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Much Ado about Nothing

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Act III, Scene 5

Another room in LEONATO’S house.



  • Leonato. What would you with me, honest neighbour?
  • Dogberry. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you
    that decerns you nearly.
  • Leonato. Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.
  • Verges. Yes, in truth it is, sir.
  • Leonato. What is it, my good friends?
  • Dogberry. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the
    matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so
    blunt as, God help, I would desire they were; but, 1590
    in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.
  • Verges. Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living
    that is an old man and no honester than I.
  • Dogberry. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.
  • Leonato. Neighbours, you are tedious. 1595
  • Dogberry. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the
    poor duke's officers; but truly, for mine own part,
    if I were as tedious as a king, I could find it in
    my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
  • Leonato. All thy tediousness on me, ah? 1600
  • Dogberry. Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; for
    I hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any
    man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I
    am glad to hear it.
  • Leonato. I would fain know what you have to say.
  • Verges. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your
    worship's presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant
    knaves as any in Messina.
  • Dogberry. A good old man, sir; he will be talking: as they 1610
    say, when the age is in, the wit is out: God help
    us! it is a world to see. Well said, i' faith,
    neighbour Verges: well, God's a good man; an two men
    ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An honest
    soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever 1615
    broke bread; but God is to be worshipped; all men
    are not alike; alas, good neighbour!
  • Leonato. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.
  • Dogberry. One word, sir: our watch, sir, have indeed
    comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would
    have them this morning examined before your worship.
  • Leonato. Take their examination yourself and bring it me: I
    am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you. 1625
  • Leonato. Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to
    her husband. 1630
  • Leonato. I'll wait upon them: I am ready.

[Exeunt LEONATO and Messenger]

  • Dogberry. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole;
    bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol: we
    are now to examination these men. 1635
  • Verges. And we must do it wisely.
  • Dogberry. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's
    that shall drive some of them to a non-come: only
    get the learned writer to set down our
    excommunication and meet me at the gaol. 1640