Much Ado About Nothing (1993) Script

"Sing no more ditties..."

More, more, more!

"Sing no more

"of dumps so dull and heavy.

"The fraud of men

"was ever so...

"..since summer first was leafy.

"Then sigh not so, "but let them go, "and be you blithe and bonny, "converting all your sounds of woe..."

"..into hey, nonny, nonny!"

My lord.

I learn in this letter that Don Pedro of Aragon comes this night to Messina!

He was not three leagues off when I left him.

How many were lost in this action? But few of any sort and none of name.

I find here that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine called Claudio!

He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion!

Is Signior Mountanto returned from the wars or no?

I know none of that name, lady. My cousin means Signior Benedick.

He's returned, and as pleasant as ever.

I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars?

But how many hath he killed?

For I promised to eat all of his killing. He hath done good service.

And a good soldier, too, lady. And a good soldier to a lady.

But what is he to a lord? A lord to a lord. A man to a man.

Stuffed with all honourable virtues. It is so indeed.

He is no less than a stuffed man.

You must not, sir, mistake my niece.

There is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick and her.

They never meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between them.

Who is his companion now?

He hath every month a new sworn brother.

He is most in the company of the noble Claudio.

Oh, Lord!

He will hang upon him like a disease!

He is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad.

God help the noble Claudio.

If he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him 1 ,000 pounds ere he be cured.

I will keep friends with you, lady!

Do, good friend.

You will never run mad, niece.

No, not till a hot January.

Don Pedro is approaching!

Good Signior Leonato, are you come to meet your trouble?

The fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace.

My lord... I think this is your daughter.

Her mother hath many times told me so.

Were you in doubt, that you asked her? Signior Benedick, no!

She would not have her father's head on her shoulders, as like him as she is.

I wonder that you will still be talking. Nobody marks you.

What, my dear Lady Disdain!

Are you yet living?

Is it possible disdain should die, while she hath such meet food as Signior Benedick?

Courtesy must convert to disdain if you come in her presence.

Then is courtesy a turncoat.

But it is certain I am loved of all ladies, only you excepted.

I would that I had not a hard heart, for I love none.

A dear happiness to women. They would acquire a pernicious suitor.

I thank God and my cold blood, I am of your humour for that.

I had rather hear my dog bark at a crow than a man swear he loves me.

God keep you still in that mind, so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a predestinate scratched face.

Scratching could not make it worse, an ' twere such a face as yours were.

You are a rare parrot teacher.

A bird of my tongue is better than a beast of yours.

I would my horse had the speed of your tongue.

Keep your way, in God's name. I have done.

You always end with a jade's trick.

I know you of old.

Signior Claudio, Signior Benedick, my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all.

I tell him we shall stay here at the least a month.

Let me bid you welcome, my lord.

Being reconciled to the prince, your brother, I owe you all duty.

I thank you.

I am not of many words, but I thank you.

Please it your grace lead on? Your hand, Leonato. We will go together.


Didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

I noted her not, but I looked on her. Is she not a modest young lady?

Do you question me for my simple true judgement, or would you have me speak as a professed tyrant to their sex?

No. Speak in sober judgement.

Methinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise.

Were she other than she is, she were unhandsome, being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

Thou thinkest I am in sport. Tell me truly how thou likest her.

Would you buy her that you inquire after her?

Can the world buy such a jewel? Yea, and a case to put it into.

But speak you this with a sad brow?

In mine eyes she is the sweetest lady that ever I looked on.

I can see yet without spectacles and I see no such matter.

There's her cousin, an' she were not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in beauty as the first of May doth the last of December.

I hope you have no intent to turn husband. Have you?

I would scarce trust myself, though I had sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife.

It's come to this?

Shall I never see a bachelor of three-score again?

Gentlemen... What secret hath held you here that you followed not to Leonato's?

He is in love!

With who? That is your grace's part.

With Hero, Leonato's short daughter! Amen if you love her.

She is well worthy. You speak this to fetch me in.

By my troth, I speak my thought. In faith I spoke mine.

By my two faiths and troths, I spoke mine.

That I love her, I feel. That she is worthy, I know.

That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should be worthy is the opinion I will die in at the stake.

Thou wast ever an obstinate heretic in the despite of beauty.

That a woman conceived me, I thank her.

That she brought me up, I likewise give her most humble thanks.

But that I will hang my bugle in an invisible baldric, all women shall pardon me.

I will live a bachelor.

I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale with love.

With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord, not with love.

Well, as time shall try -

"In time, the savage bull doth bear the yoke."

If ever the sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off the bull's horns and set them in my forehead, and let me be vilely painted, "Here is good horse to hire."

Let them signify under my sign, "Here you may see Benedick the married man."

Benedick, repair to Leonato's.

