A line-by-line translation

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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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ANTONIO

In faith, she’s too curst.

ANTONIO

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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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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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

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LEONATO

You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

LEONATO

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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

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LEONATO

Well then, go you into hell?

LEONATO

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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

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ANTONIO

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

ANTONIO

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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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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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

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LEONATO

Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

LEONATO

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BEATRICE

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

BEATRICE

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LEONATO

The revelers are entering, brother. Make good room.

LEONATO

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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

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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

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DON PEDRO

With me in your company?

DON PEDRO

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HERO

I may say so when I please.

HERO

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DON PEDRO

And when please you to say so?

DON PEDRO

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HERO

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

HERO

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DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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HERO

Why, then, your visor should be thatched.

HERO

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DON PEDRO

Speak low if you speak love.

DON PEDRO

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They move aside. BALTHASAR and MARGARET move forward

BALTHASAR

Well, I would you did like me.

BALTHASAR

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MARGARET

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

MARGARET

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BALTHASAR

Which is one?

BALTHASAR

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MARGARET

I say my prayers aloud.

MARGARET

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BALTHASAR

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

BALTHASAR

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MARGARET

God match me with a good dancer!

MARGARET

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BALTHASAR

Amen.

BALTHASAR

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MARGARET

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

MARGARET

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BALTHASAR

No more words. The clerk is answered.

BALTHASAR

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They move aside. URSULA and ANTONIO move forward.

URSULA

I know you well enough. You are Signor Antonio.

URSULA

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ANTONIO

At a word, I am not.

ANTONIO

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URSULA

I know you by the waggling of your head.

URSULA

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ANTONIO

To tell you true, I counterfeit him.

ANTONIO

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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

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ANTONIO

At a word, I am not.

ANTONIO

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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

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They move aside. BENEDICK and BEATRICE move forward.

BEATRICE

Will you not tell me who told you so?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

No, you shall pardon me.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

Nor will you not tell me who you are?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Not now.

BENEDICK

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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

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BENEDICK

What’s he?

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

I am sure you know him well enough.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Not I, believe me.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

Did he never make you laugh?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

I pray you, what is he?

BENEDICK

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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 sur e he is in the fleet. I would he had boarded me.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

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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

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Music for the dance

We must follow the leaders.

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BENEDICK

In every good thing.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

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

BEATRICE

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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

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BORACHIO

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

BORACHIO

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DON JOHN

[to CLAUDIO] Are not you Signor Benedick?

DON JOHN

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CLAUDIO

You know me well. I am he.

CLAUDIO

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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

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CLAUDIO

How know you he loves her?

CLAUDIO

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DON JOHN

I heard him swear his affection.

DON JOHN

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BORACHIO

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

BORACHIO

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DON JOHN

Come, let us to the banquet.

DON JOHN

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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

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Enter BENEDICK

BENEDICK

Count Claudio?

BENEDICK

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CLAUDIO

Yea, the same.

CLAUDIO

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BENEDICK

Come, will you go with me?

BENEDICK

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CLAUDIO

Whither?

CLAUDIO

Lorem

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

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CLAUDIO

I wish him joy of her.

CLAUDIO

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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

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CLAUDIO

I pray you, leave me.

CLAUDIO

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BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

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CLAUDIO

If it will not be, I’ll leave you.

CLAUDIO

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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

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Enter DON PEDRO

DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

To be whipped? What’s his fault?

DON PEDRO

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BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

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DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

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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

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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

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Enter CLAUDIO, BEATRICE, HERO, and LEONATO

DON PEDRO

Look, here she comes.

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

None but to desire your good company.

DON PEDRO

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BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

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Exit

DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

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

DON PEDRO

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CLAUDIO

Not sad, my lord.

CLAUDIO

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DON PEDRO

How then, sick?

DON PEDRO

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CLAUDIO

Neither, my lord.

CLAUDIO

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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

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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

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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

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BEATRICE

Speak, Count, ’tis your cue.

BEATRICE

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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

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BEATRICE

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

BEATRICE

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DON PEDRO

In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

DON PEDRO

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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

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CLAUDIO

And so she doth, cousin.

CLAUDIO

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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

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DON PEDRO

Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

Will you have me, lady?

DON PEDRO

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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

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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

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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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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BEATRICE

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

BEATRICE

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Exit

DON PEDRO

By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

DON PEDRO

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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

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DON PEDRO

She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

DON PEDRO

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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DON PEDRO

She were an excellent wife for Benedict.

DON PEDRO

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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DON PEDRO

County Claudio, when mean you to go to church?

DON PEDRO

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CLAUDIO

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

CLAUDIO

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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

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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

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LEONATO

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

LEONATO

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CLAUDIO

And I, my lord.

CLAUDIO

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DON PEDRO

And you too, gentle Hero?

DON PEDRO

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HERO

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

HERO

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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

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Exeunt

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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.