Much Ado About Nothing
Act IV, Scene 2
Messina. A prison.
- Enter the Constables Dogberry and Verges, and the Town Clerk
- Sexton in gowns, and the Watch with Conrade and Borachio.
- Is our whole dissembly appear’d?
- O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
- Which be the malefactors?
- Marry, that am I and my partner.
- Nay, that’s certain, we have the exhibition to examine.
Sexton6 - 7
- But which are the offenders that are to be examin’d? Let
- them come before Master Constable.
Dogberry8 - 9
- Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name,
- Pray write down Borachio. Yours, sirrah?
- I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.
Dogberry13 - 14
- Write down Master Gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve
Both Conrade and Borachio15
- Yea, sir, we hope.
Dogberry16 - 20
- Write down, that they hope they serve God; and write God
- first, for God defend but God should go before such
- villains! Masters, it is prov’d already that you are little
- better than false knaves, and it will go near to be thought
- so shortly. How answer you for yourselves?
- Marry, sir, we say we are none.
Dogberry22 - 24
- A marvelous witty fellow, I assure you, but I will go about
- with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear, sir.
- I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.
- Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Dogberry26 - 27
- Well, stand aside. ’Fore God, they are both in a tale. Have
- you writ down, that they are none?
Sexton28 - 29
- Master Constable, you go not the way to examine; you must
- call forth the watch that are their accusers.
Dogberry30 - 31
Yea, marry, that’s the eftest way; let the watch come forth.
Feb 25, 2019 MikoThe Oxford English Dictionary's definition of “eft” is “ready, convenient”, which makes sense in this context.
- Masters, I charge you in the Prince’s name accuse these men.
First Watchman32 - 33
- This man said, sir, that Don John, the Prince’s brother, was
- a villain.
Dogberry34 - 35
- Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury,
- to call a prince’s brother villain.
- Master Constable—
Dogberry37 - 38
- Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy look, I promise
- What heard you him say else?
Second Watchman40 - 41
- Marry, that he had receiv’d a thousand ducats of Don John
- for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.
- Flat burglary as ever was committed.
- Yea, by mass, that it is.
- What else, fellow?
First Watchman45 - 46
- And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace
- Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.
Dogberry47 - 48
- O villain! Thou wilt be condemn’d into everlasting
- redemption for this.
- What else?
Both First and Second Watchmen50
- This is all.
Sexton51 - 56
- And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is
- this morning secretly stol’n away. Hero was in this manner
- accus’d, in this very manner refus’d, and upon the grief of
- this suddenly died. Master Constable, let these men be
- bound, and brought to Leonato’s. I will go before and show
- him their examination.
- Come let them be opinion’d.
- Let them be in the hands—
Feb 25, 2019 MikoA coxcomb is the hat worn by a fool (what today we more commonly call a “jester”). So Conrade is calling Verges a fool.
Dogberry60 - 62
- God’s my life, where’s the sexton? Let him write down the
- Prince’s officer coxcomb. Come, bind them. Thou naughty
- Away, you are an ass, you are an ass.
Dogberry64 - 75
- Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my
- years? O that he were here to write me down as ass! But,
- masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written
- down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain,
- thou art full of piety, as shall be prov’d upon thee by good
- witness. I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer,
- and which is more, a householder, and which is more, as
- pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that
- knows the law, go to, and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a
- fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns,
- and every thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that I
- had been writ down an ass!