Previous scene. | Table of contents

Act 5, Scene 4


FRIAR FRANCIS: Did I not tell you she was innocent?

LEONATO: So are the prince and Claudio, who accused her
Upon the error that you heard debated:
But Margaret was in some fault for this,
Although against her will, as it appears     [5]
In the true course of all the question.

ANTONIO: Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.

BENEDICK: And so am I, being else by faith enforced
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.

LEONATO: Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all,     [10]
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.

[Exeunt Ladies]

The prince and Claudio promised by this hour
To visit me. You know your office, brother:
You must be father to your brother's daughter     [15]
And give her to young Claudio.

ANTONIO: Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

BENEDICK: Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

FRIAR FRANCIS: To do what, signior?

BENEDICK: To bind me, or undo me; one of them.     [20]
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

LEONATO: That eye my daughter lent her: 'tis most true.

BENEDICK: And I do with an eye of love requite her.

LEONATO: The sight whereof I think you had from me,     [25]
From Claudio and the prince: but what's your will?

BENEDICK: Your answer, sir, is enigmatical:
But, for my will, my will is your good will
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd
In the state of honourable marriage:     [30]
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help.

LEONATO: My heart is with your liking.

FRIAR FRANCIS: And my help.
Here comes the prince and Claudio.

[Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, and two or
three others]

DON PEDRO: Good morrow to this fair assembly.     [35]

LEONATO: Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
We here attend you. Are you yet determined
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter?

CLAUDIO: I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.

LEONATO: Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.     [40]


DON PEDRO: Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what's the matter,
That you have such a February face,
So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?

CLAUDIO: I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold     [45]
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
When he would play the noble beast in love.

BENEDICK: Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low;
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's cow,     [50]
And got a calf in that same noble feat
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

CLAUDIO: For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.

[Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked]

Which is the lady I must seize upon?

ANTONIO: This same is she, and I do give you her.     [55]

CLAUDIO: Why, then she's mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

LEONATO: No, that you shall not, till you take her hand
Before this friar and swear to marry her.

CLAUDIO: Give me your hand: before this holy friar,
I am your husband, if you like of me.     [60]

HERO: And when I lived, I was your other wife:


And when you loved, you were my other husband.

CLAUDIO: Another Hero!

HERO:                Nothing certainer:
One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
And surely as I live, I am a maid.     [65]

DON PEDRO: The former Hero! Hero that is dead!

LEONATO: She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.

FRIAR FRANCIS: All this amazement can I qualify:
When after that the holy rites are ended,
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:     [70]
Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
And to the chapel let us presently.

BENEDICK: Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?

BEATRICE: [Unmasking] I answer to that name. What is your will?

BENEDICK: Do not you love me?     [75]

BEATRICE: Why, no; no more than reason.

BENEDICK: Why, then your uncle and the prince and Claudio
Have been deceived; they swore you did.

BEATRICE: Do not you love me?

BENEDICK: Troth, no; no more than reason.     [80]

BEATRICE: Why, then my cousin Margaret and Ursula
Are much deceived; for they did swear you did.

BENEDICK: They swore that you were almost sick for me.

BEATRICE: They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.

BENEDICK: 'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?     [85]

BEATRICE: No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

LEONATO: Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

CLAUDIO: And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her;
For here's a paper written in his hand,
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,     [90]
Fashion'd to Beatrice.

HERO: And here's another
Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket,
Containing her affection unto Benedick.

BENEDICK: A miracle! here's our own hands against our hearts.     [95]
Come, I will have thee; but, by this light, I take
thee for pity.

BEATRICE: I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield
upon great persuasion; and partly to save your life,
for I was told you were in a consumption.     [100]

BENEDICK: Peace! I will stop your mouth.

[Kissing her]

DON PEDRO: How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?

BENEDICK: I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of
wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour. Dost
thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No:     [105]
if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall wear
nothing handsome about him. In brief, since I do
purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any
purpose that the world can say against it; and
therefore never flout at me for what I have said     [110]
against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my
conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to
have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be my
kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin.

CLAUDIO: I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,     [115]
that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single
life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of
question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
exceedingly narrowly to thee.

BENEDICK: Come, come, we are friends: let's have a dance ere     [120]
we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
and our wives' heels.

LEONATO: We'll have dancing afterward.

BENEDICK: First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince,
thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:     [125]
there is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.

[Enter a Messenger]

Messenger: My lord, your brother John is ta'en in flight,
And brought with armed men back to Messina.

BENEDICK: Think not on him till to-morrow:
I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.     [130]
Strike up, pipers.



Previous scene. | Table of contents