Much Ado About Nothing

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 3 Scene 1

page Act 3 Scene 1 Page 2

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      Now begin,
For look where Beatrice like a lapwing runs
25Close by the ground, to hear our conference.
Let’s start. See, Beatrice has run over like a little bird, keeping close to the ground and trying to overhear us.

URSULA

(aside to HERO)
The pleasant’st angling is to see the fish
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream
And greedily devour the treacherous bait.
30So angle we for Beatrice, who even now
Is couchèd in the woodbine coverture.
Fear you not my part of the dialogue.

URSULA

(speaking so that only HERO can hear) The best part of fishing is watching the fish cut through the water and greedily take the bait. Now we’re fishing for Beatrice, who’s hiding right now in the honeysuckle arbor. Don’t worry, I’ll do my part.

HERO

(aside to URSULA)
Then go we near her, that her ear lose nothing
35Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it.—
(approaching the bower)
No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful.
I know her spirits are as coy and wild
As haggards of the rock.

HERO

(speaking so that only URSULAcan hear) Then let’s get closer, so she can hear all the false, sweet bait we’re setting for her.— (approaching the bower) No, truly, Ursula, she’s too scornful. She’s as devious and fierce as the wild hawks on the rocks.

URSULA

    But are you sure
40That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely?

URSULA

But are you sure that Benedick loves Beatrice that much?

HERO

So says the Prince and my new-trothèd lord.

HERO

That’s what the Prince and my fiancé say.

URSULA

And did they bid you tell her of it, madam?

URSULA

And did they ask you to tell Beatrice about this, madam?

HERO

They did entreat me to acquaint her of it,
But I persuaded them, if they loved Benedick,
45To wish him wrestle with affection
And never to let Beatrice know of it.

HERO

They did want me to tell her, but I persuaded them that, if they truly loved Benedick, they would try to get him to battle his emotions and keep Beatrice in the dark.

URSULA

Why did you so? Doth not the gentleman
Deserve as full as fortunate a bed
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon?

URSULA

Why did you do that? Doesn’t Benedick deserve as much luck with a mate as he would have with Beatrice?