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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 2, Scene 1

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Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, URSULA and MARGARET

LEONATO

Was not Count John here at supper?

LEONATO

Wasn't Don John here at dinner?

ANTONIO

I saw him not.

ANTONIO

I didn't see him.

BEATRICE

How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I am heartburned an hour after.

BEATRICE

That gentleman always looks so sour! I can't ever see him without getting heartburn afterwards.

HERO

He is of a very melancholy disposition.

HERO

He does have a very sad disposition.

BEATRICE

He were an excellent man that were made just in the midway between him and Benedick. The one is too likean image and says nothing, and the other too like my lady’s eldest son, evermore tattling.

BEATRICE

A man would be excellent if he were halfway between Don John and Benedick. One of them is like a statue, saying nothing, and the other is like a spoiled child, always babbling on.

LEONATO

Then half Signor Benedick’s tongue in Count John’s mouth, and half Count John’s melancholy in Signor Benedick’s face—

LEONATO

Then you could put half of Sir Benedick's chatter in Don John's mouth, and put half of Don John's gloominess in Sir Benedick's face—

BEATRICE

With a good leg and a good foot, uncle, and money enough in his purse, such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her goodwill.

BEATRICE

And if he also had handsome legs and a full wallet, such a man could have any woman in the world, if he could win over her good will, uncle.

LEONATO

By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

LEONATO

Niece, I swear you'll never get a husband if you keep such a sharp tongue in your mouth.

ANTONIO

In faith, she’s too curst.

ANTONIO

Honestly, she's too mean.

BEATRICE

Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God’s sending that way, for it is said, “God sends a curst cowshort horns,” but to a cow too curst, he sends none.

BEATRICE

Too mean is better than just mean. In that respect, I'll escape God's punishment, for as the old proverb says: "God gives a mean cow short horns," so she can't cause as much damage. But he doesn't do anything to a cow that is too ill-tempered.

LEONATO

So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.

LEONATO

So by being too mean, God won't send you horns?

BEATRICE

Just, if he send me no husband, for the which blessing I am at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I could not endure a husband with a beard on his face! I had rather lie in the woolen.

BEATRICE

Exactly, and if he won't send me horns then he won't send me a husband, for any husband of mine would be sure to grow cuckold's horns. And I thank God every morning and evening for sending me no husband. Lord, I couldn't stand a husband with a beard on his face! I'd rather sleep under scratchy wool blankets.

LEONATO

You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

LEONATO

You might find a husband without a beard.

BEATRICE

What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard isless than a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and he that is less than a man, I am not forhim. Therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead his apes into hell.

BEATRICE

And what would I do with him? Dress him up in my clothes and make him my serving woman? If he has a beard, he's more than a youth. And if he has no beard, he's less than a man. If he's older than a handsome youth, then he's not for me. But if he's less than a man, then he wouldn't be able to handle me. Therefore, I bet that I'll die an old maid, and lead apes and bears in hell, as they say unmarried women will.

LEONATO

Well then, go you into hell?

LEONATO

Well then, does that mean you'll go to hell?

BEATRICE

No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, “Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here’s no place for you maids.” So deliver I up my apes and away to Saint Peter. For the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the dayis long.

BEATRICE

No, just to its gates. There the devil will meet me, looking like an old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, "Go off to heaven, Beatrice, go off to heaven. Hell is no place for virgins." So, I'll leave my apes behind and fly up to Saint Peter at heaven's gates. Then he'll show me the part of heaven where the unmarried people live, and we'll all live together happily ever after.

ANTONIO

[to HERO] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled by your father.

ANTONIO

[To HERO] Well, niece, I trust that you at least will always defer to your father.

BEATRICE

Yes, faith, it is my cousin’s duty to make curtsy and say, “Father, as it please you.” But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or else make another curtsy and say, “Father, as it please me.”

