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MuchAdoAbout
Nothing

ACTI
SCENEI.BeforeLEONATO'Shouse.
EnterLEONATO,HERO,andBEATRICE,withaMessenger
LEONATO
IlearninthisletterthatDonPedroofArragon
comesthisnighttoMessina.
Messenger
Heisverynearbythis:hewasnotthreeleaguesoff
whenIlefthim.
LEONATO
IfindherethatDonPedrohath
bestowedmuchhonouronayoungFlorentinecalledClaudio.
Messenger
Muchdeservedonhispartandequallyrememberedby
DonPedro:hehathbornehimselfbeyondthe
promiseofhisage,doing,inthefigureofalamb,
thefeatsofalion:hehathindeedbetter
betteredexpectationthanyoumustexpectofmeto
tellyouhow.
BEATRICE
Iprayyou,isSigniorMountantoreturnedfromthe
warsorno?
Messenger
Iknownoneofthatname,lady:therewasnonesuch
inthearmyofanysort.
HERO
MycousinmeansSigniorBenedickofPadua.
Messenger
O,he'sreturned;andaspleasantaseverhewas.
BEATRICE
Iprayyou,howmanyhathhe
killedandeateninthesewars?Buthowmanyhath
hekilled?ForindeedIpromisedtoeatallofhiskilling.
LEONATO
Faith,niece,youtaxSigniorBenedicktoomuch;
buthe'llbemeetwithyou,Idoubtitnot.
Messenger

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Hehathdonegoodservice,lady,inthesewars.
BEATRICE
Youhadmustyvictual,andhehathholptoeatit:
heisaveryvalianttrencherman;hehathan
excellentstomach.
Messenger
Andagoodsoldiertoo,lady.
BEATRICE
Andagoodsoldiertoalady:butwhatishetoalord?
Messenger
Alordtoalord,amantoaman;stuffedwithall
honourablevirtues.
BEATRICE
Itisso,indeed;heisnolessthanastuffedman:
butforthestuffing,well,weareallmortal.
LEONATO
Youmustnot,sir,mistakemyniece.Thereisa
kindofmerrywarbetwixtSigniorBenedickandher:
theynevermeetbutthere'saskirmishofwit
betweenthem.
BEATRICE
Alas!hegetsnothingbythat.Inourlast
conflictfourofhisfivewitswenthaltingoff,and
nowisthewholemangovernedwithone:sothatif
hehavewitenoughtokeephimselfwarm,lethim
bearitforadifferencebetweenhimselfandhis
horse;foritisallthewealththathehathleft,
tobeknownareasonablecreature.Whoishis
companionnow?Hehatheverymonthanewswornbrother.
Messenger
Is'tpossible?
BEATRICE
Veryeasilypossible:hewearshisfaithbutas
thefashionofhishat;iteverchangeswiththe
nextblock.
Messenger
Isee,lady,thegentlemanisnotinyourbooks.
BEATRICE
No;anhewere,Iwouldburnmystudy.But,Ipray
you,whoishiscompanion?Istherenoyoung
squarernowthatwillmakeavoyagewithhimtothedevil?
Messenger
HeismostinthecompanyoftherightnobleClaudio.

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BEATRICE
OLord,hewillhanguponhimlikeadisease:he
issoonercaughtthanthepestilence,andthetaker
runspresentlymad.GodhelpthenobleClaudio!if
hehavecaughttheBenedick,itwillcosthima
thousandpounderea'becured.
Messenger
Iwillholdfriendswithyou,lady.
BEATRICE
Do,goodfriend.
LEONATO
Youwillneverrunmad,niece.
BEATRICE
No,nottillahotJanuary.
Messenger
DonPedroisapproached.
EnterDONPEDRO,DONJOHN,CLAUDIO,BENEDICK,andBALTHASAR
DONPEDRO
GoodSigniorLeonato,youarecometomeetyour
trouble.
LEONATO
Nevercametroubletomyhouseinthelikenessof
yourgrace.
DONPEDRO
Youembraceyourchargetoowillingly.Ithinkthis
isyourdaughter.
LEONATO
Hermotherhathmanytimestoldmeso.
BENEDICK
Wereyouindoubt,sir,thatyouaskedher?
LEONATO
SigniorBenedick,no;forthenwereyouachild.
DONPEDRO
Youhaveitfull,Benedick:wemayguessbythis
whatyouare,beingaman.Truly,theladyfathers
herself.Behappy,lady;foryouarelikean
honourablefather.
BENEDICK
IfSigniorLeonatobeherfather,shewouldnot
havehisheadonhershouldersforallMessina,as
likehimassheis.

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BEATRICE
Iwonderthatyouwillstillbetalking,Signior
Benedick:nobodymarksyou.
BENEDICK
What,mydearLadyDisdain!areyouyetliving?
BEATRICE
Isitpossibledisdainshoulddiewhileshehath
suchmeetfoodtofeeditasSigniorBenedick?
Courtesyitselfmustconverttodisdain,ifyoucome
inherpresence.
BENEDICK
Theniscourtesyaturncoat.ButitiscertainI
amlovedofallladies,onlyyouexcepted:andI
wouldIcouldfindinmyheartthatIhadnotahard
heart;for,truly,Ilovenone.
BEATRICE
Adearhappinesstowomen:theywouldelsehave
beentroubledwithapernicioussuitor.IthankGod
andmycoldblood,Iamofyourhumourforthat:I
hadratherhearmydogbarkatacrowthanaman
swearhelovesme.
BENEDICK
Godkeepyourladyshipstillinthatmind!sosome
gentlemanorothershall'scapeapredestinate
scratchedface.
BEATRICE
Scratchingcouldnotmakeitworse,an'tweresuch
afaceasyourswere.
BENEDICK
Well,youarearareparrotteacher.
BEATRICE
Abirdofmytongueisbetterthanabeastofyours.
BENEDICK
Iwouldmyhorsehadthespeedofyourtongue,and
sogoodacontinuer.Butkeepyourway,i'God's
name;Ihavedone.
BEATRICE
Youalwaysendwithajade'strick:Iknowyouofold.
DONPEDRO
SigniorClaudioandSigniorBenedick,mydearfriendLeonatohath
invitedyouall.Itellhimweshallstayhereat
theleastamonth;andheheartilyprayssome

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occasionmaydetainuslonger.Idareswearheisno
hypocrite,butpraysfromhisheart.
LEONATO
Ifyouswear,mylord,youshallnotbeforsworn.
ToDONJOHN
Letmebidyouwelcome,mylord:beingreconciledto
theprinceyourbrother,Ioweyouallduty.
DONJOHN
Ithankyou:Iamnotofmanywords,butIthank
you.
LEONATO
Pleaseityourgraceleadon?
DONPEDRO
Yourhand,Leonato;wewillgotogether.
ExeuntallexceptBENEDICKandCLAUDIO
CLAUDIO
Benedick,didstthounotethedaughterofSigniorLeonato?
BENEDICK
Inotedhernot;butIlookedonher.
CLAUDIO
Isshenotamodestyounglady?
BENEDICK
Doyouquestionme,asanhonestmanshoulddo,for
mysimpletruejudgment;orwouldyouhavemespeak
aftermycustom,asbeingaprofessedtyranttotheirsex?
CLAUDIO
No;Ipraytheespeakinsoberjudgment.
BENEDICK
Why,i'faith,methinksshe'stoolowforahigh
praise,toobrownforafairpraiseandtoolittle
foragreatpraise:onlythiscommendationIcan
affordher,thatweresheotherthansheis,she
wereunhandsome;andbeingnootherbutassheis,I
donotlikeher.
CLAUDIO
ThouthinkestIaminsport:Ipraytheetellme
trulyhowthoulikesther.
BENEDICK
Wouldyoubuyher,thatyouinquireafterher?

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CLAUDIO
Cantheworldbuysuchajewel?
BENEDICK
Yea,andacasetoputitinto.Butspeakyouthis
withasadbrow?
CLAUDIO
InmineeyesheisthesweetestladythateverI
lookedon.
BENEDICK
IcanseeyetwithoutspectaclesandIseenosuch
matter:there'shercousin,anshewerenot
possessedwithafury,exceedsherasmuchinbeauty
asthefirstofMaydoththelastofDecember.ButI
hopeyouhavenointenttoturnhusband,haveyou?
CLAUDIO
Iwouldscarcetrustmyself,thoughIhadswornthe
contrary,ifHerowouldbemywife.
BENEDICK
Is'tcometothis?Infaith,hathnottheworld
onemanbuthewillwearhiscapwithsuspicion?
ShallIneverseeabachelorofthreescoreagain?
Goto,i'faith;anthouwiltneedsthrustthyneck
intoayoke,weartheprintofitandsighaway
Sundays.LookDonPedroisreturnedtoseekyou.
ReenterDONPEDRO
DONPEDRO
Whatsecrethathheldyouhere,thatyoufollowed
nottoLeonato's?
BENEDICK
Iwouldyourgracewouldconstrainmetotell.
DONPEDRO
Ichargetheeonthyallegiance.
BENEDICK
Youhear,CountClaudio:Icanbesecretasadumb
man;Iwouldhaveyouthinkso;but,onmy
allegiance,markyouthis,onmyallegiance.Heis
inlove.Withwho?nowthatisyourgrace'spart.
Markhowshorthisansweris;WithHero,Leonato's
shortdaughter.
DONPEDRO
Amen,ifyouloveher;fortheladyisverywellworthy.

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CLAUDIO
Youspeakthistofetchmein,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Bymytroth,Ispeakmythought.
CLAUDIO
And,infaith,mylord,Ispokemine.
BENEDICK
And,bymytwofaithsandtroths,mylord,Ispokemine.
CLAUDIO
ThatIloveher,Ifeel.
DONPEDRO
Thatsheisworthy,Iknow.
BENEDICK
ThatIneitherfeelhowsheshouldbelovednor
knowhowsheshouldbeworthy,istheopinionthat
firecannotmeltoutofme:Iwilldieinitatthestake.
DONPEDRO
Thouwasteveranobstinatehereticinthedespite
ofbeauty.
BENEDICK
Thatawomanconceivedme,Ithankher;thatshe
broughtmeup,Ilikewisegivehermosthumble
thanks:butthatIwillhavearecheatwindedinmy
forehead,orhangmybugleinaninvisiblebaldrick,
allwomenshallpardonme.BecauseIwillnotdo
themthewrongtomistrustany,Iwilldomyselfthe
righttotrustnone;andthefineis,forthewhich
Imaygothefiner,Iwillliveabachelor.
DONPEDRO
Ishallseethee,ereIdie,lookpalewithlove.
BENEDICK
Withanger,withsickness,orwithhunger,mylord,
notwithlove.
DONPEDRO
Well,ifeverthoudostfallfromthisfaith,thou
wiltproveanotableargument.
BENEDICK
IfIdo,hangmeinabottlelikeacatandshoot
atme;andhethathitsme,lethimbeclappedon
theshoulder,andcalledAdam.
DONPEDRO
Well,astimeshalltry:'Intimethesavagebull
dothbeartheyoke.'

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BENEDICK
Thesavagebullmay;butifeverthesensible
Benedickbearit,pluckoffthebull'shornsandset
theminmyforehead:andletmebevilelypainted,
andinsuchgreatlettersastheywrite'Hereis
goodhorsetohire,'letthemsignifyundermysign
'HereyoumayseeBenedickthemarriedman.'
CLAUDIO
Ifthisshouldeverhappen,thouwouldstbehornmad.
DONPEDRO
Nay,ifCupidhavenotspentallhisquiverin
Venice,thouwiltquakeforthisshortly.
BENEDICK
Ilookforanearthquaketoo,then.
DONPEDRO
Well,youtemporizewiththehours.Inthe
meantime,goodSigniorBenedick,repairto
Leonato's:commendmetohimandtellhimIwill
notfailhimatsupper;forindeedhehathmade
greatpreparation.
BENEDICK
Ihavealmostmatterenoughinmeforsuchan
embassageexamineyour
conscience:andsoIleaveyou.
Exit
DONPEDRO
DostthouaffectHero,Claudio?
CLAUDIO
O,mylord,
Whenyouwentonwardonthisendedaction,
Ilook'duponherwithasoldier'seye,
Thatliked,buthadaroughertaskinhand
Thantodrivelikingtothenameoflove:
ButnowIamreturn'dandthatwarthoughts
Havelefttheirplacesvacant,intheirrooms
Comethrongingsoftanddelicatedesires,
AllpromptingmehowfairyoungHerois,
Saying,IlikedherereIwenttowars.
DONPEDRO
IfthoudostlovefairHero,cherishit,
AndIwillbreakwithherandwithherfather,
Andthoushalthaveher.

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Iknowweshallhaverevellingtonight:
Iwillassumethypartinsomedisguise
AndtellfairHeroIamClaudio,
AndinherbosomI'llunclaspmyheart
Andtakeherhearingprisonerwiththeforce
Andstrongencounterofmyamoroustale:
ThenaftertoherfatherwillIbreak;
Andtheconclusionis,sheshallbethine.
Exeunt
SCENEII.Thesame.
EnterDONJOHNandCONRADE
CONRADE
Whatthegoodyear,mylord!whyareyouthusout
ofmeasuresad?
DONJOHN
Thereisnomeasureintheoccasionthatbreeds;
thereforethesadnessiswithoutlimit.
CONRADE
Youshouldhearreason.
DONJOHN
AndwhenIhaveheardit,whatblessingbringsit?
CONRADE
Ifnotapresentremedy,atleastapatient
sufferance.Youhaveof
latestoodoutagainstyourbrother,andhehath
ta'enyounewlyintohisgrace;whereitis
impossibleyoushouldtaketruerootbutbythe
fairweatherthatyoumakeyourself:itisneedful
thatyouframetheseasonforyourownharvest.
DONJOHN
Ihadratherbeacankerinahedgethanarosein
hisgrace,anditbetterfitsmybloodtobe
disdainedofallthantofashionacarriagetorob
lovefromany:inthis,thoughIcannotbesaidto
beaflatteringhonestman,itmustnotbedenied
butIamaplaindealingvillain.Iamtrustedwith
amuzzleandenfranchisedwithaclog;thereforeI
havedecreednottosinginmycage.IfIhadmy
mouth,Iwouldbite;ifIhadmyliberty,Iwoulddo
myliking:inthemeantimeletmebethatIamand
seeknottoalterme.

