Philip Weller caricature
Philip and Weller hugging

Welcome to my web site, now under development for more than twenty years.   
-- Philip Weller, November 13, 1941 - February 1, 2021
Dr. Weller, an Eastern Washington University professor of English and Shakespearean scholar for more than 50 years.

Much Ado About Nothing: Act 5, Scene 1

           Enter LEONATO and his brother [ANTONIO].

1. go on thus: continue to weep and wail?
  1   If you go on thus, you will kill yourself:
2-3. second grief / Against yourself: i.e., add to the grief which is killing you.
  2   And 'tis not wisdom thus to second grief
  3   Against yourself.

3. counsel: advice.
  3                                 I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
  4   Which falls into mine ears as profitless
  5   As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
6. delight: try to please.
7. suit with: match.
  6   Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
  7   But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
  8   Bring me a father that so loved his child,
9. Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd: whose joy in her is crushed.
11-12. Measure ... strain: let his woe be as high and wide as mine, and let it reflect all of my mental agony.
  9   Whose joy of her is overwhelm'd like mine,
 10   And bid him speak of patience;
 11   Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
 12   And let it answer every strain for strain,
 13   As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
 14   In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
 15   If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
16. Bid sorrow wag: tell sorrow to scamper away.  cry 'hem!': i.e., say "drink up!" >>> 17. Patch: patch over   make misfortune drunk: i.e., make misfortune forget itself. 18. candle-wasters: i.e., those who waste candles by poring over books full of good advice.  bring him yet to me: i.e., in the very unlikely event that you find such a person, bring him to me.
 16   Bid sorrow wag, cry 'hem!' when he should groan,
 17   Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
 18   With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
 19   And I of him will gather patience.
 20   But there is no such man: for, brother, men
 21   Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
 22   Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
 23   Their counsel turns to passion, which before
24. give preceptial medicine to rage: i.e., cure rage with moral precepts.
 24   Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
 25   Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
26. air: i.e., mere breath.
27. office: common duty.  speak patience: advise a person to have patience. 28. wring: writhe.
 26   Charm ache with air and agony with words:
 27   No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience
 28   To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
29. virtue nor sufficiency: ability nor power.
30. moral: i.e., able to live up to his own advice.
 29   But no man's virtue nor sufficiency
 30   To be so moral when he shall endure
 31   The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
32. advertisement: good advice.
 32   My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

33. Therein do men from children nothing differ: i.e., men who think and feel as you do are simply childish.
 33   Therein do men from children nothing differ.

34. I pray thee, peace: please be quiet.
 34   I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;
 35   For there was never yet philosopher
 36   That could endure the toothache patiently,
37. writ the style of gods: written in the style of gods (who don't suffer as humans do). 38. made a push at chance and sufferance: tried to push aside misfortune and suffering.
 37   However they have writ the style of gods
 38   And made a push at chance and sufferance.

 39   Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself;
 40   Make those that do offend you suffer too.

 41   There thou speak'st reason: nay, I will do so.
 42   My soul doth tell me Hero is belied;
 43   And that shall Claudio know; so shall the prince
 44   And all of them that thus dishonor her.

           Enter Prince [DON PEDRO] and CLAUDIO.

 45   Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.

46. Good den: —This is a very casual way of saying "good day to you." Don Pedro doesn't want to stop and talk to the two old men.
 46   Good den, good den.

 46                               Good day to both of you.

 47   Hear you. my lords,—

 47                               We have some haste, Leonato.

 48   Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:
49. now: i.e., "after my daughter is dead." all is one: i.e., it doesn't matter. —Leonato is being bitterly sarcastic.
 49   Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

 50   Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

 51   If he could right himself with quarreling,
52. Some of us: —He means Don Pedro and Claudio.
 52   Some of us would lie low.

 52                                         Who wrongs him?

53. thou: —Used contemptuously instead of the more polite "you."
 53   Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:—
 54   Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
 55   I fear thee not.

55. beshrew: curse.

