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Much adoe about Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Watch.1. We charge you in the Princes name stand

Watch.2. Call vp the right master Constable, we haue
here recouered the most dangerous peece of lechery, that
euer was knowne in the Common-wealth

Watch.1. And one Deformed is one of them, I know
him, a weares a locke

Conr. Masters, masters

Watch.2. Youle be made bring deformed forth I warrant
Conr. Masters, neuer speake, we charge you, let vs obey
you to goe with vs

Bor. We are like to proue a goodly commoditie, being
taken vp of these mens bils

Conr. A commoditie in question I warrant you, come
weele obey you.


Enter Hero, and Margaret, and Vrsula.

Hero. Good Vrsula wake my cosin Beatrice, and desire
her to rise

Vrsu. I will Lady

Her. And bid her come hither

Vrs. Well

Mar. Troth I thinke your other rebato were better

Hero. No pray thee good Meg, Ile weare this

Marg. By my troth's not so good, and I warrant your
cosin will say so

Hero. My cosin's a foole, and thou art another, ile
weare none but this

Mar. I like the new tire within excellently, if the
haire were a thought browner: and your gown's a most
rare fashion yfaith, I saw the Dutchesse of Millaines
gowne that they praise so

Hero. O that exceedes they say

Mar. By my troth's but a night-gowne in respect of
yours, cloth a gold and cuts, and lac'd with siluer, set with
pearles, downe sleeues, side sleeues, and skirts, round vnderborn
with a blewish tinsel, but for a fine queint gracefull
and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't

Hero. God giue mee ioy to weare it, for my heart is
exceeding heauy

Marga. 'Twill be heauier soone, by the waight of a

Hero. Fie vpon thee, art not asham'd?
Marg. Of what Lady? of speaking honourably? is
not marriage honourable in a beggar? is not your Lord
honourable without marriage? I thinke you would haue
me say, sauing your reuerence a husband: and bad thinking
doe not wrest true speaking, Ile offend no body, is
there any harme in the heauier for a husband? none I
thinke, and it be the right husband, and the right wife,
otherwise 'tis light and not heauy, aske my Lady Beatrice
else, here she comes.
Enter Beatrice.

Hero. Good morrow Coze

Beat. Good morrow sweet Hero

Hero. Why how now? do you speake in the sick tune?
Beat. I am out of all other tune, me thinkes

Mar. Claps into Light a loue, (that goes without a
burden,) do you sing it and Ile dance it

Beat. Ye Light aloue with your heeles, then if your
husband haue stables enough, you'll looke he shall lacke
no barnes

Mar. O illegitimate construction! I scorne that with
my heeles

Beat. 'Tis almost fiue a clocke cosin, 'tis time you
were ready, by my troth I am exceeding ill, hey ho

Mar. For a hauke, a horse, or a husband?
Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H

Mar. Well, and you be not turn'd Turke, there's no
more sayling by the starre

Beat. What meanes the foole trow?
Mar. Nothing I, but God send euery one their harts

Hero. These gloues the Count sent mee, they are an
excellent perfume

Beat. I am stuft cosin, I cannot smell

Mar. A maid and stuft! there's goodly catching of

Beat. O God helpe me, God help me, how long haue
you profest apprehension?
Mar. Euer since you left it, doth not my wit become
me rarely?
Beat. It is not seene enough, you should weare it in
your cap, by my troth I am sicke

Mar. Get you some of this distill'd carduus benedictus
and lay it to your heart, it is the onely thing for a qualm

Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thissell

Beat. Benedictus, why benedictus? you haue some morall
in this benedictus

Mar. Morall? no by my troth, I haue no morall meaning,
I meant plaine holy thissell, you may thinke perchance
that I thinke you are in loue, nay birlady I am not
such a foole to thinke what I list, nor I list not to thinke
what I can, nor indeed, I cannot thinke, if I would thinke
my hart out of thinking, that you are in loue, or that you
will be in loue, or that you can be in loue: yet Benedicke
was such another, and now is he become a man, he swore
hee would neuer marry, and yet now in despight of his
heart he eates his meat without grudging, and how you
may be conuerted I know not, but me thinkes you looke
with your eies as other women doe

Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keepes

Mar. Not a false gallop.
Enter Vrsula.

Vrsula. Madam, withdraw, the Prince, the Count, signior
Benedicke, Don Iohn, and all the gallants of the
towne are come to fetch you to Church

Hero. Helpe me to dresse mee good coze, good Meg,
good Vrsula.
Enter Leonato, and the Constable, and the Headborough.

Leonato. What would you with mee, honest neighbour?
Const.Dog. Mary sir I would haue some confidence
with you, that decernes you nearely

Leon. Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time
with me

Const.Dog. Mary this it is sir

Headb. Yes in truth it is sir

Leon. What is it my good friends?
Con.Do. Goodman Verges sir speakes a little of the
matter, an old man sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as
God helpe I would desire they were, but infaith honest
as the skin betweene his browes

Head. Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man liuing,
that is an old man, and no honester then I

Con.Dog. Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neighbour

Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious

Con.Dog. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are
the poore Dukes officers, but truely for mine owne part,
if I were as tedious as a King I could finde in my heart to
bestow it all of your worship

Leon. All thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
Const.Dog. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more
than 'tis, for I heare as good exclamation on your Worship
as of any man in the Citie, and though I bee but a
poore man, I am glad to heare it

Head. And so am I

Leon. I would faine know what you haue to say

Head. Marry sir our watch to night, excepting your
worships presence, haue tane a couple of as arrant
knaues as any in Messina

Con.Dog. A good old man sir, hee will be talking as
they say, when the age is in, the wit is out, God helpe vs,
it is a world to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges,
well, God's a good man, and two men ride of a horse,
one must ride behinde, an honest soule yfaith sir, by my
troth he is, as euer broke bread, but God is to bee worshipt,
all men are not alike, alas good neighbour

Leon. Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you

Con.Do. Gifts that God giues

Leon. I must leaue you

Con.Dog. One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede
comprehended two aspitious persons, & we would haue
them this morning examined before your worship

Leon. Take their examination your selfe, and bring it
me, I am now in great haste, as may appeare vnto you

Const. It shall be suffigance

Leon. Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well.