Tell him I will not fail him at supper, for he hath made great preparation.

Examine your conscience.

And so I leave you.

Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

No child but Hero. She's his only heir.

Dost thou affect her, Claudio?


My lord, when you went onward on this ended action, I looked upon her with a soldier's eye that liked, but had a rougher task in hand than to drive liking to the name of love.

But now...

I am returned and that war thoughts have left their places vacant, in their rooms come thronging soft and delicate desires, all prompting me how fair young Hero is.


I liked her ere I went to wars.

Thou wilt be like a lover presently, and tire the hearer with a book of words.

If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it.

I will break with her and her father, and thou shalt have her.

I know we shall have revelling tonight.

I will assume thy part in some disguise, and tell fair Hero I am Claudio.

And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, and take her hearing prisoner with the force and strong encounter of my amorous tale.

Then after to her father will I break, and the conclusion is she shall be thine.

In practise let us put it presently.

What the good-year, my lord.

Why are you thus out of measure sad?

There is no measure in the occasion that breeds, therefore the sadness is without limit.

You should hear reason.

If when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?

I cannot hide what I am.

I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man's jests, eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure.

Sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man's business.

Laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.

Yea... but you must not make full show of this till you may do so without controlment.

You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace, but you should take true root by the fair weather that you make yourself.

I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace!

In this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering, honest man, I am a plain-dealing villain.

If I had my mouth, I would bite.

If I had my liberty, I would do my liking.

In the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.

Borachio! What news?

I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.

Will it serve for any model to build mischief on?

Marry, it is your brother's right hand.

Who? The most exquisite Claudio. Even he.

How came you to this? I heard it agreed upon that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.

Come! Come, let us thither.

This may prove food to my displeasure.

That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow.

If I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way.

You are both sure, and will assist me?

To the death, my lord.

Shall we go prove what's to be done? We'll wait upon your lordship.

Was not Count John here at supper? I saw him not.

How tartly he looks. I never can see him but I am heart-burned an hour after.

He's of a very melancholy disposition.

He were an excellent man that were made in the midway between him and Benedick.

The one is too like an image and says nothing, and the other too like my lady's eldest son - evermore tattling.

Then half Signior Benedick's tongue in Count John's mouth, and half Count John's melancholy in Signior Benedick's face...

With a good leg!

And a good foot, Uncle, and money enough in his purse.

Such a man would win any woman in the world, if he could get her good will.

Thou wilt never get thee a husband if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue.

I could not endure a husband with a beard. I had rather lie in the woollen.

You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

Should I dress him in my apparel and make him my waiting gentlewoman?

He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man.

He that is more than a youth is not for me. He that is less than a man, I am not for him.

In faith, she's too cursed!

Well, then, go you into hell? No, but to the gate.

There will the devil meet me like an old cuckold, with horns on his head, and say, "Get you to heaven, Beatrice. Get you to heaven. Here's no place for you maids."

So away to Saint Peter for the heavens.

He shows me where the bachelors sit, and there live we as merry as the day is long.

Niece, I hope you will be ruled by your father.

Yes, it is my cousin's duty to make curtsy and say, "Father, as it please you."

But yet for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, or make another curtsy and say, "Father, as it please me."

Daughter, remember what I told you.

If the prince do solicit you in that kind, you will know your answer.

Well, niece, I hope to see you one day fitted with a husband.

Not till God make men of some other metal than earth.

You apprehend passing shrewdly.

I have a good eye, Uncle. I can see a church by daylight.

The revellers are entering!

Lady, will you walk about with your friend?

I know you well enough. You are Signior Antonio.

At a word, I am not.

I know you by the waggling of your head.

At a word, I am not. Come, come.

Do you think I do not know you by your excellent wit?

Can virtue hide itself?

Go to, mum, you are he. Graces will appear and there's an end.

I would you did like me. Of course I would not.

I have many ill qualities. Which is one?

I say my prayers aloud.

Will you not tell me who told you so?


Will you not tell me who you are? Not now.

That I was disdainful, and that I had my good wit out of the Hundred Merry Tales.

This was Signior Benedick that said so. What's he?

I am sure you know him well enough. Not l, believe me.

Did he never make you laugh? I pray you, what is he?

Why, he is the prince's jester.

A very dull fool.

His only gift is in devising impossible slanders.

None but libertines delight in him, for he both pleases men and angers them.

And then they laugh at him and beat him.

I am sure he is in the fleet.

I would he had boarded me.

When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him what you say.



We must follow the leaders. In every good thing.

Are not you Signior Benedick? You know me well. I am he.

Signior, you are very near my brother in his love.

He is enamoured on Hero. Dissuade him from her. She is no equal for his birth.

How know you... he loves her?

I heard him swear his affection.

So did I, too. He swore he would marry her tonight.

Come, let us to the banquet.

