Act V

Scene I

Before Leonato’s house.

Enter Leonato and Antonio.

If you go on thus, you will kill yourself;
And ’tis not wisdom thus to second grief
Against yourself.


I pray thee, cease thy counsel,
Which falls into mine ears as profitless
As water in a sieve: give not me counsel;
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine.
Bring me a father that so loved his child,
Whose joy of her is overwhelm’d like mine,
And bid him speak of patience;
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine
And let it answer every strain for strain,
As thus for thus and such a grief for such,
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form:
If such a one will smile and stroke his beard,
Bid sorrow wag, cry “hem!” when he should groan,
Patch grief with proverbs, make misfortune drunk
With candle-wasters; bring him yet to me,
And I of him will gather patience.
But there is no such man: for, brother, men
Can counsel and speak comfort to that grief
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it,
Their counsel turns to passion, which before
Would give preceptial medicine to rage,
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread,
Charm ache with air and agony with words:
No, no; ’tis all men’s office to speak patience
To those that wring under the load of sorrow,
But no man’s virtue nor sufficiency
To be so moral when he shall endure
The like himself. Therefore give me no counsel:
My griefs cry louder than advertisement.

Antonio Therein do men from children nothing differ.

I pray thee, peace. I will be flesh and blood;
For there was never yet philosopher
That could endure the toothache patiently,
However they have writ the style of gods
And made a push at chance and sufferance.


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


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

Antonio Here comes the prince and Claudio hastily.
Enter Don Pedro and Claudio.
Don Pedro Good den, good den.
Claudio Good day to both of you.
Leonato Hear you, my lords⁠—
Don Pedro We have some haste, Leonato.

Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, my lord:
Are you so hasty now? well, all is one.

Don Pedro Nay, do not quarrel with us, good old man.

If he could right himself with quarrelling,
Some of us would lie low.

Claudio Who wrongs him?

Marry, thou dost wrong me; thou dissembler, thou:⁠—
Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword;
I fear thee not.


Marry, beshrew my hand,
If it should give your age such cause of fear:
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword.


Tush, tush, man; never fleer and jest at me:
I speak not like a dotard nor a fool,
As under privilege of age to brag
What I have done being young, or what would do
Were I not old. Know, Claudio, to thy head,
Thou hast so wrong’d mine innocent child and me
That I am forced to lay my reverence by
And, with grey hairs and bruise of many days,
Do challenge thee to trial of a man.
I say thou hast belied mine innocent child;
Thy slander hath gone through and through her heart,
And she lies buried with her ancestors;
O, in a tomb where never scandal slept,
Save this of hers, framed by thy villainy!

Claudio My villainy?
Leonato Thine, Claudio; thine, I say.
Don Pedro You say not right, old man,

My lord, my lord,
I’ll prove it on his body, if he dare,
Despite his nice fence and his active practice,
His May of youth and bloom of lustihood.

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

Canst thou so daff me? Thou hast kill’d my child:
If thou kill’st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man.


He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:
But that’s no matter; let him kill one first;
Win me and wear me; let him answer me.
Come, follow me, boy; come, sir boy, come, follow me:
Sir boy, I’ll whip you from your foining fence;
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will.

Leonato Brother⁠—

Content yourself. God knows I loved my niece;
And she is dead, slander’d to death by villains,
That dare as well answer a man indeed
As I dare take a serpent by the tongue:
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops!

Leonato Brother Anthony⁠—

Hold you content. What, man! I know them, yea,
And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple⁠—
Scambling, out-facing, fashion-monging boys,
That lie and cog and flout, deprave and slander,
Go anticly, show outward hideousness,
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words,
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst;
And this is all.

Leonato But, brother Anthony⁠—

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

Don Pedro

Gentlemen both, we will not wake your patience.
My heart is sorry for your daughter’s death:
But, on my honour, she was charged with nothing
But what was true and very full of proof.

