William Shakespeare.

The dramatic works of William Shakespeare; online

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o, indeed, all disquiet, horror, and perturbation



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 1 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 poignards, 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
i would not marry her, though she were endowed
: with all that Adam had left him before he trans-
' gressed : she would have made Hercules have
] turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make
the lire too. Come, talk not of her ; you shall
find her the infernal Alt' in good apparel. I
would to God, some scholar would conjure her ;
for, certainly, while she is here, a man may live
quiet in hell as in a sanctuary ; and people
si
so
follow her.

Knter Claudio, Beatrice, Hero, and Lconato.
Don Pedro.

i Look, here she comes.

Benedick.

i Will your grace command me any service to
I 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 toothpicker
now from the farthest inch of Asia; bring you
the length of Prester John's foot ; fetch you a
hair of the great Cham's beard ; do you any
enibassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold
three words' conference with this harpy. You
have no employment for me ?
Don Pedro.
None, but to desire your good company.

Benedick.

O God, sir, here's a dish I love not : 1 cannot
endure my lady Tongue. [Exit.

Don Pedro.

Come, lady, come ; you have lost the heart of
signior Benedick.

Beatrice.

Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while ; 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.

Don Pedro.

You have put him down, lady ; you have put
him down.

Beatrice.

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.

Don Pedro.

Why, how now, count ? wherefore are you
sad?

Claudio.
Not sad, my lord.

Don Pedro.
How then? Sick?

Claudio.
Neither, my lord.

Beatrice.

The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor
merry, nor well; but civil, count, civil AS an

orange,



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.



ACT IT. Sc. i.



orange, and something of that jealous com-
plexion.

Don Pedro.

1'faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true;
though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is
false. Here, Claudia, I have wooed in thy name,
and fair Hero is won; I have broke with her
father, and, his good will obtained, name the
day of marriage, and God give thee joy 1

Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
my fortunes : his grace hath made the match,
and all grace say Amen to it !

Beatrice.
Speak, count, tis your cue.

Silence is the perfeccest 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, it you cannot, stop his
mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak neither.



I my daughter say, she hath often dreamed of un-
, happiness, and waked herself with laughing.

Don Pedro.

j She cannot endure to near tell of a husband.

O ! by no means, she' mocks all her wooers
out of suit.



In faith, lady, you nave a merry heart.

ric



Yea, my lord ; I thank it, poor fool, it keeps

on the windy side of care My cousin tells him

in his ear, that he is in her heart.

Claudio.
And so she doth, cousin.

Good lord ! for alliance thus goes every one
to the world but I, and I am sun-burned: I
may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho ! for a
husband.

Lady Beatrice, I wltt get you one.

Beatrice.

I would rather have one of your father's get-
ting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you ?
Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid
could come by them.

Will you have me,Iady? r '

I No, my lord, unless I might have another for
| working-days : your grace is too costly to wear
everyday But, 1 beseech your grace, pardon

e; I was born to speak all mirth, and no

liter.

Your silence most offends me, and to be merry
best becomes you ; for, out of 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 lo(fk "to those things I told
you of?

Beatrice. ,

I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's
pardon. [Exit Beatrice.

Don Pedro.
By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

Lconctto.

There's little of the melancholy element in
her, my lord : she is never sad, but when she
Bleeps ; and not ever sad then, for I have heard



She were an



excellent wife f<



or Benedick.



O lord ! my lord, if they were but a week
married, they would talk themselves mad.



County
church ?



Pedro.

en mean you to go to



To-morrow, my lora. 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 rny mind.

Come, you shake the head at so long a breath-
ing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time
shall not go dully by us. 1 will, in the interim,
undertake one of Hercules' labours, which is,
to bring signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice
into a mountain of affection, the one with the
other. 1 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 di-
rection.

My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten
nights' watchings.

Claudio.

And I, my lord.



And you too, gen



DonPedro.

tle Hero f



I will do any modest office, my lord, to help
y cousin to a good husband.



my cousin to a good husband.



