Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1
No Fear Act 4 Scene 1 Page 8

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Trust not my reading nor my observations,
165Which with experimental seal doth warrant
The tenor of my book; trust not my age,
My reverence, calling, nor divinity,
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here
Under some biting error.
You can doubt all these things if this sweet lady turns out to be guilty.

LEONATO

    Friar, it cannot be.
170Thou seest that all the grace that she hath left
Is that she will not add to her damnation
A sin of perjury. She not denies it.
Why seek’st thou then to cover with excuse
That which appears in proper nakedness?

LEONATO

But she must be, Friar. You see that any morals she has left are preventing her from denying the charges: she doesn’t want to add perjury to her list of sins.

FRIAR FRANCIS

175Lady, what man is he you are accused of?

FRIAR FRANCIS

Lady, who do they accuse you of having taken as your lover?

HERO

They know that do accuse me. I know none.
If I know more of any man alive
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant,
Let all my sins lack mercy!—O my father,
180Prove you that any man with me conversed
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight
Maintained the change of words with any creature,
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death!

HERO

You should ask them. I don’t know who they’re talking about. If I’ve been with a man in any improper way, let all my sins be punished! Oh, father, if you yourself can prove that I talked with a man at an indecent hour, or indeed that I spoke to any creature last night, you can disown me, hate me, and torture me to death!

FRIAR FRANCIS

There is some strange misprision in the princes.

FRIAR FRANCIS

The princes are under some strange misunderstanding.

BENEDICK

185Two of them have the very bent of honor,
And if their wisdoms be misled in this,
The practice of it lives in John the Bastard,
Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies.

BENEDICK

Two of them are completely honorable, and if they have been tricked in this, we must blame John the Bastard, who lives to create conflict.