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Much Ado About Nothing
Act 5, scene 1

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Entire Play

The primary plot of Much Ado About Nothing turns on the courtship and scandal involving young Hero and her suitor, Claudio, but…

Act 1, scene 1

The army of Don Pedro of Aragon arrives in Messina and is welcomed by Leonato, Messina’s governor. Benedick of Padua,…

Act 1, scene 2

Leonato is given a garbled account of the conversation between Don Pedro and Claudio, and is led to believe that…

Act 1, scene 3

Don John, Don Pedro’s brother, receives a true account of Don Pedro’s plan to woo Hero for Claudio. Resentful of…

Act 2, scene 1

Don Pedro and his soldiers, disguised in masks, dance with the ladies of Leonato’s household. While Don Pedro woos Hero,…

Act 2, scene 2

Don John and his henchman Borachio agree on a plan to disrupt the coming marriage: Borachio will convince Claudio that…

Act 2, scene 3

Leonato, Claudio, and Don Pedro stage a conversation for Benedick to overhear. They talk about Beatrice’s desperate love for Benedick,…

Act 3, scene 1

Beatrice is lured into overhearing a staged conversation between Hero and Ursula, a waiting gentlewoman, who talk about Benedick’s desperate…

Act 3, scene 2

Benedick appears with his beard shaved off and showing other signs of having fallen in love. When he exits with…

Act 3, scene 3

That night, Messina’s master constable, Dogberry, and his assistant, Verges, set the night watch, telling the watchmen to pay particular…

Act 3, scene 4

Early the next morning, Hero prepares for the wedding. Beatrice enters, suffering, she says, from a bad cold, but Hero…

Act 3, scene 5

Dogberry and Verges try to tell Leonato about the arrest of Borachio and Conrade, but they are so unintelligible that…

Act 4, scene 1

At the wedding, Claudio publicly denounces Hero as a lewd woman. He is supported in his story by Don Pedro…

Act 4, scene 2

Dogberry ineptly questions Borachio and Conrade about the deception of Claudio and Don Pedro. The Sexton has Borachio and Conrade…

Act 5, scene 1

Leonato and his brother tell Claudio and Don Pedro of Hero’s death, and attempt to challenge them to a duel….

Act 5, scene 2

Benedick tells Beatrice that he has challenged Claudio. They are summoned to Leonato’s house with the news that Hero’s innocence…

Act 5, scene 3

Claudio appears at Leonato’s family tomb, has a song sung for Hero, and hangs a scroll on the tomb.

Act 5, scene 4

Claudio and Don Pedro appear for the second wedding. The women enter masked. When Claudio takes the hand of Leonato’s…

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Scene 1
Enter Leonato and his brother.

LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 If you go on thus, you will kill yourself,
 And ’tis not wisdom thus to second grief
 Against yourself.
LEONATO  I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
5 Which falls into mine ears as profitless
 As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,
 Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
 But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
 Bring me a father that so loved his child,
10 Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,
 And bid him speak of patience.
 Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,
 And let it answer every strain for strain,
 As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,
15 In every lineament, branch, shape, and form.
 If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
 Bid sorrow wag, cry “hem” when he should
 groan,
 Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
20 With candle-wasters, bring him yet to me,
 And I of him will gather patience.
 But there is no such man. For, brother, men
155

157
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ACT 5. SC. 1

 Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
 Which they themselves not feel, but tasting it,
25 Their counsel turns to passion, which before
 Would give preceptial med’cine to rage,
 Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
 Charm ache with air and agony with words.
 No, no, ’tis all men’s office to speak patience
30 To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
 But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency
 To be so moral when he shall endure
 The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel.
 My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
35 Therein do men from children nothing differ.
LEONATO 
 I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood,
 For there was never yet philosopher
 That could endure the toothache patiently,
 However they have writ the style of gods
40 And made a push at chance and sufferance.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself.
 Make those that do offend you suffer too.
LEONATO 
 There thou speak’st reason. Nay, I will do so.
 My soul doth tell me Hero is belied,
45 And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Prince
 And all of them that thus dishonor her.

