Much Ado About Nothing
Act II, Scene 1
A hall in Leonato’s house.
- Enter Leonato, Antonio his brother, Hero his daughter, and
- Beatrice his niece, Margaret, Ursula, and a Kinsman.
- Was not Count John here at supper?
- I saw him not.
Beatrice3 - 4
- How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I
- am heart-burn’d an hour after.
- He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beatrice6 - 9
- He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway
- between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image and
- says nothing, and the other too like my lady’s eldest son,
- evermore tattling.
Leonato10 - 11
- Then half Signior Benedick’s tongue in Count John’s mouth,
- and half Count John’s melancholy in Signior Benedick’s face—
Beatrice12 - 14
- With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in
- his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if
- ’a could get her good will.
Leonato15 - 16
- By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if
- thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
- In faith, she’s too curst.
Beatrice18 - 20
- Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God’s sending
- that way, for it is said, “God sends a curst cow short
- horns”—but to a cow too curst he sends none.
- So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
Beatrice22 - 25
- Just, if he send me no husband, for the which blessing I am
- at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I
- could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had
- rather lie in the woollen!
- You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
Beatrice27 - 33
- What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make
- him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more
- than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man;
- and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that
- is less than a man, I am not for him; therefore I will even
- take sixpence in earnest of the berrord, and lead his apes
- into hell.
- Well then, go you into hell.
Beatrice35 - 40
- No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like
- an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, “Get you to
- heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven, here’s no place for you
- maids.” So deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter.
- For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
- there live we as merry as the day is long.
- To Hero.
- Well, niece, I trust you will be rul’d by your father.
Beatrice42 - 45
- Yes, faith, it is my cousin’s duty to make cur’sy and say,
- “Father, as it please you.” But yet for all that, cousin,
- let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another cur’sy
- and say, “Father, as it please me.”
Leonato46 - 47
- Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a
Beatrice48 - 52
- Not till God make men of some other mettle than earth. Would
- it not grieve a woman to be overmaster’d with a piece of
- valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of
- wayward marl? No, uncle, I’ll none. Adam’s sons are my
- brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.
Leonato53 - 54
- Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit
- you in that kind, you know your answer.
Beatrice55 - 64
- The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo’d
- in good time. If the Prince be too important, tell him there
- is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For
- hear me, Hero: wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a
- Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace; the first suit is
- hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical;
- the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state
- and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and with his bad
- legs falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, till he
- sink into his grave.
- Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.
- I have a good eye, uncle, I can see a church by daylight.
- The revelers are ent’ring, brother, make good room.
- They put on their masks.
- Enter Prince Don Pedro, Claudio, and Benedick, and Don John,
- and Borachio as maskers, with a Drum.
- Lady, will you walk about with your friend?
Hero69 - 70
- So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am
- yours for the walk, and especially when I walk away.
- With me in your company?
- I may say so when I please.
- And when please you to say so?
Hero74 - 75
- When I like your favor, for God defend the lute should be
- like the case!
- My visor is Philemon’s roof, within the house is Jove.
- Why then your visor should be thatch’d.
- Speak low if you speak love.
- They move aside.
- Well, I would you did like me.
Margaret80 - 81
- So would not I for your own sake, for I have many ill
- Which is one?
- I say my prayers aloud.
- I love you the better; the hearers may cry amen.
- God match me with a good dancer!
Margaret87 - 88
- And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done!
- Answer, clerk.
- No more words; the clerk is answer’d.
- They move aside.
- I know you well enough, you are Signior Antonio.
- At a word, I am not.
- I know you by the waggling of your head.
- To tell you true, I counterfeit him.
Ursula94 - 96
- You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very
- man. Here’s his dry hand up and down. You are he, you are
- At a word, I am not.
Ursula98 - 100
- Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent
- wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he. Graces
- will appear, and there’s an end.
- They move aside.
- Will you not tell me who told you so?
- No, you shall pardon me.
- Nor will you not tell me who you are?
- Not now.
Beatrice105 - 107
- That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of the
- “Hundred Merry Tales”—well, this was Signior Benedick that
- said so.
- What’s he?
- I am sure you know him well enough.
- Not I, believe me.
- Did he never make you laugh?
- I pray you, what is he?
Beatrice113 - 118
- Why, he is the Prince’s jester, a very dull fool; only his
- gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines
- delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but
- in his villainy, for he both pleases men and angers them,
- and then they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
- the fleet; I would he had boarded me.
- When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.
Beatrice120 - 124
- Do, do, he’ll but break a comparison or two on me, which
- peradventure, not mark’d, or not laugh’d at, strikes him
- into melancholy, and then there’s a partridge wing sav’d,
- for the fool will eat no supper that night.
- Music for the dance begins.
- We must follow the leaders.
- In every good thing.
Beatrice126 - 127
- Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next
- Then exeunt all but Don John, Borachio, and Claudio.
Don John128 - 130
- Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her
- father to break with him about it. The ladies follow her,
- and but one visor remains.
- And that is Claudio. I know him by his bearing.
- Are not you Signior Benedick?
- You know me well, I am he.
Don John134 - 137
- Signior, you are very near my brother in his love. He is
- enamor’d on Hero. I pray you dissuade him from her, she is
- no equal for his birth. You may do the part of an honest man
- in it.
- How know you he loves her?
- I heard him swear his affection.
- So did I too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.
- Come let us to the banquet.
- Exeunt. Manet Claudio.
Claudio142 - 152
- Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
- But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
- ’Tis certain so, the Prince woos for himself.
- Friendship is constant in all other things
- Save in the office and affairs of love;
- Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues.
