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Affliction may one day smile again; and till then, sit thee down, sorrow!

      — Love's Labour's Lost, Act I Scene 1


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Much Ado about Nothing

Act V

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Scene 1. Before LEONATO’S house.

Scene 2. LEONATO’S garden.

Scene 3. A church.

Scene 4. A room in LEONATO’S house.


Act V, Scene 1

Before LEONATO’S house.

      next scene .


  • Antonio. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:
    And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
    Against yourself. 2070
  • Leonato. I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
    Which falls into mine ears as profitless
    As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
    Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
    But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine. 2075
    Bring me a father that so loved his child,
    Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
    And bid him speak of patience;
    Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
    And let it answer every strain for strain, 2080
    As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
    In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
    If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
    Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
    Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk 2085
    With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
    And I of him will gather patience.
    But there is no such man: for, brother, men
    Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
    Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it, 2090
    Their counsel turns to passion, which before
    Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
    Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
    Charm ache with air and agony with words:
    No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience 2095
    To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
    But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
    To be so moral when he shall endure
    The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
    My griefs cry louder than advertisement. 2100
  • Antonio. Therein do men from children nothing differ.
  • Leonato. I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;
    For there was never yet philosopher
    That could endure the toothache patiently,
    However they have writ the style of gods 2105
    And made a push at chance and sufferance.
  • Antonio. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
    Make those that do offend you suffer too.
  • Leonato. There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do so.
    My soul doth tell me Hero is belied; 2110
    And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince
    And all of them that thus dishonour her.
  • Antonio. Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.


  • Leonato. Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:
    Are you so hasty now? well, all is one. 2120
  • Don Pedro. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
  • Antonio. If he could right himself with quarreling,
    Some of us would lie low.
  • Leonato. Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:— 2125
    Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
    I fear thee not.
  • Claudio. Marry, beshrew my hand,
    If it should give your age such cause of fear:
    In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword. 2130
  • Leonato. Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:
    I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
    As under privilege of age to brag
    What I have done being young, or what would do
    Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head, 2135
    Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
    That I am forced to lay my reverence by
    And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
    Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
    I say thou hast belied mine innocent child; 2140
    Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
    And she lies buried with her ancestors;
    O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
    Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!
  • Leonato. Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.
  • Leonato. My lord, my lord,
    I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,
    Despite his nice fence and his active practise, 2150
    His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
  • Claudio. Away! I will not have to do with you.
  • Leonato. Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:
    If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
  • Antonio. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed: 2155
    But that's no matter; let him kill one first;
    Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
    Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me:
    Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
    Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will. 2160
  • Antonio. Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;
    And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains,
    That dare as well answer a man indeed
    As I dare take a serpent by the tongue: 2165
    Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
  • Antonio. Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
    And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,—
    Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys, 2170
    That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
    Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
    And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
    How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
    And this is all. 2175
  • Antonio. Come, 'tis no matter:
    Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
  • Don Pedro. Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
    My heart is sorry for your daughter's death: 2180
    But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing
    But what was true and very full of proof.
  • Leonato. No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard. 2185
  • Antonio. And shall, or some of us will smart for it.


  • Don Pedro. See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.


  • Claudio. Now, signior, what news? 2190
  • Don Pedro. Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part
    almost a fray.
  • Claudio. We had like to have had our two noses snapped off
    with two old men without teeth. 2195
  • Don Pedro. Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? Had
    we fought, I doubt we should have been too young for them.
  • Benedick. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came
    to seek you both.
  • Claudio. We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are 2200
    high-proof melancholy and would fain have it beaten
    away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
  • Benedick. It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?
  • Don Pedro. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
  • Claudio. Never any did so, though very many have been beside 2205
    their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the
    minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
  • Don Pedro. As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou
    sick, or angry?
  • Claudio. What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat, 2210
    thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
  • Benedick. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you
    charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.
  • Claudio. Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was
    broke cross. 2215
  • Don Pedro. By this light, he changes more and more: I think
    he be angry indeed.
  • Claudio. If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
  • Benedick. Shall I speak a word in your ear?
  • Claudio. God bless me from a challenge! 2220
  • Benedick. [Aside to CLAUDIO] You are a villain; I jest not:
    I will make it good how you dare, with what you
    dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will
    protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
    lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me 2225
    hear from you.
  • Claudio. Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
  • Claudio. I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's
    head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most 2230
    curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find
    a woodcock too?
  • Benedick. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
  • Don Pedro. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the
    other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: 'True,' 2235
    said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I, 'a
    great wit:' 'Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.'
    'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it
    hurts nobody.' 'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman
    is wise:' 'Certain,' said she, 'a wise gentleman.' 2240
    'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the tongues:' 'That I
    believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on
    Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning;
    there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus
    did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular 2245
    virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou
    wast the properest man in Italy.
  • Claudio. For the which she wept heartily and said she cared
  • Don Pedro. Yea, that she did: but yet, for all that, an if she 2250
    did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly:
    the old man's daughter told us all.
  • Claudio. All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he was
    hid in the garden.
  • Don Pedro. But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on 2255
    the sensible Benedick's head?
  • Claudio. Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the
    married man'?
  • Benedick. Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave
    you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests 2260
    as braggarts do their blades, which God be thanked,
    hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank
    you: I must discontinue your company: your brother
    the bastard is fled from Messina: you have among
    you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord 2265
    Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till
    then, peace be with him.


  • Claudio. In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for 2270
    the love of Beatrice.
  • Don Pedro. What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his
    doublet and hose and leaves off his wit! 2275
  • Claudio. He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a
    doctor to such a man.
  • Don Pedro. But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, and
    be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?

[Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO]

  • Dogberry. Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, she
    shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay,
    an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
  • Don Pedro. How now? two of my brother's men bound! Borachio
    one! 2285
  • Claudio. Hearken after their offence, my lord.
  • Don Pedro. Officers, what offence have these men done?
  • Dogberry. Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
    moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily,
    they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have 2290
    belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
    things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
  • Don Pedro. First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
    ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why
    they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay 2295
    to their charge.
  • Claudio. Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and, by
    my troth, there's one meaning well suited.
  • Don Pedro. Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus
    bound to your answer? this learned constable is 2300
    too cunning to be understood: what's your offence?
  • Borachio. Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:
    do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have
    deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms
    could not discover, these shallow fools have brought 2305
    to light: who in the night overheard me confessing
    to this man how Don John your brother incensed me
    to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into
    the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
    garments, how you disgraced her, when you should 2310
    marry her: my villany they have upon record; which
    I had rather seal with my death than repeat over
    to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
    master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire
    nothing but the reward of a villain. 2315
  • Don Pedro. Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
  • Claudio. I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.
  • Don Pedro. But did my brother set thee on to this?
  • Borachio. Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
  • Don Pedro. He is composed and framed of treachery: 2320
    And fled he is upon this villany.
  • Claudio. Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear
    In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
  • Dogberry. Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our
    sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter: 2325
    and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time
    and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
  • Verges. Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the
    Sexton too.

[Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton]

  • Leonato. Which is the villain? let me see his eyes,
    That, when I note another man like him,
    I may avoid him: which of these is he?
  • Borachio. If you would know your wronger, look on me.
  • Leonato. Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd 2335
    Mine innocent child?
  • Leonato. No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:
    Here stand a pair of honourable men;
    A third is fled, that had a hand in it. 2340
    I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death:
    Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
    'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.
  • Claudio. I know not how to pray your patience;
    Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself; 2345
    Impose me to what penance your invention
    Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
    But in mistaking.
  • Don Pedro. By my soul, nor I:
    And yet, to satisfy this good old man, 2350
    I would bend under any heavy weight
    That he'll enjoin me to.
  • Leonato. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
    That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
    Possess the people in Messina here 2355
    How innocent she died; and if your love
    Can labour ought in sad invention,
    Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
    And sing it to her bones, sing it to-night:
    To-morrow morning come you to my house, 2360
    And since you could not be my son-in-law,
    Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
    Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
    And she alone is heir to both of us:
    Give her the right you should have given her cousin, 2365
    And so dies my revenge.
  • Claudio. O noble sir,
    Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
    I do embrace your offer; and dispose
    For henceforth of poor Claudio. 2370
  • Leonato. To-morrow then I will expect your coming;
    To-night I take my leave. This naughty man
    Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
    Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,
    Hired to it by your brother. 2375
  • Borachio. No, by my soul, she was not,
    Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
    But always hath been just and virtuous
    In any thing that I do know by her.
  • Dogberry. Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and 2380
    black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call
    me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his
    punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of
    one Deformed: they say be wears a key in his ear and
    a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God's 2385
    name, the which he hath used so long and never paid
    that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing
    for God's sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.
  • Leonato. I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.
  • Dogberry. Your worship speaks like a most thankful and 2390
    reverend youth; and I praise God for you.
  • Leonato. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.
  • Dogberry. I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which I 2395
    beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the
    example of others. God keep your worship! I wish
    your worship well; God restore you to health! I
    humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry
    meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour. 2400


  • Leonato. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.
  • Antonio. Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-morrow.
  • Claudio. To-night I'll mourn with Hero. 2405
  • Leonato. [To the Watch] Bring you these fellows on. We'll
    talk with Margaret,
    How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.

[Exeunt, severally]

. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 2

LEONATO’S garden.

      next scene .

[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.


. previous scene      

Act V, Scene 3

A church.

      next scene .

[Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and three or four with tapers]

  • Claudio. Is this the monument of Leonato?
  • Lord. It is, my lord.
  • Claudio. [Reading out of a scroll]
    Done to death by slanderous tongues 2510
    Was the Hero that here lies:
    Death, in guerdon of her wrongs,
    Gives her fame which never dies.
    So the life that died with shame
    Lives in death with glorious fame. 2515
    Hang thou there upon the tomb,
    Praising her when I am dumb.
    Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.
    Pardon, goddess of the night, 2520
    Those that slew thy virgin knight;
    For the which, with songs of woe,
    Round about her tomb they go.
    Midnight, assist our moan;
    Help us to sigh and groan, 2525
    Heavily, heavily:
    Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
    Till death be uttered,
    Heavily, heavily.
  • Claudio. Now, unto thy bones good night! 2530
    Yearly will I do this rite.
  • Don Pedro. Good morrow, masters; put your torches out:
    The wolves have prey'd; and look, the gentle day,
    Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
    Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey. 2535
    Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well.
  • Claudio. Good morrow, masters: each his several way.
  • Don Pedro. Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;
    And then to Leonato's we will go.
  • Claudio. And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's 2540
    Than this for whom we render'd up this woe.


. previous scene      

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.