Messenger. My Lord, they stay for you to giue your
daughter to her husband

Leon. Ile wait vpon them, I am ready

Dogb. Goe good partner, goe get you to Francis Seacoale,
bid him bring his pen and inkehorne to the Gaole:
we are now to examine those men

Verges. And we must doe it wisely

Dogb. Wee will spare for no witte I warrant you:
heere's that shall driue some to a non-come, only
get the learned writer to set downe our excommunication,
and meet me at the Iaile.


Actus Quartus.

Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio, Benedicke, Hero,

Leonato. Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the
plaine forme of marriage, and you shal recount their particular
duties afterwards

Fran. You come hither, my Lord, to marry this Lady

Clau. No

Leo. To be married to her: Frier, you come to marrie

Frier. Lady, you come hither to be married to this

Hero. I doe

Frier. If either of you know any inward impediment
why you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your
soules to vtter it

Claud. Know you anie, Hero?
Hero. None my Lord

Frier. Know you anie, Count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, None

Clau. O what men dare do! what men may do! what
men daily do!
Bene. How now! interiections? why then, some be
of laughing, as ha, ha, he

Clau. Stand thee by Frier, father, by your leaue,
Will you with free and vnconstrained soule
Giue me this maid your daughter?
Leon. As freely sonne as God did giue her me

Cla. And what haue I to giue you back, whose worth
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
Prin. Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe

Clau. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulnes:
There Leonato, take her backe againe,
Giue not this rotten Orenge to your friend,
Shee's but the signe and semblance of her honour:
Behold how like a maid she blushes heere!
O what authoritie and shew of truth
Can cunning sinne couer it selfe withall!
Comes not that bloud, as modest euidence,
To witnesse simple Vertue? would you not sweare
All you that see her, that she were a maide,
By these exterior shewes? But she is none:
She knowes the heat of a luxurious bed:
Her blush is guiltinesse, not modestie

Leonato. What doe you meane, my Lord?
Clau. Not to be married,
Not to knit my soule to an approued wanton

Leon. Deere my Lord, if you in your owne proofe,
Haue vanquisht the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginitie

Clau. I know what you would say: if I haue knowne
You will say, she did imbrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the forehand sinne: No Leonato,
I neuer tempted her with word too large,
But as a brother to his sister, shewed
Bashfull sinceritie and comely loue

Hero. And seem'd I euer otherwise to you?
Clau. Out on thee seeming, I will write against it,
You seeme to me as Diane in her Orbe,
As chaste as is the budde ere it be blowne:
But you are more intemperate in your blood,
Than Venus, or those pampred animalls,
That rage in sauage sensualitie

Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speake so wide?
Leon. Sweete Prince, why speake not you?
Prin. What should I speake?
I stand dishonour'd that haue gone about,
To linke my deare friend to a common stale

Leon. Are these things spoken, or doe I but dreame?
Bast. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true

Bene. This lookes not like a nuptiall

Hero. True, O God!
Clau. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the Prince? is this the Princes brother?
Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne?
Leon. All this is so, but what of this my Lord?
Clau. Let me but moue one question to your daughter,
And by that fatherly and kindly power,
That you haue in her, bid her answer truly

Leo. I charge thee doe, as thou art my childe

Hero. O God defend me how am I beset,
What kinde of catechizing call you this?
Clau. To make you answer truly to your name

Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any iust reproach?
Claud. Marry that can Hero,
Hero it selfe can blot out Heroes vertue.
What man was he, talkt with you yesternight,
Out at your window betwixt twelue and one?
Now if you are a maid, answer to this

Hero. I talkt with no man at that howre my Lord

Prince. Why then you are no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry you must heare: vpon mine honor,
My selfe, my brother, and this grieued Count
Did see her, heare her, at that howre last night,
Talke with a ruffian at her chamber window,
Who hath indeed most like a liberall villaine,
Confest the vile encounters they haue had
A thousand times in secret

Iohn. Fie, fie, they are not to be named my Lord,
Not to be spoken of,
There is not chastitie enough in language,
Without offence to vtter them: thus pretty Lady
I am sorry for thy much misgouernment

Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou beene
If halfe thy outward graces had beene placed
About thy thoughts and counsailes of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foule, most faire, farewell
Thou pure impiety, and impious puritie,
For thee Ile locke vp all the gates of Loue,
And on my eie-lids shall Coniecture hang,
To turne all beauty into thoughts of harme,
And neuer shall it more be gracious

Leon. Hath no mans dagger here a point for me?
Beat. Why how now cosin, wherfore sink you down?
Bast. Come, let vs go: these things come thus to light,
Smother her spirits vp

Bene. How doth the Lady?
Beat. Dead I thinke, helpe vncle,
Hero, why Hero, Vncle, Signor Benedicke, Frier

Leonato. O Fate! take not away thy heauy hand,
Death is the fairest couer for her shame
That may be wisht for