- Let every eye negotiate for itself,
- And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
- Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
- This is an accident of hourly proof,
- Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero!
- Enter Benedick.
- Count Claudio?
- Yea, the same.
- Come, will you go with me?
Benedick157 - 161
- Even to the next willow, about your own business, County.
- What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck,
- like an usurer’s chain? Or under your arm, like a
- lieutenant’s scarf? You must wear it one way, for the Prince
- hath got your Hero.
- I wish him joy of her.
Benedick163 - 165
- Why, that’s spoken like an honest drovier; so they sell
- bullocks. But did you think the Prince would have serv’d you
- I pray you leave me.
Benedick167 - 168
- Ho, now you strike like the blind man. ’Twas the boy that
- stole your meat, and you’ll beat the post.
- If it will not be, I’ll leave you.
Benedick170 - 176
- Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into sedges. But
- that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The
- Prince’s fool! Hah, it may be I go under that title because
- I am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am
- not so reputed. It is the base (though bitter) disposition
- of Beatrice that puts the world into her person, and so
- gives me out. Well, I’ll be reveng’d as I may.
- Enter the Prince Don Pedro.
- Now, signior, where’s the Count? Did you see him?
Benedick178 - 184
- Troth, my lord, I have play’d the part of Lady Fame. I found
- him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren. I told him,
- and I think I told him true, that your Grace had got the
- good will of this young lady, and I off’red him my company
- to a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being
- forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be
- To be whipt? What’s his fault?
Benedick186 - 188
- The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who being overjoy’d
- with finding a bird’s nest, shows it his companion, and he
- steals it.
Don Pedro189 - 190
- Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is
- in the stealer.
Benedick191 - 194
- Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the
- garland too, for the garland he might have worn himself, and
- the rod he might have bestow’d on you, who (as I take it)
- have stol’n his bird’s nest.
Don Pedro195 - 196
- I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the
Benedick197 - 198
- If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say
Don Pedro199 - 200
- The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman that
- danc’d with her told her she is much wrong’d by you.
Benedick201 - 219
- O, she misus’d me past the endurance of a block; an oak but
- with one green leaf on it would have answer’d her. My very
- visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me,
- not thinking I had been myself, that I 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 poniards, 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 would not
- marry her, though she were endow’d with all that Adam had
- left him before he transgress’d. She would have made
- Hercules have turn’d spit, yea, and have cleft his club to
- make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her
- the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some
- scholar would conjure her, for certainly, while she is here,
- a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary, and
- people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so
- indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.
- Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato and Hero.
- Look here she comes.
Benedick221 - 228
- Will your Grace command me any service to the world’s end? I
- will go on the slightest arrand now to the Antipodes that
- you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker
- now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of
- Prester John’s foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham’s
- beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold
- three words’ conference with this harpy. You have no
- employment for me?
- None, but to desire your good company.
Benedick230 - 231
- O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not, I cannot endure my
- Lady Tongue.
Don Pedro232 - 233
- Come, lady, come, you have lost the heart of Signior
Beatrice234 - 237
- Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, 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.
- You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.
Beatrice239 - 241
- 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.
- Why, how now, Count, wherefore are you sad?
- Not sad, my lord.
- How then? Sick?
- Neither, my lord.
Beatrice246 - 248
- The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but
- civil count, civil as an orange, and something of that
- jealous complexion.
Don Pedro249 - 253
- I’ faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true, though I’ll
- be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio,
- I have woo’d in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke
- with her father, and his good will obtain’d. Name the day of
- marriage, and God give thee joy!
Leonato254 - 255
- Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His
- Grace hath made the match, and all grace say amen to it.
- Speak, Count, ’tis your cue.
Claudio257 - 260
- Silence is the perfectest heralt 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
Beatrice261 - 262
- Speak, cousin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a
- kiss, and let not him speak neither.
- In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.
Beatrice264 - 266
- 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.
- And so she doth, cousin.
Beatrice268 - 270
- Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the world
- but I, and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a corner and cry
- “Heigh-ho for a husband!”
- Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beatrice272 - 274
- I would rather have one of your father’s getting. 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, lady?
Beatrice276 - 279
- No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days.
- Your Grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech
- your Grace pardon me, I was born to speak all mirth and no
Don Pedro280 - 281
- Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes
- you, for out a’ question, you were born in a merry hour.
Beatrice282 - 284
- No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a
- star danc’d, and under that was I born. Cousins, God give
- you joy!
- Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?
- I cry you mercy, uncle. By your Grace’s pardon.
- Exit Beatrice.
- By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.
Leonato288 - 291
- There’s little of the melancholy element in her, my lord.
- She is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then;
- for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamt of
- unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing.
- She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.
- O, by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of suit.
- She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leonato295 - 296
- O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would
- talk themselves mad.
- County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?
Claudio298 - 299
- Tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all
- his rites.
Leonato300 - 302
- Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just
- sevennight, and a time too brief too, to have all things
- answer my mind.
Don Pedro303 - 310
- Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing, but I
- warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I
- will in the interim undertake one of Hercules’ labors, which
- is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a
- mountain of affection th’ one with th’ other. I 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
Leonato311 - 312
- My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights’
- And I, my lord.
- And you too, gentle Hero?
Hero315 - 316
- I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a
- good husband.
Don Pedro317 - 326
- And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know.
- Thus far can I praise him: he is of a noble strain, of
- approv’d valor, and confirm’d honesty. I will teach you how
- to humor your cousin, that she shall fall in love with
- Benedick, and I, with your two helps, will so practice 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.