Measure for Measure

 

By

 

William Shakespeare

 


CONTENTS:

 

ACT I 3

SCENE I. An apartment in the DUKE'S palace. 3

SCENE II. A Street. 7

SCENE III. A monastery. 17

SCENE IV. A nunnery. 19

ACT II 24

SCENE I. A hall In ANGELO's house. 24

SCENE II. Another room in the same. 38

SCENE III. A room in a prison. 48

SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house. 51

ACT III 59

SCENE I. A room in the prison. 59

SCENE II. The street before the prison. 71

ACT IV.. 83

SCENE I. The moated grange at ST. LUKE's. 83

SCENE II. A room in the prison. 87

SCENE III. Another room in the same. 97

SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house. 106

SCENE V. Fields without the town. 108

SCENE VI. Street near the city gate. 109

ACT V.. 110

SCENE I. The city gate. 110

 


ACT I

SCENE I. An apartment in the DUKE'S palace.

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, ESCALUS, Lords and Attendants

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Escalus.

 

ESCALUS

 

    My lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Of government the properties to unfold,

    Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;

    Since I am put to know that your own science

    Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice

    My strength can give you: then no more remains,

    But that to your sufficiency as your Worth is able,

    And let them work. The nature of our people,

    Our city's institutions, and the terms

    For common justice, you're as pregnant in

    As art and practise hath enriched any

    That we remember. There is our commission,

    From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,

    I say, bid come before us Angelo.

 

    Exit an Attendant

    What figure of us think you he will bear?

    For you must know, we have with special soul

    Elected him our absence to supply,

    Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love,

    And given his deputation all the organs

    Of our own power: what think you of it?

 

ESCALUS

 

    If any in Vienna be of worth

    To undergo such ample grace and honour,

    It is Lord Angelo.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Look where he comes.

 

    Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

 

    Always obedient to your grace's will,

    I come to know your pleasure.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Angelo,

    There is a kind of character in thy life,

    That to the observer doth thy history

    Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings

    Are not thine own so proper as to waste

    Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.

    Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,

    Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues

    Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike

    As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd

    But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends

    The smallest scruple of her excellence

    But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines

    Herself the glory of a creditor,

    Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech

    To one that can my part in him advertise;

    Hold therefore, Angelo:--

    In our remove be thou at full ourself;

    Mortality and mercy in Vienna

    Live in thy tongue and heart: old Escalus,

    Though first in question, is thy secondary.

    Take thy commission.

 

ANGELO

 

    Now, good my lord,

    Let there be some more test made of my metal,

    Before so noble and so great a figure

    Be stamp'd upon it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    No more evasion:

    We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice

    Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.

    Our haste from hence is of so quick condition

    That it prefers itself and leaves unquestion'd

    Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,

    As time and our concernings shall importune,

    How it goes with us, and do look to know

    What doth befall you here. So, fare you well;

    To the hopeful execution do I leave you

    Of your commissions.

 

ANGELO

 

    Yet give leave, my lord,

    That we may bring you something on the way.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    My haste may not admit it;

    Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do

    With any scruple; your scope is as mine own

    So to enforce or qualify the laws

    As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand:

    I'll privily away. I love the people,

    But do not like to stage me to their eyes:

    Through it do well, I do not relish well

    Their loud applause and Aves vehement;

    Nor do I think the man of safe discretion

    That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.

 

ANGELO

 

    The heavens give safety to your purposes!

 

ESCALUS

 

    Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!

 

DUKE

 

    I thank you. Fare you well.

 

    Exit

 

ESCALUS

 

    I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave

    To have free speech with you; and it concerns me

    To look into the bottom of my place:

    A power I have, but of what strength and nature

    I am not yet instructed.

 

ANGELO

 

    'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,

    And we may soon our satisfaction have

    Touching that point.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I'll wait upon your honour.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE II. A Street.

 

    Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

 

LUCIO

 

    If the duke with the other dukes come not to

    composition with the King of Hungary, why then all

    the dukes fall upon the king.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of

    Hungary's!

 

Second Gentleman

 

    Amen.

 

LUCIO

 

    Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that

    went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped

    one out of the table.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    'Thou shalt not steal'?

 

LUCIO

 

    Ay, that he razed.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and

    all the rest from their functions: they put forth

    to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in

    the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition

    well that prays for peace.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    I never heard any soldier dislike it.

 

LUCIO

 

    I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where

    grace was said.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    No? a dozen times at least.

 

First Gentleman

 

    What, in metre?

 

LUCIO

 

    In any proportion or in any language.

 

First Gentleman

 

    I think, or in any religion.

 

LUCIO

 

    Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all

    controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a

    wicked villain, despite of all grace.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.

 

LUCIO

 

    I grant; as there may between the lists and the

    velvet. Thou art the list.

 

First Gentleman

 

    And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt

    a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief

    be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou

    art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak

    feelingly now?

 

LUCIO

 

    I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful

    feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own

    confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I

    live, forget to drink after thee.

 

First Gentleman

 

    I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?

 

Second Gentleman

 

    Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.

 

LUCIO

 

    Behold, behold. where Madam Mitigation comes! I

    have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to--

 

Second Gentleman

 

    To what, I pray?

 

LUCIO

 

    Judge.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    To three thousand dolours a year.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Ay, and more.

 

LUCIO

 

    A French crown more.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Thou art always figuring diseases in me; but thou

    art full of error; I am sound.

 

LUCIO

 

    Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound as

    things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow;

    impiety has made a feast of thee.

 

    Enter MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

First Gentleman

 

    How now! which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried

    to prison was worth five thousand of you all.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    Who's that, I pray thee?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.

 

First Gentleman

 

    Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw

    him carried away; and, which is more, within these

    three days his head to be chopped off.

 

LUCIO

 

    But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so.

    Art thou sure of this?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam

    Julietta with child.

 

LUCIO

 

    Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two

    hours since, and he was ever precise in

    promise-keeping.

 

Second Gentleman

 

    Besides, you know, it draws something near to the

    speech we had to such a purpose.

 

First Gentleman

 

    But, most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.

 

LUCIO

 

    Away! let's go learn the truth of it.

 

    Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what

    with the gallows and what with poverty, I am

    custom-shrunk.

 

    Enter POMPEY

    How now! what's the news with you?

 

POMPEY

 

    Yonder man is carried to prison.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Well; what has he done?

 

POMPEY

 

    A woman.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    But what's his offence?

 

POMPEY

 

    Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    What, is there a maid with child by him?

 

POMPEY

 

    No, but there's a woman with maid by him. You have

    not heard of the proclamation, have you?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    What proclamation, man?

 

POMPEY

 

    All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    And what shall become of those in the city?

 

POMPEY

 

    They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too,

    but that a wise burgher put in for them.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be

    pulled down?

 

POMPEY

 

    To the ground, mistress.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!

    What shall become of me?

 

POMPEY

 

    Come; fear you not: good counsellors lack no

    clients: though you change your place, you need not

    change your trade; I'll be your tapster still.