BEATRICE

Yes, of course, it's my cousin's duty to curtsy and say, "Father, I'll do whatever pleases you." But despite all that, cousin, if your father doesn't pick a handsome husband for you, you should curtsy again and say, "Father, I'll do whatever pleases me."

LEONATO

[to HERO] Daughter, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

LEONATO

[To HERO] Well, niece, I hope to see you with a husband one day.

BEATRICE

Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman to be overmastered with a piece of valiant dust? To make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle, I’ll none. Adam’s sons are my brethren, and truly I hold it a sin to matchin my kindred.

BEATRICE

Not until God starts making men out of something other than dirt. Shouldn't it make a woman grieve, being ordered about by some brave clump of dust? Linking her life forever to a wandering piece of clay? No, uncle, I would rather not have a husband. All of Adam's descendants are my relatives, and I truly believe that marriage between relatives is a sin.

LEONATO

[to HERO] Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince do solicit you in that kind, you know your answer.

LEONATO

[To HERO] Daughter, remember what I told you. If the Prince asks you about marriage, you know how to answer him.

BEATRICE

The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good time. If the Prince be too important, tellhim there is measure in everything, and so dance out the answer. For hear me, Hero, wooing, wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinquepace. The first suit is hot and hasty like a Scotch jig, and full as fantastical; the wedding, mannerly modest as a measure, full of state and ancientry; and then comes repentance, and with his bad legs falls into the cinquepace faster and faster till he sink into his grave.

BEATRICE

Cousin, if he doesn't court you properly and appropriately, the fault will be in his timing. If he presses you too hard, tell him that everything has its proper rhythm, and romance is like a dance. Listen, Hero, the three stages of romance are like three dances. The initial courtship is hot and hasty like a Scottish jig, and just as full of fantasy. Then the wedding is a slower, more solemn dance, full of dignity and tradition. And then comes the stage where you regret your marriage, and this stage is like the lively cinquepace dance, which keeps getting faster and faster until you fall into your grave.

LEONATO

Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

LEONATO

Niece, you see things with unusual perceptiveness.

BEATRICE

I have a good eye, uncle. I can see a church by daylight.

BEATRICE

I have a good eye, uncle. I can see obvious things in broad daylight.

LEONATO

The revelers are entering, brother. Make good room.

LEONATO

The partygoers are coming in, brother. Give them room.

Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHASAR, DON JOHN, BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA and others, masked

DON PEDRO

Lady, will you walk a bout with your friend?

DON PEDRO

[To HERO] My lady, will you dance with me for a while?

They begin to dance

HERO

So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and say nothing, I am yours for the walk, and especially when I walk away.

HERO

As long as you move gently, look handsome, and say nothing, I'm yours for the dance, and especially when I dance away.

DON PEDRO

With me in your company?

DON PEDRO

Will I be in your company then?

HERO

I may say so when I please.

HERO

I'll tell you when I decide.

DON PEDRO

And when please you to say so?

DON PEDRO

And when will you decide?

HERO

When I like your favor, for God defend the lute should be like the case!

HERO

When I like your actual appearance, for God forbid that your face should look like your mask.

DON PEDRO

My visor is Philemon’s roof; within the house is Jove.

DON PEDRO

My mask is like the roof of Philemon's cottage—it looks humble on the outside, but the great god Jove is beneath it.

HERO

Why, then, your visor should be thatched.

HERO

Why, then your mask should be thatched like a roof.

DON PEDRO

Speak low if you speak love.

DON PEDRO

Speak softly if you'll speak about love.

They move aside. BALTHASAR and MARGARET move forward

BALTHASAR

Well, I would you did like me.

BALTHASAR

Well, I wish that you liked me.

MARGARET

So would not I for your own sake, for I have many ill qualities.

MARGARET

For your sake, I don't wish it. Because I have many bad qualities.

BALTHASAR

Which is one?

BALTHASAR

Name one.

MARGARET

I say my prayers aloud.

