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Much Ado About Nothing: Act 2, Scene 1

Much Ado About Nothing
Act 2, Scene 1

Scene 1

A hall in Leonato’s house.

  1. Enter Leonato, Antonio his brother, Hero his daughter, and
  2. Beatrice his niece, Margaret, Ursula, and a Kinsman.

Leonato

3
  1. Was not Count John here at supper?

Antonio

4
  1. I saw him not.

Beatrice

5 - 6
  1. How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I
  2. am heart-burn’d an hour after.

Hero

7
  1. He is of a very melancholy disposition.

Beatrice

8 - 11
  1. He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway
  2. between him and Benedick: the one is too like an image and
  3. says nothing, and the other too like my lady’s eldest son,
  4. evermore tattling.

Leonato

12 - 13
  1. Then half Signior Benedick’s tongue in Count John’s mouth,
  2. and half Count John’s melancholy in Signior Benedick’s face

Beatrice

14 - 16
  1. With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in
  2. his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if
  3. ’a could get her good will.

Leonato

17 - 18
  1. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if
  2. thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

Antonio

19
  1. In faith, she’s too curst.

Beatrice

20 - 22
  1. Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God’s sending
  2. that way, for it is said, God sends a curst cow short
  3. horns”—but to a cow too curst he sends none.

Leonato

23
  1. So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

Beatrice

24 - 27
  1. Just, if he send me no husband, for the which blessing I am
  2. at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I
  3. could not endure a husband with a beard on his face, I had
  4. rather lie in the woollen!

Leonato

28
  1. You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

Beatrice

29 - 35
  1. What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make
  2. him my waiting-gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more
  3. than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man;
  4. and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that
  5. is less than a man, I am not for him; therefore I will even
  6. take sixpence in earnest of the berrord, and lead his apes
  7. into hell.

Leonato

36
  1. Well then, go you into hell.

Beatrice

37 - 42
  1. No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like
  2. an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, Get you to
  3. heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven, here’s no place for you
  4. maids.” So deliver I up my apes, and away to Saint Peter.
  5. For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and
  6. there live we as merry as the day is long.

Antonio

43 - 44
  1. To Hero.
  2. Well, niece, I trust you will be rul’d by your father.

Beatrice

45 - 48
  1. Yes, faith, it is my cousin’s duty to make cur’sy and say,
  2. Father, as it please you.” But yet for all that, cousin,
  3. let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another cur’sy
  4. and say, Father, as it please me.”

Leonato

49 - 50
  1. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a
  2. husband.

Beatrice

51 - 55
  1. Not till God make men of some other mettle than earth. Would
  2. it not grieve a woman to be overmaster’d with a piece of
  3. valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of
  4. wayward marl? No, uncle, I’ll none. Adam’s sons are my
  5. brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to match in my kindred.

Leonato

56 - 57
  1. Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit
  2. you in that kind, you know your answer.

Beatrice

58 - 67
  1. The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not woo’d
  2. in good time. If the Prince be too important, tell him there
  3. is measure in every thing, and so dance out the answer. For
  4. hear me, Hero: wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a
  5. Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace; the first suit is
  6. hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical;
  7. the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state
  8. and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and with his bad
  9. legs falls into the cinquepace faster and faster, till he
  10. sink into his grave.

Leonato

68
  1. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

Beatrice

69
  1. I have a good eye, uncle, I can see a church by daylight.

Leonato

70
  1. The revelers are ent’ring, brother, make good room.
  1. They put on their masks.
  1. Enter Prince Don Pedro, Claudio, and Benedick, and Don John,
  2. and Borachio as maskers, with a Drum.

Don Pedro

74
  1. Lady, will you walk about with your friend?

Hero

75 - 76
  1. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am
  2. yours for the walk, and especially when I walk away.

Don Pedro

77
  1. With me in your company?

Hero

78
  1. I may say so when I please.

Don Pedro

79
  1. And when please you to say so?

Hero

80 - 81
  1. When I like your favor, for God defend the lute should be
  2. like the case!

Don Pedro

82
  1. My visor is Philemon’s roof, within the house is Jove.

Hero

83
  1. Why then your visor should be thatch’d.