Enter Prince and Claudio.

LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.
PRINCE 
 Good e’en, good e’en.
CLAUDIO  Good day to both of you.

159
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ACT 5. SC. 1

LEONATO 
50 Hear you, my lords—
PRINCE  We have some haste,
 Leonato.
LEONATO 
 Some haste, my lord! Well, fare you well, my lord.
 Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.
PRINCE 
55 Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 If he could right himself with quarrelling,
 Some of us would lie low.
CLAUDIO  Who wrongs him?
LEONATO 
 Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou.
60 Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword.
 I fear thee not.
CLAUDIO  Marry, beshrew my hand
 If it should give your age such cause of fear.
 In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.
LEONATO 
65 Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me.
 I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
 As under privilege of age to brag
 What I have done being young, or what would do
 Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
70 Thou hast so wronged mine innocent child and me
 That I am forced to lay my reverence by,
 And with gray hairs and bruise of many days
 Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
 I say thou hast belied mine innocent child.
75 Thy slander hath gone through and through her
 heart,
 And she lies buried with her ancestors,
 O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
 Save this of hers, framed by thy villainy.

161
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ACT 5. SC. 1

CLAUDIO 
80 My villainy?
LEONATO  Thine, Claudio, thine, I say.
PRINCE 
 You say not right, old man.
LEONATO  My lord, my lord,
 I’ll prove it on his body if he dare,
85 Despite his nice fence and his active practice,
 His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
CLAUDIO 
 Away! I will not have to do with you.
LEONATO 
 Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast killed my child.
 If thou kill’st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
90 He shall kill two of us, and men indeed,
 But that’s no matter. Let him kill one first.
 Win me and wear me! Let him answer me.—
 Come, follow me, boy. Come, sir boy, come, follow
 me.
95 Sir boy, I’ll whip you from your foining fence,
 Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.
LEONATO Brother—
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece,
 And she is dead, slandered to death by villains
100 That dare as well answer a man indeed
 As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.—
 Boys, apes, braggarts, jacks, milksops!
LEONATO Brother Anthony—
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
105 And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple—
 Scambling, outfacing, fashionmonging boys,
 That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
 Go anticly and show outward hideousness,

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ACT 5. SC. 1

 And speak off half a dozen dang’rous words
110 How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst,
 And this is all.
LEONATO But brother Anthony—
LEONATO’S BROTHER Come, ’tis no matter.
 Do not you meddle. Let me deal in this.
PRINCE 
115 Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
 My heart is sorry for your daughter’s death,
 But, on my honor, she was charged with nothing
 But what was true and very full of proof.
LEONATO My lord, my lord—
PRINCE 120I will not hear you.
LEONATO 
 No? Come, brother, away. I will be heard.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 And shall, or some of us will smart for it.
Leonato and his brother exit.

Enter Benedick.

PRINCE 
 See, see, here comes the man we went to seek.
CLAUDIO Now, signior, what news?
BENEDICK, to Prince 125Good day, my lord.
PRINCE Welcome, signior. You are almost come to
 part almost a fray.
CLAUDIO We had like to have had our two noses
 snapped off with two old men without teeth.
PRINCE 130Leonato and his brother. What think’st thou?
 Had we fought, I doubt we should have been too
 young for them.
BENEDICK In a false quarrel there is no true valor. I
 came to seek you both.
CLAUDIO 135We have been up and down to seek thee, for
 we are high-proof melancholy and would fain have
 it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?

