The street, near Leonato's house.
[Enter Leonato and his brother
If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,
And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
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 lov'd his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
And bid him speak to me 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.
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
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.
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 dishonour her.
[Enter Don Pedro and Claudio.]
Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
Good den, Good den.
Good day to both of you.
Hear you, my lords!
We have some haste, Leonato.
Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord.
Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.
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,
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 forc'd 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-
O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, fram'd by thy villany!
Thine, Claudio; thine I say.
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
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 lov'd 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.
Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!
Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,
Scambling, outfacing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dang'rous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all.
But, brother Anthony--
Come, 'tis no matter.
Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.
Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
My heart is sorry for your daughter's death;
But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing
But what was true, and very full of proof.
My lord, my lord--
I will not hear you.
No? Come, brother, away!--I will be heard.
And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
See, see! Here comes the man we went to seek.
Now, signior, what news?
Good day, my lord.
Welcome, signior. You are almost come to part almost a fray.
We had lik'd to have had our two noses snapp'd off with two old
men without teeth.
Leonato and his brother. What think'st thou? Had we fought, I
doubt we should have been too young for them.
In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek you
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
It is in my scabbard. Shall I draw it?
Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I
will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrel--draw to pleasure us.
As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou sick or angry?
What, courage, man! What though care kill'd a cat, thou hast
mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career an you charge it against
me. I pray you choose another subject.
Nay then, give him another staff; this last was broke cross.
By this light, he changes more and more. I think he be angry
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 kill'd a sweet
lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from
Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
What, a feast, a feast?
I' faith, I thank him, he hath bid me to a calve'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.
I'll tell thee how Beatrice prais'd 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 proper'st man in Italy.
For the which she wept heartily and said she cared not.
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
told us all.
All, all! and moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the
But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on the sensible
Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick, the married
Fare you well, boy; you know my mind. I will leave you now to
your gossiplike humour. 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
kill'd a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he
and I shall meet; and till then peace be with him.
He is in earnest.
In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for the love of
And hath challeng'd thee.
What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose
and leaves off his wit!
[Enter Constables Dogberry and Verges, with the Watch, leading
Conrade and Borachio.]
He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a doctor to such
But, soft you, let me be! Pluck up, my heart, and be sad!
Did he not say my brother was fled?
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 look'd to.
How now? two of my brother's men bound? Borachio one.
Hearken after their offence, my lord.
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.
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 well suited.
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 disgrac'd
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
Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.
But did my brother set thee on to this?
Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.
He is compos'd and fram'd of treachery,
And fled he is upon this villany.
Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I lov'd 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
Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato, and the sexton too.
[Enter Leonato, his brother [Antonio], and the Sexton.]
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?
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 honourable 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.
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,
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and if your love
Can labour aught 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.
Give her the right you should have giv'n her 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 fact to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,
Hir'd to it by your brother.
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 anything 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 rememb'red 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 us'd so long and never paid that now men grow hard-hearted
and will lend nothing for God's sake. Pray you examine him upon
I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.
Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverent youth, and
I praise God for you.
There's for thy pains. [Gives money.]
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 wish'd, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.
[Exeunt [Dogberry and Verges.]
Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell.
Farewell, my lords. We look for you to-morrow.
We will not fall.
To-night I'll mourn with Hero.
[Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio.]
[to the Watch] Bring you these fellows on.--We'll talk with
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
[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? Why, shall I always keep below
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.
[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 panders, and a whole book full of
these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the
even road of a blank verse--why, they were never so truly turn'd
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 cannot woo in festival
Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I call'd 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 for, which is, with knowing what hath pass'd
between you and Claudio.
Only foul words; and thereupon I 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 unkiss'd.
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 parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
For them all together, which maintain'd 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
Suffer love!--a good epithet. I do suffer love indeed, for I love
thee against my will.
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 peaceably.
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 liv'd in the time 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 widow weeps.
And how long is that, think you?
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 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?
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.
Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's old coil at home.
It is proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accus'd, the Prince
and Claudio mightily abus'd, 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 thy eyes;
and moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle's.
[Enter Claudio, Don Pedro, and three or four with tapers,
followed by Musicians.]
Is this the monument of Leonato?
It is, my lord.
[reads from 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,
[Hangs up the scroll.]
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
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered
Now unto thy bones good night!
Yearly will I do this rite.
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.
Come, let us hence and put on other weeds,
And then to Leonato's we will go.
And Hymen now with luckier issue speeds
Than this for whom we rend'red up this woe. [Exeunt.]
The hall in Leonato's house.
[Enter Leonato, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, Antonio,
Friar [Francis], Hero.]
Did I not tell you she was innocent?
So are the Prince and Claudio, who accus'd 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 enforc'd
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.
Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
The Prince and Claudio promis'd 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?
To bind me, or undo me--one of them.
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.
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
In the state of honourable marriage;
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.
My heart is with your liking.
And my help.
[Enter Don Pedro and Claudio and two or three other. ]
Here comes the Prince and Claudio.
Good morrow to this fair assembly.
Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, Claudio.
We here attend you. Are you yet determin'd
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.
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
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.
[Enter [Leonato's] brother [Antonio], Hero, Beatrice, Margaret,
Ursula, [the ladies wearing masks.]
For this I owe you. Here comes other reckonings.
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.
And when I liv'd I was your other wife; [Unmasks.]
And when you lov'd you were my other husband.
One Hero died defil'd; but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.
The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
She died, my lord, but whiles her slander liv'd.
All this amazement can I qualify,
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.
Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
[unmasks] 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; for they swore you did.
Do not you love me?
Troth, no; no more than reason.
Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and Ursula
Are much deceiv'd; for they did swear you did.
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, stol'n from her pocket,
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. [Kisses her.]
I'll tell thee what, Prince: a college of wit-crackers cannot
flout me out of my humour. 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 unbruis'd, and love my
I had well hop'd thou wouldst have denied Beatrice, that I might
have cudgell'd 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 exceeding 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 reverent
than one tipp'd with horn.
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. Strike up, pipers!