Marry, this well carried shall on her be...

Much Ado About Nothing

Friar Francis

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Text

Marry, this well carried shall on her behalf

Change slander to remorse; that is some good:

But not for that dream I on this strange course,

But on this travail look for greater birth.

She dying, as it must so be maintain'd,

Upon the instant that she was accused,

Shall be lamented, pitied and excused

Of every hearer: for it so falls out

That what we have we prize not to the worth

Whiles we enjoy it, but being lack'd and lost,

Why, then we rack the value, then we find

The virtue that possession would not show us

Whiles it was ours. So will it fare with Claudio:

When he shall hear she died upon his words,

The idea of her life shall sweetly creep

Into his study of imagination,

And every lovely organ of her life

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit,

More moving-delicate and full of life,

Into the eye and prospect of his soul,

Than when she lived indeed; then shall he mourn,

If ever love had interest in his liver,

And wish he had not so accused her,

No, though he thought his accusation true.

Let this be so, and doubt not but success

Will fashion the event in better shape

Than I can lay it down in likelihood.

But if all aim but this be levell'd false,

The supposition of the lady's death

Will quench the wonder of her infamy:

And if it sort not well, you may conceal her,

As best befits her wounded reputation,

In some reclusive and religious life,

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds and injuries.

William Shakespeare. Much Ado About Nothing Act 4, sc. 1, ll.212-245.

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