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DON PEDRO, Prince of Arragon.
Don John, Baftard Brother to Don Pedro.
Claudio, a young Lord of Florence, Favourite to Don
Benedick, a young Lord of Padua, favour'd likewise by
Hero, Daughter to Leonato.
Beatrice, Niece to Leonato.
Urfula,} two Gentlewomen, attending on Hero,
A Friar, Meffenger, Watch, Town-Clerk, Sexton, and Attendants.
SCENE, Melfina in Sicily.
(1) MUCH ADO about NOTHING.
SCENE, a Court before Leonato's Houfe.
Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Messenger.
Learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragen comes this night to Mefina.
Me. 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
Me. But few of any fort, and none of name.
Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the atchiever brings home full numbers; I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine call'd Claudio.
(1) Much Ado about Nothing.] Innogen, (the mother of Hero) in the oldeft Quarto that I have feen of this play, printed in 1600, is mention'd to enter in two feveral fcenes. The fucceeding editions have all continued her name in the Dramatis Perfona. Bat I have ventur'd to expunge it; there being no mention of her thro' the play, no one fpeech addrefs'd to her, nor one fyllable spoken by her. Neither is there any one paffage, from which we have any reason to determine that Here's mother was living. It feems, as if the poet had in his first plan defign'd fuch a character; which, on a furvey of it, he found would be fuperfluous; and therefore he left it out.
Meff. Much deferved on his part, and equally remembred by Don Pedro: he hath borne himself beyond the promife 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 Mefina will be very much glad of it.
Me. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even fo much, that joy could not fhew itself modeft enough, without a badge of bitternefs.
Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Me. In great measure.
Leon. A kind overflow of kindness; there are no faces truer than thofe that are fo wafh'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.
Meff. I know none of that name, Lady; there was none fuch in the army of any fort.
Leon. What is he that you afk for, Niece?
Hero. My Coufin means Signior Benedick of Padua. Me. O, he's return'd, and as pleafant as ever he was. Beat. He fet up his bills here in Meffina, and challeng'd Cupid at the flight; and my Uncle's fool, reading the challenge, fubfcrib'd for Cupid, and challeng'd him at the bird-bolt. I pray you, how many hath he kill'd and eaten in thefe wars? but how many hath he kill'd? for, indeed, I promis'd to eat all of his killing.
Lean. 'Faith, Niece, you tax Signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not.
Me. He hath done good service, Lady, in thefe wars. Beat. You had mufty victuals, and he hath holp to eat it; he's a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent ftomach.
Me. And a good foldier too, Ladv.
Beat. And a good foldier to a lady? but what is he to a lord?
Meff. A lord to a lord, a man to a inan, ftufft with all honourable virtues.