MARGARET

I say my prayers aloud.

BALTHASAR

I love you the better; the hearers may cry “Amen.”

BALTHASAR

I love you even more for that. Whoever hears you praying can then cry, "Amen."

MARGARET

God match me with a good dancer!

MARGARET

May God pair me with a good dancer!

BALTHASAR

Amen.

BALTHASAR

Amen. Here I am.

MARGARET

And God keep him out of my sight when the dance is done! Answer, clerk.

MARGARET

And may God take him away from me when the dance is done! Now say "amen," preacher.

BALTHASAR

No more words. The clerk is answered.

BALTHASAR

No more words from me. I have my answer.

They move aside. URSULA and ANTONIO move forward.

URSULA

I know you well enough. You are Signor Antonio.

URSULA

I know you well enough. You are Sir Antonio.

ANTONIO

At a word, I am not.

ANTONIO

In short, I am not.

URSULA

I know you by the waggling of your head.

URSULA

I recognize you by the way you move your head.

ANTONIO

To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

ANTONIO

To be honest, I'm only imitating Antonio.

URSULA

You could never do him so ill-well unless you were the very man. Here’s his dry hand up and down. You are he, you are he.

URSULA

You could never imitate his bad qualities so well unless you were the man himself. See, you have his dry, aging hands exactly. You are he, you are he.

ANTONIO

At a word, I am not.

ANTONIO

In short, I am not.

URSULA

Come, come, do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit? Can virtue hide itself? Go to, mum, you are he. Graces will appear, and there’s an end.

URSULA

Come, come, do you think I can't recognize you by the excellent wit of your answers? Can virtue hide itself? Be quiet, for you are Antonio. Nobility will always make itself known, and there's nothing more to be said.

They move aside. BENEDICK and BEATRICE move forward.

BEATRICE

Will you not tell me who told you so?

BEATRICE

Won't you tell me who said that?

BENEDICK

No, you shall pardon me.

BENEDICK

No, you'll have to pardon me.

BEATRICE

Nor will you not tell me who you are?

BEATRICE

And you won't tell me who you are either?

BENEDICK

Not now.

BENEDICK

Not now.

BEATRICE

That I was disdainful and that I had my good wit out of The Hundred Merry Tales! Well this was Signor Benedick that said so.

BEATRICE

To think, someone said that I was scornful, and that I got my wit from an old joke book! Well, it must have been Sir Benedick who said that.

BENEDICK

What’s he?

BENEDICK

Who's he?

BEATRICE

I am sure you know him well enough.

BEATRICE

I'm sure you know him well enough.

BENEDICK

Not I, believe me.

BENEDICK

I don't, believe me.

BEATRICE

Did he never make you laugh?

BEATRICE

Didn't he ever make you laugh?

BENEDICK

I pray you, what is he?

BENEDICK

Please tell me, who is he?

BEATRICE

Why, he is the Prince’s jester, a very dull fool, only his gift is in devising impossible slanders. None but libertines delight in him, and the commendation is not in his wit but in his villainy, for he both pleases men and angers them, and then they laugh at him and beat him. I am sure he is in the fleet. I would he had boarded me.

BEATRICE

Why, he's the Prince's jester—a very stupid fool, whose only gift is coming up with outrageous insults. Only immoral rascals enjoy his company, and they don't like his wit, but only his rudeness. He both pleases and angers people; they laugh at him and then beat him up. I'm sure he's in that army of dancers out there. I wish he had been brave enough to approach me for a battle.

BENEDICK

When I know the gentleman, I’ll tell him what you say.

BENEDICK

When I meet the gentleman, I'll tell him what you've said.

BEATRICE

Do, do. He’ll but break a comparison or two on me, which, peradventure not marked or not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy, and then there’s a partridge wing saved, for the fool will eat no supper that night.

BEATRICE

Do that. He'll make a joke by comparing me to something insulting, and if no one pays attention to him or laughs, he'll get depressed. And that will save a partridge wing from being eaten, for the fool will be too unhappy to eat any dinner.

Music for the dance

We must follow the leaders.

We must follow the leaders of the dance.

BENEDICK

In every good thing.

BENEDICK

We should follow them in every good thing.

BEATRICE

Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave them at the next turning.

BEATRICE

No, if they lead us the wrong way, I'll leave them at the next song.

Dance, then exeunt all except DON JOHN, BORACHIO, and CLAUDIO

DON JOHN

[to BORACHIO] Sure my brother is amorous on Hero, and hath withdrawn her father to break with him about it. Theladies follow her, and but one visor remains.

DON JOHN

[To BORACHIO] My brother is surely in love with Hero, and has now taken her father aside to ask him about marrying her. The ladies have all followed Hero, but one masked man remains.

BORACHIO

And that is Claudio. I know him by his bearing.

BORACHIO

And that is Claudio. I recognize him by his posture.

DON JOHN

[to CLAUDIO] Are not you Signor Benedick?

DON JOHN

[To CLAUDIO] Aren't you Sir Benedick?

CLAUDIO

You know me well. I am he.

CLAUDIO

You know me well. I am Benedick.

DON JOHN

Signor, you are very near my brother in his love. He is enamored on Hero. I pray you, dissuade him from her. She is no equal for his birth. You may do the part of anhonest man in it.

DON JOHN

Sir, you are a close friend of my brother's. He is in love with Hero. Please, convince him to change his mind. Her social rank is so low that it would be inappropriate for him to marry her. You would be an honorable man if you did this for me.

CLAUDIO

How know you he loves her?

CLAUDIO

How do you know he loves her?

DON JOHN

I heard him swear his affection.

DON JOHN

I heard him swear it.

BORACHIO

So did I too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.

BORACHIO

I did too, and he swore he would marry her tonight.

DON JOHN

Come, let us to the banquet.

DON JOHN

Come, let's go to the banquet.

Exeunt DON JOHN and BORACHIO

CLAUDIO

[unmasking] Thus answer I in the name of Benedick, But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio. 'Tis certain so, the Prince woos for himself. Friendship is constant in all other things Save in the office and affairs of love. Therefore all hearts in love use their own tongues. Let every eye negotiate for itself And trust no agent, for beauty is a witch Against whose charms faith melteth into blood. This is an accident of hourly proof, Which I mistrusted not. Farewell, therefore, Hero.

CLAUDIO

[Taking off his mask] I answered to Benedick's name, but I heard this bad news with Claudio's ears. So it's true: the Prince wants Hero for himself. Friendship is loyal in all things except for the business of love. Therefore all lovers should speak only for themselves. Let everyone do their own courting, and not trust any middle-men. Beauty is a witch whose spells melt honor into passion. This is something that happens all the time, but I never expected it to happen to me. Farewell then, Hero.

Enter BENEDICK

BENEDICK

Count Claudio?

BENEDICK

Count Claudio?

CLAUDIO

Yea, the same.

CLAUDIO

Yes, that's me.

BENEDICK

Come, will you go with me?

BENEDICK

Will you come with me?

CLAUDIO

Whither?

CLAUDIO

Where?

BENEDICK

Even to the next willow, about your own business, county. What fashion will you wear the garland of? Aboutyour neck like an usurer’s chain? Or under your arm like a lieutenant’s scarf? You must wear it one way, forthe Prince hath gat your Hero.

BENEDICK

Just to the nearest willow tree, to take care of your business, Count. How do you want to wear your willow garland? Around your neck, like a rich man's chain? Or under your arm, like a lieutenant's sash? You must wear it one way or another, for the Prince has won your Hero.

CLAUDIO

I wish him joy of her.

CLAUDIO

I wish him happiness with her.

