Much Ado About Nothing
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|ACT II SCENE III ||LEONATO'S orchard.|| |
| ||Enter BENEDICK.|| |
|BENEDICK ||Boy!|| |
| ||Enter Boy.|| |
|Boy ||Signior?|| |
|BENEDICK ||In my chamber-window lies a book: bring it hither|| |
| ||to me in the orchard.|
|Boy ||I am here already, sir.|| |
|BENEDICK ||I know that; but I would have thee hence, and here again.|| |
| ||Exit Boy|| |
| ||I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much|| |
| ||another man is a fool when he dedicates his|| |
| ||behaviors to love, will, after he hath laughed at|
| ||such shallow follies in others, become the argument|| |
| ||of his own scorn by failing in love: and such a man|| |
| ||is Claudio. I have known when there was no music|| |
| ||with him but the drum and the fife; and now had he|| 13|| |
| ||rather hear the tabour and the pipe: I have known|
| ||when he would have walked ten mile a-foot to see a|| |
| ||good armour; and now will he lie ten nights awake,|| |
| ||carving the fashion of a new doublet. He was wont to|| |
| ||speak plain and to the purpose, like an honest man|| |
| ||and a soldier; and now is he turned orthography; his|| 19|
| ||words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many|| |
| ||strange dishes. May I be so converted and see with|| |
| ||these eyes? I cannot tell; I think not: I will not|| |
| ||be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster; but|| |
| ||I'll take my oath on it, till he have made an oyster|
| ||of me, he shall never make me such a fool. One woman|| |
| ||is fair, yet I am well; another is wise, yet I am|| |
| ||well; another virtuous, yet I am well; but till all|| |
| ||graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in|| |
| ||my grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain; wise,|
| ||or I'll none; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her;|| 29|| |
| ||fair, or I'll never look on her; mild, or come not|| |
| ||near me; noble, or not I for an angel; of good|| |
| ||discourse, an excellent musician, and her hair shall|| |
| ||be of what colour it please God. Ha! the prince and|
| ||Monsieur Love! I will hide me in the arbour.|| |
| ||Withdraws|| |
| ||Enter DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Come, shall we hear this music?|| |
|CLAUDIO ||Yea, my good lord. How still the evening is,|| |
| ||As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony!|| |
|DON PEDRO ||See you where Benedick hath hid himself?|
|CLAUDIO ||O, very well, my lord: the music ended,|| |
| ||We'll fit the kid-fox with a pennyworth.|| 40|| |
| ||Enter BALTHASAR with Music.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Come, Balthasar, we'll hear that song again.|| |
|BALTHASAR ||O, good my lord, tax not so bad a voice|| |
| ||To slander music any more than once.|
|DON PEDRO ||It is the witness still of excellency|| |
| ||To put a strange face on his own perfection.|| |
| ||I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more.|| |
|BALTHASAR ||Because you talk of wooing, I will sing;|| |
| ||Since many a wooer doth commence his suit|
| ||To her he thinks not worthy, yet he wooes,|| |
| ||Yet will he swear he loves.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Now, pray thee, come;|| 50|| |
| ||Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument,|| |
| ||Do it in notes.|
|BALTHASAR ||Note this before my notes;|| |
| ||There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Why, these are very crotchets that he speaks;|| |
| ||Note, notes, forsooth, and nothing.|| |
| ||[ Music ]|| |
|BENEDICK ||Now, divine air! now is his soul ravished! Is it|
not strange that sheeps' guts should hale souls out
| ||of men's bodies? Well, a horn for my money, when|| |
| ||all's done.|| |
| ||The Song|| |
|BALTHASAR ||"Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,|| |
| ||Men were deceivers ever,|| 60|
| ||One foot in sea and one on shore,|| |
| ||To one thing constant never:|| |
| ||Then sigh not so, but let them go,|| |
