Much Ado About Nothing

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Original text
Act V, Scene I
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, fare you wel my Lord,
Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

Prin.
Nay, do not quarrell 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 yu 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 d are 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.

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.
Enter Benedicke.

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 them.

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 cheare.

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
wood-cocke too?

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: certain 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 vnder-neath, 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.

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?
Enter Constable, Conrade, and
Borachio.

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 one.

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 charge.

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 bloud?

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 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 neighbour.

Leon.
Vntill to morrow morning, Lords, farewell. Exeunt.

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 fellow.
Exeunt
Original text
Act V, Scene II
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 it.

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 bucklers.

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

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

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 time: for scorne,
horne, a hard time: for schoole foole, a babling
time: 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 thee?

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 thee.

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 weepes.

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.

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

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.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act V, Scene III
Enter Claudio, Prince, and three or
foure with Tapers.

Clau.
Is this the monument of Leonato?

Lord.
It is my Lord.
Epitaph.
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.
Now musick sound & sing your solemn hymne

Song.
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.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act V, Scene IV
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.

Cla.
For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.
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 gentlemã.

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 yu wouldst haue denied
Beatrice, yt I might haue cudgel'd thee out of thy
single life, to make thee a double dealer, which out of
questiõ 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.
Dance.
Modern text
Act V, Scene I
Enter Leonato and his brother Antonio

ANTONIO
If you go on thus, you will kill yourself;
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
Against yourself.

LEONATO
I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form;
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
And, sorrow wag, cry ‘ hem!’ when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
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 counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words.
No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel;
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

ANTONIO
Therein do men from children nothing differ.

LEONATO
I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.

ANTONIO
Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
Make those that do offend you suffer too.

LEONATO
There thou speak'st reason; nay, I will do so.
My soul doth tell me Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Prince,
And all of them that thus dishonour her.

ANTONIO
Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
Enter Don Pedro and Claudio

DON PEDRO
Good-e'en, good-e'en.

CLAUDIO
Good day to both of you.

LEONATO
Hear you, my lords!

DON PEDRO
We have some haste, Leonato.

LEONATO
Some haste, my lord! Well, fare you well, my lord;
Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.

DON PEDRO
Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

ANTONIO
If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Some of us would lie low.

CLAUDIO
Who wrongs him?

LEONATO
Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou!
– Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
I fear thee not.

CLAUDIO
Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear:
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

LEONATO
Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me;
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wronged mine innocent child and me
That I am forced to lay my reverence by,
And with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I say thou hast belied mine innocent child.
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors –
O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, framed by thy villainy!

CLAUDIO
My villainy?

LEONATO
Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

DON PEDRO
You say not right, old man.

LEONATO
My lord, my lord,
I'll prove it on his body if he dare,
Despite his nice fence and his active practise,
His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

CLAUDIO
Away! I will not have to do with you.

LEONATO
Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast killed my child;
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

ANTONIO
He shall kill two of us, and men indeed;
But that's no matter, let him kill one first.
Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me;
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

LEONATO
Brother –

ANTONIO
Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;
And she is dead, slandered to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man indeed
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!

LEONATO
Brother Antony –

ANTONIO
Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple –
Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all.

LEONATO
But, brother Antony –

ANTONIO
Come, 'tis no matter;
Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.

DON PEDRO
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death,
But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing
But what was true and very full of proof.

LEONATO
My lord, my lord –

DON PEDRO
I will not hear you.

LEONATO
No?
Come brother, away. I will be heard.

ANTONIO
And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
Exeunt Leonato and Antonio

DON PEDRO
See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.
Enter Benedick

CLAUDIO
Now, signor, what news?

BENEDICK
Good day, my lord.

DON PEDRO
Welcome, signor; you are almost come to
part almost a fray.

CLAUDIO
We had like to have had our two noses snapped
off with two old men without teeth.

DON PEDRO
Leonato and his brother. What think'st thou?
Had we fought, I doubt we should have been too young
for them.

