Much Ado About Nothing
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|ACT I SCENE III ||The same.|| |
| ||Enter DON JOHN and CONRADE.|| |
|CONRADE ||What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out|| |
| ||of measure sad?|| |
|DON JOHN ||There is no measure in the occasion that breeds;|| |
| ||therefore the sadness is without limit.|
|CONRADE ||You should hear reason.|| |
|DON JOHN ||And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?|| |
|CONRADE ||If not a present remedy, at least a patient|| |
| ||sufferance.|| |
|DON JOHN ||I wonder that thou, being, as thou sayest thou art,|| 10|
| ||born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral|| |
| ||medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide|| |
| ||what I am: I must be sad when I have cause and smile|| |
| ||at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach and wait|| |
| ||for no man's leisure, sleep when I am drowsy and|
| ||tend on no man's business, laugh when I am merry and|| |
| ||claw no man in his humour.|| |
|CONRADE ||Yea, but you must not make the full show of this|| |
| ||till you may do it without controlment. You have of|| |
| ||late stood out against your brother, and he hath|| 20|
| ||ta'en you newly into his grace; where it is|| |
| ||impossible you should take true root but by the|| |
| ||fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful|| |
| ||that you frame the season for your own harvest.|| |
|DON JOHN ||I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in|
| ||his grace, and it better fits my blood to be|| |
| ||disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob|| |
| ||love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to|| |
| ||be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied|| |
| ||but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with|
| ||a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I|| |
| ||have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my|| |
| ||mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do|| |
| ||my liking: in the meantime let me be that I am and|| |
| ||seek not to alter me.|
|CONRADE ||Can you make no use of your discontent?|| 35|| |
|DON JOHN ||I make all use of it, for I use it only.|| |
| ||Who comes here?|| |
| ||Enter BORACHIO.|| |
| ||What news, Borachio?|| |
|BORACHIO ||I came yonder from a great supper: the prince your|
| ||brother is royally entertained by Leonato: and I|| |
| ||can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.|| |
|DON JOHN ||Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?|| |
| ||What is he for a fool that betroths himself to|| |
|BORACHIO ||Marry, it is your brother's right hand.|| 45|| |
|DON JOHN ||Who? the most exquisite Claudio?|| |
|BORACHIO ||Even he.|| |
|DON JOHN ||A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks|| |
|BORACHIO ||Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.|| |
|DON JOHN ||A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?|| |
|BORACHIO ||Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a|| |
| ||musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand|| |
| ||in hand in sad conference: I whipt me behind the|
| ||arras; and there heard it agreed upon that the|| |
| ||prince should woo Hero for himself, and having|| |
| ||obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.|| 59|| |
|DON JOHN ||Come, come, let us thither: this may prove food to|| |
| ||my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the|
| ||glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I|| |
| ||bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?|| |
|CONRADE ||To the death, my lord.|| 65|| |
|DON JOHN ||Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the|| |
| ||greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of|
| ||my mind! Shall we go prove what's to be done?|| |
|BORACHIO ||We'll wait upon your lordship.|| |
| ||Exeunt|| |
Next: Much Ado About Nothing, Act 2, Scene 1
Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 3
From Much Ado About Nothing. Ed. A. Wilson Verity. London: Rivingtons.
1 What the good-year, 'A plague on't.' [i.e. an expletive.] Corrupted from
the French goujere and then, I expect, by the familiar process
of popular etymology, supposed to mean literally 'good year,'
just as we say, "Good day." This explanation would account
for some uses of the expression. Here, however, as in the Merry
Wives, I. 4. 129, and Lear, v. 3. 24, Shakespeare is thinking of
the original sense of the word.
12 Saturn. The malign planet; hence saturnine. [The superstition held that if a person was born under the influence of Saturn they would have a morose disposition.]
11-19 A complete summary of the "whole duty" of the
13 What I am. So Sonnet 121. 9, "No, I am that I am;"
and contrast Iago's bitter "I am not what I am." (Othello, i. i. 65.)
15 Tend on. 'Wait on;' hence 'trouble about.'
16 Claw, 'Flatter,' 'humour.' Cotgrave renders galloner, "To stroke, cherish, claw, or clap on the back." Probably
Shakespeare plays on the secondary meaning of claw in Love's
Labour's Lost, iv. 2. 64-66. Clawback was a synonym to the
Elizabethan lexicographers for adulator.
25 A canker in a hedge. Canker in Shakespeare has three meanings: (1) 'a worm that eats the blossom of a tree;' (2) 'a
corroding evil' (cf. Timon of Athens, iv. 3. 49, "The canker
gnaw thy heart"); (3) 'the woolly blight so common on the wild
rose;' and hence a 'wild rose,' or, as we generally say, 'dog-rose.' This last is the sense it bears in the present passage. For
the same antithesis, canker and rose, compare i Henry IV, i. 3.
176. In Sonnet 54. 5 the wild-rose is called a "canker-bloom;" but "canker-blossom" in Midsummer Night's Dream, iii. 2. 282,
means 'a flower partly eaten by the worm.'
27 Fashion a carriage. 'So suit my conduct as to win love.'
43 What is he for a fool. 'What kind of fool is he?' The
editors compare Ben Jonson, Silent Women, iii. I, "What is he
for a vicar?" So Peele's Edward I, "What, have we a fellow
dropt out of the element? What's he for a man?" (Dyce's
Greene and Peele, p. 383.) It is exactly the German was fur ein,
Shakespeare does not use the idiom — rather a clumsy one — elsewhere.
52 March chick. A chicken hatched in March would have a
good start; hence it might fairly be described as "very forward"
— scarcely less precocious, in fact, than the lapwing in Hamlet,
V. 2. 193.
55 Smoking a musty room. The room was fumigated either
because it had not been used for some time, or (as Steevens
phrases it) because "the neglect of cleanliness among our
ancestors rendered such precautions too often necessary."
Comes me. A vague dative, very frequent in the English of
the time; cf. the Two Gentlemen, iv. 4. 9, "He steps me to her
trencher." See Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar, p. 147.
57 Behind the arras. ... The arras was the tapestry work hung on the walls of rooms.
Polonius conveyed himself behind the arras only too successfully.
(Hamlet, iii. 3. 28.) Derived from Arras, the name of the town
in North of France at which it was made. For similar derivations cf. cambric, from Cambray; calico, from Calicut; fustian,
from Fustat, an Arabic name of Cairo; and (probably) cypress,
Twelfth Night, iii. i, 132, from Cyprus; not to mention many
62 Cross. 'Spite.'
63 Sure. 'To be relied on.' Compare Macbeth's "Assurance
double sure." (Macbeth, iv. i. 83.)
How to cite the explanatory notes:
Shakespeare, William. Much Ado About Nothing. Ed. A. Wilson Verity. London: Rivingtons, 1890. Shakespeare Online. 20 Feb. 2010. (date when you accessed the information) < http://www.shakespeare-online.com/plays/much_1_3.html >.
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