Much Ado About Nothing


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Leonato, Antonio, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret,

Ursula, Friar Francis, and Hero


FRIAR

Did I not tell you she was innocent?


LEONATO

So are the Prince and Claudio, who accused her

Upon the error that you heard debated;

But Margaret was in some fault for this,

Although against her will, as it appears

In the true course of all the question.
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
question (n.) 5 questioning, interrogation, examination


ANTONIO

Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
sort (v.) 6 turn out, fall out, come about


BENEDICK

And so am I, being else by faith enforced

To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.


LEONATO

Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,

Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,

And when I send for you, come hither masked.

The Prince and Claudio promised by this hour

To visit me. You know your office, brother;
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

You must be father to your brother's daughter,

And give her to young Claudio.

Exeunt Ladies


ANTONIO

Which I will do with confirmed countenance.
confirmed (adj.) resolute, determined, purposeful


BENEDICK

Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.


FRIAR

To do what, signor?


BENEDICK

To bind me, or undo me – one of them.
undo (v.) 1 ruin, destroy, wipe out

Signor Leonato, truth it is, good signor,

Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.


LEONATO

That eye my daughter lent her; 'tis most true.


BENEDICK

And I do with an eye of love requite her.


LEONATO

The sight whereof I think you had from me,

From Claudio, and the Prince; but what's your will?


BENEDICK

Your answer, sir, is enigmatical;
enigmatical (adj.) enigmatic, mysterious, puzzling

But, for my will, my will is your good will

May stand with ours, this day to be conjoined
stand (v.) 12 accord, agree, hold good, be compatible

In the state of honourable marriage –

In which, good Friar, I shall desire your help.


LEONATO

My heart is with your liking.


FRIAR

                         And my help.

Here comes the Prince and Claudio.

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, and two or three others


DON PEDRO

Good morrow to this fair assembly.
morrow (n.) morning See Topics: Frequency count


LEONATO

Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, Claudio;

We here attend you. Are you yet determined
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]

Today to marry with my brother's daughter?


CLAUDIO

I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.
Ethiop, Ethiope (adj./n.) Ethiopian, African, person with a dark countenance See Topics: World [outside Britain], places and peoples


LEONATO

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

Exit Antonio


DON PEDRO

Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,

That you have such a February face,

So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?


CLAUDIO

I think he thinks upon the savage bull.

Tush, fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold,

And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,

As once Europa did at lusty Jove,

When he would play the noble beast in love.


BENEDICK

Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
amiable (adj.) 2 beloved, desirable, lovable

And some such strange bull leaped your father's cow,
strange (adj.) 6 of another person, not one's own

And got a calf in that same noble feat

Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count


CLAUDIO

For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
owe (v.) 2 repay, compensate, pay back

Enter Antonio, with the Ladies masked

Which is the lady I must seize upon?
seize, seize upon (v.) [legal] take possession of, take hold of


ANTONIO

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


CLAUDIO

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


LEONATO

No, that you shall not, till you take her hand

Before this Friar and swear to marry her.


CLAUDIO

Give me your hand; before this holy Friar,

I am your husband, if you like of me.


HERO

(unmasking)

And when I lived, I was your other wife;

And when you loved, you were my other husband.


CLAUDIO

Another Hero!


HERO

                         Nothing certainer;

One Hero died defiled, but I do live,

And surely as I live, I am a maid.


DON PEDRO

The former Hero! Hero that is dead!


LEONATO

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


FRIAR

All this amazement can I qualify,
qualify (v.) 1 moderate, weaken, diminish

When, after that the holy rites are ended,

I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death.
largely (adv.) 1 fully, at length

Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
wonder (n.) 1 feeling of wonder, astonishment, marvelling

And to the chapel let us presently.
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count


BENEDICK

Soft and fair, Friar. Which is Beatrice?
soft and fair gently, not so fast


BEATRICE

(unmasking)

I answer to that name. What is your will?


BENEDICK

Do not you love me?
reason (n.) 3 reasonable view, sensible judgement, right opinion


BEATRICE

                         Why no, no more than reason.


BENEDICK

Why, then your uncle and the Prince and Claudio

Have been deceived; they swore you did.


BEATRICE

Do not you love me?


BENEDICK

                         Troth no, no more than reason.


BEATRICE

Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula

Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.


BENEDICK

They swore that you were almost sick for me.


BEATRICE

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


BENEDICK

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


BEATRICE

No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
recompense (n.) 2 repayment, return, compensation


LEONATO

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


CLAUDIO

And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her,

For here's a paper written in his hand,

A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
halting (adj.) 1 hesitating, limping, faltering

Fashioned to Beatrice.


HERO

                         And here's another

Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,

Containing her affection unto Benedick.


BENEDICK

A miracle! Here's our own hands against our

hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take

thee for pity.


BEATRICE

I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I

yield upon great persuasion; and partly to save your

life, for I was told you were in a consumption.
consumption (n.) 1 wasting disease, venereal disease


BENEDICK

(kissing her)

Peace! I will stop your mouth.


DON PEDRO

How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?


BENEDICK

I'll tell thee what, Prince; a college of wit-crackers

cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost thou
flout (v.) insult, abuse, mock
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count

think I care for a satire or an epigram? No; if a man will

be beaten with brains, 'a shall wear nothing handsome
brain (n.) (plural) witticisms, clever remarks

about him. In brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will
purpose (v.) 1 intend, plan

think nothing to any purpose that the world can say
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

against it; and therefore never flout at me for what I
flout at (v.) mock, jeer, scoff

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,
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count

live unbruised and love my cousin.
unbruised (adj.) 1 unmarked, uncrushed, undamaged


CLAUDIO

I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied

Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy

single life, to make thee a double-dealer; which out of

question thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding

narrowly to thee.
narrowly (adv.) carefully, with close attention


BENEDICK

Come, come, we are friends. Let's have a

dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own

hearts and our wives' heels.


LEONATO

We'll have dancing afterward.
afterward (adv.) afterwards


BENEDICK

First, of my word; therefore play, music.

Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife.
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

There is no staff more reverend than one tipped with

horn.

Enter a Messenger


MESSENGER

My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,

And brought with armed men back to Messina.


BENEDICK

Think not on him till tomorrow; I'll devise

thee brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers.
brave (adj.) 1 fine, excellent, splendid, impressive See Topics: Frequency count

Dance, and then exeunt

 
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