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DON PEDRO, Prince of Arragon,
Hero, Daughter to Leonato,
two Gentlewomen, attending on Hero,
A Friar, Messenger, Watch, Town-Clerk, Sexton, and
SCENE, Melina in Sicilya
(1) MUCH ADO about NOTHING.
A C T I. SCENE, a Court before Leonato's Houfe.
Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Messenger,
LEONATO. Learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragen comes this night to Mefina.
Mel. He is very near by this; he was not three leagues off when I left him.
Leon. How many gentlemen have you loft in this action?
Mel. But few of any sort, and none of name.
Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the archiever brings home full numbers; I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine callid Claudio.
(1) Much Ado about Nothing.) Innogen, (the mother of Hero) in the oldest Quarto that I have seen of this play, printed in 16co, is mention'd to enter in two several scenes. The succeeding editions have all continued her name in the Dramatis Perfona. Bat I have yentur’d to expunge it; there being no mention of her thro' the play, no one speech address’d to her, nor one syllable spoken by her. Neither is there any one passage, from which we have any reason to determine that Here's mother was living. It seems, as if the poet had in his first plan design d such a character; which, on a survey of it, he found would be fuperftnous ; and therefore he left it out.
Mel. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembred by Don Pedro : he hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age, doing in the figure of a lamb the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better better'd expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you
how. Leon. He hath an uncle here in Melina will be very much glad of it.
Mej. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not thew itselt modeft enough, without a badge of bitterness.
Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Leon. A kind overflow of kindness; there are no faces truer than those that are so wath’d; how much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping ?
Beat. I pray you, is Signior Montanto return'd from the wars or no.
Mej. I know none of that name, Lady; there was none such in the army of
Beat. He fet up his bills here in Meffina, and challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my Uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he kill'd and eaten in these wars? but how many hath he kill'd? for, indeed, I promis'd to eat all of his killing.
Leon. 'Faith, Niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Mej. He hath done good service, Lady, in these wars.
Beat. You had mutty victuals, and he hath holp to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.
Mell. And a good soldier too, Ladv. Beat. And a good soldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord ?
Mej. A lord to a lord, a man to a inan, stufft with all honourable virtues.