Shakespeare in the Digital Age


Act III, Scene 1

LEONATO’S garden.



Scene 2

A room in LEONATO’S house


Don Pedro. I do but stay till your marriage be consummate, and
then go I toward Arragon. 1200

Claudio. I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll
vouchsafe me.

Don Pedro. Nay, that would be as great a soil in the new gloss
of your marriage as to show a child his new coat
and forbid him to wear it. I will only be bold 1205
with Benedick for his company; for, from the crown
of his head to the sole of his foot, he is all
mirth: he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's
bow-string and the little hangman dare not shoot at
him; he hath a heart as sound as a bell and his 1210
tongue is the clapper, for what his heart thinks his
tongue speaks.

Benedick. Gallants, I am not as I have been.

Leonato. So say I. methinks you are sadder.

Claudio. I hope he be in love. 1215

Don Pedro. Hang him, truant! there's no true drop of blood in
him, to be truly touched with love: if he be sad,
he wants money.

Benedick. I have the toothache.

Don Pedro. Draw it. 1220

Benedick. Hang it!

Claudio. You must hang it first, and draw it afterwards.

Don Pedro. What! sigh for the toothache?

Leonato. Where is but a humour or a worm.

Benedick. Well, every one can master a grief but he that has 1225

Claudio. Yet say I, he is in love.

Don Pedro. There is no appearance of fancy in him, unless it be
a fancy that he hath to strange disguises; as, to be
a Dutchman today, a Frenchman to-morrow, or in the 1230
shape of two countries at once, as, a German from
the waist downward, all slops, and a Spaniard from
the hip upward, no doublet. Unless he have a fancy
to this foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no
fool for fancy, as you would have it appear he is. 1235

Claudio. If he be not in love with some woman, there is no
believing old signs: a' brushes his hat o'
mornings; what should that bode?

Don Pedro. Hath any man seen him at the barber's?

Claudio. No, but the barber's man hath been seen with him, 1240
and the old ornament of his cheek hath already
stuffed tennis-balls.

Leonato. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, by the loss of a beard.

Don Pedro. Nay, a' rubs himself with civet: can you smell him
out by that? 1245

Claudio. That's as much as to say, the sweet youth's in love.

Don Pedro. The greatest note of it is his melancholy.

Claudio. And when was he wont to wash his face?

Don Pedro. Yea, or to paint himself? for the which, I hear
what they say of him. 1250

Claudio. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now crept into
a lute-string and now governed by stops.

Don Pedro. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale for him: conclude,
conclude he is in love.

Claudio. Nay, but I know who loves him. 1255

Don Pedro. That would I know too: I warrant, one that knows him not.

Claudio. Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in despite of
all, dies for him.

Don Pedro. She shall be buried with her face upwards.

Benedick. Yet is this no charm for the toothache. Old 1260
signior, walk aside with me: I have studied eight
or nine wise words to speak to you, which these
hobby-horses must not hear.


Don Pedro. For my life, to break with him about Beatrice. 1265

Claudio. 'Tis even so. Hero and Margaret have by this
played their parts with Beatrice; and then the two
bears will not bite one another when they meet.

[Enter DON JOHN]

Don John. My lord and brother, God save you! 1270

Don Pedro. Good den, brother.

Don John. If your leisure served, I would speak with you.

Don Pedro. In private?

Don John. If it please you: yet Count Claudio may hear; for
what I would speak of concerns him. 1275

Don Pedro. What's the matter?

Don John. [To CLAUDIO] Means your lordship to be married

Don Pedro. You know he does.

Don John. I know not that, when he knows what I know. 1280

Claudio. If there be any impediment, I pray you discover it.

Don John. You may think I love you not: let that appear
hereafter, and aim better at me by that I now will
manifest. For my brother, I think he holds you
well, and in dearness of heart hath holp to effect 1285
your ensuing marriage;—surely suit ill spent and
labour ill bestowed.

