Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Much Ado about Nothing
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Much Ado about Nothing
 
Act III. Scene II.
 
A Room in LEONATO’S House.
 
Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, and LEONATO.
  D. Pedro.  I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and then go I toward Arragon.
  Claud.  I’ll bring you thither, my lord, if you’ll vouchsafe me.
  D. Pedro.  Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss of your marriage, as to show a child his new coat and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold with Benedick for his company; for, from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, he is all mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid’s bow-string, and the little hangman dare not shoot at him. He hath a heart as sound as a bell, and his tongue is the clapper; for what his heart thinks his tongue speaks.        5
  Bene.  Gallants, I am not as I have been.
  Leon.  So say I: methinks you are sadder.
  Claud.  I hope he be in love.
  D. Pedro.  Hang him, truant! there’s no true drop of blood in him, to be truly touched with love. If he be sad, he wants money.
  Bene.  I have the tooth-ache.        10
  D. Pedro.  Draw it.
  Bene.  Hang it.
  Claud.  You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.
  D. Pedro.  What! sigh for the tooth-ache?
  Leon.  Where is but a humour or a worm?        15
  Bene.  Well, every one can master a grief but he that has it.
  Claud.  Yet say I, he is in love.
  D. Pedro.  There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as, to be a Dutchman to-day, a French-man to-morrow, or in the shape of two countries at once, as a German from the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a fancy to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is.
  Claud.  If he be not in love with some woman, there is no believing old signs: a’ brushes his hat a mornings; what should that bode?
  D. Pedro.  Hath any man seen him at the barber’s?        20
  Claud.  No, but the barber’s man hath been seen with him; and the old ornament of his cheek hath already stuffed tennis-balls.
  Leon.  Indeed he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.
  D. Pedro.  Nay, a’ rubs himself with civet: can you smell him out by that?
  Claud.  That’s as much as to say the sweet youth’s in love.
  D. Pedro.  The greatest note of it is his melancholy.        25
  Claud.  And when was he wont to wash his face?
  D. Pedro.  Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear what they say of him.
  Claud.  Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into a lute-string, and new-governed by stops.
  D. Pedro.  Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him. Conclude, conclude he is in love.
  Claud.  Nay, but I know who loves him.        30
  D. Pedro.  That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows him not.
  Claud.  Yes, and his ill conditions; and in despite of all, dies for him.
  D. Pedro.  She shall be buried with her face upwards.
  Bene.  Yet is this no charm for the tooth-ache. 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.  [Exeunt BENEDICK and LEONATO.
  D. Pedro.  For my life, to break with him about Beatrice.        35
  Claud.  ’Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this played their parts with Beatrice, and then the two bears will not bite one another when they meet.
 
Enter DON JOHN.
  D. John.  My lord and brother, God save you!
  D. Pedro.  Good den, brother.
  D. John.  If your leisure served, I would speak with you.        40
  D. Pedro.  In private?
  D. John.  If it please you; yet Count Claudio may hear, for what I would speak of concerns him.
  D. Pedro.  What’s the matter?
  D. John.  [To CLAUDIO.]  Means your lordship to be married to-morrow?
  D. Pedro.  You know he does.        45
  D. John.  I know not that, when he knows what I know.
  Claud.  If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.
  D. John.  You may think I love you not: let that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect your ensuing marriage; surely suit ill-spent, and labour ill bestowed!
  D. Pedro.  Why, what’s the matter?
  D. John.  I came hither to tell you; and circumstances shortened,—for she hath been too long a talking of,—the lady is disloyal.        50
  Claud.  Who, Hero?
  D. John.  Even she: Leonato’s Hero, your Hero, every man’s Hero.
  Claud.  Disloyal?
  D. John.  The word’s too good to paint out her wickedness; I could say, she were worse: think you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall see her chamber-window entered, even the night before her wedding-day: if you love her then, to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour to change your mind.
  Claud.  May this be so?        55
  D. Pedro.  I will not think it.
  D. John.  If you dare not trust that you see, confess not that you know. If you will follow me, I will show you enough; and when you have seen more and heard more, proceed accordingly.
  Claud.  If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry her to-morrow, in the congregation, where I should wed, there will I shame her.
  D. Pedro.  And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join with thee to disgrace her.
  D. John.  I will disparage her no further till you are my witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and let the issue show itself.        60
  D. Pedro.  O day untowardly turned!
  Claud.  O mischief strangely thwarting!
  D. John.  O plague right well prevented! So will you say when you have seen the sequel.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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