57. my hand meant nothing to my sword: i.e., I had no intention of using my sword.
 55                           Marry, beshrew my hand,
 56   If it should give your age such cause of fear:
 57   In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.

 58   Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:
 59   I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
60. As under privilege of age: as if I were one protected by the privilege of age. —A man too old to fight has the "privilege of age" because he cannot be honorably challenged to a duel. 62. head: face.
 60   As under privilege of age to brag
 61   What I have done being young, or what would do
 62   Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
 63   Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me
 64   That I am forced to lay my reverence by
 65   And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
66. trial of a man: i.e., test worthy of a man; i.e., a duel.
 66   Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
 67   I say thou hast belied mine innocent child;
 68   Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
 69   And she lies buried with her ancestors;
 70   O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
 71   Save this of hers, framed by thy villany!

 72   My villany?

 72                     Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.

 73   You say not right, old man.

 73                                           My lord, my lord,
 74   I'll prove it on his body, if he dare,
75. nice fence: fancy fencing. active practice: —Claudio, just returned from battle, is in active practice as a fighter. 76. lustihood: bodily vigor.
 75   Despite his nice fence and his active practise,
 76   His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

 77   Away! I will not have to do with you.

78. daff: doff; i.e., put off, thrust aside.
 78   Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill'd my child:
 79   If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.

80. men indeed: real men.

82. Win me and wear me: i.e., if you can beat me in a fight, then you can brag about it. answer me: i.e., accept my challenge to a duel. 84. foining fence: f***ing fancy fencing.
 80   He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:
 81   But that's no matter; let him kill one first;
 82   Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
 83   Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me:
 84   Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence;
 85   Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

 86   Brother,—

87. Content yourself: i.e., don't try to stop me.
 87   Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;
 88   And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains,
89. a man indeed: a real man. —Antonio tries to provoke Claudio by calling him a boy.
 89   That dare as well answer a man indeed
 90   As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:
 91   Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!

 91                                                               Brother Antony,—

 92   Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
93. what they weigh: i.e., what they're really worth.  even to the utmost scruple: i.e., to the very last ounce. >>> 94. Scambling: scuffling. out-facing: swaggering, insolent. fashion-monging: following the fashions, foppish. 95. cog: cheat. deprave: vilify. 96. Go anticly: go about fantastically dressed. show outward hideousness: make a scary show. 97. dang'rous: arrogant, threatening, haughty. 98. How: about how.  if they durst: if they dared.
 93   And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple,—
 94   Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
 95   That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
 96   Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
 97   And speak off half a dozen dang'rous words,
 98   How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
 99   And this is all.

100   But, brother Antony,—

100                               Come, 'tis no matter:
101   Do not you meddle; let me deal in this.

102. wake your patience: i.e., test your patience further. —Antonio and Leonato have not shown any patience at all; Don Pedro is showing great self-restraint.
102   Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
103   My heart is sorry for your daughter's death:
104   But, on my honor, she was charged with nothing
105   But what was true and very full of proof.

106   My lord, my lord,—

107   I will not hear you.

108   No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.

109   And shall, or some of us will smart for it.

ambo: both.
        Exeunt ambo [LEONATO and ANTONIO].

        Enter BENEDICK.

110   See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.

111   Now, signior, what news?

112   Good day, my lord.

113   Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part
114   almost a fray.

115. We had like to have had: we almost had.
116. with: by.
115   We had like to have had our two noses snapped
116   off with two old men without teeth.

117   Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou?
118. doubt: fear.
119. young: inexperienced. —Don Pedro is trying to continue Claudio's joke about the danger posed by the two old men.
118   Had we fought, I doubt we should have been
119   too young for them.

120   In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came
121   to seek you both.

122   We have been up and down to seek thee; for we
123. high-proof: at a high level of. fain: gladly.
123   are high-proof melancholy and would fain have
124   it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?

125   It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?

126   Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?

