Much adoe about Nothing

by

William Shakespeare

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Classic Literature Library

Much adoe about Nothing Page 01

Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter Leonato Gouernour of Messina, Innogen his wife, Hero his daughter, and Beatrice his Neece, with a messenger.

Leonato. I learne in this Letter, that Don Peter of Arragon, comes this night to Messina

Mess. He is very neere by this: he was not three Leagues off when I left him

Leon. How many Gentlemen haue you lost in this action? Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name

Leon. A victorie is twice it selfe, when the atchieuer brings home full numbers: I finde heere, that Don Peter hath bestowed much honor on a yong Florentine, called Claudio

Mess. Much deseru'd on his part, and equally remembred by Don Pedro, he hath borne himselfe beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a Lambe, the feats of a Lion, he hath indeede better bettred expectation, then you must expect of me to tell you how

Leo. He hath an Vnckle heere in Messina, wil be very much glad of it

Mess. I haue alreadie deliuered him letters, and there appeares much ioy in him, euen so much, that ioy could not shew it selfe modest enough, without a badg of bitternesse

Leo. Did he breake out into teares? Mess. In great measure

Leo. A kinde ouerflow of kindnesse, there are no faces truer, then those that are so wash'd, how much better is it to weepe at ioy, then to ioy at weeping? Bea. I pray you, is Signior Mountanto return'd from the warres, or no? Mess. I know none of that name, Lady, there was none such in the armie of any sort

Leon. What is he that you aske for Neece? Hero. My cousin meanes Signior Benedick of Padua Mess. O he's return'd, and as pleasant as euer he was

Beat. He set vp his bils here in Messina, & challeng'd Cupid at the Flight: and my Vnckles foole reading the Challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at the Burbolt. I pray you, how many hath hee kil'd and eaten in these warres? But how many hath he kil'd? for indeed, I promis'd to eate all of his killing

Leon. 'Faith Neece, you taxe Signior Benedicke too much, but hee'l be meete with you, I doubt it not

Mess. He hath done good seruice Lady in these wars

Beat. You had musty victuall, and he hath holpe to ease it: he's a very valiant Trencher-man, hee hath an excellent stomacke

Mess. And a good souldier too Lady

Beat. And a good souldier to a Lady. But what is he to a Lord? Mess. A Lord to a Lord, a man to a man, stuft with all honourable vertues

Beat. It is so indeed, he is no lesse then a stuft man: but for the stuffing well, we are all mortall

Leon. You must not (sir) mistake my Neece, there is a kind of merry war betwixt Signior Benedick, & her: they neuer meet, but there's a skirmish of wit between them

Bea. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, foure of his fiue wits went halting off, and now is the whole man gouern'd with one: so that if hee haue wit enough to keepe himselfe warme, let him beare it for a difference betweene himselfe and his horse: For it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be knowne a reasonable creature. Who is his companion now? He hath euery month a new sworne brother

Mess. Is't possible? Beat. Very easily possible: he weares his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it euer changes with y next block

Mess. I see (Lady) the Gentleman is not in your bookes

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Much adoe about Nothing Page 02

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