Don Pedro

84
  1. Speak low if you speak love.
  1. They move aside.

Borachio

86
  1. Well, I would you did like me.

Margaret

87 - 88
  1. So would not I for your own sake, for I have many ill
  2. qualities.

Borachio

89
  1. Which is one?

Margaret

90
  1. I say my prayers aloud.

Borachio

91
  1. I love you the better; the hearers may cry amen.

Margaret

92
  1. God match me with a good dancer!

Borachio

93
  1. Amen.

Margaret

94 - 95
  1. And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done!
  2. Answer, clerk.

Borachio

96
  1. No more words; the clerk is answer’d.
  1. They move aside.

Ursula

98
  1. I know you well enough, you are Signior Antonio.

Antonio

99
  1. At a word, I am not.

Ursula

100
  1. I know you by the waggling of your head.

Antonio

101
  1. To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

Ursula

102 - 104
  1. You could never do him so ill-well, unless you were the very
  2. man. Here’s his dry hand up and down. You are he, you are
  3. he.

Antonio

105
  1. At a word, I am not.

Ursula

106 - 108
  1. Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent
  2. wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he. Graces
  3. will appear, and there’s an end.
  1. They move aside.

Beatrice

110
  1. Will you not tell me who told you so?

Benedick

111
  1. No, you shall pardon me.

Beatrice

112
  1. Nor will you not tell me who you are?

Benedick

113
  1. Not now.

Beatrice

114 - 116
  1. That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of the
  2. Hundred Merry Tales”—well, this was Signior Benedick that
  3. said so.

Benedick

117
  1. What’s he?

Beatrice

118
  1. I am sure you know him well enough.

Benedick

119
  1. Not I, believe me.

Beatrice

120
  1. Did he never make you laugh?

Benedick

121
  1. I pray you, what is he?

Beatrice

122 - 127
  1. Why, he is the Prince’s jester, a very dull fool; only his
  2. gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines
  3. delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit, but
  4. in his villainy, for he both pleases men and angers them,
  5. and then they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in
  6. the fleet; I would he had boarded me.

Benedick

128
  1. When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.

Beatrice

129 - 134
  1. Do, do, he’ll but break a comparison or two on me, which
  2. peradventure, not mark’d, or not laugh’d at, strikes him
  3. into melancholy, and then there’s a partridge wing sav’d,
  4. for the fool will eat no supper that night.
  5. Music for the dance begins.
  6. We must follow the leaders.

Benedick

135
  1. In every good thing.

Beatrice

136 - 137
  1. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next
  2. turning.
  1. Dance.
  1. Then exeunt all but Don John, Borachio, and Claudio.

Don John

140 - 142
  1. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her
  2. father to break with him about it. The ladies follow her,
  3. and but one visor remains.

Borachio

143
  1. And that is Claudio. I know him by his bearing.

Don John

144
  1. Are not you Signior Benedick?

Claudio

145
  1. You know me well, I am he.

Don John

146 - 149
  1. Signior, you are very near my brother in his love. He is
  2. enamor’d on Hero. I pray you dissuade him from her, she is
  3. no equal for his birth. You may do the part of an honest man
  4. in it.

Claudio

150
  1. How know you he loves her?

Don John

151
  1. I heard him swear his affection.

Borachio

152
  1. So did I too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.

Don John

153
  1. Come let us to the banquet.
  1. Exeunt. Manet Claudio.

Claudio

155 - 165
  1. Thus answer I in name of Benedick,
  2. But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.
  3. ’Tis certain so, the Prince woos for himself.
  4. Friendship is constant in all other things
  5. Save in the office and affairs of love;
  6. Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues.
  7. Let every eye negotiate for itself,
  8. And trust no agent; for beauty is a witch
  9. Against whose charms faith melteth into blood.
  10. This is an accident of hourly proof,
  11. Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero!
  1. Enter Benedick.

Benedick

167
  1. Count Claudio?

Claudio

168
  1. Yea, the same.

Benedick

169
  1. Come, will you go with me?

Claudio

170
  1. Whither?