| ||And be you blithe and bonny,|| |
| ||Converting all your sounds of woe|
| ||Into Hey nonny, nonny.|| |
| ||Sing no more ditties, sing no moe,|| |
| ||Of dumps so dull and heavy;|| |
| ||The fraud of men was ever so,|| |
| ||Since summer first was leavy:|| 70|
| ||Then sigh not so,|| |
| ||But let them go,|| |
| ||And you be blithe and bonny|| |
| ||Converting all your sounds of woe|| |
| ||Into Hey nonny, nonny."|| |
|DON PEDRO ||By my troth, a good song.|| |
|BALTHASAR ||And an ill singer, my lord.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Ha, no, no, faith; thou singest well enough for a shift.|| |
|BENEDICK ||[ Aside.] An he had been a dog that should have howled thus,|
| ||they would have hanged him: and I pray God his bad|| |
| ||voice bode no mischief. I had as lief have heard the|| |
| ||night-raven, come what plague could have come after|| |
| ||it.|| 80|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Yea, marry, dost thou hear, Balthasar? I pray thee,|
| ||get us some excellent music; for to-morrow night we|| |
| ||would have it at the Lady Hero's chamber-window.|| |
|BALTHASAR ||The best I can, my lord.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Do so: farewell.|| |
| ||Exit BALTHASAR.|| |
| ||Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of|
| ||to-day, that your niece Beatrice was in love with|| |
| ||Signior Benedick?|| |
|CLAUDIO ||O, ay: [ Aside to Don Pedro. ] Stalk on, stalk on; the fowl sits. I did|| 90|| |
| ||never think that lady would have loved any man.|| |
|LEONATO ||No, nor I neither; but most wonderful that she|
| ||should so dote on Signior Benedick, whom she hath in|| |
| ||all outward behaviors seemed ever to abhor.|| |
|BENEDICK || [Aside] Is't possible? Sits the wind in that corner?|| |
|LEONATO ||By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what to think|| |
| ||of it but that she loves him with an enraged|
| ||affection: it is past the infinite of thought.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||May be she doth but counterfeit.|| |
|CLAUDIO ||Faith, like enough.|| 100|| |
|LEONATO ||O God, counterfeit! There was never counterfeit of|| |
| ||passion came so near the life of passion as she|
| ||discovers it.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Why, what effects of passion shows she?|| |
|CLAUDIO || [Aside] Bait the hook well; this fish will bite.|| |
|LEONATO ||What effects, my lord? She will sit you, [to Claudio] you heard|| |
| ||my daughter tell you how.|
|CLAUDIO ||She did, indeed.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||How, how, pray you? You amaze me: I would have I|| |
| ||thought her spirit had been invincible against all|| |
| ||assaults of affection.|| 111|| |
|LEONATO ||I would have sworn it had, my lord; especially|
| ||against Benedick.|| |
|BENEDICK || [Aside] I should think this a gull, but that the|| |
| ||white-bearded fellow speaks it: knavery cannot,|| |
| ||sure, hide himself in such reverence.|| |
|CLAUDIO || [Aside] He hath ta'en the infection: hold it up.|
|DON PEDRO ||Hath she made her affection known to Benedick?|| |
|LEONATO ||No; and swears she never will: that's her torment.|| 121|| |
|CLAUDIO ||'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 'Shall|| |
| ||I,' says she, 'that have so oft encountered him|| |
| ||with scorn, write to him that I love him?'|
|LEONATO ||This says she now when she is beginning to write to|| |
| ||him; for she'll be up twenty times a night, and|| |
| ||there will she sit in her smock till she have writ a|| |
| ||sheet of paper: my daughter tells us all.|| |
|CLAUDIO ||Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I remember a|| 130|
| ||pretty jest your daughter told us of.|| |
|LEONATO ||O, when she had writ it and was reading it over, she|| |
| ||found Benedick and Beatrice between the sheet?|| |
|CLAUDIO ||That.|| |
|LEONATO ||O, she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence;|
| ||railed at herself, that she should be so immodest|| |
| ||to write to one that she knew would flout her; 'I|| |
