Much Ado About Nothing: Act 3, Scene 1



           Enter HERO and two gentlewomen,
Ursley: variant form of Ursula.
          MARGARET and URSLEY.

      HERO
  1   Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor;
  2   There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
3. Proposing: conversing, talking.



7. pleached bower: arbor covered with intertwined vines. ...more
  3   Proposing with the prince and Claudio:
  4   Whisper her ear and tell her, I and Ursula
  5   Walk in the orchard and our whole discourse
  6   Is all of her; say that thou overheard'st us;
  7   And bid her steal into the pleached bower,
  8   Where honeysuckles, ripen'd by the sun,
  9   Forbid the sun to enter, like favourites,
 10   Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
 11   Against that power that bred it: there will she hide her,
12. listen our propose: listen to our conversation.  thy office: your part [in the plot]. 13. leave us alone: leave the rest to us.
 12   To listen our purpose. This is thy office;
 13   Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.

      MARGARET
14. warrant: promise, assure.  presently: immediately.
 14   I'll make her come, I warrant you, presently.

           [Exit.]

      HERO
 15   Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
16. trace this alley up and down: i.e., walk back and forth on this garden path.
 16   As we do trace this alley up and down,
 17   Our talk must only be of Benedick.
 18   When I do name him, let it be thy part
 19   To praise him more than ever man did merit:
 20   My talk to thee must be how Benedick
 21   Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
 22   Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made,
23. only wounds by hearsay: wounds by hearsay only; i.e., a mere hint that someone has a fancy for you will make you fall in love.
 23   That only wounds by hearsay.

           Enter BEATRICE [behind].

 23                                                 Now begin;
24. like a lapwing: The lapwing that Shakespeare has in mind is about the size of pigeon and is a wader, so it usually stays pretty close to the ground. ...more
 24   For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs
 25   Close by the ground, to hear our conference.

      URSULA
 26   The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish
 27   Cut with her golden oars the silver stream,
 28   And greedily devour the treacherous bait:
 29   So angle we for Beatrice; who even now
30. woodbine coverture: honeysuckle bower.
31. Fear you not my part: don't worry about me doing my part.
 30   Is couched in the woodbine coverture.
 31   Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

      HERO
 32   Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
 33   Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.

           [They advance to the bower.]

 34   No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful;
35. coy: shy, wary.
36. haggards of the rock: i.e., adult female hawks captured in their mountain habitats. ...more
 35   I know her spirits are as coy and wild
 36   As haggards of the rock.

      URSULA
 36                                         But are you sure
 37   That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

      HERO
38. my new-trothed lord: my lord, to whom I am newly betrothed; i.e., Claudio.
 38   So says the prince and my new-trothed lord.

      URSULA
 39   And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?

      HERO
 40   They did entreat me to acquaint her of it;
 41   But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
42. wish him wrestle: advise him to wrestle.
 42   To wish him wrestle with affection,
 43   And never to let Beatrice know of it.

      URSULA
 44   Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
45. as full as: fully as.
 45   Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
 46   As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

      HERO
 47   O god of love! I know he doth deserve
 48   As much as may be yielded to a man:
 49   But Nature never framed a woman's heart
 50   Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice;
 51   Disdain and scorn ride sparkling in her eyes,
52. Misprising: undervaluing, despising.
 52   Misprising what they look on, and her wit
 53   Values itself so highly that to her
54. All matter else: i.e., what anyone else has to say.
55. take no shape nor project of affection: formulate any mental image or idea of what love is. 56. self-endeared: full of self-love.
 54   All matter else seems weak: she cannot love,
 55   Nor take no shape nor project of affection,
 56   She is so self-endeared.

      URSULA
 56                                         Sure, I think so;
 57   And therefore certainly it were not good
 58   She knew his love, lest she make sport at it.

