Much Ado About Nothing By William Shakespeare Act II: Scene 1

ACT II. Scene 1. A hall in LEONATO'S house.

[Enter LEONATO, ANTONIO, HERO, BEATRICE, and Others.]

LEONATO.
Was not Count John here at supper?

ANTONIO.
I saw him not.

BEATRICE.
How tartly that gentleman looks! I never can see him but I am
heart-burned an hour after.

HERO.
He is of a very melancholy disposition.

BEATRICE.
He were an excellent man that were made just in the mid-way 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.

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

BEATRICE.
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 ifa' could get her good
will.

LEONATO.
By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get thee a husband, if thou be
so shrewd of thy tongue.

ANTONIO.
In faith, she's too curst.

BEATRICE.
Too curst is more than curst: I shall lessen God's sending that way;
for it is said, 'God sends a curst cow short horns;' but to a cow too
curst he sends none.

LEONATO.
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns?

BEATRICE.
Just, if he send me no husband; for the which blessing I am at him
upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord! I could not endure a
husband with a beard on his face: I had rather lie in the woollen.

LEONATO.
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.

BEATRICE.
What should I do with him? 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; and he that is more than a
youth is not for me; and he that is less than a man, I am not for him:
therefore I will even take sixpence in earnest of the bear-ward, and
lead his apes into hell.

LEONATO.
Well then, go you into hell?

BEATRICE.
No; but to the gate; and 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 deliver I up my
apes, and 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.

ANTONIO.
[To Hero.] Well, niece, I trust you will be ruled by your father.

BEATRICE.
Yes, faith; 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 else make another curtsy, and say,
'Father, as it please me.'

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

BEATRICE.
Not till God make men of some other metal than earth. Would it not
grieve a woman to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust? to
make an account of her life to a clod of wayward marl? No, uncle,
I'll none: Adam's sons are my brethren; and truly, I hold it a sin
to match in my kinred.

LEONATO.
Daughter, remember what I told you: if the prince do solicit you
in that kind, you know your answer.

BEATRICE.
The fault will be in the music, cousin, if you be not wooed in good
time: if the prince be too important, tell him there is measure in
everything, and so dance out the answer. For, hear me, Hero: wooing,
wedding, and repenting is as a Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-
pace: the first suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as
fantastical; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a measure, full of state
and ancientry; and then comes Repentance, and with his bad legs, falls
into the cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his grave.

LEONATO.
Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly.

BEATRICE.
I have a good eye, uncle: I can see a church by daylight.

LEONATO.
The revellers are entering, brother: make good room.

[Enter, DON PEDRO, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHASAR, DON JOHN,
BORACHIO, MARGARET, URSULA, and Others, masked.]

DON PEDRO.
Lady, will you walk about with your friend?

HERO.
So you walk softly and look sweetly and say nothing, I am yours
for the walk; and especially when I walk away.

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