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 V. Scene II.

Scene II.—LEONATO'S Garden.

Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting.

Bene. Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret,
deserve well at my hands by helping me to the
speech of Beatrice.
Marg. Will you then write me a sonnet m
praise of my beauty?
Bene. In so high a style, Margaret, that no
man living shall come over it; for, in most
comely truth, thou deservest it.
Marg. To have no man come over me! why,
shall I always keep below stairs?
Bene. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's
mouth; it catches.
Marg. And yours as blunt as the fencer's
foils, which hit, but hurt not.
Bene. A most manly wit, Margaret; it will
not hurt a woman: and so, I pray thee, call
Beatrice. I give thee the bucklers.
Marg. Give us the swords, we have bucklers
of our own.
Bene. If you use them, Margaret, you must
put in the pikes with a vice; and they are
dangerous weapons for maids.
Marg. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I
think hath legs.
Bene. And therefore will come.
The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve,—
I mean, in singing; but in loving, Leander the
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of
pandars, and a whole book full of these quondam
carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly
in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were
never so truly turned over and over as my poor
self, in love. Marry, I cannot show it in rime; I
have tried: I can find out no rime to 'lady' but
'baby,' an innocent rime; for 'scorn,' 'horn,'
a hard rime; for 'school,' 'fool,' a babbling
rime; very ominous endings: no, I was not born
under a riming planet, nor I cannot woo in
festival terms.

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called
Beat. Yea, signior; and depart when you
bid me.
Bene. O, stay but till then!
Beat. 'Then' is spoken; fore you well now:
and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for;
which is, with knowing what hath passed between
you and Claudio.
Bene. Only foul words; and thereupon I will
kiss thee.
Beat. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul
wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noi-
some; therefore I will depart unkissed.
Bene. Thou hast frighted the word out of his
right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must
tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my chal-
lenge, and either I must shortly hear from him,
or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray
thee now, tell me, for which of my bad parts
didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beat. For them all together; which main-
tained so politic a state of evil that they will not
admit any good part to intermingle with them.
But for which of my good parts did you first
suffer love for me?
Bene. 'Suffer love,' a good epithet! I do
suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my
Beat. In spite of your heart, I think. Alas,
poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will
spite it for yours; for I will never love that
which my friend hates.
Bene. Thou and I are too wise to woo
Beat. It appears not in this confession:
there's not one wise man among twenty that
will praise himself.
Bene. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that
lived in the time of good neighbours. If a man
do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he
dies, he shall live no longer m monument than
the bell rings and the widow weeps.
Beat. And how long is that think you?
Bene. Question: why, an hour in clamour
and a quarter in rheum: therefore it is most
expedient for the wise,—if Don Worm, his con-
science, find no impediment to the contrary,—to
be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to
myself. So much for praising myself, who, I
myself will bear witness, is praiseworthy. And
now tell me, how doth your cousin?
Beat. Very ill.
Bene. And how do you?
Beat. Very ill too.
Bene. Serve God, love me, and mend. There
will I leave you too, for here comes one in

Urs. Madam, you must come to your uncle.
Yonder's old coil at home: it is proved, my Lady
Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and
Claudio mightily abused; and Don John is the
author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you
come presently?
Beat. Will you go hear this news, signior?
Bene. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap,
and be buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will
go with thee to thy uncle's. [Exeunt.
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