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Much Ado About Nothing

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20
BEATRICE
Too curst is more than curst. I shall lessen God’s sending
that way, for it is said, “God sends a curst cow short horns,”
but to a cow too curst, he sends none.
BEATRICE
Being “too ill-tempered” is different from being simply “ill-tempered,” right? So I suppose that means I can escape God’s punishment, for in the old proverb, it is said that “God gives an ill-tempered cow short horns” so that she can’t inflict damage on anyone. But it doesn’t say anything about a cow that is too ill-tempered.

LEONATO
So, by being too curst, God will send you no horns.
LEONATO
So then, for being too argumentative, God won’t send you any horns?



25
BEATRICE
Just, if he send me no husband, for the which blessing I am
at him upon my knees every morning and evening. Lord, I
could not endure a husband with a beard on his face! I had
rather lie in the woolen.
BEATRICE

Exactly

By saying God won’t give horns, Beatrice jokes that she won’t have a husband.

Exactly
. I pray every morning and night that the Lord won’t send me a husband. Really, I couldn’t stand a husband with a beard. I’d rather be wrapped in scratchy blankets all night.

LEONATO
You may light on a husband that hath no beard.
LEONATO
Maybe you will find a husband without a beard.



30



BEATRICE
What should I do with him? Dress him in my apparel and
make him my waiting gentlewoman? He that hath a beard
is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than
a man; and he that is more than a youth is not for me, and
he that is less than a man, I am not for him. Therefore I will
even take sixpence in earnest of the bearherd, and lead his
apes into hell.
BEATRICE
And then what would I do with him? Dress him up in my clothes and pretend he’s my lady servant? If he has a beard, he’s more than a boy; if he doesn’t have a beard, he’s less than a man. If he’s more than a boy, he’s not the one for me, and if he’s less than a man, I’m not the one for him. They say that women who die unmarried are destined to lead the apes to hell, and I suppose that’ll be my fate as well.

35
LEONATO
Well then, go you into hell?
LEONATO
So you’ll go to hell?





40
BEATRICE
No, but to the gate, and there will the devil meet me like an
old cuckold with horns on his head, and say, “Get you to
heaven, Beatrice, get you to heaven; here’s no place for you
maids.” So deliver I up my apes and away to Saint Peter. For
the heavens, he shows me where the bachelors sit, and there
live we as merry as the day is long.
BEATRICE
No, just to the gates of hell, where the devil will meet me, with the horns on his head like a cuckold, and say, “Go up to heaven, Beatrice. Hell is no place for you virgins.” So I’ll fly up to heaven (leaving the apes behind) where I’ll be met by Saint Peter guarding heaven’s gates. He will show me the part of heaven where the bachelors sit, and I’ll have fun there forever.

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