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Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 4, Scene 1

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Enter DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, LEONATO, FRIAR FRANCIS, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, HERO, BEATRICE, and Attendants

LEONATO

Come, Friar Francis, be brief, only to the plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their particular duties afterwards.

LEONATO

All right, Friar Francis, be brief. Just do a simple ceremony now, and you can list all the particular duties of marriage afterwards.

FRIAR FRANCIS

[to CLAUDIO] You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady?

FRIAR FRANCIS

[To CLAUDIO] My lord, have you come here to marry this lady?

CLAUDIO

No.

CLAUDIO

No.

LEONATO

To be married to her.—Friar, you come to marry her.

LEONATO

He means he's here to be married to her. Friar, you're the one who's come to marry her.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Lady, you come hither to be married to this count?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Lady, do you come here to be married to this count?

HERO

I do.

HERO

I do.

FRIAR FRANCIS

If either of you know any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined, charge you on your souls toutter it.

FRIAR FRANCIS

If either of you knows of any secret reason why you should not be married, then I command you, by your souls, to say it now.

CLAUDIO

Know you any, Hero?

CLAUDIO

Do you know of any, Hero?

HERO

None, my lord.

HERO

None, my lord.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Know you any, count?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Do you know of any, Count?

LEONATO

I dare make his answer, none.

LEONATO

I'll dare to answer for him—none.

CLAUDIO

O, what men dare do! What men may do! What men daily do, not knowing what they do!

CLAUDIO

Oh, what men will dare to do! What men are allowed to do! What men do daily, not aware of what they're doing!

BENEDICK

How now, interjections? Why, then, some be of laughing, as, ah, ha, he!

BENEDICK

What's this, such bitter interjections at a wedding? Let's add some better ones, like "ah," "ha," and "he!"

CLAUDIO

Stand thee by, Friar.—Father, by your leave, Will you with free and unconstrainèd soul Give me this maid, your daughter?

CLAUDIO

Step aside, Friar.

[He steps forward and addresses LEONATO]
 Father, will you freely and without reservations give me this maiden, your daughter?

LEONATO

As freely, son, as God did give her me.

LEONATO

As freely, son, as God gave her to me.

CLAUDIO

And what have I to give you back whose worth May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

CLAUDIO

And what can I give you back that would balance out this rich and precious gift?

DON PEDRO

Nothing, unless you render her again.

DON PEDRO

Nothing, unless you should give her back.

CLAUDIO

Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.— There, Leonato, take her back again. Give not this rotten orange to your friend. She’s but the sign and semblance of her honor. Behold how like a maid she blushes here! Oh, what authority and show of truth Can cunning sin cover itself withal! Comes not that blood as modest evidence To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear, All you that see her, that she were a maid By these exterior shows? But she is none. She knows the heat of a luxurious bed. Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.

CLAUDIO

Sweet Prince, you teach me how to accept things nobly.

[To LEONATO] There, Leonato. Take your daughter back again. Don't give this rotten orange to your friend. She has only the outward appearance of honor. See how she blushes like a virgin now! Oh, how masterfully sin can disguise itself! Doesn't her blush seem like natural evidence of simple virtue?

[To the others] Wouldn't you swear, all of you who see her now, that she's a virgin, based on her exterior? But she is no virgin. She has known the heat of a lustful bed. Her blush is from guilt, not modesty.

LEONATO

What do you mean, my lord?

LEONATO

What do you mean, my lord?

CLAUDIO

Not to be married,Not to knit my soul to an approvèd wanton.

CLAUDIO

I mean to not be married. I won't join my soul with such a proven whore.

LEONATO

Dear my lord, if you in your own proofHave vanquished the resistance of her youth And made defeat of her virginity—

LEONATO

My dear lord, if your proof is yourself—if you are the one who conquered her in her youthfulness and took her virginity—

CLAUDIO

I know what you would say: if I have known her, You will say she did embrace me as a husband, And so extenuate the forehand sin. No, Leonato, I never tempted her with word too large But, as a brother to his sister, showed Bashful sincerity and comely love.

CLAUDIO

I know what you will say: if I were the one who slept with her, you'll say that she was accepting me as her future husband, and the anticipation of our marriage would make it less of a sin. No, Leonato, I never tempted her with indecent words, but only treated her like a brother would treat his sister, showing her nothing but bashful sincerity and modest love.

