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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 Pedro.
Benedick, a young Lord of Padua, favour'd likewife by
Margaret, two Gentlewomen, attending on Hero.
A Friar, Meffenger, Watch, Town-Clerk, Sexton, and Attendants.
SCENE, Melfina in Sicily.
A C T
SCENE, a Court before Leonato's Houfe. Enter Leonato, Hero, and Beatrice, with a Meffenger.
LEON AT 0:
Learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of
Meff. 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 ?
Me. But few of any Sort, and
none of Name.
Leon. A victory is twice it felf, when the atchiever brings home full numbers; I find here, that Don Pe
(1) Much Ado about Nothing.] Innogen, (the Mother of Hero) in the oldest Quarto that I have feen of this Play, printed in 1600, is mention'd to enter in two feveral Scenes. The fucceeding Editions have all continued her Name in the Dramatis Perfona. But I have ventur'd to expunge it; there being no mention of her thro' the Play, no one Speech addrefs'd to her, nor one Syllable spoken by her. Neither is there any A 3
dro hath bestowed much honour on a young call'd Claudio.
Me. Much deferved 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 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 it felf modest 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 those that are so wash'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 Sort.
Leon. What is he that you ask for, Neice?
Hero. My Coufin means Signior Benedick of Padua. Me. O, he's return'd, and as pleasant as ever he
Beat. He fet up his bills here in Messina, 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 these wars? but how many hath he kill'd? for, indeed, I promis'd to eat all of his killing.
one Paffage, from which we have any Reason to determine that Hero's Mother was living. It seems, as if the Poet had in his firft Plan defign'd fuch a Character; which, on a Survey of it, he found would be fuperfluous; and therefore he left it out,