Much Ado About Nothing (1598-9)

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Act III, Scene 5

Another room in LEONATO'S house.

Leonato
What would you with me, honest neighbour?

Dogberry
Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you
that decerns you nearly.

Leonato
Brief, I pray you; for you see it is a busy time with me.

Dogberry
Marry, this it is, sir.

Verges
Yes, in truth it is, sir.

Leonato
What is it, my good friends?

Dogberry
Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the
matter: an old man, sir, and his wits are not so
blunt as, God help, I would desire they were; but,
in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.

Verges
Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living
that is an old man and no honester than I.

Dogberry
Comparisons are odorous: palabras, neighbour Verges.

Leonato
Neighbours, you are tedious.

Dogberry
It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the
poor duke's officers; but truly, for mine own part,
if I were as tedious as a king, I could find it in
my heart to bestow it all of your worship.

Leonato
All thy tediousness on me, ah?

Dogberry
Yea, an 'twere a thousand pound more than 'tis; for
I hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any
man in the city; and though I be but a poor man, I
am glad to hear it.

Verges
And so am I.

Leonato
I would fain know what you have to say.

Verges
Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting your
worship's presence, ha' ta'en a couple of as arrant
knaves as any in Messina.

Dogberry
A good old man, sir; he will be talking: as they
say, when the age is in, the wit is out: God help
us! it is a world to see. Well said, i' faith,
neighbour Verges: well, God's a good man; an two men
ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An honest
soul, i' faith, sir; by my troth he is, as ever
broke bread; but God is to be worshipped; all men
are not alike; alas, good neighbour!

Leonato
Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short of you.

Dogberry
Gifts that God gives.

Leonato
I must leave you.

Dogberry
One word, sir: our watch, sir, have indeed
comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would
have them this morning examined before your worship.

Leonato
Take their examination yourself and bring it me: I
am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.

Dogberry
It shall be suffigance.

Leonato
Drink some wine ere you go: fare you well.

Messenger
My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to
her husband.

Leonato
I'll wait upon them: I am ready.

Dogberry
Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole;
bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the gaol: we
are now to examination these men.

Verges
And we must do it wisely.

Dogberry
We will spare for no wit, I warrant you; here's
that shall drive some of them to a non-come: only
get the learned writer to set down our
excommunication and meet me at the gaol.

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