Much Ado About Nothing by William Shakespeare

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Scene IV

[A Room in Leonato's House]

[Enter Leonato, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, Antonio, Friar Francis and Hero.]

FRIAR:
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,
Although against her will, as it appears(5)
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.
LEONATO:
Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,(10)
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither masked.

                                                                    [Exeunt Ladies.]

The prince and Claudio promised by this hour
To visit me. You know your office, brother:
You must be father to your brother's daughter,(15)
And give her to young Claudio.
ANTONIO:
Which I will do with confirmed countenance.
BENEDICK:
Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
FRIAR:
To do what, signior?
BENEDICK:
To bind me, or undo me—one of them.(20)
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.
LEONATO:
The sight whereof I think you had from me,(25)
From Claudio, and the prince; but what's your will?
BENEDICK:
Your answer, my lord, is enigmatical;
But, for my will, my will is, your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoined
In the state of honourable marriage;(30)
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
LEONATO:
My heart is with your liking.
FRIAR:
And my help. Here comes the prince and Claudio.

[Enter Prince Don Pedro and Claudio with attendants.]

DON PEDRO:
Good morrow to this fair assembly.
LEONATO:
Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio.(35)
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.
LEONATO:
Call her forth, brother. Here's the friar ready.

[Exit Antonio.]

DON PEDRO:
Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter(40)
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness?
CLAUDIO:
I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
Tush, fear not, man! We'll tip thy horns with gold,
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,(45)
As once Europa did at lusty Jove
When he would play the noble beast in love.
BENEDICK:
Bull Jove, my lord, had an amiable low,
And some such strange bull leaped your father's cow
And got a calf in that same noble feat.(50)
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
CLAUDIO:
For this I owe you.
Here comes other reckonings. Which is the lady I must
seize upon?

[Enter Leonato's brother, Antonio, Hero, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, the ladies wearing masks.]

ANTONIO:
This same is she, and I do give you her.(55)
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. I am your
husband if you like of me.(60)
HERO:
And when I lived I was your other wife; [Unmasks.]
And when you loved you were my other husband.
CLAUDIO:
Another Hero!
HERO:
Nothing certainer.
One Hero died defiled; but I do live,(65)
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:
All this amazement can I qualify,
When, after that the holy rites are ended,(70)
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?
BEATRICE:
[Unmasks.] I answer to that name. What is your will?(75)
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; for 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,
Fashioned 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, for I was
told you were in a consumption.(100)
BENEDICK:
Peace! I will stop your mouth.

[Kisses 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 thou think I care for a
satire or an epigram? No. If a man will be beaten with(105)
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 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,(110)
Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee; but in that thou
art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my
cousin.
CLAUDIO:
I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied
Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single(115)
life, to make thee a double-dealer, which out of question
thou wilt be if my cousin do not look exceeding
narrowly to thee.
BENEDICK:
Come, come, we are friends. Let's have a dance ere
we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts and(120)
our wives' heels.
LEONATO:
We'll have dancing afterward.
BENEDICK:
First, of my word! Therefore play, music. Prince,
thou art sad. Get thee a wife, get thee a wife! There is no
staff more reverent than one tipped with horn.(125)
[Enter Messenger.]
MESSENGER:
My lord, your brother Don John is taken in flight,
And brought with armed men back to Messina.
BENEDICK:
Think not on him till tomorrow. I'll devise thee
brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers!

Dance. [Exeunt.]