Much Ado About Nothing: Act 3, Scene 4



           Enter HERO and MARGARET and URSULA.

      HERO
1-2. wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire her to rise: —This indicates that the scene is taking place early in the morning, just before the planned wedding of Hero and Claudio. Weddings were always performed before noon.
  1   Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice,
  2   and desire her to rise.

      URSULA
  3   I will, lady.

      HERO
  4   And bid her come hither.

      URSULA
5. Well: very well.
6. rabato: stiff collar supporting a ruff.






9-10. By my troth, 's: by my faith, it is.  your cousin: i.e., Beatrice.
  5   Well.

           [Exit.]

      MARGARET
  6   Troth, I think your other rabato were
  7   better.

      HERO
  8   No, pray thee, good Meg, I'll wear this.

      MARGARET
  9   By my troth, 's not so good; and I warrant your
 10   cousin will say so.

      HERO
 11   My cousin's a fool, and thou art another: I'll
 12   wear none but this.

      MARGARET
13. tire: headdress.  hair: —Some tires had hair woven into them, to blend with the lady's hair. ...more
 13   I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair
 14   were a thought browner; and your gown's a most
 15   rare fashion, i' faith. I saw the Duchess of Milan's
 16   gown that they praise so.

      HERO
17. exceeds: excels, is beyond comparison.
 17   O, that exceeds, they say.

      MARGARET
18. night-gown: dressing gown. in respect of: compared with. 19. cloth o' gold: cloth of gold....more
20. set with pearls: adorned with a setting of pearls. ...more
22. quaint: elegant.
23. yours is worth ten on 't: i.e., your gown is ten times as good as the fabulous gown of the Duchess of Milan, which I have just described.
 18   By my troth, 's but a night-gown in respect of
 19   yours: cloth o' gold, and cuts, and laced with
 20   silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves,
 21   and skirts, round underborne with a bluish tinsel:
 22   but for a fine, quaint, graceful and excellent
 23   fashion, yours is worth ten on 't.

      HERO
 24   God give me joy to wear it! for my heart is
25. exceeding heavy: exceedingly melancholy.
 25   exceeding heavy.

      MARGARET
 26   'Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a
 27   man.

      HERO
 28   Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

      MARGARET
 29   Of what, lady? of speaking honorably? Is
30. in a beggar: i.e., even in a beggar.
 30   not marriage honorable in a beggar? Is not
 31   your lord honorable without marriage? I think
32-33. saving your reverence, a husband: i.e., begging your pardon, I should have said "a husband" (rather than "a man"). 33. and bad ... meaning: if bawdy thoughts do not misinterpret the true meaning (of what I have just said).
 32   you would have me say, 'saving your reverence,
 33   a husband': and bad thinking do not wrest true
 34   speaking, I'll offend nobody: is there any harm
 35   in 'the heavier for a husband'? None, I think,
 36   and it be the right husband and the right wife;
37. light: —Margaret is punning on another meaning of "light" as "frivolous," or "wanton." 38. else: i.e., if this isn't true.
 37   otherwise 'tis light, and not heavy: ask my Lady
 38   Beatrice else; here she comes.

           Enter BEATRICE.

      HERO
39. coz: cousin (in the sense of "intimate friend").
 39   Good morrow, coz.

      BEATRICE
 40   Good morrow, sweet Hero.

      HERO
 41   Why how now? do you speak in the
42. sick tune: melancholy tone; i.e., voice of a sick person.
 42   sick tune?

      BEATRICE
 43   I am out of all other tune, methinks.

      MARGARET
44. Clap's: let's shift. Light a' love: a popular song.
45. burden: bass accompaniment or undersong. —Margaret is making another pun about the "weight of a man."
 44   Clap's into 'Light o' love'; that goes
 45   without a burden: do you sing it, and
 46   I'll dance it.

      BEATRICE
47. Ye light o' love, with your heels!: i.e., you'll dance "light o' love" with your heels in the air!
49. barns: —Beatrice is punning on "bairns," which means "children."
 47   Ye light o' love, with your heels! then, if
 48   your husband have stables enough, you'll
 49   see he shall lack no barns.

      MARGARET
50. illegitimate construction: total misinterpretation.
50-51. I scorn that with my heels: i.e., I totally reject that by clicking my heels together.
 50   O illegitimate construction! I scorn that
 51   with my heels.

      BEATRICE
 52   'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin; 'tis time
 53   you were ready. By my troth, I am exceeding
 54   ill: heigh-ho!

      MARGARET
55. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?: —Margaret takes Beatrice's "heigh-ho" as an expression of longing.

56. H: i.e., because of an ache. —The name of the letter "H" was pronounced "aitch."

57-58. turned Turk: i.e., completely abandoned your faith (which was that you would never fall in love). no more sailing by the star: no more navigating by the north star; i.e., no more trusting to anything.
 55   For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

      BEATRICE
 56   For the letter that begins them all, H.

      MARGARET
 57   Well, and you be not turned Turk, there's
 58   no more sailing by the star.

      BEATRICE
59. What means the fool, trow?: What does that fool truly mean?
 59   What means the fool, trow?

      MARGARET
 60   Nothing I; but God send every one their
 61   heart's desire!

      HERO
 62   These gloves the count sent me; they are an
 63   excellent perfume.

      BEATRICE
64. I am stuffed: i.e., I have a cold.


65. maid: virgin.
 64   I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.

      MARGARET
 65   A maid, and stuffed! there's goodly
 66   catching of cold.

      BEATRICE
 67   O, God help me! God help me! how long have
68. professed apprehension: made wit your profession.
 68   you professed apprehension?

      MARGARET
 69   Even since you left it. Doth not my wit
 70   become me rarely?

      BEATRICE
71-72. wear it in your cap: i.e., as a fool does his coxcomb.
 71   It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your
 72   cap. By my troth, I am sick.

      MARGARET
73. Carduus Benedictus: blessed (or holy) thistle, a medicinal herb.
 73   Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus,
 74   and lay it to your heart: it is the only
75. qualm: (1) sudden feeling of sickness; (2) sudden emotional misgiving.
 75   thing for a qualm.

      HERO
 76   There thou prickest her with a thistle.

      BEATRICE
77. moral: hidden meaning.
 77   Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral
 78   in this Benedictus.

      MARGARET
 79   Moral! no, by my troth, I have no moral
 80   meaning; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You
 81   may think perchance that I think you are in love:
 82   nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what
83. list: please.
 83   I list, nor I list not to think what I can, nor indeed
 84   I cannot think, if I would think my heart out of
 85   thinking, that you are in love or that you will be
 86   in love or that you can be in love. Yet Benedick
87. now is he become a man: now he has become a normal man.
 87   was such another, and now is he become a man:
 88   he swore he would never marry, and yet now, in
89-90. eats his meat without grudging: i.e., has a normal appetite like other men (in love).
 89   despite of his heart, he eats his meat without
 90   grudging: and how you may be converted I know
 91   not, but methinks you look with your eyes as other
 92   women do.

      BEATRICE
 93   What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

      MARGARET
94. a false gallop: (1) a canter; (2) running on untruthfully.
 94   Not a false gallop.

           Enter URSULA.

      URSULA
 95   Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior
 96   Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the
 97   town, are come to fetch you to church.

      HERO
 98   Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg,
 99   good Ursula.

           [Exeunt.]