CLAUDIO: Now, signior, what news?
BENEDICK: Good day, my lord.
DON PEDRO: Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part
almost a fray. 
CLAUDIO: We had like to have had our two noses snapped off
with two old men without teeth.
DON PEDRO: Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? Had
we fought, I doubt we should have been too young for them.
BENEDICK: In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came 
to seek you both.
CLAUDIO: We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are
high-proof melancholy and would fain have it beaten
away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
BENEDICK: It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it? 
DON PEDRO: Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
CLAUDIO: Never any did so, though very many have been beside
their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the
minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
DON PEDRO: As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou 
sick, or angry?
CLAUDIO: What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat,
thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
BENEDICK: Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you
charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject. 
CLAUDIO: Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was
DON PEDRO: By this light, he changes more and more: I think
he be angry indeed.
CLAUDIO: If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle. 
BENEDICK: Shall I speak a word in your ear?
CLAUDIO: God bless me from a challenge!
BENEDICK: [Aside to CLAUDIO] You are a villain; I jest not:
I will make it good how you dare, with what you
dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will 
protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet
lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me
hear from you.
CLAUDIO: Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
DON PEDRO: What, a feast, a feast? 
CLAUDIO: I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's
head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most
curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I not find
a woodcock too?
BENEDICK: Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. 
DON PEDRO: I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the
other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: 'True,'
said she, 'a fine little one.' 'No,' said I, 'a
great wit:' 'Right,' says she, 'a great gross one.'
'Nay,' said I, 'a good wit:' 'Just,' said she, 'it 
hurts nobody.' 'Nay,' said I, 'the gentleman
is wise:' 'Certain,' said she, 'a wise gentleman.'
'Nay,' said I, 'he hath the tongues:' 'That I
believe,' said she, 'for he swore a thing to me on
Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; 
there's a double tongue; there's two tongues.' Thus
did she, an hour together, transshape thy particular
virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou
wast the properest man in Italy.
CLAUDIO: For the which she wept heartily and said she cared 
DON PEDRO: Yea, that she did: but yet, for all that, an if she
did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly:
the old man's daughter told us all.
CLAUDIO: All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he was 
hid in the garden.
DON PEDRO: But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on
the sensible Benedick's head?
CLAUDIO: Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the
married man'? 
BENEDICK: Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave
you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests
as braggarts do their blades, which God be thanked,
hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank
you: I must discontinue your company: your brother 
the bastard is fled from Messina: you have among
you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord
Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till
then, peace be with him.
DON PEDRO: He is in earnest. 
CLAUDIO: In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you, for
the love of Beatrice.
DON PEDRO: And hath challenged thee.
CLAUDIO: Most sincerely.
DON PEDRO: What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his 
doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
CLAUDIO: He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a
doctor to such a man.
DON PEDRO: But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, and
be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled? 
[Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with CONRADE
DOGBERRY: Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, she
shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay,
an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
DON PEDRO: How now? two of my brother's men bound! Borachio
CLAUDIO: Hearken after their offence, my lord.
DON PEDRO: Officers, what offence have these men done?
DOGBERRY: Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily,
they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have 
belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
DON PEDRO: First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly, why
they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay 
to their charge.
CLAUDIO: Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and, by
my troth, there's one meaning well suited.
DON PEDRO: Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus
bound to your answer? this learned constable is 
too cunning to be understood: what's your offence?
BORACHIO: Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:
do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have
deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms
could not discover, these shallow fools have brought 
to light: who in the night overheard me confessing
to this man how Don John your brother incensed me
to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into
the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
garments, how you disgraced her, when you should 
marry her: my villany they have upon record; which
I had rather seal with my death than repeat over
to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire
nothing but the reward of a villain. 
DON PEDRO: Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
CLAUDIO: I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.
DON PEDRO: But did my brother set thee on to this?
BORACHIO: Yea, and paid me richly for the practise of it.
DON PEDRO: He is composed and framed of treachery: 
And fled he is upon this villany.
CLAUDIO: Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I loved it first.
DOGBERRY: Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our
sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter: 
and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time
and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
VERGES: Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and the
[Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the Sexton]
LEONATO: Which is the villain? let me see his eyes, 
That, when I note another man like him,
I may avoid him: which of these is he?
BORACHIO: If you would know your wronger, look on me.
LEONATO: Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd
Mine innocent child? 
BORACHIO: Yea, even I alone.
LEONATO: No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:
Here stand a pair of honourable men;
A third is fled, that had a hand in it.
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death: 
Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.
CLAUDIO: I know not how to pray your patience;
Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose me to what penance your invention 
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
But in mistaking.