signior,
walke aside with mee, I haue studied eight or nine
wise words to speake to you, which these hobby-horses
must not heare

Prin. For my life to breake with him about Beatrice

Clau. 'Tis euen so, Hero and Margaret haue by this
played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two Beares
will not bite one another when they meete.
Enter Iohn the Bastard.

Bast. My Lord and brother, God saue you

Prin. Good den brother

Bast. If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you

Prince. In priuate?
Bast. If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare,
for what I would speake of, concernes him

Prin. What's the matter?
Basta. Meanes your Lordship to be married to morrow?
Prin. You know he does

Bast. I know not that when he knowes what I know

Clau. If there be any impediment, I pray you discouer

Bast. You may thinke I loue you not, let that appeare
hereafter, and ayme better at me by that I now will manifest,
for my brother (I thinke, he holds you well, and in
dearenesse of heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing
marriage: surely sute ill spent, and labour ill bestowed

Prin. Why, what's the matter?
Bastard. I came hither to tell you, and circumstances
shortned, (for she hath beene too long a talking of) the
Lady is disloyall

Clau. Who Hero?
Bast. Euen shee, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery
mans Hero

Clau. Disloyall?
Bast. The word is too good to paint out her wickednesse,
I could say she were worse, thinke you of a worse
title, and I will fit her to it: wonder not till further warrant:
goe but with mee to night, you shal see her chamber
window entred, euen the night before her wedding
day, if you loue her, then to morrow wed her: But it
would better fit your honour to change your minde

Claud. May this be so?
Princ. I will not thinke it

Bast. If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not
that you know: if you will follow mee, I will shew you
enough, and when you haue seene more, & heard more,
proceed accordingly

Clau. If I see any thing to night, why I should not
marry her to morrow in the congregation, where I shold
wedde, there will I shame her

Prin. And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I will
ioyne with thee to disgrace her

Bast. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my
witnesses, beare it coldly but till night, and let the issue
shew it selfe

Prin. O day vntowardly turned!
Claud. O mischiefe strangelie thwarting!
Bastard. O plague right well preuented! so will you
say, when you haue seene the sequele.

Enter Dogbery and his compartner with the watch.

Dog. Are you good men and true?
Verg. Yea, or else it were pitty but they should suffer
saluation body and soule

Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for
them, if they should haue any allegiance in them, being
chosen for the Princes watch

Verges. Well, giue them their charge, neighbour

Dog. First, who thinke you the most desartlesse man
to be Constable

Watch.1. Hugh Ote-cake sir, or George Sea-coale, for
they can write and reade

Dogb. Come hither neighbour Sea-coale, God hath
blest you with a good name: to be a wel-fauoured man,
is the gift of Fortune, but to write and reade, comes by

Watch 2. Both which Master Constable
Dogb. You haue: I knew it would be your answere:
well, for your fauour sir, why giue God thankes, & make
no boast of it, and for your writing and reading, let that
appeare when there is no need of such vanity, you are
thought heere to be the most senslesse and fit man for the
Constable of the watch: therefore beare you the lanthorne:
this is your charge: You shall comprehend all
vagrom men, you are to bid any man stand in the Princes

Watch 2. How if a will not stand?
Dogb. Why then take no note of him, but let him go,
and presently call the rest of the Watch together, and
thanke God you are ridde of a knaue

Verges. If he will not stand when he is bidden, hee is
none of the Princes subiects

Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but
the Princes subiects: you shall also make no noise in the
streetes: for, for the Watch to babble and talke, is most
tollerable, and not to be indured

Watch. We will rather sleepe than talke, wee know
what belongs to a Watch

Dog. Why you speake like an ancient and most quiet
watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend:
only haue a care that your bills be not stolne: well, you
are to call at all the Alehouses, and bid them that are
drunke get them to bed

Watch. How if they will not?
Dogb. Why then let them alone till they are sober, if
they make you not then the better answere, you may say,
they are not the men you tooke them for

Watch. Well sir,
Dogb. If you meet a theefe, you may suspect him, by
vertue of your office, to be no true man: and for such
kinde of men, the lesse you meddle or make with them,
why the more is for your honesty