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CONRADE
Canyoumakenouseofyourdiscontent?
DONJOHN
Imakealluseofit,forIuseitonly.
Whocomeshere?
EnterBORACHIO
Whatnews,Borachio?
BORACHIO
Icameyonderfromagreatsupper:theprinceyour
brotherisroyallyentertainedbyLeonato:andI
cangiveyouintelligenceofanintendedmarriage.
DONJOHN
Willitserveforanymodeltobuildmischiefon?
Whatisheforafoolthatbetrothshimselfto
unquietness?
BORACHIO
Marry,itisyourbrother'srighthand.
DONJOHN
Who?themostexquisiteClaudio?
BORACHIO
Evenhe.
DONJOHN
Apropersquire!Andwho,andwho?whichwaylooks
he?
BORACHIO
Marry,onHero,thedaughterandheirofLeonato.
DONJOHN
AveryforwardMarchchick!Howcameyoutothis?
BORACHIO
Beingentertainedforaperfumer,asIwassmokinga
mustyroom,comesmetheprinceandClaudio,hand
inhandinsadconference:Iwhiptmebehindthe
arras;andtherehearditagreeduponthatthe
princeshouldwooHeroforhimself,andhaving
obtainedher,givehertoCountClaudio.
DONJOHN
Come,come,letusthither:thismayprovefoodto
mydispleasure.Thatyoungstartuphathallthe
gloryofmyoverthrow:ifIcancrosshimanyway,I
blessmyselfeveryway.Youarebothsure,andwillassistme?
CONRADE

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Tothedeath,mylord.
Exeunt
ACTII
SCENEI.AhallinLEONATO'Shouse.
EnterLEONATO,HERO,BEATRICE,andothers
LEONATO
WasnotCountJohnhereatsupper?
HERO
Isawhimnot.
BEATRICE
Howtartlythatgentlemanlooks!Inevercansee
himbutIamheartburnedanhourafter.
HERO
Heisofaverymelancholydisposition.
BEATRICE
Hewereanexcellentmanthatweremadejustinthe
midwaybetweenhimandBenedick:theoneistoo
likeanimageandsaysnothing,andtheothertoo
likemylady'seldestson,evermoretattling.
LEONATO
ThenhalfSigniorBenedick'stongueinCountJohn's
mouth,andhalfCountJohn'smelancholyinSignior
Benedick'sface,
BEATRICE
Withagoodlegandagoodfoot,uncle,andmoney
enoughinhispurse,suchamanwouldwinanywoman
intheworld,ifa'couldgethergoodwill.
LEONATO
Bymytroth,niece,thouwiltnevergettheea
husband,ifthoubesoshrewdofthytongue.
BEATRICE
Just,ifhesendmenohusband;forthewhich
blessingIamathimuponmykneeseverymorningand
evening.Lord,Icouldnotendureahusbandwitha
beardonhisface:Ihadratherlieinthewoollen.
LEONATO
Youmaylightonahusbandthathathnobeard.
BEATRICE

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WhatshouldIdowithhim?dresshiminmyapparel
andmakehimmywaitinggentlewoman?Hethathatha
beardismorethanayouth,andhethathathno
beardislessthanaman:andhethatismorethan
ayouthisnotforme,andhethatislessthana
man,Iamnotforhim.
LEONATO
[ToHERO]Well,daughter,Itrustyouwillberuled
byyourfather.
BEATRICE
Yes,faith;itismycousin'sdutytomakecurtsy
andsay'Father,asitpleaseyou.'Butyetforall
that,cousin,lethimbeahandsomefellow,orelse
makeanothercurtsyandsay'Father,asitplease
me.'
LEONATO
Well,niece,Ihopetoseeyouonedayfittedwithahusband.
BEATRICE
NottillGodmakemenofsomeothermetalthan
earth.
No,uncle,I'llnone:Adam'ssonsaremybrethren;
and,truly,Iholditasintomatchinmykindred.
LEONATO
Therevellersareentering:makegoodroom.
Allputontheirmasks
EnterDONPEDRO,CLAUDIO,BENEDICK,DONJOHN,BORACHIO,MARGARET,
andothers,masked
DONPEDRO
Lady,willyouwalkaboutwithyourfriend?
HERO
Soyouwalksoftlyandlooksweetlyandsaynothing,
Iamyoursforthewalk;andespeciallywhenIwalkaway.
DONPEDRO
Withmeinyourcompany?
HERO
Imaysayso,whenIplease.
DONPEDRO
Andwhenpleaseyoutosayso?
HERO
WhenIlikeyourfavour;forGoddefendthelute
shouldbelikethecase!

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DONPEDRO
MyvisorisPhilemon'sroof;withinthehouseisJove.
HERO
Why,then,yourvisorshouldbethatched.
DONPEDRO
Speaklow,ifyouspeaklove.
Drawingheraside
BORACHIO
Well,Iwouldyoudidlikeme.
MARGARET
SowouldnotI,foryourownsake;forIhavemany
illqualities.
BORACHIO
Whichisone?
MARGARET
Isaymyprayersaloud.
BORACHIO
Iloveyouthebetter:thehearersmaycry,Amen.
MARGARET
Godmatchmewithagooddancer!
BORACHIO
Amen.
MARGARET
AndGodkeephimoutofmysightwhenthedanceis
done!Answer,clerk.
BORACHIO
Nomorewords:theclerkisanswered.
BEATRICE
Willyounottellmewhotoldyouso?
BENEDICK
No,youshallpardonme.
BEATRICE
Norwillyounottellmewhoyouare?
BENEDICK
Notnow.
BEATRICE
ThatIwasdisdainful,andthatIhadmygoodwit
outofthe'HundredMerryTales:'wellthiswas
SigniorBenedickthatsaidso.
BENEDICK

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What'she?
BEATRICE
Iamsureyouknowhimwellenough.
BENEDICK
NotI,believeme.
BEATRICE
Didhenevermakeyoulaugh?
BENEDICK
Iprayyou,whatishe?
BEATRICE
Why,heistheprince'sjester:averydullfool;
onlyhisgiftisindevisingimpossibleslanders:
nonebutlibertinesdelightinhim;andthe
commendationisnotinhiswit,butinhisvillany;
forhebothpleasesmenandangersthem,andthen
theylaughathimandbeathim.Iamsureheisin
thefleet:Iwouldhehadboardedme.
BENEDICK
WhenIknowthegentleman,I'lltellhimwhatyousay.
BEATRICE
Do,do:he'llbutbreakacomparisonortwoonme;
which,peradventurenotmarkedornotlaughedat,
strikeshimintomelancholy;andthenthere'sa
partridgewingsaved,forthefoolwilleatno
supperthatnight.
Music
Wemustfollowtheleaders.
BENEDICK
Ineverygoodthing.
BEATRICE
Nay,iftheyleadtoanyill,Iwillleavethemat
thenextturning.
Dance.ThenexeuntallexceptDONJOHN,CONRAD,andCLAUDIO
DONJOHN
SuremybrotherisamorousonHeroandhath
withdrawnherfathertobreakwithhimaboutit.
Theladiesfollowherandbutonevisorremains.
CONRAD
AndthatisClaudio:Iknowhimbyhisbearing.

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DONJOHN
ArenotyouSigniorBenedick?
CLAUDIO
Youknowmewell;Iamhe.
DONJOHN
Signior,youareverynearmybrotherinhislove:
heisenamouredonHero;Iprayyou,dissuadehim
fromher:sheisnoequalforhisbirth:youmay
dothepartofanhonestmaninit.
CLAUDIO
Howknowyouhelovesher?
DONJOHN
Iheardhimswearhisaffection.
CONRAD
SodidItoo;andhesworehewouldmarryhertonight.
DONJOHN
Come,letustothebanquet.
ExeuntDONJOHNandCONRAD
CLAUDIO
ThusanswerIinthenameofBenedick,
ButheartheseillnewswiththeearsofClaudio.
'Tiscertainso;theprincewoosforhimself.
ReenterBENEDICK
BENEDICK
CountClaudio?
CLAUDIO
Yea,thesame.
BENEDICK
Come,willyougowithme?
CLAUDIO
Whither?
BENEDICK
Eventothenextwillow,aboutyourownbusiness,
county.Whatfashionwillyouwearthegarlandof?
aboutyourneck,likeanusurer'schain?orunder
yourarm,likealieutenant'sscarf?Youmustwear
itoneway,fortheprincehathgotyourHero.
CLAUDIO
Iwishhimjoyofher.

17
BENEDICK
Doyouthinktheprincewouldhaveservedyouthus?
CLAUDIO
Iprayyou,leaveme.
Ifitwillnotbe,I'llleaveyou.
Exit
BENEDICK
Alas,poorhurtfowl!nowwillhecreepintosedges.
ButthatmyLadyBeatriceshouldknowme,andnot
knowme!Theprince'sfool!Ha?ItmaybeIgo
underthattitlebecauseIammerry.Yea,butsoI
amapttodomyselfwrong;Iamnotsoreputed:it
isthebase,thoughbitter,dispositionofBeatrice
thatputstheworldintoherpersonandsogivesme
out.Well,I'llberevengedasImay.
ReenterDONPEDRO
DONPEDRO
Now,signior,where'sthecount?didyouseehim?
BENEDICK
Troth,mylord,IhaveplayedthepartofLadyFame.
Ifoundhimhereasmelancholyasalodgeina
warren:Itoldhim,andIthinkItoldhimtrue,
thatyourgracehadgotthegoodwillofthisyoung
lady;andIofferedhimmycompanytoawillowtree,
eithertomakehimagarland,asbeingforsaken,or
tobindhimuparod,asbeingworthytobewhipped.
DONPEDRO
Tobewhipped!What'shisfault?
BENEDICK
Theflattransgressionofaschoolboy,who,being
overjoyedwithfindingabirds'nest,showsithis
companion,andhestealsit.
DONPEDRO
Wiltthoumakeatrustatransgression?The
transgressionisinthestealer.
BENEDICK
Yetithadnotbeenamisstherodhadbeenmade,
andthegarlandtoo;forthegarlandhemighthave
wornhimself,andtherodhemighthavebestowedon
you,who,asItakeit,havestolenhisbirds'nest.

18
DONPEDRO
Iwillbutteachthemtosing,andrestorethemto
theowner.
BENEDICK
Iftheirsingingansweryoursaying,bymyfaith,
yousayhonestly.
DONPEDRO
TheLadyBeatricehathaquarreltoyou:the
gentlemanthatdancedwithhertoldhersheismuch
wrongedbyyou.
BENEDICK
O,shemisusedmepasttheenduranceofablock!
anoakbutwithonegreenleafonitwouldhave
answeredher;myveryvisorbegantoassumelifeand
scoldwithher.Shetoldme,notthinkingIhadbeen
myself,thatIwastheprince'sjester,thatIwas
dullerthanagreatthaw;huddlingjestuponjest
withsuchimpossibleconveyanceuponmethatIstood
likeamanatamark,withawholearmyshootingat
me.Shespeaksponiards,andeverywordstabs:
ifherbreathwereasterribleasherterminations,
therewerenolivingnearher;shewouldinfectto
thenorthstar.Iwouldnotmarryher,thoughshe
wereendowedwithallthatAdamhadlefthimbefore
hetransgressed:shewouldhavemadeHerculeshave
turnedspit,yea,andhaveclefthisclubtomake
thefiretoo.Come,talknotofher:youshallfind
hertheinfernalAteingoodapparel.IwouldtoGod
somescholarwouldconjureher;forcertainly,while
sheishere,amanmayliveasquietinhellasina
sanctuary;andpeoplesinuponpurpose,becausethey
wouldgothither;so,indeed,alldisquiet,horror
andperturbationfollowsher.
DONPEDRO
Look,hereshecomes.
EnterCLAUDIO,BEATRICE,HERO,andLEONATO
BENEDICK
Willyourgracecommandmeanyservicetothe
world'send?Iwillgoontheslightesterrandnow
totheAntipodesthatyoucandevisetosendmeon;
ratherthanholdthreewords'conferencewiththis
harpy.Youhavenoemploymentforme?

19
DONPEDRO
None,buttodesireyourgoodcompany.
BENEDICK
OGod,sir,here'sadishIlovenot:Icannot
enduremyLadyTongue.
Exit
DONPEDRO
Come,lady,come;youhavelosttheheartof
SigniorBenedick.
BEATRICE
Indeed,mylord,helentitmeawhile;andIgave
himuseforit,adoubleheartforhissingleone:
marry,oncebeforehewonitofmewithfalsedice,
thereforeyourgracemaywellsayIhavelostit.
DONPEDRO
Youhaveputhimdown,lady,youhaveputhimdown.
BEATRICE
SoIwouldnotheshoulddome,mylord,lestI
shouldprovethemotheroffools.Ihavebrought
CountClaudio,whomyousentmetoseek.
DONPEDRO
Why,hownow,count!whereforeareyousad?
CLAUDIO
Notsad,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Howthen?sick?
CLAUDIO
Neither,mylord.
BEATRICE
Thecountisneithersad,norsick,normerry,nor
well;butcivilcount,civilasanorange,and
somethingofthatjealouscomplexion.
DONPEDRO
I'faith,lady,Ithinkyourblazontobetrue;
though,I'llbesworn,ifhebeso,hisconceitis
false.Here,Claudio,Ihavewooedinthyname,and
fairHeroiswon:Ihavebrokewithherfather,
andhisgoodwillobtained:namethedayof
marriage,andGodgivetheejoy!
LEONATO

20
Count,takeofmemydaughter,andwithhermy
fortunes:hisgracehathmadethematch,andan
gracesayAmentoit.
BEATRICE
Speak,count,'tisyourcue.
CLAUDIO
Silenceistheperfectestheraldofjoy:Iwere
butlittlehappy,ifIcouldsayhowmuch.Lady,as
youaremine,Iamyours:Igiveawaymyselffor
youanddoteupontheexchange.
BEATRICE
Speak,cousin;or,ifyoucannot,stophismouth
withakiss,andletnothimspeakneither.

