Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1 Page 6

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BENEDICK

How doth the lady?

BENEDICK

How is she?

BEATRICE

    Dead, I think.—Help, uncle!—
Hero, why, Hero! Uncle! Signor Benedick! Friar!

BEATRICE

She’s dead, I think.—Help, uncle!—Hero, why Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! Friar!

LEONATO

O Fate! Take not away thy heavy hand!
Death is the fairest cover for her shame
115That may be wished for.

LEONATO

Oh Fate, don’t spare Hero from being punished! Death is the best way to cover over her shame.

BEATRICE

How now, cousin Hero!

BEATRICE

How are you, Hero?
HERO stirs
HERO stirs.

FRIAR FRANCIS

(to HERO) Have comfort, lady.

FRIAR FRANCIS

(to HERO) Take comfort, lady.

LEONATO

(to HERO) Dost thou look up?

LEONATO

(to HERO) Are you looking up?

FRIAR FRANCIS

    Yea, wherefore should she not?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Yes, why shouldn’t she?

LEONATO

Wherefore! Why, doth not every earthly thing
120Cry shame upon her? Could she here deny
The story that is printed in her blood?—
Do not live, Hero, do not ope thine eyes,
For, did I think thou wouldst not quickly die,
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames,
125Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches,
Strike at thy life. Grieved I I had but one?
Chid I for that at frugal Nature’s frame?
O, one too much by thee! Why had I one?
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes?
130Why had I not with charitable hand
Took up a beggar’s issue at my gates,
Who, smirchèd thus, and mired with infamy,
I might have said, “No part of it is mine;
This shame derives itself from unknown loins”?

LEONATO

Why not! Isn’t every living thing condemning her? Can she deny the accusations that are proven by her guilty blush? Die, Hero, don’t open your eyes. If I didn’t think you were about to die soon—if I thought your spirit could bear this shame—I would risk punishment and kill you myself. Am I sorry that I only had one child? Do I blame Nature for being so thrifty? Oh, one child is one too many! Why did I ever have one? Why did you once seem lovely to me? Why didn’t I just adopt a beggar’s child left at my doorstep, whose shame and dishonor I could have denied, not being its true father?
But you were mine, and I loved and praised you for being mine, and was proud of you for being mine—I loved you so much that I hardly cared about myself.