Thus answer I in name of Benedick, but hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio.

'Tis certain so.

The prince woos for himself!

Friendship is constant in all other things save in the office and affairs of love.

This is an accident of hourly proof, which I mistrusted not.

Farewell, therefore, Hero!

Count Claudio. Come, will you go with me?

Whither? About your own business.

The prince hath got your Hero. I wish him joy of her.

Did you think the prince would have served you thus?

Leave me. Alas, poor hurt fowl!

But that my lady Beatrice should know me, and not know me!

The prince's fool? Ha!

I am not so reputed.

It is the base, the bitter disposition of Beatrice that puts the world into her person, and so gives me out.

Well, I'll be revenged as I may.

Signior, where's the count?

I found him here as melancholy as a lodge in a warren.

I told him, and I think I told him true, that your grace had got the good will of this young lady.

The Lady Beatrice hath a quarrel to you.

The gentleman that danced with her told her she is much wronged by you.

She misused me past the endurance of a block!

She told me, not thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's jester, that I was duller than a great thaw, huddling jest upon jest with impossible conveyance upon me that I stood like a man at a mark with a whole army shooting at me.

She speaks poniards, and every word stabs.

If her breath were as terrible as her terminations, she would infect to the north star.

Indeed, all disquiet, horror and perturbation follows her.

Look, here she comes.

Will you command me any service to the world's end?

I will go on the slightest errand now to the Antipodes that you can devise to send me on.

I will fetch you a hair off the great Cham's beard, do you any embassage to the pygmies, rather than hold three words' conference with this harpy!

You have no employment for me?

None, but to desire your good company.

Oh, God, sir. Here's a dish I love not.

I cannot endure my Lady Tongue!


Come, lady. You have lost the heart of Signior Benedick.

Indeed, my lord.

He lent it me awhile, and I gave him use for it - a double heart for his single one.

Marry, once before he won it of me with false dice.

Therefore your grace may well say I have lost it.

You have put him down, you have put him down.

So I would not he should do me, my lord, lest I should prove the mother of fools.

I have brought Count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek.

Wherefore art thou sad? Not sad, my lord.

How then? Sick? Neither, my lord.

The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor merry, nor well, but civil count - civil as an orange, and something of that jealous complexion.

I think your blazon to be true, though I'll be sworn, if he be so, his conceit is false.

Here, Claudio.

I have wooed in thy name...

..and fair Hero is won.

I have broke with her father, and his good will obtained.

Name the day of marriage, and God give thee joy!

Count, take of me my daughter, and with her my fortunes.

His grace hath made the match, and all grace say amen to it.

Speak, Count. 'Tis your cue.

Silence is the perfectest herald of joy.

I were but little happy if I could say how much.

Lady, as you are mine...

..I am yours.

Speak, cousin, or if you cannot, stop his mouth with a kiss, and let not him speak neither.

In faith, lady, you have a merry heart.

Yea, my lord, I thank it.

Poor fool, it keeps on the windy side of care.

My cousin tells him in his ear that he is in her heart.

And so she doth, cousin.

Good Lord, for alliance!

Thus goes everyone to the world but I, and I am sunburnt.

I may sit in a corner and cry, "Heigh-ho for a husband!"

Lady Beatrice, I will get you one.

I would rather have one of your father's getting.

Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you?

Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could come by them.

Will you have me, lady?

No, my lord.

Unless I might have another for working days.

Your grace is too costly to wear every day.

But I beseech your grace, pardon me.

I was born to speak all mirth and no matter.

Your silence most offends me, and to be merry best becomes you, for you were born in a merry hour.

No, sure, my lord, my mother cried.

But then there was a star danced, and under that was I born.


God give you joy.

By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady.

There's little of the melancholy element in her, my lord.

She is never sad but when she sleeps, and not ever then, for I have heard my daughter say she hath often dreamt of unhappiness and waked herself with laughing.

She cannot endure to hear tell of a husband.

Oh, by no means. She were an excellent wife for Benedick.

If they were but a week married, they would talk themselves mad.

When mean you to go to church? Tomorrow.

Not till Monday, my dear son, which is hence a just-seven night, and a time too brief, too, to have all things answer my mind.

The time shall not go dully by us.

I will in the interim undertake one of Hercules' labours, which is to bring Benedick and Beatrice into a mountain of affection, the one with the other.

I would fain have it a match, and I doubt not but to fashion it, if you will but minister assistance.

My lord, I am for you, though it cost me ten nights' watchings.

And l, my lord. And you too, gentle Hero?

I will do any modest office to help my cousin to a good husband.

If we can do this, Cupid is no longer an archer.

His glory shall be ours, for we are the only love gods.

Go with me, I will tell you my drift.

I do much wonder that one man, seeing how much another man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow follies in others, become the argument of his own scorn by falling in love.

