Act 5, Scene 2

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.

Benedick. And therefore will come. 
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 bookful of these quondam carpet-mangers, 
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. 
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 lime 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 
fed 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.