165
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ACT 5. SC. 1

BENEDICK It is in my scabbard. Shall I draw it?
PRINCE Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
CLAUDIO 140Never any did so, though very many have
 been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do
 the minstrels: draw to pleasure us.
PRINCE As I am an honest man, he looks pale.—Art
 thou sick, or angry?
CLAUDIO, to Benedick 145What, courage, man! What
 though care killed a cat? Thou hast mettle enough
 in thee to kill care.
BENEDICK Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an
 you charge it against me. I pray you, choose another
150 subject.
CLAUDIO, to Prince Nay, then, give him another staff.
 This last was broke ’cross.
PRINCE By this light, he changes more and more. I
 think he be angry indeed.
CLAUDIO 155If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
BENEDICK Shall I speak a word in your ear?
CLAUDIO God bless me from a challenge!
BENEDICK, aside to Claudio You are a villain. I jest
 not. I will make it good how you dare, with what you
160 dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will
 protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
 lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me
 hear from you.
CLAUDIO Well, I will meet you, so I may have good
165 cheer.
PRINCE What, a feast, a feast?
CLAUDIO I’ faith, I thank him. He hath bid me to a
 calf’s head and a capon, the which if I do not carve
 most curiously, say my knife’s naught. Shall I not
170 find a woodcock too?
BENEDICK Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
PRINCE I’ll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the
 other day. I said thou hadst a fine wit. “True,” said

167
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ACT 5. SC. 1

 she, “a fine little one.” “No,” said I, “a great wit.”
175 “Right,” says she, “a great gross one.” “Nay,” said I,
 “a good wit.” “Just,” said she, “it hurts nobody.”
 “Nay,” said I, “the gentleman is wise.” “Certain,”
 said she, “a wise gentleman.” “Nay,” said I, “he
 hath the tongues.” “That I believe,” said she, “for he
180 swore a thing to me on Monday night which he
 forswore on Tuesday morning; there’s a double
 tongue, there’s two tongues.” Thus did she an hour
 together transshape thy particular virtues. Yet at
 last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the
185 proper’st man in Italy.
CLAUDIO For the which she wept heartily and said she
 cared not.
PRINCE Yea, that she did. But yet for all that, an if she
 did not hate him deadly, she would love him
190 dearly. The old man’s daughter told us all.
CLAUDIO All, all. And, moreover, God saw him when
 he was hid in the garden.
PRINCE But when shall we set the savage bull’s horns
 on the sensible Benedick’s head?
CLAUDIO 195Yea, and text underneath: “Here dwells Benedick,
 the married man”?
BENEDICK Fare you well, boy. You know my mind. I
 will leave you now to your gossip-like humor. You
 break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God
200 be thanked, hurt not.—My lord, for your many
 courtesies I thank you. I must discontinue your
 company. Your brother the Bastard is fled from
 Messina. You have among you killed a sweet and
 innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and
205 I shall meet, and till then peace be with him.
Benedick exits.
PRINCE He is in earnest.
CLAUDIO In most profound earnest, and, I’ll warrant
 you, for the love of Beatrice.

169
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ACT 5. SC. 1

PRINCE And hath challenged thee?
CLAUDIO 210Most sincerely.
PRINCE What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his
 doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
CLAUDIO He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape
 a doctor to such a man.
PRINCE 215But soft you, let me be. Pluck up, my heart,
 and be sad. Did he not say my brother was fled?

Enter Constables Dogberry and Verges, and the Watch,
with Conrade and Borachio.


DOGBERRY Come you, sir. If justice cannot tame you,
 she shall ne’er weigh more reasons in her balance.
 Nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must
220 be looked to.
PRINCE How now, two of my brother’s men bound?
 Borachio one!
CLAUDIO Hearken after their offense, my lord.
PRINCE Officers, what offense have these men done?
DOGBERRY 225Marry, sir, they have committed false
 report; moreover, they have spoken untruths;
 secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they
 have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
 things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
PRINCE 230First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
 ask thee what’s their offense; sixth and lastly, why
 they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay
 to their charge.
CLAUDIO Rightly reasoned, and in his own division;
235 and, by my troth, there’s one meaning well suited.
PRINCE, to Borachio and Conrade Who have you offended,
 masters, that you are thus bound to your
 answer? This learned constable is too cunning to be
 understood. What’s your offense?
BORACHIO 240Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine
 answer. Do you hear me, and let this count kill me.