    Courage! there will be pity taken on you: you that

    have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you

    will be considered.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    What's to do here, Thomas tapster? let's withdraw.

 

POMPEY

 

    Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to

    prison; and there's Madam Juliet.

 

    Exeunt

 

    Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?

    Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

 

Provost

 

    I do it not in evil disposition,

    But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Thus can the demigod Authority

    Make us pay down for our offence by weight

    The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will;

    On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.

 

    Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

 

LUCIO

 

    Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:

    As surfeit is the father of much fast,

    So every scope by the immoderate use

    Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,

    Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,

    A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

 

LUCIO

 

    If could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would

    send for certain of my creditors: and yet, to say

    the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom

    as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy

    offence, Claudio?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    What but to speak of would offend again.

 

LUCIO

 

    What, is't murder?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    No.

 

LUCIO

 

    Lechery?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Call it so.

 

Provost

 

    Away, sir! you must go.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.

 

LUCIO

 

    A hundred, if they'll do you any good.

    Is lechery so look'd after?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract

    I got possession of Julietta's bed:

    You know the lady; she is fast my wife,

    Save that we do the denunciation lack

    Of outward order: this we came not to,

    Only for propagation of a dower

    Remaining in the coffer of her friends,

    From whom we thought it meet to hide our love

    Till time had made them for us. But it chances

    The stealth of our most mutual entertainment

    With character too gross is writ on Juliet.

 

LUCIO

 

    With child, perhaps?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Unhappily, even so.

    And the new deputy now for the duke--

    Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,

    Or whether that the body public be

    A horse whereon the governor doth ride,

    Who, newly in the seat, that it may know

    He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;

    Whether the tyranny be in his place,

    Or in his emmence that fills it up,

    I stagger in:--but this new governor

    Awakes me all the enrolled penalties

    Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall

    So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round

    And none of them been worn; and, for a name,

    Now puts the drowsy and neglected act

    Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.

 

LUCIO

 

    I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on

    thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,

    may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to

    him.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    I have done so, but he's not to be found.

    I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:

    This day my sister should the cloister enter

    And there receive her approbation:

    Acquaint her with the danger of my state:

    Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends

    To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:

    I have great hope in that; for in her youth

    There is a prone and speechless dialect,

    Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art

    When she will play with reason and discourse,

    And well she can persuade.

 

LUCIO

 

    I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the

    like, which else would stand under grievous

    imposition, as for the enjoying of thy life, who I

    would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a

    game of tick-tack. I'll to her.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    I thank you, good friend Lucio.

 

LUCIO

 

    Within two hours.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Come, officer, away!

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE III. A monastery.

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO and FRIAR THOMAS

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    No, holy father; throw away that thought;

    Believe not that the dribbling dart of love

    Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee

    To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose

    More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends

    Of burning youth.

 

FRIAR THOMAS

 

    May your grace speak of it?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    My holy sir, none better knows than you

    How I have ever loved the life removed

    And held in idle price to haunt assemblies

    Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.

    I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,

    A man of stricture and firm abstinence,

    My absolute power and place here in Vienna,

    And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;

    For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,

    And so it is received. Now, pious sir,

    You will demand of me why I do this?

 

FRIAR THOMAS

 

    Gladly, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    We have strict statutes and most biting laws.

    The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,

    Which for this nineteen years we have let slip;

    Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,

    That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,

    Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,

    Only to stick it in their children's sight

    For terror, not to use, in time the rod

    Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,

    Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;

    And liberty plucks justice by the nose;

    The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart

    Goes all decorum.

 

FRIAR THOMAS

 

    It rested in your grace

    To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:

    And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd

    Than in Lord Angelo.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I do fear, too dreadful:

    Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,

    'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them

    For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,

    When evil deeds have their permissive pass

    And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,

    I have on Angelo imposed the office;

    Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,

    And yet my nature never in the fight

    To do in slander. And to behold his sway,

    I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,

    Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee,

    Supply me with the habit and instruct me

    How I may formally in person bear me

    Like a true friar. More reasons for this action

    At our more leisure shall I render you;

    Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;

    Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses

    That his blood flows, or that his appetite

    Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,

    If power change purpose, what our seemers be.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE IV. A nunnery.

 

    Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA

 

ISABELLA

 

    And have you nuns no farther privileges?

 

FRANCISCA

 

    Are not these large enough?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more;

    But rather wishing a more strict restraint

    Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Within] Ho! Peace be in this place!

 

ISABELLA

 

    Who's that which calls?

 

FRANCISCA

 

    It is a man's voice. Gentle Isabella,

    Turn you the key, and know his business of him;

    You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn.

    When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men

    But in the presence of the prioress:

    Then, if you speak, you must not show your face,

    Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.

    He calls again; I pray you, answer him.

 

    Exit

 

ISABELLA

 

    Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls

 

    Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

 

    Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses

    Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me

    As bring me to the sight of Isabella,

    A novice of this place and the fair sister

    To her unhappy brother Claudio?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Why 'her unhappy brother'? let me ask,

    The rather for I now must make you know

    I am that Isabella and his sister.

 

LUCIO

 

    Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:

    Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Woe me! for what?

 

LUCIO

 

    For that which, if myself might be his judge,

    He should receive his punishment in thanks:

    He hath got his friend with child.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Sir, make me not your story.

 

LUCIO

 

    It is true.

    I would not--though 'tis my familiar sin

    With maids to seem the lapwing and to jest,

    Tongue far from heart--play with all virgins so:

    I hold you as a thing ensky'd and sainted.

    By your renouncement an immortal spirit,

    And to be talk'd with in sincerity,

    As with a saint.

 

ISABELLA

 

    You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.

 

LUCIO

 

    Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:

    Your brother and his lover have embraced:

    As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time

    That from the seedness the bare fallow brings

    To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb

    Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Some one with child by him? My cousin Juliet?

 

LUCIO

 

    Is she your cousin?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Adoptedly; as school-maids change their names

    By vain though apt affection.

 

LUCIO

 

    She it is.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, let him marry her.

 

LUCIO

 

    This is the point.

    The duke is very strangely gone from hence;

    Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,

    In hand and hope of action: but we do learn

    By those that know the very nerves of state,

    His givings-out were of an infinite distance

    From his true-meant design. Upon his place,

    And with full line of his authority,

    Governs Lord Angelo; a man whose blood

    Is very snow-broth; one who never feels

    The wanton stings and motions of the sense,

    But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge

    With profits of the mind, study and fast.

    He--to give fear to use and liberty,

    Which have for long run by the hideous law,

    As mice by lions--hath pick'd out an act,

    Under whose heavy sense your brother's life

    Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;

    And follows close the rigour of the statute,

    To make him an example. All hope is gone,

    Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer

    To soften Angelo: and that's my pith of business

    'Twixt you and your poor brother.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Doth he so seek his life?

 

LUCIO

 

    Has censured him

    Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath

    A warrant for his execution.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Alas! what poor ability's in me

    To do him good?

 

LUCIO

 

    Assay the power you have.

