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Much Ado About Nothing

ACT V SCENE IVA room in LEONATO’S house.
FRIAR FRANCISDid I not tell you she was innocent?
LEONATOSo are the prince and Claudio, who accused her
Upon the error that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this, 5
Although against her will, as it appears
In the true course of all the question.
ANTONIOWell, I am glad that all things sort so well.
BENEDICKAnd so am I, being else by faith enforced
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. 10
LEONATOWell, daughter, and you gentle-women all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
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: 15
You must be father to your brother’s daughter
And give her to young Claudio.
ANTONIOWhich I will do with confirm’d countenance.
BENEDICKFriar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
FRIAR FRANCISTo do what, signior? 20
BENEDICKTo bind me, or undo me; one of them.
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.
LEONATOThat eye my daughter lent her: ’tis most true.
BENEDICKAnd I do with an eye of love requite her. 25
LEONATOThe sight whereof I think you had from me,
From Claudio and the prince: but what’s your will?
BENEDICKYour answer, sir, is enigmatical:
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin’d 30
In the state of honourable marriage:
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
LEONATOMy heart is with your liking.
Here comes the prince and Claudio. 35
Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others.
DON PEDROGood morrow to this fair assembly.
LEONATOGood morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
We here attend you. Are you yet determined
To-day to marry with my brother’s daughter?
CLAUDIOI’ll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope. 40
LEONATOCall her forth, brother; here’s the friar ready.
DON PEDROGood morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?
CLAUDIOI think he thinks upon the savage bull. 45
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.
BENEDICKBull Jove, sir, had an amiable low; 50
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.
CLAUDIOFor this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.
Which is the lady I must seize upon? 55
ANTONIOThis same is she, and I do give you her.
CLAUDIOWhy, then she’s mine. Sweet, let me see your face.
LEONATONo, that you shall not, till you take her hand
Before this friar and swear to marry her.
CLAUDIOGive me your hand: before this holy friar, 60
I am your husband, if you like of me.
HEROAnd when I lived, I was your other wife:
And when you loved, you were my other husband.
CLAUDIOAnother Hero!
HERONothing certainer: 65
One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
DON PEDROThe former Hero! Hero that is dead!
LEONATOShe died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.
FRIAR FRANCISAll this amazement can I qualify: 70
When after that the holy rites are ended,
I’ll tell you largely of fair Hero’s death:
Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.
BENEDICKSoft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice? 75
BENEDICKDo not you love me?
BEATRICEWhy, no; no more than reason.
BENEDICKWhy, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
Have been deceived; they swore you did.
BEATRICEDo not you love me? 80
BENEDICKTroth, no; no more than reason.
BEATRICEWhy, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula
Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.
BENEDICKThey swore that you were almost sick for me.
BEATRICEThey swore that you were well-nigh dead for me. 85
BENEDICK‘Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?
BEATRICENo, truly, but in friendly recompense.
LEONATOCome, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.
CLAUDIOAnd I’ll be sworn upon’t that he loves her;
For here’s a paper written in his hand, 90
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
Fashion’d to Beatrice.
HEROAnd here’s another
Writ in my cousin’s hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick. 95
BENEDICKA miracle! here’s our own hands against our hearts.
Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
thee for pity.
BEATRICEI would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield
upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life, 100
for I was told you were in a consumption.
BENEDICKPeace! I will stop your mouth.
Kissing her.
DON PEDROHow dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
BENEDICKI’ll tell thee what, prince; a college of
wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost 105
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 110
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. 115
CLAUDIOI 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. 120
BENEDICKCome, come, we are friends: let’s have a dance ere
we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
and our wives’ heels.
LEONATOWe’ll have dancing afterward.
BENEDICKFirst, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince, 125
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
MessengerMy lord, your brother John is ta’en in flight,
And brought with armed men back to Messina.
BENEDICKThink not on him till to-morrow: 130
I’ll devise thee brave punishments for him.
Strike up, pipers.

Much Ado About Nothing, Scenes