Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Scene II

[A Prison]

Enter the constables [Dogberry, Verges], Borachio [the Sexton, and the Watch, with Conrade.]

DOGBERRY:
Is our whole dissembly appeared?
VERGES:
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
SEXTON:
Which be the malefactors?
DOGBERRY:
Marry, that am I and my partner.
VERGES:
Nay, that's certain. We have the exhibition to examine.(5)
SEXTON:
But which are the offenders that are to be examined? Let
them come before master constable.
DOGBERRY:
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your
name, friend?
BORACHIO:
Borachio.(10)
DOGBERRY:
Pray write down Borachio. Yours, sirrah?
CONRADE:
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.
DOGBERRY:
Write down master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do
you serve God?
BOTH:
Yea, sir, we hope.(15)
DOGBERRY:
Write down that they hope they serve God; and
write God first, for God defend but God should go before
such villains! Masters, it is proved already that you are little
better than false knaves, and it will go near to be
thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves?(20)
CONRADE:
Marry, sir, we say we are none.
DOGBERRY:
A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you; but I will
go about with him. Come you hither, sirrah. A word in
your ear. Sir, I say to you, it is thought you are false
knaves.(25)
BORACHIO:
Sir, I say to you we are none.
DOGBERRY:
Well, stand aside. Fore God, they are both in a
tale. Have you writ down that they are none?
SEXTON:
Master Constable, you go not the way to examine.
You must call forth the watch that are their accusers.(30)
DOGBERRY:
Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch
come forth. Masters, I charge you in the prince's name
accuse these men.
FIRST WATCHMAN:
This man said, sir, that Don John the
prince's brother, was a villain.(35)
DOGBERRY:
Write down Prince Don John a villain. Why, this is
flat perjury, to call a prince's brother villain.
BORACHIO:
Master constable—
DOGBERRY:
Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy look, I
promise thee.(40)
SEXTON:
What heard you him say else?
SECOND WATCHMAN:
Marry, that he had received a thousand
ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero
wrongfully.
DOGBERRY:
Flat burglary as ever was committed.(45)
VERGES:
Yea, by the mass, that it is.
SEXTON:
What else, fellow?
FIRST WATCHMAN:
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon
his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly,
and not marry her.(50)
DOGBERRY:
O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting
redemption for this.
SEXTON:
What else?
WATCHMEN:
This is all.
SEXTON:
And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince(55)
Don John is this morning secretly stolen away. Hero was
in this manner accused, in this manner refused, and upon
the grief of this suddenly died. Master constable, let these
men be bound and brought to Leonato's. I will go before and
show him their examination.(60)

[Exit.]

DOGBERRY:
Come, let them be opinioned.
VERGES:
Let them be in the hands—
CONRADE:
Off, coxcomb!
DOGBERRY:
God's my life, where's the sexton? Let him write down
the prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them—Thou(65)
naughty varlet!
CONRADE:
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.
DOGBERRY:
Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect
my years? O that he were here to write me down an ass!
But, masters, remember that I am an ass. Though it be not(70)
written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain,
thou art full of piety, as shall be proved upon thee by
good witness. I am a wise fellow; and which is more, an officer;
and which is more, a householder; and which is more,
as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that(75)
knows the law, go to! and a rich fellow enough, go to! and a
fellow that hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns
and everything handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
I had been writ down an ass!

[Exeunt.]