Leonato My lord, my lord⁠—
Don Pedro I will not hear you.
Leonato No? Come, brother; away! I will be heard.
Antonio And shall, or some of us will smart for it. Exeunt Leonato and Antonio.
Don Pedro See, see; here comes the man we went to seek.
Enter Benedick.
Claudio Now, signior, what news?
Benedick Good day, my lord.
Don Pedro Welcome, signior: you are almost come to part almost a fray.
Claudio We had like to have had our two noses snapped off with two old men without teeth.
Don Pedro Leonato and his brother. What thinkest thou? Had we fought, I doubt we should have been too young for them.
Benedick In a false quarrel there is no true valour. I came to seek you both.
Claudio We have been up and down to seek thee; for we are high-proof melancholy and would fain have it beaten away. Wilt thou use thy wit?
Benedick It is in my scabbard: shall I draw it?
Don Pedro Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side?
Claudio Never any did so, though very many have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, as we do the minstrels; draw, to pleasure us.
Don Pedro As I am an honest man, he looks pale. Art thou sick, or angry?
Claudio What, courage, man! What though care killed a cat, thou hast mettle enough in thee to kill care.
Benedick Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, and you charge it against me. I pray you choose another subject.
Claudio Nay, then, give him another staff: this last was broke cross.
Don Pedro By this light, he changes more and more: I think he be angry indeed.
Claudio If he be, he knows how to turn his girdle.
Benedick Shall I speak a word in your ear?
Claudio God bless me from a challenge!
Benedick Aside to Claudio. You are a villain; I jest not: I will make it good how you dare, with what you dare, and when you dare. Do me right, or I will protest your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, and her death shall fall heavy on you. Let me hear from you.
Claudio Well, I will meet you, so I may have good cheer.
Don Pedro What, a feast, a feast?
Claudio I’ faith, I thank him; he hath bid me to a calf’s head and a capon; the which if I do not carve most curiously, say my knife’s naught. Shall I not find a woodcock too?
Benedick Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily.
Don Pedro I’ll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy wit the other day. I said, thou hadst a fine wit: “True,” says she, “a fine little one.” “No,” said I, “a great wit:” “Right,” said she, “a great gross one.” “Nay,” said I, “a good wit:” “Just,” said she, “it hurts nobody.” “Nay,” said I, “the gentleman is wise:” “Certain,” said she, “a wise gentleman.” “Nay,” said I, “he hath the tongues:” “That I believe,” said she, “for he swore a thing to me on Monday night, which he forswore on Tuesday morning; there’s a double tongue; there’s two tongues.” Thus did she, an hour together, trans-shape thy particular virtues: yet at last she concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest man in Italy.
Claudio For the which she wept heartily and said she cared not.
Don Pedro Yea, that she did; but yet, for all that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would love him dearly: the old man’s daughter told us all.
Claudio All, all; and, moreover, God saw him when he was hid in the garden.
Don Pedro But when shall we set the savage bull’s horns on the sensible Benedick’s head?
Claudio Yea, and text underneath, “Here dwells Benedick the married man?”
Benedick Fare you well, boy: you know my mind. I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour: you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, God be thanked, hurt not. My lord, for your many courtesies I thank you: I must discontinue your company: your brother the bastard is fled from Messina: you have among you killed a sweet and innocent lady. For my Lord Lackbeard there, he and I shall meet: and, till then, peace be with him. Exit.
Don Pedro He is in earnest.
Claudio In most profound earnest; and, I’ll warrant you, for the love of Beatrice.
Don Pedro And hath challenged thee.
Claudio Most sincerely.
Don Pedro What a pretty thing man is when he goes in his doublet and hose and leaves off his wit!
Claudio He is then a giant to an ape; but then is an ape a doctor to such a man.
Don Pedro But, soft you, let me be: pluck up, my heart, and be sad. Did he not say, my brother was fled?
Enter Dogberry, Verges, and the Watch, with Conrade and Borachio.
Dogberry Come you, sir: if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne’er weigh more reasons in her balance: nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, you must be looked to.
Don Pedro How now? two of my brother’s men bound! Borachio one!
Claudio Hearken after their offence, my lord.
Don Pedro Officers, what offence have these men done?
Dogberry Marry, sir, they have committed false report; moreover, they have spoken untruths; secondarily, they are slanders; sixth and lastly, they have belied a lady; thirdly, they have verified unjust things; and, to conclude, they are lying knaves.
Don Pedro First, I ask thee what they have done; thirdly, I ask thee what’s their offence; sixth and lastly, why they are committed; and, to conclude, what you lay to their charge?
Claudio Rightly reasoned, and in his own division; and, by my troth, there’s one meaning well suited.
Don Pedro Who have you offended, masters, that you are thus bound to your answer? this learned constable is too cunning to be understood: what’s your offence?
Borachio Sweet prince, let me go no farther to mine answer: do you hear me, and let this count kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes: what your wisdoms could not discover, these shallow fools have brought to light; who in the night overheard me confessing to this man how Don John your brother incensed me to slander the Lady Hero, how you were brought into the orchard and saw me court Margaret in Hero’s garments, how you disgraced her, when you should marry her: my villainy they have upon record; which I had rather seal with my death than repeat over to my shame. The lady is dead upon mine and my master’s false accusation; and, briefly, I desire nothing but the reward of a villain.
Don Pedro Runs not this speech like iron through your blood?
Claudio I have drunk poison whiles he utter’d it.
Don Pedro But did my brother set thee on to this?
Borachio Yea, and paid me richly for the practice of it.
Don Pedro

