Much Ado About Nothing

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Leonato and his brother Antonio


If you go on thus, you will kill yourself;

And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
second (v.) 1 support, assist, reinforce

Against yourself.


                         I pray thee, cease thy counsel,

Which falls into mine ears as profitless

As water in a sieve. Give not me counsel,

Nor let no comforter delight mine ear

But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
suit (v.) 2 match, compare, equate

Bring me a father that so loved his child,

Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine,

And bid him speak of patience;

Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine,

And let it answer every strain for strain,
answer (v.) 10 live up to, correspond to, be equal to
strain (n.) 4 [unclear meaning] strand; extreme degree; pang, stress

As thus for thus, and such a grief for such,

In every lineament, branch, shape, and form;
lineament (n.) 1 line, feature, characteristic, attribute

If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,

And, sorrow wag, cry ‘ hem!’ when he should groan,
hem (int.) 2 make a noise like ‘hmm’
wag (n.) fellow, lad, mischievous boy
wag (v.) 2 talk foolishly, utter silly remarks

Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
patch (v.) 2 patch over, cover up

With candle-wasters – bring him yet to me,
candle-waster (n.) burner of midnight oil, someone who wastes candles by reading late at night

And I of him will gather patience.

But there is no such man; for, brother, men

Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief

Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,

Their counsel turns to passion, which before
passion (n.) 5 passionate outburst, emotional passage

Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
preceptial (adj.) consisting of precepts, full of wise instructions

Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
fetter (v.) restrain, overcome, suppress

Charm ache with air and agony with words.

No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
wring (v.) 1 writhe, struggle, twist [as if in pain]

But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
sufficiency (n.) competence, ability, capability

To be so moral when he shall endure

The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel;
like, the the same

My griefs cry louder than advertisement.
advertisement (n.) 1 advice, warning, instruction


Therein do men from children nothing differ.


I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;

For there was never yet philosopher

That could endure the toothache patiently,

However they have writ the style of gods,

And made a push at chance and sufferance.
chance (n.) 8 misfortune, mischance, mishap
push (n.) 2 attack, assault, thrust
sufferance (n.) 1 distress, suffering, hardship


Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;

Make those that do offend you suffer too.


There thou speak'st reason; nay, I will do so.
reason (n.) 3 reasonable view, sensible judgement, right opinion

My soul doth tell me Hero is belied,

And that shall Claudio know; so shall the Prince,

And all of them that thus dishonour her.


Here comes the Prince and Claudio hastily.

Enter Don Pedro and Claudio


Good-e'en, good-e'en.


                         Good day to both of you.


Hear you, my lords!


                         We have some haste, Leonato.


Some haste, my lord! Well, fare you well, my lord;

Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one.
all is one; that's / it's all one it makes no difference, it's one and the same, it doesn't matter See Topics: Discourse markers


Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.


If he could right himself with quarrelling,

Some of us would lie low.
lie low be killed, find oneself dead


                         Who wrongs him?


Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou dissembler, thou!
dissembler (n.) hypocrite, deceiver, charlatan

– Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;

I fear thee not.
beshrew, 'shrew (v.) 1 curse, devil take, evil befall See Topics: Frequency count


                         Marry, beshrew my hand,

If it should give your age such cause of fear:

In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.


Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at me;
fleer (v.) jeer, grin scornfully, laugh mockingly

I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
dotard (n.) old fool, senile idiot

As under privilege of age to brag

What I have done being young, or what would do

Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
head, to one's to one's face, frankly, openly

Thou hast so wronged mine innocent child and me

That I am forced to lay my reverence by,
reverence (n.) 1 respected state, venerable condition

And with grey hairs and bruise of many days,

Do challenge thee to trial of a man.

I say thou hast belied mine innocent child.
belie (v.) 1 slander, tell lies about

Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,

And she lies buried with her ancestors –

O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,

Save this of hers, framed by thy villainy!


My villainy?


                         Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.


You say not right, old man.


