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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Much Ado About Nothing

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

Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

But did my brother set thee on to this?

Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.

He is compos'd and fram'd of treachery,
And fled he is upon this villany.

Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I lov'd it first.

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

Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato, and the sexton too.
[Enter Leonato, his brother [Antonio], and the Sexton.]

Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes,
That, when I note another man like him,
I may avoid him. Which of these is he?

If you would know your wronger, look on me.

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

Yea, even I alone.

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

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

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

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

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

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

No, by my soul, she was not;
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me;
But always hath been just and virtuous
In anything that I do know by her.
Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this
plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass. I beseech you let
it be rememb'red in his punishment. And also the watch heard them
talk of one Deformed. They say he wears a key in his ear, and a
lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's name, the which he
hath us'd so long and never paid that now men grow hard-hearted
and will lend nothing for God's sake. Pray you examine him upon
that point.

I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverent youth, and
I praise God for you.

There's for thy pains. [Gives money.]

God save the foundation!

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

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

Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

Farewell, my lords. We look for you to-morrow.

We will not fall.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero.
[Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio.]

[to the Watch] Bring you these fellows on.--We'll talk with

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.

Scene II.
Leonato's orchard.
[Enter Benedick and Margaret [meeting.]

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

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

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

To have no man come over me? Why, shall I always keep below

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

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

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

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

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

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

And therefore will come.
[Exit Margaret.]
[Sings] The god of love,
That sits above
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve--
I mean in singing; but in loving Leander the good swimmer,
Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole book full of
these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the
even road of a blank verse--why, they were never so truly turn'd
over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I cannot show it in
rhyme. I have tried. I can find out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby'
--an innocent rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn'--a hard rhyme; for
'school', 'fool'--a babbling rhyme: very ominous endings! No, I
was not born under a rhyming planet, nor cannot woo in festival
[Enter Beatrice.]
Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I call'd thee?

Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.

O, stay but till then!

'Then' is spoken. Fare you well now. And yet, ere I go, let me go
with that I came for, which is, with knowing what hath pass'd
between you and Claudio.

Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.

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

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

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

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

Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

It appears not in this confession. There's not one wise man among
twenty, that will praise himself.

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

And how long is that, think you?

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

Very ill.

And how do you?

Very ill too.

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

Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old coil at home.
It is proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accus'd, the Prince
and Claudio mightily abus'd, and Don John is the author of all,
who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?

Will you go hear this news, signior?

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

Scene III.
A churchyard.
[Enter Claudio, Don Pedro, and three or four with tapers,
followed by Musicians.]

Is this the monument of Leonato?

It is, my lord.

[reads from a scroll]
Done to death by slanderous tongues
Was the Hero that here lies.
Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
Gives her fame which never dies.
So the life that died with shame
Lives in death with glorious fame.
Hang thou there upon the tomb,
[Hangs up the scroll.]
Praising her when I am dumb.
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.
Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.
Midnight, assist our moan,
Help us to sigh and groan
Heavily, heavily,
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered
Heavily, heavily.

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

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

Good morrow, masters. Each his several way.

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

And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds
Than this for whom we rend'red up this woe. [Exeunt.]

Scene IV
The hall in Leonato's house.
[Enter Leonato, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, Antonio,
Friar [Francis], Hero.]

Did I not tell you she was innocent?

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

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

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

Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
[Exeunt Ladies.]
The Prince and Claudio promis'd by this hour
To visit me. You know your office, brother:
You must be father to your brother's daughter,
And give her to young Claudio.

Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

To do what, signior?

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

That eye my daughter lent her. 'Tis most true.

And I do with an eye of love requite her.

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

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

My heart is with your liking.

And my help.
[Enter Don Pedro and Claudio and two or three other. ]
Here comes the Prince and Claudio.

Good morrow to this fair assembly.

Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, Claudio.
We here attend you. Are you yet determin'd
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?

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

Call her forth, brother. Here's the friar ready.
[Exit Antonio.]
Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?

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

Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low,
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
[Enter [Leonato's] brother [Antonio], Hero, Beatrice, Margaret,
Ursula, [the ladies wearing masks.]

For this I owe you. Here comes other reckonings.
Which is the lady I must seize upon?

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

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

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

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

And when I liv'd I was your other wife; [Unmasks.]
And when you lov'd you were my other husband.

Another Hero!

Nothing certainer.
One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.

The former Hero! Hero that is dead!

She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd.

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

Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?

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

Do not you love me?

Why, no; no more than reason.

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

Do not you love me?

Troth, no; no more than reason.

Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula
Are much deceiv'd; for they did swear you did.

They swore that you were almost sick for me.

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

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

No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

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

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

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

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

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

Peace! I will stop your mouth. [Kisses her.]

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

I had well hop'd thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might
have cudgell'd thee out of thy single life, to make thee a
double-dealer, which out of question thou wilt be if my cousin do
not look exceeding narrowly to thee.

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

We'll have dancing afterward.

First, of my word! Therefore play, music. Prince, thou art sad.
Get thee a wife, get thee a wife! There is no staff more reverent
than one tipp'd with horn.
[Enter Messenger.]
My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,
And brought with armed men back to Messina.

Think not on him till to-morrow. I'll devise thee brave
punishments for him. Strike up, pipers!
Dance. [Exeunt.]


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