DONPEDRO
Infaith,lady,youhaveamerryheart.
BEATRICE
Yea,mylord;Ithankit,poorfool,itkeepson
thewindysideofcare.Mycousintellshiminhis
earthatheisinherheart.
CLAUDIO
Andsoshedoth,cousin.
BEATRICE
GoodLord,foralliance!Thusgoeseveryonetothe
worldbutI,andIamsunburnt;Imaysitina
cornerandcryheighhoforahusband!
DONPEDRO
LadyBeatrice,Iwillgetyouone.
BEATRICE
Iwouldratherhaveoneofyourfather'sgetting.
Hathyourgracene'erabrotherlikeyou?Your
fathergotexcellenthusbands,ifamaidcouldcomebythem.
DONPEDRO
Willyouhaveme,lady?
BEATRICE
No,mylord,unlessImighthaveanotherfor
workingdays:yourgraceistoocostlytowear
everyday.But,Ibeseechyourgrace,pardonme:I
wasborntospeakallmirthandnomatter.
DONPEDRO

21
Yoursilencemostoffendsme,andtobemerrybest
becomesyou;for,outofquestion,youwerebornin
amerryhour.
BEATRICE
No,sure,mylord,mymothercried;butthenthere
wasastardanced,andunderthatwasIborn.
Cousins,Godgiveyoujoy!
LEONATO
Niece,willyoulooktothosethingsItoldyouof?
BEATRICE
Icryyoumercy,uncle.Byyourgrace'spardon.
Exit
DONPEDRO
Bymytroth,apleasantspiritedlady.
LEONATO
There'slittleofthemelancholyelementinher,my
lord:sheisneversadbutwhenshesleeps,and
noteversadthen;forIhaveheardmydaughtersay,
shehathoftendreamedofunhappinessandwaked
herselfwithlaughing.
DONPEDRO
Shecannotenduretoheartellofahusband.
LEONATO
O,bynomeans:shemocksallherwooersoutofsuit.
DONPEDRO
ShewereanexcellentwifeforBenedict.
LEONATO
OLord,mylord,iftheywerebutaweekmarried,
theywouldtalkthemselvesmad.
DONPEDRO
CountyClaudio,whenmeanyoutogotochurch?
CLAUDIO
Tomorrow,mylord:timegoesoncrutchestilllove
haveallhisrites.
LEONATO
NottillMonday,mydearson,whichishenceajust
sevennight;andatimetoobrief,too,tohaveall
thingsanswermymind.
DONPEDRO
Come,youshaketheheadatsolongabreathing:
but,Iwarrantthee,Claudio,thetimeshallnotgo

22
dullybyus.Iwillintheinterimundertakeoneof
Hercules'labours;whichis,tobringSignior
BenedickandtheLadyBeatriceintoamountainof
affectiontheonewiththeother.Iwouldfainhave
itamatch,andIdoubtnotbuttofashionit,if
youthreewillbutministersuchassistanceasI
shallgiveyoudirection.
LEONATO
Mylord,Iamforyou,thoughitcostmeten
nights'watchings.
CLAUDIO
AndI,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Andyoutoo,gentleHero?
HERO
Iwilldoanymodestoffice,mylord,tohelpmy
cousintoagoodhusband.
DONPEDRO
AndBenedickisnottheunhopefullesthusbandthat
Iknow.ThusfarcanIpraisehim;heisofanoble
strain,ofapprovedvalourandconfirmedhonesty.I
willteachyouhowtohumouryourcousin,thatshe
shallfallinlovewithBenedick;andI,withyour
twohelps,willsopractiseonBenedickthat,in
despiteofhisquickwitandhisqueasystomach,he
shallfallinlovewithBeatrice.Ifwecandothis,
Cupidisnolongeranarcher:hisgloryshallbe
ours,forwearetheonlylovegods.Goinwithme,
andIwilltellyoumydrift.
Exeunt
SCENEII.Thesame.
EnterDONJOHNandBORACHIO
DONJOHN
Itisso;theCountClaudioshallmarrythe
daughterofLeonato.
BORACHIO
Yea,mylord;butIcancrossit.
DONJOHN
Anybar,anycross,anyimpedimentwillbe
medicinabletome:Iamsickindispleasuretohim,

23
andwhatsoevercomesathwarthisaffectionranges
evenlywithmine.Howcanstthoucrossthismarriage?
BORACHIO
Nothonestly,mylord;butsocovertlythatno
dishonestyshallappearinme.
DONJOHN
Showmebrieflyhow.
BORACHIO
IthinkItoldyourlordshipayearsince,howmuch
IaminthefavourofMargaret,thewaiting
gentlewomantoHero.
DONJOHN
Iremember.
BORACHIO
Ican,atanyunseasonableinstantofthenight,
appointhertolookoutatherlady'schamberwindow.
DONJOHN
Whatlifeisinthat,tobethedeathofthismarriage?
BORACHIO
Thepoisonofthatliesinyoutotemper.Goyouto
theprinceyourbrother;sparenottotellhimthat
hehathwrongedhishonourinmarryingtherenowned
Claudiowhoseestimationdoyoumightilyhold
uptoacontaminatedstale,suchaoneasHero.
DONJOHN
WhatproofshallImakeofthat?
BORACHIO
Proofenoughtomisusetheprince,tovexClaudio,
toundoHeroandkillLeonato.Lookyouforany
otherissue?
DONJOHN
Onlytodespitethem,Iwillendeavouranything.
BORACHIO
Go,then;findmeameethourtodrawDonPedroand
theCountClaudioalone:tellthemthatyouknow
thatHerolovesme;intendakindofzealbothtothe
princeandClaudio,as,inloveofyourbrother's
honour,whohathmadethismatch,andhisfriend's
reputation,whoisthusliketobecozenedwiththe
semblanceofamaid,thatyouhavediscovered
thus.Theywillscarcelybelievethiswithouttrial:
offertheminstances;whichshallbearnoless
likelihoodthantoseemeatherchamberwindow,

24
hearmecallMargaretHero,hearMargarettermme
Claudio;andbringthemtoseethistheverynight
beforetheintendedwedding,forinthemeantimeI
willsofashionthematterthatHeroshallbe
absent,andthereshallappearsuchseemingtruth
ofHero'sdisloyaltythatjealousyshallbecalled
assuranceandallthepreparationoverthrown.
DONJOHN
Growthistowhatadverseissueitcan,Iwillput
itinpractise.Becunningintheworkingthis,and
thyfeeisathousandducats.
BORACHIO
Beyouconstantintheaccusation,andmycunning
shallnotshameme.
DONJOHN
Iwillpresentlygolearntheirdayofmarriage.
Exeunt
SCENEIII.LEONATO'Sorchard.
EnterBENEDICK
BENEDICK
Idomuchwonderthatoneman,seeinghowmuch
anothermanisafoolwhenhededicateshis
behaviorstolove,will,afterhehathlaughedat
suchshallowfolliesinothers,becometheargument
ofhisownscornbyfailinginlove:andsuchaman
isClaudio.Ihaveknownwhentherewasnomusic
withhimbutthedrumandthefife;andnowhadhe
ratherhearthetabourandthepipe:Ihaveknown
whenhewouldhavewalkedtenmileafoottoseea
goodarmour;andnowwillhelietennightsawake,
carvingthefashionofanewdoublet.Hewaswontto
speakplainandtothepurpose,likeanhonestman
andasoldier;andnowisheturnedorthography;his
wordsareaveryfantasticalbanquet,justsomany
strangedishes.MayIbesoconvertedandseewith
theseeyes?Icannottell;Ithinknot:Iwillnot
besworn,butlovemaytransformmetoanoyster;but
I'lltakemyoathonit,tillhehavemadeanoyster
ofme,heshallnevermakemesuchafool.Onewoman
isfair,yetIamwell;anotheriswise,yetIam
well;anothervirtuous,yetIamwell;buttillall

25
gracesbeinonewoman,onewomanshallnotcomein
mygrace.Richsheshallbe,that'scertain;wise,
orI'llnone;virtuous,orI'llnevercheapenher;
fair,orI'llneverlookonher;mild,orcomenot
nearme;noble,ornotIforanangel;ofgood
discourse,anexcellentmusician,andherhairshall
beofwhatcolouritpleaseGod.Ha!theprinceand
MonsieurLove!Iwillhidemeinthearbour.
Withdraws
EnterDONPEDRO,CLAUDIO,andLEONATO
DONPEDRO
SeeyouwhereBenedickhathhidhimself?
Comehither,Leonato.Whatwasityoutoldmeof
today,thatyournieceBeatricewasinlovewith
SigniorBenedick?
CLAUDIO
O,ay:stalkon.stalkon;thefowlsits.Idid
neverthinkthatladywouldhavelovedanyman.
LEONATO
No,norIneither;butmostwonderfulthatshe
shouldsodoteonSigniorBenedick,whomshehathin
alloutwardbehaviorsseemedevertoabhor.
BENEDICK
Is'tpossible?Sitsthewindinthatcorner?
LEONATO
Bymytroth,mylord,Icannottellwhattothink
ofitbutthatsheloveshimwithanenraged
affection:itispasttheinfiniteofthought.
DONPEDRO
Maybeshedothbutcounterfeit.
CLAUDIO
Faith,likeenough.
LEONATO
OGod,counterfeit!Therewasnevercounterfeitof
passioncamesonearthelifeofpassionasshe
discoversit.
DONPEDRO
Why,whateffectsofpassionshowsshe?
CLAUDIO
Baitthehookwell;thisfishwillbite.
LEONATO

26
Whateffects,mylord?Shewillsityou,youheard
mydaughtertellyouhow.
CLAUDIO
Shedid,indeed.
DONPEDRO
How,how,prayyou?Youamazeme:IwouldhaveI
thoughtherspirithadbeeninvincibleagainstall
assaultsofaffection.
LEONATO
Iwouldhaveswornithad,mylord;especially
againstBenedick.
BENEDICK
Ishouldthinkthisagull,butthatthe
whitebeardedfellowspeaksit:knaverycannot,
sure,hidehimselfinsuchreverence.
CLAUDIO
Hehathta'entheinfection:holditup.
DONPEDRO
HathshemadeheraffectionknowntoBenedick?
LEONATO
No;andswearssheneverwill:that'shertorment.
CLAUDIO
'Tistrue,indeed;soyourdaughtersays:'Shall
I,'saysshe,'thathavesooftencounteredhim
withscorn,writetohimthatIlovehim?'
LEONATO
Thissaysshenowwhensheisbeginningtowriteto
him;forshe'llbeuptwentytimesanight,and
therewillshesitinhersmocktillshehavewrita
sheetofpaper:mydaughtertellsusall.
CLAUDIO
Nowyoutalkofasheetofpaper,Iremembera
prettyjestyourdaughtertoldusof.
LEONATO
O,whenshehadwrititandwasreadingitover,she
foundBenedickandBeatricebetweenthesheet?
CLAUDIO
That.
LEONATO
O,shetoretheletterintoathousandhalfpence;
railedatherself,thatsheshouldbesoimmodest
towritetoonethatsheknewwouldflouther;'I
measurehim,'saysshe,'bymyownspirit;forI

27
shouldflouthim,ifhewrittome;yea,thoughI
lovehim,Ishould.'
CLAUDIO
Thendownuponherkneesshefalls,weeps,sobs,
beatsherheart,tearsherhair,prays,curses;'O
sweetBenedick!Godgivemepatience!'
LEONATO
Shedothindeed;mydaughtersaysso:andthe
ecstasyhathsomuchoverborneherthatmydaughter
issometimeafearedshewilldoadesperateoutrage
toherself:itisverytrue.
DONPEDRO
ItweregoodthatBenedickknewofitbysome
other,ifshewillnotdiscoverit.
CLAUDIO
Towhatend?Hewouldmakebutasportofitand
tormentthepoorladyworse.
DONPEDRO
Anheshould,itwereanalmstohanghim.She'san
excellentsweetlady;and,outofallsuspicion,
sheisvirtuous.
CLAUDIO
Andsheisexceedingwise.
DONPEDRO
IneverythingbutinlovingBenedick.
LEONATO
O,mylord,wisdomandbloodcombatinginsotender
abody,wehavetenproofstoonethatbloodhath
thevictory.Iamsorryforher,asIhavejust
cause,beingheruncleandherguardian.
DONPEDRO
Iwouldshehadbestowedthisdotageonme:Iwould
havedaffedallotherrespectsandmadeherhalf
myself.Iprayyou,tellBenedickofit,andhear
whata'willsay.
LEONATO
Wereitgood,thinkyou?
CLAUDIO
Herothinkssurelyshewilldie;forshesaysshe
willdie,ifhelovehernot,andshewilldie,ere
shemakeherloveknown,andshewilldie,ifhewoo
her,ratherthanshewillbateonebreathofher
accustomedcrossness.

