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Much Ado About Nothing

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ACT V SCENE IV A room in LEONATO'S house. 
FRIAR FRANCIS Did I not tell you she was innocent? 
LEONATO So are the prince and Claudio, who accused her 
 Upon the error that you heard debated: 
 But Margaret was in some fault for this, 5
 Although against her will, as it appears 
 In the true course of all the question. 
ANTONIO Well, I am glad that all things sort so well. 
BENEDICK And so am I, being else by faith enforced 
 To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. 10
LEONATO Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all, 
 Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves, 
 And when I send for you, come hither mask'd. 
 Exeunt Ladies. 
 The prince and Claudio promised by this hour 
 To visit me. You know your office, brother: 15
 You must be father to your brother's daughter 
 And give her to young Claudio. 
ANTONIO Which I will do with confirm'd countenance. 
BENEDICK Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. 
FRIAR FRANCIS To do what, signior? 20
BENEDICK To bind me, or undo me; one of them. 
 Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior, 
 Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. 
LEONATO That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true. 
BENEDICK And I do with an eye of love requite her. 25
LEONATO The sight whereof I think you had from me, 
 From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will? 
BENEDICK Your answer, sir, is enigmatical: 
 But, for my will, my will is your good will 
 May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd 30
 In the state of honourable marriage: 
 In which, good friar, I shall desire your help. 
LEONATO My heart is with your liking. 
FRIAR FRANCIS And my help. 
 Here comes the prince and Claudio. 35
 Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others. 
DON PEDRO Good morrow to this fair assembly. 
LEONATO Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio: 
 We here attend you. Are you yet determined 
 To-day to marry with my brother's daughter? 
CLAUDIO I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope. 40
LEONATO Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready. 
DON PEDRO Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter, 
 That you have such a February face, 
 So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness? 
CLAUDIO I think he thinks upon the savage bull. 45
 Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold 
 And all Europa shall rejoice at thee, 
 As once Europa did at lusty Jove, 
 When he would play the noble beast in love. 
BENEDICK Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low; 50
 And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, 
 And got a calf in that same noble feat 
 Much like to you, for you have just his bleat. 
CLAUDIO For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings. 
 Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked. 
 Which is the lady I must seize upon? 55
ANTONIO This same is she, and I do give you her. 
CLAUDIO Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face. 
LEONATO No, that you shall not, till you take her hand 
 Before this friar and swear to marry her. 
CLAUDIO Give me your hand: before this holy friar, 60
 I am your husband, if you like of me. 
HERO And when I lived, I was your other wife: 
 And when you loved, you were my other husband. 
CLAUDIO Another Hero! 
HERO Nothing certainer: 65

One Hero died defiled, but I do live,

 And surely as I live, I am a maid. 
DON PEDRO The former Hero! Hero that is dead! 
LEONATO She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived. 
FRIAR FRANCIS All this amazement can I qualify: 70
 When after that the holy rites are ended, 
 I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death: 
 Meantime let wonder seem familiar, 
 And to the chapel let us presently. 
BENEDICK Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice? 75
BEATRICE Unmasking. 
BENEDICK Do not you love me? 
BEATRICE Why, no; no more than reason. 
BENEDICK Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio 
 Have been deceived; they swore you did. 
BEATRICE Do not you love me? 80
BENEDICK Troth, no; no more than reason. 
BEATRICE Why, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula 
 Are much deceived; for they did swear you did. 
BENEDICK They swore that you were almost sick for me. 
BEATRICE They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me. 85
BENEDICK 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me? 
BEATRICE No, truly, but in friendly recompense. 
LEONATO Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman. 
CLAUDIO And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her; 
 For here's a paper written in his hand, 90
 A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, 
 Fashion'd to Beatrice. 
HERO And here's another 
 Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, 
 Containing her affection unto Benedick. 95
BENEDICK A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts. 
 Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take 
 thee for pity. 
BEATRICE I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield 
 upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life, 100
 for I was told you were in a consumption. 
BENEDICK Peace! I will stop your mouth. 
 Kissing her. 
DON PEDRO How dost thou, Benedick, the married man? 
BENEDICK I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of 
 wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost 105
 thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No: 
 if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear 
 nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do 
 purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any 
 purpose that the world can say against it; and 110
 therefore never flout at me for what I have said 
 against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my 
 conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to 
 have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my 
 kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin. 115
CLAUDIO I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, 
 that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single 
 life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of 
 question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look 
 exceedingly narrowly to thee. 120
BENEDICK Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ere 
 we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts 
 and our wives' heels. 
LEONATO We'll have dancing afterward. 
BENEDICK First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince, 125
 thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife: 
 there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn. 
 Enter a Messenger 
Messenger My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight, 
 And brought with armed men back to Messina. 
BENEDICK Think not on him till to-morrow: 130
 I'll devise thee brave punishments for him. 
 Strike up, pipers. 

Much Ado About Nothing, Scenes


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