Another room in Leonato’s house.
(Leonato; Constable Dogberry; Headborough Verges; Messenger)
Dogberry and Verges attempt to tell Leonato that they have some important information for him, but the longwinded Dogberry, continually interrupting Verges, so bores Leonato that the latter has to run to church. Needing to get to the wedding, Leonato tells the constables to examine their prisoners themselves, and leaves. (29 lines)
Enter Leonato and the Constable Dogberry and the Headborough Verges.
What would you with me, honest neighbor?
Marry, sir, I would have some confidence with you that decerns you nearly.
Brief, I pray you, for you see it is a busy time with me.
Marry, this it is, sir.
Yes, in truth it is, sir.
What is it, my good friends?
Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off the matter; an old man, sir, and his wits are not so blunt as, God help, I would desire they were, but in faith, honest as the skin between his brows.
Yes, I thank God I am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, and no honester than I.
Comparisons are odorous—palabras, neighbor Verges.
Neighbors, you are tedious.
It pleases your worship to say so, but we are the poor Duke’s officers; but truly, for mine own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship.
All thy tediousness on me, ah?
Yea, and ’twere a thousand pound more than ’tis, for I hear as good exclamation on your worship as of any man in the city, and though I be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it.
And so am I.
I would fain know what you have to say.
Marry, sir, our watch tonight, excepting your worship’s presence, ha’ ta’en a couple of as arrant knaves as any in Messina.
A good old man, sir, he will be talking; as they say, “When the age is in, the wit is out.” God help us, it is a world to see! Well said, i’ faith, neighbor Verges. Well, God’s a good man; and two men ride of a horse, one must ride behind. An honest soul, i’ faith, sir, by my troth he is, as ever broke bread; but God is to be worshipp’d; all men are not alike, alas, good neighbor!
Indeed, neighbor, he comes too short of you.
Gifts that God gives.
I must leave you.
One word, sir. Our watch, sir, have indeed comprehended two aspicious persons, and we would have them this morning examin’d before your worship.
Take their examination yourself, and bring it me. I am now in great haste, as it may appear unto you.
It shall be suffigance.
Drink some wine ere you go; fare you well.
Enter a Messenger.
My lord, they stay for you to give your daughter to her husband.
I’ll wait upon them, I am ready.
Exeunt Leonato and Messenger.
Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis Seacole, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the jail. We are now to examination these men.
And we must do it wisely.
We will spare for no wit, I warrant you. Here’s that shall drive some of them to a non-come; only get the learned writer to set down our excommunication, and meet me at the jail.