He is composed and framed of treachery:
And fled he is upon this villainy.


Sweet Hero! now thy image doth appear
In the rare semblance that I loved it first.

Dogberry Come, bring away the plaintiffs: by this time our sexton hath reformed Signior Leonato of the matter: and, masters, do not forget to specify, when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass.
Verges Here, here comes Master Signior Leonato, and the sexton too.
Re-enter Leonato and Antonio, with the Sexton.

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

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

Art thou the slave that with thy breath hast kill’d
Mine innocent child?

Borachio Yea, even I alone.

No, not so, villain; thou beliest thyself:
Here stand a pair of honourable men;
A third is fled, that had a hand in it.
I thank you, princes, for my daughter’s death:
Record it with your high and worthy deeds:
’Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it.


I know not how to pray your patience;
Yet I must speak. Choose your revenge yourself;
Impose me to what penance your invention
Can lay upon my sin: yet sinn’d I not
But in mistaking.

Don Pedro

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


I cannot bid you bid my daughter live;
That were impossible: but, I pray you both,
Possess the people in Messina here
How innocent she died; and if your love
Can labour aught in sad invention,
Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb
And sing it to her bones, sing it tonight:
Tomorrow morning come you to my house,
And since you could not be my son-in-law,
Be yet my nephew: my brother hath a daughter,
Almost the copy of my child that’s dead,
And she alone is heir to both of us:
Give her the right you should have given her cousin,
And so dies my revenge.


O noble sir,
Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me!
I do embrace your offer; and dispose
For henceforth of poor Claudio.


Tomorrow then I will expect your coming;
Tonight I take my leave. This naughty man
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret,
Who I believe was pack’d in all this wrong,
Hired to it by your brother.


No, by my soul, she was not,
Nor knew not what she did when she spoke to me,
But always hath been just and virtuous
In anything that I do know by her.

