William Shakespeare.

The complete works of William Shakespeare: with historical and ..., Volume 2 online

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Bene. Enough, I am engaged ; I will challenge him.
I will kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By
this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear ac-
count. As you hear of me, so think of me.
Go, comfort your cousin: I must say she is
dead: and so, farewell. [Exeunt.

Scene IL

A prison.

Enter Dogberry, Verges, and Sexton, in gowns; and
the Watch, with Conrade and Borachio.

Dog. Is our whole dissembly appeared ?

Verg. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.

Sex, Which be the malefactors ?

Dog, Marry, that am I and my partner.

Verg, Nay, that 's certain ; we have the exhibition to
examine.

Sex, But which are the offenders that are to be ex-
amined ? let them come before master constable.

Dog, Yea, marry, let them come before me. What

is your name, friend? 10

Bora. Borachio.

Dog. Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, sirrah ?

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

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ABOUT NOTHING Act IV. Sc. ii.

Dog, Write down, master gentleman Conrade.
Masters, do you serve God?

Dog, Write down, that they hope they serve God:
and write God first; for God defend but God
should go before such villains! Masters, it is
proved already that you are little better than 20
false knaves ; and it will go near to be thought
so shortly. How answer you for yourselves?

Con, Marry, sir, we say we are none.

Dog, A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but
I will go about with him. Come you hither,
sirrah; a word in your ear: sir, I say to you,
it is thought you are false knaves.

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

Dog, Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are both

in a tale. Have you writ down, that they are 30
none?

Sex. Master constable, you go not the way to ex-
amine: you must call forth the watch that are
their accusers.

Dog, Yea, marry, that 's the ef test way. Let the
watch come forth. Masters, I charge you, in
the prince's name, accuse these men.

First Watch, This man said, sir, that Don John, the
prince's brother, was a villain.

Dog, Write down. Prince John a villain. Why, this 40
is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother villam.

Bora. Master constable, —

Dog, Pray thee, fellow, peace : I do not like thy look,
I promise thee.

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Act IV. Sc. ii. MUCH ADO

Sex. What heard you him say else?

Sec. Watch, Marry, that he had received a thousand
ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero
wrongfully.

Dog. Flat burglary as ever was committed.

Verg. Yea, by mass, that it is. 50

Sex. What else, fellow ?

First Watch. And that Count Claudio did mean,
upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the
whole assembly, and not marry her.

Dog. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into ever-
lasting redemption for this.

Sex. What else?

Watch. This is all.

Sex. And this is more, masters, than you can deny.

Prince John is this morning secretly stolen 60
away; Hero was in this manner accused, in
this very manner refused, and upon the g^ef
of this suddenly died. Master constable, let
these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's :
I will go before and show him their examina-
tion. [Exit.

Dog, Come, let them be opinioned.

Verg, Let them be in the hands —

Con, Off, coxcomb !

Dog, God 's my life, where 's the sexton ? let him

write down, the prince's officer, coxcomb. 70
Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet !

Con, Away I you are an ass, you are an ass.

Dog, Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my years ? O that he were here to write
me down an ass ! But, masters, remember that
I am an ass ; though it be not written down, yet

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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. i.

forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain,
thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon
thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow ; and,
which is more, an officer ; and, which is more, a 80
house-holder; and, which is more, as pretty a
piece of flesh as any is in Messina ; and one that
knows the law, go to ; and a rich fellow enough,
go to ; and a fellow that hath had losses ; and
one that hath two gowns, and every thing hand-
some about him. Bring him away. O that I
had been writ down an ass ! [Exeunt



ACT FIFTH.
Scene I.

Before Leonato's house.
Enter Leonato and Antonio,

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

Leon, 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 ; 10

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,

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Act V. Sc. i. MUCH ADO

In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:

If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard.

Bid sorrow wag, cry ' hem ' ! when he should groan,

Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drtmk

With candle-wasters ; bring him yet to me,

And I of him will gather patience.

But there is no such man : for, brother, men 20

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 perceptial 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 30

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:

My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Ant, Therein do men from children nothing differ.

Leon, 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.