Benedick

171 - 175
  1. Even to the next willow, about your own business, County.
  2. What fashion will you wear the garland of? About your neck,
  3. like an usurer’s chain? Or under your arm, like a
  4. lieutenant’s scarf? You must wear it one way, for the Prince
  5. hath got your Hero.

Claudio

176
  1. I wish him joy of her.

Benedick

177 - 179
  1. Why, that’s spoken like an honest drovier; so they sell
  2. bullocks. But did you think the Prince would have serv’d you
  3. thus?

Claudio

180
  1. I pray you leave me.

Benedick

181 - 182
  1. Ho, now you strike like the blind man. ’Twas the boy that
  2. stole your meat, and you’ll beat the post.

Claudio

183
  1. If it will not be, I’ll leave you.
  1. Exit.

Benedick

185 - 191
  1. Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into sedges. But
  2. that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The
  3. Prince’s fool! Hah, it may be I go under that title because
  4. I am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am
  5. not so reputed. It is the base (though bitter) disposition
  6. of Beatrice that puts the world into her person, and so
  7. gives me out. Well, I’ll be reveng’d as I may.
  1. Enter the Prince Don Pedro.

Don Pedro

193
  1. Now, signior, where’s the Count? Did you see him?

Benedick

194 - 200
  1. Troth, my lord, I have play’d the part of Lady Fame. I found
  2. him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren. I told him,
  3. and I think I told him true, that your Grace had got the
  4. good will of this young lady, and I off’red him my company
  5. to a willow-tree, either to make him a garland, as being
  6. forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be
  7. whipt.

Don Pedro

201
  1. To be whipt? What’s his fault?

Benedick

202 - 204
  1. The flat transgression of a schoolboy, who being overjoy’d
  2. with finding a bird’s nest, shows it his companion, and he
  3. steals it.

Don Pedro

205 - 206
  1. Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is
  2. in the stealer.

Benedick

207 - 210
  1. Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the
  2. garland too, for the garland he might have worn himself, and
  3. the rod he might have bestow’d on you, who (as I take it)
  4. have stol’n his bird’s nest.

Don Pedro

211 - 212
  1. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them to the
  2. owner.

Benedick

213 - 214
  1. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith you say
  2. honestly.

Don Pedro

215 - 216
  1. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman that
  2. danc’d with her told her she is much wrong’d by you.

Benedick

217 - 235
  1. O, she misus’d me past the endurance of a block; an oak but
  2. with one green leaf on it would have answer’d her. My very
  3. visor began to assume life, and scold with her. She told me,
  4. not thinking I had been myself, that I was the Prince’s
  5. jester, that I was duller than a great thaw, huddling jest
  6. upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I
  7. stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at
  8. me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs. If her breath
  9. were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living
  10. near her, she would infect to the north star. I would not
  11. marry her, though she were endow’d with all that Adam had
  12. left him before he transgress’d. She would have made
  13. Hercules have turn’d spit, yea, and have cleft his club to
  14. make the fire too. Come, talk not of her; you shall find her
  15. the infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some
  16. scholar would conjure her, for certainly, while she is here,
  17. a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary, and
  18. people sin upon purpose, because they would go thither; so
  19. indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation follows her.
  1. Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato and Hero.

Don Pedro

237
  1. Look here she comes.

Benedick

238 - 245
  1. Will your Grace command me any service to the world’s end? I
  2. will go on the slightest arrand now to the Antipodes that
  3. you can devise to send me on; I will fetch you a toothpicker
  4. now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of
  5. Prester John’s foot, fetch you a hair off the great Cham’s
  6. beard, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold
  7. three words’ conference with this harpy. You have no
  8. employment for me?

Don Pedro

246
  1. None, but to desire your good company.

Benedick

247 - 248
  1. O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not, I cannot endure my
  2. Lady Tongue.
  1. Exit.

Don Pedro

250 - 251
  1. Come, lady, come, you have lost the heart of Signior
  2. Benedick.

Beatrice

252 - 255
  1. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use
  2. for it, a double heart for his single one. Marry, once
  3. before he won it of me with false dice, therefore your Grace
  4. may well say I have lost it.

Don Pedro

256
  1. You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

Beatrice

257 - 259
  1. So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove
  2. the mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio, whom you
  3. sent me to seek.