28
DONPEDRO
Shedothwell:ifsheshouldmaketenderofher
love,'tisverypossiblehe'llscornit;forthe
man,asyouknowall,hathacontemptiblespirit.
WellIamsorryforyourniece.Shall
wegoseekBenedick,andtellhimofherlove?
CLAUDIO
Nevertellhim,mylord:letherwearitoutwith
goodcounsel.
LEONATO
Nay,that'simpossible:shemaywearherheartoutfirst.
DONPEDRO
Well,wewillhearfurtherofitbyyourdaughter:
letitcoolthewhile.IloveBenedickwell;andI
couldwishhewouldmodestlyexaminehimself,tosee
howmuchheisunworthysogoodalady.
LEONATO
Mylord,willyouwalk?dinnerisready.
CLAUDIO
Ifhedonotdoteonheruponthis,Iwillnever
trustmyexpectation.
DONPEDRO
Lettherebethesamenetspreadforher;andthat
mustyourdaughterandhergentlewomencarry.
LetussendBeatricetocallhimintodinner.
ExeuntDONPEDRO,CLAUDIO,andLEONATO
BENEDICK
[Comingforward]Thiscanbenotrick:the
conferencewassadlyborne.Theyhavethetruthof
thisfromHero.Theyseemtopitythelady:it
seemsheraffectionshavetheirfullbent.Loveme!
why,itmustberequited.IhearhowIamcensured:
theysayIwillbearmyselfproudly,ifIperceive
thelovecomefromher;theysaytoothatshewill
ratherdiethangiveanysignofaffection.Idid
neverthinktomarry:Imustnotseemproud:happy
aretheythatheartheirdetractionsandcanput
themtomending.Theysaytheladyisfair;'tisa
truth,Icanbearthemwitness;andvirtuous;'tis
so,Icannotreproveit;andwise,butforloving
me;bymytroth,itisnoadditiontoherwit,nor
nogreatargumentofherfolly,forIwillbe

29
horriblyinlovewithher.Imaychancehavesome
oddquirksandremnantsofwitbrokenonme,
becauseIhaverailedsolongagainstmarriage:but
dothnottheappetitealter?amanlovesthemeat
inhisyouththathecannotendureinhisage.
Shallquipsandsentencesandthesepaperbulletsof
thebrainaweamanfromthecareerofhishumour?
No,theworldmustbepeopled.WhenIsaidIwould
dieabachelor,IdidnotthinkIshouldlivetillI
weremarried.HerecomesBeatrice.Bythisday!
she'safairlady:Idospysomemarksoflovein
her.
EnterBEATRICE
BEATRICE
AgainstmywillIamsenttobidyoucomeintodinner.
BENEDICK
FairBeatrice,Ithankyouforyourpains.
BEATRICE
Itooknomorepainsforthosethanksthanyoutake
painstothankme:ifithadbeenpainful,Iwould
nothavecome.
BENEDICK
Youtakepleasuretheninthemessage?
BEATRICE
Yea,justsomuchasyoumaytakeuponaknife's
pointandchokeadawwithal.Youhavenostomach,
signior:fareyouwell.
Exit
BENEDICK
Ha!'AgainstmywillIamsenttobidyoucomein
todinner;'there'sadoublemeaninginthat'Itook
nomorepainsforthosethanksthanyoutookpains
tothankme.'that'sasmuchastosay,Anypains
thatItakeforyouisaseasyasthanks.
Exit
ACTIII
SCENEI.LEONATO'Sgarden.

30
EnterHEROandMARGARET
HERO
Now,Margaret,whenBeatricedothcome,
Aswedotracethisalleyupanddown,
OurtalkmustonlybeofBenedick.
WhenIdonamehim,letitbethypart
Topraisehimmorethanevermandidmerit:
MytalktotheemustbehowBenedick
IssickinlovewithBeatrice.Ofthismatter
IslittleCupid'scraftyarrowmade,
Thatonlywoundsbyhearsay.
EnterBEATRICE,behind
Nowbegin;
ForlookwhereBeatrice,likealapwing,runs
Closebytheground,tohearourconference.
No,truly,Margaret,sheistoodisdainful;
Iknowherspiritsareascoyandwild
Ashaggerdsoftherock.
MARGARET
Butareyousure
ThatBenedicklovesBeatricesoentirely?
HERO
Sosaystheprinceandmynewtrothedlord.
MARGARET
Anddidtheybidyoutellherofit,madam?
HERO
Theydidentreatmetoacquaintherofit;
ButIpersuadedthem,iftheylovedBenedick,
Towishhimwrestlewithaffection,
AndnevertoletBeatriceknowofit.
MARGARET
Whydidyouso?Dothnotthegentleman
Deserveasfullasfortunateabed
AseverBeatriceshallcouchupon?
HERO
Ogodoflove!Iknowhedothdeserve
Asmuchasmaybeyieldedtoaman:
ButNatureneverframedawoman'sheart
OfprouderstuffthanthatofBeatrice;
Disdainandscornridesparklinginhereyes,
Misprisingwhattheylookon,andherwit
Valuesitselfsohighlythattoher

31
Allmatterelseseemsweak:shecannotlove,
Nortakenoshapenorprojectofaffection,
Sheissoselfendeared.
MARGARET
Sure,Ithinkso;
Andthereforecertainlyitwerenotgood
Sheknewhislove,lestshemakesportatit.
HERO
Why,youspeaktruth.Ineveryetsawman,
Howwise,hownoble,young,howrarelyfeatured,
Butshewouldspellhimbackward:iffairfaced,
Shewouldswearthegentlemanshouldbehersister;
Iftall,alanceillheaded;
Iflow,anagateveryvilelycut;
Ifspeaking,why,avaneblownwithallwinds;
Ifsilent,why,ablockmovedwithnone.
Soturnssheeverymanthewrongsideout
Andnevergivestotruthandvirtuethat
Whichsimplenessandmeritpurchaseth.
MARGARET
Sure,sure,suchcarpingisnotcommendable.
HERO
No,nottobesooddandfromallfashions
AsBeatriceis,cannotbecommendable:
Butwhodaretellherso?IfIshouldspeak,
Shewouldmockmeintoair;O,shewouldlaughme
Outofmyself,pressmetodeathwithwit.
ThereforeletBenedick,likecover'dfire,
Consumeawayinsighs,wasteinwardly:
Itwereabetterdeaththandiewithmocks,
Whichisasbadasdiewithtickling.
MARGARET
Yettellherofit:hearwhatshewillsay.
HERO
No;ratherIwillgotoBenedick
Andcounselhimtofightagainsthispassion.
And,truly,I'lldevisesomehonestslanders
Tostainmycousinwith:onedothnotknow
Howmuchanillwordmayempoisonliking.
MARGARET
O,donotdoyourcousinsuchawrong.
Shecannotbesomuchwithouttruejudgment
Havingsoswiftandexcellentawit

32
Assheisprizedtohaveastorefuse
SorareagentlemanasSigniorBenedick.
HERO
HeistheonlymanofItaly.
AlwaysexceptedmydearClaudio.
MARGARET
Iprayyou,benotangrywithme,madam,
Speakingmyfancy:SigniorBenedick,
Forshape,forbearing,argumentandvalour,
GoesforemostinreportthroughItaly.
HERO
Indeed,hehathanexcellentgoodname.
MARGARET
Hisexcellencedidearnit,erehehadit.
Whenareyoumarried,madam?
HERO
Why,everyday,tomorrow.Come,goin:
I'llshowtheesomeattires,andhavethycounsel
Whichisthebesttofurnishmetomorrow.
MARGARET
She'slimed,Iwarrantyou:wehavecaughther,madam.
HERO
Ifitprovesso,thenlovinggoesbyhaps:
SomeCupidkillswitharrows,somewithtraps.
ExeuntHEROandMARGARET
BEATRICE
[Comingforward]
Whatfireisinmineears?Canthisbetrue?
StandIcondemn'dforprideandscornsomuch?
Contempt,farewell!andmaidenpride,adieu!
Noglorylivesbehindthebackofsuch.
And,Benedick,loveon;Iwillrequitethee,
Tamingmywildhearttothylovinghand:
Ifthoudostlove,mykindnessshallincitethee
Tobindourlovesupinaholyband;
Forotherssaythoudostdeserve,andI
Believeitbetterthanreportingly.
Exit
SCENEII.AroominLEONATO'Shouse

33
EnterDONPEDRO,CLAUDIO,BENEDICK,andLEONATO
BENEDICK
Gallants,IamnotasIhavebeen.
LEONATO
SosayImethinksyouaresadder.
CLAUDIO
Ihopehebeinlove.
DONPEDRO
Hanghim,truant!there'snotruedropofbloodin
him,tobetrulytouchedwithlove:ifhebesad,
hewantsmoney.
CLAUDIO
YetsayI,heisinlove.
Ifhebenotinlovewithsomewoman,thereisno
believingoldsigns:a'brusheshishato'
mornings;whatshouldthatbode?
LEONATO
Indeed,helooksyoungerthanhedid,bythelossofabeard.
DONPEDRO
Nay,a'rubshimselfwithcivet:canyousmellhim
outbythat?
CLAUDIO
That'sasmuchastosay,thesweetyouth'sinlove.
DONPEDRO
Thegreatestnoteofitishismelancholy.
CLAUDIO
Andwhenwashewonttowashhisface?
DONPEDRO
Yea,ortopainthimself?forthewhich,Ihear
whattheysayofhim.
CLAUDIO
Nay,buthisjestingspirit;whichisnowcreptinto
alutestringandnowgovernedbystops.
DONPEDRO
Indeed,thattellsaheavytaleforhim:conclude,
concludeheisinlove.
CLAUDIO
Nay,butIknowwholoveshim.
DONPEDRO
ThatwouldIknowtoo:Iwarrant,onethatknowshimnot.
CLAUDIO
Yes,andhisillconditions;and,indespiteof
all,diesforhim.

34
DONPEDRO
Sheshallbeburiedwithherfaceupwards.
BENEDICK
Yetisthisnocharmforthetoothache.Old
signior,walkasidewithme:Ihavestudiedeight
orninewisewordstospeaktoyou,whichthese
hobbyhorsesmustnothear.
ExeuntBENEDICKandLEONATO
DONPEDRO
Formylife,tobreakwithhimaboutBeatrice.
CLAUDIO
'Tisevenso.HeroandMargarethavebythis
playedtheirpartswithBeatrice;andthenthetwo
bearswillnotbiteoneanotherwhentheymeet.
EnterDONJOHN
DONJOHN
Mylordandbrother,Godsaveyou!
DONPEDRO
Goodden,brother.
DONJOHN
Ifyourleisureserved,Iwouldspeakwithyou.
DONPEDRO
Inprivate?
DONJOHN
Ifitpleaseyou:yetCountClaudiomayhear;for
whatIwouldspeakofconcernshim.
DONPEDRO
What'sthematter?
DONJOHN
[ToCLAUDIO]Meansyourlordshiptobemarried
tomorrow?
DONPEDRO
Youknowhedoes.
DONJOHN
Iknownotthat,whenheknowswhatIknow.
CLAUDIO
Iftherebeanyimpediment,Iprayyoudiscoverit.
DONJOHN

35
YoumaythinkIloveyounot:letthatappear
hereafter,andaimbetteratmebythatInowwill
manifest.Formybrother,Ithinkheholdsyou
well,andindearnessofhearthathholptoeffect
yourensuingmarriage;surelysuitillspentand
labourillbestowed.
DONPEDRO
Why,what'sthematter?
DONJOHN
Icamehithertotellyou;and,circumstances
shortened,forshehasbeentoolongatalkingof,
theladyisdisloyal.
CLAUDIO
Who,Hero?
DONPEDRO
Evenshe;Leonato'sHero,yourHero,everyman'sHero:
CLAUDIO
Disloyal?
DONJOHN
Thewordistoogoodtopaintoutherwickedness;I
couldsayshewereworse:thinkyouofaworse
title,andIwillfithertoit.Wondernottill
furtherwarrant:gobutwithmetonight,youshall
seeherchamberwindowentered,eventhenight
beforeherweddingday:ifyouloveherthen,
tomorrowwedher;butitwouldbetterfityourhonour
tochangeyourmind.
CLAUDIO
Maythisbeso?
DONPEDRO
Iwillnotthinkit.
DONJOHN
Ifyoudarenottrustthatyousee,confessnot
thatyouknow:ifyouwillfollowme,Iwillshow
youenough;andwhenyouhaveseenmoreandheard
more,proceedaccordingly.
Iwilldisparagehernofarthertillyouaremy
witnesses:bearitcoldlybuttillmidnight,and
lettheissueshowitself.
MARGARETANDBORACCIOMAKEOUTINTHEIRSIGHT
Exeunt

36
SCENEIII.Astreet.
EnterDOGBERRYandVERGES
DOGBERRY
Areyougoodmenandtrue?
VERGES
Yea,orelseitwerepitybuttheyshouldsuffer
salvation,bodyandsoul.
DOGBERRY
Nay,thatwereapunishmenttoogoodforthem,if
theyshouldhaveanyallegianceinthem,being
chosenfortheprince'swatch.
VERGES
Well,givethemtheircharge,neighbourDogberry.
DOGBERRY
Youarethoughtheretobethemost
senselessandfitmanfortheconstableofthe
watch;thereforebearyouthelantern.Thisisyour
charge:youshallcomprehendallvagrommen;youare
tobidanymanstand,intheprince'sname.
VERGES
Howifa'willnotstand?
DOGBERRY
Why,then,takenonoteofhim,butlethimgo;and
presentlycalltherestofthewatchtogetherand
thankGodyouareridofaknave.
VERGES
Ifhewillnotstandwhenheisbidden,heisnone
oftheprince'ssubjects.
DOGBERRY
True,andtheyaretomeddlewithnonebutthe
prince'ssubjects.Youshallalsomakenonoisein
thestreets;for,forthewatchtobabbleandto
talkismosttolerableandnottobeendured.
VERGES
Theywillrathersleepthantalk:theyknowwhat
belongstoawatch.
DOGBERRY
Why,youspeaklikeanancientandmostquiet
watchman;forIcannotseehowsleepingshould
offend:only,haveacarethatyourbillsbenot
stolen.Well,youaretocallatallthe
alehouses,andbidthosethataredrunkgetthemtobed.

