Much Ado About Nothing: Act I, Scene i: First Folio

 

Much Ado About Nothing         Act 1, Scene 1.      Beatrice

(This text is featured in our interview with Marion Adler)

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Beatrice
39.  He set vp his bils here in Messina, & challeng’d
40.  Cupid at the Flight: and my Vnckles foole reading the
41.  Challenge, subscrib’d for Cupid, and challeng’d him at
42.  the Burbolt. I pray you, how many hath hee kil’d and
43.  eaten in these warres? But how many hath he kil’d? for
44.  indeed, I promis’d to eate all of his killing.

Leonato
45.  ‘Faith Neece, you taxe Signior Benedicke too
46.  much, but hee’l be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Messenger
47.  He hath done good seruice Lady in these wars.
Beatrice
48.  You had musty victuall, and he hath holpe to
49.  ease it: he’s a very valiant Trencher-man, hee hath an
50.  excellent stomacke.
Messenger
 51.  And a good souldier too Lady.
Beatrice
52.  And a good souldier to a Lady. But what is he
53.  to a Lord?
Messenger
54.   A Lord to a Lord, a man to a man, stuft with
55.  all honourable vertues.
Beatrice
56.  It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man:
57.  but for the stuffing well, we are all mortall.
Leonato
58.   You must not (sir) mistake my Neece, there is
59.  a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick, & her:
60.  they neuer meet, but there’s a skirmish of wit between
61.  them.
Beatrice
62.  Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last con-
63.  flict, foure of his fiue wits went halting off, and now is
64.  the whole man gouern’d with one: so that if hee haue
65.  wit enough to keepe himselfe warme, let him beare it
66.  for a difference betweene himselfe and his horse: For it
67.  is all the wealth that he hath left, to be knowne a reaso-
68.  nable creature. Who is his companion now? He hath
69.  euery month a new sworne brother.
Messenger
70  I’st possible?
Beatrice
71.  Very easily possible: he weares his faith but as
72.  the fashion of his hat, it euer changes with ye next block.
Messenger
73.  I see (Lady) the Gentleman is not in your
74.  bookes.
Beatrice
75.  No, and he were, I would burne my study. But
76.  I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young
77.  squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the
78.  diuell?
Messenger
79.  He is most in the company of the right noble
80  Claudio.
Beatrice
81.  O Lord, he will hang vpon him like a disease:
82.  he is sooner caught then the pestilence, and the taker
83.  runs presently mad. God helpe the noble Claudio, if hee
84.  haue caught the Benedict, it will cost him a thousand
85.  pound ere he be cur’d.
Messenger
86.  I will hold friends with you Lady.
Beatrice
87.  Do good friend.
Leonato
88.  You’l ne’re run mad Neece.
Beatrice
89.   No, not till a hot Ianuary.
Messenger
90.  Don Pedro is approach’d.

91.  Enter don Pedro, Claudio, Benedicke, Balthasar,
92.  and Iohn the bastard.
Don Pedro
93.   Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet
94.  your trouble: the fashion of the world is to auoid cost,
95.  and you encounter it.
Leonato
96.  Neuer came trouble to my house in the likenes
97.  of your Grace: for trouble being gone, comfort should
98.  remaine: but when you depart from me, sorrow abides,
99.  and happinesse takes his leaue.
Don Pedro
100.   You embrace your charge too willingly: I
101.  thinke this is your daughter.
Leonato
102.  Her mother hath many times told me so.
Benedick
103.  Were you in doubt that you askt her?
Leonato
104.  Signior Benedicke, no, for then were you a
105.  childe.
Don Pedro
106.  You haue it full Benedicke, we may ghesse by
107.  this, what you are, being a man, truely the Lady fathers
108.  her selfe: be happie Lady, for you are like an honorable
109.  father.
Benedick
110.  If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not
111.  haue his head on her shoulders for al Messina, as like him
112.  as she is.
Beatrice
113.  I wonder that you will still be talking, signior
114.  Benedicke, no body markes you.
Benedick
115.  What my deere Ladie Disdaine! are you yet
116.  liuing?
Beatrice
117.  Is it possible Disdaine should die, while shee
118.  hath such meete foode to feede it, as Signior Benedicke?
119.  Curtesie it selfe must conuert to Disdaine, if you come in
120.  her presence.
Benedick
121.  Then is curtesie a turne-coate, but it is cer-
122.  taine I am loued of all Ladies, onely you excepted: and
123.  I would I could finde in my heart that I had not a hard
124.  heart, for truely I loue none.
Beatrice
125.   A deere happinesse to women, they would else
126.  haue beene troubled with a pernitious Suter, I thanke
127.  God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that, I
128.  had rather heare my Dog barke at a Crow, than a man
129.  sweare he loues me.
Benedick
130.   God keepe your Ladiship still in that minde,
131.  so some Gentleman or other shall scape a predestinate
132.  scratcht face.
Beatrice
133.  Scratching could not make it worse, and ’twere
134.  such a face as yours were.
Benedick
135.   Well, you are a rare Parrat teacher.
Beatrice
136.  A bird of my tongue, is better than a beast of
137.  your.
Benedick
138.  I would my horse had the speed of your tongue,
139.  and so good a continuer, but keepe your way a Gods
140.  name, I haue done.
Beatrice
141.  You alwaies end with a Iades tricke, I know
142.  you of old.

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