Much adoe about Nothing.

[Page I3]

Much adoe about Nothing.

1. Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter Leonato Gouernour of Messina, Innogen his wife, He-ro
his daughter, and Beatrice his Neece, with a messenger.

I learne in this Letter, that Don Peter of Arra-gon,
comes this night to Messina.
Mess. He is very neere by this: he was not
three Leagues off when I left him.
Leon. How many Gentlemen haue you lost in this
Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name.
Leon. A victorie is twice it selfe, when the atchieuer
brings home full numbers: I finde heere, that Don Pe-ter
hath bestowed much honor on a yong Florentine, cal-
led Claudio.
Mess. Much deseru'd on his part, and equally remem-
bred by Don Pedro, he hath borne himselfe beyond the
promise of his age, doing in the figure of a Lambe, the
feats of a Lion, he hath indeede better bettred expecta-
tion, then you must expect of me to tell you how.
Leo. He hath an Vnckle heere in Messina, wil be very
much glad of it.
Mess. I haue alreadie deliuered him letters, and there
appeares much ioy in him, euen so much, that ioy could
not shew it selfe modest enough, without a badg of bit-
Leo. Did he breake out into teares?
Mess. In great measure.
Leo. A kinde ouerflow of kindnesse, there are no fa-
ces truer, then those that are so wash'd, how much bet-
ter is it to weepe at ioy, then to ioy at weeping?
Bea. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto return'd from
the warres, or no?
Mess. I know none of that name, Lady, there was
none such in the armie of any sort.
Leon. What is he that you aske for Neece?
Hero. My cousin meanes Signior Benedick of Padua
Mess. O he's return'd, and as pleasant as euer he was.
Beat. He set vp his bils here in Messina, & challeng'd
Cupid at the Flight: and my Vnckles foole reading the
Challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at
the Burbolt. I pray you, how many hath hee kil'd and
eaten in these warres? But how many hath he kil'd? for
indeed, I promis'd to eate all of his killing.
Leon. 'Faith Neece, you taxe Signior Benedicke too
much, but hee'l be meete with you, I doubt it not.
Mess. He hath done good seruice Lady in these wars.
Beat. You had musty victuall, and he hath holpe to
ease it: he's a very valiant Trencher-man, hee hath an
excellent stomacke.
Mess. And a good souldier too Lady.
Beat. And a good souldier to a Lady. But what is he
to a Lord?
Mess. A Lord to a Lord, a man to a man, stuft with
all honourable vertues.
Beat. It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man:
but for the stuffing well, we are all mortall.
Leon. You must not (sir) mistake my Neece, there is
a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick, & her:
they neuer meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between
Bea. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last con-
flict, foure of his fiue wits went halting off, and now is
the whole man gouern'd with one: so that if hee haue
wit enough to keepe himselfe warme, let him beare it
for a difference betweene himselfe and his horse: For it
is all the wealth that he hath left, to be knowne a reaso-
nable creature. Who is his companion now? He hath
euery month a new sworne brother.
Mess. Is't possible?
Beat. Very easily possible: he weares his faith but as
the fashion of his hat, it euer changes with the next block.
Mess. I see (Lady) the Gentleman is not in your
Bea. No, and he were, I would burne my study. But
I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young
squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the
Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble
Beat. O Lord, he will hang vpon him like a disease:
he is sooner caught then the pestilence, and the taker
runs presently mad. God helpe the noble Claudio, if hee
haue caught the Benedict, it will cost him a thousand
pound ere he be cur'd.
Mess. I will hold friends with you Lady.
Bea. Do good friend.
Leo. You'l ne're run mad Neece.
Bea. No, not till a hot Ianuary.
Mess. Don Pedro is approach'd.
Enter don Pedro, Claudio, Benedicke, Balthasar,
and Iohn the bastard.

Pedro. Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet
your trouble: the fashion of the world is to auoid cost,
and you encounter it.
Leon. Neuer came trouble to my house in the likenes
of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
remaine: but when you depart from me, sorrow abides,
and happinesse takes his leaue. [Page I3v]
Pedro. You embrace your charge too willingly: I
thinke this is your daughter.
Leonato. Her mother hath many times told me so.
Bened. Were you in doubt that you askt her?
Leonato. Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a
Pedro. You haue it full Benedicke, we may ghesse by
this, what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers
her selfe: be happie Lady, for you are like an honorable
Ben. If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
haue his head on her shoulders for al Messina, as like him
as she is.
Beat. I wonder that you will still be talking, signior
Benedicke, no body markes you.
Ben. What my deere Ladie Disdaine! are you yet
Beat. Is it possible Disdaine should die, while shee
hath such meete foode to feede it, as Signior Benedicke?
Curtesie it selfe must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in
her presence.
Bene. Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is cer-
taine I am loued of all Ladies, onely you excepted: and
I would I could finde in my heart that I had not a hard
heart, for truely I loue none.
Beat. A deere happinesse to women, they would else
haue beene troubled with a pernitious Suter, I thanke
God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that, I
had rather heare my Dog barke at a Crow, than a man
sweare he loues me.
Bene. God keepe your Ladiship still in that minde,
so some Gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate
scratcht face.
Beat. Scratching could not make it worse, and 'twere
such a face as yours were.
Bene. Well, you are a rare Parrat teacher.
Beat. A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of
Ben. I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
and so good a continuer, but keepe your way a Gods
name, I haue done.
Beat. You alwaies end with a Iades tricke, I know
you of old.
Pedro. This is the summe of all: Leonato, signior Clau-dio,
and signior Benedicke; my deere friend Leonato, hath
inuited you all, I tell him we shall stay here, at the least
a moneth, and he heartily praies some occasion may de-
taine vs longer: I dare sweare hee is no hypocrite, but
praies from his heart.
Leon. If you sweare, my Lord, you shall not be for-
sworne, let mee bid you welcome, my Lord, being re-
conciled to the Prince your brother: I owe you all
Iohn. I thanke you, I am not of many words, but I
thanke you.
Leon. Please it your grace leade on?
Pedro. Your hand Leonato, we will goe together.
Exeunt. Manet Benedicke and Claudio.
Clau. Benedicke, didst thou note the daughter of sig-
nior Leonato?
Bene. I noted her not, but I lookt on her.
Claud. Is she not a modest yong Ladie?
Bene. Doe you question me as an honest man should
doe, for my simple true iudgement? or would you haue
me speake after my custome, as being a professed tyrant
to their sexe?
Clau. No, I pray thee speake in sober iudgement.
Bene. Why yfaith me thinks shee's too low for a hie
praise, too browne for a faire praise, and too little for a
great praise, onely this commendation I can affoord her,
that were shee other then she is, she were vnhandsome,
and being no other, but as she is, I doe not like her.
Clau. Thou think'st I am in sport, I pray thee tell me
truely how thou lik'st her.
Bene. Would you buie her, that you enquier after
Clau. Can the world buie such a iewell?
Ben. Yea, and a case to put it into, but speake you this
with a sad brow? Or doe you play the flowting iacke, to
tell vs Cupid is a good Hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare
Carpenter: Come, in what key shall a man take you to
goe in the song?
Clau. In mine eie, she is the sweetest Ladie that euer
I lookt on.
Bene. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see no
such matter: there's her cosin, and she were not possest
with a furie, exceedes her as much in beautie, as the first
of Maie doth the last of December: but I hope you haue
no intent to turne husband, haue you?
Clau. I would scarce trust my selfe, though I had
sworne the contrarie, if Hero would be my wife.
Bene. Ist come to this? in faith hath not the world one
man but he will weare his cap with suspition? shall I ne-
uer see a batcheller of three score againe? goe to yfaith,
and thou wilt needes thrust thy necke into a yoke, weare
the print of it, and sigh away sundaies: looke, don Pedro
is returned to seeke you.
Enter don Pedro, Iohn the bastard.
Pedr. What secret hath held you here, that you fol-
lowed not to Leonatoes?
Bened. I would your Grace would constraine mee to
Pedro. I charge thee on thy allegeance.
Ben. You heare, Count Claudio, I can be secret as a
dumbe man, I would haue you thinke so (but on my al-
legiance, marke you this, on my allegiance) hee is in
loue, With who? now that is your Graces part: marke
how short his answere is, with Hero, Leonatoes short
Clau. If this were so, so were it vttred.
Bened. Like the old tale, my Lord, it is not so, nor 'twas
not so: but indeede, God forbid it should be so.
Clau. If my passion change not shortly, God forbid it
should be otherwise.
Pedro. Amen, if you loue her, for the Ladie is verie
well worthie.
Clau. You speake this to fetch me in, my Lord.
Pedr. By my troth I speake my thought.
Clau. And in faith, my Lord, I spoke mine.
Bened. And by my two faiths and troths, my Lord, I
speake mine.
Clau. That I loue her, I feele.
Pedr. That she is worthie, I know.
Bened. That I neither feele how shee should be lo-
ued, nor know how shee should be worthie, is the
opinion that fire cannot melt out of me, I will die in it at
the stake.
Pedr. Thou wast euer an obstinate heretique in the de-
spight of Beautie.
Clau. And neuer could maintaine his part, but in the
force of his will [Page I4]
*Ben. That a woman conceiued me, I thanke her: that
she brought mee vp, I likewise giue her most humble
thankes: but that I will haue a rechate winded in my
forehead, or hang my bugle in an inuisible baldricke, all
women shall pardon me: because I will not do them the
wrong to mistrust any, I will doe my selfe the right to
trust none: and the fine is, (for the which I may goe the
finer) I will liue a Batchellor.
Pedro. I shall see thee ere I die, looke pale with loue.
Bene. With anger, with sicknesse, or with hunger,
my Lord, not with loue: proue that euer I loose more
blood with loue, then I will get againe with drinking,
picke out mine eyes with a Ballet-makers penne, and
hang me vp at the doore of a brothel-house for the signe
of blinde Cupid.
Pedro. Well, if euer thou doost fall from this faith,
thou wilt proue a notable argument.
Bene. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a Cat, & shoot
at me, and he that hit's me, let him be clapt on the shoul-
der, and cal'd Adam.
Pedro. Well, as time shall trie: In time the sauage
Bull doth beare the yoake.
Bene. The sauage bull may, but if euer the sensible
Benedicke beare it, plucke off the bulles hornes, and set
them in my forehead, and let me be vildely painted, and
in such great Letters as they write, heere is good horse
to hire: let them signifie vnder my signe, here you may
see Benedicke the married man.
Clau. If this should euer happen, thou wouldst bee
horne mad.
Pedro. Nay, if Cupid haue not spent all his Quiuer in
Venice, thou wilt quake for this shortly.
Bene. I looke for an earthquake too then.
Pedro. Well, you will temporize with the houres, in
the meane time, good Signior Benedicke, repaire to Leo-natoes,
commend me to him, and tell him I will not faile
him at supper, for indeede he hath made great prepara-
Bene. I haue almost matter enough in me for such an
Embassage, and so I commit you.
Clau. To the tuition of God. From my house, if I
had it.
Pedro. The sixt of Iuly. Your louing friend, Benedick.
Bene. Nay mocke not, mocke not; the body of your
discourse is sometime guarded with fragments, and the
guardes are but slightly basted on neither, ere you flout
old ends any further, examine your conscience, and so I
leaue you. Exit.
Clau. My Liege, your Highnesse now may doe mee
Pedro. My loue is thine to teach, teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learne
Any hard Lesson that may do thee good.
Clau. Hath Leonato any sonne my Lord?
Pedro. No childe but Hero, she's his onely heire.
Dost thou affect her Claudio?
Clau. O my Lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I look'd vpon her with a souldiers eie,
That lik'd, but had a rougher taske in hand,
Than to driue liking to the name of loue:
But now I am return'd, and that warre-thoughts
Haue left their places vacant: in their roomes,
Come thronging soft and delicate desires,
All prompting mee how faire yong Hero is,
Saying I lik'd her ere I went to warres.
Pedro. Thou wilt be like a louer presently,
And tire the hearer with a booke of words:
If thou dost loue faire Hero, cherish it,
And I will breake with her: wast not to this end,
That thou beganst to twist so fine a story?
Clau. How sweetly doe you minister to loue,
That know loues griefe by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sodaine seeme,
I would haue salu'd it with a longer treatise.
Ped. What need the bridge much broder then the flood?
The fairest graunt is the necessitie:
Looke what will serue, is fit: 'tis once, thou louest,
And I will fit thee with the remedie,
I know we shall haue reuelling to night,
I will assume thy part in some disguise,
And tell faire Hero I am Claudio,
And in her bosome Ile vnclaspe my heart,
And take her hearing prisoner with the force
And strong incounter of my amorous tale:
Then after, to her father will I breake,
And the conclusion is, shee shall be thine,
In practise let vs put it presently. Exeunt.
Enter Leonato and an old man, brother to Leonato.
Leo. How now brother, where is my cosen your son:
hath he prouided this musicke?
Old. He is very busie about it, but brother, I can tell
you newes that you yet dreamt not of.
Lo. Are they good?
Old. As the euents stamps them, but they haue a good
couer: they shew well outward, the Prince and Count
Claudio walking in a thick pleached alley in my orchard,
were thus ouer-heard by a man of mine: the Prince dis-
couered to Claudio that hee loued my niece your daugh-
ter, and meant to acknowledge it this night in a dance,
and if hee found her accordant, hee meant to take the
present time by the top, and instantly breake with you
of it.
Leo. Hath the fellow any wit that told you this?
Old. A good sharpe fellow, I will send for him, and
question him your selfe.
Leo. No, no; wee will hold it as a dreame, till it ap-
peare it selfe: but I will acquaint my daughter withall,
that she may be the better prepared for an answer, if per-
aduenture this bee true: goe you and tell her of it: coo-
sins, you know what you haue to doe, O I crie you mer-
cie friend, goe you with mee and I will vse your skill,
good cosin haue a care this busie time. Exeunt.
Enter Sir Iohn the Bastard, and Conrade his companion.
Con. What the good yeere my Lord, why are you
thus out of measure sad?
Ioh. There is no measure in the occasion that breeds,
therefore the sadnesse is without limit.
Con. You should heare reason.
Iohn. And when I haue heard it, what blessing brin-
geth it?
Con. If not a present remedy, yet a patient sufferance.
Ioh. I wonder that thou (being as thou saist thou art,
borne vnder Saturne) goest about to apply a morall me-
dicine, to a mortifying mischiefe: I cannot hide what I
am: I must bee sad when I haue cause, and smile at no
mans iests, eat when I haue stomacke, and wait for no
mans leisure: sleepe when I am drowsie, and tend on no
mans businesse, laugh when I am merry, and claw no man
in his humor.
Con. Yea, but you must not make the ful show of this,
till you may doe it without controllment, you haue of [Page I4v]
late stood out against your brother, and hee hath tane
you newly into his grace, where it is impossible you
should take root, but by the faire weather that you make
your selfe, it is needful that you frame the season for your
owne haruest.
Iohn. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, then a rose
in his grace, and it better fits my bloud to be disdain'd of
all, then to fashion a carriage to rob loue from any: in this
(though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man)
it must not be denied but I am a plaine dealing villaine, I
am trusted with a mussell, and enfranchisde with a clog,
therefore I haue decreed, not to sing in my cage: if I had
my mouth, I would bite: if I had my liberty, I would do
my liking: in the meane time, let me be that I am, and
seeke not to alter me.
Con. Can you make no vse of your discontent?
Iohn. I will make all vse of it, for I vse it onely.
Who comes here? what newes Borachio?
Enter Borachio.
Bor. I came yonder from a great supper, the Prince
your brother is royally entertained by Leonato, and I can
giue you intelligence of an intended marriage.
Iohn. Will it serue for any Modell to build mischiefe
on? What is hee for a foole that betrothes himselfe to
Bor. Mary it is your brothers right hand.
Iohn. Who, the most exquisite Claudio?
Bor. Euen he.
Iohn. A proper squier, and who, and who, which way
lookes he?
Bor. Mary on Hero, the daughter and Heire of Leo-nato.