Dogberry Moreover, sir, which indeed is not under white and black, this plaintiff here, the offender, did call me ass: I beseech you, let it be remembered in his punishment. And also, the watch heard them talk of one Deformed: they say he wears a key in his ear and a lock hanging by it, and borrows money in God’s name, the which he hath used so long and never paid that now men grow hard-hearted and will lend nothing for God’s sake: pray you, examine him upon that point.
Leonato I thank thee for thy care and honest pains.
Dogberry Your worship speaks like a most thankful and reverent youth; and I praise God for you.
Leonato There’s for thy pains.
Dogberry God save the foundation!
Leonato Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and I thank thee.
Dogberry I leave an arrant knave with your worship; which I beseech your worship to correct yourself, for the example of others. God keep your worship! I wish your worship well; God restore you to health! I humbly give you leave to depart; and if a merry meeting may be wished, God prohibit it! Come, neighbour. Exeunt Dogberry and Verges.
Leonato Until tomorrow morning, lords, farewell.
Antonio Farewell, my lords: we look for you tomorrow.
Don Pedro We will not fail.
Claudio Tonight I’ll mourn with Hero.

To the Watch. Bring you these fellows on. We’ll talk with Margaret,
How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow. Exeunt, severally.

Scene II

Leonato’s garden.

Enter Benedick and Margaret, meeting.
Benedick Pray thee, sweet Mistress Margaret, deserve well at my hands by helping me to the speech of Beatrice.
Margaret Will you then write me a sonnet in praise of my beauty?
Benedick In so high a style, Margaret, that no man living shall come over it; for, in most comely truth, thou deservest it.
Margaret To have no man come over me! why, shall I always keep below stairs?
Benedick Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound’s mouth; it catches.
Margaret And yours as blunt as the fencer’s foils, which hit, but hurt not.
Benedick A most manly wit, Margaret; it will not hurt a woman: and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice: I give thee the bucklers.
Margaret Give us the swords; we have bucklers of our own.
Benedick If you use them, Margaret, you must put in the pikes with a vice; and they are dangerous weapons for maids.
Margaret Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who I think hath legs.

And therefore will come. Exit Margaret.

Sings. The god of love,
That sits above,
And knows me, and knows me,
How pitiful I deserve⁠—

I mean, in singing; but in loving, Leander the good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of panders, and a whole book full of these quondam carpet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so truly turned over and over as my poor self in love. Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme; I have tried: I can find out no rhyme to “lady” but “baby,” an innocent rhyme; for “scorn,” “horn,” a hard rhyme; for “school,” “fool,” a babbling rhyme; very ominous endings: no, I was not born under a rhyming planet, nor I cannot woo in festival terms.

Enter Beatrice.
Sweet Beatrice, wouldst thou come when I called thee?
Beatrice Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me.
Benedick O, stay but till then!
Beatrice “Then” is spoken; fare you well now: and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came; which is, with knowing what hath passed between you and Claudio.
Benedick Only foul words; and thereupon I will kiss thee.
Beatrice Foul words is but foul wind, and foul wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome; therefore I will depart unkissed.
Benedick Thou hast frighted the word out of his right sense, so forcible is thy wit. But I must tell thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge; and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, tell me for which of my bad parts didst thou first fall in love with me?
Beatrice For them all together; which maintained so politic a state of evil that they will not admit any good part to intermingle with them. But for which of my good parts did you first suffer love for me?
Benedick Suffer love! a good epithet! I do suffer love indeed, for I love thee against my will.
Beatrice In spite of your heart, I think; alas, poor heart! If you spite it for my sake, I will spite it for yours; for I will never love that which my friend hates.
Benedick Thou and I are too wise to woo peaceably.
Beatrice It appears not in this confession: there’s not one wise man among twenty that will praise himself.
Benedick An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that lived in the time of good neighbours. If a man do not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he shall live no longer in monument than the bell rings and the widow weeps.
Beatrice And how long is that, think you?
Benedick Question: why, an hour in clamour and a quarter in rheum: therefore is it most expedient for the wise, if Don Worm, his conscience, find no impediment to the contrary, to be the trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself. So much for praising myself, who, I myself will bear witness, is praiseworthy: and now tell me, how doth your cousin?
Beatrice Very ill.
Benedick And how do you?
Beatrice Very ill too.
Benedick Serve God, love me and mend. There will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste.
Enter Ursula.
Ursula Madam, you must come to your uncle. Yonder’s old coil at home: it is proved, my Lady Hero hath been falsely accused, the prince and Claudio mightily abused; and Don John is the author of all, who is fled and gone. Will you come presently?
Beatrice Will you go hear this news, signior?
Benedick I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap and be buried in thy eyes; and moreover I will go with thee to thy uncle’s. Exeunt.

