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Home > Much Ado About Nothing > ACT IV - SCENE I. A church.

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ACT IV - SCENE I. A church.
LEONATO
1    Come, Friar Francis, be brief; only to the plain
2    form of marriage, and you shall recount their
3    particular duties afterwards.
FRIAR FRANCIS
4    You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.
CLAUDIO
5    No.
LEONATO
6    To be married to her: friar, you come to marry her.
FRIAR FRANCIS
7    Lady, you come hither to be married to this count.
HERO
8    I do.
FRIAR FRANCIS
9    If either of you know any inward impediment why you
10   should not be conjoined, charge you, on your souls,
11   to utter it.
CLAUDIO
12   Know you any, Hero?
HERO
13   None, my lord.
FRIAR FRANCIS
14   Know you any, count?
LEONATO
15   I dare make his answer, none.
CLAUDIO
16   O, what men dare do! what men may do! what men daily
17   do, not knowing what they do!
BENEDICK
18   How now! interjections? Why, then, some be of
19   laughing, as, ah, ha, he!
CLAUDIO
20   Stand thee by, friar. Father, by your leave:
21   Will you with free and unconstrained soul
22   Give me this maid, your daughter?
LEONATO
23   As freely, son, as God did give her me.
CLAUDIO
24   And what have I to give you back, whose worth
25   May counterpoise this rich and precious gift?
DON PEDRO
26   Nothing, unless you render her again.
CLAUDIO
27   Sweet prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.
28   There, Leonato, take her back again:
29   Give not this rotten orange to your friend;
30   She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.
31   Behold how like a maid she blushes here!
32   O, what authority and show of truth
33   Can cunning sin cover itself withal!
34   Comes not that blood as modest evidence
35   To witness simple virtue? Would you not swear,
36   All you that see her, that she were a maid,
37   By these exterior shows? But she is none:
38   She knows the heat of a luxurious bed;
39   Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty.
LEONATO
40   What do you mean, my lord?
CLAUDIO
41   Not to be married,
42   Not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.
LEONATO
43   Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof,
44   Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth,
45   And made defeat of her virginity,--
CLAUDIO
46   I know what you would say: if I have known her,
47   You will say she did embrace me as a husband,
48   And so extenuate the 'forehand sin:
49   No, Leonato,
50   I never tempted her with word too large;
51   But, as a brother to his sister, show'd
52   Bashful sincerity and comely love.
HERO
53   And seem'd I ever otherwise to you?
CLAUDIO
54   Out on thee! Seeming! I will write against it:
55   You seem to me as Dian in her orb,
56   As chaste as is the bud ere it be blown;
57   But you are more intemperate in your blood
58   Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals
59   That rage in savage sensuality.
HERO
60   Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?
LEONATO
61   Sweet prince, why speak not you?
DON PEDRO
62   What should I speak?
63   I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about
64   To link my dear friend to a common stale.
LEONATO
65   Are these things spoken, or do I but dream?
DON JOHN
66   Sir, they are spoken, and these things are true.
BENEDICK
67   This looks not like a nuptial.
HERO
68   True! O God!
CLAUDIO
69   Leonato, stand I here?
70   Is this the prince? is this the prince's brother?
71   Is this face Hero's? are our eyes our own?
LEONATO
72   All this is so: but what of this, my lord?
CLAUDIO
73   Let me but move one question to your daughter;
74   And, by that fatherly and kindly power
75   That you have in her, bid her answer truly.
LEONATO
76   I charge thee do so, as thou art my child.
HERO
77   O, God defend me! how am I beset!
78   What kind of catechising call you this?
CLAUDIO
79   To make you answer truly to your name.
HERO
80   Is it not Hero? Who can blot that name
81   With any just reproach?
CLAUDIO
82   Marry, that can Hero;
83   Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue.
84   What man was he talk'd with you yesternight
85   Out at your window betwixt twelve and one?
86   Now, if you are a maid, answer to this.
HERO
87   I talk'd with no man at that hour, my lord.
DON PEDRO
88   Why, then are you no maiden. Leonato,
89   I am sorry you must hear: upon mine honour,
90   Myself, my brother and this grieved count
91   Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night
92   Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window
93   Who hath indeed, most like a liberal villain,
94   Confess'd the vile encounters they have had
95   A thousand times in secret.
DON JOHN
96   Fie, fie! they are not to be named, my lord,
97   Not to be spoke of;
98   There is not chastity enough in language
99   Without offence to utter them. Thus, pretty lady,
100  I am sorry for thy much misgovernment.
CLAUDIO
101  O Hero, what a Hero hadst thou been,
102  If half thy outward graces had been placed
103  About thy thoughts and counsels of thy heart!
104  But fare thee well, most foul, most fair! farewell,
105  Thou pure impiety and impious purity!
106  For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love,
107  And on my eyelids shall conjecture hang,
108  To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm,
109  And never shall it more be gracious.
LEONATO
110  Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?
HERO swoons