Don Pedro. Why, what's the matter?

Don John. I came hither to tell you; and, circumstances
shortened, for she has been too long a talking of, 1290
the lady is disloyal.

Claudio. Who, Hero?

Don Pedro. Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero:

Claudio. Disloyal?

Don John. The word is too good to paint out her wickedness; I 1295
could say she were worse: think you of a worse
title, and I will fit her to it. Wonder not till
further warrant: go but with me to-night, you shall
see her chamber-window entered, even the night
before her wedding-day: if you love her then, 1300
to-morrow wed her; but it would better fit your honour
to change your mind.

Claudio. May this be so?

Don Pedro. I will not think it.

Don John. If you dare not trust that you see, confess not 1305
that you know: if you will follow me, I will show
you enough; and when you have seen more and heard
more, proceed accordingly.

Claudio. If I see any thing to-night why I should not marry
her to-morrow in the congregation, where I should 1310
wed, there will I shame her.

Don Pedro. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain her, I will join
with thee to disgrace her.

Don John. I will disparage her no farther till you are my
witnesses: bear it coldly but till midnight, and 1315
let the issue show itself.

Don Pedro. O day untowardly turned!

Claudio. O mischief strangely thwarting!

Don John. O plague right well prevented! so will you say when
you have seen the sequel. 1320


Scene 3

A street.

[Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES with the Watch]

Dogberry. Are you good men and true?

Verges. Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
salvation, body and soul. 1325

Dogberry. Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if
they should have any allegiance in them, being
chosen for the prince's watch.

Verges. Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.

Dogberry. First, who think you the most desertless man to be 1330

First Watchman. Hugh Otecake, sir, or George Seacole; for they can
write and read.

Dogberry. Come hither, neighbour Seacole. God hath blessed
you with a good name: to be a well-favoured man is 1335
the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.

Second Watchman. Both which, master constable,—

Dogberry. You have: I knew it would be your answer. Well,
for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make
no boast of it; and for your writing and reading, 1340
let that appear when there is no need of such
vanity. You are thought here to be the most
senseless and fit man for the constable of the
watch; therefore bear you the lantern. This is your
charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are 1345
to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.

Second Watchman. How if a' will not stand?

Dogberry. Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; and
presently call the rest of the watch together and
thank God you are rid of a knave. 1350

Verges. If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none
of the prince's subjects.

Dogberry. True, and they are to meddle with none but the
prince's subjects. You shall also make no noise in
the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to 1355
talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.

Watchman. We will rather sleep than talk: we know what
belongs to a watch.

Dogberry. Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet
watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should 1360
offend: only, have a care that your bills be not
stolen. Well, you are to call at all the
ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.

Watchman. How if they will not?

Dogberry. Why, then, let them alone till they are sober: if 1365
they make you not then the better answer, you may
say they are not the men you took them for.

Watchman. Well, sir.

Dogberry. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue
of your office, to be no true man; and, for such 1370
kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them,
why the more is for your honesty.

Watchman. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay
hands on him?

Dogberry. Truly, by your office, you may; but I think they 1375
that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable
way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him
show himself what he is and steal out of your company.

Verges. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.

Dogberry. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more 1380
a man who hath any honesty in him.

Verges. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call
to the nurse and bid her still it.

Watchman. How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?

Dogberry. Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wake 1385
her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her
lamb when it baes will never answer a calf when he bleats.

Verges. 'Tis very true.

Dogberry. This is the end of the charge:—you, constable, are
to present the prince's own person: if you meet the 1390
prince in the night, you may stay him.

Verges. Nay, by'r our lady, that I think a' cannot.

Dogberry. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows
the statutes, he may stay him: marry, not without
the prince be willing; for, indeed, the watch ought 1395
to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a
man against his will.

Verges. By'r lady, I think it be so.

Dogberry. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be
any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your 1400
fellows' counsels and your own; and good night.
Come, neighbour.

Watchman. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here
upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.