171
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ACT 5. SC. 1

 I have deceived even your very eyes. What your
 wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools
 have brought to light, who in the night overheard
245 me confessing to this man how Don John your
 brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero, how
 you were brought into the orchard and saw me
 court Margaret in Hero’s garments, how you disgraced
 her when you should marry her. My villainy
250 they have upon record, which I had rather seal with
 my death than repeat over to my shame. The lady is
 dead upon mine and my master’s false accusation.
 And, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a
 villain.
PRINCE, to Claudio 
255 Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
CLAUDIO 
 I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it.
PRINCE, to Borachio 
 But did my brother set thee on to this?
BORACHIO Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of
 it.
PRINCE 
260 He is composed and framed of treachery,
 And fled he is upon this villainy.
CLAUDIO 
 Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear
 In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
DOGBERRY Come, bring away the plaintiffs. By this
265 time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of
 the matter. And, masters, do not forget to specify,
 when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
VERGES Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato,
 and the Sexton too.

Enter Leonato, his brother, and the Sexton.


173
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ACT 5. SC. 1

LEONATO 
270 Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes,
 That, when I note another man like him,
 I may avoid him. Which of these is he?
BORACHIO 
 If you would know your wronger, look on me.
LEONATO 
 Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast killed
275 Mine innocent child?
BORACHIO  Yea, even I alone.
LEONATO 
 No, not so, villain, thou beliest thyself.
 Here stand a pair of honorable men—
 A third is fled—that had a hand in it.—
280 I thank you, princes, for my daughter’s death.
 Record it with your high and worthy deeds.
 ’Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.
CLAUDIO 
 I know not how to pray your patience,
 Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself.
285 Impose me to what penance your invention
 Can lay upon my sin. Yet sinned I not
 But in mistaking.
PRINCE  By my soul, nor I,
 And yet to satisfy this good old man
290 I would bend under any heavy weight
 That he’ll enjoin me to.
LEONATO 
 I cannot bid you bid my daughter live—
 That were impossible—but, I pray you both,
 Possess the people in Messina here
295 How innocent she died. And if your love
 Can labor aught in sad invention,
 Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
 And sing it to her bones. Sing it tonight.
 Tomorrow morning come you to my house,

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300 And since you could not be my son-in-law,
 Be yet my nephew. My brother hath a daughter,
 Almost the copy of my child that’s dead,
 And she alone is heir to both of us.
 Give her the right you should have giv’n her cousin,
305 And so dies my revenge.
CLAUDIO  O, noble sir!
 Your overkindness doth wring tears from me.
 I do embrace your offer and dispose
 For henceforth of poor Claudio.
LEONATO 
310 Tomorrow then I will expect your coming.
 Tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
 Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
 Who I believe was packed in all this wrong,
 Hired to it by your brother.
BORACHIO 315No, by my soul, she was not,
 Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
 But always hath been just and virtuous
 In anything that I do know by her.
DOGBERRY, to Leonato Moreover, sir, which indeed is
320 not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the
 offender, did call me ass. I beseech you, let it be
 remembered in his punishment. And also the watch
 heard them talk of one Deformed. They say he
 wears a key in his ear and a lock hanging by it and
325 borrows money in God’s name, the which he hath
 used so long and never paid that now men grow
 hardhearted and will lend nothing for God’s sake.
 Pray you, examine him upon that point.
LEONATO I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.
DOGBERRY 330Your Worship speaks like a most thankful
 and reverent youth, and I praise God for you.
LEONATO, giving him money There’s for thy pains.
DOGBERRY God save the foundation.

177
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LEONATO Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I
335 thank thee.
DOGBERRY I leave an arrant knave with your Worship,
 which I beseech your Worship to correct
 yourself, for the example of others. God keep your
 Worship! I wish your Worship well. God restore you
340 to health. I humbly give you leave to depart, and if a
 merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it.—
 Come, neighbor.Dogberry and Verges exit.
LEONATO 
 Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.
LEONATO’S BROTHER 
 Farewell, my lords. We look for you tomorrow.
PRINCE 
345 We will not fail.
CLAUDIO  Tonight I’ll mourn with Hero.
LEONATO, to Watch 
 Bring you these fellows on.—We’ll talk with
 Margaret,
 How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
They exit.