And such a man is Claudio.

I have known when there was no music with him but the drum and the fife, and now would he rather hear the tabor and the pipe.

He would have walked ten mile afoot to see a good armour, now will he lie ten nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet.

He was wont to speak plain like an honest man and a soldier, now is he turned orthography.

His words are a very fantastical banquet, just so many strange dishes.

Well, may I be so converted and see with these eyes? I cannot tell. I think not.

I will not be sworn, but love may transform me to an oyster, but till he hath made an oyster of me, he shall never make me such a fool.

One woman is fair, yet I am well.

Another is wise, yet I am well. Another virtuous, yet I am well, but till all graces be in one woman, one woman shall not come in my grace.

Rich she shall be, that's certain.

Wise, or I'll none.

Virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her.

Fair, or I'll never look on her.

Mild, or come not near me.

Of good discourse, an excellent musician, um...

..and her hair shall be...

..of what colour it please God.


The prince and Monsieur Love

I will hide me.

See you where Benedick hides himself? Very well, my lord.

Come, Balthasar. We'll hear that song again.

Now, divine air!

Now is his soul ravished.

Is it not strange that sheep's guts should hale souls out of men's bodies?

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more Men were deceivers ever One foot in sea And one on shore To one thing constant never Then sigh not so, but let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny

Sing no more ditties, sing no more Of dumps so dull and heavy The fraud of men was ever so Since summer first was leafy Then sigh not so, but let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny

By my troth, a good song.

And an ill singer, my lord. No, no, faith. Thou singest well enough.

An' he had been a dog that should have howled thus, they'd have hanged him.

Come hither, Leonato. What was it you told me of today?

That your niece Beatrice was in love with Signior Benedick?

I did never think that lady would have loved any man.

Nor I neither, but most wonderful that she should dote on Signior Benedick whom she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to abhor.

It's possible?

Maybe she doth but counterfeit?

Faith, like enough.

Oh, God! Counterfeit?

There was never counterfeit of passion came so near the life of passion as she discovers it.


..what effects of passion shows she?

Bait the hook well. This fish will bite!

What effects, my lord?

My daughter told you how. She did indeed.

How, I pray you?

You amaze me!

I should think this a trick, but that the grey-bearded fellow speaks it.

Has she made her affection known? No, and swears she never will.

That's her torment. She'll be up 20 times a night, and there will she sit till she have writ a sheet of paper.

Then down upon her knees she falls.

Weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, curses, "Oh, sweet Benedick!

"God give me patience!"

She does indeed. My daughter says so.

My daughter is sometime afeared that she will do a desperate outrage to herself.

It is very true.

Benedick should know of it. What end?

He would torment the poor lady worse. I'm sorry for her.

Tell Benedick of it, and hear what he will say.

Were it good?

Hero thinks surely she will die, for she says she will die if he love her not, and she will die ere she make her love known, and she will die if he woo her.

If she should make tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it, for the man hath a contemptible spirit.


I love Benedick well, and I could wish he would modestly examine himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good a lady.

My lord, will you walk? Dinner is ready.

If he do not dote on her upon this, I will never trust my expectation.

Let the same net be spread for her.

That must Hero and her gentlewoman carry.

Let us send Beatrice to call him in to dinner.

This can be no trick.

The conference was sadly borne.

They have the truth of this from Hero.

Love me?

Why, it must be requited.

I hear how I am censured.

They say I will bear myself proudly if I perceive the love come from her.

They say too that she will rather die than give any sign of affection.

I did never think... to marry.

I must not seem proud. Happy are they that hear their detractions and can put them to mending.

They say the lady is fair. 'Tis a truth. And virtuous. 'Tis so. I cannot reprove it.

And wise, but for loving me.

By my troth, it is no addition to her wit, nor no great argument of her folly, for I will be horribly in love with her!

I may chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit broken on me because I have railed so long against marriage...

..but dost not the appetite alter?

A man loves the meat in his youth that he cannot endure in his age.

Shall these quips and sentences and paper bullets of the brain awe a man from the career of his humour?


The world must be peopled!

When I said I would die a bachelor, I did not think I should live till I were married.

Here comes Beatrice.

By this day! She's a fair lady.

I do spy some... marks of love in her.

Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner.

Fair Beatrice! I thank you for your pains.

I took no more pains for those thanks than you take pains to thank me.

If it had been painful, I would not have come.

You take pleasure, then, in the message?

Yea, just so much as you may take upon a knife's point.

You have no stomach, signior? Fare you well.


"Against my will I am sent to bid you come in to dinner."

There's a double meaning in that.

But are you sure that Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

So says the prince, and my new-trothed lord.

And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?

They did entreat me to acquaint her of it, but I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick, never to let Beatrice know of it.