Dogberry. One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you watch 1405
about Signior Leonato's door; for the wedding being
there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night.
Adieu: be vigitant, I beseech you.



Act III, Scene 4

HERO’s apartment.


Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire 1490
her to rise.

Ursula. I will, lady.

Hero. And bid her come hither.

Ursula. Well.


Margaret. Troth, I think your other rabato were better.

Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.

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

Hero. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another: I'll wear 1500
none but this.

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. 1505

Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.

Margaret. By my troth, 's but a night-gown in respect of
yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and laced with
silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves,
and skirts, round underborne with a bluish tinsel: 1510
but for a fine, quaint, graceful and excellent
fashion, yours is worth ten on 't.

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

Margaret. 'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man. 1515

Hero. Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

Margaret. Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not
marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord
honourable without marriage? I think you would have
me say, 'saving your reverence, a husband:' and bad 1520
thinking do not wrest true speaking, I'll offend
nobody: is there any harm in 'the heavier for a
husband'? None, I think, and it be the right husband
and the right wife; otherwise 'tis light, and not
heavy: ask my Lady Beatrice else; here she comes. 1525


Hero. Good morrow, coz.

Beatrice. Good morrow, sweet Hero.

Hero. Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?

Beatrice. I am out of all other tune, methinks. 1530

Margaret. Clap's into 'Light o' love;' that goes without a
burden: do you sing it, and I'll dance it.

Beatrice. Ye light o' love, with your heels! then, if your
husband have stables enough, you'll see he shall
lack no barns. 1535

Margaret. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.

Beatrice. 'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; tis time you were
ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill: heigh-ho!

Margaret. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

Beatrice. For the letter that begins them all, H. 1540

Margaret. Well, and you be not turned Turk, there's no more
sailing by the star.

Beatrice. What means the fool, trow?

Margaret. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart's desire!

Hero. These gloves the count sent me; they are an 1545
excellent perfume.

Beatrice. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.

Margaret. A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly catching of cold.

Beatrice. O, God help me! God help me! how long have you
professed apprehension? 1550

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

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

Margaret. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus,
and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm. 1555

Hero. There thou prickest her with a thistle.

Beatrice. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in
this Benedictus.

Margaret. Moral! no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I
meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance 1560
that I think you are in love: nay, by'r lady, I am
not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list
not to think what I 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 1565
can be in love. Yet Benedick was 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 1570
your eyes as other women do.

Beatrice. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

Margaret. Not a false gallop.

[Re-enter URSULA]

Ursula. Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior 1575
Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the
town, are come to fetch you to church.

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


Act III, Scene 5

Another room in LEONATO’S house.


Leonato. What would you with me, honest neighbour?

Dogberry. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you
that decerns you nearly.

Leonato. Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.

Dogberry. Marry, this it is, sir. 1585

Verges. Yes, in truth it is, sir.

Leonato. What is it, my good friends?

Dogberry. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the
matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so
blunt as, God help, I would desire they were; but, 1590
in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.

Verges. Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living
that is an old man and no honester than I.

Dogberry. Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.

Leonato. Neighbours, you are tedious. 1595

Dogberry. It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the
poor duke's officers; but truly, for mine own part,
if I were as tedious as a king, I could find it in
my heart to bestow it all of your worship.

Leonato. All thy tediousness on me, ah? 1600

Dogberry. Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; for
I hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any
man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I
am glad to hear it.

Verges. And so am I. 1605

Leonato. I would fain know what you have to say.

Verges. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your
worship's presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant
knaves as any in Messina.

Dogberry. A good old man, sir; he will be talking: as they 1610
say, when the age is in, the wit is out: God help
us! it is a world to see. Well said, i' faith,
neighbour Verges: well, God's a good man; an two men
ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An honest
soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever 1615
broke bread; but God is to be worshipped; all men
are not alike; alas, good neighbour!

Leonato. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.

Dogberry. Gifts that God gives.


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