Act 3, Scene 4

HERO’s apartment.


Hero. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, and desire
her to rise.

Ursula. I will, lady.

Hero. And bid her come hither.

Ursula. Well.


Margaret. Troth, I think your other rabato were better.

Hero. No, pray thee, good Meg, I’ll wear this.

Margaret. By my troth, ‘s not so good; and I warrant your 
cousin will say so.

Hero. My cousin’s a fool, and thou art another: I’ll wear
none but this.

Margaret. I like the new tire within excellently, if the hair 
were a thought browner; and your gown’s a most rare 
fashion, i’ faith. I saw the Duchess of Milan’s 
gown that they praise so.

Hero. O, that exceeds, they say.

Margaret. By my troth, ‘s but a night-gown in respect of 
yours: cloth o’ gold, and cuts, and laced with 
silver, set with pearls, down sleeves, side sleeves, 
and skirts, round underborne with a bluish tinsel:
but for a fine, quaint, graceful and excellent 
fashion, yours is worth ten on ‘t.

Hero. God give me joy to wear it! for my heart is 
exceeding heavy.

Margaret. ‘Twill be heavier soon by the weight of a man.

Hero. Fie upon thee! art not ashamed?

Margaret. Of what, lady? of speaking honourably? Is not 
marriage honourable in a beggar? Is not your lord 
honourable without marriage? I think you would have 
me say, ‘saving your reverence, a husband:’ and bad
thinking do not wrest true speaking, I’ll offend 
nobody: is there any harm in ‘the heavier for a 
husband’? None, I think, and it be the right husband 
and the right wife; otherwise ’tis light, and not 
heavy: ask my Lady Beatrice else; here she comes.


Hero. Good morrow, coz.

Beatrice. Good morrow, sweet Hero.

Hero. Why how now? do you speak in the sick tune?

Beatrice. I am out of all other tune, methinks.

Margaret. Clap’s into ‘Light o’ love;’ that goes without a 
burden: do you sing it, and I’ll dance it.

Beatrice. Ye light o’ love, with your heels! then, if your 
husband have stables enough, you’ll see he shall 
lack no barns.

Margaret. O illegitimate construction! I scorn that with my heels.

Beatrice. ‘Tis almost five o’clock, cousin; tis time you were 
ready. By my troth, I am exceeding ill: heigh-ho!

Margaret. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband?

Beatrice. For the letter that begins them all, H.

Margaret. Well, and you be not turned Turk, there’s no more 
sailing by the star.

Beatrice. What means the fool, trow?

Margaret. Nothing I; but God send every one their heart’s desire!

Hero. These gloves the count sent me; they are an
excellent perfume.

Beatrice. I am stuffed, cousin; I cannot smell.

Margaret. A maid, and stuffed! there’s goodly catching of cold.

Beatrice. O, God help me! God help me! how long have you 
professed apprehension?

Margaret. Even since you left it. Doth not my wit become me rarely?

Beatrice. It is not seen enough, you should wear it in your 
cap. By my troth, I am sick.

Margaret. Get you some of this distilled Carduus Benedictus, 
and lay it to your heart: it is the only thing for a qualm.

Hero. There thou prickest her with a thistle.

Beatrice. Benedictus! why Benedictus? you have some moral in 
this Benedictus.

Margaret. Moral! no, by my troth, I have no moral meaning; I 
meant, plain holy-thistle. You may think perchance
that I think you are in love: nay, by’r lady, I am 
not such a fool to think what I list, nor I list 
not to think what I can, nor indeed I cannot think, 
if I would think my heart out of thinking, that you 
are in love or that you will be in love or that you
can be in love. Yet Benedick was such another, and 
now is he become a man: he swore he would never 
marry, and yet now, in despite of his heart, he eats 
his meat without grudging: and how you may be 
converted I know not, but methinks you look with
your eyes as other women do.

Beatrice. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps?

Margaret. Not a false gallop.

[Re-enter URSULA]

Ursula. Madam, withdraw: the prince, the count, Signior
Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants of the 
town, are come to fetch you to church.

Hero. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, good Ursula.