BENEDICK
In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I
came to seek you both.

CLAUDIO
We have been up and down to seek thee, for we
are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it
beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?

BENEDICK
It is in my scabbard; shall I draw it?

DON PEDRO
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?

CLAUDIO
Never any did so, though very many have been
beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the
minstrels – draw to pleasure us.

DON PEDRO
As I am an honest man, he looks pale.
Art thou sick, or angry?

CLAUDIO
What, courage, man! What though care killed
a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.

BENEDICK
Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you
charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.

CLAUDIO
Nay, then, give him another staff; this last was
broke cross.

DON PEDRO
By this light, he changes more and more; I
think he be angry indeed.

CLAUDIO
If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.

BENEDICK
Shall I speak a word in your ear?

CLAUDIO
God bless me from a challenge!

BENEDICK
(aside to Claudio)
You are a villain; I jest 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
cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death
shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.

CLAUDIO
Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.

DON PEDRO
What, a feast, a feast?

CLAUDIO
I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's
head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most
curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find a
woodcock too?

BENEDICK
Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

DON PEDRO
I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the
other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit. ‘ True,’ said she,
‘ a fine little one.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘ a great wit.’ ‘ Right,’ says
she, ‘ a great gross one.’ ‘ Nay,’ said I, ‘ a good wit.’ ‘ Just,’
said she, ‘ it hurts nobody.’ ‘ Nay,’ said I, ‘ the gentleman
is wise:’ ‘ Certain,’ said she, ‘ a wise gentleman.’ ‘ Nay,’
said I, ‘ he hath the tongues.’ ‘ That I believe,’ said she,
‘ for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he
forswore on Tuesday morning. There's a double
tongue: there's two tongues.’ Thus did she, an hour
together, trans-shape thy particular virtues; yet at last
she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man
in Italy.

CLAUDIO
For the which she wept heartily, and said she
cared not.

DON PEDRO
Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if
she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly.
The old man's daughter told us all.

CLAUDIO
All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he
was hid in the garden.

DON PEDRO
But when shall we set the savage bull's
horns on the sensible Benedick's head?

CLAUDIO
Yes, and text underneath, ‘Here dwells Benedick,
the married man ’?

BENEDICK
Fare you well, boy; you know my mind. I will
leave you now to your gossip-like humour; you break
jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be

thanked, hurt not. (To Don Pedro) My lord, for your
many courtesies I thank you; I must discontinue your
company. Your brother the Bastard is fled from
Messina. You have among you killed a sweet and innocent
lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I shall
meet; and till then, peace be with him.
Exit

DON PEDRO
He is in earnest.

CLAUDIO
In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant
you, for the love of Beatrice.

DON PEDRO
And hath challenged thee.

CLAUDIO
Most sincerely.

DON PEDRO
What a pretty thing man is when he goes in
his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!

CLAUDIO
He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape
a doctor to such a man.

DON PEDRO
But, soft you, let me be; pluck up, my heart,
and be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?
Enter Dogberry, Verges, Watch, Conrade and
Borachio

DOGBERRY
Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she
shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance. Nay, an
you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.

DON PEDRO
How now, two of my brother's men bound?
Borachio one!

CLAUDIO
Hearken after their offence, my lord.

DON PEDRO
Officers, what offence have these men done?

DOGBERRY
Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
moreover they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they
are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude,
they are lying knaves.

DON PEDRO
First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly,
I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why
they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to
their charge.

CLAUDIO
Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and,
by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

DON PEDRO
Who have you offended, masters, that you
are thus bound to your answer? This learned Constable
is too cunning to be understood; what's your offence?

BORACHIO
Sweet Prince, let me go no farther to mine
answer; do you hear me, and let this Count kill me. I
have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms
could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to
light; who in the night overheard me confessing to this
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 disgraced her, when you should marry her. My villainy
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 villain.

DON PEDRO
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

CLAUDIO
I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it.

