Much Ado About Nothing: Act 5, Scene 4



           Enter LEONATO, BENEDICK, [BEATRICE,]
           MARGARET, URSULA, old man [ANTONIO,]
           FRIAR [FRANCIS], HERO.

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

      LEONATO
  2   So are the prince and Claudio, who accused her
3. Upon: because of. debated: publicly discussed.
  3   Upon the error that you heard debated:
  4   But Margaret was in some fault for this,
5. against her will: unintentionally.
6. question: investigation, judicial examination.
  5   Although against her will, as it appears
  6   In the true course of all the question.

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

      BENEDICK
8. faith: i.e., by his pledge to Beatrice.
  8   And so am I, being else by faith enforced
  9   To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it.

      LEONATO
 10   Well, daughter, and you gentle-women all,
 11   Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
 12   And when I send for you, come hither mask'd.
 13   The prince and Claudio promised by this hour
14. office: function, role.
 14   To visit me. You know your office, brother:
 15   You must be father to your brother's daughter
 16   And give her to young Claudio.

           Exeunt Ladies.

      ANTONIO
17. confirm'd: grave, steadfast. —Antonio is promising that nothing in his face will give away the secret that the woman who is to wed Claudio is really Hero.
 17   Which I will do with confirm'd countenance.

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

      FRIAR FRANCIS
 19   To do what, signior?

      BENEDICK
20. To bind me, or undo me, one of them: i.e., to bind me in the knot of marriage, which may be my undoing. —Benedick puns on the other meaning of "undo," which is "unbind."
 20   To bind me, or undo me, one of them.
 21   Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
 22   Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

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

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

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

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

      LEONATO
32. My heart is with your liking: i.e., I thoroughly approve of your desire (to marry Beatrice).
 32   My heart is with your liking.

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

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

      DON PEDRO
 34   Good morrow to this fair assembly.

      LEONATO
 35   Good morrow, prince; good morrow, Claudio:
36. yet: still.
 36   We here attend you. Are you yet determined
 37   Today to marry with my brother's daughter?

      CLAUDIO
38. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope: i.e., I'll stick to my promise, no matter what she looks likes. —"Ethiope" was a term for any black person, and black was considered to be the opposite of fair, beautiful.
 38   I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.

      LEONATO
 39   Call her forth, brother; here's the friar ready.

           [Exit Antonio.]

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

      CLAUDIO
43. savage bull: —Another reference to Benedick's claim that the saying, "In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke," does not apply to him, since he will never marry. See 1.1.260-268. 45. Europa: Europe. 46. Europa: a Phoenician princess whom Jove, in the form of a white bull, carried off from her native land through the sea and to the island of Crete.
 43   I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
 44   Tush, fear not, man; we'll tip thy horns with gold
 45   And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
 46   As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
 47   When he would play the noble beast in love.

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

           Enter Brother [ANTONIO], HERO, BEATRICE,
           MARGARET, URSULA, [the ladies masked].

      CLAUDIO
52. owe you: will repay you later. —Claudio says that later he will answer Benedick's jest about his "bleat" with a jest of his own against Benedick. other reckonings: other accounts (that I must settle first).
 52   For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
 53   Which is the lady I must seize upon?

      ANTONIO
 54   This same is she, and I do give you her.

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

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

      CLAUDIO
 58   Give me your hand: before this holy friar,
59. like of: care for, like, are willing to take.
 59   I am your husband, if you like of me.

      HERO [Unmasking.]
 60   And when I lived, I was your other wife:
 61   And when you loved, you were my other husband.

      CLAUDIO
 62   Another Hero!

      HERO
 62                       Nothing certainer:
63. defiled: disgraced, slandered.
 63   One Hero died defiled, but I do live,
64. maid: virgin.
 64   And surely as I live, I am a maid.

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

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

      FRIAR FRANCIS
67. qualify: moderate, calm down.
 67   All this amazement can I qualify:
 68   When after that the holy rites are ended,
69. largely: fully, in detail.
 69   I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death:
70. let wonder seem familiar: accept these amazing events as natural, ordinary matters. 71. to the chapel let us presently: let us immediately go to the chapel (for the wedding).
 70   Meantime let wonder seem familiar,
 71   And to the chapel let us presently.

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

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

      BENEDICK
 74   Do not you love me?

      BEATRICE
 74                               Why, no; no more than reason.

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

      BEATRICE
 77   Do not you love me?

      BENEDICK
 77                               Troth, no; no more than reason.

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

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

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

      BENEDICK
 82   'Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?

      BEATRICE
 83   No, truly, but in friendly recompense.

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

      CLAUDIO
 85   And I'll be sworn upon't that he loves her;
 86   For here's a paper written in his hand,
87. halting: stumbling. —Benedick's verse does not flow smoothly. of his own pure brain: purely his own.
 87   A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
 88   Fashion'd to Beatrice.

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

      BENEDICK
91-92. here's our own hands against our hearts: i.e., here is the testimony, written by our own hands, that our hearts are guilty of love for each other.
 91   A miracle! here's our own hands against our
 92   hearts. Come, I will have thee; but, by this
 93   light, I take thee for pity.

      BEATRICE
 94   I would not deny you; but, by this good day,
 95   I yield upon great persuasion; and partly to
96-97. were in a comsumption: were the victim of a disease that was making you waste away to nothing.
 96   save your life, for I was told you were in a
 97   consumption.

      BENEDICK
 98   Peace! I will stop your mouth.

           [Kissing her.]

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

      BENEDICK
100. college: large company.
100   I'll tell thee what, prince; a college of
101. wit-crackers: jokesters, wiseacres.
101   wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humor.
102   Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram?
103-104. if a man will be beaten with brains, 'a shall wear nothing handsome about him: i.e., if a man will allow himself to be cowed by witticisms he'll always be schmuck. ...more
103   No: if a man will be beaten with brains, a' shall
104   wear nothing handsome about him. In brief,
105   since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to
106   any purpose that the world can say against it; and
107   therefore never flout at me for what I have said
108. giddy: fickle, changeable.
108   against it; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my
109   conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think
110   to have beaten thee, but in that thou art like to be
111   my kinsman, live unbruised and love my cousin.

      CLAUDIO
112   I had well hoped thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,
113   that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single
114-115. double-dealer: (1) man who breaks his word. —Benedick had vowed to never marry. (2) deceiver, unfaithful husband.  out of question: without doubt. 116. narrowly: closely.
114   life, to make thee a double-dealer; which, out of
115   question, thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look
116   exceedingly narrowly to thee.

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

      LEONATO
120   We'll have dancing afterward.

      BENEDICK
121. First, of my word: i.e., I say we dance first!
121   First, of my word; therefore play, music. Prince,
122   thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife:
123. reverend: honorable. 123-124. tipped with horn: Any mention of "horn" in Shakespeare is an allusion to the idea that cuckolds sprouted horns from their heads.
123   there is no staff more reverend than one tipped
124   with horn.

           Enter MESSENGER.

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

      BENEDICK
127   Think not on him till tomorrow:
128. I'll devise thee brave punishments for him: for your sake, I'll devise suitable and notable punishments for him [Don John].
128   I'll devise thee brave punishments for him.
129   Strike up, pipers.

           Dance.


           [Exeunt.]