A line-by-line translation

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 5, Scene 2

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Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET

BENEDICK

Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.

BENEDICK

Please, sweet Mistress Margaret, do me a favor by calling Beatrice to speak with me.

MARGARET

Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?

MARGARET

Will you write me a sonnet praising my beauty in exchange?

BENEDICK

In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it, for in most comely truth thou deservest it.

BENEDICK

I'll write you a sonnet in such a high style that no man will ever be able to come over it. Truly, your beauty deserves it.

MARGARET

To have no man come over me! Why, shall I always keep below stairs?

MARGARET

No man will come over me! Why, will I always be a servant, and never a mistress of the house?

BENEDICK

Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s mouth; it catches.

BENEDICK

Your wit is as quick as a greyhound's mouth—it catches whatever it wants.

MARGARET

And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils, which hit buthurt not.

MARGARET

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BENEDICK

A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not hurt a woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice. I give thee the bucklers.

BENEDICK

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MARGARET

Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.

MARGARET

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BENEDICK

If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice, and they are dangerous weapons for maids.

BENEDICK

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MARGARET

Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.

MARGARET

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BENEDICK

And therefore will come.

BENEDICK

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Exit MARGARET

[sings] The god of love , That sits above , And knows me, and knows me , How pitiful I deserve I mean in singing. But in loving, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole bookful of these quondam carpetmongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I cannot show it inrhyme. I have tried. I can find out no rhyme to “lady” but “baby”—an innocent rhyme; for “scorn,” “horn”—a hardrhyme; for, “school,” “fool”—a babbling rhyme; very ominous endings. No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

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Enter BEATRICE

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?

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BEATRICE

Yea, Signior, and depart when you bid me.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Oh, stay but till then!

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

“Then” is spoken. Fare you well now. And yet, ere I go,let me go with that I came, which is, with knowing whathath passed between you and Claudio.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Only foul words, and thereupon I will kiss thee.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome. Therefore I will depart unkissed.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge, and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And I pray thee now tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

For them all together, which maintained so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Suffer love! A good epithet! I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

In spite of your heart, I think. Alas, poor heart, if you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours, forI will never love that which my friend hates.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

It appears not in this confession. There’s not one wiseman among twenty that will praise himself.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbors. If a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer inmonument than the bell rings and the widow weeps.

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

And how long is that, think you?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Question: why, an hour in clamor and a quarter in rheum. Therefore is it most expedient for the wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is praiseworthy. An now tell me, how doth your cousin?

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

Very ill.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

And how do you?

BENEDICK

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BEATRICE

Very ill, too.

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

Serve God, love me, and mend. There will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

BENEDICK

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Enter URSULA

URSULA

Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder’s old coil at home. It is proved my Lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio mightily abused,and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?

URSULA

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Exit

BEATRICE

Will you go hear this news, Signior?

BEATRICE

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BENEDICK

I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, and be buriedin thy eyes—and moreover, I will go with thee to thy uncle’s.

BENEDICK

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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.