Iohn. A very forward March-chicke, how came you
to this:
Bor. Being entertain'd for a perfumer, as I was smoa-
king a musty roome, comes me the Prince and Claudio,
hand in hand in sad conference: I whipt behind the Ar-
ras, and there heard it agreed vpon, that the Prince should
wooe Hero for himselfe, and hauing obtain'd her, giue
her to Count Claudio.
Iohn. Come, come, let vs thither, this may proue food
to my displeasure, that young start-vp hath all the glorie
of my ouerthrow: if I can crosse him any way, I blesse
my selfe euery way, you are both sure, and will assist
Conr. To the death my Lord.
Iohn. Let vs to the great supper, their cheere is the
greater that I am subdued, would the Cooke were of my
minde: shall we goe proue whats to be done?
Bor. Wee'll wait vpon your Lordship.

2. Actus Secundus.

Enter Leonato, his brother, his wife, Hero his daughter, and
Beatrice his neece, and a kinsman.
Leonato. Was not Count Iohn here at supper?
Brother. I saw him not.
Beatrice. How tartly that Gentleman lookes, I neuer
can see him, but I am heart-burn'd an howre after.
Hero. He is of a very melancholy disposition.
Beatrice. Hee were an excellent man that were made
iust in the mid-way betweene him and Benedicke, the one
is too like an image and saies nothing, and the other too
like my Ladies eldest sonne, euermore tatling.
Leon. Then halfe signior Benedicks tongue in Count
Iohns mouth, and halfe Count Iohns melancholy in Sig-
nior Benedicks face.
Beat. With a good legge, and a good foot vnckle, and
money enough in his purse, such a man would winne any
woman in the world, if he could get her good will.
Leon. By my troth Neece, thou wilt neuer get thee a
husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.
Brother. Infaith shee's too curst.
Beat. Too curst is more then curst, I shall lessen Gods
sending that way: for it is said, God sends a curst Cow
short hornes, but to a Cow too curst he sends none.
Leon. So, by being too curst, God will send you no
Beat. Iust, if he send me no husband, for the which
blessing, I am at him vpon my knees euery morning and
euening: Lord, I could not endure a husband with a
beard on his face, I had rather lie in the woollen.
Leonato. You may light vpon a husband that hath no
Beatrice. What should I doe with him? dresse him in
my apparell, and make him my waiting gentlewoman? he
that hath a beard, is more then a youth: and he that hath
no beard, is lesse then a man: and hee that is more then a
youth, is not for mee: and he that is lesse then a man, I am
not for him: therefore I will euen take sixepence in ear-
nest of the Berrord, and leade his Apes into hell.
Leon. Well then, goe you into hell.
Beat. No, but to the gate, and there will the Deuill
meete mee like an old Cuckold with hornes on his head,
and say, get you to heauen Beatrice, get you to heauen,
heere's no place for you maids, so deliuer I vp my Apes,
and away to S[aint]. Peter: for the heauens, hee shewes mee
where the Batchellers sit, and there liue wee as merry as
the day is long.
Brother. Well neece, I trust you will be rul'd by your
Beatrice. Yes faith, it is my cosens dutie to make curt-
sie, and say, as it please you: but yet for all that cosin, let
him be a handsome fellow, or else make an other cursie,
and say, father, as it please me.
Leonato. Well neece, I hope to see you one day fitted
with a husband.
Beatrice. Not till God make men of some other met-
tall then earth, would it not grieue a woman to be ouer-
mastred with a peece of valiant dust: to make account of
her life to a clod of waiward marle? no vnckle, ile none:
Adams sonnes are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sinne
to match in my kinred.
Leon. Daughter, remember what I told you, if the
Prince doe solicit you in that kinde, you know your an-
Beatrice. The fault will be in the musicke cosin, if you
be not woed in good time: if the Prince bee too impor-
tant, tell him there is measure in euery thing, & so dance
out the answere, for heare me Hero, wooing, wedding, &
repenting, is as a Scotch jigge, a measure, and a cinque-
pace: the first suite is hot and hasty like a Scotch jigge
(and full as fantasticall) the wedding manerly modest,
(as a measure) full of state & aunchentry, and then comes
repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinque-
pace faster and faster, till he sinkes into his graue. [Page I5]
Leonato. Cosin you apprehend passing shrewdly.
Beatrice. I haue a good eye vnckle, I can see a Church
by daylight.
Leon. The reuellers are entring brother, make good
Enter Prince, Pedro, Claudio, and Benedicke, and Balthasar,
or dumbe Iohn, Maskers with a drum.

Pedro. Lady, will you walke about with your friend?
Hero. So you walke softly, and looke sweetly, and say
nothing, I am yours for the walke, and especially when I
walke away.
Pedro. With me in your company.
Hero. I may say so when I please.
Pedro. And when please you to say so?
Hero. When I like your fauour, for God defend the
Lute should be like the case.
Pedro. My visor is Philemons roofe, within the house
is Loue.
Hero. Why then your visor should be thatcht.
Pedro. Speake low if you speake Loue.
Bene. Well, I would you did like me.
Mar. So would not I for your owne sake, for I haue
manie ill qualities.
Bene. Which is one?
Mar. I say my prayers alowd.
Ben. I loue you the better, the hearers may cry Amen.
Mar. God match me with a good dauncer.
Balt. Amen.
Mar. And God keepe him out of my sight when the
daunce is done: answer Clarke.
Balt. No more words, the Clarke is answered.
Vrsula. I know you well enough, you are Signior An-thonio.

