A line-by-line translation

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 3, Scene 4

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Enter HERO, MARGARET, and URSULA

HERO

Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice and desire her to rise.

HERO

Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice and ask her to get up.

URSULA

I will, lady.

URSULA

I will, my lady.

HERO

And bid her come hither.

HERO

And tell her to come here.

URSULA

Well.

URSULA

Very well.

Exit

MARGARET

Troth, I think your other rebato were better.

MARGARET

Honestly, I think your other collar looks better.

HERO

No, pray thee, good Meg, I’ll wear this.

HERO

No, please, good Meg, I'll wear this one.

MARGARET

By my troth, ’s not so good, and I warrant your cousin will say so.

MARGARET

I swear it's not as good as the other one, and I bet your cousin will say so too.

HERO

My cousin’s a fool, and thou art another. I’ll wear none but this.

HERO

My cousin's a fool, and so are you. I'll wear this one and no other.

MARGARET

I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair were a thought browner; and your gown’s a most rare fashion, i' faith. I saw the Duchess of Milan’s gown that they praise so.

MARGARET

I like the new wig and headdress a lot, though I wish the hair was a shade browner. Your gown is very stylish indeed. I saw the Duchess of Milan's gown, the one that everyone goes on about.

HERO

Oh, that exceeds, they say.

HERO

Oh, that dress is beyond comparison, they say.

MARGARET

By my troth, ’s but a nightgown in respect of yours —cloth o' gold, and cuts, and laced with silver, set withpearls, down sleeves, side sleeves, and skirts, round underborne with a bluish tinsel. But for a fine, quaint,graceful, and excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on ’t.

MARGARET

I swear, it's just a nightgown compared to your dress. On that dress the cloth is of golden thread, with slashes in it to show the fabric underneath. It's embroidered with silver and adorned with pearls, has two sets of sleeves, and has skirts trimmed with blue tinsel. But for a fine, elegant, graceful, and excellent dress, yours is worth ten times more than that one.

HERO

God give me joy to wear it, for my heart is exceeding heavy.

HERO

May God give me joy in wearing it, for my heart is very heavy.

MARGARET

'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.

MARGARET

It will be even heavier soon, with the weight of a man on top of it.

HERO

Fie upon thee! Art not ashamed?

HERO

Watch your tongue! Aren't you ashamed?

MARGARET

Of what, lady? Of speaking honorably? Is not marriage honorable in a beggar? Is not your lord honorable without marriage? I think you would have me say, “Saving your reverence, a husband.” An bad thinkingdo not wrest true speaking, I’ll offend nobody. Is there any harm in “the heavier for a husband?” None, I think, an it be the right husband and the right wife. Otherwise, ’tis light and not heavy. Ask my Lady Beatriceelse. Here she comes.

MARGARET

Of what, lady? Of speaking honorably? Sex and marriage are honorable things even for a beggar, aren't they? Isn't your new husband honorable? Maybe you would prefer it if I had said, "I beg your pardon, a husband, not just a man." If dirty minds don't twist my honest words, then I'll offend no one. Is there any harm in saying that your husband will lie on top of you? No, I think not, as long it's the right husband and the right wife. Otherwise it would be frivolous and immoral. Ask my Lady Beatrice if this isn't true. Here she comes.

Enter BEATRICE

HERO

Good morrow, coz.

HERO

Good morning, cousin.

BEATRICE

Good morrow, sweet Hero.

BEATRICE

Good morning, sweet Hero.

HERO

Why, how now? Do you speak in the sick tune?

HERO

Why, what's going on? You sound sad, or sick.

BEATRICE

I am out of all other tune, methinks.

BEATRICE

It's the only way I can sound, I think.

MARGARET

Clap ’s into “Light o' love.” That goes without a burden. Do you sing it, and I’ll dance it.

MARGARET

Let's change your tune, then, and sing "Light of Love." That song doesn't need any man to sing harmony. You sing it, and I'll dance.

BEATRICE

Ye light o' love, with your heels! Then, if your husband have stables enough, you’ll see he shall lack nobarns.