Beatr. How now cosin Hero?
Fri. Haue comfort Ladie

Leon. Dost thou looke vp?
Frier. Yea, wherefore should she not?
Leon. Wherfore? Why doth not euery earthly thing
Cry shame vpon her? Could she heere denie
The storie that is printed in her blood?
Do not liue Hero, do not ope thine eyes:
For did I thinke thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger then thy shames,
My selfe would on the reward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Grieu'd I, I had but one?
Chid I, for that at frugal Natures frame?
O one too much by thee: why had I one?
Why euer was't thou louelie in my eies?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Tooke vp a beggars issue at my gates,
Who smeered thus, and mir'd with infamie,
I might haue said, no part of it is mine:
This shame deriues it selfe from vnknowne loines,
But mine, and mine I lou'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on mine so much,
That I my selfe, was to my selfe not mine:
Valewing of her, why she, O she is falne
Into a pit of Inke, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her cleane againe,
And salt too little, which may season giue
To her foule tainted flesh

Ben. Sir, sir, be patient: for my part, I am so attired
in wonder, I know not what to say

Bea. O on my soule my cosin is belied

Ben. Ladie, were you her bedfellow last night?
Bea. No, truly: not although vntill last night,
I haue this tweluemonth bin her bedfellow

Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd, O that is stronger made
Which was before barr'd vp with ribs of iron.
Would the Princes lie, and Claudio lie,
Who lou'd her so, that speaking of her foulnesse,
Wash'd it with teares? Hence from her, let her die

Fri. Heare me a little, for I haue onely bene silent so
long, and giuen way vnto this course of fortune, by noting
of the Ladie, I haue markt.
A thousand blushing apparitions,
To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames,
In Angel whitenesse beare away those blushes,
And in her eie there hath appear'd a fire
To burne the errors that these Princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a foole,
Trust not my reading, nor my obseruations,
Which with experimental seale doth warrant
The tenure of my booke: trust not my age,
My reuerence, calling, nor diuinitie,
If this sweet Ladie lye not guiltlesse heere,
Vnder some biting error

Leo. Friar, it cannot be:
Thou seest that all the Grace that she hath left,
Is, that she wil not adde to her damnation,
A sinne of periury, she not denies it:
Why seek'st thou then to couer with excuse,
That which appeares in proper nakednesse?
Fri. Ladie, what man is he you are accus'd of?
Hero. They know that do accuse me, I know none:
If I know more of any man aliue
Then that which maiden modestie doth warrant,
Let all my sinnes lacke mercy. O my Father,
Proue you that any man with me conuerst,
At houres vnmeete, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death

Fri. There is some strange misprision in the Princes

Ben. Two of them haue the verie bent of honor,
And if their wisedomes be misled in this:
The practise of it liues in Iohn the bastard,
Whose spirits toile in frame of villanies

Leo. I know not: if they speake but truth of her,
These hands shall teare her: If they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them shall wel heare of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this bloud of mine,
Nor age so eate vp my inuention,
Nor Fortune made such hauocke of my meanes,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall finde, awak'd in such a kinde,
Both strength of limbe, and policie of minde,
Ability in meanes, and choise of friends,
To quit me of them throughly

Fri. Pause awhile:
And let my counsell sway you in this case,
Your daughter heere the Princesse (left for dead)
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it, that she is dead indeed:
Maintaine a mourning ostentation,
And on your Families old monument,
Hang mournfull Epitaphes, and do all rites,
That appertaine vnto a buriall

Leon. What shall become of this? What wil this do?
Fri. Marry this wel carried, shall on her behalfe,
Change slander to remorse, that is some good,
But not for that dreame I on this strange course,
But on this trauaile looke for greater birth:
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Vpon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shal be lamented, pittied, and excus'd
Of euery hearer: for it so fals out,
That what we haue, we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enioy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why then we racke the value, then we finde
The vertue that possession would not shew vs
Whiles it was ours, so will it fare with Claudio:
When he shal heare she dyed vpon his words,
Th' Idea of her life shal sweetly creepe
Into his study of imagination.
And euery louely Organ of her life,
Shall come apparel'd in more precious habite:
More mouing delicate, and ful of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soule
Then when she liu'd indeed: then shal he mourne,
If euer Loue had interest in his Liuer,
And wish he had not so accused her:
No, though he thought his accusation true:
Let this be so, and doubt not but successe
Wil fashion the euent in better shape,
Then I can lay it downe in likelihood.
But if all ayme but this be leuelld false,
The supposition of the Ladies death,
Will quench the wonder of her infamie.
And if it sort not well, you may conceale her
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusiue and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, mindes and iniuries

Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Frier aduise you,
And though you know my inwardnesse and loue
Is very much vnto the Prince and Claudio.
Yet, by mine honor, I will deale in this,
As secretly and iustlie, as your soule
Should with your bodie

Leon. Being that I flow in greefe,
The smallest twine may lead me

Frier. 'Tis well consented, presently away,
For to strange sores, strangely they straine the cure,
Come Lady, die to liue, this wedding day
Perhaps is but prolong'd, haue patience & endure.

