Enter Leonato, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret,
Was not Count John here at supper?
I saw him not.
How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see
him but I am heart-burned an hour after.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.
He were an excellent man that were made just
in the midway between him and Benedick; the one is
too like an image and says nothing, and the other too
like my lady's eldest son, evermore tattling.
Then half Signor Benedick's tongue in Count
John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in
Signor Benedick's face –
With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and
money enough in his purse, such a man would win any
woman in the world, if 'a could get her good will.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a
husband if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
In faith, she's too curst.
Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen
God's sending that way; for it is said, ‘ God sends a curst
cow short horns ’, but to a cow too curst he sends none.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which
blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and
evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face! I had rather lie in the woollen.
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
What should I do with him? Dress him in my
apparel and make him my waiting-gentlewoman? He
that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath
no beard is less than a man; and he that is more than a
youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am
not for him. Therefore I will even take sixpence in
earnest of the bear-ward, and lead his apes into hell.
pledge, instalment, deposit, payment in advance
Well, then, go you into hell?
No, but to the gate; and there will the devil
meet me, like an old cuckold with horns on his head,
and say ‘ Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven;
here's no place for you maids.’ So deliver I up my apes,
and away to Saint Peter for the heavens; he shows me
where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as
the day is long.
Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled
by your father.
Yes, faith; it is my cousin's duty to make
curtsy and say, ‘ Father, as it please you.’ But yet for all
that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make
another curtsy and say, ‘ Father, as it please me.’
Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with
Not till God make men of some other metal
than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be
over-mastered with a pierce of valiant dust? To make an
account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No,
uncle, I'll none. Adam's sons are my brethren, and,
truly, I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Daughter, remember what I told you. If the
Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your
The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you
be not wooed in good time. If the Prince be too important,
tell him there is measure in everything and so dance
out the answer. For hear me, Hero: wooing, wedding,
and repenting, is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a
cinquepace; the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch
jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest,
as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and
then comes repentance and, with his bad legs, falls into
the cinquepace faster and faster, till he sink into his
Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
I have a good eye, uncle; I can see a church
The revellers are entering, brother; make good
All put on their masks
Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, Benedick, Balthasar, Don
John, Borachio, and others, as masquers, with a drum
Lady, will you walk a bout with your friend?
bout (n.) 2
round, turn of the floor, division of a dance
So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say
nothing, I am yours for the walk; and especially when
I walk away.
With me in your company?
I may say so, when I please.
And when please you to say so?
When I like your favour; for God defend the lute
should be like the case!
My visor is Philemon's roof; within the house is Jove.
Why, then, your visor should be thatched.
Speak low, if you speak love.
He draws her aside
Well, I would you did like me.
So would not I, for your own sake; for I have
many ill qualities.
Which is one?
I say my prayers aloud.
I love you the better; the hearers may cry
God match me with a good dancer!
And God keep him out of my sight when the
dance is done! Answer, clerk.
No more words; the clerk is answered.
I know you well enough; you are Signor Antonio.
At a word, I am not.
I know you by the waggling of your head.
To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
You could never do him so ill-well unless you
were the very man. Here's his dry hand up and down;
you are he, you are he.
At a word, I am not.
Come, come, do you think I do not know you by
your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum,
you are he; graces will appear, and there's an end.
Will you not tell me who told you so?
No, you shall pardon me.
Nor will you not tell me who you are?
That I was disdainful, and that I had my good
wit out of the ‘ Hundred Merry Tales ’ – well, this was
Signor Benedick that said so.
I am sure you know him well enough.
Not I, believe me.
Did he never make you laugh?
I pray you, what is he?
Why, he is the Prince's jester, a very dull fool;
only his gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but
libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not
in his wit, but in his villainy; for he both pleases men
and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat
him. I am sure he is in the fleet; I would he had boarded
When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what
Do, do; he'll but break a comparison or two
on me, which, peradventure not marked or not laughed
at, strikes him into melancholy; and then there's a
partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper
Music for the dance
We must follow the leaders.
In every good thing.
Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at
the next turning.
Exeunt all dancing, except Don John, Borachio, and Claudio
Sure my brother is amorous on Hero and hath
withdrawn her father to break with him about it. The
ladies follow her and but one visor remains.
And that is Claudio; I know him by his
Are not you Signor Benedick?
You know me well; I am he.
Signor, you are very near my brother in his
love. He is enamoured on Hero; I pray you dissuade
him from her; she is no equal for his birth. You may
do the part of an honest man in it.
How know you he loves her?
I heard him swear his affection.
So did I too, and he swore he would marry her
Come, let us to the banquet.
Exeunt Don John and Borachio
Thus answer I in the name of Benedick,
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
'Tis certain so; the Prince woos for himself.
Friendship is constant in all other things
Save in the office and affairs of love;
Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues.
Let every eye negotiate for itself,
And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
blood (n.) 1
passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
This is an accident of hourly proof,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore, Hero!
Yea, the same.
Come, will you go with me?
Even to the next willow, about your own business,
County. What fashion will you wear the garland
of? About your neck, like an usurer's chain? Or under
your arm, like a lieutenant's scarf? You must wear it
one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
I wish him joy of her.