 

ISABELLA

 

    My power? Alas, I doubt--

 

LUCIO

 

    Our doubts are traitors

    And make us lose the good we oft might win

    By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,

    And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,

    Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,

    All their petitions are as freely theirs

    As they themselves would owe them.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I'll see what I can do.

 

LUCIO

 

    But speedily.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I will about it straight;

    No longer staying but to give the mother

    Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:

    Commend me to my brother: soon at night

    I'll send him certain word of my success.

 

LUCIO

 

    I take my leave of you.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Good sir, adieu.

 

    Exeunt

 


ACT II

SCENE I. A hall In ANGELO's house.

 

    Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants, behind

 

ANGELO

 

    We must not make a scarecrow of the law,

    Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,

    And let it keep one shape, till custom make it

    Their perch and not their terror.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Ay, but yet

    Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,

    Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman

    Whom I would save, had a most noble father!

    Let but your honour know,

    Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,

    That, in the working of your own affections,

    Had time cohered with place or place with wishing,

    Or that the resolute acting of your blood

    Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,

    Whether you had not sometime in your life

    Err'd in this point which now you censure him,

    And pull'd the law upon you.

 

ANGELO

 

    'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,

    Another thing to fall. I not deny,

    The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,

    May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two

    Guiltier than him they try. What's open made to justice,

    That justice seizes: what know the laws

    That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very pregnant,

    The jewel that we find, we stoop and take't

    Because we see it; but what we do not see

    We tread upon, and never think of it.

    You may not so extenuate his offence

    For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,

    When I, that censure him, do so offend,

    Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,

    And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Be it as your wisdom will.

 

ANGELO

 

    Where is the provost?

 

Provost

 

    Here, if it like your honour.

 

ANGELO

 

    See that Claudio

    Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:

    Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared;

    For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

 

    Exit Provost

 

ESCALUS

 

    [Aside] Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!

    Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:

    Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none:

    And some condemned for a fault alone.

 

    Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and POMPEY

 

ELBOW

 

    Come, bring them away: if these be good people in

    a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in

    common houses, I know no law: bring them away.

 

ANGELO

 

    How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?

 

ELBOW

 

    If it Please your honour, I am the poor duke's

    constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon

    justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good

    honour two notorious benefactors.

 

ANGELO

 

    Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are

    they not malefactors?

 

ELBOW

 

    If it? please your honour, I know not well what they

    are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure

    of; and void of all profanation in the world that

    good Christians ought to have.

 

ESCALUS

 

    This comes off well; here's a wise officer.

 

ANGELO

 

    Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your

    name? why dost thou not speak, Elbow?

 

POMPEY

 

    He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.

 

ANGELO

 

    What are you, sir?

 

ELBOW

 

    He, sir! a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that

    serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they

    say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she

    professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.

 

ESCALUS

 

    How know you that?

 

ELBOW

 

    My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,--

 

ESCALUS

 

    How? thy wife?

 

ELBOW

 

    Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,--

 

ESCALUS

 

    Dost thou detest her therefore?

 

ELBOW

 

    I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as

    she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house,

    it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.

 

ESCALUS

 

    How dost thou know that, constable?

 

ELBOW

 

    Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman

    cardinally given, might have been accused in

    fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

 

ESCALUS

 

    By the woman's means?

 

ELBOW

 

    Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means: but as she

    spit in his face, so she defied him.

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.

 

ELBOW

 

    Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable

    man; prove it.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Do you hear how he misplaces?

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, she came in great with child; and longing,

    saving your honour's reverence, for stewed prunes;

    sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very

    distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a

    dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen

    such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very

    good dishes,--

 

ESCALUS

 

    Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.

 

POMPEY

 

    No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in

    the right: but to the point. As I say, this

    Mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and

    being great-bellied, and longing, as I said, for

    prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said,

    Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the

    rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very

    honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could

    not give you three-pence again.

 

FROTH

 

    No, indeed.

 

POMPEY

 

    Very well: you being then, if you be remembered,

    cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,--

 

FROTH

 

    Ay, so I did indeed.

 

POMPEY

 

    Why, very well; I telling you then, if you be

    remembered, that such a one and such a one were past

    cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very

    good diet, as I told you,--

 

FROTH

 

    All this is true.

 

POMPEY

 

    Why, very well, then,--

 

ESCALUS

 

    Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What

    was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to

    complain of? Come me to what was done to her.

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.

 

ESCALUS

 

    No, sir, nor I mean it not.

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's

    leave. And, I beseech you, look into Master Froth

    here, sir; a man of four-score pound a year; whose

    father died at Hallowmas: was't not at Hallowmas,

    Master Froth?

 

FROTH

 

    All-hallond eve.

 

POMPEY

 

    Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir,

    sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir; 'twas in

    the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you have a delight

    to sit, have you not?

 

FROTH

 

    I have so; because it is an open room and good for winter.

 

POMPEY

 

    Why, very well, then; I hope here be truths.

 

ANGELO

 

    This will last out a night in Russia,

    When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave.

    And leave you to the hearing of the cause;

    Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.

 

    Exit ANGELO

    Now, sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

 

POMPEY

 

    Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.

 

ELBOW

 

    I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

 

POMPEY

 

    I beseech your honour, ask me.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Well, sir; what did this gentleman to her?

 

POMPEY

 

    I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face.

    Good Master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a

    good purpose. Doth your honour mark his face?

 

ESCALUS

 

    Ay, sir, very well.

 

POMPEY

 

    Nay; I beseech you, mark it well.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Well, I do so.

 

POMPEY

 

    Doth your honour see any harm in his face?

 

ESCALUS

 

    Why, no.

 

POMPEY

 

    I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst

    thing about him. Good, then; if his face be the

    worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the

    constable's wife any harm? I would know that of

    your honour.

 

ESCALUS

 

    He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?

 

ELBOW

 

    First, an it like you, the house is a respected

    house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his

    mistress is a respected woman.

 

POMPEY

 

    By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected

    person than any of us all.

 

ELBOW

 

    Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet! the

    time has yet to come that she was ever respected

    with man, woman, or child.

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is

    this true?

 

ELBOW

 

    O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked

    Hannibal! I respected with her before I was married

    to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she

    with me, let not your worship think me the poor

    duke's officer. Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or

    I'll have mine action of battery on thee.

 

ESCALUS

 

    If he took you a box o' the ear, you might have your

    action of slander too.

 

ELBOW

 

    Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is't

    your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?

 

ESCALUS

 

    Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him

    that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him

    continue in his courses till thou knowest what they

    are.

 

ELBOW

 

    Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou

    wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee: thou art

    to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Where were you born, friend?

 

FROTH

 

    Here in Vienna, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Are you of fourscore pounds a year?

 

FROTH

 

    Yes, an't please you, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    So. What trade are you of, sir?

 

POMPHEY

 

    Tapster; a poor widow's tapster.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Your mistress' name?

 

POMPHEY

 

    Mistress Overdone.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Hath she had any more than one husband?