HERO

And seemed I ever otherwise to you?

HERO

And have I ever showed anything else to you?

CLAUDIO

Out on thee, seeming! I will write against it. You seem to me as Dian in her orb, As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown. But you are more intemperate in your blood Than Venus, or those pampered animals That rage in savage sensuality.

CLAUDIO

Shame on you, false appearance! I will argue against you. To me you still seem like Diana, as innocent as the bud before it blooms. But you are more hot-blooded than Venus, or an animal left to run wild in its lust.

HERO

Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?

HERO

My lord, are you ill? Is that what's making you speak so wildly?

LEONATO

Sweet Prince, why speak not you?

LEONATO

[To DON PEDRO] Sweet Prince, why don't you say something?

DON PEDRO

What should I speak?I stand dishonored, that have gone aboutTo link my dear friend to a common stale.

DON PEDRO

What should I say? I stand here dishonored. I've arranged to join my dear friend to a common prostitute.

LEONATO

Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?

LEONATO

Are these things really being said, or am I dreaming?

DON JOHN

Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.

DON JOHN

Sir, they are spoken, and they are true.

BENEDICK

This looks not like a nuptial.

BENEDICK

This doesn't look like a wedding.

HERO

True! O God!

HERO

He says they're true! Oh God!

CLAUDIO

Leonato, stand I here?Is this the Prince? Is this the Prince’s brother? Is this face Hero’s? Are our eyes our own?

CLAUDIO

Leonato, am I standing here? Is this the Prince? Is this the Prince's brother? Is this face Hero's? Are our eyes our own eyes?

LEONATO

All this is so, but what of this, my lord?

LEONATO

All this is true. But what do you mean by it, my lord?

CLAUDIO

Let me but move one question to your daughter,And by that fatherly and kindly powerThat you have in her, bid her answer truly.

CLAUDIO

Let me just ask your daughter one question. By your natural authority over her as her father, tell her to answer truthfully.

LEONATO

I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.

LEONATO

[To HERO] As you are my child, I order you to do so.

HERO

Oh, God defend me! how am I beset!—What kind of catechizing call you this?

HERO

Oh, God defend me! How I am attacked from all sides!

[To CLAUDIO] What kind of interrogation is this?

CLAUDIO

To make you answer truly to your name.

CLAUDIO

We want you to answer to your true name and show who you truly are.

HERO

Is it not Hero? Who can blot that nameWith any just reproach?

HERO

Isn't my name Hero? Who can stain that name with any honest accusation?

CLAUDIO

Marry, that can Hero! Hero itself can blot out Hero’s virtue. What man was he talked with you yesternight Out at your window betwixt twelve and one? Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.

CLAUDIO

Well, Hero can do that! The word "Hero" itself—which I heard spoken last night—can stain Hero's virtue. What man talked with you last night at your window, between midnight and one? Now, if you are a virgin, answer this.

HERO

I talked with no man at that hour, my lord.

HERO

I didn't talk to any man at that hour, my lord.

DON PEDRO

Why, then are you no maiden. —Leonato, I am sorry you must hear. Upon mine honor, Myself, my brother, and this grievèd count Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night Talk with a ruffian at her chamber window Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain, Confessed the vile encounters they have had A thousand times in secret.

DON PEDRO

Why, then you are no virgin.

[To LEONATO]  I'm sorry you must hear this, Leonato. I swear on my honor that I, my brother, and this wronged count saw and heard Hero last night, talking to some brute at her bedroom window. And that man, the lustful villain, confessed to a thousand secret, immoral encounters that they've had.

DON JOHN

Fie, fie, they are not to be named, my lord, Not to be spoke of! There is not chastity enough in language, Without offense, to utter them. —Thus, pretty lady, I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.

DON JOHN

Shame, shame! Those sins are not to be named, my lord—not to be spoken of! Language itself is not innocent enough to describe them without offending everyone here.

[To HERO] So, pretty lady, I'm sorry about your great wickedness.

CLAUDIO

O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been If half thy outward graces had been placed About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart! But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! Farewell, Thou pure impiety and impious purity. For thee I’ll lock up all the gates of love, And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang, To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm, And never shall it more be gracious.