BEATRICE
111  Why, how now, cousin! wherefore sink you down?
DON JOHN
112  Come, let us go. These things, come thus to light,
113  Smother her spirits up.
Exeunt DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, and CLAUDIO

BENEDICK
114  How doth the lady?
BEATRICE
115  Dead, I think. Help, uncle!
116  Hero! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!
LEONATO
117  O Fate! take not away thy heavy hand.
118  Death is the fairest cover for her shame
119  That may be wish'd for.
BEATRICE
120  How now, cousin Hero!
FRIAR FRANCIS
121  Have comfort, lady.
LEONATO
122  Dost thou look up?
FRIAR FRANCIS
123  Yea, wherefore should she not?
LEONATO
124  Wherefore! Why, doth not every earthly thing
125  Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
126  The story that is printed in her blood?
127  Do not live, Hero; do not ope thine eyes:
128  For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
129  Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
130  Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
131  Strike at thy life. Grieved I, I had but one?
132  Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame?
133  O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
134  Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
135  Why had I not with charitable hand
136  Took up a beggar's issue at my gates,
137  Who smirch'd thus and mired with infamy,
138  I might have said 'No part of it is mine;
139  This shame derives itself from unknown loins'?
140  But mine and mine I loved and mine I praised
141  And mine that I was proud on, mine so much
142  That I myself was to myself not mine,
143  Valuing of her,--why, she, O, she is fallen
144  Into a pit of ink, that the wide sea
145  Hath drops too few to wash her clean again
146  And salt too little which may season give
147  To her foul-tainted flesh!
BENEDICK
148  Sir, sir, be patient.
149  For my part, I am so attired in wonder,
150  I know not what to say.
BEATRICE
151  O, on my soul, my cousin is belied!
BENEDICK
152  Lady, were you her bedfellow last night?
BEATRICE
153  No, truly not; although, until last night,
154  I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.
LEONATO
155  Confirm'd, confirm'd! O, that is stronger made
156  Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron!
157  Would the two princes lie, and Claudio lie,
158  Who loved her so, that, speaking of her foulness,
159  Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her! let her die.
FRIAR FRANCIS
160  Hear me a little; for I have only been
161  Silent so long and given way unto
162  This course of fortune
163  By noting of the lady. I have mark'd
164  A thousand blushing apparitions
165  To start into her face, a thousand innocent shames
166  In angel whiteness beat away those blushes;
167  And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire,
168  To burn the errors that these princes hold
169  Against her maiden truth. Call me a fool;
170  Trust not my reading nor my observations,
171  Which with experimental seal doth warrant
172  The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
173  My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
174  If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
175  Under some biting error.
LEONATO
176  Friar, it cannot be.
177  Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
178  Is that she will not add to her damnation
179  A sin of perjury; she not denies it:
180  Why seek'st thou then to cover with excuse
181  That which appears in proper nakedness?
FRIAR FRANCIS
182  Lady, what man is he you are accused of?
HERO
183  They know that do accuse me; I know none:
184  If I know more of any man alive
185  Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
186  Let all my sins lack mercy! O my father,
187  Prove you that any man with me conversed
188  At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
189  Maintain'd the change of words with any creature,
190  Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!
FRIAR FRANCIS
191  There is some strange misprision in the princes.
BENEDICK
192  Two of them have the very bent of honour;
193  And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
194  The practise of it lives in John the bastard,
195  Whose spirits toil in frame of villanies.
LEONATO
196  I know not. If they speak but truth of her,
197  These hands shall tear her; if they wrong her honour,
198  The proudest of them shall well hear of it.
199  Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine,
200  Nor age so eat up my invention,
201  Nor fortune made such havoc of my means,
202  Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends,
203  But they shall find, awaked in such a kind,
204  Both strength of limb and policy of mind,
205  Ability in means and choice of friends,
206  To quit me of them throughly.
FRIAR FRANCIS
207  Pause awhile,
208  And let my counsel sway you in this case.
209  Your daughter here the princes left for dead:
210  Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
211  And publish it that she is dead indeed;
212  Maintain a mourning ostentation
213  And on your family's old monument
214  Hang mournful epitaphs and do all rites
215  That appertain unto a burial.
LEONATO
216  What shall become of this? what will this do?
FRIAR FRANCIS
217  Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf
218  Change slander to remorse; that is some good:
219  But not for that dream I on this strange course,
220  But on this travail look for greater birth.
221  She dying, as it must so be maintain'd,
222  Upon the instant that she was accused,
223  Shall be lamented, pitied and excused
224  Of every hearer: for it so falls out
225  That what we have we prize not to the worth
226  Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,
227  Why, then we rack the value, then we find
228  The virtue that possession would not show us
229  Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio:
230  When he shall hear she died upon his words,
231  The idea of her life shall sweetly creep
232  Into his study of imagination,
233  And every lovely organ of her life
234  Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,
235  More moving-delicate and full of life,
236  Into the eye and prospect of his soul,
237  Than when she lived indeed; then shall he mourn,
238  If ever love had interest in his liver,
239  And wish he had not so accused her,
240  No, though he thought his accusation true.
241  Let this be so, and doubt not but success
242  Will fashion the event in better shape
243  Than I can lay it down in likelihood.
244  But if all aim but this be levell'd false,
245  The supposition of the lady's death
246  Will quench the wonder of her infamy:
247  And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,
248  As best befits her wounded reputation,
249  In some reclusive and religious life,
250  Out of all eyes, tongues, minds and injuries.
BENEDICK
251  Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you:
252  And though you know my inwardness and love
253  Is very much unto the prince and Claudio,
254  Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
255  As secretly and justly as your soul
256  Should with your body.
LEONATO
257  Being that I flow in grief,
258  The smallest twine may lead me.
FRIAR FRANCIS
259  'Tis well consented: presently away;
260  For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.
261  Come, lady, die to live: this wedding-day
262  Perhaps is but prolong'd: have patience and endure.
Exeunt all but BENEDICK and BEATRICE