Ant Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;

Make those that do offend you suffer too. ^o

Leon. 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.

Ant. Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.

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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. i.

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio.

D, Pedro. Good den, good den.

Claud. Good day to both of you.

Leon. Hear you, my lords, —

D. Pedro. We have some haste, Leonato.

Leon. Some haste, my lord ! well, fare you well, my lord :
Are you so hasty now ? well, all is one.

D. Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man. 50

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

Claud. Who wrongs him ?

Leon. Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler,
thou :— ^
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword ;
I fear thee not.

Claud. Marry, beshrew my hand.

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

Leon. 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 60

What I have done being young, or what would do.
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head.
Thou hast so wrong'd 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, 70

Save thi^ of hers, framed by thy villany !

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Claud. Myvillany?

Leon. Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

D. Pedro. You say not right, old man.

Leon, My lord, my lord,

I '11 prove it on his body, if he dare.
Despite his nice fence and his active practice,
His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

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

Leon. Canst thou so daff me ? Thou hast kill'd my child :
If thou kiirst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

Ant. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed : 80

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 '11 whip you from your foining fence ;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leon. Brother, —

Ant. Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece ;
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains.
That dare as well answer a man indeed
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue : 90

Boys, apes, braggarts. Jacks, milksops !

Leon. Brother Antony, —

Ant. 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 antiquely, and show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words.
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all

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Leon. But, brother Antony, —

Ant Come, 'tis no matter : loo

Do not you meddle ; let me deal in this.

D. Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your pa-
tience.
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.

Leon. My lord, my lord, —

D. Pedro. I will not hear you.

Leon. No ? Come, brother ; away ! I will be heard.

Ant. And shall, or some of us will smart for it.

[Exeunt Leonato and Antonio.

D. Pedro. See, see ; here comes the man we went to seek.

Enter Benedick.

Claud* Now, signior, what news ? 1 1 1

Bene. Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro. Welcome, signior : you are almost come

to part almost a fray.
Claud. We had like to have had our two noses

snapped off with two old men without teeth.
D. Pedro. Leonato and his brother. What thinkest

thou ? Had we fought, I doubt we should have

been too young for them.
Bene. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I 120

came to seek you both.
Claud. 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?
Bene. It is in my scabbard : shall I draw it ?
D.Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
Claud. Never any did so, though very many have

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Act V. Sc. i. MUCH ADO

been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as
we do the minstrels ; draw, to pleasure us.

D, Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale. 130
Art thou sick, or angry?

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

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

Claud. Nay, then, give him another staff: this last
was broke cross.

D. Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more : 140
I think he be angry indeed.

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

Bene, Shall I speak a word in your ear ?

Claud, God bless me from a challenge !

Bene. [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. 150

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

D. Pedro. What, a feast, a feast?

Claud. V 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 ?

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

D. Pedro. I '11 tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit



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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. i.

the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: i6o
* 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, 170
an hour together, trans-shape thy particular vir-
tues : yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou
wast the properest man in Italy.

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

D.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.

Claud, All, all ; and, moreover, God saw him when 180
he was hid in the garden.

D, Pedro, But when shall we set the savage bull's
horns on the sensible Benedick's head ?

Claud, Yea, and text underneath, * Here dwells
Benedick the married man ' ?

Bene. 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. My lord,
for your many courtesies I thank you : I must 190
discontinue your company: your brother the

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Act V. Sc. i. MUCH ADO

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.

D, Pedro. He is in earnest.

Claud. In most profoimd earnest ; and, I '11 warrant
you, for the love of Beatrice.

D. Pedro. And hath challenged thee.

Claud. Most sincerely. 200

D. Pedro. What a pretty thing man is when he goes
in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his wit !

Claud. He is then a giant to an ape : but then is an
ape a doctor to such a man.

D.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, and the Watch, with Conrade
and Borachio.

Dog. 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 210
must be looked to.

D.Pedro. How now? two of my brother's men
bound! Borachio one!

Claud. Hearken after their offence, my lord.

D. Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men
done?

Dog. Marry, sir, they have committed false report ;
moreover, they have spoken untruths; second-
arily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they
have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified 220
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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. L

unjust things ; and, to conclude, they are lying
knaves.