CLAUDIO

Oh, Hero, you could have lived up to your name if only half of your outward beauty and apparent innocence had influence over the secret thoughts and desires of your heart! Farewell, you who are most foul, and yet look most beautiful! Farewell, you pure wickedness and you wicked purity. Because of you, I'll lock up my heart against all love. Suspicion will weigh down my eyelids, and turn all thoughts of beauty into thoughts of danger, so that nothing is beautiful ever again.

LEONATO

Hath no man’s dagger here a point for me?

LEONATO

Does any man here have a dagger for me to stab myself?

HERO swoons

BEATRICE

Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?

BEATRICE

Why, how are you doing, cousin? Why are you collapsing now?

DON JOHN

Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light, Smother her spirits up.

DON JOHN

Come on, let's go. These secrets being brought to light have overwhelmed her spirit.

Exeunt DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, and CLAUDIO

BENEDICK

How doth the lady?

BENEDICK

How is the lady?

BEATRICE

Dead, I think.—Help, uncle!—Hero, why, Hero! Uncle! Signor Benedick! Friar!

BEATRICE

Dead, I think.

[To LEONATO] Help, uncle!

[To the others] Hero, why Hero! Uncle! Sir Benedick! Friar!

LEONATO

O Fate! Take not away thy heavy hand!Death is the fairest cover for her shameThat may be wished for.

LEONATO

Oh, Fate, don't spare your heavy hand of punishment! The best thing I could wish for to cover up her shame is death. 

BEATRICE

How now, cousin Hero!

BEATRICE

How are you, cousin Hero?

HERO stirs

FRIAR FRANCIS

[to HERO] Have comfort, lady.

FRIAR FRANCIS

[To HERO] Take comfort, lady.

LEONATO

[to HERO] Dost thou look up?

LEONATO

[To HERO] Do you dare to look up?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Yea, wherefore should she not?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Well, why shouldn't she?

LEONATO

Wherefore! Why, doth not every earthly thing Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny The story that is printed in her blood?— Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes, For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die, Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, Strike at thy life. Grieved I I had but one? Chid I for that at frugal Nature’s frame? O, one too much by thee! Why had I one? Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes? Why had I not with charitable hand Took up a beggar’s issue at my gates, Who, smirchèd thus, and mired with infamy, I might have said, “No part of it is mine; This shame derives itself from unknown loins”? But mine, and mine I loved, and mine I praised, And mine that I was proud on, mine so much That I myself was to myself not mine, Valuing of her– why, she, O she is fall'n Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea Hath drops too few to wash her clean again And salt too little which may season give To her foul tainted flesh!

LEONATO

Why shouldn't she look up? Why, isn't everything on earth condemning her? Can she deny the story that is written in her guilty blush?

[To HERO] Do not live, Hero. Do not open your eyes. If I didn't think that you were about to die—if I thought that your spirits were stronger than your shame—then I would condemn you and kill you myself. Was I sorry that I only had one child? Did I scold Nature for being so thrifty with me? Oh, now one child is too many! Why did I even have one? Why did you ever seem lovely to my eyes? Why didn't I just take in a beggar's child left at my gates? Then—if she were shamed and ruined like this—I might have said, "No part of her is mine; this shame comes from an unknown father!" But you were mine, and I loved you and praised you for being mine, and I was proud that you were mine. I valued you so highly that I lived only for you, and considered myself worthless. Oh, but now you have fallen into a pit of ink, and even the wide sea doesn't have enough water to wash you clean again, or enough salt to preserve your rotting flesh!

BENEDICK

Sir, sir, be patient.For my part, I am so attired in wonderI know not what to say.

BENEDICK

Sir, sir, calm down. For my part, I'm so filled with amazement that I don't know what to say.

BEATRICE

Oh, on my soul, my cousin is belied!

BEATRICE

Oh, I swear on my soul, my cousin has been slandered!

BENEDICK

Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?

BENEDICK

Lady, did you sleep in her room last night?

BEATRICE

No, truly not, although until last nightI have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

BEATRICE

No, truly I didn't. But until last night I've slept there every night for the last year.

LEONATO

Confirmed, confirmed! Oh, that is stronger made Which was before barred up with ribs of iron! Would the two princes lie and Claudio lie, Who loved her so that, speaking of her foulness, Washed it with tears? Hence from her. Let her die.