BENEDICK
263  Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?
BEATRICE
264  Yea, and I will weep a while longer.
BENEDICK
265  I will not desire that.
BEATRICE
266  You have no reason; I do it freely.
BENEDICK
267  Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.
BEATRICE
268  Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!
BENEDICK
269  Is there any way to show such friendship?
BEATRICE
270  A very even way, but no such friend.
BENEDICK
271  May a man do it?
BEATRICE
272  It is a man's office, but not yours.
BENEDICK
273  I do love nothing in the world so well as you: is
274  not that strange?
BEATRICE
275  As strange as the thing I know not. It were as
276  possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as
277  you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; I
278  confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.
BENEDICK
279  By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.
BEATRICE
280  Do not swear, and eat it.
BENEDICK
281  I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make
282  him eat it that says I love not you.
BEATRICE
283  Will you not eat your word?
BENEDICK
284  With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest
285  I love thee.
BEATRICE
286  Why, then, God forgive me!
BENEDICK
287  What offence, sweet Beatrice?
BEATRICE
288  You have stayed me in a happy hour: I was about to
289  protest I loved you.
BENEDICK
290  And do it with all thy heart.
BEATRICE
291  I love you with so much of my heart that none is
292  left to protest.
BENEDICK
293  Come, bid me do any thing for thee.
BEATRICE
294  Kill Claudio.
BENEDICK
295  Ha! not for the wide world.
BEATRICE
296  You kill me to deny it. Farewell.
BENEDICK
297  Tarry, sweet Beatrice.
BEATRICE
298  I am gone, though I am here: there is no love in
299  you: nay, I pray you, let me go.
BENEDICK
300  Beatrice,--
BEATRICE
301  In faith, I will go.
BENEDICK
302  We'll be friends first.
BEATRICE
303  You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.
BENEDICK
304  Is Claudio thine enemy?
BEATRICE
305  Is he not approved in the height a villain, that
306  hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O
307  that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they
308  come to take hands; and then, with public
309  accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour,
310  --O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart
311  in the market-place.
BENEDICK
312  Hear me, Beatrice,--
BEATRICE
313  Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying!
BENEDICK
314  Nay, but, Beatrice,--
BEATRICE
315  Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone.
BENEDICK
316  Beat--
BEATRICE
317  Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony,
318  a goodly count, Count Comfect; a sweet gallant,
319  surely! O that I were a man for his sake! or that I
320  had any friend would be a man for my sake! But
321  manhood is melted into courtesies, valour into
322  compliment, and men are only turned into tongue, and
323  trim ones too: he is now as valiant as Hercules
324  that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a
325  man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.
BENEDICK
326  Tarry, good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.
BEATRICE
327  Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.
BENEDICK
328  Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?
BEATRICE
329  Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.
BENEDICK
330  Enough, I am engaged; I will challenge him. I will
331  kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand,
332  Claudio shall render me a dear account. As you
333  hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your
334  cousin: I must say she is dead: and so, farewell.
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT III, SCENE VACT IV, SCENE II (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV

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