DON PEDRO
But did my brother set thee on to this?

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

DON PEDRO
He is composed and framed of treachery,
And fled he is upon this villainy.

CLAUDIO
Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

DOGBERRY
Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time
our Sexton hath reformed Signor Leonato of the matter.
And, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and
place shall serve, that I am an ass.

VERGES
Here, here comes master Signor Leonato, and
the Sexton too.
Enter Leonato and Antonio, with the Sexton

LEONATO
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?

BORACHIO
If you would know your wronger, look on me.

LEONATO
Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast killed
Mine innocent child?

BORACHIO
Yea, even I alone.

LEONATO
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.

CLAUDIO
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 sinned I not
But in mistaking.

DON PEDRO
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.

LEONATO
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 tonight.
Tomorrow 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 given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.

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

LEONATO
Tomorrow then I will expect your coming;
Tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I believe was packed in all this wrong,
Hired to it by your brother.

BORACHIO
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.

DOGBERRY
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 remembered 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 used 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.

LEONATO
I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

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

LEONATO
There's for thy pains.

DOGBERRY
God save the foundation!

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

DOGBERRY
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
wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.
Exeunt Dogberry and Verges

LEONATO
Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.

ANTONIO
Farewell, my lords; we look for you tomorrow.

DON PEDRO
We will not fail.

CLAUDIO
Tonight I'll mourn with Hero.
Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio

LEONATO
(to the Watch)
Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Margaret,
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene II
Enter Benedick and Margaret

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BENEDICK
And therefore will come.
(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 bookful of these quondam carpet-mongers,
whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned 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 I cannot woo in festival terms.
Enter Beatrice
Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?

BEATRICE
Yea, Signor, and depart when you bid me.

BENEDICK
O, stay but till then!

BEATRICE
‘ Then ’ is spoken; fare you well now. And yet,
ere I go, let me go with that I came, which is, with knowing
what hath passed between you and Claudio.

BENEDICK
Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.

BEATRICE
Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is
but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
will depart unkissed.

BENEDICK
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?

BEATRICE
For them all together; which maintained 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?

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

BEATRICE
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.

BENEDICK
Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

BEATRICE
It appears not in this confession; there's not
one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.

BENEDICK
An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived 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.

BEATRICE
And how long is that, think you?

BENEDICK
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?

BEATRICE
Very ill.

BENEDICK
And how do you?

BEATRICE
Very ill too.

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

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

BEATRICE
Will you go hear this news, signor?

BENEDICK
I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap and be
buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with thee to
thy uncle's.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene III
Enter Claudio, Don Pedro, Balthasar, and three or
four with tapers, all wearing mourning

CLAUDIO
Is this the monument of Leonato?

A LORD
It is, my lord.

CLAUDIO
(reading 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
Praising her when I am dumb.
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.

BALTHASAR
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.

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

DON PEDRO
Good morrow, masters; put your torches out;
The wolves have preyed, 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.

CLAUDIO
Good morrow, masters: each his several way.

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

CLAUDIO
And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's
Than this for whom we rendered up this woe.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act V, Scene IV
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.

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

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;
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.

BENEDICK
Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

FRIAR
To do what, signor?

BENEDICK
To bind me, or undo me – one of them.
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;
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoined
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.

LEONATO
Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, Claudio;
We here attend you. Are you yet determined
Today to marry with my brother's daughter?

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

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;
And some such strange bull leaped your father's cow,
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

CLAUDIO
For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
Enter Antonio, with the Ladies masked
Which is the lady I must seize upon?

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,
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.

BENEDICK
Soft and fair, Friar. Which is Beatrice?

BEATRICE
(unmasking)
I answer to that name. What is your will?

BENEDICK
Do not you love me?

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.

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,
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.

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
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 unbruised and love my cousin.

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.

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.

BENEDICK
First, of my word; therefore play, music.
Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife.
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.
Dance, and then exeunt
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2018 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL