Before LEONATO'S house.

If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:

And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief

Against yourself.

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.

Bring me a father that so loved his child,

Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine, (10)

And bid him speak of patience;

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine

And let it answer every strain for strain,

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

With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,

And I of him will gather patience. (20)

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,

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

To those that wring under the load of sorrow,

But no man's virtue nor sufficiency (30)

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:

My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Therein do men from children nothing differ.

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

And made a push at chance and sufferance.

Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; (40)

Make those that do offend you suffer too.

There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do so.

My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;

And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince

And all of them that thus dishonor her.

Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily. Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO.

D. Pedro.
Good den, good den.

Good day to both of you.

Hear you, my lords,—

D. Pedro.
We have some haste, Leonato.

Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:

Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

D. Pedro.
Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

If he could right himself with quarrelling,

Some of us would lie low.

Who wrongs him?

Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:—

Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;

I fear thee not.

Marry, beshrew my hand,

If it should give your age such cause of fear:

In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:

I speak not like a dotard nor a fool, (60)

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,

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;

Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,

And she lies buried with her ancestors; (70)

O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,

Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!

My villany?

Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

D. Pedro.
You say not right, old man.

My lord, my lord,

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,

Despite his nice fence and his active practice,

His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

Away! I will not have to do with you.

Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

He shall kill two of us, and men indeed: (81)

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.


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 (90)

As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:

Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!

Brother Anthony,—

Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,—

Scrambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,

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.

But, brother Anthony,— (100)

Come, 'tis no matter:

Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.

D. Pedro.
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death:

But, on my honor, she was charged with nothing

But what was true and very full of proof.

My lord, my lord,—

D. Pedro.
I will not hear you.

No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.

And shall, or some of us will smart for it. [Exeunt Leonato and Antonio

D. Pedro.
See, see; here comes the man we went to seek. Enter BENEDICK.

Now, signior, what news?

Good day, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Welcome, signior: you are almost
come to part almost a fray.

We had like to have had our two
noses snapped off with two old men without

D. Pedro.
Leonato and his brother. What
thinkest thou? Had we fought, I doubt we
should have been too young for them.

In a false quarrel there is no true (121)
valor. I came to seek you both.

We have been up and down to seek
thee; for we are high-proof melancholy and
would fain have it beaten away. Wilt thou
use thy wit?

It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?

D. Pedro.
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy

Never any did so, though very many
have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw,
as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

D. Pedro.
As I am an honest man, he looks (131)
pale. Art thou sick, or angry?

What, courage, man! What though
care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in
thee to kill care.

Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career,
and you charge it against me. I pray you
choose another subject.

Nay, then, give him another staff:
this last was broke cross.

D. Pedro.
By this light, he changes more (141)
and more: I think he be angry indeed.

If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.

Shall I speak a word in your ear?

God bless me from a challenge!

[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 hear from (151)

Well, I will meet you, so I may
have good cheer.

D. Pedro.
What, a feast, a feast?

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 curiously, say my knife's
naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?

Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

D. Pedro.
I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised
thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a
fine wit: 'True,' 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.' '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 virtues: yet at last she
concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest
man in Italy.

For the which she wept heartily
and said she cared not.

D. Pedro.
Yea, that she did: but yet, for
all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she
would love him dearly: the old man's daughter (180)
told us all.

All, all; and, moreover, God saw
him when he was hid in the garden.

D. Pedro.
But when shall we set the savage
bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head?

Yea, and text underneath, 'Here
dwells Benedick the married man'?

Fare you well, boy: you know my
mind. I will leave you now to your gossiplike
humor: you break jests as braggards 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 Lackbeard there, he and
I shall meet: and, till then, peace be with him. [Exit.

D. Pedro.
He is in earnest.

In most profound earnest; and, I'll
warrant you, for the love of Beatrice. (200)

D. Pedro.
And hath challenged thee.

Most sincerely.

D. Pedro.
What a pretty thing man is when
he goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off
his wit.

He is then a giant to an ape; but
then is an ape a doctor to such a man.