 

POMPEY

 

    Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master

    Froth, I would not have you acquainted with

    tapsters: they will draw you, Master Froth, and you

    will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no

    more of you.

 

FROTH

 

    I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never

    come into any room in a tap-house, but I am drawn

    in.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell.

 

    Exit FROTH

    Come you hither to me, Master tapster. What's your

    name, Master tapster?

 

POMPEY

 

    Pompey.

 

ESCALUS

 

    What else?

 

POMPEY

 

    Bum, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you;

    so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the

    Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey,

    howsoever you colour it in being a tapster, are you

    not? come, tell me true: it shall be the better for you.

 

POMPEY

 

    Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.

 

ESCALUS

 

    How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What

    do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?

 

POMPEY

 

    If the law would allow it, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall

    not be allowed in Vienna.

 

POMPEY

 

    Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the

    youth of the city?

 

ESCALUS

 

    No, Pompey.

 

POMPEY

 

    Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then.

    If your worship will take order for the drabs and

    the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.

 

ESCALUS

 

    There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you:

    it is but heading and hanging.

 

POMPEY

 

    If you head and hang all that offend that way but

    for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a

    commission for more heads: if this law hold in

    Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it

    after three-pence a bay: if you live to see this

    come to pass, say Pompey told you so.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your

    prophecy, hark you: I advise you, let me not find

    you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever;

    no, not for dwelling where you do: if I do, Pompey,

    I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd

    Caesar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall

    have you whipt: so, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.

 

POMPEY

 

    I thank your worship for your good counsel:

 

    Aside

    but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall

    better determine.

    Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade:

    The valiant heart is not whipt out of his trade.

 

    Exit

 

ESCALUS

 

    Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master

    constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?

 

ELBOW

 

    Seven year and a half, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had

    continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?

 

ELBOW

 

    And a half, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you

    wrong to put you so oft upon 't: are there not men

    in your ward sufficient to serve it?

 

ELBOW

 

    Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they

    are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I

    do it for some piece of money, and go through with

    all.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven,

    the most sufficient of your parish.

 

ELBOW

 

    To your worship's house, sir?

 

ESCALUS

 

    To my house. Fare you well.

 

    Exit ELBOW

    What's o'clock, think you?

 

Justice

 

    Eleven, sir.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I pray you home to dinner with me.

 

Justice

 

    I humbly thank you.

 

ESCALUS

 

    It grieves me for the death of Claudio;

    But there's no remedy.

 

Justice

 

    Lord Angelo is severe.

 

ESCALUS

 

    It is but needful:

    Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;

    Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:

    But yet,--poor Claudio! There is no remedy.

    Come, sir.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE II. Another room in the same.

 

    Enter Provost and a Servant

 

Servant

 

    He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight

    I'll tell him of you.

 

Provost

 

    Pray you, do.

 

    Exit Servant

    I'll know

    His pleasure; may be he will relent. Alas,

    He hath but as offended in a dream!

    All sects, all ages smack of this vice; and he

    To die for't!

 

    Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

 

    Now, what's the matter. Provost?

 

Provost

 

    Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?

 

ANGELO

 

    Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order?

    Why dost thou ask again?

 

Provost

 

    Lest I might be too rash:

    Under your good correction, I have seen,

    When, after execution, judgment hath

    Repented o'er his doom.

 

ANGELO

 

    Go to; let that be mine:

    Do you your office, or give up your place,

    And you shall well be spared.

 

Provost

 

    I crave your honour's pardon.

    What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet?

    She's very near her hour.

 

ANGELO

 

    Dispose of her

    To some more fitter place, and that with speed.

 

    Re-enter Servant

 

Servant

 

    Here is the sister of the man condemn'd

    Desires access to you.

 

ANGELO

 

    Hath he a sister?

 

Provost

 

    Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid,

    And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

    If not already.

 

ANGELO

 

    Well, let her be admitted.

 

    Exit Servant

    See you the fornicatress be removed:

    Let have needful, but not lavish, means;

    There shall be order for't.

 

    Enter ISABELLA and LUCIO

 

Provost

 

    God save your honour!

 

ANGELO

 

    Stay a little while.

 

    To ISABELLA

    You're welcome: what's your will?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I am a woeful suitor to your honour,

    Please but your honour hear me.

 

ANGELO

 

    Well; what's your suit?

 

ISABELLA

 

    There is a vice that most I do abhor,

    And most desire should meet the blow of justice;

    For which I would not plead, but that I must;

    For which I must not plead, but that I am

    At war 'twixt will and will not.

 

ANGELO

 

    Well; the matter?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I have a brother is condemn'd to die:

    I do beseech you, let it be his fault,

    And not my brother.

 

Provost

 

    [Aside] Heaven give thee moving graces!

 

ANGELO

 

    Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?

    Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done:

    Mine were the very cipher of a function,

    To fine the faults whose fine stands in record,

    And let go by the actor.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O just but severe law!

    I had a brother, then. Heaven keep your honour!

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] Give't not o'er so: to him

    again, entreat him;

    Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown:

    You are too cold; if you should need a pin,

    You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:

    To him, I say!

 

ISABELLA

 

    Must he needs die?

 

ANGELO

 

    Maiden, no remedy.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Yes; I do think that you might pardon him,

    And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.

 

ANGELO

 

    I will not do't.

 

ISABELLA

 

    But can you, if you would?

 

ANGELO

 

    Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.

 

ISABELLA

 

    But might you do't, and do the world no wrong,

    If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse

    A s mine is to him?

 

ANGELO

 

    He's sentenced; 'tis too late.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] You are too cold.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word.

    May call it back again. Well, believe this,

    No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,

    Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,

    The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,

    Become them with one half so good a grace

    As mercy does.

    If he had been as you and you as he,

    You would have slipt like him; but he, like you,

    Would not have been so stern.

 

ANGELO

 

    Pray you, be gone.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I would to heaven I had your potency,

    And you were Isabel! should it then be thus?

    No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,

    And what a prisoner.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA]

    Ay, touch him; there's the vein.

 

ANGELO

 

    Your brother is a forfeit of the law,

    And you but waste your words.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Alas, alas!

    Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once;

    And He that might the vantage best have took

    Found out the remedy. How would you be,

    If He, which is the top of judgment, should

    But judge you as you are? O, think on that;

    And mercy then will breathe within your lips,

    Like man new made.

 

ANGELO

 

    Be you content, fair maid;

    It is the law, not I condemn your brother:

    Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

    It should be thus with him: he must die tomorrow.

 

ISABELLA

 

    To-morrow! O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him!

    He's not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens

    We kill the fowl of season: shall we serve heaven

    With less respect than we do minister

    To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you;

    Who is it that hath died for this offence?

    There's many have committed it.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] Ay, well said.

 

ANGELO

 

    The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept:

    Those many had not dared to do that evil,

    If the first that did the edict infringe

    Had answer'd for his deed: now 'tis awake

    Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,

    Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,

    Either new, or by remissness new-conceived,

    And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,

    Are now to have no successive degrees,

    But, ere they live, to end.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Yet show some pity.