LEONATO

Then it's confirmed, confirmed! Oh, that has added even more evidence to what is already a strong case against her! Would the two princes lie? And would Claudio—who loved her so much that speaking of her foulness made him weep—lie too? Leave her. Let her die.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Hear me a little, For I have only silent been so long, And given way unto this course of fortune, By noting of the lady. I have marked A thousand blushing apparitions To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames In angel whiteness beat away those blushes, And in her eye there hath appeared a fire To burn the errors that these princes hold Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool, Trust not my reading nor my observations, Which with experimental seal doth warrant The tenor of my book; trust not my age, My reverence, calling, nor divinity, If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here Under some biting error.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Hear me for a moment. I've only kept silent this long, and let these events unfold as they did, because I've been watching Hero carefully. I've noticed a thousand blushes start to rush on her face, and then a thousand feelings of innocent shame—as white as angels—drive those blushes away. In her eyes I've seen a fire appear that would seem to burn away these lies the princes told about her virginity. Call me a fool if you want, and don't trust my observations or interpretations of her face, which are backed up by my years of experience. Don't trust my age, my respected position, my calling as a priest, or my holiness, if in fact this sweet lady here isn't innocent, and the victim of some cruel mistake.

LEONATO

Friar, it cannot be. Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left Is that she will not add to her damnation A sin of perjury. She not denies it. Why seek’st thou then to cover with excuse That which appears in proper nakedness?

LEONATO

Friar, this cannot be. You see that the only virtue she has left prevents her from adding perjury to her sins—she won't deny the accusations. Why are you trying to excuse her crimes, now that they've been exposed?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Lady, what man is he you are accused of?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Lady, what man is it you're accused of meeting with?

HERO

They know that do accuse me. I know none. If I know more of any man alive Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant, Let all my sins lack mercy! —O my father, Prove you that any man with me conversed At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight Maintained the change of words with any creature, Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!

HERO

Ask the ones who accuse me. I don't know. If I've been with any man alive in a way that's inappropriate for a proper, modest virgin, then let all my sins be punished!

[To LEONATO] Oh my father, if you can prove that any man talked to me at an indecent hour—or that last night I spoke to anyone at all—then disown me, hate me, and torture me to death!

FRIAR FRANCIS

There is some strange misprision in the princes.

FRIAR FRANCIS

The princes have had some strange misunderstanding.

BENEDICK

Two of them have the very bent of honor, And if their wisdoms be misled in this, The practice of it lives in John the Bastard, Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.

BENEDICK

Two of them have perfectly honorable dispositions. And if they've been misled in this affair, the culprit must be John the Bastard, whose nature makes him plot wickedness.

LEONATO

I know not. If they speak but truth of her, These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honor, The proudest of them shall well hear of it. Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine Nor age so eat up my invention Nor fortune made such havoc of my means Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends But they shall find, awaked in such a kind, Both strength of limb and policy of mind, Ability in means and choice of friends, To quit me of them throughly.

LEONATO

I don't know. If they're telling the truth about Hero, then I'll tear her apart with my own hands. But if they have slandered her honor falsely, then even the greatest of them will hear from me. Time hasn't dried up all my courage, old age hasn't ruined my mind, fortune hasn't stolen all my money, and my bad life hasn't left me without friends. Those who have wronged my daughter will find me strong in body and mind, and with money and friends at my disposal—and ready to take thorough revenge.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Pause awhile, And let my counsel sway you in this case. Your daughter here the princes left for dead. Let her awhile be secretly kept in And publish it that she is dead indeed. Maintain a mourning ostentation, And on your family’s old monument Hang mournful epitaphs and do all rites That appertain unto a burial.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Pause a moment, and hear my advice about this. The princes have left your daughter for dead here. Let her be hidden secretly in your house for a while, and make it publicly known that she is, indeed, dead. Keep up a show of mourning, hang sad epitaphs at your family's old tomb, and perform all the usual burial rites.

LEONATO

What shall become of this? What will this do?