127   Never any did so, though very many have been
128. beside their wit: out of their minds.
129. minstrels: —Minstrels accompanied their songs with fiddles.  draw: draw as you would draw bow across a fiddle; i.e., entertain us.
128   beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do
129   the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.

130   As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou
131   sick, or angry?

132   What, courage, man! What though care killed
133   a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill
134   care.

135-136. I shall  . . .  against me: i.e., if you try to use your wit against me, I'll knock you over. —In jousting, to meet an opponent's charge "in the career" was to meet it at full gallop.
135   Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you
136   charge it against me. I pray you choose another
137   subject.

138. staff: lance.
139. broke cross: i.e., broken across an opponent's shield, without scoring a hit.
138   Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was
139   broke cross.

140   By this light, he changes more and more: I think
141   he be angry indeed.

142. he knows how to turn his girdle: he knows how to turn his belt around. —This is a proverb which probably means "it's up to him to change his attitude."
142   If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.

143   Shall I speak a word in your ear?

144   God bless me from a challenge!

145-146. I will make it good: i.e., I will prove what I have said (that you are villain) in a duel.
145   You are a villain; I jest not: I will make
146   it good how you dare, with what you
147. Do me right: give me satisfaction (by dueling with me). 148. protest: proclaim.
147   dare, and when you dare. Do me right,
148   or I will protest your cowardice. You have
149   killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall
150   heavy on you. Let me hear from you.

151-152. so I may have good cheer: so long as I may have a good time.
151   Well, I will meet you, so I may have good
152   cheer.

153   What, a feast, a feast?

154-157. calf's-head . . . capon . . . woodcock: —All of these were served as food, and all were considered to be very dim-witted beasts. 156. curiously: daintily. naught: worthless.
154   I' faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf's
155   head and a capon; the which if I do not carve
156   most curiously, say my knife's naught. Shall I
157   not find a woodcock too?

158. your wit ambles well; it goes easily: your wit plods along like an ambling horse; i.e., all of your witticisms are lame.
158   Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.

159   I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit
160   the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit:
161   'True', said she, 'a fine little one'. 'No', said I,
162. gross: coarse.
163. Just: just so, exactly right.
164. hurts nobody: i.e., has no bite.
165-166. is wise: is witty.  a wise gentleman: —Beatrice is being dismissively ironic. 166. hath the tongues: knows foreign languages, especially Latin and Greek.

171. trans-shape: turn the wrong side out.
172. properest: handsomest.
162   'a great wit': 'Right', says she, 'a great gross
163   one'. 'Nay', said I, 'a good wit': 'Just', said
164   she, 'it hurts nobody'. 'Nay', said I, 'the
165   gentleman is wise': 'Certain', said she, 'a wise
166   gentleman'. 'Nay', said I, 'he hath the tongues':
167   'That I believe', said she, 'for he swore a thing
168   to me on Monday night, which he forswore on
169   Tuesday morning; there's a double tongue; there's
170   two tongues'. Thus did she, an hour together,
171   trans-shape thy particular virtues: yet at last she
172   concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest
173   man in Italy.

174   For the which she wept heartily and said she cared
175   not.

176. an if: if.
177. deadly: mortally.
176   Yea, that she did: but yet, for all that, an if she
177   did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly:
178   the old man's daughter told us all.

179-180. God saw him when he was hid in the garden: —This is a joking reference to both the Bible and a previous scene in this play.>>>
179   All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he was
180   hid in the garden.

181-184. But when ... the married man: —This echoes Benedick's assertion in the first scene of the play (1.1.262-68) that he would never be married.
181   But when shall we set the savage bull's horns on
182   the sensible Benedick's head?

183   Yea, and text underneath, 'Here dwells Benedick the
184   married man'?

185   Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave
186. gossip-like humour: —Stereotypically, a gossip is an old woman who chatters pointlessly. 187. as braggarts do their blades: I believe Benedick has in mind the kind of trick that Falstaff played (1 Henry IV, 2.4.302), when he hacked his sword with his dagger in order to prove that he had been a great battle.
186   you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests
187   as braggarts do their blades, which God be thanked,
188   hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank
189   you: I must discontinue your company: your brother
190   the bastard is fled from Messina: you have among
191   you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord
192   Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till
193   then, peace be with him.


