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Much Ado about Nothing

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Act V, Scene 4

A room in LEONATO’S house.



  • 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
    In the true course of all the question. 2550
  • 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 gentle-women all,
    Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves, 2555
    And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
    [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 2560
    And give her to young Claudio.
  • Antonio. Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.
  • Benedick. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
  • Benedick. To bind me, or undo me; one of them. 2565
    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, 2570
    From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?
  • Benedick. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
    But, for my will, my will is your good will
    May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
    In the state of honourable marriage: 2575
    In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
  • Leonato. My heart is with your liking.

[Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others]

  • Don Pedro. Good morrow to this fair assembly.
  • Leonato. Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
    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. 2585
  • Leonato. Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.


  • Don Pedro. Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,
    That you have such a February face,
    So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness? 2590
  • 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,
    As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
    When he would play the noble beast in love. 2595
  • Benedick. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
    And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,
    And got a calf in that same noble feat
    Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
  • Claudio. For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings. 2600
    [Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked]
    Which is the lady I must seize upon?
  • Antonio. This same is she, and I do give you her.
  • Claudio. Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.
  • Leonato. No, that you shall not, till you take her hand 2605
    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.
  • Hero. And when I lived, I was your other wife:
    [Unmasking] 2610
    And when you loved, you were my other husband.
  • Hero. Nothing certainer:
    One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
    And surely as I live, I am a maid. 2615
  • Don Pedro. The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
  • Leonato. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.
  • Friar Francis. All this amazement can I qualify:
    When after that the holy rites are ended,
    I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death: 2620
    Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
    And to the chapel let us presently.
  • Benedick. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
  • Beatrice. [Unmasking] I answer to that name. What is your will?
  • Beatrice. Why, no; no more than reason.
  • Benedick. Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
    Have been deceived; they swore you did.
  • Benedick. Troth, no; no more than reason. 2630
  • 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.
  • Benedick. 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me? 2635
  • 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,
    A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, 2640
    Fashion'd to Beatrice.
  • Hero. And here's another
    Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
    Containing her affection unto Benedick.
  • Benedick. A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts. 2645
    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. 2650
  • Benedick. Peace! I will stop your mouth.

[Kissing 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 2655
    thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No:
    if a man will be beaten with 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 2660
    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, Claudio, I did think to
    have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my
    kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin. 2665
  • Claudio. I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,
    that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single
    life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of
    question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
    exceedingly narrowly to thee. 2670
  • Benedick. Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ere
    we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
    and our wives' heels.
  • Leonato. We'll have dancing afterward.
  • Benedick. First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince, 2675
    thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:
    there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.

[Enter a Messenger]

  • Messenger. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,
    And brought with armed men back to Messina. 2680
  • Benedick. Think not on him till to-morrow:
    I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.
    Strike up, pipers.