| ||measure him,' says she, 'by my own spirit; for I|| |
| ||should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, though I|| |
| ||love him, I should.'|
|CLAUDIO ||Then down upon her knees she falls, weeps, sobs,|| |
| ||beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, curses; 'O|| |
| ||sweet Benedick! God give me patience!'|| 139|| |
|LEONATO ||She doth indeed; my daughter says so: and the|| |
| ||ecstasy hath so much overborne her that my daughter|
| ||is sometime afeared she will do a desperate outrage|| |
| ||to herself: it is very true.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||It were good that Benedick knew of it by some|| |
| ||other, if she will not discover it.|| |
|CLAUDIO ||To what end? He would make but a sport of it and|
| ||torment the poor lady worse.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||An he should, it were an alms to hang him. She's an|| |
| ||excellent sweet lady; and, out of all suspicion,|| |
| ||she is virtuous.|| 150|| |
|CLAUDIO ||And she is exceeding wise.|
|DON PEDRO ||In every thing but in loving Benedick.|| |
|LEONATO ||O, my lord, wisdom and blood combating in so tender|| |
| ||a body, we have ten proofs to one that blood hath|| |
| ||the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have just|| |
| ||cause, being her uncle and her guardian.|
|DON PEDRO ||I would she had bestowed this dotage on me: I would|| |
| ||have daffed all other respects and made her half|| |
| ||myself. I pray you, tell Benedick of it, and hear|| 160|| |
| ||what a' will say.|| |
|LEONATO ||Were it good, think you?|
|CLAUDIO ||Hero thinks surely she will die; for she says she|| |
| ||will die, if he love her not, and she will die, ere|| |
| ||she make her love known, and she will die, if he woo|| |
| ||her, rather than she will bate one breath of her|| |
| ||accustomed crossness.|
|DON PEDRO ||She doth well: if she should make tender of her|| |
| ||love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; for the|| |
| ||man, as you know all, hath a contemptible spirit.|| |
|CLAUDIO ||He is a very proper man.|| 170|| |
|DON PEDRO ||He hath indeed a good outward happiness.|
|CLAUDIO ||'Fore God! and, in my mind, very wise.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||He doth indeed show some sparks that are like wit.|| |
|CLAUDIO ||And I take him to be valiant.|| |
|DON PEDRO ||As Hector, I assure you: and in the managing of|| |
| ||quarrels you may say he is wise; for either he|
| ||avoids them with great discretion, or undertakes|| |
| ||them with a most Christian-like fear.|| 179|| |
|LEONATO ||If he do fear God, a' must necessarily keep peace:|| |
| ||if he break the peace, he ought to enter into a|| |
| ||quarrel with fear and trembling.|
|DON PEDRO ||And so will he do; for the man doth fear God,|| |
| ||howsoever it seems not in him by some large jests|| |
| ||he will make. Well I am sorry for your niece. Shall|| |
| ||we go seek Benedick, and tell him of her love?|| |
|CLAUDIO ||Never tell him, my lord: let her wear it out with|
| ||good counsel.|| |
|LEONATO ||Nay, that's impossible: she may wear her heart out first.|| 190|| |
|DON PEDRO ||Well, we will hear further of it by your daughter:|| |
| ||let it cool the while. I love Benedick well; and I|| |
| ||could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see|
| ||how much he is unworthy so good a lady.|| |
|LEONATO ||My lord, will you walk? dinner is ready.|| |
|CLAUDIO || [Aside] If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never|| |
| ||trust my expectation.|| |
|DON PEDRO || [Aside] Let there be the same net spread for her; and that|
| ||must your daughter and her gentlewomen carry. The|| |
| ||sport will be, when they hold one an opinion of|| |
| ||another's dotage, and no such matter: that's the|| |
| ||scene that I would see, which will be merely a|| |
| ||dumb-show. Let us send her to call him in to dinner.|| 203|
| ||Exeunt DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO.|| |
|BENEDICK ||Coming forward.|| |