                         My lord, my lord,

I'll prove it on his body if he dare,

Despite his nice fence and his active practise,
fence (n.) 1 fencing ability, skill at swordplay
nice (adj.) 8 adept, skilful, dexterous

His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.
lustihood (n.) lustiness, youthful vigour, robustness


Away! I will not have to do with you.


Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast killed my child;
daff (v.), past form daft 2 put off, deflect, sidetrack

If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.


He shall kill two of us, and men indeed;

But that's no matter, let him kill one first.

Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
wear (v.) 4 possess, enjoy, have
win (v.) 1 gain advantage [over], get the better [of]

Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me;

Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
fence (n.) 2 defence, barrier, protection
foining (n./adj.) [fencing] thrusting, lunging

Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.


Brother –


Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;
content (v.) 2 calm [down], settle, relax

And she is dead, slandered to death by villains,

That dare as well answer a man indeed

As I dare take a serpent by the tongue.

Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!
ape (n.) 2 fool, idiot, jackass
Jack (n.) 1 Jack-in-office, ill-mannered fellow, lout, knave


                         Brother Antony –


Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
content (adj.) 2 contented, patient, accepting, undisturbed

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple –
scruple (n.) 1 tiny amount, last ounce

Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
fashion-monging (adj.) fashion-following, dealing in fashions, dandified
scambling (adj.) contentious, rough, quarrelsome, turbulent

That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
cog (v.) 2 cheat, swindle, hoodwink, wheedle
deprave (v.) defame, disparage, deride
flout (v.) insult, abuse, mock

Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
anticly, antiquely (adv.) grotesquely, like a buffoon, in an antic manner

And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
dangerous (adj.) threatening, severe, menacing

How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;

And this is all.


But, brother Antony –


                         Come, 'tis no matter;

Do not you meddle, let me deal in this.
deal (v.) 1 proceed, behave, conduct oneself


Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
wake (v.) 2 urge, arouse; or: trouble, disturb

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death,

But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing

But what was true and very full of proof.


My lord, my lord –


                         I will not hear you.



Come brother, away. I will be heard.


And shall, or some of us will smart for it.

Exeunt Leonato and Antonio


See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.

Enter Benedick


Now, signor, what news?


Good day, my lord.


Welcome, signor; you are almost come to

part almost a fray.


We had like to have had our two noses snapped

off with two old men without teeth.


Leonato and his brother. What think'st thou?

Had we fought, I doubt we should have been too young
doubt (v.) 1 fear, be afraid [for], feel anxious [for]

for them.


In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I
false (adj.) 3 sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial

came to seek you both.


We have been up and down to seek thee, for we

are high-proof melancholy, and would fain have it
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count
high-proof (adj.) tested to the highest level, of proven strength

beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count


It is in my scabbard; shall I draw it?


Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?


Never any did so, though very many have been

beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the

minstrels – draw to pleasure us.


As I am an honest man, he looks pale.

Art thou sick, or angry?


What, courage, man! What though care killed

a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.


Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, an you
career (n.) 1 [of a horse in a combat] charge, gallop, course

charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.
charge (v.) 5 attack, assail, storm


Nay, then, give him another staff; this last was
staff (n.) 1 (plural ‘staves’) spear, lance

broke cross.
cross (adv.) across, in the middle


By this light, he changes more and more; I
change (v.) 4 change countenance, turn pale

think he be angry indeed.


If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
girdle, turn one's find an outlet for anger, put up with it


Shall I speak a word in your ear?


God bless me from a challenge!
bless (v.) 1 guard, protect, safeguard


(aside to Claudio)

You are a villain; I jest not.

I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare,

and when you dare. Do me right, or I will protest your
protest (v.) 1 make protestation, avow, affirm, proclaim
right, do one 1 give one satisfaction

cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death

shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.


Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.


What, a feast, a feast?