194   He is in earnest.

195   In most profound earnest; and, I'll warrant you,
196   for the love of Beatrice.

197   And hath challenged thee.

198   Most sincerely.

199-200. goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit: i.e., forgets to put on his good sense along with his clothes.
199   What a pretty thing man is when he goes in
200   his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!

           Enter Constables [DOGBERRY and
           VERGES, and the WATCH with]
           CONRADE and BORACHIO.

201-202. He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a doctor to such a man: i.e., when he forgets to wear his wit, he is a giant compared to an ape, but an ape is smarter than he is, as much as a scholar is smarter than an ape.
201   He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape
202   a doctor to such a man.

203-205. soft  . . .  fled?: wait a minute, let me think: consider carefully, my heart, and be serious. Didn't he [Benedick] say that my brother [Don John] was fled?  —After making jokes about Benedick, it is beginning to dawn on Don Pedro that there might be something to what Benedick has said.
203   But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart,
204   and be sad. Did he not say, my brother was
205   fled?

206. if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance: i.e., if justice cannot convict you, she will never again weigh any more cases in her scales. —Dogberry is trying to say that Borachio is obviously guilty, but "reasons" (which sounds like "raisins,") is not the right word to make his meaning clear.
206   Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, she
207   shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance:
208   nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you
209   must be look'd to.

210   How now? two of my brother's men
211   bound! Borachio one!

212. Hearken after: inquire into.
212   Hearken after their offence, my lord.

213   Officers, what offence have these men
214   done?

215   Marry, sir, they have committed false report;
216   moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily,
217. slanders: i.e., slanderers.
217   they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have
218. verified: affirmed as true.
218   belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust
219   things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.

220   First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I
221   ask thee what's their offence; sixth and lastly,
222   why they are committed; and, to conclude, what
223   you lay to their charge.

224. in his own division: i.e., in the same order as Dogberry used. 225. there's one meaning well suited: —In six different ways, Dogberry>>>
224   Rightly reasoned, and in his own division: and,
225   by my troth, there's one meaning well suited.

226   Who have you offended, masters, that you
227. bound to your answer: bound over for trial. —Conrade and Borachio, in handcuffs, are also physically "bound."
227   are thus bound to your answer? this learned
228   constable is too cunning to be understood:
229   what's your offence?

230   Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer:
231   do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have
232   deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms
233   could not discover, these shallow fools have brought
234   to light: who in the night overheard me confessing
235. incensed: incited.
235   to this man how Don John your brother incensed me
236   to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into
237   the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero's
238   garments, how you disgraced her, when you should
239   marry her: my villany they have upon record; which
240   I had rather seal with my death than repeat over
241. upon: in consequence of, as a result of.
241   to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my
242   master's false accusation; and, briefly, I desire
243   nothing but the reward of a villain.

244   Runs not this speech like iron through
245   your blood?

246   I have drunk poison whiles he utter'd it.

247   But did my brother set thee on to this?

248. practice of it: execution of it.
248   Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.

249   He is composed and framed of treachery:
250   And fled he is upon this villany.

251   Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear
252. rare: pure, exquisite.
252   In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

253. plaintiffs: malapropism for "defendants."
254. reformed: malapropism for "informed."
253   Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time
254   our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of
255   the matter: and, masters, do not forget to specify,
256   when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.

257   Here, here comes master Signior Leonato, and
258   the Sexton too.

           Enter LEONATO, his brother [ANTONIO],
           with the SEXTON.

259   Which is the villain? let me see his eyes,
260   That, when I note another man like him,
261   I may avoid him: which of these is he?

262   If you would know your wronger, look on me.

263. breath: i.e., words.
263   Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill'd
264   Mine innocent child?

