Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Much Ado About Nothing > Act III, scene III



	[Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES with the Watch]

DOGBERRY: Are you good men and true?

VERGES: Yea, or else it were pity but they should suffer
	salvation, body and soul.

DOGBERRY: Nay, that were a punishment too good for them, if
	they should have any allegiance in them, being
	chosen for the prince's watch.

VERGES: Well, give them their charge, neighbour Dogberry.

DOGBERRY: First, who think you the most desertless man to be
	constable?

First Watchman: Hugh Otecake, sir, or George Seacole; for they can
	write and read.

DOGBERRY: Come hither, neighbour Seacole. God hath blessed
	you with a good name: to be a well-favoured man is
	the gift of fortune; but to write and read comes by nature.

Second Watchman: Both which, master constable,--

DOGBERRY: You have: I knew it would be your answer. Well,
	for your favour, sir, why, give God thanks, and make
	no boast of it; and for your writing and reading,
	let that appear when there is no need of such
	vanity. You are thought here to be the most
	senseless and fit man for the constable of the
	watch; therefore bear you the lantern. This is your
	charge: you shall comprehend all vagrom men; you are
	to bid any man stand, in the prince's name.

Second Watchman: How if a' will not stand?

DOGBERRY: Why, then, take no note of him, but let him go; and
	presently call the rest of the watch together and
	thank God you are rid of a knave.

VERGES: If he will not stand when he is bidden, he is none
	of the prince's subjects.

DOGBERRY: True, and they are to meddle with none but the
	prince's subjects. You shall also make no noise in
	the streets; for, for the watch to babble and to
	talk is most tolerable and not to be endured.

Watchman: We will rather sleep than talk: we know what
	belongs to a watch.

DOGBERRY: Why, you speak like an ancient and most quiet
	watchman; for I cannot see how sleeping should
	offend: only, have a care that your bills be not
	stolen. Well, you are to call at all the
	ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk get them to bed.

Watchman: How if they will not?

DOGBERRY: Why, then, let them alone till they are sober: if
	they make you not then the better answer, you may
	say they are not the men you took them for.

Watchman: Well, sir.

DOGBERRY: If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue
	of your office, to be no true man; and, for such
	kind of men, the less you meddle or make with them,
	why the more is for your honesty.

Watchman: If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay
	hands on him?

DOGBERRY: Truly, by your office, you may; but I think they
	that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable
	way for you, if you do take a thief, is to let him
	show himself what he is and steal out of your company.

VERGES: You have been always called a merciful man, partner.

DOGBERRY: Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will, much more
	a man who hath any honesty in him.

VERGES: If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call
	to the nurse and bid her still it.

Watchman: How if the nurse be asleep and will not hear us?

DOGBERRY: Why, then, depart in peace, and let the child wake
	her with crying; for the ewe that will not hear her
	lamb when it baes will never answer a calf when he bleats.

VERGES: 'Tis very true.

DOGBERRY: This is the end of the charge:--you, constable, are
	to present the prince's own person: if you meet the
	prince in the night, you may stay him.

VERGES: Nay, by'r our lady, that I think a' cannot.

DOGBERRY: Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows
	the statutes, he may stay him: marry, not without
	the prince be willing; for, indeed, the watch ought
	to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a
	man against his will.

VERGES: By'r lady, I think it be so.

DOGBERRY: Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be
	any matter of weight chances, call up me: keep your
	fellows' counsels and your own; and good night.
	Come, neighbour.

Watchman: Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go sit here
	upon the church-bench till two, and then all to bed.

DOGBERRY: One word more, honest neighbours. I pray you watch
	about Signior Leonato's door; for the wedding being
	there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night.
	Adieu: be vigitant, I beseech you.

	[Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES]

	[Enter BORACHIO and CONRADE]

BORACHIO: What Conrade!

Watchman: [Aside]  Peace! stir not.

BORACHIO: Conrade, I say!

CONRADE: Here, man; I am at thy elbow.

BORACHIO: Mass, and my elbow itched; I thought there would a
	scab follow.

CONRADE: I will owe thee an answer for that: and now forward
	with thy tale.

BORACHIO: Stand thee close, then, under this pent-house, for
	it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard,
	utter all to thee.

Watchman: [Aside]  Some treason, masters: yet stand close.

BORACHIO: Therefore know I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.

CONRADE: Is it possible that any villany should be so dear?

BORACHIO: Thou shouldst rather ask if it were possible any
	villany should be so rich; for when rich villains
	have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what
	price they will.

CONRADE: I wonder at it.

BORACHIO: That shows thou art unconfirmed. Thou knowest that
	the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is
	nothing to a man.

CONRADE: Yes, it is apparel.

BORACHIO: I mean, the fashion.

CONRADE: Yes, the fashion is the fashion.

BORACHIO: Tush! I may as well say the fool's the fool. But
	seest thou not what a deformed thief this fashion
	is?

Watchman: [Aside]  I know that Deformed; a' has been a vile
	thief this seven year; a' goes up and down like a
	gentleman: I remember his name.

BORACHIO: Didst thou not hear somebody?

CONRADE: No; 'twas the vane on the house.

BORACHIO: Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this
	fashion is? how giddily a' turns about all the hot
	bloods between fourteen and five-and-thirty?
	sometimes fashioning them like Pharaoh's soldiers
	in the reeky painting, sometime like god Bel's
	priests in the old church-window, sometime like the
	shaven Hercules in the smirched worm-eaten tapestry,
	where his codpiece seems as massy as his club?

CONRADE: All this I see; and I see that the fashion wears
	out more apparel than the man. But art not thou
	thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou hast
	shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the fashion?

BORACHIO: Not so, neither: but know that I have to-night
	wooed Margaret, the Lady Hero's gentlewoman, by the
	name of Hero: she leans me out at her mistress'
	chamber-window, bids me a thousand times good
	night,--I tell this tale vilely:--I should first
	tell thee how the prince, Claudio and my master,
	planted and placed and possessed by my master Don
	John, saw afar off in the orchard this amiable encounter.

CONRADE: And thought they Margaret was Hero?

BORACHIO: Two of them did, the prince and Claudio; but the
	devil my master knew she was Margaret; and partly
	by his oaths, which first possessed them, partly by
	the dark night, which did deceive them, but chiefly
	by my villany, which did confirm any slander that
	Don John had made, away went Claudio enraged; swore
	he would meet her, as he was appointed, next morning
	at the temple, and there, before the whole
	congregation, shame her with what he saw o'er night
	and send her home again without a husband.

First Watchman: We charge you, in the prince's name, stand!

Second Watchman: Call up the right master constable. We have here
	recovered the most dangerous piece of lechery that
	ever was known in the commonwealth.

First Watchman: And one Deformed is one of them: I know him; a'
	wears a lock.

CONRADE: Masters, masters,--

Second Watchman: You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant you.

CONRADE: Masters,--

First Watchman: Never speak: we charge you let us obey you to go with us.

BORACHIO: We are like to prove a goodly commodity, being taken
	up of these men's bills.

CONRADE: A commodity in question, I warrant you. Come, we'll obey you.

	[Exeunt]




	MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING






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