Scene III

A church.

Enter Don Pedro, Claudio, and three or four with tapers.
Claudio Is this the monument of Leonato?
A Lord It is, my lord.
Claudio Reading out of a scroll.

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 died with shame
Lives in death with glorious fame.

Hang thou there upon the tomb,
Praising her when I am dumb.
Now, music, sound, and sing your solemn hymn.


Pardon, goddess of the night,
Those that slew thy virgin knight;
For the which, with songs of woe,
Round about her tomb they go.
Midnight, assist our moan;
Help us to sigh and groan,
Heavily, heavily:
Graves, yawn and yield your dead,
Till death be uttered,
Heavily, heavily.


Now, unto thy bones good night!
Yearly will I do this rite.

Don Pedro

Good morrow, masters; put your torches out:
The wolves have prey’d; and look, the gentle day,
Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about
Dapples the drowsy East with spots of grey.
Thanks to you all, and leave us: fare you well.

Claudio Good morrow, masters: each his several way.
Don Pedro

Come, let us hence, and put on other weeds;
And then to Leonato’s we will go.


And Hymen now with luckier issue speed’s
Than this for whom we rend’red up this woe! Exeunt.

Scene IV

A room in Leonato’s house.

Enter Leonato, Antonio, Benedick, Beatrice, Margaret, Ursula, Friar Francis, and Hero.
Friar Did I not tell you she was innocent?

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.

Antonio Well, I am glad that all things sort so well.

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


Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all,
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves,
And when I send for you, come hither mask’d. Exeunt Ladies.
The prince and Claudio promis’d 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.

Antonio Which I will do with confirm’d countenance.
Benedick Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think.
Friar To do what, signior?

To bind me, or undo me; one of them.
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior,
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour.

Leonato That eye my daughter lent her: ’tis most true.
Benedick And I do with an eye of love requite her.

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


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

Leonato My heart is with your liking.
Friar And my help. Here comes the prince and Claudio.
Enter Don Pedro and Claudio, and two or three others.
Don Pedro Good morrow to this fair assembly.

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

Claudio I’ll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope.
Leonato Call her forth, brother; here’s the friar ready. Exit Antonio.
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?


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.


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

Claudio For this I owe you: here comes other reckonings.
Re-enter Antonio, with the Ladies masked.
Which is the lady I must seize upon?
Antonio This same is she, and I do give you her.
Claudio Why, then she’s mine. Sweet, let me see your face.

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


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


And when I lived, I was your other wife: Unmasking.
And when you loved, you were my other husband.

Claudio Another Hero!

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

Don Pedro The former Hero! Hero that is dead!
Leonato She died, my lord, but whiles her slander lived.

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.

Benedick Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice?
Beatrice Unmasking. I answer to that name. What is your will?
Benedick Do not you love me?
Beatrice Why, no; no more than reason.

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

Beatrice Do not you love me?
Benedick Troth, no; no more than reason.

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

Benedick They swore that you were almost sick for me.
Beatrice They swore that you were well-nigh dead for me.
Benedick ’Tis no such matter. Then you do not love me?
Beatrice No, truly, but in friendly recompense.
Leonato Come, cousin, I am sure you love the gentleman.

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,
Fashion’d to Beatrice.


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

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.
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.
Benedick Peace! I will stop your mouth. Kissing her.
Don Pedro How dost thou, Benedick, the married man?
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 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.
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.
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.
Leonato We’ll have dancing afterward.
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 reverent than one tipped with horn.
Enter a Messenger.

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

Benedick Think not on him till tomorrow: I’ll devise thee brave punishments for him. Strike up, pipers. Dance. Exeunt.