 

ANGELO

 

    I show it most of all when I show justice;

    For then I pity those I do not know,

    Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;

    And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,

    Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;

    Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

 

ISABELLA

 

    So you must be the first that gives this sentence,

    And he, that suffer's. O, it is excellent

    To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous

    To use it like a giant.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] That's well said.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Could great men thunder

    As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,

    For every pelting, petty officer

    Would use his heaven for thunder;

    Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,

    Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt

    Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak

    Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,

    Drest in a little brief authority,

    Most ignorant of what he's most assured,

    His glassy essence, like an angry ape,

    Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven

    As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,

    Would all themselves laugh mortal.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] O, to him, to him, wench! he

    will relent;

    He's coming; I perceive 't.

 

Provost

 

    [Aside] Pray heaven she win him!

 

ISABELLA

 

    We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:

    Great men may jest with saints; 'tis wit in them,

    But in the less foul profanation.

 

LUCIO

 

    Thou'rt i' the right, girl; more o, that.

 

ISABELLA

 

    That in the captain's but a choleric word,

    Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] Art avised o' that? more on 't.

 

ANGELO

 

    Why do you put these sayings upon me?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Because authority, though it err like others,

    Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,

    That skins the vice o' the top. Go to your bosom;

    Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know

    That's like my brother's fault: if it confess

    A natural guiltiness such as is his,

    Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue

    Against my brother's life.

 

ANGELO

 

    [Aside] She speaks, and 'tis

    Such sense, that my sense breeds with it. Fare you well.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Gentle my lord, turn back.

 

ANGELO

 

    I will bethink me: come again tomorrow.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Hark how I'll bribe you: good my lord, turn back.

 

ANGELO

 

    How! bribe me?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] You had marr'd all else.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,

    Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor

    As fancy values them; but with true prayers

    That shall be up at heaven and enter there

    Ere sun-rise, prayers from preserved souls,

    From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate

    To nothing temporal.

 

ANGELO

 

    Well; come to me to-morrow.

 

LUCIO

 

    [Aside to ISABELLA] Go to; 'tis well; away!

 

ISABELLA

 

    Heaven keep your honour safe!

 

ANGELO

 

    [Aside] Amen:

    For I am that way going to temptation,

    Where prayers cross.

 

ISABELLA

 

    At what hour to-morrow

    Shall I attend your lordship?

 

ANGELO

 

    At any time 'fore noon.

 

ISABELLA

 

    'Save your honour!

 

    Exeunt ISABELLA, LUCIO, and Provost

 

ANGELO

 

    From thee, even from thy virtue!

    What's this, what's this? Is this her fault or mine?

    The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?

    Ha!

    Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I

    That, lying by the violet in the sun,

    Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,

    Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be

    That modesty may more betray our sense

    Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,

    Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary

    And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!

    What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?

    Dost thou desire her foully for those things

    That make her good? O, let her brother live!

    Thieves for their robbery have authority

    When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,

    That I desire to hear her speak again,

    And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?

    O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,

    With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous

    Is that temptation that doth goad us on

    To sin in loving virtue: never could the strumpet,

    With all her double vigour, art and nature,

    Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid

    Subdues me quite. Even till now,

    When men were fond, I smiled and wonder'd how.

 

    Exit

 


SCENE III. A room in a prison.

 

    Enter, severally, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as a friar, and Provost

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Hail to you, provost! so I think you are.

 

Provost

 

    I am the provost. What's your will, good friar?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Bound by my charity and my blest order,

    I come to visit the afflicted spirits

    Here in the prison. Do me the common right

    To let me see them and to make me know

    The nature of their crimes, that I may minister

    To them accordingly.

 

Provost

 

    I would do more than that, if more were needful.

 

    Enter JULIET

    Look, here comes one: a gentlewoman of mine,

    Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,

    Hath blister'd her report: she is with child;

    And he that got it, sentenced; a young man

    More fit to do another such offence

    Than die for this.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    When must he die?

 

Provost

 

    As I do think, to-morrow.

    I have provided for you: stay awhile,

 

    To JULIET

    And you shall be conducted.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?

 

JULIET

 

    I do; and bear the shame most patiently.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I'll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,

    And try your penitence, if it be sound,

    Or hollowly put on.

 

JULIET

 

    I'll gladly learn.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Love you the man that wrong'd you?

 

JULIET

 

    Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    So then it seems your most offenceful act

    Was mutually committed?

 

JULIET

 

    Mutually.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.

 

JULIET

 

    I do confess it, and repent it, father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    'Tis meet so, daughter: but lest you do repent,

    As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,

    Which sorrow is always towards ourselves, not heaven,

    Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,

    But as we stand in fear,--

 

JULIET

 

    I do repent me, as it is an evil,

    And take the shame with joy.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    There rest.

    Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,

    And I am going with instruction to him.

    Grace go with you, Benedicite!

 

    Exit

 

JULIET

 

    Must die to-morrow! O injurious love,

    That respites me a life, whose very comfort

    Is still a dying horror!

 

Provost

 

    'Tis pity of him.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house.

 

    Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

 

    When I would pray and think, I think and pray

    To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words;

    Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,

    Anchors on Isabel: Heaven in my mouth,

    As if I did but only chew his name;

    And in my heart the strong and swelling evil

    Of my conception. The state, whereon I studied

    Is like a good thing, being often read,

    Grown fear'd and tedious; yea, my gravity,

    Wherein--let no man hear me--I take pride,

    Could I with boot change for an idle plume,

    Which the air beats for vain. O place, O form,

    How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,

    Wrench awe from fools and tie the wiser souls

    To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood:

    Let's write good angel on the devil's horn:

    'Tis not the devil's crest.

 

    Enter a Servant

    How now! who's there?

 

Servant

 

    One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.

 

ANGELO

 

    Teach her the way.

 

    Exit Servant

    O heavens!

    Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,

    Making both it unable for itself,

    And dispossessing all my other parts

    Of necessary fitness?

    So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons;

    Come all to help him, and so stop the air

    By which he should revive: and even so

    The general, subject to a well-wish'd king,

    Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness

    Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love

    Must needs appear offence.

 

    Enter ISABELLA

    How now, fair maid?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I am come to know your pleasure.

 

ANGELO

 

    That you might know it, would much better please me

    Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Even so. Heaven keep your honour!

 

ANGELO

 

    Yet may he live awhile; and, it may be,

 

As long as you or I

 

    yet he must die.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Under your sentence?

 

ANGELO

 

    Yea.

 

ISABELLA

 

    When, I beseech you? that in his reprieve,

    Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted

    That his soul sicken not.

 

ANGELO

 

    Ha! fie, these filthy vices! It were as good

    To pardon him that hath from nature stolen

    A man already made, as to remit

    Their saucy sweetness that do coin heaven's image

    In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easy

    Falsely to take away a life true made

    As to put metal in restrained means

    To make a false one.

 

ISABELLA

 

    'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.

 

ANGELO

 

    Say you so? then I shall pose you quickly.

