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Much Ado About Nothing

Act II, Scene 3

LEONATO'S orchard.
 
[Enter BENEDICK]
 
BENEDICK
Boy.
 
BOY
Signior?
 
BENEDICK
In my chamber-window lies a book: bring it hither to me in the orchard.
 
BOY
I am here already, sir.
 
BENEDICK
I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again. I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by failing in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he rather hear the tabour and the pipe: I have known when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a good armor; and now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man and a soldier; and now is he turned orthography; his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise, or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what color it please God. Ha. the prince and Monsieur Love. I will hide me in the arbor.
 
[Withdraws. Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO]
 
DON PEDRO
Come, shall we hear this music?
 
CLAUDIO
       ,              ,          ,          ,        ,
      Yea my | good^lord:| How still | the eve|ning is,
            ,         ,              ,    ,     ,
      As hushed | on pur|pose to / grace har|mony.
 
DON PEDRO
       ,               ,     ,          ,         ,
      See you^|where* Be|nedick | hath hid | himself?
 
CLAUDIO
      ,   2      ,         ,          ,       ,
      O very | well my | lord: the | music | ended,
             ,         ,    ,            ,      ,
      We'll fit | the kid-|fox with | a pen|nyworth.
 
[Enter BALTHASAR with Music]
 
DON PEDRO
        ,   ,                    ,           ,       ,
      Come Bal/thasar*,| we'll hear | that song | again.
 
BALTHASAR
          ,         ,     T   T   .   T        ,
      O good | my lord,| tax not so* bad | a voice,
           ,       ,     ,      ,           ,
      To slan|der mu|sic a|ny more | than once.
 
DON PEDRO
       ,           ,         ,         ,    2   ,
      It is | the wit|ness still | of ex|cellency
          ,         ,        ,    2       ,       ,
      To put | a strange | face on his | own per|fection,
          ,           ,         ,        ,          ,
      I pray | thee sing,| and let | me woo | no* more.
 
BALTHASAR
          ,           ,        ,       ,          ,
      Because | you talk | of woo|ing, I | will sing;
             ,   2   ,       ,         ,           ,
      Since^ma|ny a woo|er doth | commence | his suit
          ,          ,          ,        ,         ,
      To her | he thinks | not wor|thy, yet | he wooes,
            ,         ,          ,
      Yet will | he swear | he loves.
 
DON PEDRO
                                            ,           ,
                                     Nay* pray | thee come,
          ,                 ,    ,      ,     ,
      Or if | thou wilt / hold long|er ar|gument,
       ,   2       T
      Do it in | notes.
 
BALTHASAR
                         T    T        ,         ,
                       Note this | before | my notes,
               ,        ,         ,             ,          ,       2->
      There's^not | a note | of mine | that's worth | the not||ing.
 
DON PEDRO
             ,          ,       ,         ,          ,
      Why* these | are ve|ry crotch|ets that | he speaks,
        T    T    T    ,           ,        oo
      Note notes for|sooth, and | nothing.|
 
BENEDICK
Now divine air, now is his soul ravished, is it not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my money, when all's done.
 
BALTHASAR  [Sings]
        ,     2        ,         T   T   T
      Sigh no* more*| ladies,| sigh no more,
       ,      2    ,        ,      oo
      Men were de|ceivers | ever,|
       T    T   .  T     .   T   T   T
      One foot in sea | and one on shore,
          ,           ,         ,      o
      To one | thing^con|stant ne|ver:
             ,         ,        ,          ,
      Then sigh | not^so,| but let | them go,
           ,          ,          ,      o
      And be | you blithe | and bon|ny,
          ,        ,            ,         ,
      Conver|ting all | your sounds | of woe,
         ,         ,      ,      o
      Into | hey* non|ny non|ny.
        ,     2        ,          T   T  T
      Sing no* more*| ditties,| sing no moe,
           ,          ,         ,      o
      Of dumps | so dull | and hea|vy;
            ,         ,        ,      ,
      The fraud | of men | was e|ver so,
             ,        ,           ,     o
      Since^sum|mer first | was leaf|y:
             ,         ,        ,          ,
      Then sigh | not^so,| but let | them go,
           ,          ,          ,      o
      And be | you blithe | and bon|ny,
          ,        ,            ,         ,
      Conver|ting all | your sounds | of woe,
         ,         ,      ,      o
      Into | hey* non|ny non|ny.
 
