Much Ado About Nothing (ACT I)

LEONATO: Her mother hath many times told me so. BENEDICK: Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?daughter of Signior Leonato
DON PEDRO: …Be happy, lady; for you are like an honorable father. BENEDICK: If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her shoulders for all of Messina, as like him she is.
BEATRICE: …Nobody marks you. BENEDICK: What, my dear Lady Disdain, are you yet living?
BEATRICE: …Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, if you come in her presence. BENEDICK: Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not a hard heart; for truly, I love none.
BEATRICE: …Than a man swear he loves me. BENEDICK: God keep your ladyship still in that mind! So some gentleman or other shall ‘scape a predestinate scratched face.
BEATRICE: …An ’twere such a face as yours were. BENEDICK: Well, you are a rare parrot teacher.
BEATRICE: A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours. BENEDICK: I would my hose had the speed of your tongue, and so good a continuer. But keep your way, i’ God’s name; I have done.
CLAUDIO: Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato? BENEDICK: I noted her not; but I looked on her.
CLAUDIO: Is she not a modest young lady? BENEDICK: Do you question me as an honest man should do, for my simple and true judgement; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a professed tyrant to their sex?
CLAUDIO: No; I pray thee speak in sober judgement. BENEDICK: Why? i’ faith, me thinks she’s too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise; I do not like her.
CLAUDIO: …I pray thee, tell me truly how thou likest her. BENEDICK: Would you buy her, that you inquire after her?
CLAUDIO: Can the would buy such a jewel? BENEDICK: Yea. And a case to put it into. But, speak you this with a sad brow?
CLAUDIO: In mine eye she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on. BENEDICK: I can see without spectacles and I see no such matter. But, I hope you have no intent to turn husband, have you?
CLAUDIO: …Though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. BENEDICK: Is’t come to this? Shall I never see a bachelor of three score again? Look Don Pedro is returned to see you.
DON PERDO: …That you followed not to Leonato’s? BENEDICK: I would your grace would constrain me to tell.
DON PEDRO: I charge thee on thy allegiance. BENEDICK: You hear Count Claudio? Mark you this, on my allegiance. He is in love. With who? Now that is your grace’s part. Mark how short is answer is;– With Hero, Leonato’s daughter.
CLAUDIO: And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. BENEDICK: And, by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.
DON PEDRO: That she is worthy, I know. BENEDICK: That I neither feel how she should be loveed nor know how she should be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me; I will die in it at the stake.
CLAUDIO: …but in the force of his will. BENEDICK: That a woman concieved me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks. Because I will not do them wrong to mistrust any, I will do myself the right to trust none: and the fine is, for the which I may go the finer, I will live a bachelor.
DON PEDRO: I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love. BENEDICK: With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love.
DON PEDRO: In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke. BENEDICK: The savage bull may; but if ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull’s horns and set them in my forehead: and let me be vilely painted, and in such great letters let them signify under my sign ‘Here you may see Benedick the married man’.
DON PEDRO: …thou wilt quake for this shortly. BENEDICK: I look for an earthquake too, then.
DON PEDRO: …for indeed he hath made great preparation. BENEDICK: I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage. And so I leave you.
BEATRICE: Will you not tell me who told you so? BENEDICK: No, you shall pardon me.
BEATRICE: Nor will you not tell me who you are? BENEDICK: Not now.
BEATRICE: …Well this was Signior Benedick that said so. BENEDICK: What’s he?
BEATRICE: I am sure you know him well enough. BENEDICK: Not I, believe me.
BEATRICE: Did he never make you laugh? BENEDICK: I pray you, what is he?
BEATRICE: …I am sure he is in the fleet. BENEDICK: When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.
CLAUDIO: …Farewell, therefore, Hero. BENEDICK: Count Claudio?
CLAUDIO: Yea, the same. BENEDICK: Come, will you go with me?
CLAUDIO: Wither. BENEDICK: The prince hath got your Hero.
CLAUDIO: I wish him joy of her. BENEDICK: But did you think the prince would have served you thus?
CLAUDIO: I pray you, leave me. BENEDICK: Alas, poor hurt fowl! But that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The prince’s fool! Ha?!
DON PEDRO: Now, signior, where’s the count? Did you see him? BENEDICK: My lord, I told him, and I think I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady; and I offered him my company.
DON PEDRO: …Told her she is much wronged by you. BENEDICK: O, she misused me past the endurance of a block! She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince’s jester, that, that I was duller than a great thaw; huddling jest upon jest with such impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark, with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks poniards, and every word stabs: I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all the Adam had left him before he transgressed. Come, talk not of her.
DON PEDRO: Look, here she comes. BENEDICK: Will your grace command me any service to the worl’d end? I will fetch you a tooth-picker now from the furthest inch of Asia, do you any embassage to the Pigmies, rather than hold three words’ conference with this harpy. You have no employment for me?
DON PEDRO: None, but to desire your good company. BENEDICK: O God sir, here’s a dish I love not: I cannot endure my Lady Tongue.
BENEDICK: 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 had laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love: and such a man is Claudio. I have known where there was no music with him but the drum and the pipe, and now he had rather hear the tabor and the pipe. He was wont to speak plain and the the purpose, like an honest man and a solider, and now his words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with these eyes? I think not: I 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 near 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; an excellent musician, and her hair shall be of what color it so pleases God. Ha! The prince and Monsieur Love! I will hide me.
SINGERS: …Into Hey nonny, nonny. 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.
DON PEDRO: Ha, no, no faith; thou singest well enough. BENEDICK: An they had been dogs that should have howled thus, they would have hanged them.
LEONATO: …Whom she hath in all outward behaviors seem ever to abhor. BENEDICK: Is’t possible?
DON PEDRO: …Let us send her to call him in to dinner. 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. They say the lady is far; ’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 cannot endure in his age. 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: …If it had been painful, I would not have come. BENEDICK: You take pleasure then in the message?
BEATRICE: …You have no stomach, signior: fare you well. BENEDICK: Ha! ‘Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.’ There’s a double meaning in that; if I do not love her, I am a fool.
DON PEDRO: …For what his heart thinks his tongue speaks. BENEDICK: Gallants, I am not as I have been.
DON PEDRO: If he be sad, he wants money. BENEDICK: I have the toothache.
CLAUDIO: Nay, but I know who love him. BENEDICK: Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old signior, walk aside with me: I have studied eight or nine wise words to speak to you, which these hobby-horses must not hear.

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