264                                     Yea, even I alone.

265   No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:
266. honorable men: —Leonato is being sarcastic.
266   Here stand a pair of honorable men;
267   A third is fled, that had a hand in it.
268   I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death:
269   Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
270   'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.

271   I know not how to pray your patience;
272   Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;
273-274. Impose ... my sin: i.e., impose on me whatever penance you want to invent.
273   Impose me to what penance your invention
274   Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn'd I not
275   But in mistaking.

275                               By my soul, nor I:
276   And yet, to satisfy this good old man,
277   I would bend under any heavy weight
278   That he'll enjoin me to.

279   I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
280   That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
281. Possess: inform.
282-283. if your love / Can labour aught in sad invention: i.e., if your love for Hero can inspire you write a tribute to her memory.
281   Possess the people in Messina here
282   How innocent she died; and if your love
283   Can labour aught in sad invention,
284   Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
285   And sing it to her bones, sing it tonight:
286   Tomorrow morning come you to my house,
287   And since you could not be my son-in-law,
288   Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
289   Almost the copy of my child that's dead,
290   And she alone is heir to both of us:
291. Give her the right you should have given her cousin: i.e., give her what was due to Hero—an honorable marriage.
291   Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
292   And so dies my revenge.

292                                       O noble sir,
293   Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
294-295. dispose / For henceforth of poor Claudio: forever after, demand anything of poor Claudio.
294   I do embrace your offer; and dispose
295   For henceforth of poor Claudio.

296   Tomorrow then I will expect your coming;
297. naughty: wicked.

299. pack'd: involved as a conspirator.
297   tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
298   Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
299   Who I believe was pack'd in all this wrong,
300   Hired to it by your brother.

300                                     No, by my soul, she was not,
301   Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
302   But always hath been just and virtuous
303. do know by her: know about her.
303   In any thing that I do know by her.

304-305. under white and black: i.e., in writing.
304   Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white
305   and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did
306   call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered
307   in his punishment. And also, the watch heard
308-309. key in his ear and a lock hanging by it: —When Borachio was telling Conrade about how he talked with Margaret at Hero's window, he was drunk, and talked about "fashion" being a "deformed thief," because fashion steals men's appearances. The members of the watch who overhead him thought that "Deformed" was a thief who wore a long lock of hair. See 3.3.124-127. Now Dogberry thinks that "Deformed" has the kind of a lock that requires a key. It's a mystery how Dogberry came up with his other ideas about "Deformed."
308   them talk of one Deformed: they say be wears a
309   key in his ear and a lock hanging by it, and borrows
310   money in God's name, the which he hath used so
311   long and never paid that now men grow hard-hearted
312   and will lend nothing for God's sake: pray you,
313   examine him upon that point.

314   I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.

315   Your worship speaks like a most thankful and
316. reverend: —Perhaps Dogberry means "revered elder" and has gotten it backward.
316   reverend youth; and I praise God for you.

      LEONATO [Giving Dogberry a tip.]
317   There's for thy pains.

318. God save the foundation: a phrase used by those who received alms from a charitable foundation.
318   God save the foundation!

319   Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I
320   thank thee.

321   I leave an arrant knave with your worship;
322   which I beseech your worship to correct yourself,
323   for the example of others. God keep your worship!
324. God restore you to health!: —Leonato isn't sick, and Dogberry probably means "God keep you in health!"
325. I humbly give you leave to depart: —It's Dogberry who is about to depart, not Leonato. 326. prohibit: malapropism for "permit."
324   I wish your worship well; God restore you to health!
325   I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry
326   meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come,
327   neighbor.

           [Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES.]

328   Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.

329   Farewell, my lords: we look for you tomorrow.

330   We will not fail.

330                             Tonight I'll mourn with Hero.

      LEONATO [To the Watch.]
331   Bring you these fellows on. We'll talk with Margaret,
332. lewd: low, wicked, worthless.
332   How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow.