Open Source Shakespeare

Much Ado about Nothing

• To print this text, click here
• To save this text, go to your browser's File menu, then select Save As


Act IV, Scene 2

A prison.


[Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns; and] [p]the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO]

  • Dogberry. Is our whole dissembly appeared?
  • Verges. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton. 1985
  • Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
  • Dogberry. Marry, that am I and my partner.
  • Verges. Nay, that's certain; we have the exhibition to examine.
  • Sexton. But which are the offenders that are to be
    examined? let them come before master constable. 1990
  • Dogberry. Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your
    name, friend?
  • Borachio. Borachio.
  • Dogberry. Pray, write down, Borachio. Yours, sirrah?
  • Conrade. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade. 1995
  • Dogberry. Write down, master gentleman Conrade. Masters, do
    you serve God?
  • Conrade. [with Borachio] Yea, sir, we hope.
  • Dogberry. Write down, that they hope they serve God: and
    write God first; for God defend but God should go 2000
    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?
  • Conrade. Marry, sir, we say we are none. 2005
  • 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.
  • Borachio. Sir, I say to you we are none. 2010
  • 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.
  • Dogberry. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch 2015
    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.
  • Dogberry. Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat 2020
    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.
  • Sexton. What heard you him say else? 2025
  • 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.
  • Verges. Yea, by mass, that it is.
  • Sexton. What else, fellow? 2030
  • First Watchman. And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to
    disgrace Hero before the whole assembly. and not marry her.
  • Dogberry. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into everlasting
    redemption for this.
  • Sexton. What else? 2035
  • Watchman. This is all.
  • Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you can deny.
    Prince John is this morning secretly stolen away;
    Hero was in this manner accused, in this very manner
    refused, and upon the grief of this suddenly died. 2040
    Master constable, let these men be bound, and
    brought to Leonato's: I will go before and show
    him their examination.


  • Dogberry. Come, let them be opinioned. 2045
  • 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 naughty varlet! 2050
  • 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 written down, yet forget not 2055
    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 2060
    Messina, and one that 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 every
    thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that
    I had been writ down an ass! 2065