Much Ado About Nothing: Act 1, Scene 1
Enter LEONATO, governor of Messina,
HERO his daughter, and BEATRICE
his niece, with a Messenger.
1I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Arragon
2comes this night to Messina.
3He is very near by this: he was not three leagues
4off when I left him.
5How many gentlemen have you lost in this
7But few of any sort, and none of name.
8A victory is twice itself when the achiever brings
9home full numbers. I find here that Don Pedro
10hath bestowed much honor on a young
11Florentine called Claudio.
12Much deserved on his part and equally remembered
13by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the
14promise of his age, doing, in the figure of a lamb,
15the feats of a lion: he hath indeed better
16bett'red expectation than you must expect of me to
17tell you how.
18He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very
19much glad of it.
20I have already delivered him letters, and there
21appears much joy in him; even so much that joy
22could not show itself modest enough without a
23badge of bitterness.
24Did he break out into tears?
25In great measure.
26A kind overflow of kindness: there are no faces
27truer than those that are so washed. How much
28better is it to weep at joy than to joy at
30I pray you, is Signior Mountanto returned from
31the wars or no?
32I know none of that name, lady: there was none
33such in the army of any sort.
34What is he that you ask for, niece?
35My cousin means Signior Benedick of
37O, he's returned; and as pleasant as ever
39He set up his bills here in Messina and
40challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my uncle's
41fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid,
42and challenged him at the burbolt. I pray you,
43how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars?
44But how many hath he killed? for indeed I promis'd
45to eat all of his killing.
46Faith, niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much;
47but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
48He hath done good service, lady, in these
50You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it:
51he is a very valiant trencherman; he hath an
53And a good soldier too, lady.
54And a good soldier to a lady: but what is
55he to a lord?
56A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuff'd with all
58It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuff'd
59man: but for the stuffing,well, we are all
61You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a
62kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her:
63they never meet but there's a skirmish of wit
65Alas! he gets nothing by that. In our last
66conflict four of his five wits went halting off, and
67now is the whole man governed with one: so that if
68he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him
69bear it for a difference between himself and his
70horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left,
71to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his
72companion now? He hath every month a new sworn
75Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as
76the fashion of his hat; it ever changes with the
78I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your
80No; an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray
81you, who is his companion? Is there no young
82squarer now that will make a voyage with
83him to the devil?
84He is most in the company of the right
86O Lord, he will hang upon him like a disease: he
87is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker
88runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if
89he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a
90thousand pound ere 'a be cur'd.
91I will hold friends with you, lady.
92Do, good friend.
93You will never run mad, niece.
94No, not till a hot January.
95Don Pedro is approached.
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK,
BALTHASAR, and [DON] JOHN the Bastard.
96Good Signior Leonato, you are come
97to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to
98avoid cost, and you encounter it.
99Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of
100your grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
101remain; but when you depart from me, sorrow abides
102and happiness takes his leave.
103You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this
104is your daughter.
105Her mother hath many times told me so.
106Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?
107Signior Benedick, no; for then were you
109You have it full, Benedick: we may
110guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly,
111the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady; for you are
112like an honorable father.
113If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
114have his head on her shoulders for all Messina, as
115like him as she is.
116I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior
117Benedick: nobody marks you.
118What, my dear Lady Disdain! are you yet
120Is it possible disdain should die while she hath
121such meet food to feed it as Signior Benedick?
122Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you
123come in her presence.
124Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain
125I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted:
126and I would I could find in my heart that I
127had not a hard heart; for, truly, I love none.
128A dear happiness to women: they would else
129have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I
130thank God and my cold blood, I am of your
131humor for that: I had rather hear my dog bark
132at a crow than a man swear he loves me.
133God keep your ladyship still in that mind!
134so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a
135predestinate scratched face.
136Scratching could not make it worse, an
137'twere such a face as yours were.
138Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.
139A bird of my tongue is better than a beast
141I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
142and so good a continuer. But keep your way,
143i' God's name; I have done.
144You always end with a jade's trick: I know
145you of old.
146That is the sum of all, Leonato. Signior
147Claudio and Signior Benedick, my dear
148friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell
149him we shall stay here at the least a month;
150and he heartily prays some occasion may
151detain us longer. I dare swear he is no hypocrite,
152but prays from his heart.
153If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.
To DON JOHN.
154Let me bid you welcome, my lord:
155being reconciled to the prince your
156brother, I owe you all duty.
157I thank you: I am not of many words,
158but I thank you.
159Please it your grace lead on?