| ||conference was sadly borne. They have the truth of|| |
| ||this from Hero. They seem to pity the lady: it|| |
| ||seems her affections have their full bent. Love me!|| |
| ||why, it must be requited. I hear how I am censured:|| |
| ||they say I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive|
| ||the love come from her; they say too that she will|| |
| ||rather die than give any sign of affection. I did|| |
| ||never think to marry: I must not seem proud: happy|| |
| ||are they that hear their detractions and can put|| |
| ||them to mending. They say the lady is fair; 'tis a|
| ||truth, I can bear them witness; and virtuous; 'tis|| |
| ||so, I cannot reprove it; and wise, but for loving|| |
| ||me; by my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor|| |
| ||no great argument of her folly, for I will be|| |
| ||horribly in love with her. I may chance have some|| 217|
| ||odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me,|| |
| ||because I have railed so long against marriage: but|| |
| ||doth not the appetite alter? a man loves the meat|| |
| ||in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.|| |
| ||Shall quips and sentences and these paper bullets of|
| ||the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?|| |
| ||No, the world must be peopled. When I said I would|| |
| ||die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I|| |
| ||were married. Here comes Beatrice. By this day!|| |
| ||she's a fair lady: I do spy some marks of love in|| 227|
| ||her.|| |
| ||Enter BEATRICE.|| |
|BEATRICE ||Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.|| |
|BENEDICK ||Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains.|| |
|BEATRICE ||I took no more pains for those thanks than you take|| |
| ||pains to thank me: if it had been painful, I would|
| ||not have come.|| |
|BENEDICK ||You take pleasure then in the message?|| 234|| |
|BEATRICE ||Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's|| |
| ||point and choke a daw withal. You have no stomach,|| |
| ||signior: fare you well.|
| ||Exit|| |
|BENEDICK ||Ha! 'Against my will I am sent to bid you come in|| |
| ||to dinner;' there's a double meaning in that 'I took|| |
| ||no more pains for those thanks than you took pains|| |
| ||to thank me.' that's as much as to say, Any pains|| |
| ||that I take for you is as easy as thanks. If I do|
| ||not take pity of her, I am a villain; if I do not|| |
| ||love her, I am a Jew. I will go get her picture.|| |
| ||Exit|| |
Next: Much Ado About Nothing, Act 3, Scene 1
Explanatory Notes for Act 2, Scene 3
From Much Ado About Nothing. Ed. A. Wilson Verity. London: Rivingtons.
13 The drum and the fife. When Othello bids farewell to his
soldier life he does not forget "the spirit-stirring drum, the
ear-piercing fife." (iii. 3. 352.)
15 Armour; i.e. 'suit of armour.' So used by Cotgrave: "Enfondrer un hamois: to make a great dint in an armour."
18 And a soldier. "I speak to thee plain soldier," Henry V. V. 2. 156.
19 Orthography. Abstract for concrete. There is no need to
change to orthographer, as do some editors.
20 Banquet. Properly 'the dessert after a feast,' not the feast
itself. Used in its strict sense in As You Like It, ii. 5. 65.
29 Cheapen. 'Make a bid for.' So Pericles, iv. 6. 30,
"Cheapen a kiss of her."
30-31 Noble ... angel. Quibbling on the names of the
coins noble (worth 6s. 8d.) and angel (10s.). The puns were too
obvious not to occur often. Cf. Merry Wives, i. 3. 60-61.
32 Of what colour it please God. Though the fashionable
shade was golden, the Queen having light, rather reddish hair.
Benedick means that the lady who "comes in his grace" need not trouble to dye her hair, a common practice at that time. False hair, too, was much worn, as we see from several passages; e.g. Timon of Athens, iv. 3. 144; Merchant of Venice, iii. 2.
92-96; and Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3. 259. Cf. too Sonnet 68 —
"Before the golden tresses of the dead,
The right of sepulchres, were shorn away,
To live a second life on second head."