And Benedick is not the unhbpefullest husband
that I know. Thus far can I praise him : he is
of a noble strain, of approved valour, and con-
firmed honesty. I will teach you how to humour
your cousin, that she shall fall in love with
Benedick i 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 drift.



[Exeunt.



SCENE II. Another Room in Leonato's House.
Enter John and Borachio.

It is so : the count cOaudio shall marry the
daughter of Leonatv.

Borachio.
Yea, my lord ; but I can cross it.

Any bar, any cross, any imped ment will be
medicinable to me : I am sick in displeasure to
him, and whatsoever comes athwart his affection
ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou cross
this marriage ?

Borachio.



ACT n. Sc. in.



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.



M7



rlllO.

Not honwtly, ray lord ; but to covertly that
no dishonesty shall appear in me.

John.
Show me briefly how.

Borachlo.

1 think, I told your lordship, a year since, how
much I am in the favour of Margaret, the wait-
ing-gentlewoman to Hero.
John.
I remember.

Borachio.

I can, at any unseasonable Instant of the night, i
appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber- j
window.

John.

What life is in that to be the death of this j
marriage ?

Borachio.

The poison of that lies in you to temper. Go '
you to the prince your brother : spare not to
tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in I
marrying the renowned Claudia (whose cstima- j
tion do you mightily hold up) to a contaminated
stale, such a one as Hero.
John.
What proof shall I make of that ?

Borachio.

Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex
Claudia, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato. Look
you for any other issue ?

John.

Only to despite them 1 will endeavour any
thing.

Borachio.

Go then ; find me a meet hour to draw Don
Pedro and the Count Claudia, alone: tell them, j
that you know that Hero loves me ; intend ;
a kind of zeal both to the prince and Claudia,
(as in love of your brother's honour, who hath
made this match, and his friend's reputation, who
is thus like to be cozened with the semblance of
a maid) that you have discovered thus. They
will scarcely believe this without trial : offer
them instances, which shall bear no less likeli- j
hood than to see me at her chamber -window,
hear me call Margaret Hero ; hear Margaret
term me Borachio ; and bring them to see this
the very night before the intended wedding: for
in the mean time I will so fashion the matter,
that Hero shall be absent, and there shall appear
uch seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that
jealousy shall be call'd assurance, and all the
preparation overthiown.

Grow this to what adverse issue it can, 1 will
put it in practice. Be cunning in the working
this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats.

Borachio.

nc you constant in the accusation, and my
cunning shall not shame me.

John.
I will presently go learn their day of marriage.



Benedick.

Tn my chnmhrr-window lies a book ; bring it
hither to me in the orchard.

Boy.
I am here already, iir.

Benedick.

I know that ; [Exit Boy] but I wou!d have
thee hence, and here again. I do much wonder,
that one man, seeing how much another man i*
a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to lore,
will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follie*
in others, become the argument of his own scorn
by falling in love: and such a man is Claudia.
I'have known, when there was no music with
him but the drum and the fife ; and now had he
rather hear the tabor and the pipe: I have
known, when he would have walked ten mile
afoot to see a good armour ; and now will he lie
ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new
doublet. He was wont to speak plain, and to
the purpose, like an honest man, and a soldier ;
and now is he turn'd orthographer : his words
are a very fantastical banquet, just so many
strange dishes. May I be so converted, and see
with these eyes ? I cannot tell ; 1 think not : I
will not be sworn, but love may transform me
to an oyster ; but I'll take my oath on it, till he
have made an oyster of me, he shall never make
me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet 1 am
well : another is wise, yet I am well : another
virtuous, yet I am well ; but till all graces be in
one woman, one woman shall not come in my
grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise,
or I'll none ; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her ;
fair, or I'll never look on her ; mild, or come
not near me ; noble, or not I for an angel ; of
good discourse, an excellent musician, and her
hair shall be of what colour it please God. Ha !
the prince and monsieur Love! I will hide me
in the arbour. [Withdraw*.