160Your hand, Leonato; we will go
***Exeunt. Manent BENEDICK
162Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of
164I noted her not; but I looked on her.
165Is she not a modest young lady?
166Do you question me, as an honest man
167should do, for my simple true judgment;
168or would you have me speak after my custom,
169as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
170No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.
171Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low for a high
172praise, too brown for a fair praise and too little
173for a great praise: only this commendation I can
174afford her, that were she other than she is, she
175were unhandsome; and being no other but as she
176is, I do not like her.
177Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell me
178truly how thou likest her.
179Would you buy her, that you inquire after
181Can the world buy such a jewel?
182Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this
183with a sad brow? or do you play the flouting Jack,
184to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder and Vulcan a
185rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take
186you, to go in the song?
187In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I
189I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such
190matter: there's her cousin, an she were not
191possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty
192as the first of May doth the last of December. But I
193hope you have no intent to turn husband,
195I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the
196contrary, if Hero would be my wife.
197Is't come to this? In faith, hath not the world
198one man but he will wear his cap with suspicion?
199Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?
200Go to, i' faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck
201into a yoke, wear the print of it, and sigh away
202Sundays. Look, Don Pedro is returned to
Enter DON PEDRO.
204What secret hath held you here, that you followed
205not to Leonato's?
206I would your grace would constrain me to
208I charge thee on thy allegiance.
209You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a
210dumb man; I would have you think so; but, on
211my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegiance.
212He is in love. With who? now that is your grace's
213part. Mark how short his answer is;With Hero,
214Leonato's short daughter.
215If this were so, so were it uttered.
216Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor
217'twas not so, but, indeed, God forbid it should
219If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it
220should be otherwise.
221Amen, if you love her; for the lady is
222very well worthy.
223You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.
224By my troth, I speak my thought.
225And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.
226And, by my two faiths and troths, my
227lord, I spoke mine.
228That I love her, I feel.
229That she is worthy, I know.
230That I neither feel how she should be loved
231nor know how she should be worthy, is the
232opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will
233die in it at the stake.
234Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in
235the despite of beauty.
236And never could maintain his part but in the
237force of his will.
238That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that
239she brought me up, I likewise give her most
240humble thanks: but that I will have a recheat
241winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in
242an invisible baldrick, all women shall pardon me.
243Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust
244any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and
245the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will
246live a bachelor.
247I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with
249With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord,
250not with love: prove that ever I lose more blood
251with love than I will get again with drinking, pick
252out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang
253me up at the door of a brothel-house for the sign of
255Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou
256wilt prove a notable argument.
257If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot
258at me; and he that hits me, let him be clapped on
259the shoulder, and called Adam.
260Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bull
261doth bear the yoke'.
262The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible
263Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set
264them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted,
265and in such great letters as they write 'Here is
266good horse to hire', let them signify under my sign
267'Here you may see Benedick the
269If this should ever happen, thou wouldst
271Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in
272Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
273I look for an earthquake too, then.
274Well, you temporize with the hours. In the
275meantime, good Signior Benedick, repair to
276Leonato's: commend me to him and tell him I will
277not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made
279I have almost matter enough in me for such an
280embassage; and so I commit you
281To the tuition of God: From my house,
282if I had it,
283The sixth of July: Your loving friend,
285Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your
286discourse is sometime guarded with fragments,
287and the guards are but slightly basted on neither:
288ere you flout old ends any further, examine your
289conscience: and so I leave you.
290My liege, your highness now may do me good.
291My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,
292And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
293Any hard lesson that may do thee good.
294Hath Leonato any son, my lord?
295No child but Hero; she's his only heir.
296Dost thou affect her, Claudio?
296O, my lord,
297When you went onward on this ended action,
298I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye,
299That liked, but had a rougher task in hand
300Than to drive liking to the name of love:
301But now I am return'd and that war-thoughts
302Have left their places vacant, in their rooms
303Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
304All prompting me how fair young Hero is,
305Saying, I liked her ere I went to wars.
306Thou wilt be like a lover presently
307And tire the hearer with a book of words.
308If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
309And I will break with her and with her father,
310And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end
311That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?
312How sweetly you do minister to love,
313That know love's grief by his complexion!
314But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
315I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.
316What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
317The fairest grant is the necessity.
318Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lovest,
319And I will fit thee with the remedy.
320I know we shall have revelling tonight:
321I will assume thy part in some disguise
322And tell fair Hero I am Claudio,
323And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart
324And take her hearing prisoner with the force
325And strong encounter of my amorous tale:
326Then after to her father will I break;
327And the conclusion is, she shall be thine.
328In practise let us put it presently.