Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Scene II

[A Room in Leonato's House]

Enter Prince [Don Pedro], Claudio, Benedick, and Leonato.

DON PEDRO:
I do but stay till your marriage be consummate,
and then go I toward Aragon.
CLAUDIO:
I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll vouchsafe
me.
DON PEDRO:
Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss(5)
of your marriage as to show a child his new coat and forbid
him to wear it. I will only be bold with Benedick for
his company; for, from the crown of his head to the sole
of his foot, he is all mirth. He hath twice or thrice cut
Cupid's bowstring, and the little hangman dare not shoot(10)
at him. He hath a heart as sound as a bell; and his tongue
is the clapper, for what his heart thinks, his tongue
speaks.
BENEDICK:
Gallants, I am not as I have been.
LEONATO:
So say I. Methinks you are sadder.(15)
CLAUDIO:
I hope he be in love.
DON PEDRO:
Hang him, truant! There's no true drop of blood
in him to be truly touched with love. If he be sad, he
wants money.
BENEDICK:
I have the toothache.(20)
DON PEDRO:
Draw it.
BENEDICK:
Hang it!
CLAUDIO:
You must hang it first and draw it afterwards.
DON PEDRO:
What? sigh for the toothache?
LEONATO:
Where is but a humour or a worm.(25)
BENEDICK:
Well, every one can master a grief, but he that has it.
CLAUDIO:
Yet say I, he is in love.
DON PEDRO:
There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be
a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as to be a
Dutchman to-day, a Frenchman to-morrow; or in the shape(30)
of two countries at once, as a German from the waist downward,
all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no
doublet. Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears
he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would have it appear
he is.(35)
CLAUDIO:
If he be not in love with some woman, there is no
believing old signs. A' brushes his hat o' mornings. What
should that bode?
DON PEDRO:
Hath any man seen him at the barber's?
CLAUDIO:
No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him, and(40)
the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis
balls.
LEONATO:
Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a
beard.
DON PEDRO:
Nay, a' rubs himself with civet. Can you smell him(45)
out by that?
CLAUDIO:
That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.
DON PEDRO:
The greatest note of it is his melancholy.
CLAUDIO:
And when was he wont to wash his face?
DON PEDRO:
Yea, or to paint himself? for the which I hear what(50)
they say of him.
CLAUDIO:
Nay, but his jesting spirit, which is new-crept into a
lutestring, and now govern'd by stops.
DON PEDRO:
Indeed that tells a heavy tale for him. Conclude,
conclude, he is in love.
CLAUDIO:
Nay, but I know who loves him.
DON PEDRO:
That would I know too. I warrant, one that knows(55)
him not.
CLAUDIO:
Yes, and his ill conditions; and in despite of all, dies for
him.
DON PEDRO:
She shall be buried with her face upwards.
BENEDICK:
Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old signior,(60)
walk aside with me. I have studied eight or nine wise words
to speak to you, which these hobby-horses must not hear.

[Exeunt Benedick and Leonato.]

DON PEDRO:
For my life, to break with him about Beatrice!
CLAUDIO:
'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this played
their parts with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite(65)
one another when they meet.

Enter [Don] John the Bastard.

DON JOHN:
My lord and brother, God save you.
DON PEDRO:
Good den, brother.
DON JOHN:
If your leisure served, I would speak with you.
DON PEDRO:
In private?(70)
DON JOHN:
If it please you. Yet Count Claudio may hear, for
what I would speak of concerns him.
DON PEDRO:
What's the matter?
DON JOHN:
[To Claudio] Means your lordship to be married
tomorrow?(75)
DON PEDRO:
You know he does.
DON JOHN:
I know not that, when he knows what I know.
CLAUDIO:
If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.
DON JOHN:
You may think I love you not. Let that appear
hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will manifest.(80)
For my brother, I think he holds you well and in dearness
of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing marriage—
surely suit ill spent and labour ill bestowed!
DON PEDRO:
Why, what's the matter?
DON JOHN:
I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances shortened,(85)
for she has been too long atalking of, the lady is
disloyal.
CLAUDIO:
Who? Hero?
DON JOHN:
Even she—Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's
Hero.(90)
CLAUDIO:
Disloyal?
DON JOHN:
The word is too good to paint out her wickedness.
I could say she were worse; think you of a worse title, and
I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further warrant. Go but
with me to-night, you shall see her chamber window(95)
ent'red, even the night before her wedding day. If you
love her then, to-morrow wed her. But it would better fit
your honour to change your mind.
CLAUDIO:
May this be so?
DON PEDRO:
I will not think it.(100)
DON JOHN:
If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that
you know. If you will follow me, I will show you enough;
and when you have seen more and heard more, proceed
accordingly.
CLAUDIO:
If I see anything to-night why I should not marry(105)
her
tomorrow, in the congregation where I should wed, there
will I shame her.
DON PEDRO:
And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join
with thee to disgrace her.(110)
DON JOHN:
I will disparage her no farther till you are my witnesses.
Bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue
show itself.
DON PEDRO:
O day untowardly turned!
CLAUDIO:
O mischief strangely thwarting!(115)
DON JOHN:
O plague right well prevented! So will you say when
you have seen the sequel.

[Exeunt.]

CLAUDIO:
Nay, but his jesting spirit, which is new-crept into a
lutestring, and now govern'd by stops.