Doth not he deserve as full as fortunate a bed as ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

Oh, God of love! I know he doth deserve as much as may be yielded to a man, but nature never framed a woman's heart of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice.

Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, misprising what they look on, and her wit values itself so highly, that to her, all matter else seems weak.

She cannot love. Sure, I think so.

Tell her of it. Hear what she will say. No.

I will go to Benedick, and counsel him to fight against his passion.

Do not do your cousin such a wrong.

She cannot be so much without true judgement, having so swift a wit, as to refuse so rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.

He's the only man of ltaly. Always excepted my dear Claudio.

When are you married, madam? Why, every day. Tomorrow!

She's limed, I warrant you.

We have caught her, madam.

If it proves so, then loving goes by haps.

Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

What fire is in mine ears?

Can this be true? Stand I condemned for pride and scorn so much?

Contempt, farewell! And maiden pride, adieu!

No glory lives behind the back of such.

And, Benedick, love on!

I will requite thee, taming my wild heart to thy loving hand.

If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee to bind our loves up in a holy band.

For others say thou dost deserve, and I believe it better than reportingly!

Are you good men and true?

Yut-ta-ta, yut-ta-ta, oi, oi, yea!

Being chosen for the prince's watch, this is your charge.

You are to bid any man stand in the prince's name.

How if he will not stand?

Then take no note of him but let him go.

If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none of the prince's subjects.

True. And they are to meddle with none but the prince's subjects.

You shall also make no noise in the streets.

We will rather sleep than talk.

You speak like an ancient...

..and a most quiet watchman, for I cannot see how sleeping should offend.

If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man.

And for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.

You have been always called a merciful man... partner.

Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more a man who hath any honesty in him.

'Tis very true.

Phrrt! Well, masters...

Good night.

And, there be any matter of weight chances, call up me.

Come, neighbour.

We hear our charge.

Let us sit upon the bench till two, and then to bed.

One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you, watch upon Signior Leonato's door, for the wedding being there tomorrow, there is a great coil tonight.


Be vigitant, I beseech you.

'Tis so. Count Claudio shall marry the daughter of Leonato.

Yea, my lord, but I can cross it.

Any bar, any cross, any impediment will be medicinable to me.

I am sick in displeasure to him.

Whatsoever comes athwart his affection ranges evenly with mine.

How canst thou cross this marriage? Not honestly.

But so covertly that no dishonesty shall appear in me.

Show me briefly how. I told your lordship how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the waiting gentlewoman to Hero.

I remember.

I can at any instant appoint her to look out at her lady's chamber window.

What life is in that to be the death of this marriage?

The poison of that lies in you to temper.


I am not as I have been.

So say I. Methinks you are sadder.

I hope he be in love.


Signior, walk with me. I have studied eight or nine wise words which these hobby-horses must not hear.

For my life, to break with him about Beatrice!

My lord and brother, God save you. Good evening, brother.

I would speak with you. In private?

Count Claudio may hear, for what I would speak of concerns him.

What's the matter?

You may think I love you not, but that appear here after and e'en better than me, by that I now will manifest.

Means your lordship to marry tomorrow? You know he does.

I know not that when he knows what I know.

Hero! Hero! Hero!

The lady is disloyal. If you love her now, tomorrow wed her, but it would better fit your honour to change your mind.


What, Conrade! Conrade, I say!

Here, man. I am at thy elbow.

Mass, and my elbow itched. I thought there would a scab follow.

I will owe thee an answer for that.

Now, forward with thy tale. Sit close, then.

Some treason, masters! I know him!

I have tonight wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the name of Hero!

I shall first tell thee how the prince, Claudio and my master, planted by my master Don John, saw this amiable encounter.

And thought they Margaret was Hero?

Ay, and away went Claudio enraged!

We charge you in the prince's name, stand!

Call up the right Master Constable.

We have here the most dangerous piece of lechery ever known in the commonwealth.

Masters! Never speak!

There, sir.

What would you with me, neighbours? Marry, sir, our watch tonight have ta'en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.

Good old man, sir...

He will be talking. As they say, when the age is in, the wit is out.

Well said, i' faith, neighbour Verges.

Well, God's a good man, and two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind.

All men are not alike, alas.

Indeed, he comes too short of you. Gifts that God gives.

Neighbours, you are tedious. Well, if it pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor duke's officers, but truly for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all on your worship.

All thy tediousness on me?


I would fain know what you have to say.

Our watch have indeed comprehended two auspicious persons.

We would have them examined before your worship.

Take their examination yourself and bring it me.

I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.

Drink some wine ere you go.

We are now to examination these men.

Meet me at the jail.

You come hither, my lord, to marry this lady.


To be married to her. You come to marry her.

Lady, you come hither to be married to this count.

I do.

If you have any inward impediment why you should not be conjoined, I charge you, on your souls, to utter it.