Anth. At a word, I am not.
Vrsula. I know you by the wagling of your head.
Anth. To tell you true, I counterfet him.
Vrsu. You could neuer doe him so ill well, vnlesse
you were the very man: here's his dry hand vp & down,
you are he, you are he.
Anth. At a word I am not.
Vrsula. Come, come, doe you thinke I doe not know
you by your excellent wit? can vertue hide it selfe? goe
to mumme, you are he, graces will appeare, and there's
an end.
Beat. Will you not tell me who told you so?
Bene. No, you shall pardon me.
Beat. Nor will you not tell me who you are?
Bened. Not now.
Beat. That I was disdainfull, and that I had my good
wit out of the hundred merry tales: well, this was Signi-
or Benedicke that said so.
Bene. What's he?
Beat. I am sure you know him well enough.
Bene. Not I, beleeue me.
Beat. Did he neuer make you laugh?
Bene. I pray you what is he?
Beat. Why he is the Princes ieaster, a very dull foole,
onely his gift is, in deuising impossible slanders, none
but Libertines delight in him, and the commendation is
not in his witte, but in his villanie, for hee both pleaseth
men and angers them, and then they laugh at him, and
beat him: I am sure he is in the Fleet, I would he had
boorded me.
Bene. When I know the Gentleman, Ile tell him what
you say.
Beat. Do, do, hee'l but breake a comparison or two
on me, which peraduenture (not markt, or not laugh'd
at) strikes him into melancholly, and then there's a Par-
tridge wing saued, for the foole will eate no supper that
night. We must follow the Leaders.
Ben. In euery good thing.
Bea. Nay, if they leade to any ill, I will leaue them
at the next turning. Exeunt.
Musicke for the dance.
Iohn. Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath
withdrawne her father to breake with him about it: the
Ladies follow her, and but one visor remaines.
Borachio. And that is Claudio, I know him by his bea-
Iohn. Are not you signior Benedicke?
Clau. You know me well, I am hee.
Iohn. Signior, you are verie neere my Brother in his
loue, he is enamor'd on Hero, I pray you disswade him
from her, she is no equall for his birth: you may do the
part of an honest man in it.
Claudio. How know you he loues her?
Iohn. I heard him sweare his affection.
Bor. So did I too, and he swore he would marrie her
to night.
Iohn. Come, let vs to the banquet. Ex. manet Clau.
Clau. Thus answere I in name of Benedicke,
But heare these ill newes with the eares of Claudio:
'Tis certaine so, the Prince woes for himselfe:
Friendship is constant in all other things,
Saue in the Office and affaires of loue:
Therefore all hearts in loue vse their owne tongues.
Let euerie eye negotiate for it selfe,
And trust no Agent: for beautie is a witch,
Against whose charmes, faith melteth into blood:
This is an accident of hourely proofe,
Which I mistrusted not. Farewell therefore Hero.
Enter Benedicke.
Ben. Count Claudio.
Clau. Yea, the same.
Ben. Come, will you goe with me?
Clau. Whither?
Ben. Euen to the next Willow, about your own bu-
sinesse, Count. What fashion will you weare the Gar-
land off? About your necke, like an Vsurers chaine? Or
vnder your arme, like a Lieutenants scarfe? You must
weare it one way, for the Prince hath got your Hero.
Clau . I wish him ioy of her.
Ben. Why that's spoken like an honest Drouier, so
they sel Bullockes: but did you thinke the Prince wold
haue serued you thus?
Clau. I pray you leaue me.
Ben. Ho now you strike like the blindman, 'twas the
boy that stole your meate, and you'l beat the post.
Clau. If it will not be, Ile leaue you. Exit.
Ben. Alas poore hurt fowle, now will he creepe into
sedges: But that my Ladie Beatrice should know me, &
not know me: the Princes foole! Hah? It may be I goe
vnder that title, because I am merrie: yea but so I am
apt to do my selfe wrong: I am not so reputed, it is the
base (though bitter) disposition of Beatrice, that putt's
the world into her person, and so giues me out: well, Ile
be reuenged as I may.
Enter the Prince.
Pedro. Now Signior, where's the Count, did you
see him? [Page I5v]
Bene. Troth my Lord, I haue played the part of Lady
Fame, I found him heere as melancholy as a Lodge in a
Warren, I told him, and I thinke, told him true, that your
grace had got the will of this young Lady, and I offered
him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a
garland, as being forsaken, or to binde him a rod, as be-
ing worthy to be whipt.
Pedro. To be whipt, what's his fault?
Bene. The flat transgression of a Schoole-boy, who
being ouer-ioyed with finding a birds nest, shewes it his
companion, and he steales it.
Pedro. Wilt thou make a trust, a transgression? the
transgression is in the stealer.
Ben. Yet it had not been amisse the rod had beene
made, and the garland too, for the garland he might haue
worne himselfe, and the rod hee might haue bestowed on
you, who (as I take it) haue stolne his birds nest.
Pedro. I will but teach them to sing, and restore them
to the owner.
Bene. If their singing answer your saying, by my faith
you say honestly.
Pedro. The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrell to you, the
Gentleman that daunst with her, told her shee is much
wrong'd by you.
Bene. O she misusde me past the indurance of a block:
an oake but with one greene leafe on it, would haue an-
swered her: my very visor began to assume life, and scold
with her: shee told mee, not thinking I had beene my
selfe, that I was the Princes Iester, and that I was duller
then a great thaw, hudling iest vpon iest, with such im-
possible conueiance vpon me, that I stood like a man at a
marke, with a whole army shooting at me: shee speakes
poynyards, and euery word stabbes: if her breath were
as terrible as terminations, there were no liuing neere
her, she would infect to the north starre: I would not
marry her, though she were indowed with all that Adam
had left him before he transgrest, she would haue made
Hercules haue turnd spit, yea, and haue cleft his club to
make the fire too: come, talke not of her, you shall finde
her the infernall Ate in good apparell. I would to God
some scholler would coniure her, for certainely while she
is heere, a man may liue as quiet in hell, as in a sanctuary,
and people sinne vpon purpose, because they would goe
thither, so indeed all disquiet, horror, and perturbation
followes her.
Enter Claudio and Beatrice, Leonato, Hero.
Pedro. Looke heere she comes.
Bene. Will your Grace command mee any seruice to
the worlds end? I will goe on the slightest arrand now
to the Antypodes that you can deuise to send me on: I
will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch
of Asia: bring you the length of Prester Iohns foot: fetch
you a hayre off the great Chams beard: doe you any em-
bassage to the Pigmies, rather then hould three words
conference, with this Harpy: you haue no employment
for me?
Pedro. None, but to desire your good company.
Bene. O God sir, heeres a dish I loue not, I cannot in-
dure this Lady tongue. Exit.
Pedr. Come Lady, come, you haue lost the heart of
Signior Benedicke.
Beatr. Indeed my Lord, hee lent it me a while, and I
gaue him vse for it, a double heart for a single one, marry
once before he wonne it of mee, with false dice, therefore
your Grace may well say I haue lost it.
Pedro. You haue put him downe Lady, you haue put
him downe.
Beat. So I would not he should do me, my Lord, lest
I should prooue the mother of fooles: I haue brought
Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seeke.
Pedro. Why how now Count, wherfore are you sad?
Claud. Not sad my Lord.
Pedro. How then? sicke?
Claud. Neither, my Lord.
Beat. The Count is neither sad, nor sicke, nor merry,
nor well: but ciuill Count, ciuill as an Orange, and some-
thing of a iealous complexion.
Pedro. Ifaith Lady, I thinke your blazon to be true.
though Ile be sworne, if hee be so, his conceit is false:
heere Claudio, I haue wooed in thy name, and faire Hero
is won, I haue broke with her father, and his good will
obtained, name the day of marriage, and God giue
thee ioy.
Leona. Count, take of me my daughter, and with her
my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, & all grace
say, Amen to it.
Beatr. Speake Count, tis your Qu.
Claud. Silence is the perfectest Herault of ioy, I were
but little happy if I could say, how much? Lady, as you
are mine, I am yours, I giue away my selfe for you, and
doat vpon the exchange.
Beat. Speake cosin, or (if you cannot) stop his mouth
with a kisse, and let not him speake neither.
Pedro. In faith Lady you haue a merry heart.
Beatr. Yea my Lord I thanke it, poore foole it keepes
on the windy side of Care, my coosin tells him in his eare
that he is in my heart.
Clau. And so she doth coosin.
Beat. Good Lord for alliance: thus goes euery one
to the world but I, and I am sun-burn'd, I may sit in a cor-
ner and cry, heigh ho for a husband.
Pedro. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.
Beat. I would rather haue one of your fathers getting:
hath your Grace ne're a brother like you? your father
got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.
Prince. Will you haue me? Lady.
Beat. No, my Lord, vnlesse I might haue another for
working-daies, your Grace is too costly to weare euerie
day: but I beseech your Grace pardon mee, I was borne
to speake all mirth, and no matter.
Prince. Your silence most offends me, and to be mer-
ry, best becomes you, for out of question, you were born
in a merry howre.
Beatr. No sure my Lord, my Mother cried, but then
there was a starre daunst, and vnder that was I borne: co-
sins God giue you ioy.
Leonato. Neece, will you looke to those things I told
you of?
Beat. I cry you mercy Vncle, by your Graces pardon.
Exit Beatrice.
Prince. By my troth a pleasant spirited Lady.
Leon. There's little of the melancholy element in her
my Lord, she is neuer sad, but when she sleepes, and not
euer sad then: for I haue heard my daughter say, she hath
often dreamt of vnhappinesse, and wakt her selfe with
Pedro. Shee cannot indure to heare tell of a husband.
Leonato. O, by no meanes, she mocks all her wooers
out of suite.
Prince. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.
Leonato. O Lord, my Lord, if they were but a weeke [Page I6]
married, they would talke themselues madde.
Prince. Counte Claudio, when meane you to goe to
Clau. To morrow my Lord, Time goes on crutches,
till Loue haue all his rites.
Leonato. Not till monday, my deare sonne, which is
hence a iust seuen night, and a time too briefe too, to haue
all things answer minde.
Prince. Come, you shake the head at so long a brea-
thing, but I warrant thee Claudio, the time shall not goe
dully by vs, I will in the interim, vndertake one of Her-cules
labors, which is, to bring Signior Benedicke and the
Lady Beatrice into a mountaine of affection, th' one with
th' other, I would faine haue it a match, and I doubt not
but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assi-
stance as I shall giue you direction.
Leonato. My Lord, I am for you, though it cost mee
ten nights watchings.
Claud. And I my Lord.
Prin. And you to gentle Hero?
Hero. I will doe any modest office, my Lord, to helpe
my cosin to a good husband.
Prin. And Benedick is not the vnhopefullest husband
that I know: thus farre can I praise him, hee is of a noble
straine, of approued valour, and confirm'd honesty, I will
teach you how to humour your cosin, that shee shall fall
in loue with Benedicke, and I, with your two helpes, will
so practise on Benedicke, that in despight of his quicke
wit, and his queasie stomacke, hee shall fall in loue with
Beatrice: if wee can doe this, Cupid is no longer an Ar-
cher, his glory shall be ours, for wee are the onely loue-
gods, goe in with me, and I will tell you my drift. Exit.
Enter Iohn and Borachio.
Ioh. It is so, the Count Claudio shal marry the daugh-
ter of Leonato.
Bora. Yea my Lord, but I can crosse it.
Iohn. Any barre, any crosse, any impediment, will be
medicinable to me, I am sicke in displeasure to him, and
whatsoeuer comes athwart his affection, ranges euenly
with mine, how canst thou crosse this marriage?
Bor. Not honestly my Lord, but so couertly, that no
dishonesty shall appeare in me.
Iohn. Shew me breefely how.
Bor. I thinke I told your Lordship a yeere since, how
much I am in the fauour of Margaret, the waiting gentle-
woman to Hero.
Iohn. I remember.
Bor. I can at any vnseasonable instant of the night,
appoint her to looke out at her Ladies chamber window.
Iohn. What life is in that, to be the death of this mar-
Bor. The poyson of that lies in you to temper, goe
you to the Prince your brother, spare not to tell him, that
hee hath wronged his Honor in marrying the renowned
Claudio, whose estimation do you mightily hold vp, to a
contaminated stale, such a one as Hero.
Iohn. What proofe shall I make of that?
Bor. Proofe enough, to misuse the Prince, to vexe
Claudio, to vndoe Hero, and kill Leonato, looke you for a-
ny other issue?
Iohn. Onely to despight them, I will endeauour any
Bor. Goe then, finde me a meete howre, to draw on
Pedro and the Count Claudio alone, tell them that you
know that Hero loues me, intend a kinde of zeale both
to the Prince and Claudio (as in a loue of your brothers
honor who hath made this match) and his friends repu-
tation, who is thus like to be cosen'd with the semblance
of a maid, that you haue discouer'd thus: they will scarce-
ly beleeue this without triall: offer them instances which
shall beare no lesse likelihood, than to see mee at her
chamber window, heare me call Margaret, Hero; heare
Margaret terme me Claudio, and bring them to see this
the very night before the intended wedding, for in the
meane time, I will so fashion the matter, that Hero shall
be absent, and there shall appeare such seeming truths of
Heroes disloyaltie, that iealousie shall be cal'd assurance,
and all the preparation ouerthrowne.
Iohn. Grow this to what aduerse issue it can, I will
put it in practise: be cunning in the working this, and
thy fee is a thousand ducates.
Bor. Be thou constant in the accusation, and my cun-
ning shall not shame me.
Iohn. I will presentlie goe learne their day of marri-
age. Exit.
Enter Benedicke alone.
Bene. Boy.
Boy. Signior.
Bene. In my chamber window lies a booke, bring it
hither to me in the orchard.
Boy. I am heere already sir. Exit.
Bene. I know that, but I would haue thee hence, and
heere againe. I doe much wonder, that one man seeing
how much another man is a foole, when he dedicates his
behauiours to loue, will after hee hath laught at such
shallow follies in others, become the argument of his
owne scorne, by falling in loue, & such a man is Claudio.
I haue known when there was no musicke with him but
the drum and the fife, and now had hee rather heare the
taber and the pipe: I haue knowne when he would haue
walkt ten mile afoot, to see a good armor, and now will
he lie ten nights awake caruing the fashion of a new dub-
let: he was wont to speake plaine, & to the purpose (like
an honest man & a souldier) and now is he turn'd ortho-
graphy, his words are a very fantasticall banquet, iust so
many strange dishes: may I be so conuerted, & see with
these eyes? I cannot tell, I thinke not: I will not bee
sworne, but loue may transforme me to an oyster, but Ile
take my oath on it, till he haue made an oyster of me, he
shall neuer make me such a foole: one woman is faire, yet
I am well: another is wise, yet I am well: another vertu-
ous, yet I am well: but till all graces be in one woman,
one woman shall not come in my grace: rich shee shall
be, that's certaine: wise, or Ile none: vertuous, or Ile ne-
uer cheapen her: faire, or Ile neuer looke on her: milde,
or come not neere me: Noble, or not for an Angell: of
good discourse: an excellent Musitian, and her haire shal
be of what colour it please God, hah! the Prince and
Monsieur Loue, I will hide me in the Arbor.
Enter Prince, Leonato, Claudio, and Iacke Wilson.
Prin. Come, shall we heare this musicke?
Claud. Yea my good Lord: how still the euening is.
As husht on purpose to grace harmonie.
Prin. See you where Benedicke hath hid himselfe?
Clau. O very well my Lord: the musicke ended,
Wee'll fit the kid-foxe with a penny worth.
Prince. Come Balthasar, wee'll heare that song again.
Balth. O good my Lord, taxe not so bad a voyce,
To slander musicke any more then once.
Prin. It is the witnesse still of excellency, [Page I6v]
To slander Musicke any more then once.
Prince. It is the witnesse still of excellencie,
To put a strange face on his owne perfection,
I pray thee sing, and let me woe no more.
Balth. Because you talke of wooing, I will sing,
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit,
To her he thinkes not worthy, yet he wooes,
Yet will he sweare he loues.
Prince. Nay pray thee come,
Or if thou wilt hold longer argument,
Doe it in notes.
Balth. Note this before my notes,
Theres not a note of mine that's worth the noting.
Prince. Why these are very crotchets that he speaks,
Note notes forsooth, and nothing.
Bene. Now diuine aire, now is his soule rauisht, is it
not strange that sheepes guts should hale soules out of
mens bodies? well, a horne for my money when all's
Sigh no more Ladies, sigh no more,
Men were deceiuers euer,
One foote in Sea, and one on shore,
To one thing constant neuer,
Then sigh not so, but let them goe,
And be you blithe and bonnie,
Conuerting all your sounds of woe,
Into hey nony nony.
Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,
Of dumps so dull and heauy,
The fraud of men were euer so,
Since summer first was leauy,
Then sigh not so, &c.

By my troth a good song.
Balth. And an ill singer, my Lord.
Prince. Ha, no, no faith, thou singst well enough for a
Ben. And he had been a dog that should haue howld
thus, they would haue hang'd him, and I pray God his
bad voyce bode no mischiefe, I had as liefe haue heard
the night-rauen, come what plague could haue come af-
ter it.
Prince. Yea marry, dost thou heare Balthasar? I pray
thee get vs some excellent musick: for to morrow night
we would haue it at the Lady Heroes chamber window.
Balth. The best I can, my Lord. Exit Balthasar.
Prince. Do so, farewell. Come hither Leonato, what
was it you told me of to day, that your Niece Beatrice
was in loue with signior Benedicke?
Cla. O I, stalke on, stalke on, the foule sits. I did ne-
uer thinke that Lady would haue loued any man.
Leon. No, nor I neither, but most wonderful, that she
should so dote on Signior Benedicke, whom shee hath in
all outward behauiours seemed euer to abhorre.
Bene. Is't possible? sits the winde in that corner?
Leo. By my troth my Lord, I cannot tell what to
thinke of it, but that she loues him with an inraged affe-
ction, it is past the infinite of thought.
Prince. May be she doth but counterfeit.
Claud. Faith like enough.
Leon. O God! counterfeit? there was neuer counter-
feit of passion, came so neere the life of passion as she dis-
couers it.
Prince. Why what effects of passion shewes she?
Claud. Baite the hooke well, this fish will bite.
Leon. What effects my Lord? shee will sit you, you
heard my daughter tell you how.
Clau. She did indeed.
Prince. How, how I pray you? you amaze me, I would
haue thought her spirit had beene inuincible against all
assaults of affection.
Leo. I would haue sworne it had, my Lord, especially
against Benedicke.
Bene. I should thinke this a gull, but that the white-
bearded fellow speakes it: knauery cannot sure hide
himselfe in such reuerence.
Claud. He hath tane th' infection, hold it vp.
Prince. Hath shee made her affection known to Bene-dicke:

Leonato. No, and sweares she neuer will, that's her
Claud. 'Tis true indeed, so your daughter saies: shall
I, saies she, that haue so oft encountred him with scorne,
write to him that I loue him?
Leo. This saies shee now when shee is beginning to
write to him, for shee'll be vp twenty times a night, and
there will she sit in her smocke, till she haue writ a sheet
of paper: my daughter tells vs all.
Clau. Now you talke of a sheet of paper, I remember
a pretty iest your daughter told vs of.
Leon. O when she had writ it, & was reading it ouer,
she found Benedicke and Beatrice betweene the sheete.
Clau. That.
Leon. O she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence,
raild at her self, that she should be so immodest to write,
to one that shee knew would flout her: I measure him,
saies she, by my owne spirit, for I should flout him if hee
writ to mee, yea though I loue him, I should.
Clau. Then downe vpon her knees she falls, weepes,
sobs, beates her heart, teares her hayre, praies, curses, O
sweet Benedicke, God giue me patience.
Leon. She doth indeed, my daughter saies so, and the
extasie hath so much ouerborne her, that my daughter is
somtime afeard she will doe a desperate out-rage to her
selfe, it is very true.
Prince. It were good that Benedicke knew of it by some
other, if she will not discouer it.
Clau. To what end? he would but make a sport of it,
and torment the poore Lady worse.
Prin. And he should, it were an almes to hang him,
shee's an excellent sweet Lady, and (out of all suspition,)
she is vertuous.
Claudio. And she is exceeding wise.
Prince. In euery thing, but in louing Benedicke.
Leon. O my Lord, wisedome and bloud combating in
so tender a body, we haue ten proofes to one, that bloud
hath the victory, I am sorry for her, as I haue iust cause,
being her Vncle, and her Guardian.
Prince. I would shee had bestowed this dotage on
mee, I would haue daft all other respects, and made her
halfe my selfe: I pray you tell Benedicke of it, and heare
what he will say.
Leon. Were it good thinke you?
Clau. Hero thinkes surely she wil die, for she saies she
will die, if hee loue her not, and shee will die ere shee
make her loue knowne, and she will die if hee wooe her,
rather than shee will bate one breath of her accustomed
Prince. She doth well, if she should make tender of her [Page K1]
loue, 'tis very possible hee'l scorne it, for the man (as you
know all) hath a contemptible spirit.
Clau. He is a very proper man.
Prin. He hath indeed a good outward happines.
Clau. 'Fore God, and in my minde very wise.
Prin. He doth indeed shew some sparkes that are like
Leon. And I take him to be valiant.
Prin. As Hector, I assure you, and in the managing of
quarrels you may see hee is wise, for either hee auoydes
them with great discretion, or vndertakes them with a
Christian-like feare.
Leon. If hee doe feare God, a must necessarilie keepe
peace, if hee breake the peace, hee ought to enter into a
quarrell with feare and trembling.
Prin. And so will he doe, for the man doth fear God,
howsoeuer it seemes not in him, by some large ieasts hee
will make: well, I am sorry for your niece, shall we goe
see Benedicke, and tell him of her loue.
Claud. Neuer tell him, my Lord, let her weare it out
with good counsell.
Leon. Nay that's impossible, she may weare her heart
out first.
Prin. Well, we will heare further of it by your daugh-
ter, let it coole the while, I loue Benedicke well, and I
could wish he would modestly examine himselfe, to see
how much he is vnworthy to haue so good a Lady.
Leon. My Lord, will you walke? dinner is ready.
Clau. If he do not doat on her vpon this, I wil neuer
trust my expectation.
Prin. Let there be the same Net spread for her, and
that must your daughter and her gentlewoman carry:
the sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of ano-
thers dotage, and no such matter, that's the Scene that I
would see, which will be meerely a dumbe shew: let vs
send her to call him into dinner. Exeunt.
Bene. This can be no tricke, the conference was sadly
borne, they haue the truth of this from Hero, they seeme
to pittie the Lady: it seemes her affections haue the full
bent: loue me? why it must be requited: I heare how I
am censur'd, they say I will beare my selfe proudly, if I
perceiue the loue come from her: they say too, that she
will rather die than giue any signe of affection: I did ne-
uer thinke to marry, I must not seeme proud, happy are
they that heare their detractions, and can put them to
mending: they say the Lady is faire, 'tis a truth, I can
beare them witnesse: and vertuous, tis so, I cannot re-
prooue it, and wise, but for louing me, by my troth it is
no addition to her witte, nor no great argument of her
folly; for I wil be horribly in loue with her, I may chance
haue some odde quirkes and remnants of witte broken
on mee, because I haue rail'd so long against marriage:
but doth not the appetite alter? a man loues the meat in
his youth, that he cannot indure in his age. Shall quips
and sentences, and these paper bullets of the braine awe
a man from the careere of his humour? No, the world
must be peopled. When I said I would die a batcheler, I
did not think I should liue till I were maried, here comes
Beatrice: by this day, shee's a faire Lady, I doe spie some
markes of loue in her.
Enter Beatrice.
Beat. Against my wil I am sent to bid you come in to
Bene. Faire Beatrice, I thanke you for your paines.
Beat. I tooke no more paines for those thankes, then
you take paines to thanke me, if it had been painefull, I
would not haue come.
Bene. You take pleasure then in the message.
Beat. Yea iust so much as you may take vpon a kniues
point, and choake a daw withall: you haue no stomacke
signior, fare you well. Exit.
Bene. Ha, against my will I am sent to bid you come
into dinner: there's a double meaning in that: I tooke
no more paines for those thankes then you took paines
to thanke me, that's as much as to say, any paines that I
take for you is as easie as thankes: if I do not take pitty
of her I am a villaine, if I doe not loue her I am a Iew, I
will goe get her picture. Exit.

