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Much Ado About Nothing

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 1
No Fear Act 1 Scene 1 Page 3

Original Text

Modern Text

LEONATO

Faith, niece, you tax Signor Benedick too much, but he’ll be
meet with you, I doubt it not.

LEONATO

For God’s sake, Beatrice, you’re criticizing Signior Benedick too heavily. But I’m sure he’ll get even with you.

MESSENGER

40He hath done good service, lady, in these wars.

MESSENGER

Signior Benedick served well in the war, my lady.

BEATRICE

You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it. He is a
very valiant trencherman. He hath an excellent stomach.

BEATRICE

You had rotten food, and he helped you eat it. He’s a very brave eater—he has a strong stomach.

MESSENGER

And a good soldier too, lady.

MESSENGER

He’s a good soldier too, lady.

BEATRICE

And a good soldier to a lady, but what is he to a lord?

BEATRICE

He’s a good soldier to a lady? Well then, what is he to a lord?

MESSENGER

45A lord to a lord, a man to a man, stuffed with all honorable
virtues.

MESSENGER

He’s a lord to a lord and a man to a man. He is positively stuffed with honorable virtues.

BEATRICE

It is so indeed. He is no less than a stuffed man. But for the
stuffing—well, we are all mortal.

BEATRICE

Absolutely—he is stuffed, like a dummy. As for what he’s stuffed with—well, nobody’s perfect.

LEONATO

You must not, sir, mistake my niece. There is a kind of
50merry war betwixt Signor Benedick and her. They never
meet but there’s a skirmish of wit between them.

LEONATO

Please don’t take my niece the wrong way, sir. Benedick and Beatrice have been waging a war of wits between themselves. Whenever they meet, there’s a little battle.

BEATRICE

Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict four of his
five wits went halting off, and now is the whole man
governed with one, so that if he have wit enough to keep
55himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between
himself and his horse, for it is all the wealth that he hath left
to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his companion
now? He hath every month a new sworn brother.

BEATRICE

And I always win. The last time we fought, he was so dazed by the end that he wasn’t much smarter than his horse. So tell me, who is he hanging around with these days? Every month he has a new best friend.

MESSENGER

Is ’t possible?

MESSENGER

Is that possible?