• Enter HERO,MARGARET, and URSULA

    HERO

    Good Margaret, run thee to the parlor.
    There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice
    Proposing with the Prince and Claudio.
    Whisper her ear and tell her I and Ursula
    5Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse
    Is all of her. Say that thou overheardst us,
    And bid her steal into the pleachèd bower
    Where honeysuckles ripened by the sun
    Forbid the sun to enter, like favorites
    10Made proud by princes, that advance their pride
    Against that power that bred it. There will she hide her
    To listen our propose. This is thy office.
    Bear thee well in it and leave us alone.

    MARGARET

    I’ll make her come, I warrant you, presently.
    Exit

    HERO

    15Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come,
    As we do trace this alley up and down,
    Our talk must only be of Benedick.
    When I do name him, let it be thy part
    To praise him more than ever man did merit.
    20My talk to thee must be how Benedick
    Is sick in love with Beatrice. Of this matter
    Is little Cupid’s crafty arrow made,
    That only wounds by hearsay.
    Enter BEATRICE, behind
  • HERO, MARGARET, andURSULA enter.

    HERO

    Margaret, run into the sitting room. You’ll find Beatrice there, talking to Claudio and the Prince. Whisper to her that Ursula and I are walking in the orchard and that we’re talking all about her. Tell her you heard us, and that she should sneak into the arbor where the crisscrossing branches overhead keep the honeysuckles out of the sun. (The same honeysuckles that were once ripened in the sun; they’re like courtiers who rise because the king favors them, then plot to overthrow his Majesty.) She can hide there and eavesdrop on our conversation. This is your job. Do it well, and then leave us.

    MARGARET

    I’ll make her come right away, I promise you.
    She exits.

    HERO

    All right Ursula, as Beatrice arrives, we’ll be walking up and down this alley and speaking about nothing but Benedick. Whenever I mention him, praise him more than any man deserves. It’ll be my job to talk about how Benedick is sick with love for Beatrice. We’ll make our arrows the same way Cupid does: with gossip and rumor.
    BEATRICE enters, behind.