37
VERGES
Howiftheywillnot?
DOGBERRY
Why,then,letthemalonetilltheyaresober:if
theymakeyounotthenthebetteranswer,youmay
saytheyarenotthemenyoutookthemfor.
Ifyoumeetathief,youmaysuspecthim,byvirtue
ofyouroffice,tobenotrueman;and,forsuch
kindofmen,thelessyoumeddleormakewiththem,
whythemoreisforyourhonesty.
VERGES
Iftheyknowhimtobeathief,shalltheynotlay
handsonhim?
DOGBERRY
Truly,bytheiroffice,theymay;butIthinkthey
thattouchpitchwillbedefiled:themostpeaceable
wayforyou,ifyoudotakeathief,istolethim
showhimselfwhatheisandstealoutofyourcompany.
VERGES
Youhavebeenalwayscalledamercifulman,partner.
DOGBERRY
Truly,Iwouldnothangadogbymywill,muchmore
amanwhohathanyhonestyinhim.
VERGES
'Tisverytrue.
DOGBERRY
Thisistheendofthecharge:you,constable,are
topresenttheprince'sownperson:ifyoumeetthe
princeinthenight,youmaystayhim.
VERGES
Nay,by'rourlady,thatIthinka'cannot.
DOGBERRY
Fiveshillingstooneon't,withanymanthatknows
thestatutes,hemaystayhim:marry,notwithout
theprincebewilling;for,indeed,thewatchought
tooffendnoman;anditisanoffencetostaya
managainsthiswill.
VERGES
By'rlady,Ithinkitbeso.
DOGBERRY
Ha,ha,ha!Well,masters,goodnight:antherebe
anymatterofweightchances,callupme:keepyour
fellows'counselsandyourown;andgoodnight.

38
Onewordmore,honestneighbours.Iprayyouwatch
aboutSigniorLeonato'sdoor;fortheweddingbeing
theretomorrow,thereisagreatcoiltonight.
Adieu:bevigitant,Ibeseechyou.
ExeuntMainStageDOGBERRYandVERGES
EnterBORACHIOandCONRADE
BORACHIO
WhatConrade!
DOGBERRY
[Aside]Peace!stirnot.
BORACHIO
Conrade,Isay!
CONRADE
Here,man;Iamatthyelbow.
BORACHIO
Standtheeclose,then,underthispenthouse,for
itdrizzlesrain;andIwill,likeatruedrunkard,
utteralltothee.
VERGES
[Aside]Sometreason,masters:yetstandclose.
BORACHIO
Didstthounothearsomebody?
CONRADE
No;'twasthevaneonthehouse.
BORACHIO
Notso,neither:butknowthatIhavetonight
wooedMargaret,theLadyHero'sgentlewoman,bythe
nameofHero:sheleansmeoutathermistress'
chamberwindow,bidsmeathousandtimesgood
night,Itellthistalevilely:Ishouldfirst
telltheehowtheprince,Claudioandmymaster,
plantedandplacedandpossessedbymymasterDon
John,sawafaroffintheorchardthisamiableencounter.
CONRADE
AndthoughttheyMargaretwasHero?
BORACHIO
Twoofthemdid,theprinceandClaudio;butthe
devilmymasterknewshewasMargaret;andpartly
byhisoaths,whichfirstpossessedthem,partlyby
thedarknight,whichdiddeceivethem,butchiefly
bymyvillany,whichdidconfirmanyslanderthat

39
DonJohnhadmade,awaywentClaudioenraged;swore
hewouldmeether,ashewasappointed,nextmorning
atthetemple,andthere,beforethewhole
congregation,shameherwithwhathesawo'ernight
andsendherhomeagainwithoutahusband.
DOGBERRY
Wechargeyou,intheprince'sname,stand!
Wehavehererecoveredthemostdangerouspieceof
Lecherythateverwasknowninthecommonwealth.
VERGES
AndoneDeformedisoneofthem:Iknowhim;a'
wearsalock.
CONRADE
Masters,masters,
DOGBERRY
You'llbemadebringDeformedforth,Iwarrantyou.
CONRADE
Masters,
DOGBERRY
Neverspeak:wechargeyouletusobeyyoutogowithus.
BORACHIO
Weareliketoproveagoodlycommodity,beingtaken
upofthesemen'sbills.
CONRADE
Acommodityinquestion,Iwarrantyou.Come,we'llobeyyou.
Exeunt
SCENEIV.HERO'sapartment.
EnterHERO,MARGARET
MARGARET
Troth,Ithinkyourotherrabatowerebetter.
HERO
No,praythee,goodMeg,I'llwearthis.
MARGARET
Bymytroth,'snotsogood;andIwarrantyour
cousinwillsayso.
HERO
Mycousin'safool,andthouartanother:I'llwear
nonebutthis.Godgivemejoytowearit!
Formyheartisexceedingheavy.
MARGARET

40
'Twillbeheaviersoonbytheweightofaman.
HERO
Fieuponthee!artnotashamed?
MARGARET
Ofwhat,lady?ofspeakinghonourably?Isnot
marriagehonourableinabeggar?Isnotyourlord
honourablewithoutmarriage?Ithinkyouwouldhave
mesay,'savingyourreverence,ahusband:'andbad
thinkingdonotwresttruespeaking,I'lloffend
nobody:isthereanyharmin'theheavierfora
husband'?None,Ithink,anditbetherighthusband
andtherightwife;otherwise'tislight,andnot
heavy:askmyLadyBeatriceelse;hereshecomes.
EnterBEATRICE
HERO
Goodmorrow,coz.
BEATRICE
Goodmorrow,sweetHero.
HERO
Whyhownow?doyouspeakinthesicktune?
BEATRICE
Iamoutofallothertune,methinks.
HERO
Clap'sinto'Lighto'love;'thatgoeswithouta
burden:doyousingit,andI'lldanceit.
BEATRICE
'Tisalmostfiveo'clock,cousin;tistimeyouwere
ready.Bymytroth,Iamexceedingill:heighho!
HERO
Forahawk,ahorse,orahusband?
BEATRICE
Fortheletterthatbeginsthemall,H.
HERO
Well,andyoubenotturnedTurk,there'snomore
sailingbythestar.
BEATRICE
Whatmeansthefool,trow?
HERO
NothingI;butGodsendeveryonetheirheart'sdesire!
Theseglovesthecountsentme;theyarean
excellentperfume.

41
BEATRICE
Iamstuffed,cousin;Icannotsmell.
HERO
Amaid,andstuffed!there'sgoodlycatchingofcold.
BEATRICE
O,Godhelpme!Godhelpme!howlonghaveyou
professedapprehension?
HERO
Evensinceyouleftit.Dothnotmywitbecomemerarely?
BEATRICE
Itisnotseenenough,youshouldwearitinyour
cap.Bymytroth,Iamsick.
HERO
GetyousomeofthisdistilledCarduusBenedictus,
andlayittoyourheart:itistheonlythingforaqualm.
MARGARET
Therethouprickestherwithathistle.
ExitMARGARET
BEATRICE
Benedictus!whyBenedictus?youhavesomemoralin
thisBenedictus.
HERO
Moral!no,bymytroth,Ihavenomoralmeaning;I
meant,plainholythistle.Youmaythinkperchance
thatIthinkyouareinlove:nay,by'rlady,Iam
notsuchafooltothinkwhatIlist,norIlist
nottothinkwhatIcan,norindeedIcannotthink,
ifIwouldthinkmyheartoutofthinking,thatyou
areinloveorthatyouwillbeinloveorthatyou
canbeinlove.YetBenedickwassuchanother,and
nowishebecomeaman:hesworehewouldnever
marry,andyetnow,indespiteofhisheart,heeats
hismeatwithoutgrudging:andhowyoumaybe
convertedIknownot,butmethinksyoulookwith
youreyesasotherwomendo.
BEATRICE
Whatpaceisthisthatthytonguekeeps?
HERO
Notafalsegallop.
ReenterMARGARET

42
MARGARET
Madam,withdraw:theprince,thecount,Signior
Benedick,DonJohn,andallthegallantsofthe
town,arecometofetchyoutochurch.
HERO
Helptodressme,goodcoz,goodMeg.
Exeunt
SCENEV.AnotherroominLEONATO'Shouse.
EnterLEONATO,withDOGBERRYandVERGES
LEONATO
Whatwouldyouwithme,honestneighbour?
DOGBERRY
Marry,sir,Iwouldhavesomeconfidencewithyou
thatdecernsyounearly.
LEONATO
Brief,Iprayyou;foryouseeitisabusytimewithme.
DOGBERRY
Marry,thisitis,sir.
VERGES
Yes,intruthitis,sir.
LEONATO
Whatisit,mygoodfriends?
DOGBERRY
GoodmanVerges,sir,speaksalittleoffthe
matter:anoldman,sir,andhiswitsarenotso
bluntas,Godhelp,Iwoulddesiretheywere;but,
infaith,honestastheskinbetweenhisbrows.
VERGES
Yes,IthankGodIamashonestasanymanliving
thatisanoldmanandnohonesterthanI.
DOGBERRY
Comparisonsareodorous:palabras,neighbourVerges.
LEONATO
Neighbours,youaretedious.
Iwouldfainknowwhatyouhavetosay.
VERGES
Marry,sir,ourwatchtonight,exceptingyour
worship'spresence,ha'ta'enacoupleofasarrant
knavesasanyinMessina.
DOGBERRY

43
Agoodoldman,sir;hewillbetalking:asthey
say,whentheageisin,thewitisout:Godhelp
us!itisaworldtosee.Wellsaid,i'faith,
neighbourVerges:well,God'sagoodman;antwomen
rideofahorse,onemustridebehind.Anhonest
soul,i'faith,sir;bymytrothheis,asever
brokebread;butGodistobeworshipped;allmen
arenotalike;alas,goodneighbour!
LEONATO
Indeed,neighbour,hecomestooshortofyou.
DOGBERRY
GiftsthatGodgives.
LEONATO
Imustleaveyou.
DOGBERRY
Oneword,sir:ourwatch,sir,haveindeed
comprehendedtwoaspiciouspersons,andwewould
havethemthismorningexaminedbeforeyourworship.
LEONATO
Taketheirexaminationyourselfandbringitme:I
amnowingreathaste,asitmayappearuntoyou.
DOGBERRY
Itshallbesuffigance.
LEONATO
Drinksomewineereyougo:fareyouwell.
ExeuntLEONATO
DOGBERRY
Go,goodpartner,go,getyoutoFrancisSeacole;
bidhimbringhispenandinkhorntothegaol:we
arenowtoexaminationthesemen.
VERGES
Andwemustdoitwisely.
DOGBERRY
Wewillsparefornowit,Iwarrantyou;here's
thatshalldrivesomeofthemtoanoncome:only
getthelearnedwritertosetdownour
excommunicationandmeetmeatthegaol.
Exeunt
ACTIV

44
SCENEI.Achurch.
EnterDONPEDRO,DONJOHN,LEONATO,FRIARFRANCIS,CLAUDIO,
BENEDICK,HERO,BEATRICE,andAttendants
LEONATO
Come,FriarFrancis,bebrief;onlytotheplain
formofmarriage,andyoushallrecounttheir
particulardutiesafterwards.
FRIARFRANCIS
Youcomehither,mylord,tomarrythislady.
CLAUDIO
No.
LEONATO
Tobemarriedtoher:friar,youcometomarryher.
FRIARFRANCIS
Lady,youcomehithertobemarriedtothiscount.
HERO
Ido.
FRIARFRANCIS
Ifeitherofyouknowanyinwardimpedimentwhyyou
shouldnotbeconjoined,chargeyou,onyoursouls,
toutterit.
CLAUDIO
Knowyouany,Hero?
HERO
None,mylord.
FRIARFRANCIS
Knowyouany,count?
LEONATO
Idaremakehisanswer,none.
CLAUDIO
O,whatmendaredo!whatmenmaydo!whatmendaily
do,notknowingwhattheydo!
BENEDICK
Hownow!interjections?Why,then,somebeof
laughing,as,ah,ha,he!
CLAUDIO
Standtheeby,friar.Father,byyourleave:
Willyouwithfreeandunconstrainedsoul
Givemethismaid,yourdaughter?
LEONATO
Asfreely,son,asGoddidgiveherme.
CLAUDIO

45
AndwhathaveItogiveyouback,whoseworth
Maycounterpoisethisrichandpreciousgift?
DONPEDRO
Nothing,unlessyourenderheragain.
CLAUDIO
Sweetprince,youlearnmenoblethankfulness.
There,Leonato,takeherbackagain:
Givenotthisrottenorangetoyourfriend;
She'sbutthesignandsemblanceofherhonour.
Beholdhowlikeamaidsheblusheshere!
O,whatauthorityandshowoftruth
Cancunningsincoveritselfwithal!
Comesnotthatbloodasmodestevidence
Towitnesssimplevirtue?Wouldyounotswear,
Allyouthatseeher,thatshewereamaid,
Bytheseexteriorshows?Butsheisnone:
Sheknowstheheatofaluxuriousbed;
Herblushisguiltiness,notmodesty.
LEONATO
Whatdoyoumean,mylord?
CLAUDIO
Nottobemarried,
Nottoknitmysoultoanapprovedwanton.
LEONATO
Dearmylord,ifyou,inyourownproof,
Havevanquish'dtheresistanceofheryouth,
Andmadedefeatofhervirginity,
CLAUDIO
Iknowwhatyouwouldsay:ifIhaveknownher,
Youwillsayshedidembracemeasahusband,
Andsoextenuatethe'forehandsin:
No,Leonato,
Inevertemptedherwithwordtoolarge;
But,asabrothertohissister,show'd
Bashfulsincerityandcomelylove.
HERO
Andseem'dIeverotherwisetoyou?
CLAUDIO
Outonthee!Seeming!Iwillwriteagainstit:
YouseemtomeasDianinherorb,
Aschasteasisthebudereitbeblown;
Butyouaremoreintemperateinyourblood
ThanVenus,orthosepamper'danimals
Thatrageinsavagesensuality.