Coryat, in his Crudities, tells us that the Venetian ladies used to
wash their hair with certain drugs and oils, and then bleach it
in the sun (vol. ii. pp. 37-38); and perhaps it was from Italy that
the habit passed into England, Italian influence being dominant
at the time, as French influence was later on in the century.
36-37 Compare Merchant of Venice, v. 56-57 —
"Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony."
40 We'll fit the kid-fox. So Quarto and Folios, but the text
is strange. Kid-fox = 'a young fox' (Schmidt) sounds desperately unsportsmanlike, and, as applied to the mature Benedick,
is not very pointed. An obvious emendation is hid fox, an allusion to the game of "hide and seek," mentioned in Hamlet,
iv. 2. 32, "Hide fox, and all after," and Love's Labour's Lost, iv. 3. 78. Obviously hid fox would exactly fit in with Don
Pedro's question, "See you where Benedick hath hid himself?"
I have not ventured, however, to adopt the correction.
45 Put a strange face on. 'Appear to be unconscious of.'
To "look strange" at a person was to 'cut him' as we say. Cf.
Comedy of Errors, ii. 2. 112; Sonnet 49. 5. Malvolio was
"strange" = 'distant,' 'reserved,' Twelfth Night, ii. 5. 184.
46 Woo. 'Entreat.'
53 Noting. A quibble, of course, on nothing, which seems
to have been pronounced "noting."
57 Hale souls. Compare Twelfth Night, ii. 3. 61, "A catch
[song] that will draw three souls out of one weaver" — weavers,
as we know from I Henry IV. ii. 4. 147, having been men of
melody. For the most part they were Calvinist refugees from
the Netherlands; hence their love of hymns, psalms, &c.
66 Hey nonny, nonny. A jingling refrain often found, with
slight variations. There is a quaint old song in Bullen's Elizabethan Lyrics (p. 118), of which one couplet runs —
"For where shall now the wedding be?
For and hey-nonny-no in an old ivy tree."
Miles Coverdale, in the Preface to his Goastly Psalmes (1538),
wishes that the countrywomen, as they sat at work, would sing
serious tunes; "they should be better occupied than with 'Hey,
nonny, nonny,' and suchlike fantasies." (Chappell's Popular
Music, p. 54.) We may remember, of course, Ophelia's song,
Hamlet, iv. 5. 165; Edgar's nonsense in Lear, iii. 4. 102; and the beautiful "It was a lover and his lass," in As You Like It, V. 3. 17-30.
68 Dumps. 'Dismal subjects;' generally 'low spirits' ("In the dumps," as we say).
79 The night raven. Alluding to the superstition that the
raven would fly about any house where there was sickness.
Compare Othello, iv. i. 21, "As doth the raven o'er the infectious house." The croak of the bird was the worst of omens.
Marlowe speaks of —
"The sad presaging raven, that tolls
The sick man's passport in her hollow beak."
So Peele — Jew of Malta, ii. i.
"Like as the fatal raven, that in his voice
Carries the dreadful summons of our death."
— Dyce's Greene and Peele, p. 469.
Other passages to the same effect might be given.
90 Stalk on. Referring to the stalking-horse (the painted
figure of a real one) under cover of which sportsmen approached
their game. Cf. As You Like It, v. 4. 111, "He uses his folly
like a stalking-horse." On Scotch moors, I believe, it is not unusual for keepers late in the season, when the grouse are very
wild, to use a cart and pony for the same purpose.
95 Sits the wind? 'Is that how matters lie? ' So 1 Henry IV, iii. 3. 102, "Is the wind in that door, i' faith?"
98 Past the infinite of thought. 'Beyond all conception.'
101 Never counterfeit, &c. 'Her feeling (passion) is far too
genuine to be simulated.' Passion = 'emotion' generally.