3. Actus Tertius.

Enter Hero and two Gentlemen, Margaret, and Vrsula.
Hero. Good Margaret runne thee to the parlour,
There shalt thou finde my Cosin Beatrice,
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio,
Whisper her eare, and tell her I and Vrsula,
Walke in the Orchard, and our whole discourse
Is all of her, say that thou ouer-heardst vs,
And bid her steale into the pleached bower,
Where hony-suckles ripened by the sunne,
Forbid the sunne to enter: like fauourites,
Made proud by Princes, that aduance their pride,
Against that power that bred it, there will she hide her,
To listen our purpose, this is thy office,
Beare thee well in it, and leaue vs alone.
Marg. Ile make her come I warrant you presently.
Hero. Now Vrsula, when Beatrice doth come,
As we do trace this alley vp and downe,
Our talke must onely be of Benedicke,
When I doe name him, let it be thy part,
To praise him more then euer man did merit,
My talke to thee must be how Benedicke
Is sicke in loue with Beatrice; of this matter,
Is little Cupids crafty arrow made,
That onely wounds by heare-say: now begin,
Enter Beatrice.
For looke where Beatrice like a Lapwing runs
Close by the ground, to heare our conference.
Vrs. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden ores the siluer streame,
And greedily deuoure the treacherous baite:
So angle we for Beatrice, who euen now,
Is couched in the wood-bine couerture,
Feare you not my part of the Dialogue.
Her. Then go we neare her that her eare loose nothing,
Of the false sweete baite that we lay for it:
No truely Vrsula, she is too disdainfull,
I know her spirits are as coy and wilde,
As Haggerds of the rocke.
Vrsula. But are you sure,
That Benedicke loues Beatrice so intirely?
Her. So saies the Prince, and my new trothed Lord.
Vrs. And did they bid you tell her of it, Madam?
Her. They did intreate me to acquaint her of it,
But I perswaded them, if they lou'd Benedicke, [Page K1v]
To wish him wrastle with affection,
And neuer to let Beatrice know of it.
Vrsula. Why did you so, doth not the Gentleman
Deserue as full as fortunate a bed,
As euer Beatrice shall couch vpon?
Hero. O God of loue! I know he doth deserue,
As much as may be yeelded to a man:
But Nature neuer fram'd a womans heart,
Of prowder stuffe then that of Beatrice:
Disdaine and Scorne ride sparkling in her eyes,
Mis-prizing what they looke on, and her wit
Values it selfe so highly, that to her
All matter else seemes weake: she cannot loue,
Nor take no shape nor proiect of affection,
Shee is so selfe indeared.
Vrsula. Sure I thinke so,
And therefore certainely it were not good
She knew his loue, lest she make sport at it.
Hero. Why you speake truth, I neuer yet saw man,
How wise, how noble, yong, how rarely featur'd.
But she would spell him backward: if faire fac'd,
She would sweare the gentleman should be her sister:
If blacke, why Nature drawing of an anticke,
Made a foule blot: if tall, a launce ill headed:
If low, an agot very vildlie cut:
If speaking, why a vane blowne with all windes:
If silent, why a blocke moued with none.
So turnes she euery man the wrong side out,
And neuer giues to Truth and Vertue, that
Which simplenesse and merit purchaseth.
Vrsu. Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.
Hero. No, not to be so odde, and from all fashions,
As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable,
But who dare tell her so? if I should speake,
She would mocke me into ayre, O she would laugh me
Out of my selfe, presse me to death with wit,
Therefore let Benedicke like couered fire,
Consume away in sighes, waste inwardly:
It were a better death, to die with mockes,
Which is as bad as die with tickling.
Vrsu. Yet tell her of it, heare what shee will say.
Hero. No, rather I will goe to Benedicke,
And counsaile him to fight against his passion,
And truly Ile deuise some honest slanders,
To staine my cosin with, one doth not know,
How much an ill word may impoison liking.
Vrsu. O doe not doe your cosin such a wrong,
She cannot be so much without true iudgement,
Hauing so swift and excellent a wit
As she is prisde to haue, as to refuse
So rare a Gentleman as signior Benedicke.
Hero. He is the onely man of Italy,
Alwaies excepted, my deare Claudio.
Vrsu. I pray you be not angry with me, Madame,
Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedicke,
For shape, for bearing argument and valour,
Goes formost in report through Italy.
Hero. Indeed he hath an excellent good name.
Vrsu. His excellence did earne it ere he had it:
When are you married Madame?
Hero. Why euerie day to morrow, come goe in,
Ile shew thee some attires, and haue thy counsell,
Which is the best to furnish me to morrow.
Vrsu. Shee's tane I warrant you,
We haue caught her Madame?
Hero. If it proue so, then louing goes by haps,
Some Cupid kills with arrowes, some with traps. Exit.
Beat. What fire is in mine eares? can this be true?
Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorne so much?
Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adew,
No glory liues behinde the backe of such.
And Benedicke, loue on, I will requite thee,
Taming my wilde heart to thy louing hand:
If thou dost loue, my kindnesse shall incite thee
To binde our loues vp in a holy band.
For others say thou dost deserue, and I
Beleeue it better then reportingly. Exit.
Enter Prince, Claudio, Benedicke, and Leonato.
Prince. I doe but stay till your marriage be consum-
mate, and then go I toward Arragon.
Clau. Ile bring you thither my Lord, if you'l vouch-
safe me.
Prin. Nay, that would be as great a soyle in the new
glosse of your marriage, as to shew a childe his new coat
and forbid him to weare it, I will onely bee bold with
Benedicke for his companie, for from the crowne of his
head, to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth, he hath twice
or thrice cut Cupids bow-string, and the little hang-man
dare not shoot at him, he hath a heart as sound as a bell,
and his tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinkes,
his tongue speakes.
Bene. Gallants, I am not as I haue bin.
Leo. So say I, methinkes you are sadder.
Claud. I hope he be in loue.
Prin. Hang him truant, there's no true drop of bloud
in him to be truly toucht with loue, if he be sad, he wants
Bene. I haue the tooth-ach.
Prin. Draw it.
Bene. Hang it.
Claud. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
Prin. What? sigh for the tooth-ach.
Leon. Where is but a humour or a worme.
Bene. Well, euery one cannot master a griefe, but hee
that has it.
Clau. Yet say I, he is in loue.
Prin. There is no appearance of fancie in him, vnlesse
it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises, as to bee a
Dutchman to day, a Frenchman to morrow: vnlesse hee
haue a fancy to this foolery, as it appeares hee hath, hee
is no foole for fancy, as you would haue it to appeare
he is.
Clau. If he be not in loue with some woman, there
is no beleeuing old signes, a brushes his hat a mornings,
What should that bode?
Prin. Hath any man seene him at the Barbers?
Clau. No, but the Barbers man hath beene seen with
him, and the olde ornament of his cheeke hath alreadie
stuft tennis balls.
Leon. Indeed he lookes yonger than hee did, by the
losse of a beard.
Prin. Nay a rubs himselfe with Ciuit, can you smell
him out by that?
Clau. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in
Prin. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
Clau. And when was he wont to wash his face?
Prin. Yea, or to paint himselfe? for the which I heare
what they say of him.
Clau. Nay, but his iesting spirit, which is now crept
into a lute-string, and now gouern'd by stops. [Page K2]
Prin. Indeed that tels a heauy tale for him: conclude,
he is in loue.
Clau. Nay, but I know who loues him.
Prince. That would I know too, I warrant one that
knowes him not.
Cla. Yes, and his ill conditions, and in despight of all,
dies for him.
Prin. Shee shall be buried with her face vpwards.
Bene. Yet is this no charme for the tooth-ake, old sig-
nior, walke aside with mee, I haue studied eight or nine
wise words to speake to you, which these hobby-horses
must not heare.
Prin. For my life to breake with him about Beatrice.
Clau. 'Tis euen so, Hero and Margaret haue by this
played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two Beares
will not bite one another when they meete.
Enter Iohn the Bastard.
Bast. My Lord and brother, God saue you.
Prin. Good den brother.
Bast. If your leisure seru'd, I would speake with you.
Prince. In priuate?
Bast. If it please you, yet Count Claudio may heare,
for what I would speake of, concernes him.
Prin. What's the matter?
Basta. Meanes your Lordship to be married to mor-
Prin. You know he does.
Bast. I know not that when he knowes what I know.
Clau. If there be any impediment, I pray you disco-
uer it.
Bast. You may thinke I loue you not, let that appeare
hereafter, and ayme better at me by that I now will ma-
nifest, for my brother (I thinke, he holds you well, and in
dearenesse of heart) hath holpe to effect your ensuing
marriage: surely sute ill spent, and labour ill bestowed.
Prin. Why, what's the matter?
Bastard. I came hither to tell you, and circumstances
shortned, (for she hath beene too long a talking of) the
Lady is disloyall.
Clau. Who Hero?
Bast. Euen shee, Leonatoes Hero, your Hero, euery
mans Hero.
Clau. Disloyall?
Bast. The word is too good to paint out her wicked-
nesse, I could say she were worse, thinke you of a worse
title, and I will fit her to it: wonder not till further war-
rant: goe but with mee to night, you shal see her cham-
ber window entred, euen the night before her wedding
day, if you loue her, then to morrow wed her: But it
would better fit your honour to change your minde.
Claud. May this be so?
Princ. I will not thinke it.
Bast. If you dare not trust that you see, confesse not
that you know: if you will follow mee, I will shew you
enough, and when you haue seene more, & heard more,
proceed accordingly.
Clau. If I see any thing to night, why I should not
marry her to morrow in the congregation, where I shold
wedde, there will I shame her.
Prin. And as I wooed for thee to obtaine her, I will
ioyne with thee to disgrace her.
Bast. I will disparage her no farther, till you are my
witnesses, beare it coldly but till night, and let the issue
shew it selfe.
Prin. O day vntowardly turned!
Claud. O mischiefe strangelie thwarting!
Bastard. O plague right well preuented! so will you
say, when you haue seene the sequele. Exit.
Enter Dogbery and his compartner with the watch.
Dog. Are you good men and true?
Verg. Yea, or else it were pitty but they should suffer
saluation body and soule.
Dogb. Nay, that were a punishment too good for
them, if they should haue any allegiance in them, being
chosen for the Princes watch.
Verges. Well, giue them their charge, neighbour
Dog. First, who thinke you the most desartlesse man
to be Constable.
Watch.1. Hugh Ote-cake sir, or George Sea-coale, for
they can write and reade.
Dogb. Come hither neighbour Sea-coale, God hath
blest you with a good name: to be a wel-fauoured man,
is the gift of Fortune, but to write and reade, comes by
Watch 2. Both which Master Constable
Dogb. You haue: I knew it would be your answere:
well, for your fauour sir, why giue God thankes, & make
no boast of it, and for your writing and reading, let that
appeare when there is no need of such vanity, you are
thought heere to be the most senslesse and fit man for the
Constable of the watch: therefore beare you the lan-
thorne: this is your charge: You shall comprehend all
vagrom men, you are to bid any man stand in the Prin-
ces name.
Watch 2. How if a will not stand?
Dogb. Why then take no note of him, but let him go,
and presently call the rest of the Watch together, and
thanke God you are ridde of a knaue.
Verges. If he will not stand when he is bidden, hee is
none of the Princes subiects.
Dogb. True, and they are to meddle with none but
the Princes subiects: you shall also make no noise in the
streetes: for, for the Watch to babble and talke, is most
tollerable, and not to be indured.
Watch. We will rather sleepe than talke, wee know
what belongs to a Watch.
Dog. Why you speake like an ancient and most quiet
watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend:
only haue a care that your bills be not stolne: well, you
are to call at all the Alehouses, and bid them that are
drunke get them to bed.
Watch. How if they will not?
Dogb. Why then let them alone till they are sober, if
they make you not then the better answere, you may say,
they are not the men you tooke them for.
Watch. Well sir,
Dogb. If you meet a theefe, you may suspect him, by
vertue of your office, to be no true man: and for such
kinde of men, the lesse you meddle or make with them,
why the more is for your honesty.
Watch. If wee know him to be a thiefe, shall wee not
lay hands on him.
Dogb. Truly by your office you may, but I think they
that touch pitch will be defil'd: the most peaceable way
for you, if you doe take a theefe, is, to let him shew him-
selfe what he is, and steale out of your company.
Ver. You haue bin alwaies cal'd a merciful ma[n] partner.
Dog. Truely I would not hang a dog by my will, much
more a man who hath anie honestie in him. [Page K2v]
Verges. If you heare a child crie in the night you must
call to the nurse, and bid her still it.
Watch. How if the nurse be asleepe and will not
heare vs?
Dog. Why then depart in peace, and let the childe
wake her with crying, for the ewe that will not heare
her Lambe when it baes, will neuer answere a calfe when
he bleates.
Verges. 'Tis verie true.
Dog. This is the end of the charge: you constable
are to present the Princes owne person, if you meete the
Prince in the night, you may staie him.
Verges. Nay birladie that I thinke a cannot.
Dog. Fiue shillings to one on't with anie man that
knowes the Statutes, he may staie him, marrie not with-
out the prince be willing, for indeed the watch ought to
offend no man, and it is an offence to stay a man against
his will.
Verges. Birladie I thinke it be so.
Dog. Ha, ah ha, well masters good night, and there be
anie matter of weight chances, call vp me, keepe your
fellowes counsailes, and your owne, and good night,
come neighbour.
Watch. Well masters, we heare our charge, let vs go
sit here vpon the Church bench till two, and then all to
Dog. One word more, honest neighbors. I pray you
watch about signior Leonatoes doore, for the wedding be-
ing there to morrow, there is a great coyle to night,
adiew, be vigitant I beseech you. Exeunt.
Enter Borachio and Conrade.
Bor. What, Conrade?
Watch. Peace, stir not.
Bor. Conrade I say.
Con. Here man, I am at thy elbow.
Bor. Mas and my elbow itcht, I thought there would
a scabbe follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answere for that, and now
forward with thy tale.
Bor. Stand thee close then vnder this penthouse, for it
drissels raine, and I will, like a true drunkard, vtter all to
Watch. Some treason masters, yet stand close.
Bor. Therefore know, I haue earned of Don Iohn a
thousand Ducates.
Con. Is it possible that anie villanie should be so deare?
Bor. Thou should'st rather aske if it were possible a-
nie villanie should be so rich? for when rich villains haue
neede of poore ones, poore ones may make what price
they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
Bor. That shewes thou art vnconfirm'd, thou knowest
that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloake, is no-
thing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparell.
Bor. I meane the fashion.
Con. Yes the fashion is the fashion.
Bor. Tush, I may as well say the foole's the foole, but
seest thou not what a deformed theefe this fashion is?
Watch. I know that deformed, a has bin a vile theefe,
this vii. yeares, a goes vp and downe like a gentle man:
I remember his name.
Bor. Did'st thou not heare some bodie?
Con. No, 'twas the vaine on the house.
Bor. Seest thou not (I say) what a deformed thiefe
this fashion is, how giddily a turnes about all the Hot-
blouds, betweene, foureteene & fiue & thirtie, sometimes
fashioning them like Pharaoes souldiours in the rechie
painting, sometime like god Bels priests in the old
Church window, sometime like the shauen Hercules in
the smircht worm-eaten tapestrie, where his cod-peece
seemes as massie as his club.
Con. All this I see, and see that the fashion weares out
more apparrell then the man; but art not thou thy selfe
giddie with the fashion too that thou hast shifted out of
thy tale into telling me of the fashion?
Bor. Not so neither, but know that I haue to night
wooed Margaret the Lady Heroes gentle-woman, by the
name of Hero, she leanes me out at her mistris chamber-
window, bids me a thousand times good night: I tell
this tale vildly. I should first tell thee how the Prince
Claudio and my Master planted, and placed, and possessed
by my Master Don Iohn, saw a far off in the Orchard this
amiable incounter.
Con. And thought thy Margaret was Hero?
Bor. Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio, but the
diuell my Master knew she was Margaret and partly by
his oathes, which first possest them, partly by the darke
night which did deceiue them, but chiefely, by my villa-
nie, which did confirme any slander that Don Iohn had
made, away went Claudio enraged, swore hee would
meete her as he was apointed next morning at the Tem-
ple, and there, before the whole congregation shame her
with what he saw o're night, and send her home againe
without a husband.
Watch.1. We charge you in the Princes name stand.
Watch.2. Call vp the right master Constable, we haue
here recouered the most dangerous peece of lechery, that
euer was knowne in the Common-wealth.
Watch.1. And one Deformed is one of them, I know
him, a weares a locke.
Conr. Masters, masters.
Watch.2. Youle be made bring deformed forth I war-
rant you,
Conr. Masters, neuer speake, we charge you, let vs o-
bey you to goe with vs.
Bor. We are like to proue a goodly commoditie, be-
ing taken vp of these mens bils.
Conr. A commoditie in question I warrant you, come
weele obey you. Exeunt.
Enter Hero, and Margaret, and Vrsula.
Hero. Good Vrsula wake my cosin Beatrice, and de-
sire her to rise.
Vrsu. I will Lady.
Her. And bid her come hither.
Vrs. Well.
Mar. Troth I thinke your other rebato were better.
Hero. No pray thee good Meg, Ile weare this.
Marg. By my troth's not so good, and I warrant your
cosin will say so.
Hero. My cosin's a foole, and thou art another, ile
weare none but this.
Mar. I like the new tire within excellently, if the
haire were a thought browner: and your gown's a most
rare fashion yfaith, I saw the Dutchesse of Millaines
gowne that they praise so.
Hero. O that exceedes they say.
Mar. By my troth's but a night-gowne in respect of
yours, cloth a gold and cuts, and lac'd with siluer, set with
pearles, downe sleeues, side sleeues, and skirts, round vn-
derborn with a blewish tinsel, but for a fine queint grace-
full and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't. [Page K3]
Hero. God giue mee ioy to weare it, for my heart is
exceeding heauy.
Marga. 'Twill be heauier soone, by the waight of a
Hero. Fie vpon thee, art not asham'd?
Marg. Of what Lady? of speaking honourably? is
not marriage honourable in a beggar? is not your Lord
honourable without marriage? I thinke you would haue
me say, sauing your reuerence a husband: and bad thin-
king doe not wrest true speaking, Ile offend no body, is
there any harme in the heauier for a husband? none I
thinke, and it be the right husband, and the right wife,
otherwise 'tis light and not heauy, aske my Lady Beatrice
else, here she comes.
Enter Beatrice.
Hero. Good morrow Coze.
Beat. Good morrow sweet Hero.
Hero. Why how now? do you speake in the sick tune?
Beat. I am out of all other tune, me thinkes.
Mar. Claps into Light a loue, (that goes without a
burden,) do you sing it and Ile dance it.
Beat. Ye Light aloue with your heeles, then if your
husband haue stables enough, you'll looke he shall lacke
no barnes.
Mar. O illegitimate construction! I scorne that with
my heeles.
Beat. 'Tis almost fiue a clocke cosin, 'tis time you
were ready, by my troth I am exceeding ill, hey ho.
Mar. For a hauke, a horse, or a husband?
Beat. For the letter that begins them all, H.
Mar. Well, and you be not turn'd Turke, there's no
more sayling by the starre.
Beat. What meanes the foole trow?
Mar. Nothing I, but God send euery one their harts
Hero. These gloues the Count sent mee, they are an
excellent perfume.
Beat. I am stuft cosin, I cannot smell.
Mar. A maid and stuft! there's goodly catching of
Beat. O God helpe me, God help me, how long haue
you profest apprehension?
Mar. Euer since you left it, doth not my wit become
me rarely?
Beat. It is not seene enough, you should weare it in
your cap, by my troth I am sicke.
Mar. Get you some of this distill'd carduus benedictus
and lay it to your heart, it is the onely thing for a qualm.
Hero. There thou prick'st her with a thissell.
Beat. Benedictus, why benedictus? you haue some mo-
rall in this benedictus.
Mar. Morall? no by my troth, I haue no morall mea-
ning, I meant plaine holy thissell, you may thinke per-
chance that I thinke you are in loue, nay birlady I am not
such a foole to thinke what I list, nor I list not to thinke
what I can, nor indeed, I cannot thinke, if I would thinke
my hart out of thinking, that you are in loue, or that you
will be in loue, or that you can be in loue: yet Benedicke
was such another, and now is he become a man, he swore
hee would neuer marry, and yet now in despight of his
heart he eates his meat without grudging, and how you
may be conuerted I know not, but me thinkes you looke
with your eies as other women doe.
Beat. What pace is this that thy tongue keepes.
Mar. Not a false gallop.
Enter Vrsula.
Vrsula. Madam, withdraw, the Prince, the Count, sig-
nior Benedicke, Don Iohn, and all the gallants of the
towne are come to fetch you to Church.
Hero. Helpe me to dresse mee good coze, good Meg,
good Vrsula.
Enter Leonato, and the Constable, and the Headborough.
Leonato. What would you with mee, honest neigh-
Const.Dog. Mary sir I would haue some confidence
with you, that decernes you nearely.
Leon. Briefe I pray you, for you see it is a busie time
with me.
Const.Dog. Mary this it is sir.
Headb. Yes in truth it is sir.
Leon. What is it my good friends?
Con.Do. Goodman Verges sir speakes a little of the
matter, an old man sir, and his wits are not so blunt, as
God helpe I would desire they were, but infaith honest
as the skin betweene his browes.
Head. Yes I thank God, I am as honest as any man li-
uing, that is an old man, and no honester then I.
Con.Dog. Comparisons are odorous, palabras, neigh-
bour Verges.
Leon. Neighbours, you are tedious.
Con.Dog. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are
the poore Dukes officers, but truely for mine owne part,
if I were as tedious as a King I could finde in my heart to
bestow it all of your worship.
Leon. All thy tediousnesse on me, ah?
Const.Dog. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more
than 'tis, for I heare as good exclamation on your Wor-
ship as of any man in the Citie, and though I bee but a
poore man, I am glad to heare it.
Head. And so am I.
Leon. I would faine know what you haue to say.
Head. Marry sir our watch to night, excepting your
worships presence, haue tane a couple of as arrant
knaues as any in Messina.
Con.Dog. A good old man sir, hee will be talking as
they say, when the age is in, the wit is out, God helpe vs,
it is a world to see: well said yfaith neighbour Verges,
well, God's a good man, and two men ride of a horse,
one must ride behinde, an honest soule yfaith sir, by my
troth he is, as euer broke bread, but God is to bee wor-
shipt, all men are not alike, alas good neighbour.
Leon. Indeed neighbour he comes too short of you.
Con.Do. Gifts that God giues.
Leon. I must leaue you.
Con.Dog. One word sir, our watch sir haue indeede
comprehended two aspitious persons, & we would haue
them this morning examined before your worship.
Leon. Take their examination your selfe, and bring it
me, I am now in great haste, as may appeare vnto you.
Const. It shall be suffigance.
Leon. Drinke some wine ere you goe: fare you well. Exit.
Messenger. My Lord, they stay for you to giue your
daughter to her husband.
Leon. Ile wait vpon them, I am ready.
Dogb. Goe good partner, goe get you to Francis Sea-coale,
bid him bring his pen and inkehorne to the Gaole:
we are now to examine those men.
Verges. And we must doe it wisely.
Dogb. Wee will spare for no witte I warrant you: [Page K3v]
heere's that shall driue some to a non-come, on-
ly get the learned writer to set downe our excommuni-
cation, and meet me at the Iaile. Exeunt.