BEATRICE

You're the "light of love," with your heels in the air! If your husband is rich enough, you'll give him plenty of children.

MARGARET

O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.

MARGARET

Oh, your dirty jokes! I kick them away with my heels.

BEATRICE

'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin. 'Tis time you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill. Heigh-ho!

BEATRICE

It's almost five o'clock, cousin. It's time to get ready. I swear, I really don't feel well. Heigh-ho!

MARGARET

For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

MARGARET

Are you sighing for a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

BEATRICE

For the letter that begins them all, H.

BEATRICE

For the letter that starts them all, "H."

MARGARET

Well, an you be not turned Turk, there’s no more sailing by the star.

MARGARET

Well, if you haven't yet renounced your old belief that you'd never marry, then we can't trust anything anymore.

BEATRICE

What means the fool, trow?

BEATRICE

What is this fool trying to say, I wonder?

MARGARET

Nothing, I; but God send everyone their heart’s desire.

MARGARET

Nothing—only that God sends everyone their heart's desire.

HERO

These gloves the Count sent me, they are an excellent perfume.

HERO

The Count sent me these gloves, and they're perfumed excellently.

BEATRICE

I am stuffed, cousin. I cannot smell.

BEATRICE

I'm all stuffed up, cousin. I can't smell anything.

MARGARET

A maid, and stuffed! There’s goodly catching of cold.

MARGARET

A virgin, and stuffed! That's a good way to catch a cold.

BEATRICE

Oh, God help me, God help me! How long have you professed apprehension?

BEATRICE

Oh, God help me, God help me! How long have you claimed to have such a wit?

MARGARET

Even since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?

MARGARET

Ever since you left yours behind. Doesn't my wit suit me excellently?

BEATRICE

It is not seen enough; you should wear it in your cap.By my troth, I am sick.

BEATRICE

It doesn't show itself enough—you should wear it in your fool's cap. I swear, I'm really sick.

MARGARET

Get you some of this distilled carduus benedictus and lay it to your heart. It is the only thing for a qualm.

MARGARET

Get some distilled carduus benedictus and put it over your heart. It's the only thing for a sudden sickness.

HERO

There thou prick’st her with a thistle.

HERO

With that joke you've pricked her with a thistle.

BEATRICE

Benedictus! Why benedictus? You have some moral in this benedictus?

BEATRICE

Benedictus! Why benedictus? Is there some hidden meaning in this benedictus?

MARGARET

Moral! No, by my troth, I have no moral meaning. I meant plain holy thistle. You may think perchance that Ithink you are in love. Nay, by 'r Lady, I am not such afool to think what I list, nor I list not to think whatI can, nor indeed I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love or that you will be in love or that you can be in love. Yet Benedickwas such another, and now is he become a man. He swore he would never marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat without grudging. And how you may be converted I know not, but methinks you look with your eyes as other women do.

MARGARET

Hidden meaning? No, I swear, I intended no hidden meaning. I just mean that you should use plain holy thistle. Perhaps you think that I think that you're in love. No, by the Virgin Mary, I'm not such a fool to think whatever I want. And I don't want to think what I can—nor can I even think at all—even if I want to think my heart out of thinking, that you are in love or that you will be in love or that you even can be in love. Yet Benedick was like you once, and now he has become like other men. He swore that he would never marry. But now, despite his old self, he has an ungrudging appetite for love. I don't know how you can be converted like he was, but I know that you still look through your eyes just as every woman does.

BEATRICE

What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

BEATRICE

Why are you talking so quickly?

MARGARET

Not a false gallop.

MARGARET

I'm not running on untruthfully.

Enter URSULA

URSULA

Madam, withdraw: the Prince, the Count, Signor Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the town are come to fetch you to church.

URSULA

Madam, come with me: the Prince, the Count, Sir Benedick, Don John, and all the gentlemen of the town have come to bring you to the church.

HERO

Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.

HERO

Help to dress me, good cousin, good Meg, good Ursula.

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.