LEONATO

What will result from this? What will this accomplish?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Marry, this, well carried, shall on her behalf Change slander to remorse. That is some good. But not for that dream I on this strange course, But on this travail look for greater birth. She, dying, as it must so be maintained, Upon the instant that she was accused, Shall be lamented, pitied and excused Of every hearer. For it so falls out That what we have we prize not to the worth Whiles we enjoy it, but being lacked and lost, Why then we rack the value, then we find The virtue that possession would not show us Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio. When he shall hear she died upon his words, The idea of her life shall sweetly creep Into his study of imagination, And every lovely organ of her life Shall come apparelled in more precious habit, More moving, delicate and full of life, Into the eye and prospect of his soul Than when she lived indeed. Then shall he mourn, If ever love had interest in his liver, And wish he had not so accused her, No, though he thought his accusation true. Let this be so, and doubt not but success Will fashion the event in better shape Than I can lay it down in likelihood. But if all aim but this be leveled false, The supposition of the lady's death Will quench the wonder of her infamy. And if it sort not well, you may conceal her, As best befits her wounded reputation, In some reclusive and religious life, Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

FRIAR FRANCIS

Well, if we can carry this out correctly, it will move Hero's accusers from slander to feelings of remorse. That will be one good thing. But I haven't decided on this strange plan for that reason alone—I have an even greater goal for this business. We must maintain that she died the instant she was accused. Whoever hears this will mourn her, pity her, and excuse her. For that's how it is: we don't value the things we have until we lose them. Once they're gone, we exaggerate their value and see all the virtues we couldn't see when the thing itself was with us. That's how it will be with Claudio. When he hears that Hero died because of his words, thoughts of her will creep into his imagination. Every aspect of her lovely life will seem to be dressed up more beautifully, and in his mind's eye she'll seem more moving, more delicate, and more lively than she was even in life. Then if he ever truly felt love for her, he will mourn, and wish that he hadn't accused her—even though he thought his accusations were true. If my prediction is right, then everything will turn out even better than I can describe it. But even if everything else fails, at least Hero's supposed death will overshadow the shameful rumors about her. And if it doesn't turn out well, you can hide her away as a nun or a religious recluse—this will be the best place for someone with her wounded reputation. Then she'll be out of reach of all other eyes, tongues, minds, and insults.

BENEDICK

Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you. And though you know my inwardness and love Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio, Yet, by mine honor, I will deal in this As secretly and justly as your soul Should with your body.

BENEDICK

Sir Leonato, listen to the friar's advice. And although you know that I'm close friends with the Prince and Claudio, I swear by my honor that I'll deal with this business secretly and honorably.

LEONATO

Being that I flow in grief, The smallest twine may lead me.

LEONATO

I am carried away by a river of grief, so I will cling to the smallest piece of string offered to me.

FRIAR FRANCIS

'Tis well consented. Presently away, For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.— Come, lady, die to live. This wedding day Perhaps is but prolonged. Have patience and endure.

FRIAR FRANCIS

It's a good agreement. Let's go immediately. Strange diseases require strange cures.

[To HERO] Come, lady, you will die so that you might live. This wedding may only be postponed. Have patience and endure.

Exeunt all but BENEDICK and BEATRICE

BENEDICK

Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?

BENEDICK

Lady Beatrice, have you been weeping this whole time?

BEATRICE

Yea, and I will weep a while longer.

BEATRICE

Yes, and I will weep for a while longer.

BENEDICK

I will not desire that.

BENEDICK

I wish you wouldn't.

BEATRICE

You have no reason. I do it freely.

BEATRICE

You have no reason to wish that. I do it willingly.

BENEDICK

Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.

BENEDICK

I do truly believe that your beautiful cousin was wronged.

BEATRICE

Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!

BEATRICE

Ah, I would give anything to any man who made this right!

BENEDICK

Is there any way to show such friendship?

BENEDICK

Is there any way I could show you such friendship?

BEATRICE

A very even way, but no such friend.

BEATRICE

A very clear way, but there is no such friend to do it.

BENEDICK

May a man do it?

BENEDICK

Can a man do it?

BEATRICE

It is a man’s office, but not yours.

BEATRICE

It is a man's job, but not a job for you.

BENEDICK

I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?

BENEDICK

There's nothing in the world I love as much as you. Isn't that strange?

BEATRICE

As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possiblefor me to say I loved nothing so well as you, but believe me not, and yet I lie not, I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

BEATRICE

As strange as my own confusion. It would also be possible for me to say that there's nothing I love as much as you. But don't believe me when I say it—and yet I'm not lying. I confess nothing, and I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

BENEDICK

By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

BENEDICK

Beatrice, I swear by my sword that you love me.

BEATRICE

Do not swear, and eat it.

BEATRICE

Don't swear. You might have to eat your words later.

BENEDICK

I will swear by it that you love me, and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

BENEDICK

I'll swear by my sword that you love me, and if any man says I don't love you, I'll make him eat my sword.

BEATRICE

Will you not eat your word?

