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

BENEDICK.
Why, i' faith, methinks she's too low for a high praise, too brown
for a fair praise, and too little for a great praise; only this
commendation I can afford her, that were she other than she is, she
were unhandsome, and being no other but as she is, I do not like her.

CLAUDIO.
Thou thinkest I am in sport: I pray thee tell me truly how thou
likest her.

BENEDICK.
Would you buy her, that you enquire after her?

CLAUDIO.
Can the world buy such a jewel?

BENEDICK.
Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak you this with a sad brow, or
do you play the flouting Jack, to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder,
and Vulcan a rare carpenter? Come, in what key shall a man take you,
to go in the song?

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

BENEDICK.
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. But I hope you
have no intent to turn husband, have you?

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

BENEDICK.
Is't come to this, i' faith? Hath not the world one man but he will wear
his cap with suspicion? Shall I never see a bachelor of threescore
again? Go to, i' faith; an thou wilt needs thrust thy neck into a yoke,
wear the print of it and sigh away Sundays. Look! Don Pedro is returned
to seek you.

[Re-enter DON PEDRO.]

DON PEDRO.
What secret hath held you here, that you followed not to Leonato's?

BENEDICK.
I would your Grace would constrain me to tell.

DON PEDRO.
I charge thee on thy allegiance.

BENEDICK.
You hear, Count Claudio: I can be secret as a dumb man; I would have
you think so; but on my allegiance mark you this, on my allegiance: he
is in love. With who? now that is your Grace's part. Mark how short his
answer is: with Hero, Leonato's short daughter.

CLAUDIO.
If this were so, so were it uttered.

BENEDICK.
Like the old tale, my lord: 'it is not so, nor 'twas not so; but indeed,
God forbid it should be so.'

CLAUDIO.
If my passion change not shortly. God forbid it should be otherwise.

DON PEDRO.
Amen, if you love her; for the lady is very well worthy.

CLAUDIO.
You speak this to fetch me in, my lord.

DON PEDRO.
By my troth, I speak my thought.

CLAUDIO.
And in faith, my lord, I spoke mine.

BENEDICK.
And by my two faiths and troths, my lord, I spoke mine.

CLAUDIO.
That I love her, I feel.

DON PEDRO.
That she is worthy, I know.

BENEDICK.
That I neither feel how she should be loved nor know how she should
be worthy, is the opinion that fire cannot melt out of me: I will die
in it at the stake.

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

CLAUDIO.
And never could maintain his part but in the force of his will.

BENEDICK.
That a woman conceived me, I thank her; that she brought me up, I
likewise give her most humble thanks; but that I will have a recheat
winded in my forehead, or hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick, all
women shall pardon me. Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust
any, I will do myself the right to trust none; and the fine is, — for
the which I may go the finer, — I will live a bachelor.

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

BENEDICK.
With anger, with sickness, or with hunger, my lord; not with love: prove
that ever I lose more blood with love than I will get again with
drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad-maker's pen and hang me up at
the door of a brothel-house for the sign of blind Cupid.

DON PEDRO.
Well, if ever thou dost fall from this faith, thou wilt prove a notable
argument.

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