DON PEDRO
By my troth a good song.
 
BALTHASAR
And an ill singer, my lord.
 
DON PEDRO
Ha, no, no, faith; thou singest well enough for a shift.
 
BENEDICK
And he had been a dog that should have howled thus, they would have hanged him: and I pray God his bad voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the night-raven, come what plague could have come after it.
 
DON PEDRO
Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee, get us some excellent music; for tomorrow night we would have it at the Lady Hero's chamber-window.
 
BALTHASAR
The best I can, my lord.
 
DON PEDRO
Do so: farewell. Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of today, that your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?
 
CLAUDIO
O, aye: stalk on. stalk on; the fowl sits. I did never think that lady would have loved any man.
 
LEONATO
No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.
 
BENEDICK
Is it possible? Sits the wind in that corner?
 
LEONATO
By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think of it but that she loves him with an enraged affection: it is past the infinite of thought.
 
DON PEDRO
May be she doth but counterfeit.
 
CLAUDIO
Faith, like enough.
 
LEONATO
O God, counterfeit. There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.
 
DON PEDRO
Why, what effects of passion shows she?
 
CLAUDIO
Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.
 
LEONATO
What effects, my lord? She will sit you, you heard my daughter tell you how.
 
CLAUDIO
She did, indeed.
 
DON PEDRO
How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I thought her spirit had been invincible against all assaults of affection.
 
LEONATO
I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially against Benedick.
 
BENEDICK
I should think this a gull, but that the white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot, sure, hide himself in such reverence.
 
CLAUDIO
He hath tane the infection: hold it up.
 
DON PEDRO
Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?
 
LEONATO
No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.
 
CLAUDIO
'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: Shall I, says she, that have so oft encountered him with scorn, write to him that I love him?
 
LEONATO
This says she now when she is beginning to write to him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.
 
CLAUDIO
Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a pretty jest your daughter told us of.
 
LEONATO
O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?
 
CLAUDIO
That.
 
LEONATO
O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence; railed at herself, that she should be so immodest to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I love him, I should.'
 
CLAUDIO
Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O sweet Benedick. God give me patience.'
 
LEONATO
She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my daughter is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage to herself: it is very true.
 
DON PEDRO
It were good that Benedick knew of it by some other, if she will not discover it.
 
CLAUDIO
To what end? He would make but a sport of it and torment the poor lady worse.
 
DON PEDRO
An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion, she is virtuous.
 
CLAUDIO
And she is exceeding wise.
 
DON PEDRO
In every thing but in loving Benedick.
 
LEONATO
O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just cause, being her uncle and her guardian.
 
DON PEDRO
I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would have daffed all other respects and made her half myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.
 
LEONATO
Were it good, think you?
 
CLAUDIO
Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere she make her love known, and she will die, if he woo her, rather than she will bate one breath of her accustomed crossness.
 
DON PEDRO
She doth well: if she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.
 
CLAUDIO
He is a very proper man.
 
DON PEDRO
He hath indeed a good outward happiness.
 
CLAUDIO
Before God. and, in my mind, very wise.
 
DON PEDRO
He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.
 
CLAUDIO
And I take him to be valiant.
 
DON PEDRO
As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes them with a most Christian-like fear.
 
LEONATO
If he do fear God, he must necessarily keep peace: if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling.
 
DON PEDRO
And so will he do; for the man doth fear God, howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?
 
CLAUDIO
Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with good counsel.
 
LEONATO
Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.
 
DON PEDRO
Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter: let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.
 
LEONATO
My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.
 
CLAUDIO
If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.
 
DON PEDRO
Let there be the same net spread for her; and that must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the scene that I would see, which will be merely a dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.
 
[Exeunt DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO]
 
BENEDICK
This can be no trick: the conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it seems her affections have their full bent. Love me. why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured: they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive the love come from her; they say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection. I did never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her. I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me, because I have railed so long against marriage: but doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age. Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humor? No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day. she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in her.
 
BEATRICE
Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.
 
BENEDICK
Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.
 
BEATRICE
I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would not have come.
 
BENEDICK
You take pleasure then in the message?
 
BEATRICE
Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach, signior: fare you well.
 
[Exit]
 
BENEDICK
Ha. Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner; there's a double meaning in that: I took no more pains for those thanks than you took pains to thank me. That's as much as to say, Any pains that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.
 
[Exit]

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