ACT IV
Scene 2
 

A prison.

[Enter the Constables [Dogberry and Verges] and the Sexton, in
gowns, [and the Watch, with Conrade and] Borachio.]

DOGBERRY
Is our whole dissembly appear'd?

VERGES
O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton.

SEXTON
Which be the malefactors?

DOGBERRY
Marry, that am I and my partner.

VERGES
Nay, that's certain. We have the exhibition to examine.

SEXTON
But which are the offenders that are to be examined? let them
come before Master Constable.

DOGBERRY
Yea, marry, let them come before me. What is your name, friend?

BOR
Borachio.

DOGBERRY
Pray write down Borachio. Yours, sirrah?

CONRADE
I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is Conrade.

DOGBERRY
Write down Master Gentleman Conrade. Masters, do you serve God?

BOTH
Yea, sir, we hope.

DOGBERRY
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 proved already that you are little better than false
knaves, and it will go near to be thought so shortly. How answer
you for yourselves?

CONRADE
Marry, sir, we say we are none.

DOGBERRY
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.

BORACHIO
Sir, I say to you we are none.

DOGBERRY
Well, stand aside. Fore God, they are both in a tale.
Have you writ down that they are none?

SEXTON
Master Constable, you go not the way to examine. You must call
forth the watch that are their accusers.

DOGBERRY
Yea, marry, that's the eftest way. Let the watch come forth.
Masters, I charge you in the Prince's name accuse these men.

FIRST WATCH
This man said, sir, that Don John the Prince's brother was a
villain.

DOGBERRY
Write down Prince John a villain. Why, this is flat perjury, to
call a prince's brother villain.

BORACHIO
Master Constable--

DOGBERRY
Pray thee, fellow, peace. I do not like thy look, I promise thee.

SEXTON
What heard you him say else?

SECOND WATCH
Marry, that he had received a thousand ducats of Don John for
accusing the Lady Hero wrongfully.

DOGBERRY
Flat burglary as ever was committed.

VERGES
Yea, by th' mass, that it is.

SEXTON
What else, fellow?

FIRST WATCH
And that Count Claudio did mean, upon his words, to disgrace Hero
before the whole assembly, and not marry her.

DOGBERRY
O villain! thou wilt be condemn'd into everlasting redemption for
this.

SEXTON
What else?

WATCHMEN
This is all.

SEXTON
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 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.

[Exit.]

DOGBERRY
Come, let them be opinion'd.

VERGES
Let them be in the hands--

CONRADE
Off, coxcomb!

DOGBERRY
God's my life, where's the sexton? Let him write down the
Prince's officer coxcomb. Come, bind them.--Thou naughty varlet!

CONRADE
Away! you are an ass, you are an ass.

DOGBERRY
Dost thou not suspect my place? Dost thou not suspect my years? O
that he were here to write me down an 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 everything handsome about him. Bring him away.
O that I had been writ down an ass!

[Exeunt.]