Know you any, Hero? None, my lord.

Know you any, Count? I dare make his answer. None.

Stand thee by, Friar.

Father, will you with free and unconstrained soul give me this maid, your daughter? As freely, son, as God did give her me.

And what have I to give you back whose worth may counterpoise this rich and precious gift?

Nothing, unless you render her again.

Sweet Prince, you learn me noble thankfulness.

There, Leonato. Take her back again!

Give not this rotten orange to your friend.

She's but the sign and semblance of her honour.

Behold how like a maid she blushes here! Would you not swear, all you that see her, that she were a maid by these exterior shows? But she is none!

She knows the heat of a luxurious bed! What do you mean, my lord?

Not to be married, not to knit my soul to an approved wanton.


Dear my lord, if you in your own proof have vanquished the resistance of her youth, and made defeat of her virginity...

No, Leonato!

I never tempted her with word too large...

..but as a brother to his sister, showed bashful sincerity and comely love.

And seemed I ever otherwise to you?

You seemed to me as Dian in her orb, but you are more intemperate in your blood than Venus...

Go away!

..or those pampered animals that rage in savage sensuality.

Is my lord well, that he doth speak so wide?

Why speak not you? What should I speak?

I stand dishonoured that I have gone about to link my dear friend to a common stale.

What man was he talked with you yesternight out at your window betwixt twelve and one?

I talked with no man at that hour, my lord.

Why, then you are no maiden. Leonato, I am sorry you must hear.

Upon mine honour, myself, my brother and this grieved count did see her, hear her at that hour last night, talk with a ruffian at her window, who hath, most like a liberal villain, confessed the vile encounters they have had a thousand times in secret.

Let us go. These things, come thus to light, smother her spirits up.

Cousin! Wherefore sink you down?

Hath no man's dagger here a point for me?

Do not live, Hero! Do not open thine eyes!

Get your hands free! Grieved l, I had but one.

Why had I one?

Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?

She is fallen into a pit of ink. Sir, be patient.

For my part, I am so attired in wonder, I know not what to say.

On my soul, my cousin is belied! Were you her bedfellow last night?

No, although until last night I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow.

Confirmed! Confirmed!

Would the two princes lie and Claudio lie?

Hence from her, let her die!

Hear me a little!

Lady, what man is he you are accused of?

They know that do accuse me. I know none.

There is some strange misprision in the princes.

Two of them have the very bent of honour.

If they be misled in this, it is by John the bastard.

If they wrong her honour, the proudest of them shall well hear of it.

Pause awhile, and let my counsel sway you in this case.

Your daughter here the princes left for dead.

Let her awhile be secretly kept in, and publish it that she is dead indeed.

What shall become of this?

She dying, as it must be so maintained, upon the instant that she was accused, shall be lamented, pitied, and excused of every hearer.

So will it fare with Claudio. When he shall hear she died upon his words, the idea of her life shall sweetly creep into his study of imagination, and every lovely organ of her life shall come apparelled in more precious habit than when she lived indeed.

Then shall he mourn, and wish he had not so accused her.

Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you.

Being that I flow in grief, the smallest twine may lead me.

'Tis well consented. Presently away.

Come, lady.

Die to live.

This wedding day perhaps is but prolonged.

Have patience and endure.

Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?


And I will weep awhile longer. I will not desire that.

You have no reason. I do it freely. Surely I believe your cousin is wronged.

How much might the man deserve of me that would right her!

Is there a way to show such friendship? A very even way but no such friend.

May a man do it? It is a man's office... but not yours.

I do love nothing in the world so well as you.

Is not that strange?

As strange as the thing I know not.

It were as possible for me to say I love nothing so well as you, but believe me not, and yet I lie not.

I confess nothing nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

Do not swear, and eat it. I will swear by it that you love me, and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

Why then, God forgive me. What offence, sweet Beatrice?

You have stayed me in a happy hour.

I was about to protest I loved you. And do it with all thy heart.

I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

Come, bid me do anything for thee.

Kill Claudio.

Not for the wide world.

You kill me to deny it. Fare you well.

I am gone though I am here. There is no love in you.

Let me go! Beatrice!

I will go! We'll be friends first.

You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy?

Is Claudio thine enemy? Is he not approved in the height a villain that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman?

Oh, that I were a man!

What, bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then with public accusation, uncovered slander, unmitigated rancour...

Oh, God, that I were a man!

I would eat his heart in the market place!

Hear me, Beatrice.

Talk with a man out at a window.

A proper saying! Beatrice.

Sweet Hero!

She is wronged, she is slandered.

She is undone! Beatrice!

He is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it.

I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

By this hand, I love thee.

Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul.


I am engaged.

I will challenge him.


Comfort your cousin.

I must say she is dead.

And so, farewell.

Is our whole dissembly appeared?

Oh, yea!

Which be the malefactors? Marry, that am l. And my partner.

But which are the offenders that are to be examined?

What is your name, friend?


Write down "Borachio"

Yours, sirrah? I am a gentleman, sir.

Ooh And my name is Conrade.

Write down "Master Gentleman Conrade."

Masters, it is proved already that you are little better than false names.

How answer you for yourselves?

Marry, sir, we say we are none.


Sir, I say to you we are none.

Have you writ down they are none? You go not the way to examine.

You must call forth the watch that are their accusers.

Let the watch come forth.

I charge you, in the prince's name, accuse these men.

This man said that Don John, the prince's brother, was a villain.

Write down "Prince John a villain." Master Constable...

Pray, thee, fellow, peace.

I do not like thy look, I promise thee.

What heard you him say else?

That he received 1 ,000 ducats of Don John for accusing the lady Hero wrongfully.

Flat burglary as ever was committed. That it is.

What else? And that Count Claudio did mean upon his words to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly and not marry her.

Thou wilt be condemned into everlasting redemption for this.

What else? This is all.

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.

Come, let them be opinioned.

Let them be, in the hands.

Off, coxcomb!

God's my life, where's the sexton?

Let him write down, "The prince's officer coxcomb!"

Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet!

Away! You are an ass!

You are an ass!

Dost thou not suspect my place?

Dost thou not suspect my years?

Oh, that he were here to write me down an ass!

Masters, remember - I am an ass.

Though it be not written down, forget not that I am an ass.

If you go on thus, you will kill yourself.

Bring me a father that so loved his child, whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine, and bid him speak of patience.

But there is no such man, for men can counsel and speak comfort to that grief which they themselves not feel, but tasting it, their counsel turns to passion.

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

For there was never yet philosopher that could endure the toothache patiently.

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.

My soul doth tell me Hero is belied, and that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince and all that thus dishonour her.

Here comes the prince and Claudio!

Good day. - Hear you, my lords?

We have some haste. Some haste? Well, fare you well, my lord!

Are you so hasty now? Well, all is one. Do not quarrel with us.

If quarrelling could right him, men would lay low.

Who wrongs him? Marry, thou dost wrong me, thou!

Never lay thy hand upon thy sword. I fear thee not.

Beshrew my hand if it should give such cause of fear.

My hand meant nothing to my sword. Tush, tush. Never fleer and jest at me.

I speak not like a dotard nor a fool. I say thou hast belied mine innocent child.

You say not right, old man. I'll prove it on his body if he dare!

Away, I will not have to do with you!

Canst thou so daff me?

Thou hast killed my child!

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.

I'll whip you from your foining fence, yea, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece, and she is dead, slandered to death by villains.

Scambling, outfacing, fashion-monging boys, that lie and cog, and flout, deprave and slander.

Brother... 'Tis no matter. Do not you meddle.

Let me deal in this.

Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death, but 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.

See, here comes the man we went to seek.

Now, signior, what news? Good day, my lord.

You are almost come to part almost a fray.

We had liked to have had our two noses snapped off.

Shall I speak a word in your ear?

You are a villain. I jest not.

I will make it good with what you dare and when you dare.

Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice.

You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you.

Fare you well, boy.

You know my mind.

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.

Till then...

..peace be with him.

He is in earnest.

In most profound earnest. And hath challenged thee.

Most sincerely.

Officers, what offence have these men done?

They have committed false report, moreover, they have spoken untruths, secondarily, they are slanders, sixth and lastly, they belied a lady, thirdly, they have verified unjust things, and to conclude, they are lying knaves.

Who have you offended, masters?

This learned constable is too cunning to be understood.

I have deceived even your very eyes.

What your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light, who, in the night, overheard me confessing to this man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the lady Hero, how you saw me court Margaret... you disgraced Hero when you should marry her.

The lady is dead upon mine and my master's false accusation.

Sweet Hero!

Come, bring away the plaintiffs.

By this time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter.

And, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

Here, here... comes Master Signior Leonato, and the sexton, too.

Which is the villain? Let me see his eyes!

If you would know your wronger, look on me.

Art thou the slave that with thy tongue hast killed 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 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. lmpose me to what penance your invention can lay upon my sin, yet sinned I not but in mistaking.

By my soul, nor I.

I cannot bid you bid my daughter live. That were impossible.

But I pray you both, possess the people in Messina here how innocent she died.

And if your love can labour aught in sad invention, 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.

Oh, noble sir.

Your overkindness 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 shall face to face be brought to Margaret, who was packed in all this wrong.

Nay, 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, the offender did call me "ass".

I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment.

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!


I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.

I leave with your worship an arrant knave, which I beseech you to correct yourself, for the example of others.

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.

Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.

Farewell, my lords. We look for you tomorrow.

We will not fail.


I'll mourn with Hero.

Done to death by slanderous tongues...

..was the Hero that here lies.

Death in guerdon of her wrongs... her fame which never dies.

So the life...

..that died with shame...

..lives in death...

..with glorious fame.

Pardon, goddess of the night Those that slew thy virgin knight For the which with songs of woe Round about her tomb they go Midnight, assist our moan Help us to sigh and groan Heavily, heavily Heavily

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 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 rhyme.

I have tried.

I can find out no rhyme to "lady" but... "baby". An innocent rhyme.

For "scorn" - "horn". A hard rhyme.

For "school" - "fool". A babbling rhyme.

Very ominous endings.


I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?

Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.

Oh, stay but till then.

"Then" is spoken. Fare you well now.

And yet...

..ere I go...

..let me go with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.

Only foul words, and thereupon I will kiss thee.

Foul words is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome. I will depart unkissed.

Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit.

Claudio undergoes my challenge, 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 did thou first fall in love with me?

For them all together, which maintains so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them.

For which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?

Suffer love! A good epithet, 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.

I will never love that which my friend hates.

Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.

And now tell me, how doth your cousin?

Very ill.

And how do you?

Very ill too.

Serve God, love me...

..and mend.

Madam! Here comes one in haste.

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...


Will you go hear this news, signior?

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.

Did I not say she was innocent? So are the prince and Claudio who accused her upon the error debated. But Margaret...

..was in some fault for this.

I am glad that all things sort so well.

Now you gentlewomen all, withdraw, and when I send for you, come hither masked.

The prince and Claudio promised by this hour to visit me.

You must be father to your brother's daughter, and give her to young Claudio.

Which I will do with confirmed countenance.

Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. To do what, signior?

To bind me or undo me, one of them.

Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior, your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

The sight whereof you had from me, Claudio and the prince.

What's your will? Your answer is enigmatical... but my will is your good will may stand with ours this day to be conjoined in the state of honourable marriage, in which, good Friar, I shall desire your help.

My heart is with your liking. And my help.

Here come the prince and Claudio.

Good morrow to this fair assembly.

Good morrow, Prince. Good morrow, Claudio. We here attend you.

Are you yet determined today to marry with my brother's daughter?

Call her forth, brother. Here's the friar ready.

Which is the lady I must seize upon?

This same is she, and I do give you her.


Let me see your face. No. That you shall not till you take her hand before this friar and swear to marry her.

Give me your hand before this holy friar.

I am your husband...

..if you like of me.

Hero that is... dead.

She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.

And when I lived, I was your other wife.

And when you loved... were my other husband.

One Hero died defiled, but I do live.

And surely as I live... I am a maid.

All this amazement can I qualify.

When after that the holy rites are ended, I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death.

Soft and fair, Friar!

Which is Beatrice?

I answer to that name.

What is your will?

Do not you love me?

Why, no.

No more than reason.

Your uncle and the prince and Claudio swore you did.

Do not you love me? Why, no. No more than reason.

My cousin, Margaret and Ursula are much deceived.

They swore you did. They swore you were sick for me.

They swore you were nearly dead for me. 'Tis no such matter. Then... you do not love me?

No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

Come, cousin. I am sure you love the gentleman!

I'll be sworn upon it that he loves her, for here written in his hand, a halting sonnet of his own pure brain, fashioned to Beatrice.

And here's another, writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, containing her affection unto Benedick.

A miracle!

Here's our own hands against our hearts.


I will have thee, but by this light, I take thee for pity.

I would not deny you, but by this good day, I yield upon great persuasion, and partly to save your life, for I was told you were in a consumption. Peace!

I will stop your mouth.

How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?

I'll tell thee what, Prince, a college of wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour.

Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram?

No. Since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it, and therefore never flout at me for what I have said against it.

For man... a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion.

For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee... but in that thou art like to be my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.

Come, come. We are friends!

Let's have a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts and our wives' heels.

We'll have dancing afterwards.

First, of my word.

Therefore play, music!

Prince, thou art sad.

Get thee a wife. Get thee a wife.

My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight and brought back to Messina.

Think not on him till tomorrow.

I'll devise the brave punishments for him.

Strike up, pipers!

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more Men were deceivers ever One foot in sea And one on shore To one thing constant never Then sigh not so But let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny Sing no more ditties, sing no more Of dumps so dull and heavy The fraud of men was ever so Since summer first was leafy Then sigh not so But let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all Your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny!

Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more Men were deceivers ever One foot in sea And one on shore To one thing constant never Then sigh not so But let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all Your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny Sing no more ditties, sing no more Of dumps so dull and heavy The fraud of men was ever so Since summer first was leafy Then sigh not so but let them go And be you blithe and bonny Converting all your sounds of woe Into hey, nonny, nonny