Why, that's spoken like an honest drovier: so
they sell bullocks. But did you think the Prince would
have served you thus?
I pray you, leave me.
Ho! Now you strike like the blind man; 'twas
the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat the post.
If it will not be, I'll leave you.
Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into
sedges! But that my Lady Beatrice should know me,
and not know me! The Prince's fool! Ha? It may be I
go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but so I am
apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed; it is the
base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice that puts the
world into her person, and so gives me out. Well, I'll be
revenged as I may.
Enter Don Pedro, with Leonato and Hero
Now, signor, where's the Count? Did you
Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady
Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a
warren; I told him, and I think I told him true, that
your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and
I offered him my company to a willow-tree, either to
make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him
up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.
To be whipped! What's his fault?
The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who,
being overjoyed with finding a bird's nest, shows it his
companion, and he steals it.
Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The
transgression is in the stealer.
Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been
made, and the garland too; for the garland he might
have worn himself, and the rod he might have bestowed
on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his bird's nest.
I will but teach them to sing, and restore them
to the owner.
If their singing answer your saying, by my
faith you say honestly.
The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you; the
gentleman that danced with her told her she is much
wronged by you.
O, she misused me past the endurance of a
block! An oak but with one green leaf on it would have
answered her; my very visor began to assume life and
scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been
myself, that I was the Prince's jester, that I was duller
than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such
impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man
at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She
speaks poniards, and every word stabs. If her breath
were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living
near her; she would infect to the north star. I would not
marry her, though she were endowed with all that
Adam had left him before he transgressed. She would
have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft
implement for cooking meat over a fire
his club to make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you
shall find her the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to
God some scholar would conjure her; for certainly, while
scholar (n.) 1
learned man, erudite person [who knows Latin, the language of exorcism]
she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary,
and people sin upon purpose, because they would
go thither; so, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation
Enter Claudio and Beatrice
Look, here she comes.
Will your grace command me any service to
the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand now
to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on. I
will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch
of Asia; bring you the length of Prester John's foot;
fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard; do you any
embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words'
conference with this harpy. You have no employment
mythical rapacious bird, half woman, half vulture [symbolizing divine retribution]
None, but to desire your good company.
O God, sir, here's a dish I love not; I cannot
endure my Lady Tongue.
Come, lady, come; you have lost the heart of
Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I
gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one.
Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice,
therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.
You have put him down, lady, you have put
So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest
I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought
Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.
Why, how now, Count! Wherefore are you
Not sad, my lord.
How then? Sick?
Neither, my lord.
The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry,
nor well; but civil count, civil as an orange, and something
of that jealous complexion.
I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true,
though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false.
Here, Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair
Hero is won. I have broke with her father, and his
will obtained; name the day of marriage, and God give
Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
my fortunes. His grace hath made the match, and all
Grace say Amen to it!
Speak, Count, 'tis your cue.
Silence is the perfectest herald of joy; I were
but little happy, if I could say how much. Lady, as you
are mine, I am yours; I give away myself for you and
dote upon the exchange.
Speak, cousin; or, if you cannot, stop his mouth
with a kiss, and let not him speak neither.
In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on
the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear
windward, situated towards the wind [so that scent will travel away from the follower]
that he is in her heart.
And so she doth, cousin.
Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one
to the world but I, and I am sunburnt; I may sit in a
of dark complexion, not fair-skinned [and therefore unattractive]
corner and cry ‘ Heigh-ho for a husband ’!
Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
I would rather have one of your father's getting.
Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your
father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by
Will you have me, lady?
No, my lord, unless I might have another for
working-days: your grace is too costly to wear every
day. But, I beseech your grace, pardon me; I was born
to speak all mirth and no matter.
Your silence most offends me, and to be
merry best becomes you; for, out o' question, you were
born in a merry hour.
No, sure, my lord, my mother cried; but then
there was a star danced, and under that was I born.
Cousins, God give you joy!
Niece, will you look to those things I told you
I cry you mercy, uncle. (To Don Pedro) By
your grace's pardon.
By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
There's little of the melancholy element in her,
my lord; she is never sad but when she sleeps, and not
ever sad then; for I have heard my daughter say, she hath
often dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself with
She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers out
She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week
married, they would talk themselves mad.
County Claudio, when mean you to go to
Tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches
till love have all his rites.
Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence
a just seven-night; and a time too brief, too, to have all
things answer my mind.
Come, you shake the head at so long a
breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall
not go dully by us. I will in the interim undertake one
of Hercules' labours; which is, to bring Signor Benedick
and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection,
th' one with th' other. I would fain have it a match, and
I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but
minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.
My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten
And I, my lord.
And you too, gentle Hero?
I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my
cousin to a good husband.
And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband
that I know. Thus far can I praise him: he is of a
noble strain, of approved valour and confirmed honesty.
I will teach you how to humour your cousin, that she
shall fall in love with Benedick; and I, with your two
helps, will so practise on Benedick that, in despite of
his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in
love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no
longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the
only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my