BENEDICK

Why, that’s spoken like an honest drover; so they sell bullocks. But did you think the Prince would have served you thus?

BENEDICK

Why, you sound like an honest cattle-dealer. That's how they sell bulls. But did you really think the Prince would trick you like that?

CLAUDIO

I pray you, leave me.

CLAUDIO

Please, leave me alone.

BENEDICK

Ho, now you strike like the blind man. 'Twas the boy that stole your meat, and you’ll beat the post.

BENEDICK

Hey, now you're lashing out in the dark. Someone else robbed you, but you'll beat up the messenger.

CLAUDIO

If it will not be, I’ll leave you.

CLAUDIO

If you won't go away, I'll leave you.

Exit

BENEDICK

Alas, poor hurt fowl, now will he creep into sedges. But that my Lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me! The Prince’s fool! Ha, it may be I go under that title because I am merry. Yea, but so I am apt to do myself wrong. I am not so reputed! It is the base, though bitter, disposition of Beatrice that puts the world into her person and so gives me out. Well, I’ll berevenged as I may.

BENEDICK

Alas, that poor wounded bird. Now he'll crawl into the bushes and hide. But how strange that Lady Beatrice should seem to recognize me, and yet also not recognize me! "The Prince's jester!" Ha, maybe they call me that because I am cheerful. No, but I'm only insulting myself by thinking this. I don't have that kind of a reputation! It's just Beatrice's mean, sarcastic nature that causes her to think that everyone in the world shares her opinion, and therefore makes her describe me in this way. Well, I'll get my revenge if I can.

Enter DON PEDRO

DON PEDRO

Now, Signior, where’s the Count? Did you see him?

DON PEDRO

Now, Sir, where's Count Claudio? Did you see him?

BENEDICK

Troth, my lord, I have played the part of Lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren. I told him, and I think I told him true, that your Grace had got the goodwill of this young lady, and I offered him my company to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being worthy to be whipped.

BENEDICK

Truly, my lord, I played the part of Lady Rumor and relayed the news to him. I found him here, as melancholy as a rabbit in a burrow. I told him—and I think I told him the truth—that you had won over the lady's goodwill. I then offered to accompany him to a willow tree, to either help him make a garland as a forsaken lover, or else to bind willow switches into a whip to beat him.

DON PEDRO

To be whipped? What’s his fault?

DON PEDRO

To beat him? What's his crime?

BENEDICK

The flat transgression of a schoolboy who, being overjoyed with finding a birds' nest, shows it his companion, and he steals it.

BENEDICK

The simple crime of a schoolboy who finds a birds' nest and joyfully shows it to his friend, who then steals it.

DON PEDRO

Wilt thou make a trust a transgression? The transgression is in the stealer.

DON PEDRO

Will you turn trusting a friend into a crime? The criminal is the thief.

BENEDICK

Yet it had not been amiss the rod had been made, and the garland too, for the garland he might have worn himself and the rod he might have bestowed on you, who, as I take it, have stolen his birds' nest.

BENEDICK

But it still would have been appropriate to make both the whip and the garland. He could have worn the garland himself, and used the whip on you, since you—as I understand it—have stolen his birds' nest.

DON PEDRO

I will but teach them to sing and restore them to the owner.

DON PEDRO

I only plan to teach the baby birds to sing, and then return them to their rightful owner.

BENEDICK

If their singing answer your saying, by my faith, you say honestly.

BENEDICK

If their singing corresponds with what you say—if Hero really is ready to love Claudio, and not you—then you'll be telling the truth.

DON PEDRO

The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you. The gentleman that danced with her told her she is much wronged by you.

DON PEDRO

The Lady Beatrice has a quarrel with you. The gentleman she danced with told her that you had insulted her gravely.

