Much Ado About Nothing

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Benedick and Margaret


Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve

well at my hands by helping me to the speech of



Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of

my beauty?


In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living

shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou
come over (v.) 2 exceed, surpass

deservest it.


To have no man come over me! Why, shall I

always keep below stairs?
keep below stairs remain a servant


Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's mouth;
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

it catches.
catch (v.) 1 seize, get hold of, capture


And yours as blunt as the fencer's foils, which
foil (n.) 1 sword, rapier See Topics: Weapons

hit, but hurt not.


A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a

woman. And so, I pray thee, call Beatrice; I give thee

the bucklers.
buckler (n.) small round shield See Topics: Weapons


Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our



If you use them, Margaret, you must put in

the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons
pike (n.) 2 central spike in a buckler See Topics: Weapons
vice (n.) 3 screw

for maids.


Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think

hath legs.

Exit Margaret


And therefore will come.

(sings) 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 panders, and a
pander, pandar (n.) pimp, procurer, go-between

whole bookful of these quondam carpet-mongers,
carpet-monger (n.) frequenter of [carpeted] boudoirs, ladies' man
quondam (adj.) former, erstwhile, previous

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 rhyme, I have tried; I can find out no rhyme to

‘ lady ’ but ‘ baby ’ – an innocent rhyme; for ‘ scorn ’,
innocent (adj.) silly, half-witted, foolish

‘ horn ’ – a hard rhyme; for ‘ school ’, ‘ fool ’ – a babbling

rhyme; very ominous endings. No, I was not born under

a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.
festival (adj.) light-hearted, befitting a holiday

Enter Beatrice

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?


Yea, Signor, and depart when you bid me.


O, stay but till then!


‘ Then ’ is spoken; fare you well now. And yet,

ere I go, let me go with that I came, which is, with knowing

what hath passed between you and Claudio.


Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.


Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is

but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I
noisome (adj.) noxious, harmful, evil

will depart unkissed.


Thou hast frighted the word out of his right
fright (v.), past form frighted frighten, scare, terrify See Topics: Frequency count

sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee plainly,
wit (n.) 2 mental sharpness, acumen, quickness, ingenuity See Topics: Frequency count

Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either I must
undergo (v.) 4 fall under, experience, face up to

shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward.
subscribe (v.) 5 write one down as, proclaim to be

And I pray thee now, tell me for which of my bad parts
part (n.) 1 quality, attribute, gift, accomplishment [of mind or body]

didst thou first fall in love with me?


For them all together; which maintained so

politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good
politic (adj.) 2 crafty, wily, self-serving

part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good

parts did you first suffer love for me?


Suffer love! A good epithet, I do suffer love
epithet (n.) turn of phrase, expression

indeed, for I love thee against my will.


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.


Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.


It appears not in this confession; there's not

one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.


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

in monument than the bell rings and the widow weeps.
monument (n.) 1 memory, memorial, remembrance


And how long is that, think you?


Question – why, an hour in clamour and a

quarter in rheum. Therefore is it most expedient for the
rheum (n.) 1 tears

wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment
Dan, Don (n.) [don, short form of Latin ‘dominus’] master, sir

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?


Very ill.
ill (adv.) 1 badly, adversely, unfavourably See Topics: Frequency count


And how do you?


Very ill too.


Serve God, love me, and mend. There will I

leave you too, for here comes one in haste.

Enter Ursula


Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder's

old coil at home; it is proved my Lady Hero hath been
coil (n.) turmoil, disturbance, fuss
old (adj.) 4 plenty of, abundant, more than enough

falsely accused, the Prince and Claudio mightily abused,
abuse (v.) 1 deceive, mislead, fool, cheat

and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone.

Will you come presently?
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count


Will you go hear this news, signor?


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.


  Previous scene     Next scene