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Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Much Ado About Nothing: Act 3, Scene 2

           Enter prince [DON PEDRO], CLAUDIO,
           BENEDICK, and LEONATO.

1. consummate: consummated; i.e., official.
  1   I do but stay till your marriage be consummate,
  2    and then go I toward Arragon.

3. bring: escort.
  3   I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll
4. vouchsafe: allow.
  4   vouchsafe me.

5. soil: blot, stain.
  5   Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new
  6   gloss of your marriage as to show a child his
  7   new coat and forbid him to wear it. I will only
8. be bold with: take the liberty of asking.
  8   be bold with Benedick for his company; for,
  9   from the crown of his head to the sole of his
 10   foot, he is all mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut
11. hangman: i.e., rogue. —Cupid is a "hangman" because he makes men die of love.
 11   Cupid's bow-string and the little hangman dare
 12   not shoot at him; he hath a heart as sound as a
 13   bell and his tongue is the clapper, for what his
 14   heart thinks his tongue speaks.

 15   Gallants, I am not as I have been.

16. sadder: more serious.
 16   So say I. Methinks you are sadder.

 17   I hope he be in love.

18-19. there's no true drop of blood in him: he hasn't enough natural feeling.
 18   Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of
 19   blood in him, to be truly touched with love:
20. wants: lacks.
 20   if he be sad, he wants money.

 21   I have the toothache.

22. Draw it: extract the tooth.
 22   Draw it.

23. Hang it!: confound it!; damn it!.
 23   Hang it!

24-25. hang it first, and draw it afterwards: —In executions, hanging came before drawing (disembowelment).
 24   You must hang it first, and draw it
 25   afterwards.

 26   What! sigh for the toothache?

27. Where is but: which is merely.  a humor or a worm: —Most diseases (including toothaches) were thought to be caused by the excess of a bodily fluid, a "humor"; it was also thought that a toothache could be caused by a tiny worm in the tooth. 28‑29. every one can master a grief but he that has it: everyone can overcome a pain but the person who is actually feeling it.
 27   Where is but a humor or a worm.

 28   Well, every one can master a grief but
 29   he that has it.

 30   Yet say I, he is in love.

31-39. fancy . . . fancy . . . fancy . . . fancy: love, infatuation, whim, foolishness.
 31   There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless
 32   it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises;
 33   as, to be a Dutchman today, a Frenchman
 34   tomorrow, or in the shape of two countries
 35   at once, as, a German from the waist downward,
36. slops: loose breeches, fastened below the knee. >>> 36-37. a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doublet: —Perhaps Benedick is wearing a fashionable and romantic Spanish cloak, rather than the much more ordinary doublet.
 36   all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward,
 37   no doublet. Unless he have a fancy to this
 38   foolery, as it appears he hath, he is
 39   for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.

 40   If he be not in love with some woman, there
 41   is no believing old signs: a' brushes his hat o'
 42   mornings; what should that bode?

 43   Hath any man seen him at the
 44   barber's?

 45   No, but the barber's man hath been seen with
46. the old ornament of his cheek: i.e., Benedick's beard.
 46   him, and the old ornament of his cheek hath
 47   already stuffed tennis-balls.

 48   Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by
 49   the loss of a beard.

50-51. civet: perfume derived from the musk of the civet; i.e., a manly fragrance.
 50   Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell
 51   him out by that?

52. sweet: —The word can also mean "sweet-smelling."
 52   That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's
 53   in love.

54. greatest note: most conspicuous mark.
 54   The greatest note of it is his
 55   melancholy.

56-57. wash his face . . . paint himself: —Claudio and Don Pedro are accusing Benedick of using cosmetics. A "wash" was a foundation coat, used to lighten the skin; "paint" refers to the highlights which would be applied after the wash was set.
 56   And when was he wont to wash his face?

 57   Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear
 58   what they say of him.

59. Nay, but his jesting spirit: i.e., his jesting spirit is gone.
60. lute-string: The lute was associated with love songs. governed by stops: literally, regulated by frets (on the fingerboard of the lute); figuratively, restrained by his new character as a lover.
 59   Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept
 60   into a lute-string and now governed by stops.

 61   Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him.
 62   Conclude, conclude he is in love.