BENEDICK

O, she misused me past the endurance of a block! An oak but with one green leaf on it would have answered her. My very visor began to assume life and scold with her. She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that Iwas the Prince’s jester, that I was duller than a greatthaw, 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. If her breath were as terrible as her terminations, there were no living near her; she would infect to the north star. I would not marry her, though she were endowed with all that Adam had left him before he transgressed. She would have made Hercules have turned spit, yea, and have cleft his club to make the fire, too. Come, talk not of her. You shall find herthe infernal Ate in good apparel. I would to God some scholar would conjure her, for certainly, while sheis here, a man may live as quiet in hell as in a sanctuary, and people sin upon purpose because they would go thither. So indeedall disquiet, horror and perturbation follows her.

BENEDICK

Oh, she's insulted me so badly that not even a block of wood could endure it! An oak tree with only one green leaf left would revive itself to respond to her abuse. Even my mask started to come to life and try to argue with her. She told me—not recognizing me as myself—that I was the Prince's jester, and duller than mud. She piled up mockery upon mockery until I stood paralyzed, like a man set up as a target with a whole army shooting at me. She speaks daggers, and every word stabs. If her breath were as terrible as her insults, she would stink up and kill everything from here to the North Star. I wouldn't marry her even if her dowry were Paradise. If Hercules were her husband, she'd make him cook for her, and chop up his club for firewood. Come on, don't talk about her. She's like Atë dressed up in fine clothes. I wish to God that some magician would exorcize her, for as long as she's here on earth, hell itself must be just as quiet as a church. People sin on purpose just so they can go to hell and escape her. Indeed, chaos, horror, and turmoil follow her everywhere.

Enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO

DON PEDRO

Look, here she comes.

DON PEDRO

Look, here she comes.

BENEDICK

Will your grace command me any service to the world’s end? I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on. I will fetch you a toothpicker now from the furthest inch of Asia, bring you the length of Prester John’s foot, fetchyou a hair off the great Cham’s beard, do you any embassage to the Pygmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy. You have no employment for me?

BENEDICK

Will your Grace please send me on a mission to the ends of the earth? I'll go to the other side of the globe for any silly errand you can come up with. I'll fetch you a toothpick from the farthest reaches of Asia, or find out Prester John's shoe size, or bring you a hair from Cham's beard, or deliver any message you want to send to the Pygmies—anything rather than exchange three words with this man-eating vulture. Don't you have any work for me?

DON PEDRO

None but to desire your good company.

DON PEDRO

No work at all—all I desire is your good company.

BENEDICK

O God, sir, here’s a dish I love not. I cannot endure my Lady Tongue!

BENEDICK

Oh God, sir, then here comes a meal I hate. I can't stand tongue!

Exit

DON PEDRO

[to BEATRICE] Come, lady, come, you have lost the heartof Signior Benedick.

DON PEDRO

[To BEATRICE] Come, my lady, come. You have lost Signor Benedick's heart.

BEATRICE

Indeed, my lord, he lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for it, a double heart for his single one. Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice. Therefore your Grace may well say I have lost it.

BEATRICE

It's true, my lord. He did lend it to me once, and I paid him back with interest: a double heart for his single one. But then he won it back from me in a game with loaded dice. So your Grace might be right in saying that I lost it.

DON PEDRO

You have put him down, lady, you have put him down.

DON PEDRO

You've defeated him, lady. You've put him down.

BEATRICE

So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have brought Count Claudio,whom you sent me to seek.

BEATRICE

And I hope that he won't put me down, or else my children will all be fools. Here, I've brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to find.

DON PEDRO

Why, how now, Count, wherefore are you sad?

DON PEDRO

Why, what's going on, Count? Why are you sad?

CLAUDIO

Not sad, my lord.

CLAUDIO

I'm not sad, my lord.

DON PEDRO

How then, sick?

DON PEDRO

What is it then? Are you sick?

CLAUDIO

Neither, my lord.

CLAUDIO

Neither sad nor sick, my lord.

BEATRICE

The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well, but civil count, civil as an orange, and somethingof that jealous complexion.