      HERO
 59   Why, you speak truth. I never yet saw man,
60. How: however. rarely featured: excellent in face and form.
61. spell him backward: i.e., say that his merits are faults.
 60   How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured,
 61   But she would spell him backward: if fair-faced,
 62   She would swear the gentleman should be her sister;
63. black: dark. antique: grotesque figure.
 63   If black, why, Nature, drawing of an antique,
64. foul blot: disgusting mistake.
 64   Made a foul blot; if tall, a lance ill-headed;
65. low: short.  agate: —Agates engraved with tiny figures were used in rings. 66. vane: weather vane.
 65   If low, an agate very vilely cut;
 66   If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds;
 67   If silent, why, a block moved with none.
 68   So turns she every man the wrong side out
 69   And never gives to truth and virtue that
70. simpleness: integrity, sincerity. purchaseth: deserves.
 70   Which simpleness and merit purchaseth.

      URSULA
 71   Sure, sure, such carping is not commendable.

      HERO
72. from all fashions: contrary to all accepted behavior.
 72   No, not to be so odd and from all fashions
 73   As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable:
 74   But who dare tell her so? If I should speak,
 75   She would mock me into air; O, she would laugh me
76. press me to death: Witches were sometimes pressed to death with heavy weights.
 76   Out of myself, press me to death with wit.
 77   Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire,
 78   Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly:
79. die with mocks: die from mockery.
 79   It were a better death than die with mocks,
 80   Which is as bad as die with tickling.

      URSULA
 81   Yet tell her of it: hear what she will say.

      HERO
 82   No; rather I will go to Benedick
 83   And counsel him to fight against his passion.
84. honest: harmless, well-intentioned.
 84   And, truly, I'll devise some honest slanders
 85   To stain my cousin with: one doth not know
 86   How much an ill word may empoison liking.

      URSULA
 87   O, do not do your cousin such a wrong.
 88   She cannot be so much without true judgment—
 89   Having so swift and excellent a wit
90. priz'd: reputed.
 90   As she is priz'd to have—as to refuse
91. rare: excellent.
 91   So rare a gentleman as Signior Benedick.

      HERO
92. only: i.e., very best.
 92   He is the only man of Italy,
 93   Always excepted my dear Claudio.

      URSULA
 94   I pray you, be not angry with me, madam,
 95   Speaking my fancy: Signior Benedick,
96. argument: skills in conversation.
 96   For shape, for bearing, argument and valour,
97. report: reputation.
 97   Goes foremost in report through Italy.

      HERO
98. name: reputation.
 98   Indeed, he hath an excellent good name.

      URSULA
 99   His excellence did earn it, ere he had it.
100   When are you married, madam?

      HERO
101. every day, tomorrow: every day, beginning tomorrow.
102. attires: clothes, accessories.  counsel: advice, opinion.
103. Which is the best to furnish me tomorrow: i.e., what is best to wear tomorrow (on my wedding day).
101   Why, every day, tomorrow. Come, go in:
102   I'll show thee some attires, and have thy counsel
103   Which is the best to furnish me tomorrow.

      URSULA [Aside.]
104. limed: caught. —Birdlime was a sticky substance used to catch birds.
104   She's limed, I warrant you: we have caught her, madam.

      HERO [Aside.]
105. by haps: by chance.
105   If it proves so, then loving goes by haps:
106   Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps.

           [Exeunt Hero and Ursula.]

      BEATRICE
107. What fire is in mine ears: —It was, and still is, said that being talked about makes one's ears burn.
107   What fire is in mine ears? Can this be true?
108   Stand I condemn'd for pride and scorn so much?
109   Contempt, farewell! and maiden pride, adieu!
110. No glory lives behind the back of such: i.e., no one speaks well of a person who has the faults of contempt and pride. 112. Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand: —Hawks were tamed by being blindfolded and gently handled (passed from hand to hand) by the falconer. Earlier in the scene, Beatrice was termed a "haggard," a wild female hawk.
110   No glory lives behind the back of such.
111   And, Benedick, love on; I will requite thee,
112   Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand:
113   If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee
114   To bind our loves up in a holy band;
115   For others say thou dost deserve, and I
116   Believe it better than reportingly.

           Exit.