Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Much Ado about Nothing
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Much Ado about Nothing
 
Act I. Scene III.
 
Another Room in LEONATO’S House.
 
Enter DON JOHN and CONRADE.
  Con.  What the good-year, my lord! why are you thus out of measure sad?
  D. John.  There is no measure in the occasion that breeds; therefore the sadness is without limit.
  Con.  You should hear reason.        5
  D. John.  And when I have heard it, what blessing brings it?
  Con.  If not a present remedy, at least a patient sufferance.
  D. John.  I wonder that thou, being,—as thou say’st thou art,—born under Saturn, goest about to apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. I cannot hide what I am: I must be sad when I have cause, and smile at no man’s jests; eat when I have stomach, and wait for no man’s leisure; sleep when I am drowsy, and tend on no man’s business; laugh when I am merry, and claw no man in his humour.
  Con.  Yea; but you must not make the full show of this till you may do it without controlment. You have of late stood out against your brother, and he hath ta’en you newly into his grace; where it is impossible you should take true root but by the fair weather that you make yourself: it is needful that you frame the season for your own harvest.
  D. John.  I had rather be a canker in a hedge than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my blood to be disdained of all than to fashion a carriage to rob love from any: in this, though I cannot be said to be a flattering honest man, it must not be denied but I am a plain-dealing villain. I am trusted with a muzzle and enfranchised with a clog; therefore I have decreed not to sing in my cage. If I had my mouth, I would bite; if I had my liberty, I would do my liking: in the meantime, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter me.        10
  Con.  Can you make no use of your discontent?
  D. John.  I make all use of it, for I use it only. Who comes here?
 
Enter BORACHIO
What news, Borachio?
  Bora.  I came yonder from a great supper: the prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leonato; and I can give you intelligence of an intended marriage.        15
  D. John.  Will it serve for any model to build mischief on? What is he for a fool that betroths himself to unquietness?
  Bora.  Marry, it is your brother’s right hand.
  D. John.  Who? the most exquisite Claudio?
  Bora.  Even he.
  D. John.  A proper squire! And who, and who? which way looks he?        20
  Bora.  Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir of Leonato.
  D. John.  A very forward March-chick! How came you to this?
  Bora.  Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was smoking a musty room, comes me the prince and Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference: I whipt me behind the arras, and there heard it agreed upon that the prince should woo Hero for himself, and having obtained her, give her to Count Claudio.
  D. John.  Come, come; let us thither: this may prove food to my displeasure. That young start-up hath all the glory of my overthrow: if I can cross him any way, I bless myself every way. You are both sure, and will assist me?
  Con., Bora.  To the death, my lord.        25
  D. John.  Let us to the great supper: their cheer is the greater that I am subdued. Would the cook were of my mind! Shall we go prove what’s to be done?
  Bora.  We’ll wait upon your lordship.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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