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Much Ado about Nothing

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Act V, Scene 2

LEONATO’S garden.


[Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting]

  • Benedick. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at
    my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
  • Margaret. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?
  • Benedick. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living
    shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou 2415
    deservest it.
  • Margaret. To have no man come over me! why, shall I always
    keep below stairs?
  • Benedick. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth; it catches.
  • Margaret. And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which hit, 2420
    but hurt not.
  • Benedick. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a
    woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give
    thee the bucklers.
  • Margaret. Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own. 2425
  • Benedick. If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the
    pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.
  • Margaret. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.
  • Benedick. And therefore will come.
    [Exit MARGARET] 2430
    The god of love,
    That sits above,
    And knows me, and knows me,
    How pitiful I deserve,— 2435
    I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the good
    swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and
    a whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers,
    whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a
    blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned 2440
    over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I
    cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find
    out no rhyme to 'lady' but 'baby,' an innocent
    rhyme; for 'scorn,' 'horn,' a hard rhyme; for,
    'school,' 'fool,' a babbling rhyme; very ominous 2445
    endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet,
    nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
    [Enter BEATRICE]
    Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?
  • Beatrice. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. 2450
  • Beatrice. 'Then' is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere
    I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with
    knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
  • Benedick. Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee. 2455
  • Beatrice. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but
    foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
    will depart unkissed.
  • Benedick. Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense,
    so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee 2460
    plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either
    I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe
    him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for
    which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
  • Beatrice. For them all together; which maintained so politic 2465
    a state of evil that they will not admit any good
    part to intermingle with them. But for which of my
    good parts did you first suffer love for me?
  • Benedick. Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love
    indeed, for I love thee against my will. 2470
  • Beatrice. In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart!
    If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for
    yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
  • Benedick. Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
  • Beatrice. It appears not in this confession: there's not one 2475
    wise man among twenty that will praise himself.
  • Benedick. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in
    the lime of good neighbours. If a man do not erect
    in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live
    no longer in monument than the bell rings and the 2480
    widow weeps.
  • Beatrice. And how long is that, think you?
  • Benedick. Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in
    rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the
    wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no 2485
    impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his
    own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for
    praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is
    praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?
  • Benedick. Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave
    you too, for here comes one in haste.

[Enter URSULA]

  • Ursula. Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old
    coil at home: it is proved my Lady Hero hath been
    falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily
    abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is
    fed and gone. Will you come presently? 2500
  • Beatrice. Will you go hear this news, signior?
  • Benedick. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be
    buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with
    thee to thy uncle's.