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Much Ado about Nothing

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Act III, Scene 2

A room in LEONATO’S house



  • Don Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and
    then go I toward Arragon. 1200
  • 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
    of your marriage as to show a child his new coat
    and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold 1205
    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
    bow-string and the little hangman dare not shoot at
    him; he hath a heart as sound as a bell and his 1210
    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.
  • Claudio. I hope he be in love. 1215
  • 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.
  • Claudio. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
  • Leonato. Where is but a humour or a worm.
  • Benedick. Well, every one can master a grief but he that has 1225
  • 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 today, a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the 1230
    shape 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. 1235
  • 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, 1240
    and 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
    out by that? 1245
  • 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 they say of him. 1250
  • Claudio. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into
    a lute-string and now governed 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. 1255
  • Don Pedro. That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows 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 1260
    signior, walk aside with me: I have studied eight
    or nine wise words to speak to you, which these
    hobby-horses must not hear.


  • Don Pedro. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice. 1265
  • Claudio. 'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this
    played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two
    bears will not bite one another when they meet.

[Enter DON JOHN]

  • Don John. My lord and brother, God save you! 1270
  • Don John. If your leisure served, I would speak with you.
  • Don John. If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; for
    what I would speak of concerns him. 1275
  • Don John. [To CLAUDIO] Means your lordship to be married
  • Don John. I know not that, when he knows what I know. 1280
  • 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. For my brother, I think he holds you
    well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect 1285
    your ensuing marriage;—surely suit ill spent and
    labour ill bestowed.
  • Don John. I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
    shortened, for she has been too long a talking of, 1290
    the lady is disloyal.
  • Don Pedro. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero:
  • Don John. The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I 1295
    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 entered, even the night
    before her wedding-day: if you love her then, 1300
    to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour
    to change your mind.
  • Don John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not 1305
    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 any thing to-night why I should not marry
    her to-morrow in the congregation, where I should 1310
    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.
  • Don John. I will disparage her no farther till you are my
    witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and 1315
    let the issue show itself.
  • Claudio. O mischief strangely thwarting!
  • Don John. O plague right well prevented! so will you say when
    you have seen the sequel. 1320