I'faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's

head and a capon, the which if I do not carve most
capon (n.) 1 chicken, castrated cockerel [bred for eating]

curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find a
curiously (adv.) 1 skilfully, carefully, proficiently

woodcock too?
woodcock (n.) type of game bird, thought to be easily tricked or snared; simpleton


Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.


I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the

other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit. ‘ True,’ said she,

‘ a fine little one.’ ‘No,’ said I, ‘ a great wit.’ ‘ Right,’ says

she, ‘ a great gross one.’ ‘ Nay,’ said I, ‘ a good wit.’ ‘ Just,’

said she, ‘ it hurts nobody.’ ‘ Nay,’ said I, ‘ the gentleman

is wise:’ ‘ Certain,’ said she, ‘ a wise gentleman.’ ‘ Nay,’

said I, ‘ he hath the tongues.’ ‘ That I believe,’ said she,
tongue (n.) 2 (plural) foreign language

‘ for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he

forswore on Tuesday morning. There's a double
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 3 deny, repudiate, refuse to admit See Topics: Frequency count

tongue: there's two tongues.’ Thus did she, an hour

together, trans-shape thy particular virtues; yet at last
trans-shape (v.) transform, transmute, alter the shape of

she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man
proper (adj.) 1 good-looking, handsome, comely

in Italy.


For the which she wept heartily, and said she

cared not.


Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if

she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly.
deadly (adv.) 1 extremely, implacably, to the death

The old man's daughter told us all.


All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he

was hid in the garden.


But when shall we set the savage bull's

horns on the sensible Benedick's head?


Yes, and text underneath, ‘Here dwells Benedick,
text (v.) engrave, write, inscribe

the married man ’?


Fare you well, boy; you know my mind. I will

leave you now to your gossip-like humour; you break
gossip-like (adj.) gossiping, tattling, chattering
humour (n.) 1 mood, disposition, frame of mind, temperament [as determined by bodily fluids] See Topics: Frequency count

jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be

thanked, hurt not.(To Don Pedro) My lord, for your

many courtesies I thank you; I must discontinue your

company. Your brother the Bastard is fled from

Messina. You have among you killed a sweet and innocent

lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I shall

meet; and till then, peace be with him.



He is in earnest.


In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

you, for the love of Beatrice.


And hath challenged thee.


Most sincerely.


What a pretty thing man is when he goes in

his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!


He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape

a doctor to such a man.
doctor (n.) 1 scholar, model of intelligence


But, soft you, let me be; pluck up, my heart,
pluck up (v.) take hold, get in control
soft (adv.) 1 [used as a command] not so fast, wait a moment See Topics: Attention signals

and be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Dogberry, Verges, Watch, Conrade and



Come, you, sir; if justice cannot tame you, she

shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance. Nay, an

you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
once (adv.) 1 once and for all, in a word See Topics: Discourse markers


How now, two of my brother's men bound?

Borachio one!


Hearken after their offence, my lord.
hearken after (v.) 1 inquire into, find out about


Officers, what offence have these men done?


Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

moreover they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they

are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady;
belie (v.) 1 slander, tell lies about
slander (n.) 2 slanderer, disgraceful rogue

thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude,
verify (v.) 1 confirm, substantiate, prove correct

they are lying knaves.
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count


First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly,

I ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why

they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to

their charge.


Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and,

bymy troth, there's one meaning well suited.
suited (adj.) dressed up, set out, adapted


Who have you offended, masters, that you

are thus bound to your answer? This learned Constable

is too cunning to be understood; what's your offence?
cunning (adj.) 1 knowledgeable, skilful, clever


Sweet Prince, let me go no farther to mine

answer; do you hear me, and let this Count kill me. I

have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms

could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to
discover (v.) 3 expose, uncover, give away

light; who in the night overheard me confessing to this

to this man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander
incense (v.) incite, urge, set on

the Lady Hero; how you were brought into the orchard

and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments; how

you disgraced her, when you should marry her. My villainy

they have upon record, which I had rather seal

with my death than repeat over to my shame. The lady

is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation; and,
false (adj.) 1 treacherous, traitorous, perfidious See Topics: Frequency count

briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.


Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?


I have drunk poison whiles he uttered it.


But did my brother set thee on to this?
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite


Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.
practice (n.) 3 carrying out, performance, execution [of a plot]


He is composed and framed of treachery,
frame (v.) 1 fashion, make, form, create

And fled he is upon this villainy.


Sweet Hero, now thy image doth appear

In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
rare (adj.) 1 marvellous, splendid, excellent
semblance (n.) 2 likeness, image, depiction


Come, bring away the plaintiffs; by this time

our Sexton hath reformed Signor Leonato of the matter.
reform (v.) malapropism for ‘inform’

And, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and

place shall serve, that I am an ass.


Here, here comes master Signor Leonato, and

the Sexton too.

Enter Leonato and Antonio, with the Sexton


Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes,

That, when I note another man like him,

I may avoid him. Which of these is he?


If you would know your wronger, look on me.


Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast killed
breath (n.) 1 utterance, speech, voice

Mine innocent child?


                         Yea, even I alone.


No, not so, villain, thou beliest thyself –

Here stand a pair of honourable men,

A third is fled, that had a hand in it.

I thank you, Princes, for my daughter's death;

Record it with your high and worthy deeds.

'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.


I know not how to pray your patience,

Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;

Impose me to what penance your invention
impose (v.) subject, put
invention (n.) 1 inventiveness, imagination, creative faculty

Can lay upon my sin; yet sinned I not

But in mistaking.


                         By my soul, nor I;

And yet, to satisfy this good old man,

I would bend under any heavy weight

That he'll enjoin me to.


I cannot bid you bid my daughter live,

That were impossible; but, I pray you both,

Possess the people in Messina here
possess (v.) 1 notify, inform, acquaint

How innocent she died; and if your love

Can labour aught in sad invention,
aught (n.) anything, [with negative word] nothing See Topics: Frequency count
invention (n.) 1 inventiveness, imagination, creative faculty
sad (adj.) 1 serious, grave, solemn See Topics: Frequency count

Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb

And sing it to her bones, sing it tonight.

Tomorrow morning come you to my house;

And since you could not be my son-in-law,

Be yet my nephew. My brother hath a daughter,

Almost the copy of my child that's dead,

And she alone is heir to both of us.

Give her the right you should have given her cousin,

And so dies my revenge.


                         O noble sir,

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me.

I do embrace your offer, and dispose

For henceforth of poor Claudio.


Tomorrow then I will expect your coming;

Tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
naughty (adj.) 1 wicked, evil, vile

Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,

Who I believe was packed in all this wrong,
packed (adj.) in league, acting as an accomplice

Hired to it by your brother.


                         No, by my soul, she was not,

Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,

But always hath been just and virtuous

In anything that I do know by her.


Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under

white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call
white and black, under in black-and-white, written down

me ass; I beseech you, let it be remembered in his

punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of one

Deformed; they say he wears a key in his ear and a lock

hanging by it, and borrows money in God's name, the

which he hath used so long and never paid, that now

men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing for God's

sake. Pray you, examine him upon that point.


I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.


Your worship speaks like a most thankful and

reverend youth, and I praise God for you.


There's for thy pains.


God save the foundation!
foundation (n.) charitable institution


Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I

thank thee.


I leave an arrant knave with your worship;
arrant (adj.) downright, absolute, unmitigated See Topics: Frequency count
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count

which I beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the

example of others. God keep your worship! I wish your

worship well; God restore you to health! I humbly give

you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be

wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour.

Exeunt Dogberry and Verges


Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.


Farewell, my lords; we look for you tomorrow.


We will not fail.


                         Tonight I'll mourn with Hero.

Exeunt Don Pedro and Claudio


(to the Watch)

Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Margaret,

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.
lewd (adj.) 2 wicked, vile, evil


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