46
HERO
Ismylordwell,thathedothspeaksowide?
LEONATO
Sweetprince,whyspeaknotyou?
DONPEDRO
WhatshouldIspeak?
Istanddishonour'd,thathavegoneabout
Tolinkmydearfriendtoacommonstale.
LEONATO
Arethesethingsspoken,ordoIbutdream?
DONJOHN
Sir,theyarespoken,andthesethingsaretrue.
BENEDICK
Thislooksnotlikeanuptial.
HERO
True!OGod!
CLAUDIO
Leonato,standIhere?
Isthistheprince?isthistheprince'sbrother?
IsthisfaceHero's?areoureyesourown?
LEONATO
Allthisisso:butwhatofthis,mylord?
CLAUDIO
Letmebutmoveonequestiontoyourdaughter;
And,bythatfatherlyandkindlypower
Thatyouhaveinher,bidheranswertruly.
LEONATO
Ichargetheedoso,asthouartmychild.
HERO
O,Goddefendme!howamIbeset!
Whatkindofcatechisingcallyouthis?
CLAUDIO
Tomakeyouanswertrulytoyourname.
HERO
IsitnotHero?Whocanblotthatname
Withanyjustreproach?
CLAUDIO
Marry,thatcanHero;
HeroitselfcanblotoutHero'svirtue.
Whatmanwashetalk'dwithyouyesternight
Outatyourwindowbetwixttwelveandone?
Now,ifyouareamaid,answertothis.
HERO

47
Italk'dwithnooneatthathour,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Why,thenareyounomaiden.Leonato,
Iamsorryyoumusthear:uponminehonour,
Myself,mybrotherandthisgrievedcount
Didseeher,hearher,atthathourlastnight
Talkwitharuffianatherchamberwindow
Whohathindeed,mostlikealiberalvillain,
Confess'dthevileencounterstheyhavehad
Athousandtimesinsecret.
DONJOHN
Fie,fie!theyarenottobenamed,mylord,
Nottobespokeof;
Thereisnotchastityenoughinlanguage
Withoutoffencetoutterthem.Thus,prettylady,
Iamsorryforthymuchmisgovernment.
CLAUDIO
OHero,whataHerohadstthoubeen,
Ifhalfthyoutwardgraceshadbeenplaced
Aboutthythoughtsandcounselsofthyheart!
Butfaretheewell,mostfoul,mostfair!farewell,
Thoupureimpietyandimpiouspurity!
FortheeI'lllockupallthegatesoflove,
Andonmyeyelidsshallconjecturehang,
Toturnallbeautyintothoughtsofharm,
Andnevershallitmorebegracious.
LEONATO
Hathnoman'sdaggerhereapointforme?
HEROswoons
BEATRICE
Why,hownow,cousin!whereforesinkyoudown?
DONJOHN
Come,letusgo.Thesethings,comethustolight,
Smotherherspiritsup.
ExeuntDONPEDRO,DONJOHN,andCLAUDIO
BENEDICK
Howdoththelady?
BEATRICE
Dead,Ithink.Help,uncle!
Hero!why,Hero!Uncle!SigniorBenedick!Friar!

48
LEONATO
OFate!takenotawaythyheavyhand.
Deathisthefairestcoverforhershame
Thatmaybewish'dfor.
BEATRICE
Hownow,cousinHero!
FRIARFRANCIS
Havecomfort,lady.
LEONATO
Dostthoulookup?
FRIARFRANCIS
Yea,whereforeshouldshenot?
LEONATO
Wherefore!Why,dothnoteveryearthlything
Cryshameuponher?Couldsheheredeny
Thestorythatisprintedinherblood?
Donotlive,Hero;donotopethineeyes:
For,didIthinkthouwouldstnotquicklydie,
ThoughtIthyspiritswerestrongerthanthyshames,
Myselfwould,ontherearwardofreproaches,
Strikeatthylife.GrievedI,Ihadbutone?
ChidIforthatatfrugalnature'sframe?
O,onetoomuchbythee!WhyhadIone?
Whyeverwastthoulovelyinmyeyes?
WhyhadInotwithcharitablehand
Tookupabeggar'sissueatmygates,
Whosmirch'dthusandmiredwithinfamy,
Imighthavesaid'Nopartofitismine;
Thisshamederivesitselffromunknownloins'?
ButmineandmineIlovedandmineIpraised
AndminethatIwasproudon,minesomuch
ThatImyselfwastomyselfnotmine,
Valuingofher,why,she,O,sheisfallen
Intoapitofink,thatthewidesea
Hathdropstoofewtowashhercleanagain
Andsalttoolittlewhichmayseasongive
Toherfoultaintedflesh!
BENEDICK
Sir,sir,bepatient.
Formypart,Iamsoattiredinwonder,
Iknownotwhattosay.
BEATRICE
O,onmysoul,mycousinisbelied!
BENEDICK

49
Lady,wereyouherbedfellowlastnight?
BEATRICE
No,trulynot;although,untillastnight,
Ihavethistwelvemonthbeenherbedfellow.
LEONATO
Confirm'd,confirm'd!O,thatisstrongermade
Whichwasbeforebarr'dupwithribsofiron!
Wouldthetwoprinceslie,andClaudiolie,
Wholovedherso,that,speakingofherfoulness,
Wash'ditwithtears?Hencefromher!letherdie.
FRIARFRANCIS
Hearmealittle;
ForIhaveonlybeensilentsolong
Andgivenwayuntothiscourseoffortune.
...
BynotingoftheladyIhavemark'd
Athousandblushingapparitions
Tostartintoherface,athousandinnocentshames
Inangelwhitenessbeatawaythoseblushes;
Andinhereyetherehathappear'dafire,
Toburntheerrorsthattheseprinceshold
Againsthermaidentruth.Callmeafool;
Trustnotmyreadingnormyobservations,
Whichwithexperimentalsealdothwarrant
Thetenorofmybook;trustnotmyage,
Myreverence,calling,nordivinity,
Ifthissweetladylienotguiltlesshere
Undersomebitingerror.
LEONATO
Friar,itcannotbe.
Thouseestthatallthegracethatshehathleft
Isthatshewillnotaddtoherdamnation
Asinofperjury;shenotdeniesit:
Whyseek'stthouthentocoverwithexcuse
Thatwhichappearsinpropernakedness?
FRIARFRANCIS
Lady,whatmanisheyouareaccusedof?
HERO
Theyknowthatdoaccuseme;Iknownone:
IfIknowmoreofanymanalive
Thanthatwhichmaidenmodestydothwarrant,
Letallmysinslackmercy!Omyfather,
Proveyouthatanymanwithmeconversed
Athoursunmeet,orthatIyesternight

50
Maintain'dthechangeofwordswithanycreature,
Refuseme,hateme,torturemetodeath!
FRIARFRANCIS
Thereissomestrangemisprisionintheprinces.
BENEDICK
Twoofthemhavetheverybentofhonour;
Andiftheirwisdomsbemisledinthis,
ThepractiseofitlivesinJohnthebastard,
Whosespiritstoilinframeofvillanies.
LEONATO
Iknownot.Iftheyspeakbuttruthofher,
Thesehandsshalltearher;iftheywrongherhonour,
Theproudestofthemshallwellhearofit.
Timehathnotyetsodriedthisbloodofmine,
Noragesoeatupmyinvention,
Norfortunemadesuchhavocofmymeans,
Normybadlifereftmesomuchoffriends,
Buttheyshallfind,awakedinsuchakind,
Bothstrengthoflimbandpolicyofmind,
Abilityinmeansandchoiceoffriends,
Toquitmeofthemthroughly.
FRIARFRANCIS
Pauseawhile,
Andletmycounselswayyouinthiscase.
Yourdaughterheretheprincesleftfordead:
Letherawhilebesecretlykeptin,
Andpublishitthatsheisdeadindeed;
Maintainamourningostentation
Andonyourfamily'soldmonument
Hangmournfulepitaphsanddoallrites
Thatappertainuntoaburial.
LEONATO
Whatshallbecomeofthis?whatwillthisdo?
FRIARFRANCIS
Marry,thiswellcarriedshallonherbehalf
Changeslandertoremorse;thatissomegood:
ButnotforthatdreamIonthisstrangecourse,
Butonthistravaillookforgreaterbirth.
Shedying,asitmustsobemaintain'd,
Upontheinstantthatshewasaccused,
Shallbelamented,pitiedandexcused
Ofeveryhearer:SowillitfarewithClaudio:
Whenheshallhearshedieduponhiswords,
Theideaofherlifeshallsweetlycreep

51
Intohisstudyofimagination,
Andeverylovelyorganofherlife
Shallcomeapparell'dinmoreprecioushabit,
Moremovingdelicateandfulloflife,
Intotheeyeandprospectofhissoul,
Thanwhenshelivedindeed;thenshallhemourn,
Ifeverlovehadinterestinhisliver,
Andwishhehadnotsoaccusedher,
No,thoughhethoughthisaccusationtrue.
Letthisbeso,anddoubtnotbutsuccess
Willfashiontheeventinbettershape
ThanIcanlayitdowninlikelihood.
Butifallaimbutthisbelevell'dfalse,
Thesuppositionofthelady'sdeath
Willquenchthewonderofherinfamy:
Andifitsortnotwell,youmayconcealher,
Asbestbefitsherwoundedreputation,
Insomereclusiveandreligiouslife,
Outofalleyes,tongues,mindsandinjuries.
BENEDICK
SigniorLeonato,letthefriaradviseyou:
Andthoughyouknowmyinwardnessandlove
IsverymuchuntotheprinceandClaudio,
Yet,byminehonour,Iwilldealinthis
Assecretlyandjustlyasyoursoul
Shouldwithyourbody.
LEONATO
BeingthatIflowingrief,
Thesmallesttwinemayleadme.
FRIARFRANCIS
'Tiswellconsented:presentlyaway;
Fortostrangesoresstrangelytheystrainthecure.
Come,lady,dietolive:thisweddingday
Perhapsisbutprolong'd:havepatienceandendure.
ExeuntallbutBENEDICKandBEATRICE
BENEDICK
LadyBeatrice,haveyouweptallthiswhile?
BEATRICE
Yea,andIwillweepawhilelonger.
BENEDICK
Iwillnotdesirethat.
BEATRICE

52
Youhavenoreason;Idoitfreely.
BENEDICK
SurelyIdobelieveyourfaircousiniswronged.
BEATRICE
Ah,howmuchmightthemandeserveofmethatwouldrighther!
BENEDICK
Isthereanywaytoshowsuchfriendship?
BEATRICE
Averyevenway,butnosuchfriend.
BENEDICK
Mayamandoit?
BEATRICE
Itisaman'soffice,butnotyours.
BENEDICK
Idolovenothingintheworldsowellasyou:is
notthatstrange?
BEATRICE
AsstrangeasthethingIknownot.Itwereas
possibleformetosayIlovednothingsowellas
you:butbelievemenot;andyetIlienot;I
confessnothing,norIdenynothing.Iamsorryformycousin.
BENEDICK
Bymysword,Beatrice,thoulovestme.
BEATRICE
Donotswear,andeatit.
BENEDICK
Iwillswearbyitthatyouloveme;andIwillmake
himeatitthatsaysIlovenotyou.
BEATRICE
Willyounoteatyourword?
BENEDICK
Withnosaucethatcanbedevisedtoit.Iprotest
Ilovethee.
BEATRICE
Why,then,Godforgiveme!
BENEDICK
Whatoffence,sweetBeatrice?
BEATRICE
Youhavestayedmeinahappyhour:Iwasaboutto
protestIlovedyou.
BENEDICK
Anddoitwithallthyheart.
BEATRICE

53
Iloveyouwithsomuchofmyheartthatnoneis
lefttoprotest.
BENEDICK
Come,bidmedoanythingforthee.
BEATRICE
KillClaudio.
BENEDICK
Ha!notforthewideworld.
BEATRICE
Youkillmetodenyit.Farewell.
BENEDICK
Tarry,sweetBeatrice.
BEATRICE
Iamgone,thoughIamhere:thereisnolovein
you:nay,Iprayyou,letmego.
BENEDICK
Beatrice,
BEATRICE
Infaith,Iwillgo.
BENEDICK
We'llbefriendsfirst.
BEATRICE
Youdareeasierbefriendswithmethanfightwithmineenemy.
BENEDICK
IsClaudiothineenemy?
BEATRICE
Ishenotapprovedintheheightavillain,that
hathslandered,scorned,dishonouredmykinswoman?O
thatIwereaman!What,bearherinhanduntilthey
cometotakehands;andthen,withpublic
accusation,uncoveredslander,unmitigatedrancour,
OGod,thatIwereaman!Iwouldeathisheart
inthemarketplace.
BENEDICK
Hearme,Beatrice,
BEATRICE
Talkwithamanoutatawindow!Apropersaying!
BENEDICK
Nay,but,Beatrice,
BEATRICE
SweetHero!Sheiswronged,sheisslandered,sheisundone.
BENEDICK
Beat

54
BEATRICE
Princesandcounties!Surely,aprincelytestimony,
agoodlycount,CountComfect;asweetgallant,
surely!OthatIwereamanforhissake!orthatI
hadanyfriendwouldbeamanformysake!But
manhoodismeltedintocourtesies,valourinto
compliment,andmenareonlyturnedintotongue,and
trimonestoo:heisnowasvaliantasHercules
thatonlytellsalieandswearsit.Icannotbea
manwithwishing,thereforeIwilldieawomanwithgrieving.
BENEDICK
Tarry,goodBeatrice.Bythishand,Ilovethee.
BEATRICE
Useitformylovesomeotherwaythanswearingbyit.
BENEDICK
ThinkyouinyoursoultheCountClaudiohathwrongedHero?
BEATRICE
Yea,assureasIhaveathoughtorasoul.
BENEDICK
Enough,Iamengaged;Iwillchallengehim.Iwill
kissyourhand,andsoIleaveyou.Bythishand,
Claudioshallrendermeadearaccount.Asyou
hearofme,sothinkofme.Go,comfortyour
cousin:Imustsaysheisdead:andso,farewell.
Exeunt
SCENEII.Aprison.
EnterDOGBERRY,VERGES,andSexton,ingowns;withCONRADEandBORACHIO
DOGBERRY
Isourwholedissemblyappeared?
VERGES
O,astoolandacushionforthesexton.
Sexton
Whichbethemalefactors?
DOGBERRY
Marry,thatamIandmypartner.
VERGES
Nay,that'scertain;wehavetheexhibitiontoexamine.
Sexton
Butwhicharetheoffendersthataretobe
examined?letthemcomebeforemasterconstable.

