A line-by-line translation

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 3, Scene 1

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA

HERO

Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor. There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice Proposing with the Prince and Claudio. Whisper her ear and tell her I and Ursula Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse Is all of her. Say that thou overheardst us, And bid her steal into the pleachèd bower Where honeysuckles ripened by the sun Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites Made proud by princes, that advance their pride Against that power that bred it. There will she hide her To listen our propose. This is thy office. Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.

HERO

Good Margaret, run to the parlor. You'll find my cousin Beatrice talking to the Prince and Claudio there. Whisper in her ear, and tell her that Ursula and I are walking in the garden and talking about her. Say that you overheard us, and tell her to sneak into the leafy arbor where the honeysuckles, brought to full bloom by the sun, now block the sunlight from entering—like men promoted by princes who then turn against their masters. Beatrice can hide there and listen to our conversation. This is your job. Do it well, and then leave the rest to us.

MARGARET

I’ll make her come, I warrant you, presently.

MARGARET

I'll make her come right away, I promise you.

Exit

HERO

Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, As we do trace this alley up and down, Our talk must only be of Benedick. When I do name him, let it be thy part To praise him more than ever man did merit. My talk to thee must be how Benedick Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made, That only wounds by hearsay.

HERO

Now, Ursula, when Beatrice shows up, we must walk back and forth on this garden path and talk about nothing but Benedick. When I mention him, you should praise him more than any man ever deserved. And I'll talk to you about how Benedick is sick with love for Beatrice. This is how Cupid makes his crafty arrows: out of rumor and hearsay.

Enter BEATRICE, behind

Now begin,For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

Let's begin, because Beatrice is running here now like a little bird—keeping close to the ground—to come eavesdrop on our discussion.

URSULA

[aside to HERO] The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish Cut with her golden oars the silver stream And greedily devour the treacherous bait. So angle we for Beatrice, who even now Is couchèd in the woodbine coverture. Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

URSULA

[To HERO so that only she can hear] The best part of fishing is when you can see the fish cut through the water and greedily devour the treacherous bait. We're fishing for Beatrice, who is hiding even now in the honeysuckle arbor. Don't worry about my part in our conversation.

HERO

[aside to URSULA ] Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.— [approaching the bower] No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful. I know her spirits are as coy and wild As haggards of the rock.

HERO

[To URSULA so that only she can hear] Then let's get closer to her, so she won't miss any of the false, sweet bait we're putting out for her. [Approaching the arbor] No, truly, Ursula, she is too scornful. I know that she's as shy and untameable as a wild hawk in the mountains.

URSULA

But are you sureThat Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

URSULA

But are you sure that Benedick is so completely in love with Beatrice?

HERO

So says the Prince and my new-trothèd lord.

HERO

That's what the Prince and my new fiancé say.

URSULA

And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?

URSULA

And did they ask you to tell Beatrice about it, madam?

HERO

They did entreat me to acquaint her of it, But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick, To wish him wrestle with affection And never to let Beatrice know of it.

HERO

They did want me to make her aware of it. But I persuaded them that—if they really cared for Benedick—they would advise him to wrestle with his feelings, and never let Beatrice know about them.

URSULA

Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman Deserve as full as fortunate a bedAs ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

URSULA

Why did you say that? Doesn't Benedick deserve at least as good a wife as Beatrice would ever be?

HERO

O god of love! I know he doth deserve As much as may be yielded to a man, But Nature never framed a woman’s heart Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice. Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, Misprizing what they look on, and her wit Values itself so highly that to her All matter else seems weak. She cannot love Nor take no shape nor project of affection She is so self-endeared.

HERO

Oh, by the god of love! I know he deserves as much as any man could be given, but Nature never made a woman's heart prouder than Beatrice's. Disdain and scorn sparkle in her eyes, and make her undervalue everything she looks upon. She prizes her wit so highly that other people's words seem weak by comparison. She's so full of self-love that she cannot love anyone else, or even imagine what love is.

URSULA

Sure, I think so,And therefore certainly it were not goodShe knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

URSULA

Yes, I think you're right. It certainly wouldn't be good if she learned about Benedick's love and made a joke of it.

HERO

Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man, How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured But she would spell him backward. If fair-faced, She would swear the gentleman should be her sister; If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antic, Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed; If low, an agate very vilely cut; If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds; If silent, why, a block moved with none. So turns she every man the wrong side out And never gives to truth and virtue that Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

HERO

Indeed, you speak the truth. No matter how wise, noble, young, and handsome a man is, she always manages to turn his merits into faults. If he's pale and delicate, she'll say the gentleman should be her sister, not her husband. If he has a dark complexion, she'll say that Nature must have spilled some ink while drawing his ugly portrait. If he's tall, she'll call him a spear with a bad head. If he's small, she'll say that he's a badly carved statue. If he's talkative, she'll say he's a weather vane blown around by the wind; and if he's silent, why, she'll call him a block that can't be moved by anything at all. And so she turns every man inside out, and never acknowledges the virtue that integrity and sincerity deserve.

URSULA

Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

URSULA

Surely, surely, such fussy nitpicking is not to be praised.

HERO

No, not to be so odd and from all fashions As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable. But who dare tell her so? If I should speak, She would mock me into air. O, she would laugh me Out of myself, press me to death with wit. Therefore let Benedick, like covered fire, Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly. It were a better death than die with mocks, Which is as bad as die with tickling.

HERO

No, it's certainly not praiseworthy to be as odd and willfully eccentric as Beatrice is. But who would dare to tell her that? If I spoke to her, she would mock me into thin air. Oh, she would laugh me right out of my body and press me to death with her wit, as witches are pressed to death with stones. So Benedick should keep his feelings hidden, like a covered fire, and consume himself with his passionate sighs and waste away. This will be a better death than to die from mockery, which is as bad as being killed by tickling.

URSULA

Yet tell her of it. Hear what she will say.

URSULA

But you should tell her, and hear how she responds.

HERO

No, rather I will go to Benedick And counsel him to fight against his passion; And truly I’ll devise some honest slanders To stain my cousin with. One doth not know How much an ill word may empoison liking.

HERO

No, I would rather go to Benedick and advise him to fight against his passion. I'll even make up some harmless slanders against my cousin to make her seem less attractive. You don't know how a single unkind word can poison love.

URSULA

O, do not do your cousin such a wrong! She cannot be so much without true judgment, Having so swift and excellent a wit As she is prized to have, as to refuse So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.

URSULA

Oh, don't do your cousin wrong like that! If she really has the quick and excellent wit she's known for, then she can't be so unwise as to refuse an exceptional gentleman like Sir Benedick.

HERO

He is the only man of Italy,Always excepted my dear Claudio.

HERO

He's the best man in Italy, except for my dear Claudio, of course.

URSULA

I pray you, be not angry with me, madam, Speaking my fancy. Signor Benedick, For shape, for bearing, argument and valor, Goes foremost in report through Italy.

URSULA

Madam, please don't be angry with me for speaking my mind, but throughout Italy Sir Benedick is known as the best in looks, bearing, wit, and bravery.

HERO

Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.

HERO

Indeed, he does have an excellent reputation.

URSULA

His excellence did earn it, ere he had it. When are you married, madam?

URSULA

And he was excellent before he had the reputation, too. When are you getting married, madam?

HERO

Why, every day, tomorrow. Come, go in.I’ll show thee some attires, and have thy counselWhich is the best to furnish me tomorrow.

HERO

Why, tomorrow and every day after. Come, let's go inside. I want to show you some outfits and have you advise me on what I should wear tomorrow for the wedding.

They move aside from the bower

URSULA

[aside to HERO] She’s limed, I warrant you. We have caught her, madam.

URSULA

[To HERO so that only she can hear] She's trapped, I promise you. We have caught her, madam.

HERO

[aside to URSULA] If it proves so, then loving goes by haps;Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

HERO

[To URSULA so that only she can hear] If you're right, then love comes by chance. Cupid gets some lovers with arrows, but some with traps.

Exeunt HERO and URSULA

BEATRICE

[coming forward] What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true? Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much? Contempt, farewell, and maiden pride, adieu! No glory lives behind the back of such. And Benedick, love on; I will requite thee, Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand. If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee To bind our loves up in a holy band. For others say thou dost deserve, and I Believe it better than reportingly.

BEATRICE

[Coming forward] My ears are burning! Can this be true? Do people really condemn me so much for being proud and scornful? Then farewell to contempt, and farewell to my pride in being unmarried! No one speaks well of a person with such qualities. And Benedick, keep on loving; I will return your love. I'll tame my fierce heart, which will be trained like a wild hawk to come to your loving hand. If you really love me, I'll be kind to you from now on, and inspire you to bind our love together in marriage. Other people say that you deserve my love, and I believe it—on better evidence than mere rumors.

Exit

Much ado about nothing
Join LitCharts A+ and get the entire Much Ado Translation as a printable PDF.
LitCharts A+ members also get exclusive access to:
  • Downloadable translations of every Shakespeare play and sonnet
  • Downloads of 1153 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 25,498 quotes covering 1153 books
  • Teacher Editions for every Lit Guide
  • PDFs defining 136 key Lit Terms
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.