D. 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.

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.

D. Pedro.
How now? two of my brother's
men bound! Borachio one!

Hearken after their offence, my lord.

D. Pedro.
Officers, what offence have these
men done?

Marry, sir, they have committed false
report; moreover, they have spoken untruths;
secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and
lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they
have verified unjust things; and, to conclude,
they are lying knaves.

D. 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 to their charge.

Rightly reasoned, and in his own
division: and, by my troth, there's one meaning (231)
well suited.

D. Pedro.
Who have you offended, masters,
that you are thus bound to your answer? this
learned constable is too cunning to be understood:
what's your offence?

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 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 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.

D. Pedro.
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?

I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

D. Pedro.
But did my brother set thee on to this?

Yea, and paid me richly for the
practice of it.

D. Pedro.
He is composed and framed of treachery:

And fled he is upon this villany.

Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear (260)

In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by
this time our sexton hath reformed Signior
Leonato of the matter: and, masters, do not
forget to specify, when time and place shall
serve, that I am an ass.

Here, here comes master Signior Leonato,
and the Sexton too. Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton.

Which is the villain? let me see his eyes, (270)

That, when I note another man like him,

I may avoid him: which of these is he?

If you would know your wronger, look on me.

Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd

Mine innocent child?

Yea, even I alone.

No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:

Here stand a pair of honorable men;

A third is fled, that had a hand in it.

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.

I know not how to pray your patience;

Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;

Impose me to what penance your invention

Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not

But in mistaking.

D. Pedro.
By my soul, nor I:

And yet, to satisfy this good old man,

I would bend under any heavy weight

That he'll enjoin me to.

I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;

That were impossible: but, I pray you both, (290)

Possess the people in Messina here

How innocent she died; and if your love

Can labor 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,

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: (300)

Give her the right you should have given heir cousin,

And so dies my revenge.

O noble sir,

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!

I do embrace your offer; and dispose

For henceforth of poor Claudio.

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.

No, by my soul, she was not, (310)

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.

Moreover, sir, which indeed is not
under white and 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 he wears a key in his ear and a lock
hanging by it, and borrows money in God's
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.

I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

Your worship speaks like a most
thankful and reverend youth; and I praise
God for you.

There's for thy pains.

God save the foundation!

Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner,
and I thank thee.

I leave an arrant knave with your
worship; which I 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,
neighbor. [Exeunt Dogberry and Verges.

Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.

Farewell, my lords: we look for you to-morrow.

D. Pedro.
We will not fail.

To-night I'll mourn with Hero.

[To the Watch]
Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow. [Exeunt, severally.


LEONATO'S garden.
Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting.

Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret,
deserve well at my hands by helping me to
the speech of Beatrice.

Will you then write me a sonnet in
praise of my beauty?

In so high a style, Margaret, that no
man living shall come over it; for, in most
comely truth, thou deservest it.

To have no man come over me! (10)
why, shall I always keep below stairs?

Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's
mouth; it catches.

And yours as blunt as the fencer's
foils, which hit, but hurt not.

A most manly wit, Margaret; it will
not hurt a woman: and so, I pray thee, call
Beatrice: I give thee the bucklers.

Give us the swords; we have bucklers
of our own.

If you use them, Margaret, you must
put in the pikes with a vice; and they are
dangerous weapons for maids.

Well, I will call Beatrice to you,
who I think hath legs.

And therefore will come. [Exit Margaret. [Sings]

The god of love,

That sits above,

And knows me, and knows me,

How pitiful I deserve,—

I mean in singing; but in loving, Leander the
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of
pandars, and a whole bookful of these quondam
carpet-mongers, whose names yet run
smoothly in the even road of a blank verse,
why, they were never so truly turned 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 endings: no, I was not born under a
rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival (41)
terms. Enter BEATRICE.

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I
called thee?

Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.

O, stay but till then!

'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.

Only foul words; and thereupon I (51)
will kiss thee.

Foul words is but foul wind, and foul
wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is
noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed.