4. Actus Quartus.

Enter Prince, Bastard, Leonato, Frier, Claudio, Benedicke,
Hero, and Beatrice.
Leonato. Come Frier Francis, be briefe, onely to the
plaine forme of marriage, and you shal recount their par-
ticular duties afterwards.
Fran. You come hither, my Lord, to marry this Lady.
Clau. No.
Leo. To be married to her: Frier, you come to mar-
rie her.
Frier. Lady, you come hither to be married to this
Hero. I doe.
Frier. If either of you know any inward impediment
why you should not be conioyned, I charge you on your
soules to vtter it.
Claud. Know you anie, Hero?
Hero. None my Lord.
Frier. Know you anie, Count?
Leon. I dare make his answer, None.
Clau. O what men dare do! what men may do! what
men daily do!
Bene. How now! interiections? why then, some be
of laughing, as ha, ha, he.
Clau. Stand thee by Frier, father, by your leaue,
Will you with free and vnconstrained soule
Giue me this maid your daughter?
Leon. As freely sonne as God did giue her me.
Cla. And what haue I to giue you back, whose worth
May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
Prin. Nothing, vnlesse you render her againe.
Clau. Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulnes:
There Leonato, take her backe againe,
Giue not this rotten Orenge to your friend,
Shee's but the signe and semblance of her honour:
Behold how like a maid she blushes heere!
O what authoritie and shew of truth
Can cunning sinne couer it selfe withall!
Comes not that bloud, as modest euidence,
To witnesse simple Vertue? would you not sweare
All you that see her, that she were a maide,
By these exterior shewes? But she is none:
She knowes the heat of a luxurious bed:
Her blush is guiltinesse, not modestie.
Leonato. What doe you meane, my Lord?
Clau. Not to be married,
Not to knit my soule to an approued wanton.
Leon. Deere my Lord, if you in your owne proofe,
Haue vanquisht the resistance of her youth,
And made defeat of her virginitie.
Clau. I know what you would say: if I haue knowne
You will say, she did imbrace me as a husband,
And so extenuate the forehand sinne: No Leonato,
I neuer tempted her with word too large,
But as a brother to his sister, shewed
Bashfull sinceritie and comely loue.
Hero. And seem'd I euer otherwise to you?
Clau. Out on thee seeming, I will write against it,
You seeme to me as Diane in her Orbe,
As chaste as is the budde ere it be blowne:
But you are more intemperate in your blood,
Than Venus, or those pampred animalls,
That rage in sauage sensualitie.
Hero. Is my Lord well, that he doth speake so wide?
Leon. Sweete Prince, why speake not you?
Prin. What should I speake?
I stand dishonour'd that haue gone about,
To linke my deare friend to a common stale.
Leon. Are these things spoken, or doe I but dreame?
Bast. Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
Bene. This lookes not like a nuptiall.
Hero. True, O God!
Clau. Leonato, stand I here?
Is this the Prince? is this the Princes brother?
Is this face Heroes? are our eies our owne?
Leon. All this is so, but what of this my Lord?
Clau. Let me but moue one question to your daughter,
And by that fatherly and kindly power,
That you haue in her, bid her answer truly.
Leo. I charge thee doe, as thou art my childe.
Hero. O God defend me how am I beset,
What kinde of catechizing call you this?
Clau. To make you answer truly to your name.
Hero. Is it not Hero? who can blot that name
With any iust reproach?
Claud. Marry that can Hero,
it selfe can blot out Heroes vertue.
What man was he, talkt with you yesternight,
Out at your window betwixt twelue and one?
Now if you are a maid, answer to this.
Hero. I talkt with no man at that howre my Lord.
Prince. Why then you are no maiden. Leonato,
I am sorry you must heare: vpon mine honor,
My selfe, my brother, and this grieued Count
Did see her, heare her, at that howre last night,
Talke with a ruffian at her chamber window,
Who hath indeed most like a liberall villaine,
Confest the vile encounters they haue had
A thousand times in secret.
Iohn. Fie, fie, they are not to be named my Lord,
Not to be spoken of,
There is not chastitie enough in language,
Without offence to vtter them: thus pretty Lady
I am sorry for thy much misgouernment.
Claud. O Hero! what a Hero hadst thou beene
If halfe thy outward graces had beene placed
About thy thoughts and counsailes of thy heart?
But fare thee well, most foule, most faire, farewell
Thou pure impiety, and impious puritie,
For thee Ile locke vp all the gates of Loue,
And on my eie-lids shall Coniecture hang,
To turne all beauty into thoughts of harme,
And neuer shall it more be gracious.
Leon. Hath no mans dagger here a point for me?
Beat. Why how now cosin, wherfore sink you down?
Bast. Come, let vs go: these things come thus to light,
Smother her spirits vp.
Bene. How doth the Lady?
Beat. Dead I thinke, helpe vncle,
Hero, why Hero, Vncle, Signor Benedicke, Frier.
Leonato. O Fate! take not away thy heauy hand,
Death is the fairest couer for her shame
That may be wisht for. [Page K4]
Beatr. How now cosin Hero?
Fri. Haue comfort Ladie.
Leon. Dost thou looke vp?
Frier. Yea, wherefore should she not?
Leon. Wherfore? Why doth not euery earthly thing
Cry shame vpon her? Could she heere denie
The storie that is printed in her blood?
Do not liue Hero, do not ope thine eyes:
For did I thinke thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger then thy shames,
My selfe would on the reward of reproaches
Strike at thy life. Grieu'd I, I had but one?
Chid I, for that at frugal Natures frame?
O one too much by thee: why had I one?
Why euer was't thou louelie in my eies?
Why had I not with charitable hand
Tooke vp a beggars issue at my gates,
Who smeered thus, and mir'd with infamie,
I might haue said, no part of it is mine:
This shame deriues it selfe from vnknowne loines,
But mine, and mine I lou'd, and mine I prais'd,
And mine that I was proud on mine so much,
That I my selfe, was to my selfe not mine:
Valewing of her, why she, O she is falne
Into a pit of Inke, that the wide sea
Hath drops too few to wash her cleane againe,
And salt too little, which may season giue
To her foule tainted flesh.
Ben. Sir, sir, be patient: for my part, I am so attired
in wonder, I know not what to say.
Bea. O on my soule my cosin is belied.
Ben. Ladie, were you her bedfellow last night?
Bea. No, truly: not although vntill last night,
I haue this tweluemonth bin her bedfellow.
Leon. Confirm'd, confirm'd, O that is stronger made
Which was before barr'd vp with ribs of iron.
Would the Princes lie, and Claudio lie,
Who lou'd her so, that speaking of her foulnesse,
Wash'd it with teares? Hence from her, let her die.
Fri. Heare me a little, for I haue onely bene silent so
long, and giuen way vnto this course of fortune, by no-
ting of the Ladie, I haue markt.
A thousand blushing apparitions,
To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames,
In Angel whitenesse beare away those blushes,
And in her eie there hath appear'd a fire
To burne the errors that these Princes hold
Against her maiden truth. Call me a foole,
Trust not my reading, nor my obseruations,
Which with experimental seale doth warrant
The tenure of my booke: trust not my age,
My reuerence, calling, nor diuinitie,
If this sweet Ladie lye not guiltlesse heere,
Vnder some biting error.
Leo. Friar, it cannot be:
Thou seest that all the Grace that she hath left,
Is, that she wil not adde to her damnation,
A sinne of periury, she not denies it:
Why seek'st thou then to couer with excuse,
That which appeares in proper nakednesse?
Fri. Ladie, what man is he you are accus'd of?
Hero. They know that do accuse me, I know none:
If I know more of any man aliue
Then that which maiden modestie doth warrant,
Let all my sinnes lacke mercy. O my Father,
Proue you that any man with me conuerst,
At houres vnmeete, or that I yesternight
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death.
Fri. There is some strange misprision in the Princes.
Ben. Two of them haue the verie bent of honor,
And if their wisedomes be misled in this:
The practise of it liues in Iohn the bastard,
Whose spirits toile in frame of villanies.
Leo. I know not: if they speake but truth of her,
These hands shall teare her: If they wrong her honour,
The proudest of them shall wel heare of it.
Time hath not yet so dried this bloud of mine,
Nor age so eate vp my inuention,
Nor Fortune made such hauocke of my meanes,
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
But they shall finde, awak'd in such a kinde,
Both strength of limbe, and policie of minde,
Ability in meanes, and choise of friends,
To quit me of them throughly.
Fri. Pause awhile:
And let my counsell sway you in this case,
Your daughter heere the Princesse (left for dead)
Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
And publish it, that she is dead indeed:
Maintaine a mourning ostentation,
And on your Families old monument,
Hang mournfull Epitaphes, and do all rites,
That appertaine vnto a buriall.
Leon. What shall become of this? What wil this do?
Fri. Marry this wel carried, shall on her behalfe,
Change slander to remorse, that is some good,
But not for that dreame I on this strange course,
But on this trauaile looke for greater birth:
She dying, as it must be so maintain'd,
Vpon the instant that she was accus'd,
Shal be lamented, pittied, and excus'd
Of euery hearer: for it so fals out,
That what we haue, we prize not to the worth,
Whiles we enioy it; but being lack'd and lost,
Why then we racke the value, then we finde
The vertue that possession would not shew vs
Whiles it was ours, so will it fare with Claudio:
When he shal heare she dyed vpon his words,
Th' Idea of her life shal sweetly creepe
Into his study of imagination.
And euery louely Organ of her life,
Shall come apparel'd in more precious habite:
More mouing delicate, and ful of life,
Into the eye and prospect of his soule
Then when she liu'd indeed: then shal he mourne,
If euer Loue had interest in his Liuer,
And wish he had not so accused her:
No, though he thought his accusation true:
Let this be so, and doubt not but successe
Wil fashion the euent in better shape,
Then I can lay it downe in likelihood.
But if all ayme but this be leuelld false,
The supposition of the Ladies death,
Will quench the wonder of her infamie.
And if it sort not well, you may conceale her
As best befits her wounded reputation,
In some reclusiue and religious life,
Out of all eyes, tongues, mindes and iniuries.
Bene. Signior Leonato, let the Frier aduise you,
And though you know my inwardnesse and loue
Is very much vnto the Prince and Claudio. [Page K4v]
Yet, by mine honor, I will deale in this,
As secretly and iustlie, as your soule
Should with your bodie.
Leon. Being that I flow in greefe,
The smallest twine may lead me.
Frier. 'Tis well consented, presently away,
For to strange sores, strangely they straine the cure,
Come Lady, die to liue, this wedding day
Perhaps is but prolong'd, haue patience & endure. Exit.
Bene. Lady Beatrice, haue you wept all this while?
Beat. Yea, and I will weepe a while longer.
Bene. I will not desire that.
Beat. You haue no reason, I doe it freely.
Bene. Surelie I do beleeue your fair cosin is wrong'd.
Beat. Ah, how much might the man deserue of mee
that would right her!
Bene. Is there any way to shew such friendship?
Beat. A verie euen way, but no such friend.
Bene. May a man doe it?
Beat. It is a mans office, but not yours.
Bene. I doe loue nothing in the world so well as you,
is not that strange?
Beat. As strange as the thing I know not, it were as
possible for me to say, I loued nothing so well as you, but
beleeue me not, and yet I lie not, I confesse nothing, nor
I deny nothing, I am sorry for my cousin.
Bene. By my sword Beatrice thou lou'st me.
Beat. Doe not sweare by it and eat it.
Bene. I will sweare by it that you loue mee, and I will
make him eat it that sayes I loue not you.
Beat. Will you not eat your word?
Bene. With no sawce that can be deuised to it, I pro-
test I loue thee.
Beat. Why then God forgiue me.
Bene. What offence sweet Beatrice?
Beat. You haue stayed me in a happy howre, I was a-
bout to protest I loued you.
Bene. And doe it with all thy heart.
Beat. I loue you with so much of my heart, that none
is left to protest.
Bened. Come, bid me doe any thing for thee.
Beat. Kill Claudio.
Bene. Ha, not for the wide world.
Beat. You kill me to denie, farewell.
Bene. Tarrie sweet Beatrice.
Beat. I am gone, though I am heere, there is no loue
in you, nay I pray you let me goe.
Bene. Beatrice.
Beat. Infaith I will goe.
Bene. Wee'll be friends first.
Beat. You dare easier be friends with mee, than fight
with mine enemy.
Bene. Is Claudio thine enemie?
Beat. Is a not approued in the height a villaine, that
hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
that I were a man! what, beare her in hand vntill they
come to take hands, and then with publike accusation
vncouered slander, vnmittigated rancour? O God that I
were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.
Bene. Heare me Beatrice.
Beat. Talke with a man out at a window, a proper
Bene. Nay but Beatrice.
Beat. Sweet Hero, she is wrong'd, shee is slandered,
she is vndone.
Bene. Beat?
Beat. Princes and Counties! surelie a Princely testi-
monie, a goodly Count, Comfect, a sweet Gallant sure-
lie, O that I were a man for his sake! or that I had any
friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is mel-
ted into cursies, valour into complement, and men are
onelie turned into tongue, and trim ones too: he is now
as valiant as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and sweares it:
I cannot be a man with wishing, therfore I will die a wo-
man with grieuing.
Bene. Tarry good Beatrice, by this hand I loue thee.
Beat. Vse it for my loue some other way then swea-
ring by it.
Bened. Thinke you in your soule the Count Claudio
hath wrong'd Hero?
Beat. Yea, as sure as I haue a thought, or a soule.
Bene. Enough, I am engagde, I will challenge him, I
will kisse your hand, and so leaue you: by this hand Clau-dio
shall render me a deere account: as you heare of me,
so thinke of me: goe comfort your coosin, I must say she
is dead, and so farewell.
Enter the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne Clerke
in gownes.