    Which had you rather, that the most just law

    Now took your brother's life; or, to redeem him,

    Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness

    As she that he hath stain'd?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Sir, believe this,

    I had rather give my body than my soul.

 

ANGELO

 

    I talk not of your soul: our compell'd sins

    Stand more for number than for accompt.

 

ISABELLA

 

    How say you?

 

ANGELO

 

    Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak

    Against the thing I say. Answer to this:

    I, now the voice of the recorded law,

    Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life:

    Might there not be a charity in sin

    To save this brother's life?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Please you to do't,

    I'll take it as a peril to my soul,

    It is no sin at all, but charity.

 

ANGELO

 

    Pleased you to do't at peril of your soul,

    Were equal poise of sin and charity.

 

ISABELLA

 

    That I do beg his life, if it be sin,

    Heaven let me bear it! you granting of my suit,

    If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayer

    To have it added to the faults of mine,

    And nothing of your answer.

 

ANGELO

 

    Nay, but hear me.

    Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ignorant,

    Or seem so craftily; and that's not good.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good,

    But graciously to know I am no better.

 

ANGELO

 

    Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright

    When it doth tax itself; as these black masks

    Proclaim an enshield beauty ten times louder

    Than beauty could, display'd. But mark me;

    To be received plain, I'll speak more gross:

    Your brother is to die.

 

ISABELLA

 

    So.

 

ANGELO

 

    And his offence is so, as it appears,

    Accountant to the law upon that pain.

 

ISABELLA

 

    True.

 

ANGELO

 

    Admit no other way to save his life,--

    As I subscribe not that, nor any other,

    But in the loss of question,--that you, his sister,

    Finding yourself desired of such a person,

    Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,

    Could fetch your brother from the manacles

    Of the all-building law; and that there were

    No earthly mean to save him, but that either

    You must lay down the treasures of your body

    To this supposed, or else to let him suffer;

    What would you do?

 

ISABELLA

 

    As much for my poor brother as myself:

    That is, were I under the terms of death,

    The impression of keen whips I'ld wear as rubies,

    And strip myself to death, as to a bed

    That longing have been sick for, ere I'ld yield

    My body up to shame.

 

ANGELO

 

    Then must your brother die.

 

ISABELLA

 

    And 'twere the cheaper way:

    Better it were a brother died at once,

    Than that a sister, by redeeming him,

    Should die for ever.

 

ANGELO

 

    Were not you then as cruel as the sentence

    That you have slander'd so?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ignomy in ransom and free pardon

    Are of two houses: lawful mercy

    Is nothing kin to foul redemption.

 

ANGELO

 

    You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant;

    And rather proved the sliding of your brother

    A merriment than a vice.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out,

    To have what we would have, we speak not what we mean:

    I something do excuse the thing I hate,

    For his advantage that I dearly love.

 

ANGELO

 

    We are all frail.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Else let my brother die,

    If not a feodary, but only he

    Owe and succeed thy weakness.

 

ANGELO

 

    Nay, women are frail too.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;

    Which are as easy broke as they make forms.

    Women! Help Heaven! men their creation mar

    In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail;

    For we are soft as our complexions are,

    And credulous to false prints.

 

ANGELO

 

    I think it well:

    And from this testimony of your own sex,--

    Since I suppose we are made to be no stronger

    Than faults may shake our frames,--let me be bold;

    I do arrest your words. Be that you are,

    That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none;

    If you be one, as you are well express'd

    By all external warrants, show it now,

    By putting on the destined livery.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord,

    Let me entreat you speak the former language.

 

ANGELO

 

    Plainly conceive, I love you.

 

ISABELLA

 

    My brother did love Juliet,

    And you tell me that he shall die for it.

 

ANGELO

 

    He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I know your virtue hath a licence in't,

    Which seems a little fouler than it is,

    To pluck on others.

 

ANGELO

 

    Believe me, on mine honour,

    My words express my purpose.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ha! little honour to be much believed,

    And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming!

    I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't:

    Sign me a present pardon for my brother,

    Or with an outstretch'd throat I'll tell the world aloud

    What man thou art.

 

ANGELO

 

    Who will believe thee, Isabel?

    My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life,

    My vouch against you, and my place i' the state,

    Will so your accusation overweigh,

    That you shall stifle in your own report

    And smell of calumny. I have begun,

    And now I give my sensual race the rein:

    Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;

    Lay by all nicety and prolixious blushes,

    That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother

    By yielding up thy body to my will;

    Or else he must not only die the death,

    But thy unkindness shall his death draw out

    To lingering sufferance. Answer me to-morrow,

    Or, by the affection that now guides me most,

    I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,

    Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.

 

    Exit

 

ISABELLA

 

    To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,

    Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,

    That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,

    Either of condemnation or approof;

    Bidding the law make court'sy to their will:

    Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,

    To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:

    Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,

    Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour.

    That, had he twenty heads to tender down

    On twenty bloody blocks, he'ld yield them up,

    Before his sister should her body stoop

    To such abhorr'd pollution.

    Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die:

    More than our brother is our chastity.

    I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,

    And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest.

 

    Exit

 


ACT III

SCENE I. A room in the prison.

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before, CLAUDIO, and Provost

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    The miserable have no other medicine

    But only hope:

    I've hope to live, and am prepared to die.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Be absolute for death; either death or life

    Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:

    If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing

    That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,

    Servile to all the skyey influences,

    That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,

    Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool;

    For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun

    And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble;

    For all the accommodations that thou bear'st

    Are nursed by baseness. Thou'rt by no means valiant;

    For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork

    Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,

    And that thou oft provokest; yet grossly fear'st

    Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;

    For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains

    That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;

    For what thou hast not, still thou strivest to get,

    And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain;

    For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,

    After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor;

    For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,

    Thou bear's thy heavy riches but a journey,

    And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;

    For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,

    The mere effusion of thy proper loins,

    Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,

    For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,

    But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,

    Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth

    Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms

    Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,

    Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,

    To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this

    That bears the name of life? Yet in this life

    Lie hid moe thousand deaths: yet death we fear,

    That makes these odds all even.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    I humbly thank you.

    To sue to live, I find I seek to die;

    And, seeking death, find life: let it come on.

 

ISABELLA

 

    [Within] What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!

 

Provost

 

    Who's there? come in: the wish deserves a welcome.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Most holy sir, I thank you.

 

    Enter ISABELLA

 

ISABELLA

 

    My business is a word or two with Claudio.

 

Provost

 

    And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Provost, a word with you.

 

Provost

 

    As many as you please.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be concealed.

 

    Exeunt DUKE VINCENTIO and Provost

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Now, sister, what's the comfort?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Why,

    As all comforts are; most good, most good indeed.

    Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,

    Intends you for his swift ambassador,

    Where you shall be an everlasting leiger:

    Therefore your best appointment make with speed;

    To-morrow you set on.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Is there no remedy?

 

ISABELLA

 

    None, but such remedy as, to save a head,

    To cleave a heart in twain.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    But is there any?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Yes, brother, you may live:

    There is a devilish mercy in the judge,

    If you'll implore it, that will free your life,

    But fetter you till death.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Perpetual durance?