Bene. Lady Beatrice, haue you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weepe a while longer

Bene. I will not desire that

Beat. You haue no reason, I doe it freely

Bene. Surelie I do beleeue your fair cosin is wrong'd

Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserue of mee
that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to shew such friendship?
Beat. A verie euen way, but no such friend

Bene. May a man doe it?
Beat. It is a mans office, but not yours

Bene. I doe loue nothing in the world so well as you,
is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not, it were as
possible for me to say, I loued nothing so well as you, but
beleeue me not, and yet I lie not, I confesse nothing, nor
I deny nothing, I am sorry for my cousin

Bene. By my sword Beatrice thou lou'st me

Beat. Doe not sweare by it and eat it

Bene. I will sweare by it that you loue mee, and I will
make him eat it that sayes I loue not you

Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no sawce that can be deuised to it, I protest
I loue thee

Beat. Why then God forgiue me

Bene. What offence sweet Beatrice?
Beat. You haue stayed me in a happy howre, I was about
to protest I loued you

Bene. And doe it with all thy heart

Beat. I loue you with so much of my heart, that none
is left to protest

Bened. Come, bid me doe any thing for thee

Beat. Kill Claudio

Bene. Ha, not for the wide world

Beat. You kill me to denie, farewell

Bene. Tarrie sweet Beatrice

Beat. I am gone, though I am heere, there is no loue
in you, nay I pray you let me goe

Bene. Beatrice

Beat. Infaith I will goe

Bene. Wee'll be friends first

Beat. You dare easier be friends with mee, than fight
with mine enemy

Bene. Is Claudio thine enemie?
Beat. Is a not approued in the height a villaine, that
hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! what, beare her in hand vntill they
come to take hands, and then with publike accusation
vncouered slander, vnmittigated rancour? O God that I
were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place

Bene. Heare me Beatrice

Beat. Talke with a man out at a window, a proper

Bene. Nay but Beatrice

Beat. Sweet Hero, she is wrong'd, shee is slandered,
she is vndone

Bene. Beat?
Beat. Princes and Counties! surelie a Princely testimonie,
a goodly Count, Comfect, a sweet Gallant surelie,
O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any
friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted
into cursies, valour into complement, and men are
onelie turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now
as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and sweares it:
I cannot be a man with wishing, therfore I will die a woman
with grieuing

Bene. Tarry good Beatrice, by this hand I loue thee

Beat. Vse it for my loue some other way then swearing
by it

Bened. Thinke you in your soule the Count Claudio
hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I haue a thought, or a soule

Bene. Enough, I am engagde, I will challenge him, I
will kisse your hand, and so leaue you: by this hand Claudio
shall render me a deere account: as you heare of me,
so thinke of me: goe comfort your coosin, I must say she
is dead, and so farewell.
Enter the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne Clerke in gownes.

Keeper. Is our whole dissembly appeard?
Cowley. O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton

Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Andrew. Marry that am I, and my partner

Cowley. Nay that's certaine, wee haue the exhibition
to examine

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

Kemp. Yea marry, let them come before mee, what is
your name, friend?
Bor. Borachio

Kem. Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra

Con. I am a Gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade

Kee. Write downe Master gentleman Conrade: maisters,
doe you serue God: maisters, it is proued alreadie
that you are little better than false knaues, and it will goe
neere to be thought so shortly, how answer you for your
Con. Marry sir, we say we are none

Kemp. A maruellous witty fellow I assure you, but I
will goe about with him: come you hither sirra, a word
in your eare sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false

Bor. Sir, I say to you, we are none

Kemp. Well, stand aside, 'fore God they are both in
a tale: haue you writ downe that they are none?
Sext. Master Constable, you goe not the way to examine,
you must call forth the watch that are their accusers

Kemp. Yea marry, that's the eftest way, let the watch
come forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name,
accuse these men

Watch 1. This man said sir, that Don Iohn the Princes
brother was a villaine

Kemp. Write down, Prince Iohn a villaine: why this
is flat periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine

Bora. Master Constable

Kemp. Pray thee fellow peace, I do not like thy looke
I promise thee

Sexton. What heard you him say else?
Watch 2. Mary that he had receiued a thousand Dukates
of Don Iohn, for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully

Kemp. Flat Burglarie as euer was committed

Const. Yea by th' masse that it is

Sexton. What else fellow?
Watch 1. And that Count Claudio did meane vpon his
words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and
not marry her

Kemp. O villaine! thou wilt be condemn'd into euerlasting
redemption for this

Sexton. What else?
Watch. This is all

Sexton. And this is more masters then you can deny,
Prince Iohn is this morning secretly stolne away: Hero
was in this manner accus'd, in this very manner refus'd,
and vpon the griefe of this sodainely died: Master Constable,
let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato,
I will goe before, and shew him their examination

Const. Come, let them be opinion'd

Sex. Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe

Kem. Gods my life, where's the Sexton? let him write
downe the Princes Officer Coxcombe: come, binde them
thou naughty varlet

Couley. Away, you are an asse, you are an asse

Kemp. Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my yeeres? O that hee were heere to write mee
downe an asse! but masters, remember that I am an asse:
though it be not written down, yet forget not y I am an
asse: No thou villaine, y art full of piety as shall be prou'd
vpon thee by good witnesse, I am a wise fellow, and
which is more, an officer, and which is more, a houshoulder,
and which is more, as pretty a peece of flesh as any in
Messina, and one that knowes the Law, goe to, & a rich
fellow enough, goe to, and a fellow that hath had losses,
and one that hath two gownes, and euery thing handsome
about him: bring him away: O that I had been writ
downe an asse!

Actus Quintus.

Enter Leonato and his brother.

Brother. If you goe on thus, you will kill your selfe,
And 'tis not wisedome thus to second griefe,
Against your selfe

Leon. I pray thee cease thy counsaile,
Which falls into mine eares as profitlesse,
As water in a siue: giue not me counsaile,
Nor let no comfort delight mine eare,
But such a one whose wrongs doth sute with mine.
Bring me a father that so lou'd his childe,
Whose ioy of her is ouer-whelmed like mine,
And bid him speake of patience,
Measure his woe the length and bredth of mine,
And let it answere euery straine for straine,
As thus for thus, and such a griefe for such,
In euery lineament, branch, shape, and forme:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
And sorrow, wagge, crie hem, when he should grone,
Patch griefe with prouerbs, make misfortune drunke,
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 counsaile, and speake comfort to that griefe,
Which they themselues not feele, but tasting it,
Their counsaile turnes to passion, which before,
Would giue preceptiall medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madnesse in a silken thred,
Charme ache with ayre, and agony with words,
No, no, 'tis all mens office, to speake patience
To those that wring vnder the load of sorrow:
But no mans vertue nor sufficiencie
To be so morall, when he shall endure
The like himselfe: therefore giue me no counsaile,
My griefs cry lowder then aduertisement

Broth. Therein do men from children nothing differ

Leonato. I pray thee peace, I will be flesh and bloud,
For there was neuer yet Philosopher,
That could endure the tooth-ake patiently,
How euer they haue writ the stile of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance

Brother. Yet bend not all the harme vpon your selfe,
Make those that doe offend you, suffer too

Leon. There thou speak'st reason, nay I will doe so,
My soule doth tell me, Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the Prince,
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
Enter Prince and Claudio.

Brot. Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily

Prin. Good den, good den

Clau. Good day to both of you

Leon. Heare you my Lords?
Prin. We haue some haste Leonato

Leo. Some haste my Lord! wel, fareyouwel my Lord,
Are you so hasty now? well, all is one

Prin. Nay, do not quarrel with vs, good old man

Brot. If he could rite himselfe with quarrelling,
Some of vs would lie low

Claud. Who wrongs him?
Leon. Marry y dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou:
Nay, neuer lay thy hand vpon thy sword,
I feare thee not

Claud. Marry beshrew my hand,
If it should giue your age such cause of feare,
Infaith my hand meant nothing to my sword

Leonato. Tush, tush, man, neuer fleere and iest at me,
I speake not like a dotard, nor a foole,
As vnder priuiledge of age to bragge,
What I haue done being yong, or what would doe,
Were I not old, know Claudio to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd my innocent childe and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reuerence by,
And with grey haires and bruise of many daies,
Doe challenge thee to triall of a man,
I say thou hast belied mine innocent childe.
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors:
O in a tombe where neuer scandall slept,
Saue this of hers, fram'd by thy villanie

Claud. My villany?
Leonato. Thine Claudio, thine I say

Prin. You say not right old man

Leon. My Lord, my Lord,
Ile proue it on his body if he dare,
Despight his nice fence, and his actiue practise,
His Maie of youth, and bloome of lustihood

Claud. Away, I will not haue to do with you

Leo. Canst thou so daffe me? thou hast kild my child,
If thou kilst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man

Bro. He shall kill two of vs, and men indeed,
But that's no matter, let him kill one first:
Win me and weare me, let him answere me,
Come follow me boy, come sir boy, come follow me
Sir boy, ile whip you from your foyning fence,
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will

Leon. Brother

Brot. Content your self, God knows I lou'd my neece,
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villaines,
That dare as well answer a man indeede,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boyes, apes, braggarts, Iackes, milke-sops

Leon. Brother Anthony

Brot. Hold you content, what man? I know them, yea
And what they weigh, euen to the vtmost scruple,
Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boyes,
That lye, and cog, and flout, depraue, and slander,
Goe antiquely, and show outward hidiousnesse,
And speake of halfe a dozen dang'rous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst.
And this is all

Leon. But brother Anthonie

Ant. Come, 'tis no matter,
Do not you meddle, let me deale in this

Pri. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience
My heart is sorry for your daughters death:
But on my honour she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proofe

Leon. My Lord, my Lord

Prin. I will not heare you.
Enter Benedicke.

Leo. No come brother, away, I will be heard.

Exeunt. ambo.

Bro. And shall, or some of vs will smart for it

Prin. See, see, here comes the man we went to seeke

Clau. Now signior, what newes?
Ben. Good day my Lord

Prin. Welcome signior, you are almost come to part
almost a fray

Clau. Wee had likt to haue had our two noses snapt
off with two old men without teeth

Prin. Leonato and his brother, what think'st thou? had
wee fought, I doubt we should haue beene too yong for

Ben. In a false quarrell there is no true valour, I came
to seeke you both

Clau. We haue beene vp and downe to seeke thee, for
we are high proofe melancholly, and would faine haue it
beaten away, wilt thou vse thy wit?
Ben. It is in my scabberd, shall I draw it?
Prin. Doest thou weare thy wit by thy side?
Clau. Neuer any did so, though verie many haue been
beside their wit, I will bid thee drawe, as we do the minstrels,
draw to pleasure vs

Prin. As I am an honest man he lookes pale, art thou
sicke, or angrie?
Clau. What, courage man: what though care kil'd a
cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care

Ben. Sir, I shall meete your wit in the careere, and
you charge it against me, I pray you chuse another subiect

Clau. Nay then giue him another staffe, this last was
broke crosse

Prin. By this light, he changes more and more, I thinke
he be angrie indeede

Clau. If he be, he knowes how to turne his girdle

Ben. Shall I speake a word in your eare?
Clau. God blesse me from a challenge

Ben. You are a villaine, I iest 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 cowardise: you haue
kill'd a sweete Ladie, and her death shall fall heauie on
you, let me heare from you

Clau. Well, I will meete you, so I may haue good

Prin. What, a feast, a feast?
Clau. I faith I thanke him, he hath bid me to a calues
head and a Capon, the which if I doe not carue most curiously,
say my knife's naught, shall I not finde a woodcocke
Ben. Sir, your wit ambles well, it goes easily

Prin. Ile tell thee how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the other
day: I said thou hadst a fine wit: true saies she, a fine
little one: no said I, a great wit: right saies shee, a great
grosse one: nay said I, a good wit: iust said she, it hurts
no body: nay said I, the gentleman is wise: certaine said
she, a wise gentleman: nay said I, he hath the tongues:
that I beleeue said shee, for hee swore a thing to me on
munday night, which he forswore on tuesday morning:
there's a double tongue, there's two tongues: thus did
shee an howre together trans-shape thy particular vertues,
yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the
proprest man in Italie

Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said shee
car'd not

Prin. Yea that she did, but yet for all that, and if shee
did not hate him deadlie, shee would loue him dearely,
the old mans daughter told vs all

Clau. All, all, and moreouer, God saw him when he
was hid in the garden

Prin. But when shall we set the sauage Bulls hornes
on the sensible Benedicks head?
Clau. Yea and text vnderneath, heere dwells Benedicke
the married man

Ben. Fare you well, Boy, you know my minde, I will
leaue you now to your gossep-like humor, you breake
iests as braggards do their blades, which God be thanked
hurt not: my Lord, for your manie courtesies I thank
you, I must discontinue your companie, your brother
the Bastard is fled from Messina: you haue among you,
kill'd a sweet and innocent Ladie: for my Lord Lackebeard
there, he and I shall meete, and till then peace be
with him

Prin. He is in earnest

Clau. In most profound earnest, and Ile warrant you,
for the loue of Beatrice

Prin. And hath challeng'd thee

Clau. Most sincerely

Prin. What a prettie thing man is, when he goes in his
doublet and hose, and leaues off his wit.
Enter Constable, Conrade, and Borachio.

Clau. He is then a Giant to an Ape, but then is an Ape
a Doctor to such a man

Prin. But soft you, let me be, plucke vp my heart, and
be sad, did he not say my brother was fled?
Const. Come you sir, if iustice cannot tame you, shee
shall nere weigh more reasons in her ballance, nay, and
you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be lookt to

Prin. How now, two of my brothers men bound? Borachio

Clau. Harken after their offence my Lord

Prin. Officers, what offence haue these men done?
Const. Marrie sir, they haue committed false report,
moreouer they haue spoken vntruths, secondarily they
are slanders, sixt and lastly, they haue belyed a Ladie,
thirdly, they haue verified vniust things, and to conclude
they are lying knaues

Prin. First I aske thee what they haue done, thirdlie
I aske thee what's their offence, sixt and lastlie why they
are committed, and to conclude, what you lay to their

Clau. Rightlie reasoned, and in his owne diuision, and
by my troth there's one meaning well suted

Prin. Who haue you offended masters, that you are
thus bound to your answer? this learned Constable is too
cunning to be vnderstood, what's your offence?
Bor. Sweete Prince, let me go no farther to mine answere:
do you heare me, and let this Count kill mee: I
haue deceiued euen your verie eies: what your wisedomes
could not discouer, these shallow fooles haue
brought to light, who in the night ouerheard me confessing
to this man, how Don Iohn your brother incensed
me to slander the Ladie Hero, how you were brought
into the Orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Heroes
garments, how you disgrac'd her when you should
marrie her: my villanie they haue vpon record, which
I had rather seale with my death, then repeate ouer to
my shame: the Ladie is dead vpon mine and my masters
false accusation: and briefelie, I desire nothing but the
reward of a villaine

Prin. Runs not this speech like yron through your
Clau. I haue drunke poison whiles he vtter'd it

Prin. But did my Brother set thee on to this?
Bor. Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it

Prin. He is compos'd and fram'd of treacherie,
And fled he is vpon this villanie

Clau. Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appeare
In the rare semblance that I lou'd it first

Const. Come, bring away the plaintiffes, by this time
our Sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter:
and masters, do not forget to specifie when time & place
shall serue, that I am an Asse

Con.2. Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and
the Sexton too.
Enter Leonato.

Leon. Which is the villaine? let me see his eies,
That when I note another man like him,
I may auoide him: which of these is he?
Bor. If you would know your wronger, looke on me

Leon. Art thou the slaue that with thy breath
hast kild mine innocent childe?
Bor. Yea, euen I alone

Leo. No, not so villaine, thou beliest thy selfe,
Here stand a paire of honourable men,
A third is fled that had a hand in it:
I thanke you Princes for my daughters death,
Record it with your high and worthie deedes,
'Twas brauely done, if you bethinke you of it

Clau. I know not how to pray your patience,
Yet I must speake, choose your reuenge your selfe,
Impose me to what penance your inuention
Can lay vpon my sinne, yet sinn'd I not,
But in mistaking

Prin. By my soule nor I,
And yet to satisfie this good old man,
I would bend vnder anie heauie waight,
That heele enioyne me to

Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter liue,
That were impossible, but I praie you both,
Possesse the people in Messina here,
How innocent she died, and if your loue
Can labour aught in sad inuention,
Hang her an epitaph vpon her toomb,
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 sonne in law,
Be yet my Nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copie of my childe that's dead,
And she alone is heire to both of vs,
Giue her the right you should haue giu'n her cosin,
And so dies my reuenge

Clau. O noble sir!
Your ouerkindnesse doth wring teares from me,
I do embrace your offer, and dispose
For henceforth of poore Claudio

Leon. To morrow then I will expect your comming,
To night I take my leaue, this naughtie man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I beleeue was packt in all this wrong,
Hired to it by your brother

Bor. No, by my soule she was not,
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
But alwaies hath bin iust and vertuous,
In anie thing that I do know by her

Const. Moreouer sir, which indeede is not vnder white
and black, this plaintiffe here, the offendour did call mee
asse, I beseech you let it be remembred in his punishment,
and also the watch heard them talke of one Deformed,
they say he weares a key in his eare and a lock hanging
by it, and borrowes monie in Gods name, the which
he hath vs'd so long, and neuer paied, that now men grow
hard-harted and will lend nothing for Gods sake: praie
you examine him vpon that point

Leon. I thanke thee for thy care and honest paines

Const. Your worship speakes like a most thankefull
and reuerend youth, and I praise God for you

Leon. There's for thy paines

Const. God saue the foundation

Leon. Goe, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I
thanke thee

Const. I leaue an arrant knaue with your worship,
which I beseech your worship to correct your selfe, for
the example of others: God keepe your worship, I
wish your worship well, God restore you to health,
I humblie giue you leaue to depart, and if a merrie
meeting may be wisht, God prohibite it: come

Leon. Vntill to morrow morning, Lords, farewell.


Brot. Farewell my Lords, we looke for you to morrow

Prin. We will not faile

Clau. To night ile mourne with Hero

Leon. Bring you these fellowes on, weel talke with
Margaret, How her acquaintance grew with this lewd


Enter Benedicke and Margaret.

Ben. Praie thee sweete Mistris Margaret, deserue
well at my hands, by helping mee to the speech of Beatrice

Mar. Will you then write me a Sonnet in praise of
my beautie?
Bene. In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing
shall come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deseruest

Mar. To haue no man come ouer me, why, shall I alwaies
keepe below staires?
Bene. Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth,
it catches

Mar. And yours, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which
hit, but hurt not

Bene. A most manly wit Margaret, it will not hurt a
woman: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the

Mar. Giue vs the swords, wee haue bucklers of our

Bene. If you vse them Margaret, you must put in the
pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous weapons for

Mar. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke
hath legges.

Exit Margarite.

Ben. And therefore will come. The God of loue that
sits aboue, and knowes me, and knowes me, how pittifull
I deserue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Leander
the good swimmer, Troilous the first imploier of
pandars, and a whole booke full of these quondam carpet-mongers,
whose name yet runne smoothly in the euen
rode of a blanke verse, why they were neuer so truely
turned ouer and ouer as my poore selfe in loue: marrie
I cannot shew it rime, I haue tried, I can finde out no
rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent rime: for scorne,
horne, a hard rime: for schoole foole, a babling rime:
verie ominous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a riming
Plannet, for I cannot wooe in festiuall tearmes:
Enter Beatrice.

sweete Beatrice would'st thou come when I cal'd
Beat. Yea Signior, and depart when you bid me

Bene. O stay but till then

Beat. Then, is spoken: fare you well now, and yet ere
I goe, let me goe with that I came, which is, with knowing
what hath past betweene you and Claudio

Bene. Onely foule words, and thereupon I will kisse

Beat. Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind
is but foule breath, and foule breath is noisome, therefore
I will depart vnkist

Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
sence, so forcible is thy wit, but I must tell thee plainely,
Claudio vndergoes my challenge, and either I must shortly
heare 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 loue with me?
Beat. For them all together, which maintain'd so
politique a state of euill, that they will not admit any
good part to intermingle with them: but for which of
my good parts did you first suffer loue for me?
Bene. Suffer loue! a good epithite, I do suffer loue indeede,
for I loue thee against my will,
Beat. In spight of your heart I think, alas poore heart,
if you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for
I will neuer loue that which my friend hates

Bened. Thou and I are too wise to wooe peaceablie

Bea. It appeares not in this confession, there's not one
wise man among twentie that will praise himselfe

Bene. An old, an old instance Beatrice, that liu'd in
the time of good neighbours, if a man doe not erect in
this age his owne tombe ere he dies, hee shall liue no
longer in monuments, then the Bels ring, & the Widdow

Beat. And how long is that thinke you?
Ben. Question, why an hower in clamour and a quarter
in rhewme, therfore is it most expedient for the wise,
if Don worme (his conscience) finde no impediment to
the contrarie, to be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as
I am to my selfe so much for praising my selfe, who I my
selfe will beare witnesse is praise worthie, and now tell
me, how doth your cosin?
Beat. Verie ill

Bene. And how doe you?
Beat. Verie ill too.
Enter Vrsula.

Bene. Serue God, loue me, and mend, there will I leaue
you too, for here comes one in haste

Vrs. Madam, you must come to your Vncle, yonders
old coile at home, it is prooued my Ladie Hero
hath bin falselie accusde, the Prince and Claudio
mightilie abusde, and Don Iohn is the author of all, who
is fled and gone: will you come presentlie?
Beat. Will you go heare this newes Signior?
Bene. I will liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buried
in thy eies: and moreouer, I will goe with thee to
thy Vncles.


Enter Claudio, Prince, and three or foure with Tapers.

Clau. Is this the monument of Leonato?
Lord. It is my Lord.


Done to death by slanderous tongues,
Was the Hero that here lies:
Death in guerdon of her wrongs,
Giues her fame which neuer dies:
So the life that dyed with shame,
Liues in death with glorious fame.
Hang thou there vpon the tombe,
Praising her when I am dombe

Clau. Now musick sound & sing your solemn hymne


Pardon goddesse of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight,
For the which with songs of woe,
Round about her tombe they goe:
Midnight assist our mone, helpe vs to sigh and grone.
Heauily, heauily.
Graues yawne and yeelde your dead,
Till death be vttered,
Heauenly, heauenly

Lo. Now vnto thy bones good night, yeerely will I do this right

Prin. Good morrow masters, put your Torches out,
The wolues haue preied, and looke, the gentle day
Before the wheeles of Phoebus, round about
Dapples the drowsie East with spots of grey:
Thanks to you all, and leaue vs, fare you well

Clau. Good morrow masters, each his seuerall way

Prin. Come let vs hence, and put on other weedes,
And then to Leonatoes we will goe

Clau. And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds,
Then this for whom we rendred vp this woe.


