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Much Ado About Nothing

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 Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting. 
BENEDICK Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at 
 my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice. 
MARGARET Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty? 
BENEDICK In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living 5
 shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou 
 deservest it. 
MARGARET To have no man come over me! why, shall I always 
 keep below stairs? 
BENEDICK Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches. 10
MARGARET And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, 
 but hurt not. 
BENEDICK A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a 
 woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give 
 thee the bucklers. 15
MARGARET Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own. 
BENEDICK If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the 
 pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids. 
MARGARET Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs. 
BENEDICK And therefore will come. 20
 The god of love, 
 That sits above, 
 And knows me, and knows me, 
 How pitiful I deserve,-- 
 I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good 25
 swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and 
 a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers, 
 whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a 
 blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned 
 over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I 30
 cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find 
 out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent 
 rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for, 
 'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous 
 endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet, 35
 nor I cannot woo in festival terms. 
 Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee? 
BEATRICE Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. 
BENEDICK O, stay but till then! 
BEATRICE 'Then' is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere 40
 I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with 
 knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio. 
BENEDICK Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee. 
BEATRICE Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but 
 foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I 45
 will depart unkissed. 
BENEDICK Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, 
 so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee 
 plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either 
 I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe 50
 him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for 
 which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me? 
BEATRICE For them all together; which maintained so politic 
 a state of evil that they will not admit any good 
 part to intermingle with them. But for which of my 55
 good parts did you first suffer love for me? 
BENEDICK Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love 
 indeed, for I love thee against my will. 
BEATRICE In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart! 
 If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for 60
 yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates. 
BENEDICK Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably. 
BEATRICE It appears not in this confession: there's not one 
 wise man among twenty that will praise himself. 
BENEDICK An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in 65
 the lime of good neighbours. If a man do not erect 
 in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live 
 no longer in monument than the bell rings and the 
 widow weeps. 
BEATRICE And how long is that, think you? 70
BENEDICK Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in 
 rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the 
 wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no 
 impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his 
 own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for 75
 praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is 
 praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin? 
BEATRICE Very ill. 
BENEDICK And how do you? 
BEATRICE Very ill too. 80
BENEDICK Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave 
 you too, for here comes one in haste. 
 Enter URSULA. 
URSULA Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old 
 coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been 
 falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily 85
 abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is 
 fed and gone. Will you come presently? 
BEATRICE Will you go hear this news, signior? 
BENEDICK I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be 
 buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with 90
 thee to thy uncle's. 

Next: Much Ado About Nothing, Act 5, Scene 3


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