BEATRICE

The Count is neither sad, nor sick, nor happy, nor well—he's just civil, civil and orange like an orange from Seville, and with the same jealous, yellow complexion.

DON PEDRO

I' faith, lady, I think your blazon to be true, though,I’ll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false. —Here,Claudio, I have wooed in thy name, and fair Hero is won. I have broke with her father and his goodwill obtained. Name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy.

DON PEDRO

Truly, lady, I think your description is right, though I swear he has no reason to look so jealous.

[To CLAUDIO] Here, Claudio, I've courted Hero on your behalf, and beautiful Hero has been won. I asked her father, and he's given his permission. Name the day you want to get married, and may God give you joy.

LEONATO

Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes. His grace hath made the match, and all grace say “Amen” to it.

LEONATO

Count Claudio, take my daughter, and take all my fortunes along with her. The Prince has made the match, and may God—the Prince of heaven—say "amen" to it.

BEATRICE

Speak, Count, ’tis your cue.

BEATRICE

That's your cue to speak, Count.

CLAUDIO

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy. I were but little happy if I could say how much.—Lady, as you are mine, I am yours. I give away myself for you and dote upon the exchange.

CLAUDIO

Silence is the best announcer of joy. If I were only a little happy, I could say how much, but as it is I'm speechless.

[To HERO] Lady, you are mine, and I am yours. I give myself away for you, and I delight in the trade.

BEATRICE

Speak, cousin, or if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss and let not him speak neither.

BEATRICE

Say something, cousin. Or if you can't, stop his mouth with a kiss and don't let him say anything either.

DON PEDRO

In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

DON PEDRO

Truly, lady, you have a cheerful heart.

BEATRICE

Yea, my lord. I thank it, poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care. My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.

BEATRICE

Yes, my lord. I thank my heart, the poor fool, for it keeps itself safe from worries. Now my cousin is whispering to Claudio that she loves him.

CLAUDIO

And so she doth, cousin.

CLAUDIO

And so she is, cousin.

BEATRICE

Good Lord for alliance! Thus goes everyone to the world but I, and I am sunburnt. I may sit in a corner and cry, “Heigh-ho for a husband!”

BEATRICE

Thank the good Lord for alliances! And so everyone goes off into the world of marriage except for me. I stay in, sunburned and unattractive. I ought to sit in a corner and cry, "Heigh-ho for a husband!"

DON PEDRO

Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

DON PEDRO

Lady Beatrice, I will get you a husband.

BEATRICE

I would rather have one of your father’s getting. Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

BEATRICE

I would rather have one your father got me. Don't you have any brothers like yourself, your Grace? Your father got excellent husbands, if only a young woman could find one.

DON PEDRO

Will you have me, lady?

DON PEDRO

Will you have me, my lady?

BEATRICE

No, my lord, unless I might have another for working days. Your Grace is too costly to wear every day. But I beseech your Grace pardon me. I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

BEATRICE

No, my lord—not unless I could have another husband for workdays. Your Grace is too expensive to wear every day. But please pardon me, your Grace. I was born to tell jokes, not to make sense.

DON PEDRO

Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for out o' question you were born in amerry hour.

DON PEDRO

I'd be more offended if you were silent, for being cheerful suits you best. You must have been born in a happy hour.

BEATRICE

No, sure, my lord, my mother cried, but then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.—Cousins, God give you joy!

BEATRICE

No, my lord, my mother actually cried when she gave birth to me. But then a star danced overhead, and under that star I was born.

[To the partygoers] Friends and cousins, I must be off!

LEONATO

Niece, will you look to those things I told you of?

LEONATO

Niece, will you take care of those things I asked you about?

BEATRICE

I cry you mercy, uncle.—By your Grace’s pardon.

BEATRICE

Forgive me, uncle, I will.

[To DON PEDRO] If you'll excuse me, your Grace.