55
DOGBERRY
Yea,marry,letthemcomebeforeme.Whatisyour
name,friend?
BORACHIO
Borachio.
DOGBERRY
Pray,writedown,Borachio.Yours,sirrah?
CONRADE
Iamagentleman,sir,andmynameisConrade.
DOGBERRY
Writedown,mastergentlemanConrade.Masters,do
youserveGod?
CONRADEBORACHIO
Yea,sir,wehope.
DOGBERRY
Writedown,thattheyhopetheyserveGod:and
writeGodfirst;forGoddefendbutGodshouldgo
beforesuchvillains!Masters,itisprovedalready
thatyouarelittlebetterthanfalseknaves;andit
willgoneartobethoughtsoshortly.Howanswer
youforyourselves?
CONRADE
Marry,sir,wesaywearenone.
DOGBERRY
Amarvellouswittyfellow,Iassureyou:butI
willgoaboutwithhim.Comeyouhither,sirrah;a
wordinyourear:sir,Isaytoyou,itisthought
youarefalseknaves.
BORACHIO
Sir,Isaytoyouwearenone.
DOGBERRY
Well,standaside.'ForeGod,theyarebothina
tale.Haveyouwritdown,thattheyarenone?
Sexton
Masterconstable,yougonotthewaytoexamine:
youmustcallforththewatchthataretheiraccusers.
DOGBERRY
Yea,marry,that'stheeftestway.Letthewatch
comeforth.Masters,Ichargeyou,intheprince's
name,accusethesemen.
VERGES
Thismansaid,sir,thatDonJohn,theprince's
brother,wasavillain.

56
DOGBERRY
WritedownPrinceJohnavillain.Why,thisisflat
perjury,tocallaprince'sbrothervillain.
BORACHIO
Masterconstable,
DOGBERRY
Praythee,fellow,peace:Idonotlikethylook,
Ipromisethee.
Sexton
Whatheardyouhimsayelse?
VERGES
Marry,thathehadreceivedathousandducatsof
DonJohnforaccusingtheLadyHerowrongfully.
DOGBERRY
Flatburglaryaseverwascommitted.
VERGES
Yea,bymass,thatitis.
Sexton
Whatelse,fellow?
VERGES
AndthatCountClaudiodidmean,uponhiswords,to
disgraceHerobeforethewholeassembly.andnotmarryher.
DOGBERRY
Ovillain!thouwiltbecondemnedintoeverlasting
redemptionforthis.
Sexton
Whatelse?
VERGES
Thisisall.
Sexton
Andthisismore,masters,thanyoucandeny.
PrinceJohnisthismorningsecretlystolenaway;
Herowasinthismanneraccused,inthisverymanner
refused,anduponthegriefofthissuddenlydied.
Masterconstable,letthesemenbebound,and
broughttoLeonato's:Iwillgobeforeandshow
himtheirexamination.
Exit
DOGBERRY
Come,letthembeopinioned.
VERGES

57
Letthembeinthehands
CONRADE
Off,coxcomb!
DOGBERRY
God'smylife,where'sthesexton?lethimwrite
downtheprince'sofficercoxcomb.Come,bindthem.
Thounaughtyvarlet!
CONRADE
Away!youareanass,youareanass.
DOGBERRY
Dostthounotsuspectmyplace?dostthounot
suspectmyyears?Othathewereheretowriteme
downanass!But,masters,rememberthatIaman
ass;thoughitbenotwrittendown,yetforgetnot
thatIamanass.No,thouvillain,thouartfullof
piety,asshallbeprovedupontheebygoodwitness.
Iamawisefellow,and,whichismore,anofficer,
and,whichismore,ahouseholder,and,whichis
more,asprettyapieceoffleshasanyisin
Messina,andonethatknowsthelaw,goto;anda
richfellowenough,goto;andafellowthathath
hadlosses,andonethathathtwogownsandevery
thinghandsomeabouthim.Bringhimaway.Othat
Ihadbeenwritdownanass!
Exeunt
ACTV
SCENEI.BeforeLEONATO'Shouse.
EnterLEONATO
EnterDONPEDROandCLAUDIO
DONPEDRO
Goodden,goodden.
CLAUDIO
Gooddaytoyou.
LEONATO
Hearyou.mylords,
DONPEDRO
Wehavesomehaste,Leonato.
LEONATO

58
Somehaste,mylord!well,fareyouwell,mylord:
Areyousohastynow?well,allisone.
DONPEDRO
Nay,donotquarrelwithus,goodoldman.
LEONATO
IfIcouldrightmyselfwithquarreling,
Someofuswouldlielow.
CLAUDIO
Whowrongsyou?
LEONATO
Marry,thoudostwrongme;thoudissembler,thou:
Nay,neverlaythyhanduponthysword;
Ifeartheenot.
CLAUDIO
Marry,beshrewmyhand,
Ifitshouldgiveyouragesuchcauseoffear:
Infaith,myhandmeantnothingtomysword.
LEONATO
Tush,tush,man;neverfleerandjestatme:
Ispeaknotlikeadotardnorafool,
Asunderprivilegeofagetobrag
WhatIhavedonebeingyoung,orwhatwoulddo
WereInotold.Know,Claudio,tothyhead,
Thouhastsowrong'dmineinnocentchildandme
ThatIamforcedtolaymyreverenceby
And,withgreyhairsandbruiseofmanydays,
Dochallengetheetotrialofaman.
Isaythouhastbeliedmineinnocentchild;
Thyslanderhathgonethroughandthroughherheart,
Andsheliesburiedwithherancestors;
O,inatombwhereneverscandalslept,
Savethisofhers,framedbythyvillany!
CLAUDIO
Myvillany?
LEONATO
Thine,Claudio;thine,Isay.
DONPEDRO
Yousaynotright,oldman.
LEONATO
Mylord,mylord,
I'llproveitonhisbody,ifhedare,
Despitehisnicefenceandhisactivepractise,
HisMayofyouthandbloomoflustihood.

59
CLAUDIO
Away!Iwillnothavetodowithyou.
LEONATO
Canstthousodaffme?Thouhastkill'dmychild:
Ifthoukill'stme,boy,thoushaltkillaman.
DONPEDRO
Gentlemenboth,wewillnotwakeyourpatience.
Myheartissorryforyourdaughter'sdeath:
But,onmyhonour,shewaschargedwithnothing
Butwhatwastrueandveryfullofproof.
LEONATO
Mylord,mylord,
DONPEDRO
Iwillnothearyou.
ExeuntLEONATO
DONPEDRO
See,see;herecomesthemanwewenttoseek.
EnterBENEDICK
CLAUDIO
Now,signior,whatnews?
BENEDICK
Goodday,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Welcome,signior:youarealmostcometopart
almostafray.
CLAUDIO
Wehadliketohavehadourtwonosessnappedoff
byanoldmanwithoutteeth.
DONPEDRO
Whatthinkestthou?Had
wefought,Idoubtweshouldhavebeentooyoungforhim.
BENEDICK
Inafalsequarrelthereisnotruevalour.Icame
toseekyouboth.
CLAUDIO
Wehavebeenupanddowntoseekthee;forweare
highproofmelancholyandwouldfainhaveitbeaten
away.Wiltthouusethywit?
BENEDICK

60
Itisinmyscabbard:shallIdrawit?
DONPEDRO
Dostthouwearthywitbythyside?
CLAUDIO
Neveranydidso,thoughverymanyhavebeenbeside
theirwit.Iwillbidtheedraw,aswedothe
minstrels;draw,topleasureus.
DONPEDRO
AsIamanhonestman,helookspale.Artthou
sick,orangry?
CLAUDIO
What,courage,man!Whatthoughcarekilledacat,
thouhastmettleenoughintheetokillcare.
BENEDICK
Sir,Ishallmeetyourwitinthecareer,andyou
chargeitagainstme.Iprayyouchooseanothersubject.
CLAUDIO
Nay,then,givehimanotherstaff:thislastwas
brokecross.
DONPEDRO
Bythislight,hechangesmoreandmore:Ithink
hebeangryindeed.
CLAUDIO
Ifhebe,heknowshowtoturnhisgirdle.
BENEDICK
ShallIspeakawordinyourear?
CLAUDIO
Godblessmefromachallenge!
BENEDICK
Youareavillain;Ijestnot:
Iwillmakeitgoodhowyoudare,withwhatyou
dare,andwhenyoudare.Domeright,orIwill
protestyourcowardice.Youhavekilledasweet
lady,andherdeathshallfallheavyonyou.Letme
hearfromyou.
CLAUDIO
Well,Iwillmeetyou,soImayhavegoodcheer.
BENEDICK
Fareyouwell,boy:youknowmymind.Iwillleave
younowtoyourgossiplikehumour:youbreakjests
asbraggartsdotheirblades,whichGodbethanked,
hurtnot.Mylord,foryourmanycourtesiesIthank
you:Imustdiscontinueyourcompany:yourbrother

61
thebastardisfledfromMessina:youhaveamong
youkilledasweetandinnocentlady.FormyLord
Lackbeardthere,heandIshallmeet:and,till
then,peacebewithhim.
Exit
DONPEDRO
Heisinearnest.
CLAUDIO
Inmostprofoundearnest;and,I'llwarrantyou,for
theloveofBeatrice.
DONPEDRO
Andhathchallengedthee.
CLAUDIO
Mostsincerely.
DONPEDRO
But,softyou,letmebe:pluckup,myheart,and
besad.Didhenotsay,mybrotherwasfled?
EnterDOGBERRYandVERGESwithCONRADEandBORACHIO
DOGBERRY
Comeyou,sir:ifjusticecannottameyou,she
shallne'erweighmorereasonsinherbalance:nay,
anyoubeacursinghypocriteonce,youmustbelookedto.
DONPEDRO
Hownow?twoofmybrother'smenbound!Borachio
one!
CLAUDIO
Hearkenaftertheiroffence,mylord.
DONPEDRO
Officers,whatoffencehavethesemendone?
DOGBERRY
Marry,sir,theyhavecommittedfalsereport;
moreover,theyhavespokenuntruths;secondarily,
theyareslanders;sixthandlastly,theyhave
beliedalady;thirdly,theyhaveverifiedunjust
things;and,toconclude,theyarelyingknaves.
DONPEDRO
Whohaveyouoffended,masters,thatyouarethus
boundtoyouranswer?thislearnedconstableis
toocunningtobeunderstood:what'syouroffence?

62
BORACHIO
Sweetprince,letmegonofarthertomineanswer:
doyouhearme,andletthiscountkillme.Ihave
deceivedevenyourveryeyes:whatyourwisdoms
couldnotdiscover,theseshallowfoolshavebrought
tolight:whointhenightoverheardmeconfessing
tothismanhowDonJohnyourbrotherincensedme
toslandertheLadyHero,howyouwerebroughtinto
theorchardandsawmecourtMargaretinHero's
garments,howyoudisgracedher,whenyoushould
marryher:myvillanytheyhaveuponrecord;which
Ihadrathersealwithmydeaththanrepeatover
tomyshame.Theladyisdeaduponmineandmy
master'sfalseaccusation;and,briefly,Idesire
nothingbuttherewardofavillain.
DONPEDRO
Runsnotthisspeechlikeironthroughyourblood?
CLAUDIO
Ihavedrunkpoisonwhilesheutter'dit.
DONPEDRO
Butdidmybrothersettheeontothis?
BORACHIO
Yea,andpaidmerichlyforthepractiseofit.
DONPEDRO
Heiscomposedandframedoftreachery:
Andfledheisuponthisvillany.
CLAUDIO
SweetHero!nowthyimagedothappear
IntheraresemblancethatIloveditfirst.
DOGBERRY
Come,bringawaytheplaintiffs:bythistimeour
sextonhathreformedSigniorLeonatoofthematter:
and,masters,donotforgettospecify,whentime
andplaceshallserve,thatIamanass.
VERGES
Here,herecomesmasterSigniorLeonato,andthe
Sextontoo.
ReenterLEONATOwiththeSexton
LEONATO
Whichisthevillain?letmeseehiseyes,
That,whenInoteanothermanlikehim,
Imayavoidhim:whichoftheseishe?