Thou hast frighted the word out of
his right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I
must tell thee 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 (61)
parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

For them all together; which maintained
so politic 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?

Suffer love! a good epithet! I do
suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my

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.

Thou and I are too wise to woo

It appears not in this confession:
there's not one wise man among twenty that
will praise himself.

An old, an old instance, Beatrice,
that lived in the time of good neighbors. 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 widow weeps.

And how long is that, think you?

Question: why, an hour in clamor
and a quarter in rheum: therefore is it most
expedient for the wise, if Don Worm, his conscience,
find no 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 (91)
now tell me, how doth your cousin?

Very ill.

And how do you?

Very ill too.

Serve God, love me and mend. There
will I leave you too, for here comes one in
haste. Enter 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 fled and gone.
Will you come presently?

Will you go hear this news, signior?

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. [Exeunt.


A church.
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and three or four with tapers.

Is this the monument of Leonato?

A Lord.
It is, my lord.

[Reading out of a scroll]
Done to death by slanderous tongues

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.

Hang thou there upon the tomb, (10)

Praising her when I am dumb.

Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.


Pardon, goddess of the night,

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,

Heavily, heavily:

Graves, yawn and yield your dead,

Till death be uttered,

Heavily, heavily.

Now, unto thy bones good night!

Yearly will I do this rite.

D. 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.

Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well.

Good morrow, masters: each his several way.

D. Pedro.
Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;

And then to Leonato's we will go.

And Hymen now with luckier issue speed's

Than this for whom we render'd up this woe. [Exeunt.


A room in LEONATO'S house.

Did I not tell you she was innocent?

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.

Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.

And so am I, being else by faith enforced

To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. (10)

Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen 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:

You must be father to your brother's daughter,

And give her to young Claudio.

Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

To do what, signior? (20)

To bind me, or undo me; one of them.

Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,

Your niece regards me with an eye of favor.

That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true.

And I do with an eye of love requite her.

The sight whereof I think you had from me,

From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?

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 (30)

In the state of honorable marriage:

In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

My heart is with your liking.

And my help.

Here comes the prince and Claudio. Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or three others.

D. Pedro.
Good morrow to this fair assembly.

Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio;

We here attend you. Are you yet determined

To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?

I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.

Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready. [Exit Antonio.

D. Pedro.
Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,

That you have such a February face,

So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?

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.

Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;

And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow, (50)

And got a calf in that same noble feat

Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings. Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked.

Which is the lady I must seize upon?

This same is she, and I do give you her.

Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

No, that you shall not, till you take her hand

Before this friar and swear to marry her.

Give me your hand: before this holy friar,

I am your husband, if you like of me. (60)

And when I lived, I was your other wife: [Unmasking.

And when you loved, you were my other husband.

Another Hero!

Nothing certainer:

One Hero died defiled, but I do live,

And surely as I live, I am a maid.

D. Pedro.
The former Hero! Hero that is dead!

She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.

All this amazement can I qualify;

When after that the holy rites are ended,

I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death: (70)

Meantime let wonder seem familiar,

And to the chapel let us presently.

Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?

I answer to that name. What is your will?

Do not you love me?

Why, no; no more than reason.

Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio

Have been deceived; they swore you did.

Do not you love me?

Troth, no; no more than reason.

Why, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula

Are much deceived; for they did swear you did. (80)

They swore that you were almost sick for me.

They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.

'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?

No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

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,

Fashion'd to Beatrice.

And here's another

Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, (90)

Containing her affection unto Benedick.

A miracle! here's our own hands
against our hearts. Come, I will have thee;
but, by this light, I take thee for pity.

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.

Peace! I will stop your mouth. [Kissing her.

D. Pedro.
How dost thou, Benedick, the (100)
married man?

I'll tell thee what, prince; a college
of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my
humor. Dost 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 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.

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.

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.

We'll have dancing afterward.

First, of my word; therefore play,
music. Prince, 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.

My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,

And brought with armed men back to Messina.

Think not on him till to-morrow:

I'll devise thee brave punishments for him. (131)

Strike up, pipers. [Dance.

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