Exit

DON PEDRO

By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

DON PEDRO

By God, what a good-humored lady.

LEONATO

There’s little of the melancholy element in her, my lord. She is never sad but when she sleeps, and not eversad then, for I have heard my daughter say she hath often dreamed of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.

LEONATO

There's certainly not much gloominess in her, my lord. She's only sad when she sleeps, and even then Hero has told me that Beatrice can dream of misfortune but still wake herself up laughing.

DON PEDRO

She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

DON PEDRO

She can't stand to hear about getting a husband.

LEONATO

Oh, by no means. She mocks all her wooers out of suit.

LEONATO

Oh, certainly not. She mocks all her suitors until they give up courting her.

DON PEDRO

She were an excellent wife for Benedict.

DON PEDRO

She would be an excellent wife for Benedick.

LEONATO

O Lord, my lord, if they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.

LEONATO

Oh Lord, if they were married, they'd talk each other into insanity within a week, my lord.

DON PEDRO

County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

DON PEDRO

Count Claudio, when do you plan to get married?

CLAUDIO

Tomorrow, my lord. Time goes on crutches till love have all his rites.

CLAUDIO

Tomorrow, my lord. Time limps along slowly when love is waiting to be fulfilled.

LEONATO

Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just sevennight, and a time too brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.

LEONATO

Wait until Monday, my dear future son-in-law. It's only a week away, and even that is too short a time to put together all the arrangements I have planned.

DON PEDRO

[to CLAUDIO] Come, you shake the head at so long a breathing, but I warrant thee, Claudio, the time shallnot go dully by us. I will in the interim undertake oneof Hercules' labors, which is to bring Signor Benedick and the Lady Beatrice into a mountain of affection, th' one with th' other. I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you three will but minister such assistance as I shall give you direction.

DON PEDRO

[To CLAUDIO] Come, you shake your head at such a long wait. But I promise you, Claudio, the time won't be boring for us. While we wait, I intend to take on an impossible task, like one of the Labors of Hercules: I want to make Sir Benedick and Lady Beatrice fall totally in love with each other. I want to see them matched. And I'm sure I can arrange it, if you three will help me when I ask for it.

LEONATO

My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.

LEONATO

My lord, I'll accept your proposal, even if I have to stay up for ten nights straight.

CLAUDIO

And I, my lord.

CLAUDIO

And me too, my lord.

DON PEDRO

And you too, gentle Hero?

DON PEDRO

And you too, dear Hero?

HERO

I will do any modest office, my lord, to help my cousinto a good husband.

HERO

My lord, I'll perform any task if it will help my cousin get a good husband.

DON PEDRO

And Benedick is not the unhopefulest husband that I know. Thus far can I praise him: he is of a noble strain, of approved valor, and confirmed honesty. I willteach you how to humor your cousin that she shall fall in love with Benedick. —And I, with your two helps, will so practice on Benedick that, in despite of his quick wit and his queasy stomach, he shall fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer; his glory shall be ours, for we are the only love gods. Go in with me, and I will tell you my drift.

DON PEDRO

And Benedick isn't the worst husband I know. I can praise him this much at least: he is well-born, he's had his bravery tested in battle, and he is established as an honorable man. I'll teach you how to influence your cousin so that she falls in love with Benedick.

[To CLAUDIO and LEONATO] And we men will scheme against Benedick so that, despite his quick wit and fear of marriage, he will fall in love with Beatrice. If we can do this, then we'll steal all of Cupid's glory. He won't even be able to call himself an archer anymore—we will be the only gods of love! Now come inside with me, and I'll tell you my plan.

Exeunt

Much ado about nothing
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Matt cosby
About the Translator: Matt Cosby
Matt Cosby graduated from Amherst College in 2011, and currently works as a writer and editor for LitCharts. He is from Florida but now lives in Portland, Oregon, where he also makes art, plays the piano, and goes to dog parks.