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ay, just; perpetual durance, a restraint,

    Though all the world's vastidity you had,

    To a determined scope.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    But in what nature?

 

ISABELLA

 

    In such a one as, you consenting to't,

    Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,

    And leave you naked.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Let me know the point.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake,

    Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,

    And six or seven winters more respect

    Than a perpetual honour. Darest thou die?

    The sense of death is most in apprehension;

    And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,

    In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great

    As when a giant dies.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Why give you me this shame?

    Think you I can a resolution fetch

    From flowery tenderness? If I must die,

    I will encounter darkness as a bride,

    And hug it in mine arms.

 

ISABELLA

 

    There spake my brother; there my father's grave

    Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:

    Thou art too noble to conserve a life

    In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,

    Whose settled visage and deliberate word

    Nips youth i' the head and follies doth emmew

    As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil

    His filth within being cast, he would appear

    A pond as deep as hell.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    The prenzie Angelo!

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,

    The damned'st body to invest and cover

    In prenzie guards! Dost thou think, Claudio?

    If I would yield him my virginity,

    Thou mightst be freed.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    O heavens! it cannot be.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Yes, he would give't thee, from this rank offence,

    So to offend him still. This night's the time

    That I should do what I abhor to name,

    Or else thou diest to-morrow.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Thou shalt not do't.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, were it but my life,

    I'ld throw it down for your deliverance

    As frankly as a pin.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Thanks, dear Isabel.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Yes. Has he affections in him,

    That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,

    When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin,

    Or of the deadly seven, it is the least.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Which is the least?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    If it were damnable, he being so wise,

    Why would he for the momentary trick

    Be perdurably fined? O Isabel!

 

ISABELLA

 

    What says my brother?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Death is a fearful thing.

 

ISABELLA

 

    And shamed life a hateful.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;

    To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;

    This sensible warm motion to become

    A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit

    To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside

    In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;

    To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,

    And blown with restless violence round about

    The pendent world; or to be worse than worst

    Of those that lawless and incertain thought

    Imagine howling: 'tis too horrible!

    The weariest and most loathed worldly life

    That age, ache, penury and imprisonment

    Can lay on nature is a paradise

    To what we fear of death.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Alas, alas!

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Sweet sister, let me live:

    What sin you do to save a brother's life,

    Nature dispenses with the deed so far

    That it becomes a virtue.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O you beast!

    O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!

    Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?

    Is't not a kind of incest, to take life

    From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?

    Heaven shield my mother play'd my father fair!

    For such a warped slip of wilderness

    Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance!

    Die, perish! Might but my bending down

    Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed:

    I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,

    No word to save thee.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Nay, hear me, Isabel.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, fie, fie, fie!

    Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade.

    Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:

    'Tis best thou diest quickly.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    O hear me, Isabella!

 

    Re-enter DUKE VINCENTIO

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.

 

ISABELLA

 

    What is your will?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and

    by have some speech with you: the satisfaction I

    would require is likewise your own benefit.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be

    stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you awhile.

 

    Walks apart

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Son, I have overheard what hath passed between you

    and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to

    corrupt her; only he hath made an essay of her

    virtue to practise his judgment with the disposition

    of natures: she, having the truth of honour in her,

    hath made him that gracious denial which he is most

    glad to receive. I am confessor to Angelo, and I

    know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to

    death: do not satisfy your resolution with hopes

    that are fallible: tomorrow you must die; go to

    your knees and make ready.

 

CLAUDIO

 

    Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love

    with life that I will sue to be rid of it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Hold you there: farewell.

 

    Exit CLAUDIO

    Provost, a word with you!

 

    Re-enter Provost

 

Provost

 

    What's your will, father

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave me

    awhile with the maid: my mind promises with my

    habit no loss shall touch her by my company.

 

Provost

 

    In good time.

 

    Exit Provost. ISABELLA comes forward

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good:

    the goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty

    brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of

    your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever

    fair. The assault that Angelo hath made to you,

    fortune hath conveyed to my understanding; and, but

    that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should

    wonder at Angelo. How will you do to content this

    substitute, and to save your brother?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I am now going to resolve him: I had rather my

    brother die by the law than my son should be

    unlawfully born. But, O, how much is the good duke

    deceived in Angelo! If ever he return and I can

    speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or

    discover his government.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    That shall not be much amiss: Yet, as the matter

    now stands, he will avoid your accusation; he made

    trial of you only. Therefore fasten your ear on my

    advisings: to the love I have in doing good a

    remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe

    that you may most uprighteously do a poor wronged

    lady a merited benefit; redeem your brother from

    the angry law; do no stain to your own gracious

    person; and much please the absent duke, if

    peradventure he shall ever return to have hearing of

    this business.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do

    anything that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have

    you not heard speak of Mariana, the sister of

    Frederick the great soldier who miscarried at sea?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    She should this Angelo have married; was affianced

    to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed: between

    which time of the contract and limit of the

    solemnity, her brother Frederick was wrecked at sea,

    having in that perished vessel the dowry of his

    sister. But mark how heavily this befell to the

    poor gentlewoman: there she lost a noble and

    renowned brother, in his love toward her ever most

    kind and natural; with him, the portion and sinew of

    her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her

    combinate husband, this well-seeming Angelo.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Can this be so? did Angelo so leave her?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them

    with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole,

    pretending in her discoveries of dishonour: in few,

    bestowed her on her own lamentation, which she yet

    wears for his sake; and he, a marble to her tears,

    is washed with them, but relents not.

 

ISABELLA

 

    What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid

    from the world! What corruption in this life, that

    it will let this man live! But how out of this can she avail?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is a rupture that you may easily heal: and the

    cure of it not only saves your brother, but keeps

    you from dishonour in doing it.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Show me how, good father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance

    of her first affection: his unjust unkindness, that

    in all reason should have quenched her love, hath,

    like an impediment in the current, made it more

    violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his

    requiring with a plausible obedience; agree with

    his demands to the point; only refer yourself to

    this advantage, first, that your stay with him may

    not be long; that the time may have all shadow and

    silence in it; and the place answer to convenience.

    This being granted in course,--and now follows

    all,--we shall advise this wronged maid to stead up

    your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter

    acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to

    her recompense: and here, by this, is your brother

    saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana

    advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid

    will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you

    think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness

    of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.

    What think you of it?

 

ISABELLA

 

    The image of it gives me content already; and I

    trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily

    to Angelo: if for this night he entreat you to his

    bed, give him promise of satisfaction. I will

    presently to Saint Luke's: there, at the moated

    grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that

    place call upon me; and dispatch with Angelo, that

    it may be quickly.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.

 

    Exeunt severally

 


SCENE II. The street before the prison.