Enter Don Pedro, Leonato, and Claudia.
Come, shall we hear



music ?



[Exeunt.



SCENE III. Ltonaio's Garden.



Boy!
Signior.



Enter Benedick.
Benedick.

Knter a Boy.
Boy.



Yea, my good lord. How- still the evening is,
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony !

See you where Benedick hath hid himself ?

O, very well, my lord: the music ended,
We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth.

Enter Balthazar, with music.
Come, Balthazar, we*llncar that song again.

O ! good my Iord7tax not so bad a voice
To slander music any more than once.

It is the witness st?fl of^excellency,
To put a strange face on his own perfection
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.

Because you talk ofwooing', I will sing ;
Since many a wooer doth commence his snit
To her he thinks not worthy ; yet he woos,
Yet will he swear, he loves.



; pray thce, come:
Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument.
Do it in notes.

Balthazar.



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING. ACT n. Sc. HI.



[Aside.
Ish'd !



Balthazar.

Note thU oefore my notes ;
There's not a note of mine that's worth the
noting.

Don Pedro.

Why these a-"- very crotchets that he speaks ;
Note notes, forsooth, and nothing I [Music.

Benedick.

Now, divine air ! now is his soul ravis
Is it not strange that sheeps' guts should hale
souls out of men's bodies ? Well, a horn for my
money when all's done.

The Song.

Balthazar.

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,

Men were deceivers ever ;
One foot in sea, and one on shore ;
To one thing constant never.
Then sigh not so,
But let them go,
And be you blithe and bonny,
Converting all your sounds of woe
Into, Hey nonny, nonny.

Sing no more ditties, sing no mo
Of dumps so dull and heavy ;

The fraud of men was ever so,
Since summer first was leavy.
Then sigh not so, &c.

Don Pedro.

By my troth, a good song.

Balthazar.

And an ill singer, my lord.

Don Pedro.

Ha ? no, no ; faith, thou singest well enough
for a shift.

Benedick. FA side.

An he had been a dog that should have howled
thus, they would have hang'd him ; and, I pray
God, his bad voice bode no mischief ! I had as
lief have heard the night-raven, come what
plague could have come after it.

Don Pedro.

Yea, marry: dost thou hear, Balthazar? I
pray thee, get us some excellent music, for to-
morrow night we would have it at the lady
Hcru's chamber window.

Balthazar.
The best I can, my lord.

Don Pedro.

Do so: farewell. [Exeunt Balthazar and
musicians.] Come hither, Leonato : what was
it you told me of to-day? that your niece
Beatrice was in love with signior Benedick ?

Claudio. [Aside to Pedro.
O, ay: stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits.
[Aloud.] I did never think that lady would
have loved any man.

Leonato.

No, nor I neither ; but most wonderful, that
she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom
she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever
to abhor.

Benedick. [Aside.

Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that corner ?

Leonato.

By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to
think of it, but that she loves him with an en-
raged affection : it is past the infinite of thought.



Don Pedro.
May be, she doth but counterfeit.

Claudio.
'Faith, like enough.

Leonato.

God ! counterfeit ! There was never cotin-
terfeitof passion came so near the life of passion,
as she discovers it.

Don Pedro.
Why, what effects of passion shows she?

Claudio. [Aside.

Bait the hook well : this fish will bite.

Leonato.

What effects, my lord ? She will sit you,
you heard my daughter tell you how.

Claudio.
She did, indeed.

Don Pedro.

How, how, I pray you? You amaze me: I
would have thought her spirit had been invin-
cible against all assaults of affection.
Leonato.

1 would have sworn it had, my lord; espe-
cially against Benedick.

Benedick. [Aside.

I should think this a gull, but that the white-
bearded fellow speaks it : knavery cannot, sure,
hide himself in such reverence.

Claudio. [Aside.

He hath ta'en the infection : hold it up.