Enter Leonato, Bene. Marg. Vrsula, old man, Frier, Hero.

Frier. Did I not tell you she was innocent?
Leo. So are the Prince and Claudio who accus'd her,
Vpon the errour that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will as it appeares,
In the true course of all the question

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

Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it

Leo. Well daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by your selues,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd:
The Prince and Claudio promis'd by this howre
To visit me, you know your office Brother,
You must be father to your brothers daughter,
And giue her to young Claudio.

Exeunt. Ladies.

Old. Which I will doe with confirm'd countenance

Bene. Frier, I must intreat your paines, I thinke

Frier. To doe what Signior?
Bene. To binde me, or vndoe me, one of them:
Signior Leonato, truth it is good Signior,
Your neece regards me with an eye of fauour

Leo. That eye my daughter lent her, 'tis most true

Bene. And I doe with an eye of loue requite her

Leo. The sight whereof I thinke you had from me,
From Claudio, and the Prince, but what's your will?
Bened. Your answer sir is Enigmaticall,
But for my will, my will is, your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conioyn'd,
In the state of honourable marriage,
In which (good Frier) I shall desire your helpe

Leon. My heart is with your liking

Frier. And my helpe.
Enter Prince and Claudio, with attendants.

Prin. Good morrow to this faire assembly

Leo. Good morrow Prince, good morrow Claudio:
We heere attend you, are you yet determin'd,
To day to marry with my brothers daughter?
Claud. Ile hold my minde were she an Ethiope

Leo. Call her forth brother, heres the Frier ready

Prin. Good morrow Benedicke, why what's the matter?
That you haue such a Februarie face,
So full of frost, of storme, and clowdinesse

Claud. I thinke he thinkes vpon the sauage bull:
Tush, feare not man, wee'll tip thy hornes with gold,
And all Europa shall reioyce at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Ioue,
When he would play the noble beast in loue

Ben. Bull Ioue sir, had an amiable low,
And some such strange bull leapt your fathers Cow,
A got a Calfe in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you haue iust his bleat.
Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.

Cla. For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
Which is the Lady I must seize vpon?
Leo. This same is she, and I doe giue you her

Cla. Why then she's mine, sweet let me see your face

Leon. No that you shal not, till you take her hand,
Before this Frier, and sweare to marry her

Clau. Giue me your hand before this holy Frier,
I am your husband if you like of me

Hero. And when I liu'd I was your other wife,
And when you lou'd, you were my other husband

Clau. Another Hero?
Hero. Nothing certainer.
One Hero died, but I doe liue,
And surely as I liue, I am a maid

Prin. The former Hero, Hero that is dead

Leon. Shee died my Lord, but whiles her slander liu'd

Frier. All this amazement can I qualifie,
When after that the holy rites are ended,
Ile tell you largely of faire Heroes death:
Meane time let wonder seeme familiar,
And to the chappell let vs presently

Ben. Soft and faire Frier, which is Beatrice?
Beat. I answer to that name, what is your will?
Bene. Doe not you loue me?
Beat. Why no, no more then reason

Bene. Why then your Vncle, and the Prince, & Claudio,
haue beene deceiued, they swore you did

Beat. Doe not you loue mee?
Bene. Troth no, no more then reason

Beat. Why then my Cosin Margaret and Vrsula
Are much deceiu'd, for they did sweare you did

Bene. They swore you were almost sicke for me

Beat. They swore you were wel-nye dead for me

Bene. 'Tis no matter, then you doe not loue me?
Beat. No truly, but in friendly recompence

Leon. Come Cosin, I am sure you loue the gentlema[n]

Clau. And Ile be sworne vpon't, that he loues her,
For heres a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his owne pure braine,
Fashioned to Beatrice

Hero. And heeres another,
Writ in my cosins hand, stolne from her pocket,
Containing her affection vnto Benedicke

Bene. A miracle, here's our owne hands against our
hearts: come I will haue thee, but by this light I take
thee for pittie

Beat. I would not denie you, but by this good day, I
yeeld vpon great perswasion, & partly to saue your life,
for I was told, you were in a consumption

Leon. Peace I will stop your mouth

Prin. How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
Bene. Ile tell thee what Prince: a Colledge of witte-crackers
cannot flout mee out of my humour, dost thou
think I care for a Satyre or an Epigram? no, if a man will
be beaten with braines, a shall weare nothing handsome
about him: in briefe, since I do purpose to marry, I will
thinke nothing to any purpose that the world can say against
it, and therefore neuer flout at me, for I haue said
against it: for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion:
for thy part Claudio, I did thinke to haue beaten
thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, liue vnbruis'd,
and loue my cousin

Cla. I had well hop'd y wouldst haue denied Beatrice, y
I might haue cudgel'd thee out of thy single life, to make
thee a double dealer, which out of questio[n] thou wilt be,
if my Cousin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee

Bene. Come, come, we are friends, let's haue a dance
ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts,
and our wiues heeles

Leon. Wee'll haue dancing afterward

Bene. First, of my word, therfore play musick. Prince,
thou art sad, get thee a wife, get thee a wife, there is no
staff more reuerend then one tipt with horn.
Enter. Mes.

Messen. My Lord, your brother Iohn is tane in flight,
And brought with armed men backe to Messina

Bene. Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise
thee braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers.


FINIS. Much adoe about Nothing.

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