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

BEATRICE.
O 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 a thousand
pound ere a' be cured.

MESSENGER.
I will hold friends with you, lady.

BEATRICE.
Do, good friend.

LEONATO.
You will never run mad, niece.

BEATRICE.
No, not till a hot January.

MESSENGER.
Don Pedro is approached.

[Enter DON PEDRO, DON JOHN, CLAUDIO, BENEDICK, BALTHAZAR, and
Others.]

DON PEDRO.
Good Signior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion
of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

LEONATO.
Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your Grace, for
trouble being gone, comfort should remain; but when you depart from me,
sorrow abides and happiness takes his leave.

DON PEDRO.
You embrace your charge too willingly. I think this is your daughter.

LEONATO.
Her mother hath many times told me so.

BENEDICK.
Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked her?

LEONATO.
Signior Benedick, no; for then were you a child.

DON PEDRO.
You have it full, Benedick: we may guess by this what you are, being
a man. Truly the lady fathers herself. Be happy, lady, for you are
like an honourable father.

BENEDICK.
If Signior Leonato be her father, she would not have his head on her
shoulders for all Messina, as like him as she is.

BEATRICE.
I wonder that you will still be talking, Signior Benedick: nobody
marks you.

BENEDICK.
What! my dear Lady Disdain, are you yet living?

BEATRICE.
Is it possible Disdain should die while she hath such meet food to
feed it as Signior Benedick? Courtesy itself must convert to disdain
if you come in her presence.

BENEDICK.
Then is courtesy a turncoat. But it is certain I am loved of all ladies,
only you excepted; and I would I could find in my heart that I had not
a hard heart;for, truly, I love none.

BEATRICE.
A dear happiness to women: they would else have been troubled with 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.

BENEDICK.
God keep your ladyship still in that mind;so some gentleman or other
shallscape a predestinate scratched face.

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

BENEDICK.
Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher.

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

BENEDICK.
I would my horse had the speed of your tongue, and so good a
continuer. But keep your way, i' God's name; I have done.

BEATRICE.
You always end with a jade's trick: I know you of old.

DON PEDRO.
That is the sum of all, Leonato: Signior Claudio, and Signior Benedick,
my dear friend Leonato hath invited you all. I tell him we shall stay
here at the least a month, and he heartly prays some occasion may
detain us longer: I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from his
heart.

LEONATO.
If you swear, my lord, you shall not be forsworn.
[To DON JOHN]
Let me bid you welcome, my lord: being reconciled to the prince your
brother, I owe you all duty.

DON JOHN.
I thank you: I am not of many words, but I thank you.

LEONATO.
Please it your Grace lead on?

DON PEDRO.
Your hand, Leonato;we will go together.

[Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO.]

CLAUDIO.
Benedick, didst thou note the daughter of Signior Leonato?

BENEDICK.
I noted her not; but I looked on her.

CLAUDIO.
Is she not a modest young lady?

BENEDICK.
Do you question me, as an honest man should do, for my simple true
judgment; or would you have me speak after my custom, as being a
professed tyrant to their sex?

CLAUDIO.
No; I pray thee speak in sober judgment.

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