Shakespeares Globe Logo

Act 4 Scene 1 - Interactive Text

  1. The Friar

    Pause awhile,
    And let my counsel* sway you in this case.
    Your daughter here the Princes left for dead.
    Let her awhile be secretly kept in,
    And publish it that she is dead indeed.

    Maintain a mourning ostentation*;
    And on your family’s old monument*
    Hang mournful epitaphs*, and do all rites*
    That appertain* unto a burial.

  2. Leonato

    What shall become of this? What will this do?

  3. The Friar

    Marry, this*, well carried, shall on her behalf
    Change slander to remorse: that is some good.
    But not for that dream I on this strange course,
    But on this travail* look for greater birth.

    She dying, as it must be so maintained,
    Upon the instant that she was accused,
    Shall be lamented, pitied, and excused
    Of every hearer: for it so falls out
    That what we have we prize not to the worth
    Whiles we enjoy it; but being lacked and lost,
    Why, then we rack* the value, then we find
    The virtue that possession would not show us
    Whiles it was ours.
    So will it fare with Claudio.
    When he shall hear she died upon his words,
    Th’ idea of her life shall sweetly creep
    Into his study of imagination*.
    And every lovely organ* of her life
    Shall come apparelled* in more precious habit,
    More moving, delicate, and full of life,
    Into the eye and prospect* of his soul,
    Than when she lived indeed. Then shall he mourn,
    If ever love had interest in his liver*,
    And wish he had not so accusèd her –
    No, though he thought his accusation true.
    Let this be so, and doubt not but success
    Will fashion* the event in better shape
    Than I can lay it down in likelihood*.
    But if all aim but this be levelled false*,
    The supposition* of the lady’s death
    Will quench the wonder of her infamy.

    And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,
    As best befits her wounded reputation,
    In some reclusive and religious life*,
    Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries.

  4. Benedick

    Signior Leonato, let the Friar advise you.
    And though you know my inwardness* and love
    Is very much unto the Prince and Claudio,
    Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this
    As secretly and justly as your soul
    Should with your body.

  5. Leonato

    Being that I flow in grief,
    The smallest twine may lead me.

  6. The Friar

    ’Tis well consented. Presently away:
    For to strange sores strangely they strain the cure.*
    Come, lady, die to live. This wedding-day
    Perhaps is but prolonged: have patience and endure.

All exit except BENEDICK and BEATRICE.

  1. Benedick

    Lady Beatrice, have you wept all this while?

  2. Beatrice

    Yea, and I will weep a while longer.

  3. Benedick

    I will not desire that.

  4. Beatrice

    You have no reason: I do it freely.

  5. Benedick

    Surely I do believe your fair cousin is wronged.

  6. Beatrice

    Ah, how much might the man deserve of me that would right her!

  7. Benedick

    Is there any way to show such friendship?

  8. Beatrice

    A very even way*, but no such friend.

  9. Benedick

    May a man do it?

  10. Beatrice

    It is a man’s office, but not yours.

  11. Benedick

    I do love nothing in the world so well as you. Is not that strange?

  12. Beatrice

    As strange as the thing I know not. It were as possible for me to say I loved nothing so well as you. But believe me not, and yet I lie not: I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing. I am sorry for my cousin.

  13. Benedick

    By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me.

  14. Beatrice

    Do not swear and eat it.

  15. Benedick

    I will swear by it that you love me; and I will make him eat it that says I love not you.

  16. Beatrice

    Will you not eat your word?

  17. Benedick

    With no sauce that can be devised to it. I protest I love thee.

  18. Beatrice

    Why, then, God forgive me!

  19. Benedick

    What offence, sweet Beatrice?

  20. Beatrice

    You have stayed me in a happy hour. I was about to protest I loved you.

  21. Benedick

    And do it with all thy heart.

  22. Beatrice

    I love you with so much of my heart that none is left to protest.

  23. Benedick

    Come, bid me do anything for thee.

  24. Beatrice

    Kill Claudio.

  25. Benedick

    Ha! Not for the wide world.

  26. Beatrice

    You kill me to deny it. Farewell.

  27. Benedick

    Tarry,* sweet Beatrice.

  28. Beatrice

    I am gone though I am here. There is no love in you. Nay, I pray you, let me go.

  29. Benedick

    Beatrice –

  30. Beatrice

    In faith, I will go.

  31. Benedick

    We’ll be friends first.

  32. Beatrice

    You dare easier be friends with me than fight with mine enemy.

  33. Benedick

    Is Claudio thine enemy?

  34. Beatrice

    Is he not approved in the height* a villain that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kinswoman? O that I were a man! What, bear her in hand until they come to take hands, and then, with public accusation, uncovered slander*, unmitigated rancour – O God, that I were a man! I would eat his heart in the market-place.

  35. Benedick

    Hear me, Beatrice –

  36. Beatrice

    Talk with a man out at a window! A proper saying*!

  37. Benedick

    Nay, but Beatrice –

  38. Beatrice

    Sweet Hero! She is wronged, she is slandered, she is undone*.

  39. Benedick

    Beat –

  40. Beatrice

    Princes and counties! Surely, a princely testimony, a goodly count, Count Comfect* – a sweet gallant, surely! O that I were a man for his sake, or that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! But manhood is melted into curtsies, valour into compliment; and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones too. He is now as valiant as Hercules that only tells a lie and swears it. I cannot be a man with wishing: therefore I will die a woman with grieving.

  41. Benedick

    Tarry,* good Beatrice. By this hand, I love thee.

  42. Beatrice

    Use it for my love some other way than swearing by it.

  43. Benedick

    Think you in your soul the Count Claudio hath wronged Hero?

  44. Beatrice

    Yea, as sure as I have a thought or a soul.

  45. Benedick

    Enough: I am engaged*. I will challenge him. I will kiss your hand, and so I leave you. By this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account*. As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort your cousin: I must say she is dead; and so, farewell.


Audio relating to Act 4 Scene 1

Loading audio tracks

Edit the Script
Literary Terms

Show/Hide Examples

Glossary Terms

Rollover the words marked with an (*) to discover their meaning.