Don Pedro.

Hath she made her affection known to
Benedick f

Leonato.

No, and swears she never will: that's her
torment.

Claudio.

'Tis true, indeed ; so your daughter says :
" Shall I," says she, " that have so oft encoun-
tered him with scorn, write to him that I love
him?"

Leonato.



This says she, now, when she is beginning to
write to him ; for she'll be up twenty times a
night, and there will she sit in her smock, till



she have writ a sheet of paper My daughter
tells us all.

Claudio.

Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember
a pretty jest your daughter told us of.

Leonato.

O ! when she had writ it, and was reading
it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice be-
tween the sheet ?

Claudio.
That.

Leonato.

O ! she tore the letter into a thousand half-
pence ; railed at herself, that she should be so
immodest to write to one that she knew would
flout her: " I measure him," says she, "by
my own spirit ; for I should flout him, if he
writ to me ; yea, though I love him, I should."

Claudio.

Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps,
sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays,
curses; "O sweet Ben<dick! God give me
patience ! "

Leonato.

She doth indeed : my daughter says so ; and
the ecstasy hath so much overborne her, that

my



ACT IL Sc. in.



MUCH ADO AIJOUT NOTHING.



'39



inv i laughter is sometimes afrard she will do a
ili : >|MT;itf otitra^-i- In herself. It Is very true.

Di.n Pedro.

It wore good, that Benedick know of it by
some uthiT, it' she will not discover it.

Cluudio.

To what end ? He would but make a sport
of it, and torment the poor lady worse.

Don Pedro.

An he should, it were an alms to hang him.
She's an excellent sweet lady, and out of all
suspicion she is virtuous.

Cl audio.

And she is exceeding wise.
Don Pedro.

In every thing, but in loving Benedick.
Leonato.

! my lord, wisdom and blood combating in
so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that
blood hath the victory. 1 am sorry for her,
as I have just cause, being her uncle and her
guardian.

1 would, she had'bestowldthis dotage on me ;



Don 1'eilro.

Well, we will hear farther of it by your
daughter : let it cool the while. I love Benedick
well, and I could wish he would modestly ex-
amine himself, to fee how much he is unworthy
so good a lady.

Leonato.
My lord, will you walk ? dinner is ready.

Claudio. [Aside.

If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never
trust my expectation.

Don Pedro. [Aside.

Let there be the same net spread for her ;
and that must your daughter and her gen-
tlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they
hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no
such matter : that's the scene that I would see,
which will be merely a dumb show. Let us
send her to call him in to dinner.

[Kxeunt Don Pedro, Claudio, and Leonato.

Benedick.

[Advancing from the Arbour.
This can be no trick : the conference was sadly



1 pray you, tell Venedich ot it, must be requited j hear now i am censured :
and hear what a will say. they say< ^j, bear myself proud iy f if i per .

ceive the love come from her : they say, too,

Were it good, think you ? : that she will rather die than give any sign of at-

Claudio. ! fection. I did never think to marry. I must

// TO thinks surely, she will die ; for she says, i not seem proud Happy are they that hear

' she will die if he love her not, and she will die theil ' detractions, and can put them to mending.

ere she make her love known, and she will die They say, the lady is fair ; 'tis a truth, I can bear

; if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one them witness : and virtuous ; tis so, I cannot

breath of her accustomed crossness. reprove it : and wise, but for loving me ; by my

Don Pedro ' troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great

i She doth well : if she should make tender of i

i her love, tis very possible he'll scorn it ; for i

the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible j c - ause j nave rai i ed ^ i ong aga j n st

I but doth not the appetite alter ?



spirit

Claudio.
He is a very proper man.

Don Pedro.
He hath, indeed, a good outward happiness.

Claudio.
Before God, and in my mind, very wise.

Don Pedvo.

He doth, indeed, show some sparks that are
like wit.

Leonato.
And I take him to be valiant

Don Pedro.

As Hector, I assure you : and in the managing
of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for either
he avoids them with great discretion, or under-
takes them with a most Christian- like fear.
Leonato.



A man loves

; the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure in
j his age. Shall quips, and sentences, and these
' paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the
career of his humour ? No ; the world must be
peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, 1
did not think 1 should live till 1 were married
Here comes Beatrice. By this day, she's a fair
lady : I do spy some marks of love in her.

Enter Beatrice.

Beatrice.

Against my will, I am sent to bid you come in
to dinner.

Benedick.
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.

Beatrice.

I took no more pains for those thanks, than
you take pains to thank me: if it had been pain-



If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep - ful , wou - ld not have come
peace : if he break the peace, he ought to enter
into a quarrel with fear and trembling.

Don Pedro.

1 And so will he do ; for the man doth fear God,
howsoever it seems not in him by some large
jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your
niece. Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him
i of her love ?

Claudio.



Benedick.
You take pleasure, then, in the message ?

Beatrice.

Yea, just so much as you may take upon a
knife's point, and choke a daw withal. You
have no stomach, signior : fare you well. [Exit.

Benedick.

Ha ! " Against my will I am sent to bid yon
come in to dinner" there's a double meaning
in that. " I took no more pains for those thanks,
than you took pains to thank me" that's as
Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear her ! much as to say, any pains that 1 take for you is
j heart out first. ] as easy as thanks If 1 do not take pity of her,



Never tell him, my lord : let her wear it out



with good counsel.



Leonato.



lam



14-0



MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.



ACT in. Sc. i.



I am a villain : if I do not love her, I am a Jew.
I will go get her picture. [Exit.



ACT III.

SCENE I. Lcnnato's Garden.
Enter Hero, Margaret, and Ursula.

Hero.

, run thee to the parlour ;
shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
Proposing with the prince and Claudia :
Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula
Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
Is all of her : say, that thou overheard'st us ;
And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun,
Forbid the sun to enter ; like favourites,
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
Against that power that bred it There will

she hide her,

To listen our propose. This is thy office ;
Bear thee well hi it, and leave us alone.

Margaret.

I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
[Exit.
Hero

Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley up and down,
Our talk must only be of Benedick :
When I do name him, let it be thy part
To praise him more than ever man did merit.
My talk to thee must be, how Benedick
Is sick in love with Beatrice : of this matter
Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin ;

Enter Beatrice, behind.
For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Ursula.

The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
And greedily devour the treacherous bait :
So angle we for Beatrice ; who even now
Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

Hero.

Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it
No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful ;
I know, her spirits are as coy and wild
I As haggards of the rock.

Ursula.

But are you sure
That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely ?

Hero.
So says the prince, and my new-trothed lord.

Ursula.
And did they bid you tell her of it, madam ?

Hero.

They did intreat me to acquaint her of it ;
But I persuaded them, if they loy'd Benedick,
To wish him wrestle with affection,
And never to let Beatrice know of it.

Ursula.

Why did you so ? both not the gentleman
Deserve as full, as fortunate a bed,
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ?



Hero.

O God of .ove ! I know, he doth deserve
As much as may be yielded to a man ;
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice :
Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
Misprising what they look on ; and her wit
Values itself so highly, that to her
All matter else seems weak. She cannot love,
Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
She is so self-endeared.

Ursula.

Sure, I think so :

And therefore, certainly, it were not good
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

Hero.

Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
How wise, how noble,young, how rarely featur'd,
But she would spell him backward: if fair-fac'd,
She'd swear the gentleman should be her sister :
I If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick,
Made a foul blot : if tall, a lance ill-headed :
If low, an agate very vilely cut :
If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds :
If silent, why, a block moved with none.
So turns she every man the wrong side out,
And never gives to truth and virtue that
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

Ursula.
Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

Hero.

No ; not to be so odd, and from all fashions



Online LibraryWilliam ShakespeareThe dramatic works of William Shakespeare; → online text (page 26 of 211)