Watch. If wee know him to be a thiefe, shall wee not
lay hands on him

Dogb. Truly by your office you may, but I think they
that touch pitch will be defil'd: the most peaceable way
for you, if you doe take a theefe, is, to let him shew himselfe
what he is, and steale out of your company

Ver. You haue bin alwaies cal'd a merciful ma[n] partner

Dog. Truely I would not hang a dog by my will, much
more a man who hath anie honestie in him

Verges. If you heare a child crie in the night you must
call to the nurse, and bid her still it

Watch. How if the nurse be asleepe and will not
heare vs?
Dog. Why then depart in peace, and let the childe
wake her with crying, for the ewe that will not heare
her Lambe when it baes, will neuer answere a calfe when
he bleates

Verges. 'Tis verie true

Dog. This is the end of the charge: you constable
are to present the Princes owne person, if you meete the
Prince in the night, you may staie him

Verges. Nay birladie that I thinke a cannot

Dog. Fiue shillings to one on't with anie man that
knowes the Statutes, he may staie him, marrie 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. Birladie I thinke it be so

Dog. Ha, ah ha, well masters good night, and there be
anie matter of weight chances, call vp me, keepe your
fellowes counsailes, and your owne, and good night,
come neighbour

Watch. Well masters, we heare our charge, let vs go
sit here vpon the Church bench till two, and then all to

Dog. One word more, honest neighbors. I pray you
watch about signior Leonatoes doore, for the wedding being
there to morrow, there is a great coyle to night,
adiew, be vigitant I beseech you.


Enter Borachio and Conrade.

Bor. What, Conrade?
Watch. Peace, stir not

Bor. Conrade I say

Con. Here man, I am at thy elbow

Bor. Mas and my elbow itcht, I thought there would
a scabbe follow

Con. I will owe thee an answere for that, and now
forward with thy tale

Bor. Stand thee close then vnder this penthouse, for it
drissels raine, and I will, like a true drunkard, vtter all to

Watch. Some treason masters, yet stand close

Bor. Therefore know, I haue earned of Don Iohn a
thousand Ducates

Con. Is it possible that anie villanie should be so deare?
Bor. Thou should'st rather aske if it were possible anie
villanie should be so rich? for when rich villains haue
neede of poore ones, poore ones may make what price
they will

Con. I wonder at it

Bor. That shewes thou art vnconfirm'd, thou knowest
that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloake, is nothing
to a man

Con. Yes, it is apparell

Bor. I meane the fashion

Con. Yes the fashion is the fashion

Bor. Tush, I may as well say the foole's the foole, but
seest thou not what a deformed theefe this fashion is?
Watch. I know that deformed, a has bin a vile theefe,
this vii. yeares, a goes vp and downe like a gentle man:
I remember his name

Bor. Did'st thou not heare some bodie?
Con. No, 'twas the vaine on the house

Bor. Seest thou not (I say) what a deformed thiefe
this fashion is, how giddily a turnes about all the Hotblouds,
betweene, foureteene & fiue & thirtie, sometimes
fashioning them like Pharaoes souldiours in the rechie
painting, sometime like god Bels priests in the old
Church window, sometime like the shauen Hercules in
the smircht worm-eaten tapestrie, where his cod-peece
seemes as massie as his club

Con. All this I see, and see that the fashion weares out
more apparrell then the man; but art not thou thy selfe
giddie with the fashion too that thou hast shifted out of
thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
Bor. Not so neither, but know that I haue to night
wooed Margaret the Lady Heroes gentle-woman, by the
name of Hero, she leanes me out at her mistris chamberwindow,
bids me a thousand times good night: I tell
this tale vildly. I should first tell thee how the Prince
Claudio and my Master planted, and placed, and possessed
by my Master Don Iohn, saw a far off in the Orchard this
amiable incounter

Con. And thought thy Margaret was Hero?
Bor. Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio, but the
diuell my Master knew she was Margaret and partly by
his oathes, which first possest them, partly by the darke
night which did deceiue them, but chiefely, by my villanie,
which did confirme any slander that Don Iohn had
made, away went Claudio enraged, swore hee would
meete her as he was apointed next morning at the Temple,
and there, before the whole congregation shame her
with what he saw o're night, and send her home againe
without a husband

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