Keeper. Is our whole dissembly appeard?
Cowley. O a stoole and a cushion for the Sexton.
Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Andrew. Marry that am I, and my partner.
Cowley. Nay that's certaine, wee haue the exhibition
to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be ex-
amined, let them come before master Constable.
Kemp. Yea marry, let them come before mee, what is
your name, friend?
Bor. Borachio.
Kem. Pray write downe Borachio. Yours sirra.
Con. I am a Gentleman sir, and my name is Conrade.
Kee. Write downe Master gentleman Conrade: mai-
sters, doe you serue God: maisters, it is proued alreadie
that you are little better than false knaues, and it will goe
neere to be thought so shortly, how answer you for your
Con. Marry sir, we say we are none.
Kemp. A maruellous witty fellow I assure you, but I
will goe about with him: come you hither sirra, a word
in your eare sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false
Bor. Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Kemp. Well, stand aside, 'fore God they are both in
a tale: haue you writ downe that they are none?
Sext. Master Constable, you goe not the way to ex-
amine, you must call forth the watch that are their ac-
Kemp. Yea marry, that's the eftest way, let the watch
come forth: masters, I charge you in the Princes name,
accuse these men.
Watch 1. This man said sir, that Don Iohn the Princes
brother was a villaine.
Kemp. Write down, Prince Iohn a villaine: why this
is flat periurie, to call a Princes brother villaine.
Bora. Master Constable.
Kemp. Pray thee fellow peace, I do not like thy looke
I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him say else?
Watch 2. Mary that he had receiued a thousand Du-
kates of Don Iohn, for accusing the Lady Hero wrong-
fully. [Page K5]
Kemp. Flat Burglarie as euer was committed.
Const. Yea by th' masse that it is.
Sexton. What else fellow?
Watch 1. And that Count Claudio did meane vpon his
words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and
not marry her.
Kemp. O villaine! thou wilt be condemn'd into euer-
lasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
Watch. This is all.
Sexton. And this is more masters then you can deny,
Prince Iohn is this morning secretly stolne away: Hero
was in this manner accus'd, in this very manner refus'd,
and vpon the griefe of this sodainely died: Master Con-
stable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato,
I will goe before, and shew him their examination.
Const. Come, let them be opinion'd.
Sex. Let them be in the hands of Coxcombe.
Kem. Gods my life, where's the Sexton? let him write
downe the Princes Officer Coxcombe: come, binde them
thou naughty varlet.
Couley. Away, you are an asse, you are an asse.
Kemp. Dost thou not suspect my place? dost thou not
suspect my yeeres? O that hee were heere to write mee
downe an asse! but masters, remember that I am an asse:
though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an
asse: No thou villaine, thou art full of piety as shall be prou'd
vpon thee by good witnesse, I am a wise fellow, and
which is more, an officer, and which is more, a houshoul-
der, and which is more, as pretty a peece of flesh as any in
Messina, and one that knowes the Law, goe to, & a rich
fellow enough, goe to, and a fellow that hath had losses,
and one that hath two gownes, and euery thing hand-
some about him: bring him away: O that I had been writ
downe an asse! Exit.

5. Actus Quintus.

Enter Leonato and his brother.
Brother. If you goe on thus, you will kill your selfe,
And 'tis not wisedome thus to second griefe,
Against your selfe.
Leon. I pray thee cease thy counsaile,
Which falls into mine eares as profitlesse,
As water in a siue: giue not me counsaile,
Nor let no comfort delight mine eare,
But such a one whose wrongs doth sute with mine.
Bring me a father that so lou'd his childe,
Whose ioy of her is ouer-whelmed like mine,
And bid him speake of patience,
Measure his woe the length and bredth of mine,
And let it answere euery straine for straine,
As thus for thus, and such a griefe for such,
In euery lineament, branch, shape, and forme:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
And sorrow, wagge, crie hem, when he should grone,
Patch griefe with prouerbs, make misfortune drunke,
With candle-wasters: bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience:
But there is no such man, for brother, men
Can counsaile, and speake comfort to that griefe,
Which they themselues not feele, but tasting it,
Their counsaile turnes to passion, which before,
Would giue preceptiall medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madnesse in a silken thred,
Charme ache with ayre, and agony with words,
No, no, 'tis all mens office, to speake patience
To those that wring vnder the load of sorrow:
But no mans vertue nor sufficiencie
To be so morall, when he shall endure
The like himselfe: therefore giue me no counsaile,
My griefs cry lowder then aduertisement.
Broth. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
Leonato. I pray thee peace, I will be flesh and bloud,
For there was neuer yet Philosopher,
That could endure the tooth-ake patiently,
How euer they haue writ the stile of gods,
And made a push at chance and sufferance.
Brother. Yet bend not all the harme vpon your selfe,
Make those that doe offend you, suffer too.
Leon. There thou speak'st reason, nay I will doe so,
My soule doth tell me, Hero is belied,
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the Prince,
And all of them that thus dishonour her.
Enter Prince and Claudio.
Brot. Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
Prin. Good den, good den.
Clau. Good day to both of you.
Leon. Heare you my Lords?
Prin. We haue some haste Leonato.
Leo. Some haste my Lord! wel, fareyouwel my Lord,
Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.
Prin. Nay, do not quarrel with vs, good old man.
Brot. If he could rite himselfe with quarrelling,
Some of vs would lie low.
Claud. Who wrongs him?
Leon. Marry thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou:
Nay, neuer lay thy hand vpon thy sword,
I feare thee not.
Claud. Marry beshrew my hand,
If it should giue your age such cause of feare,
Infaith my hand meant nothing to my sword.
Leonato. Tush, tush, man, neuer fleere and iest at me,
I speake not like a dotard, nor a foole,
As vnder priuiledge of age to bragge,
What I haue done being yong, or what would doe,
Were I not old, know Claudio to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong'd my innocent childe and me,
That I am forc'd to lay my reuerence by,
And with grey haires and bruise of many daies,
Doe challenge thee to triall of a man,
I say thou hast belied mine innocent childe.
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors:
O in a tombe where neuer scandall slept,
Saue this of hers, fram'd by thy villanie.
Claud. My villany?
Leonato. Thine Claudio, thine I say.
Prin. You say not right old man.
Leon. My Lord, my Lord,
Ile proue it on his body if he dare,
Despight his nice fence, and his actiue practise,
His Maie of youth, and bloome of lustihood.
Claud. Away, I will not haue to do with you.
Leo. Canst thou so daffe me? thou hast kild my child,
If thou kilst me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
Bro. He shall kill two of vs, and men indeed,
But that's no matter, let him kill one first: [Page K5v]
Win me and weare me, let him answere me,
Come follow me boy, come sir boy, come follow me
Sir boy, ile whip you from your foyning fence,
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
Leon. Brother.
Brot. Content your self, God knows I lou'd my neece,
And she is dead, slander'd to death by villaines,
That dare as well answer a man indeede,
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.
Boyes, apes, braggarts, Iackes, milke-sops.
Leon. Brother Anthony.
Brot. Hold you content, what man? I know them, yea
And what they weigh, euen to the vtmost scruple,
Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boyes,
That lye, and cog, and flout, depraue, and slander,
Goe antiquely, and show outward hidiousnesse,
And speake of halfe a dozen dang'rous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst.
And this is all.
Leon. But brother Anthonie.
Ant. Come, 'tis no matter,
Do not you meddle, let me deale in this.
Pri. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience
My heart is sorry for your daughters death:
But on my honour she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proofe.
Leon. My Lord, my Lord.
Prin. I will not heare you.
Enter Benedicke.
Leo. No come brother, away, I will be heard.
Exeunt ambo.
Bro. And shall, or some of vs will smart for it.
Prin. See, see, here comes the man we went to seeke.
Clau. Now signior, what newes?
Ben. Good day my Lord.
Prin. Welcome signior, you are almost come to part
almost a fray.
Clau. Wee had likt to haue had our two noses snapt
off with two old men without teeth.
Prin. Leonato and his brother, what think'st thou? had
wee fought, I doubt we should haue beene too yong for
Ben. In a false quarrell there is no true valour, I came
to seeke you both.
Clau. We haue beene vp and downe to seeke thee, for
we are high proofe melancholly, and would faine haue it
beaten away, wilt thou vse thy wit?
Ben. It is in my scabberd, shall I draw it?
Prin. Doest thou weare thy wit by thy side?
Clau. Neuer any did so, though verie many haue been
beside their wit, I will bid thee drawe, as we do the min-
strels, draw to pleasure vs.
Prin. As I am an honest man he lookes pale, art thou
sicke, or angrie?
Clau. What, courage man: what though care kil'd a
cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Ben. Sir, I shall meete your wit in the careere, and
you charge it against me, I pray you chuse another sub-
Clau. Nay then giue him another staffe, this last was
broke crosse.
Prin. By this light, he changes more and more, I thinke
he be angrie indeede.
Clau. If he be, he knowes how to turne his girdle.
Ben. Shall I speake a word in your eare?
Clau. God blesse me from a challenge.
Ben. You are a villaine, I iest not, I will make it good
how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare:
do me right, or I will protest your cowardise: you haue
kill'd a sweete Ladie, and her death shall fall heauie on
you, let me heare from you.
Clau. Well, I will meete you, so I may haue good
Prin. What, a feast, a feast?
Clau. I faith I thanke him, he hath bid me to a calues
head and a Capon, the which if I doe not carue most cu-
riously, say my knife's naught, shall I not finde a wood-
cocke too?
Ben. Sir, your wit ambles well, it goes easily.
Prin. Ile tell thee how Beatrice prais'd thy wit the o-
ther day: I said thou hadst a fine wit: true saies she, a fine
little one: no said I, a great wit: right saies shee, a great
grosse one: nay said I, a good wit: iust said she, it hurts
no body: nay said I, the gentleman is wise: certaine said
she, a wise gentleman: nay said I, he hath the tongues:
that I beleeue said shee, for hee swore a thing to me on
munday night, which he forswore on tuesday morning:
there's a double tongue, there's two tongues: thus did
shee an howre together trans-shape thy particular ver-
tues, yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the
proprest man in Italie.
Claud. For the which she wept heartily, and said shee
car'd not.
Prin. Yea that she did, but yet for all that, and if shee
did not hate him deadlie, shee would loue him dearely,
the old mans daughter told vs all.
Clau. All, all, and moreouer, God saw him when he
was hid in the garden.
Prin. But when shall we set the sauage Bulls hornes
on the sensible Benedicks head?
Clau. Yea and text vnder-neath, heere dwells Bene-dicke
the married man.
Ben. Fare you well, Boy, you know my minde, I will
leaue you now to your gossep-like humor, you breake
iests as braggards do their blades, which God be thank-
ed hurt not: my Lord, for your manie courtesies I thank
you, I must discontinue your companie, your brother
the Bastard is fled from Messina: you haue among you,
kill'd a sweet and innocent Ladie: for my Lord Lacke-
beard there, he and I shall meete, and till then peace be
with him.
Prin. He is in earnest.
Clau. In most profound earnest, and Ile warrant you,
for the loue of Beatrice.
Prin. And hath challeng'd thee.
Clau. Most sincerely.
Prin. What a prettie thing man is, when he goes in his
doublet and hose, and leaues off his wit.
Enter Constable, Conrade, and Borachio.
Clau. He is then a Giant to an Ape, but then is an Ape
a Doctor to such a man.
Prin. But soft you, let me be, plucke vp my heart, and
be sad, did he not say my brother was fled?
Const. Come you sir, if iustice cannot tame you, shee
shall nere weigh more reasons in her ballance, nay, and
you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be lookt to.
Prin. How now, two of my brothers men bound? Bo-rachio
Clau. Harken after their offence my Lord.
Prin. Officers, what offence haue these men done? [Page K6]
Const. Marrie sir, they haue committed false report,
moreouer they haue spoken vntruths, secondarily they
are slanders, sixt and lastly, they haue belyed a Ladie,
thirdly, they haue verified vniust things, and to conclude
they are lying knaues.
Prin. First I aske thee what they haue done, thirdlie
I aske thee what's their offence, sixt and lastlie why they
are committed, and to conclude, what you lay to their
Clau. Rightlie reasoned, and in his owne diuision, and
by my troth there's one meaning well suted.
Prin. Who haue you offended masters, that you are
thus bound to your answer? this learned Constable is too
cunning to be vnderstood, what's your offence?
Bor. Sweete Prince, let me go no farther to mine an-
swere: do you heare me, and let this Count kill mee: I
haue deceiued euen your verie eies: what your wise-
domes could not discouer, these shallow fooles haue
brought to light, who in the night ouerheard me con-
fessing to this man, how Don Iohn your brother incensed
me to slander the Ladie Hero, how you were brought
into the Orchard, and saw me court Margaret in Heroes
garments, how you disgrac'd her when you should
marrie her: my villanie they haue vpon record, which
I had rather seale with my death, then repeate ouer to
my shame: the Ladie is dead vpon mine and my masters
false accusation: and briefelie, I desire nothing but the
reward of a villaine.
Prin. Runs not this speech like yron through your
Clau. I haue drunke poison whiles he vtter'd it.
Prin. But did my Brother set thee on to this?
Bor. Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
Prin. He is compos'd and fram'd of treacherie,
And fled he is vpon this villanie.
Clau. Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appeare
In the rare semblance that I lou'd it first.
Const. Come, bring away the plaintiffes, by this time
our Sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter:
and masters, do not forget to specifie when time & place
shall serue, that I am an Asse.
Con.2. Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and
the Sexton too.
Enter Leonato.
Leon. Which is the villaine? let me see his eies,
That when I note another man like him,
I may auoide him: which of these is he?
Bor. If you would know your wronger, looke on me.
Leon. Art thou the slaue that with thy breath
hast kild mine innocent childe?
Bor. Yea, euen I alone.
Leo. No, not so villaine, thou beliest thy selfe,
Here stand a paire of honourable men,
A third is fled that had a hand in it:
I thanke you Princes for my daughters death,
Record it with your high and worthie deedes,
'Twas brauely done, if you bethinke you of it.
Clau. I know not how to pray your patience,
Yet I must speake, choose your reuenge your selfe,
Impose me to what penance your inuention
Can lay vpon my sinne, yet sinn'd I not,
But in mistaking.
Prin. By my soule nor I,
And yet to satisfie this good old man,
I would bend vnder anie heauie waight,
That heele enioyne me to.
Leon. I cannot bid you bid my daughter liue,
That were impossible, but I praie you both,
Possesse the people in Messina here,
How innocent she died, and if your loue
Can labour aught in sad inuention,
Hang her an epitaph vpon her toomb,
And sing it to her bones, sing it to night:
To morrow morning come you to my house,
And since you could not be my sonne in law,
Be yet my Nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copie of my childe that's dead,
And she alone is heire to both of vs,
Giue her the right you should haue giu'n her cosin,
And so dies my reuenge.
Clau. O noble sir!
Your ouerkindnesse doth wring teares from me,
I do embrace your offer, and dispose
For henceforth of poore Claudio.
Leon. To morrow then I will expect your comming,
To night I take my leaue, this naughtie man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I beleeue was packt in all this wrong,
Hired to it by your brother.
Bor. No, by my soule she was not,
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
But alwaies hath bin iust and vertuous,
In anie thing that I do know by her.
Const. Moreouer sir, which indeede is not vnder white
and black, this plaintiffe here, the offendour did call mee
asse, I beseech you let it be remembred in his punish-
ment, and also the watch heard them talke of one Defor-
med, they say he weares a key in his eare and a lock hang-
ing by it, and borrowes monie in Gods name, the which
he hath vs'd so long, and neuer paied, that now men grow
hard-harted and will lend nothing for Gods sake: praie
you examine him vpon that point.
Leon. I thanke thee for thy care and honest paines.
Const. Your worship speakes like a most thankefull
and reuerend youth, and I praise God for you.
Leon. There's for thy paines.
Const. God saue the foundation.
Leon. Goe, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I
thanke thee.
Const. I leaue an arrant knaue with your worship,
which I beseech your worship to correct your selfe, for
the example of others: God keepe your worship, I
wish your worship well, God restore you to health,
I humblie giue you leaue to depart, and if a mer-
rie meeting may be wisht, God prohibite it: come
Leon. Vntill to morrow morning, Lords, farewell.
Brot. Farewell my Lords, we looke for you to mor-
Prin. We will not faile.
Clau. To night ile mourne with Hero.
Leon. Bring you these fellowes on, weel talke with
Margaret, How her acquaintance grew with this lewd
fellow. Exeunt.
Enter Benedicke and Margaret.
Ben. Praie thee sweete Mistris Margaret, deserue
well at my hands, by helping mee to the speech of Bea-trice.
[Page K6v]
Mar. Will you then write me a Sonnet in praise of
my beautie?
Bene. In so high a stile Margaret, that no man liuing
shall come ouer it, for in most comely truth thou deser-
uest it.
Mar. To haue no man come ouer me, why, shall I al-
waies keepe below staires?
Bene. Thy wit is as quicke as the grey-hounds mouth,
it catches.
Mar. And yours, as blunt as the Fencers foiles, which
hit, but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly wit Margaret, it will not hurt a
woman: and so I pray thee call Beatrice, I giue thee the
Mar. Giue vs the swords, wee haue bucklers of our
Bene. If you vse them Margaret, you must put in the
pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous weapons for
Mar. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I thinke
hath legges. Exit Margarite.
Ben. And therefore will come. The God of loue that
sits aboue, and knowes me, and knowes me, how pitti-
full I deserue. I meane in singing, but in louing, Lean-
der the good swimmer, Troilous the first imploier of
pandars, and a whole booke full of these quondam car-pet-mongers,
whose name yet runne smoothly in the e-
uen rode of a blanke verse, why they were neuer so true-
ly turned ouer and ouer as my poore selfe in loue: mar-
rie I cannot shew it rime, I haue tried, I can finde out no
rime to Ladie but babie, an innocent rime: for scorne,
horne, a hard rime: for schoole foole, a babling rime:
verie ominous endings, no, I was not borne vnder a ri-
ming Plannet, for I cannot wooe in festiuall tearmes:
Enter Beatrice.
sweete Beatrice would'st thou come when I cal'd
Beat. Yea Signior, and depart when you bid me.
Bene. O stay but till then.
Beat. Then, is spoken: fare you well now, and yet ere
I goe, let me goe with that I came, which is, with know-
ing what hath past betweene you and Claudio.
Bene. Onely foule words, and thereupon I will kisse
Beat. Foule words is but foule wind, and foule wind
is but foule breath, and foule breath is noisome, there-
fore I will depart vnkist.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
sence, so forcible is thy wit, but I must tell thee plainely,
Claudio vndergoes my challenge, and either I must short-
ly heare from him, or I will subscribe him a coward, and
I pray thee now tell me, for which of my bad parts didst
thou first fall in loue with me?
Beat. For them all together, which maintain'd so
politique a state of euill, that they will not admit any
good part to intermingle with them: but for which of
my good parts did you first suffer loue for me?
Bene. Suffer loue! a good epithite, I do suffer loue in-
deede, for I loue thee against my will,
Beat. In spight of your heart I think, alas poore heart,
if you spight it for my sake, I will spight it for yours, for
I will neuer loue that which my friend hates.
Bened. Thou and I are too wise to wooe peacea-
Bea. It appeares not in this confession, there's not one
wise man among twentie that will praise himselfe.
Bene. An old, an old instance Beatrice, that liu'd in
the time of good neighbours, if a man doe not erect in
this age his owne tombe ere he dies, hee shall liue no
longer in monuments, then the Bels ring, & the Widdow
Beat. And how long is that thinke you?
Ben. Question, why an hower in clamour and a quar-
ter in rhewme, therfore is it most expedient for the wise,
if Don worme (his conscience) finde no impediment to
the contrarie, to be the trumpet of his owne vertues, as
I am to my selfe so much for praising my selfe, who I my
selfe will beare witnesse is praise worthie, and now tell
me, how doth your cosin?
Beat. Verie ill.
Bene. And how doe you?
Beat. Verie ill too.
Enter Vrsula.
Bene. Serue God, loue me, and mend, there will I leaue
you too, for here comes one in haste.
Vrs. Madam, you must come to your Vncle, yon-
ders old coile at home, it is prooued my Ladie He-ro
hath bin falselie accusde, the Prince and Claudio
mightilie abusde, and Don Iohn is the author of all, who
is fled and gone: will you come presentlie?
Beat. Will you go heare this newes Signior?
Bene. I will liue in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be bu-
ried in thy eies: and moreouer, I will goe with thee to
thy Vncles. Exeunt.
Enter Claudio, Prince, and three or foure with Tapers.
Clau. Is this the monument of Leonato?
Lord. It is my Lord. Epitaph.
Done to death by slanderous tongues,
Was the
Hero that here lies:
Death in guerdon of her wrongs,
Giues her fame which neuer dies:
So the life that dyed with shame,
Liues in death with glorious fame.
Hang thou there vpon the tombe,
Praising her when I am dombe.

