William Shakespeare's Much Ado about Nothing in the complete original text.
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Much Ado about Nothing

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Act IV. Scene II.

Scene II.—A Prison.

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and SEXTON, in
gowns; and the Watch, with CONRADE and
BORACHIO.

Dogb. Is our whole dissembly appeared?
Verg. O! a stool and a cushion for the
sexton.
Sexton. Which be the malefactors?
Dogb. Marry, that am I and my partner.
Verg. Nay, that's certain: we have the exhi-
bition to examine.
Sexton. But which are the offenders that are
to be examined? let them come before Master
constable.
Dogb. Yea, marry, let them come before me.
What is your name, friend?
Bora. Borachio.
Dogb. Pray write down Borachio. Yours,
sirrah?
Con. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is
Comrade.
Dogb. Write down Master gentleman Conrade.
Masters, do you serve God?
Con. & Bora.} Yea, sir, we hope.
Dogb. Write down that they hope they serve
God: and write God first; for God defend but
God should go before such villains! Masters, it
is proved already that you are little better than
false knaves, and it will go near to be thought so
shortly. How answer you for yourselves?
Con. Marry, sir, we say we are none.
Dogb. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure
you; but I will go about with him. Come you
hither, sirrah; a word in your ear: sir, I say to
you, it is thought you are false knaves.
Bora. Sir, I say to you we are none.
Dogb. Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are
both in a tale. Have you writ down, that they
are none?
Sexton. Master constable, yon go not the
way to examine: you must call forth the watch
that are their accusers.
Dogb. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let
the watch come forth. Masters, I charge you, in
the prince's name, accuse these men.
First. Watch. This man said, sir, that Don
John, the prince's brother, was a villain.
Dogb. Write down Prince John a villain.
Why, this is flat perjury, to call a prince's
brother villain.
Bora. Master constable,—
Dogb. Pray thee, fellow, peace: I do not like
thy look, I promise thee.
Sexton. What heard you him say else?
Sec. Watch. Marry, that he had received a
thousand ducats of Don John for accusing the
Lady Hero wrongfully.
Dogb. Flat burglary as ever was committed.
Verg. Yea, by the mass, that it is.
Sexton. What else, fellow?
First. Watch. And that Count Claudio did
mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before
the whole assembly, and not marry her.
Dogb. O villain! thou wilt be condemned into
everlasting redemption for this.
Sexton. What else?
Sec. Watch. This is all.
Sexton. And this is more, masters, than you
can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly
stolen away: Hero was in this manner accused,
in this very manner refused, and, upon the grief
of this, suddenly died. Master constable, let
these men be bound, and brought to Leonato's:
I will go before and show him their examina-
tion. [Exit.
Dogb. Come, let them be opinioned.
Verg. Let them be in the hands—
Con. Off, coxcomb!
Dogb. God's my life! where's the sexton?
let him write down the prince's officer cox-
comb. Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet!
Con. Away! you are an ass; you are an ass.
Dogb. Dost thou not suspect my place?
Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he
were here to write me down an ass! but,
masters, remember that I am an ass; though it
be not written down, yet forget not that I am an
ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as
shall be proved upon thee by good witness. I
am a wise fellow; and, which is more, an officer;
and, which is more, a householder; and, which
is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any in Mes-
sina; and one that knows the law, go to; and a
rich fellow enough, go to; and a fellow that
hath had losses; and one that hath two gowns,
and everything handsome about him. Bring him
away. O that I had been writ down an ass!
[Exeunt.
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