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Act 5 Scene 4 - Interactive Text

At Leonato’s house.

  1. Hero

    "Done to death by slanderous tongues Was the Hero that here lies: Death, in guerdon of her wrongs Gives her fame which never dies So the life that dies with shame Lives in death with glorious fame."

  2. The Friar

    Did I not tell you she was innocent?

  3. Leonato

    So are the Prince and Claudio, who accused her
    Upon the error that you heard debated.
    But Margaret was in some fault for this,
    Although against her will, as it appears
    In the true course of all the question*

  4. Antonio

    Well, I am glad that all things sorts so well.

  5. Benedick

    And so am I, being else by faith enforced
    To call young Claudio to a reckoning* for it.

  6. Leonato

    Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
    Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves;
    And when I send for you, come hither masked.
    The Prince and Claudio promised by this hour
    To visit me. You know your office, brother:
    You must be father to your brother’s daughter,
    And give her to young Claudio.


  1. Antonio

    Which I will do with confirmed countenance.

  2. Benedick

    Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.

  3. The Friar

    To do what, signor?

  4. Benedick

    To bind me, or undo me – one of them.
    Signor Leonato: truth it is, good signor,
    Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

  5. Leonato

    That eye my daughter lent her. ’Tis most true.

  6. Benedick

    And I do with an eye of love requite her.

  7. Leonato

    The sight whereof I think you had from me,
    From Claudio, and the Prince. But what’s your will?

  8. Benedick

    Your answer, sir, is enigmatical.
    But, for my will, my will is your good will
    May stand with ours, this day to be conjoined
    In the state of honourable marriage –
    In which, good Friar, I shall desire your help.

  9. Leonato

    My heart is with your liking.

  10. The Friar

    And my help.

Here comes the Prince and Claudio.
Enter DON PEDRO and CLAUDIO, with attendants.

  1. Don Pedro

    Good morrow to this fair assembly.

  2. Leonato

    Good morrow, Prince; good morrow, Claudio.                
    We here attend you. Are you yet determined
    Today to marry with my brother’s daughter?

  3. Claudio

    I’ll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope*.

  4. Leonato

    Call her forth, brother; here’s the Friar ready.


  1. Don Pedro

    Good morrow, Benedick. Why, what’s the matter,
    That you have such a February face,
    So full of frost, of storm and cloudiness?

  2. Claudio

    I think he thinks upon the savage bull.
    Tush, fear not, man, we’ll tip thy horns with gold,
    And all Europa shall rejoice at thee,
    As once Europa did at lusty Jove,
    When he would play the noble beast in love.

  3. Benedick

    Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low –
    And some such strange bull leaped your father’s cow,
    And got a calf in that same noble feat
    Much like to you, for you have just his bleat.

  4. Claudio

    For this I owe you.*  Here comes other reckonings.*

wearing masks.

  1. Claudio

    Which is the lady I must seize upon*?

  2. Antonio Leonato

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

  3. Claudio

    Why, then she’s mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

  4. Antonio Leonato

    No, that you shall not, till you take her hand
    Before this Friar, and swear to marry her.

  5. Claudio

    Give me your hand: before this holy Friar,
    I am your husband, if you like of me.

  6. Hero

    (Unmasking) And when I lived, I was your other wife; (60)
    And when you loved, you were my other husband.

  7. Claudio

    Another Hero!

  8. Hero

    Nothing certainer.
    One Hero died defiled , but I do live;
    And surely as I live I am a maid*.

  9. Don Pedro

    The former Hero! Hero that is dead!

  10. Leonato

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

  11. The Friar

    All this amazement can I qualify,
    When, after that the holy rites* are ended,
    I’ll tell you largely of fair Hero’s death.
    Meantime let wonder seem familiar*,
    And to the chapel let us presently.

  12. Benedick

    Soft and fair* , Friar. Which is Beatrice?

  13. Beatrice

    (Unmasking) I answer to that name. What is your will?

  14. Benedick

    Do not you love me?

  15. Beatrice

    Why no – no more than reason.

  16. Benedick

    Why, then your uncle and the Prince and Claudio
    Have been deceived. They swore you did.

  17. Beatrice

    Do not you love me?

  18. Benedick

    Troth* , no – no more than reason.

  19. Beatrice

    Why, then my cousin, Hero and Margaret
    Are much deceived: for they did swear you did.

  20. Benedick

    They swore that you were almost sick for me.

  21. Beatrice

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

  22. Benedick

    ’Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?

  23. Beatrice

    No, truly, but in friendly recompense*.

  24. Leonato

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

  25. Claudio

    And I’ll be sworn upon’t that he loves her;
    For here’s a paper written in his hand,
    A halting sonnet of his own pure brain,
    Fashioned*  to Beatrice.

  26. Hero

    And here’s another,
    Writ in my cousin’s hand, stolen from her pocket,
    Containing her affection unto Benedick.

  27. Benedick

    A miracle! Here’s our own hands against our hearts.
    Come, I will have thee: but, by this light* , I take thee
    for pity.

  28. Beatrice

    I would not deny you; but, by this good day, I yield
    upon great persuasion – and partly to save your life,
    for I was told you were in a consumption*.

  29. Benedick

    Peace! I will stop your mouth. (Kissing her)

  30. Don Pedro

    How dost thou, Benedick the married man?

  31. Benedick

    I’ll tell thee what, Prince. A college of wit-crackers* cannot flout* me out of my humour. Dost thou think I care for a satire or an epigram? No: if a man will be beaten with brains, ’a shall wear nothing handsome about him.* In brief, since I do purpose to marry, I will think nothing to any purpose that the world can say against it. And therefore never flout* at me for what I have said against it – for man is a giddy thing, and this is my conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to have beaten thee: but in that thou art like to be* my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin.

  32. Claudio

    I had well hoped, thou wouldst have denied Beatrice,
    that I might have cudgelled thee out of thy single life,
    to make thee a double-dealer* which out of question
    thou wilt be, if my cousin do not look exceeding
    narrowly* to thee.

  33. Benedick

    Come, come, we are friends. Let’s have a dance ere* we are married, that we may lighten our own hearts
    and our wives’ heels.

  34. Leonato

    We’ll have dancing afterward.

  35. Benedick

    First, of my word*! Therefore play, music. Prince, thou
    art sad: get thee a wife, get thee a wife!
    There is no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn*. 

Enter a MESSENGER Borachio.

  1. Messenger Borachio

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

  2. Benedick

    Think not on him till tomorrow. I’ll devise thee brave*
    punishments for him. Strike up, pipers!


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