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

BENEDICK.
If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat and shoot at me; and he that
hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder and called Adam.

DON PEDRO.
Well, as time shall try: 'In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.'

BENEDICK.
The savage bull may; but 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, and in such great letters as they write, 'Here is good horse
to hire,' let them signify under my sign 'Here you may see Benedick
the married man.'

CLAUDIO.
If this should ever happen, thou wouldst be horn-mad.

DON PEDRO.
Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his quiver in Venice, thou wilt quake
for this shortly.

BENEDICK.
I look for an earthquake too then.

DON PEDRO.
Well, you will temporize with the hours. In the meantime, good Signior
Benedick, repair to Leonato's: commend me to him and tell him I will
not fail him at supper; for indeed he hath made great preparation.

BENEDICK.
I have almost matter enough in me for such an embassage; and so I
commit you —

CLAUDIO.
To the tuition of God: from my house, if I had it, —

DON PEDRO.
The sixth of July: your loving friend, Benedick.

BENEDICK.
Nay, mock not, mock not. The body of your discourse is sometime guarded
with fragments, and the guards are but slightly basted on neither: ere
you flout old ends any further, examine your conscience: and so I leave
you.

[Exit.]

CLAUDIO.
My liege, your highness now may do me good.

DON PEDRO.
My love is thine to teach: teach it but how,
And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn
hard lesson that may do thee good.

CLAUDIO.
Hath Leonato any son, my lord?

DON PEDRO.
No child but Hero;s he's his only heir.
Dost thou affect her, Claudio?

CLAUDIO.
O! my lord,
When you went onward on this ended action,
I looked upon her with a soldier's eye,
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand
Than to drive liking to the name of love;
But now I am return'd, 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,
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars.

DON PEDRO.
Thou wilt be like a lover presently,
And tire the hearer with a book of words.
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it,
And I will break with her, and with her father,
And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story?

CLAUDIO.
How sweetly you do minister to love,
That know love's grief by his complexion!
But lest my liking might too sudden seem,
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise.

DON PEDRO.
What need the bridge much broader than the flood?
The fairest grant is the necessity.
Look, what will serve is fit: 'tis once, thou lov'st,
And I will fit thee with the remedy.
I know we shall have revelling to-night:
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 practice let us put it presently.

[Exeunt.]

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