A line-by-line translation

Much Ado About Nothing

Much Ado About Nothing Translation Act 5, Scene 2

Line Map Clear Line Map Add

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

And your wit is as blunt as a fencer's practice sword—it hits, but doesn't hurt.

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

My wit is gentlemanly, Margaret, and it won't hurt a woman. And so, please call Beatrice. I give you the bucklers.

MARGARET

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

MARGARET

Give us the swords—we women have bucklers of our own.

BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

But, Margaret, if you're going to use your bucklers, you must screw the spikes in the center. They're dangerous weapons for virgins.

MARGARET

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

MARGARET

Well, I'll call Beatrice to come to you. She has legs, and can walk here herself.

BENEDICK

And therefore will come.

BENEDICK

And so she will come.

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.

[Singing]
The god of love,
Who sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How much pity I deserve—

How pitiful my singing is. But as for loving, take Leander, Troilus, or a whole book full of those ancient carpetmongers, whose names sound so smooth in verse. Why, none of them were driven as crazy by love as I have been. But, alas, I can't show my feelings in a poem. I have tried. I can't come up with any rhyme for "lady" but "baby"—which is too silly; for "scorn" I can only find "horn"—which is too harsh; for "school," I can only find "fool"—a rhyme that will babble on like a fool. These are all very ominous endings for describing a relationship. No, I wasn't destined to be a poet. I can't court a lady with fancy language.

Enter BEATRICE

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?

Sweet Beatrice, did you come because I called you?

BEATRICE

Yea, Signior, and depart when you bid me.

BEATRICE

Yes, sir, and I'll leave when you command.

BENEDICK

Oh, stay but till then!

BENEDICK

Oh, stay until then!

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

Well, you've said "then." So farewell. But before I go, let me get what I came for—the knowledge of what happened between you and Claudio.

BENEDICK

Only foul words, and thereupon I will kiss thee.

BENEDICK

Only foul, angry words passed between us, and with that I'll kiss you.

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

Foul words are foul air, and foul air is foul breath, and foul breath is nauseating. Therefore I will leave unkissed.

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

Your wit is so forceful that it's frightened the words out of their proper meanings. But I must tell you this plainly: Claudio has heard my challenge. He'll either accept it soon, or I will publicly proclaim him a coward. And now, please tell me, which of my bad qualities did you first fall in love with?

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

With all of them together: they are so wholly united that they create a perfectly bad person, and won't let any good qualities mix in with them. But which of my good qualities first made you suffer love for me?

BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

Suffer love! That's a good expression. I do suffer love indeed, for I love you against my will.

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

You love me in spite of your heart, I think. Alas, if you spite your poor heart for my sake, then I will spite it for your sake. I will never love something that my friend hates.

BENEDICK

Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

BENEDICK

You and I are too wise to woo each other peacefully.

BEATRICE

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

BEATRICE

You don't show your wisdom by declaring yourself wise, though. It's said that a wise man won't praise himself.

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

Beatrice, that's an old, old proverb, from the good old days when neighbors would praise each other. Nowadays, if a man doesn't erect a monument to himself before he dies, his memory won't last any longer than the church bell ringing and his widow's weeping.

BEATRICE

And how long is that, think you?

BEATRICE

And how long is that, do you think?

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

That's the question: why, an hour of ringing and fifteen minutes of crying. Therefore it's best for a wise man—if his conscience permits it—to trumpet his own virtues, like I do. So that's why I praise myself, for—I'll bear witness to it myself—I'm quite praiseworthy. Now tell me, how is your cousin doing?

BEATRICE

Very ill.

BEATRICE

She's very sick.

BENEDICK

And how do you?

BENEDICK

And how are you doing?

BEATRICE

Very ill, too.

BEATRICE

I'm very sick, too.

BENEDICK

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

BENEDICK

Serve God, love me, and feel better. I'll leave you with that, for someone is hurrying this way.

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

Madam, you must go to your uncle's. There's a great to-do at home. It's been proved that my Lady Hero was falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio were greatly deceived, and Don John—who has fled and gone—is responsible for everything. Will you come right away?

Exit

BEATRICE

Will you go hear this news, Signior?

BEATRICE

Will you come with me to hear this news, sir?

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

I will live in your heart, die in your lap, and be buried in your eyes—and what's more, I'll go with you to your uncle's.

Exeunt

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 812 LitCharts Lit Guides
  • Explanations and citation info for 19,116 quotes covering 812 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.