D.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.

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

D. Pedro. Who have you offended, masters, that 23c
you are thus bound to your answer ? this learned
constable is too cunning to be understood:
what 's your offence ?

Bora. Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine an-
swer: 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 man,
how Don John your brother incensed me to 240
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 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 accu-
sation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the
reward of a villain.

D. Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through 250
your blood ?

Claud. I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

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Act V. Sc. i, MUCH ADO

D.Pedro, But did my brother set thee on to this?
Bora. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.
D. Pedro. He is composed and framed of treachery :

And fled he is upon this villany.
Claud. Sweet Hero ! now thy image doth appear

In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
Dog. Come, bring away the plaintiffs : by this time

our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the 260

matter : and, masters, do not forget to specify,

when time and place shall serve, that I am an

ass.
Verg. Here, here comes master Signior Leonato,

and the sexton too.

Re-enter Leonato and Antonio, with the Sexton.

Leon. 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?

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

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

Bora. Yea, even I alone. 270

Leon. 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.

Claud. 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 280

But in mistaking.

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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. i.

D. Pedro. By my soul, nor I :

And yet, to satisfy this good old man,

I would bend under any heavy weight

That he '11 enjoin me to.
Leon. 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, 290

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 given her cousin,

And so dies my revenge.
Claud. O noble sir,

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me !

I do embrace your offer ; and dispose 300

For henceforth of poor Claudio.
Leon. To-morrow, then, I will expect your coming ;

To-night I take my leave. This naughty man

Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,

Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong.

Hired to it by your brother.
Bora. 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 any thing that I do know by her.
Dog. Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white 31O

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Act V. Sc. i. MUCH ADO

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

Leon. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains. 320

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

Leon. There 's for thy pains.

Dog. God save the foundation !

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

Dog. I leave an arrant knave with your worship;
which I beseech your worship to correct your-
self, for the example of others. God keep your
worship! I wish your worship well; God re- 330
store 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.

Leon. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

Ant. Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-mor-
row.

D. Pedro. We will not fail.

Claud. To-night I '11 mourn with Hero.

Leon. [To the Watch] Bring you these fellows on.
We '11 talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this le^'d fellow.

[Exeunt, severally.

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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. ii.

Scene II.

Leonato's garden.
Enter Benedick and Margaret, meeting.

Bene. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve

well at ray hands by helping me to the speech

of Beatrice.
Marg. Will you, then, write me a sonnet in praise

of my beauty ?
Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man

living shall come over it; for, in most comely

truth, thou deservest it.
Marg. To have no man come over me! why, shall

I always keep below stairs ? lO

Bene, Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's raouth ;

it catches.
Marg. And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, 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 give thee the bucklers.
Marg. Give us the swords ; we have bucklers of our

own.
Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in 20

the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous

weapons for maids.
Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think

hath legs.
Bene. And therefore will come. [Exit Margaret.

[Sings] The god of love.

That sits above,

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Act V. Sc. ii. MUCH ADO

And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve, —

I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the 30
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of
pandars, 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 end- 40
ings; no, I was not bom under a rhyming
planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

Enter Beatrice.

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I

called 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 go, let me go with that I came ; which

is, with knowing what hath passed between you

and Claudio.
Bene.^Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss 50

thee.
Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is

but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome;

therefore I will depart unkissed.
Bene. 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;

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ABOUT NOTHING Act V. Sc. ii.

and eiiher 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 60
thou first fall in love with me ?

Beat 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?

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

Beat. In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor

heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite 70
it for yours; for I will never love that which
my friend hates.

Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

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

Bene. 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. 80

Beat. And how long is that, think you ?

Bene. 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 wit-
ness, is praiseworthy: and now tell me, how
doth your cousin ?

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Act V. Sc. iii. MUCH ADO

Beat. Very ill. 90

Bene. And how do you ?
Beat. Very ill too.

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

Enter Ursula.

Urs. Madam, you must come to your tmcle. Yon-
der 's old coil at home: it is proved my Lady



Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe complete works of William Shakespeare: with historical and ..., Volume 2 → online text (page 23 of 37)