BEATRICE

But you won't eat your words?

BENEDICK

With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest I love thee.

BENEDICK

Not with any sauce that could be invented for them. I declare that I love you.

BEATRICE

Why then, God forgive me.

BEATRICE

Why, then, God forgive me.

BENEDICK

What offense, sweet Beatrice?

BENEDICK

Forgive you for what offense, sweet Beatrice?

BEATRICE

You have stayed me in a happy hour. I was about to protest I loved you.

BEATRICE

You've stopped me at just the right moment. I was about to declare that I loved you too.

BENEDICK

And do it with all thy heart.

BENEDICK

Then declare it with all your heart.

BEATRICE

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

BEATRICE

I love you with so much of my heart that none of it is left to object.

BENEDICK

Come, bid me do anything for thee.

BENEDICK

Come, ask me to do anything for you.

BEATRICE

Kill Claudio.

BEATRICE

Kill Claudio.

BENEDICK

Ha! Not for the wide world.

BENEDICK

Ha! Not for the whole wide world.

BEATRICE

You kill me to deny it. Farewell.

BEATRICE

Then you kill me by refusing. Farewell.

BEATRICE begins to exit

BENEDICK

Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

BENEDICK

Wait, sweet Beatrice.

BEATRICE

I am gone, though I am here. There is no love in you. Nay, I pray you let me go.

BEATRICE

My spirits have left, though my body is still here. There is no true love in you. Please, let me go .

BENEDICK

Beatrice—

BENEDICK

Beatrice—

BEATRICE

In faith, I will go.

BEATRICE

I swear, I will go.

BENEDICK

We’ll be friends first.

BENEDICK

We must part on friendly terms.

BEATRICE

You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

BEATRICE

You would dare to be my friend when you won't fight my enemies?

BENEDICK

Is Claudio thine enemy?

BENEDICK

Is Claudio your enemy?

BEATRICE

Is he not approved in the height a villain, that hath slandered, scorned, dishonored my kinswoman? Oh, that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they come to take hands and then, with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancor —O God, that I werea man! I would eat his heart in the marketplace.

BEATRICE

Hasn't he proved to be the worst kind of villain by slandering, scorning, and dishonoring my cousin? Oh, if only I were a man! What, he just leads her on until the moment they were exchanging vows, and then, with public accusation, open slander, pure hatred—Oh God, if only I were a man! I would rip out his heart and eat it in the marketplace.

BENEDICK

Hear me, Beatrice—

BENEDICK

Listen to me, Beatrice—

BEATRICE

Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!

BEATRICE

Talking with a man at her bedroom window! That's a likely story!

BENEDICK

Nay, but Beatrice—

BENEDICK

No, but Beatrice—

BEATRICE

Sweet Hero, she is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.

BEATRICE

Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is ruined.

BENEDICK

Beat—

BENEDICK

Beat—

BEATRICE

Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count, Count Comfect, a sweet gallant, surely! Oh, that I were a man for his sake! Or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is meltedinto curtsies, valor into compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too. He is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

BEATRICE

Princes and counts! Sure, what a princely testimony they gave—an excellent conviction! Count Sweetmeat, that sweet gentleman, for sure! Oh, if only I were a man, I would deal with him! Or even if I had a friend who would be a man for my sake! But manliness and bravery have been melted into curtsies and compliments, and all men have become nothing but tongues, fancy tongues. The man who tells a lie and swears that it's true is now considered as brave as Hercules. I can't become a man by wishing, so I'll die as a woman, from grieving.

BENEDICK

Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

BENEDICK

Wait, good Beatrice. I swear by this hand, I love you.

BEATRICE

Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

BEATRICE

Then use it for something other than swearing, and prove your love for me.

BENEDICK

Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

BENEDICK

Do you really think in your soul that Count Claudio has wronged Hero?

BEATRICE

Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.

BEATRICE

Yes, as sure as I have a mind or a soul.

BENEDICK

Enough, I am engaged. I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you hear of me, so think of me. Go comfort your cousin. I must say she is dead, and so, farewell.

BENEDICK

That's enough for me—I am bound by my pledge of love. I will challenge him. I'll kiss your hand, and so I leave you. I swear by this hand, Claudio will pay dearly for what he's done. Listen for news of me, and keep me in your thoughts. Go comfort your cousin. I'll go tell them that she is dead. Farewell.

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.