Much Ado About Nothing: Act 3, Scene 4

           Enter HERO and MARGARET and URSULA.

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.

  3   I will, lady.

  4   And bid her come hither.

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.


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

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

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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

 28   Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

 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.

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

 40   Good morrow, sweet 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?

 43   I am out of all other tune, methinks.

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.

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.

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.

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

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?

 56   For the letter that begins them all, H.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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.

 76   There thou prickest her with a thistle.

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

 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.

 93   What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

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

           Enter 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.

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