Much Ado About Nothing
Act III, Scene 1
- Enter Hero and two gentlewomen, Margaret and Ursula.
Hero1 - 13
- Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor,
- There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
- Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.
- Whisper her ear, and tell her I and Ursley
- Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
- Is all of her. Say that thou overheardst us,
- And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
- Where honeysuckles, ripened by the sun,
- Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites
- Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
- Against that power that bred it. There will she hide her,
- To listen our propose. This is thy office;
- Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone.
- I’ll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
Hero15 - 26
- Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
- As we do trace this alley up and down,
- Our talk must only be of Benedick.
- When I do name him, let it be thy part
- To praise him more than ever man did merit.
- My talk to thee must be how Benedick
- Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
- Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made,
- That only wounds by hearsay.
- Enter Beatrice behind.
- Now begin,
- For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs
- Close by the ground, to hear our conference.
Ursula27 - 32
- The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
- Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
- And greedily devour the treacherous bait;
- So angle we for Beatrice, who even now
- Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
- Fear you not my part of the dialogue.
Hero33 - 37
- Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
- Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.
- They advance to the bower.
- No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful,
- I know her spirits are as coy and wild
- As haggards of the rock.
Ursula38 - 39
- But are you sure
- That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?
- So says the Prince and my new-trothed lord.
- And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?
Hero42 - 45
- They did entreat me to acquaint her of it,
- But I persuaded them, if they lov’d Benedick,
- To wish him wrestle with affection,
- And never to let Beatrice know of it.
Ursula46 - 48
- Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
- Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
- As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?
Hero49 - 58
- O god of love! I know he doth deserve
- As much as may be yielded to a man;
- But nature never fram’d a woman’s heart
- Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.
- Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
- Misprising what they look on, and her wit
- Values itself so highly that to her
- All matter else seems weak. She cannot love,
- Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
- She is so self-endeared.
Ursula59 - 61
- Sure I think so,
- And therefore certainly it were not good
- She knew his love, lest she’ll make sport at it.
Hero62 - 73
- Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
- How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featur’d,
- But she would spell him backward. If fair-fac’d,
- She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
- If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic,
- Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
- If low, an agot very vildly cut;
- If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
- If silent, why, a block moved with none.
- So turns she every man the wrong side out,
- And never gives to truth and virtue that
- Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.
- Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
Hero75 - 83
- No, not to be so odd, and from all fashions,
- As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable.
- But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
- She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
- Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
- Therefore let Benedick, like cover’d fire,
- Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly.
- It were a better death than die with mocks,
- Which is as bad as die with tickling.
- Yet tell her of it, hear what she will say.
Hero85 - 89
- No, rather I will go to Benedick,
- And counsel him to fight against his passion,
- And truly I’ll devise some honest slanders
- To stain my cousin with. One doth not know
- How much an ill word may empoison liking.
Ursula90 - 94
- O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
- She cannot be so much without true judgment—
- Having so swift and excellent a wit
- As she is priz’d to have—as to refuse
- So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.
Hero95 - 96
- He is the only man of Italy,
- Always excepted my dear Claudio.
Ursula97 - 100
- I pray you be not angry with me, madam,
- Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
- For shape, for bearing, argument, and valor,
- Goes foremost in report through Italy.
- Indeed he hath an excellent good name.
Ursula102 - 103
- His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.
- When are you married, madam?
Hero104 - 106
- Why, every day tomorrow. Come go in,
- I’ll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel
- Which is the best to furnish me tomorrow.
- She’s limed, I warrant you. We have caught her, madam.
Hero108 - 109
- If it prove so, then loving goes by haps:
- Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.
- Exeunt Hero and Ursula.
Beatrice110 - 119
- Coming forward.
- What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
- Stand I condemn’d for pride and scorn so much?
- Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu!
- No glory lives behind the back of such.
- And, Benedick, love on, I will requite thee,
- Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.
- If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
- To bind our loves up in a holy band;
- For others say thou dost deserve, and I
- Believe it better than reportingly.