 63   Nay, but I know who loves him.

 64   That would I know too: I warrant,
 65   one that knows him not.

66. Yes: i.e., she does know him. ill conditions: bad characteristics.
 66   Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite of
 67   all, dies for him.

68-69. She shall be buried with her face upwards: —Claudio has just joked that Beatrice will die for love of Benedick. Don Pedro now extends the joke. He says that if Beatrice does die for love of Benedick, she will be buried face upward, not face downward, like a suicide. Don Pedro is also playing with the sexual meaning of "die" as "have an orgasm."
 68   She shall be buried with her face
 69   upwards.

 70   Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old
 71   signior, walk aside with me: I have studied
 72   eight or nine wise words to speak to you,
73. hobby-horses: buffoons.
 73   which these hobby-horses must not hear.

           [Exeunt Benedick and Leonato.]

74-75. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice: i.e., I am sure that Benedick is speaking with Leonato alone in order to ask for Beatrice's hand in marriage.
 74   For my life, to break with him about
 75   Beatrice.

 76   'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have
77. by this: by this time.
 77   by this played their parts with Beatrice;
 78   and then the two bears will not bite one
 79   another when they meet.

           Enter [DON] JOHN the Bastard.

      DON JOHN
 80   My lord and brother, God save you!

81. Good den: good evening.
 81   Good den, brother.

      DON JOHN
 82   If your leisure served, I would speak
 83   with you.

 84   In private?

      DON JOHN
 85   If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear;
 86   for what I would speak of concerns him.

 87   What's the matter?

      DON JOHN [To Claudio.]
 88   Means your lordship to be married
 89   tomorrow?

 90   You know he does.

      DON JOHN
 91   I know not that, when he knows what
 92   I know.

 93   If there be any impediment, I pray you
94. discover: reveal.
 94   discover it.

      DON JOHN
 95   You may think I love you not: let that appear
96-97. aim better at: judge better of.  by that I now will manifest: according to what I now show. 97-98. holds you well: holds you in high esteem, has great affection for you.  98. in dearness of heart: i.e., because of his affection for you.  holp: helped.
 96   hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now
 97   will manifest. For my brother, I think he holds
 98   you well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to
 99   effect your ensuing marriage;—surely suit ill
100   spent and labour ill bestowed.

101   Why, what's the matter?

      DON JOHN
102-103. circumstances shortened: without unnecessary details. 103-104. for she has been too long a talking of: i.e., because she is not worth even the short time we have spent in mentioning her.
102   I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
103   shortened, for she has been too long a talking
104   of, the lady is disloyal.

105   Who, Hero?

106   Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every
107   man's Hero

108   Disloyal?

      DON JOHN
109. paint out: portray in full, depict.
110-111. think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it: if you think of a worse characterization of her, I will show you how she deserves that, too. 111-112. Wonder not till further warrant: restrain your disbelief until further proof appears.
109   The word is too good to paint out her wickedness;
110   I could say she were worse: think you of a worse
111   title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further
112   warrant: go but with me tonight, you shall see her
113   chamber-window entered, even the night before
114   her wedding-day: if you love her then, tomorrow
115   wed her; but it would better fit your honor to
116   change your mind.

117   May this be so?

118. I will not think it: i.e., I can't believe it.
118   I will not think it.

      DON JOHN
119-120. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know: i.e., if you don't have the courage to believe your own eyes, don't say that you know anything.
119   If you dare not trust that you see, confess not
120   that you know: if you will follow me, I will
121   show you enough; and when you have seen
122   more and heard more, proceed accordingly.

123   If I see any thing tonight why I should not
124   marry her tomorrow in the congregation,
125   where I should wed, there will I shame her.

126   And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will
127   join with thee to disgrace her.

      DON JOHN
128-129. till you are my witnesses: i.e., until you can bear witness to the truth of my accusation. 129. coldly: calmly.
128   I will disparage her no farther till you are
129   my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight,
130. let the issue show itself: i.e., see for yourself.
130   and let the issue show itself.

131. untowardly turned: perversely altered.
131   O day untowardly turned!

132. mischief strangely thwarting: i.e., evil unexpectedly ruining (the happiness of the wedding).
132   O mischief strangely thwarting!

      DON JOHN
133   O plague right well prevented! so will you
134   say when you have seen the sequel.