63
BORACHIO
Ifyouwouldknowyourwronger,lookonme.
LEONATO
Artthoutheslavethatwiththybreathhastkill'd
Mineinnocentchild?
BORACHIO
Yea,evenIalone.
LEONATO
No,notso,villain;thoubeliestthyself:
Herestandapairofhonourablemen;
Athirdisfled,thathadahandinit.
Ithankyou,princes,formydaughter'sdeath:
Recorditwithyourhighandworthydeeds:
'Twasbravelydone,ifyoubethinkyouofit.
CLAUDIO
Iknownothowtoprayyourpatience;
YetImustspeak.Chooseyourrevengeyourself;
Imposemetowhatpenanceyourinvention
Canlayuponmysin:yetsinn'dInot
Butinmistaking.
DONPEDRO
Bymysoul,norI:
Andyet,tosatisfythisgoodoldman,
Iwouldbendunderanyheavyweight
Thathe'llenjoinmeto.
LEONATO
Icannotbidyoubidmydaughterlive;
Thatwereimpossible:but,Iprayyouboth,
PossessthepeopleinMessinahere
Howinnocentshedied;andifyourlove
Canlabouroughtinsadinvention,
Hangheranepitaphuponhertomb
Andsingittoherbones,singittonight:
Tomorrowmorningcomeyoutomyhouse,
Andsinceyoucouldnotbemysoninlaw,
Beyetmynephew:mybrotherhathadaughter,
Almostthecopyofmychildthat'sdead,
Givehertherightyoushouldhavegivenhercousin,
Andsodiesmyrevenge.
CLAUDIO
Onoblesir,
Youroverkindnessdothwringtearsfromme!
Idoembraceyouroffer;anddispose
ForhenceforthofpoorClaudio.

64
LEONATO
TomorrowthenIwillexpectyourcoming;
TonightItakemyleave.Thisnaughtywoman
ShallfacetofacebebroughttoMargaret,
WhoIbelievewaspack'dinallthiswrong,
Hiredtoitbyyourbrother.
BORACHIO
No,bymysoul,shewasnot,
Norknewnotwhatshedidwhenshespoketome,
Butalwayshathbeenjustandvirtuous
InanythingthatIdoknowbyher.
DOGBERRY
Moreover,sir,whichindeedisnotunderwhiteand
black,thisplaintiffhere,theoffender,didcall
meass:Ibeseechyou,letitberememberedinhis
punishment.Andalso,thewatchheardthemtalkof
oneDeformed:theysaybewearsakeyinhisearand
alockhangingbyit,andborrowsmoneyinGod's
name,thewhichhehathusedsolongandneverpaid
thatnowmengrowhardheartedandwilllendnothing
forGod'ssake:prayyou,examinehimuponthatpoint.
LEONATO
Ithanktheeforthycareandhonestpains.
DOGBERRY
Yourworshipspeakslikeamostthankfuland
reverendyouth;andIpraiseGodforyou.
LEONATO
There'sforthypains.
DOGBERRY
Godsavethefoundation!
LEONATO
Go,Idischargetheeofthyprisoner,andIthankthee.
DOGBERRY
Ileaveanarrantknavewithyourworship;whichI
beseechyourworshiptocorrectyourself,forthe
exampleofothers.Godkeepyourworship!Iwish
yourworshipwell;Godrestoreyoutohealth!I
humblygiveyouleavetodepart;andifamerry
meetingmaybewished,Godprohibitit!Come,neighbour.
ExeuntDOGBERRYandVERGES
LEONATO
Untiltomorrowmorning,mylord,farewell.

65
CLAUDIO
TonightI'llmournwithHero.
LEONATO
[TotheDonPedro]Bringyouthesefellowson.We'll
talkwithMargaret,
Howheracquaintancegrewwiththislewdlady.
Exeunt,severally
SCENEII.LEONATO'Sgarden.
EnterBENEDICKandMARGARET,meeting
BENEDICK
Praythee,sweetMistressMargaret,deservewellat
myhandsbyhelpingmetothespeechofBeatrice.
MARGARET
Willyouthenwritemeasonnetinpraiseofmybeauty?
BENEDICK
Insohighastyle,Margaret,thatnomanliving
shallcomeoverit;for,inmostcomelytruth,thou
deservestit.
MARGARET
Tohavenomancomeoverme!why,shallIalways
keepbelowstairs?
BENEDICK
Thywitisasquickasthegreyhound'smouth;itcatches.
MARGARET
Andyoursasbluntasthefencer'sfoils,whichhit,
buthurtnot.
BENEDICK
Amostmanlywit,Margaret;itwillnothurta
woman:andso,Ipraythee,callBeatrice:Igive
theethebucklers.
MARGARET
Giveustheswords;wehavebucklersofourown.
BENEDICK
Ifyouusethem,Margaret,youmustputinthe
pikeswithavice;andtheyaredangerousweaponsformaids.
MARGARET
Well,IwillcallBeatricetoyou,whoIthinkhathlegs.
BENEDICK
Andthereforewillcome.

66
ExitMARGARET
Thegodoflove,
Thatsitsabove,
Andknowsme,andknowsme,
HowpitifulIdeserve,
Imeaninsinging;butinloving,Leanderthegood
swimmer,Troilusthefirstemployerofpanders,and
awholebookfulofthesequondamcarpetmangers,
whosenamesyetrunsmoothlyintheevenroadofa
blankverse,why,theywereneversotrulyturned
overandoverasmypoorselfinlove.Marry,I
cannotshowitinrhyme;Ihavetried:Icanfind
outnorhymeto'lady'but'baby,'aninnocent
rhyme;for'scorn,''horn,'ahardrhyme;for,
'school,''fool,'ababblingrhyme;veryominous
endings:no,Iwasnotbornunderarhymingplanet,
norIcannotwooinfestivalterms.
EnterBEATRICE
SweetBeatrice,wouldstthoucomewhenIcalledthee?
BEATRICE
Yea,signior,anddepartwhenyoubidme.
BENEDICK
O,staybuttillthen!
BEATRICE
'Then'isspoken;fareyouwellnow:andyet,ere
Igo,letmegowiththatIcame;whichis,with
knowingwhathathpassedbetweenyouandClaudio.
BENEDICK
Onlyfoulwords;andthereuponIwillkissthee.
BEATRICE
Foulwordsisbutfoulwind,andfoulwindisbut
foulbreath,andfoulbreathisnoisome;thereforeI
willdepartunkissed.
BENEDICK
Thouhastfrightedthewordoutofhisrightsense,
soforcibleisthywit.ButImusttellthee
plainly,Claudioundergoesmychallenge;andeither
Imustshortlyhearfromhim,orIwillsubscribe
himacoward.And,Ipraytheenow,tellmefor
whichofmybadpartsdidstthoufirstfallinlovewithme?
BEATRICE

67
Forthemalltogether;whichmaintainedsopolitic
astateofevilthattheywillnotadmitanygood
parttointerminglewiththem.Butforwhichofmy
goodpartsdidyoufirstsufferloveforme?
BENEDICK
Sufferlove!agoodepithet!Idosufferlove
indeed,forIlovetheeagainstmywill.
BEATRICE
Inspiteofyourheart,Ithink;alas,poorheart!
Ifyouspiteitformysake,Iwillspiteitfor
yours;forIwillneverlovethatwhichmyfriendhates.
BENEDICK
ThouandIaretoowisetowoopeaceably.
Andnowtellme,howdothyourcousin?
BEATRICE
Veryill.
BENEDICK
Andhowdoyou?
BEATRICE
Veryilltoo.
BENEDICK
ServeGod,lovemeandmend.TherewillIleave
youtoo,forherecomesoneinhaste.
EnterMARGARET
MARGARET
Madam,youmustcometoyouruncle.Yonder'sold
coilathome:itisprovedmyLadyHerohathbeen
falselyaccused,theprinceandClaudiomightily
abused;andDonJohnistheauthorofall,whois
fedandgone.Willyoucomepresently?
BEATRICE
Willyougohearthisnews,signior?
BENEDICK
Iwillliveinthyheart,dieinthylap,andbe
buriedinthyeyes;andmoreoverIwillgowith
theetothyuncle's.
Exeunt
SCENEIII.AroominLEONATO'Shouse.
EnterLEONATO,BENEDICK,andFRIARFRANCIS

68
BENEDICK
Friar,Imustentreatyourpains,Ithink.
FRIARFRANCIS
Todowhat,signior?
BENEDICK
Tobindme,orundome;oneofthem.
SigniorLeonato,truthitis,goodsignior,
Yournieceregardsmewithaneyeoffavour.
LEONATO
Thateyemydaughterlenther:'tismosttrue.
BENEDICK
AndIdowithaneyeofloverequiteher.
LEONATO
ThesightwhereofIthinkyouhadfromme,
FromClaudioandtheprince:butwhat'syourwill?
BENEDICK
Youranswer,sir,isenigmatical:
But,formywill,mywillisyourgoodwill
Maystandwithours,thisdaytobeconjoin'd
Inthestateofhonourablemarriage:
Inwhich,goodfriar,Ishalldesireyourhelp.
LEONATO
Myheartiswithyourliking.
FRIARFRANCIS
Andmyhelp.
HerecomestheprinceandClaudio.
EnterDONPEDROandCLAUDIO
DONPEDRO
Goodmorrowtothisfairassembly.
LEONATO
Goodmorrow,prince;goodmorrow,Claudio:
Wehereattendyou.Areyouyetdetermined
Todaytomarrywithmybrother'sdaughter?
CLAUDIOnods,ExeuntLEONATO
DONPEDRO
Goodmorrow,Benedick.Why,what'sthematter,
ThatyouhavesuchaFebruaryface,
Sofulloffrost,ofstormandcloudiness?
CLAUDIO

69
Ithinkhethinksuponthesavagebull.
Tush,fearnot,man;we'lltipthyhornswithgold
AndallEuropashallrejoiceatthee,
AsonceEuropadidatlustyJove,
Whenhewouldplaythenoblebeastinlove.
BENEDICK
BullJove,sir,hadanamiablelow;
Andsomesuchstrangebullleap'dyourfather'scow,
Andgotacalfinthatsamenoblefeat
Muchliketoyou,foryouhavejusthisbleat.
CLAUDIO
ForthisIoweyou:herecomesotherreckonings.
ReenterLEONATO,withtheLadiesmasked
Whichisthelady?
LEONATO
Thissameisshe,andIdogiveyouher.
CLAUDIO
Why,thenshe'smine.Sweet,letmeseeyourface.
LEONATO
No,thatyoushallnot,tillyoutakeherhand
Beforethisfriarandsweartomarryher.
CLAUDIO
Givemeyourhand:beforethisholyfriar,
Iamyourhusband,ifyoulikeofme.
HERO
AndwhenIlived,Iwasyourotherwife:
Unmasking
Andwhenyouloved,youweremyotherhusband.
CLAUDIO
AnotherHero!
HERO
Nothingcertainer:
OneHerodieddefiled,butIdolive,
AndsurelyasIlive,Iamamaid.
DONPEDRO
TheformerHero!Herothatisdead!
LEONATO
Shedied,mylord,butwhilesherslanderlived.
FRIARFRANCIS

70
AllthisamazementcanIqualify:
Whenafterthattheholyritesareended,
I'lltellyoulargelyoffairHero'sdeath:
Meantimeletwonderseemfamiliar,
Andtothechapelletuspresently.
BENEDICK
Softandfair,friar.WhichisBeatrice?
BEATRICE
[Unmasking]Ianswertothatname.Whatisyourwill?
BENEDICK
Donotyouloveme?
BEATRICE
Why,no;nomorethanreason.
BENEDICK
Why,thenyouruncleandtheprinceandClaudio
Havebeendeceived;theysworeyoudid.
BEATRICE
Donotyouloveme?
BENEDICK
Troth,no;nomorethanreason.
BEATRICE
Why,thenmycousinHeroandMargaret
Aremuchdeceived;fortheydidswearyoudid.
BENEDICK
Theysworethatyouwerealmostsickforme.
BEATRICE
Theysworethatyouwerewellnighdeadforme.
BENEDICK
'Tisnosuchmatter.Thenyoudonotloveme?
BEATRICE
No,truly,butinfriendlyrecompense.
LEONATO
Come,cousin,Iamsureyoulovethegentleman.
CLAUDIO
AndI'llbeswornupon'tthathelovesher;
Forhere'sapaperwritteninhishand,
Ahaltingsonnetofhisownpurebrain,
Fashion'dtoBeatrice.
HERO
Andhere'sanother
Writinmycousin'shand,stolenfromherpocket,
ContainingheraffectionuntoBenedick.
BENEDICK

71
Amiracle!here'sourownhandsagainstourhearts.
Come,Iwillhavethee;but,bythislight,Itake
theeforpity.
BEATRICE
Iwouldnotdenyyou;but,bythisgoodday,Iyield
upongreatpersuasion;andpartlytosaveyourlife,
forIwastoldyouwereinaconsumption.
BENEDICK
Peace!Iwillstopyourmouth.
Kissingher
DONPEDRO
Howdostthou,Benedick,themarriedman?
BENEDICK
I'lltelltheewhat,prince;acollegeof
witcrackerscannotfloutmeoutofmyhumour.Dost
thouthinkIcareforasatireoranepigram?No:
inbrief,sinceIdopurposetomarry,Iwillthinknothingtoany
purposethattheworldcansayagainstit;and
thereforeneverfloutatmeforwhatIhavesaid
againstit;formanisagiddything,andthisismy
conclusion:let'shaveadanceere
wearemarried,thatwemaylightenourownhearts
andourwives'heels.
Prince,thouartsad;gettheeawife,gettheeawife:
Dance
Exeunt