Clau. Now musick sound & sing your solemn hymne

Pardon goddesse of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight,
For the which with songs of woe,
Round about her tombe they goe:
Midnight assist our mone, helpe vs to sigh and grone.
Heauily, heauily.
Graues yawne and yeelde your dead,
Till death be vttered,
Heauenly, heauenly.
Lo. Now vnto thy bones good night, yeerely will I do this right.
Prin. Good morrow masters, put your Torches out,
The wolues haue preied, and looke, the gentle day
Before the wheeles of Phoebus, round about
Dapples the drowsie East with spots of grey:
Thanks to you all, and leaue vs, fare you well.
Clau. Good morrow masters, each his seuerall way.
Prin. Come let vs hence, and put on other weedes,
And then to Leonatoes we will goe.
Clau. And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds, [Page L1]
Then this for whom we rendred vp this woe. Exeunt.
Enter Leonato, Bene. Marg. Vrsula, old man, Frier, Hero.
Frier. Did I not tell you she was innocent?
Leo. So are the Prince and Claudio who accus'd her,
Vpon the errour that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will as it appeares,
In the true course of all the question.
Old. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.
Bene. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Leo. Well daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by your selues,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd:
The Prince and Claudio promis'd by this howre
To visit me, you know your office Brother,
You must be father to your brothers daughter,
And giue her to young Claudio. Exeunt Ladies.
Old. Which I will doe with confirm'd countenance.
Bene. Frier, I must intreat your paines, I thinke.
Frier. To doe what Signior?
Bene. To binde me, or vndoe me, one of them:
Signior Leonato, truth it is good Signior,
Your neece regards me with an eye of fauour.
Leo. That eye my daughter lent her, 'tis most true.
Bene. And I doe with an eye of loue requite her.
Leo. The sight whereof I thinke you had from me,
From Claudio, and the Prince, but what's your will?
Bened. Your answer sir is Enigmaticall,
But for my will, my will is, your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conioyn'd,
In the state of honourable marriage,
In which (good Frier) I shall desire your helpe.
Leon. My heart is with your liking.
Frier. And my helpe.
Enter Prince and Claudio, with attendants.
Prin. Good morrow to this faire assembly.
Leo. Good morrow Prince, good morrow Claudio:
We heere attend you, are you yet determin'd,
To day to marry with my brothers daughter?
Claud. Ile hold my minde were she an Ethiope.
Leo. Call her forth brother, heres the Frier ready.
Prin. Good morrow Benedicke, why what's the matter?
That you haue such a Februarie face,
So full of frost, of storme, and clowdinesse.
Claud. I thinke he thinkes vpon the sauage bull:
Tush, feare not man, wee'll tip thy hornes with gold,
And all Europa shall reioyce at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Ioue,
When he would play the noble beast in loue.
Ben. Bull Ioue sir, had an amiable low,
And some such strange bull leapt your fathers Cow,
A got a Calfe in that same noble feat,
Much like to you, for you haue iust his bleat.
Enter brother, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Vrsula.
Cla. For this I owe you: here comes other recknings.
Which is the Lady I must seize vpon?
Leo. This same is she, and I doe giue you her.
Cla. Why then she's mine, sweet let me see your face.
Leon. No that you shal not, till you take her hand,
Before this Frier, and sweare to marry her.
Clau. Giue me your hand before this holy Frier,
I am your husband if you like of me.
Hero. And when I liu'd I was your other wife,
And when you lou'd, you were my other husband.
Clau. Another Hero?
Hero. Nothing certainer.
One Hero died, but I doe liue,
And surely as I liue, I am a maid.
Prin. The former Hero, Hero that is dead.
Leon. Shee died my Lord, but whiles her slander liu'd.
Frier. All this amazement can I qualifie,
When after that the holy rites are ended,
Ile tell you largely of faire Heroes death:
Meane time let wonder seeme familiar,
And to the chappell let vs presently.
Ben. Soft and faire Frier, which is Beatrice?
Beat. I answer to that name, what is your will?
Bene. Doe not you loue me?
Beat. Why no, no more then reason.
Bene. Why then your Vncle, and the Prince, & Clau-dio,
haue beene deceiued, they swore you did.
Beat. Doe not you loue mee?
Bene. Troth no, no more then reason.
Beat. Why then my Cosin Margaret and Vrsula
Are much deceiu'd, for they did sweare you did.
Bene. They swore you were almost sicke for me.
Beat. They swore you were wel-nye dead for me.
Bene. 'Tis no matter, then you doe not loue me?
Beat. No truly, but in friendly recompence.
Leon. Come Cosin, I am sure you loue the gentlema[n].
Clau. And Ile be sworne vpon't, that he loues her,
For heres a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his owne pure braine,
Fashioned to Beatrice.
Hero. And heeres another,
Writ in my cosins hand, stolne from her pocket,
Containing her affection vnto Benedicke.
Bene. A miracle, here's our owne hands against our
hearts: come I will haue thee, but by this light I take
thee for pittie.
Beat. I would not denie you, but by this good day, I
yeeld vpon great perswasion, & partly to saue your life,
for I was told, you were in a consumption.
Leon. Peace I will stop your mouth.
Prin. How dost thou Benedicke the married man?
Bene. Ile tell thee what Prince: a Colledge of witte-crackers
cannot flout mee out of my humour, dost thou
think I care for a Satyre or an Epigram? no, if a man will
be beaten with braines, a shall weare nothing handsome
about him: in briefe, since I do purpose to marry, I will
thinke nothing to any purpose that the world can say a-
gainst it, and therefore neuer flout at me, for I haue said
against it: for man is a giddy thing, and this is my con-
clusion: for thy part Claudio, I did thinke to haue beaten
thee, but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, liue vn-bruis'd,
and loue my cousin.
Cla. I had well hop'd thou wouldst haue denied Beatrice,  that
I might haue cudgel'd thee out of thy single life, to make
thee a double dealer, which out of questio[n] thou wilt be,
if my Cousin do not looke exceeding narrowly to thee.
Bene. Come, come, we are friends, let's haue a dance
ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts,
and our wiues heeles.
Leon. Wee'll haue dancing afterward.
Bene. First, of my word, therfore play musick. Prince,
thou art sad, get thee a wife, get thee a wife, there is no
staff more reuerend then one tipt with horn. Enter. Mes.
Messen. My Lord, your brother Iohn is tane in flight,
And brought with armed men backe to Messina.
Bene. Thinke not on him till to morrow, ile deuise
thee braue punishments for him: strike vp Pipers. Dance.