110 Would have thought. 'Be ready to think;' not, as one
might think, instead of should, Abbott (p. 233) compares
Antony and Cleopatra, ii. 2. 144.
114 Gull. 'Trick.' Usually = 'a fool,' 'dupe.'
117 Hold it up. 'Keep the joke going.'
127 Smock. Poor Desdemona was "pale as [her] smock,"
Othello, V. 2. 273; but audiences at the beginning of this century
were too nice and squeamish to tolerate smock so sometimes the
actors toned the text down to "pale as thy sheets," (Gomme's
Gentleman's Magazine Library, Dialect Section, p. 5.)
132 Halfpence. 'Small bits;' i.e. 'tiny as a halfpenny.'
148 An alms. 'An act of charity.'
158 Daffed. 'Put on one side.' Same as doff = 'do off.' Cf. don = 'do on.' Compare act v. i. 78, where the sense is 'put
off.' So Othello, iv. 2. 176, "Every day thou daffest me with
some device, Iago."
166 Crossness. 'Perverseness,' 'habit of contradicting.'
169 Contemptible. 'Scornful.' See Abbott, p. 19.
171 A good outward happiness. 'A pleasing appearance, exterior.' An inversion almost of adjective and noun. So in Sonnet 51, "Swift extremity" = 'extreme swiftness.'
172 'Fore God. A severe statute was passed in the reign of James I. "to restrain the abuses of players." It began with the
preambule, "For the preventing and avoiding of the great abuse of the holy name of God in stage-plays, enterludes," &c.; and
to comply with this enactment, "fore God" was generally
altered to "fore me." Compare All's Well, ii. 3. 31, "Fore
me, I speak in respect;" Othello, iv. I. 150 ("before me");
Romeo and Juliet, iii. 4. 34 ("afore me"). In some cases the
text of the Quartos is softened down in the Folio; e.g. in
Merchant of Venice, where "I pray God grant" becomes "I
wish." This, probably, was Shakespeare's reason for using
such absurd oaths as "by Janus," Othello, i. 2. 33.
187 Wear it out. 'Get over her love' (to employ a somewhat
194 Unworthy. That is 'to have,' which words indeed the
Folios insert; but the Quarto reading is satisfactory enough.
201 Another's dotage. Another = 'each other'; dotage = 'fondness;' Benedick believing Beatrice to be in love with him,
and vice versa.
207 Have their full bent. 'Are strained to the utmost.' A metaphor from archery. "In the full bent," Hamlet, ii. 2. 30.
208 Censured. 'Judged.'
212 Detractions. That is, 'the faults which their detractors
find in them.'
215 And wise. Benedick's description of Beatrice recalls
Lorenzo's comment on Jessica:
"For she is wise . . .
And fair she is . . .
And true she is . . ."
So Shakespeare, speaking of his friend, says (Sonnet 105),
"'Fair, kind and true' is all my argument."
Reprove. 'Disprove.' "Reprove my allegation, if you can," 2 Henry VI, iii. i. 40.
218 Quirks. 'Jests.'
222 Quips. 'Smart sayings.' "Quips and cranks, and
wanton wiles," L'Allegro 27. Pistol in the Merry Wives, ii. i.
43, makes an unkindly quip about Falstaff's amplitude of person
— a delicate point. Quip is cognate with Welsh chwip = 'a quick turn.' (Skeat.) Cf. quibble.
Sentences. 'Maxims' (sententiae), "Let me speak like yourself, and lay a sentence," Othello, i. 3. 199.
223 From the career of his humour. 'From following the
bent of his inclination.' Career, French carriere is a term
borrowed from horsemanship. Cf. v. i, "Meet your wit in the
career." Shakespeare has the word several times; e.g. Henry
V. ii. I. 133, a very difficult phrase, "passes careers;" and
Merry Wives, i. I. 184.
244 I am a Jew. So 1 Henry IV, ii. 4. 198, "They were
bound, every man of them; or I am a Jew else, an Ebrew Jew."
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_2_3.html >.
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