Messina. A prison.
(Dogberry; Verges; Town Clerk Sexton; First Watchman; Second Watchman; Conrade; Borachio)
Dogberry, Verges and the Watch bring Borachio and Conrade before the Sexton to interrogate them. Despite Dogberry’s inability to go about the interrogation properly, the story finally comes out, and the Sexton, who has heard of what happened at the church and thus knows that what was overheard is true, sends the prisoners to Leonato. Don John, it turns out, has fled. (39 lines)
Enter the Constables Dogberry and Verges, and the Town Clerk Sexton in gowns, and the Watch with Conrade and Borachio.
Is our whole dissembly appear’d?
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.
Which be the malefactors?
Marry, that am I and my partner.
Nay, that’s certain, we have the exhibition to examine.
But which are the offenders that are to be examin’d? Let them come before Master Constable.
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?
Pray write down Borachio. Yours, sirrah?
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.
Write down Master Gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God?
Yea, sir, we hope.
Write down, that they hope they serve God; and write God first, for God defend but God should go before such villains! Masters, it is prov’d already that you are little better than false knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer you for yourselves?
Marry, sir, we say we are none.
A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you, but I will go about with him. Come you hither, sirrah; a word in your ear, sir. I say to you, it is thought you are false knaves.
Sir, I say to you, we are none.
Well, stand aside. ’Fore God, they are both in a tale. Have you writ down, that they are none?
Master Constable, you go not the way to examine; you must call forth the watch that are their accusers.
Yea, marry, that’s the eftest way; let the watch come forth. Masters, I charge you in the Prince’s name accuse these men.
This man said, sir, that Don John, the Prince’s brother, was a villain.
Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury, to call a prince’s brother villain.
Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy look, I promise thee.
What heard you him say else?
Marry, that he had receiv’d a thousand ducats of Don John for accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.
Flat burglary as ever was committed.
Yea, by mass, that it is.
What else, fellow?
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole assembly, and not marry her.
O villain! Thou wilt be condemn’d into everlasting redemption for this.
This is all.
And this is more, masters, than you can deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stol’n away. Hero was in this manner accus’d, in this very manner refus’d, and upon the grief of this suddenly died. Master Constable, let these men be bound, and brought to Leonato’s. I will go before and show him their examination.
Come let them be opinion’d.
Let them be in the hands—
God’s my life, where’s the sexton? Let him write down the Prince’s officer coxcomb. Come, bind them. Thou naughty varlet!
Away, you are an ass, you are an ass.
Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O that he were here to write me down as ass! But, masters, remember that I am an ass; though it be not written down, yet forget not that I am an ass. No, thou villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be prov’d upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow, and which is more, an officer, and which is more, a householder, and which is more, as pretty a piece of flesh as any is in Messina, and one that knows the law, go to, and a rich fellow enough, go to, and a fellow that hath had losses, and one that hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about him. Bring him away. O that I had been writ down an ass!