Don Pedro

260
  1. Why, how now, Count, wherefore are you sad?

Claudio

261
  1. Not sad, my lord.

Don Pedro

262
  1. How then? Sick?

Claudio

263
  1. Neither, my lord.

Beatrice

264 - 266
  1. The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well; but
  2. civil count, civil as an orange, and something of that
  3. jealous complexion.

Don Pedro

267 - 271
  1. I’ faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true, though I’ll
  2. be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. Here, Claudio,
  3. I have woo’d in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke
  4. with her father, and his good will obtain’d. Name the day of
  5. marriage, and God give thee joy!

Leonato

272 - 273
  1. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His
  2. Grace hath made the match, and all grace say amen to it.

Beatrice

274
  1. Speak, Count, ’tis your cue.

Claudio

275 - 278
  1. Silence is the perfectest heralt of joy; I were but little
  2. happy, if I could say how much! Lady, as you are mine, I am
  3. yours. I give away myself for you, and dote upon the
  4. exchange.

Beatrice

279 - 280
  1. Speak, cousin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth with a
  2. kiss, and let not him speak neither.

Don Pedro

281
  1. In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Beatrice

282 - 284
  1. Yea, my lord, I thank itpoor fool, it keeps on the windy
  2. side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in
  3. her heart.

Claudio

285
  1. And so she doth, cousin.

Beatrice

286 - 288
  1. Good Lord, for alliance! Thus goes every one to the world
  2. but I, and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a corner and cry
  3. Heigh-ho for a husband!”

Don Pedro

289
  1. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

Beatrice

290 - 292
  1. I would rather have one of your father’s getting. Hath your
  2. Grace ne’er a brother like you? Your father got excellent
  3. husbands, if a maid could come by them.

Don Pedro

293
  1. Will you have me, lady?

Beatrice

294 - 297
  1. No, my lord, unless I might have another for working-days.
  2. Your Grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech
  3. your Grace pardon me, I was born to speak all mirth and no
  4. matter.

Don Pedro

298 - 299
  1. Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes
  2. you, for out a’ question, you were born in a merry hour.

Beatrice

300 - 302
  1. No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a
  2. star danc’d, and under that was I born. Cousins, God give
  3. you joy!

Leonato

303
  1. Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?

Beatrice

304
  1. I cry you mercy, uncle. By your Grace’s pardon.
  1. Exit Beatrice.

Don Pedro

306
  1. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

Leonato

307 - 310
  1. There’s little of the melancholy element in her, my lord.
  2. She is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever sad then;
  3. for I have heard my daughter say, she hath often dreamt of
  4. unhappiness, and wak’d herself with laughing.

Don Pedro

311
  1. She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

Leonato

312
  1. O, by no means, she mocks all her wooers out of suit.

Don Pedro

313
  1. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.

Leonato

314 - 315
  1. O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would
  2. talk themselves mad.

Don Pedro

316
  1. County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

Claudio

317 - 318
  1. Tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all
  2. his rites.

Leonato

319 - 321
  1. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just
  2. sevennight, and a time too brief too, to have all things
  3. answer my mind.

Don Pedro

322 - 329
  1. Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing, but I
  2. warrant thee, Claudio, the time shall not go dully by us. I
  3. will in the interim undertake one of Hercules’ labors, which
  4. is, to bring Signior Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a
  5. mountain of affection th’ one with th’ other. I would fain
  6. have it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you
  7. three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you
  8. direction.

Leonato

330 - 331
  1. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights’
  2. watchings.

Claudio

332
  1. And I, my lord.

Don Pedro

333
  1. And you too, gentle Hero?

Hero

334 - 335
  1. I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousin to a
  2. good husband.

Don Pedro

336 - 345
  1. And Benedick is not the unhopefullest husband that I know.
  2. Thus far can I praise him: he is of a noble strain, of
  3. approv’d valor, and confirm’d honesty. I will teach you how
  4. to humor your cousin, that she shall fall in love with
  5. Benedick, and I, with your two helps, will so practice on
  6. Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy
  7. stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do
  8. this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours,
  9. for we are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will
  10. tell you my drift.
  1. Exeunt.
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