 

    Enter, on one side, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before; on the other, ELBOW, and Officers with POMPEY

 

ELBOW

 

    Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will

    needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we

    shall have all the world drink brown and white bastard.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O heavens! what stuff is here

 

POMPEY

 

    'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the

    merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by

    order of law a furred gown to keep him warm; and

    furred with fox and lamb-skins too, to signify, that

    craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing.

 

ELBOW

 

    Come your way, sir. 'Bless you, good father friar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    And you, good brother father. What offence hath

    this man made you, sir?

 

ELBOW

 

    Marry, sir, he hath offended the law: and, sir, we

    take him to be a thief too, sir; for we have found

    upon him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have

    sent to the deputy.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Fie, sirrah! a bawd, a wicked bawd!

    The evil that thou causest to be done,

    That is thy means to live. Do thou but think

    What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back

    From such a filthy vice: say to thyself,

    From their abominable and beastly touches

    I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.

    Canst thou believe thy living is a life,

    So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

 

POMPEY

 

    Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet,

    sir, I would prove--

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,

    Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer:

    Correction and instruction must both work

    Ere this rude beast will profit.

 

ELBOW

 

    He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him

    warning: the deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if

    he be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were

    as good go a mile on his errand.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    That we were all, as some would seem to be,

    From our faults, as faults from seeming, free!

 

ELBOW

 

    His neck will come to your waist,--a cord, sir.

 

POMPEY

 

    I spy comfort; I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and a

    friend of mine.

 

    Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

 

    How now, noble Pompey! What, at the wheels of

    Caesar? art thou led in triumph? What, is there

    none of Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, to be

    had now, for putting the hand in the pocket and

    extracting it clutch'd? What reply, ha? What

    sayest thou to this tune, matter and method? Is't

    not drowned i' the last rain, ha? What sayest

    thou, Trot? Is the world as it was, man? Which is

    the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The

    trick of it?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Still thus, and thus; still worse!

 

LUCIO

 

    How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she

    still, ha?

 

POMPEY

 

    Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she

    is herself in the tub.

 

LUCIO

 

    Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it must be

    so: ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd:

    an unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going

    to prison, Pompey?

 

POMPEY

 

    Yes, faith, sir.

 

LUCIO

 

    Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell: go, say I

    sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? or how?

 

ELBOW

 

    For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

 

LUCIO

 

    Well, then, imprison him: if imprisonment be the

    due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right: bawd is he

    doubtless, and of antiquity too; bawd-born.

    Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,

    Pompey: you will turn good husband now, Pompey; you

    will keep the house.

 

POMPEY

 

    I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.

 

LUCIO

 

    No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear.

    I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage: If

    you take it not patiently, why, your mettle is the

    more. Adieu, trusty Pompey. 'Bless you, friar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    And you.

 

LUCIO

 

    Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?

 

ELBOW

 

    Come your ways, sir; come.

 

POMPEY

 

    You will not bail me, then, sir?

 

LUCIO

 

    Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar?

    what news?

 

ELBOW

 

    Come your ways, sir; come.

 

LUCIO

 

    Go to kennel, Pompey; go.

 

    Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY and Officers

    What news, friar, of the duke?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I know none. Can you tell me of any?

 

LUCIO

 

    Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other

    some, he is in Rome: but where is he, think you?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well.

 

LUCIO

 

    It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from

    the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born

    to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence; he

    puts transgression to 't.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He does well in 't.

 

LUCIO

 

    A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in

    him: something too crabbed that way, friar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.

 

LUCIO

 

    Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;

    it is well allied: but it is impossible to extirp

    it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be put

    down. They say this Angelo was not made by man and

    woman after this downright way of creation: is it

    true, think you?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    How should he be made, then?

 

LUCIO

 

    Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he

    was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is

    certain that when he makes water his urine is

    congealed ice; that I know to be true: and he is a

    motion generative; that's infallible.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.

 

LUCIO

 

    Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the

    rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a

    man! Would the duke that is absent have done this?

    Ere he would have hanged a man for the getting a

    hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing

    a thousand: he had some feeling of the sport: he

    knew the service, and that instructed him to mercy.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I never heard the absent duke much detected for

    women; he was not inclined that way.

 

LUCIO

 

    O, sir, you are deceived.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    'Tis not possible.

 

LUCIO

 

    Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty; and

    his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish: the

    duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk too;

    that let me inform you.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You do him wrong, surely.

 

LUCIO

 

    Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the

    duke: and I believe I know the cause of his

    withdrawing.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    What, I prithee, might be the cause?

 

LUCIO

 

    No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be locked within the

    teeth and the lips: but this I can let you

    understand, the greater file of the subject held the

    duke to be wise.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Wise! why, no question but he was.

 

LUCIO

 

    A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking:

    the very stream of his life and the business he hath

    helmed must upon a warranted need give him a better

    proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in his own

    bringings-forth, and he shall appear to the

    envious a scholar, a statesman and a soldier.

    Therefore you speak unskilfully: or if your

    knowledge be more it is much darkened in your malice.

 

LUCIO

 

    Sir, I know him, and I love him.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with

    dearer love.

 

LUCIO

 

    Come, sir, I know what I know.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I can hardly believe that, since you know not what

    you speak. But, if ever the duke return, as our

    prayers are he may, let me desire you to make your

    answer before him. If it be honest you have spoke,

    you have courage to maintain it: I am bound to call

    upon you; and, I pray you, your name?

 

LUCIO

 

    Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to

    report you.

 

LUCIO

 

    I fear you not.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O, you hope the duke will return no more; or you

    imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But indeed I

    can do you little harm; you'll forswear this again.

 

LUCIO

 

    I'll be hanged first: thou art deceived in me,

    friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell if

    Claudio die to-morrow or no?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Why should he die, sir?

 

LUCIO

 

    Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would

    the duke we talk of were returned again: the

    ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with

    continency; sparrows must not build in his

    house-eaves, because they are lecherous. The duke

    yet would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would

    never bring them to light: would he were returned!

    Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing.

    Farewell, good friar: I prithee, pray for me. The

    duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on

    Fridays. He's not past it yet, and I say to thee,

    he would mouth with a beggar, though she smelt brown

    bread and garlic: say that I said so. Farewell.

 

    Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    No might nor greatness in mortality

    Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny

    The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

    Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?

    But who comes here?

 

    Enter ESCALUS, Provost, and Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

ESCALUS

 

    Go; away with her to prison!

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted

    a merciful man; good my lord.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in

    the same kind! This would make mercy swear and play

    the tyrant.

 

Provost

 

    A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please

    your honour.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

    My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me.

    Mistress Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the

    duke's time; he promised her marriage: his child

    is a year and a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob:

    I have kept it myself; and see how he goes about to abuse me!

 

ESCALUS

 

    That fellow is a fellow of much licence: let him be

    called before us. Away with her to prison! Go to;

    no more words.

 

    Exeunt Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE

    Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered;

    Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnished

    with divines, and have all charitable preparation.

    if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be

    so with him.

 

Provost

 

    So please you, this friar hath been with him, and

    advised him for the entertainment of death.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Good even, good father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Bliss and goodness on you!

 

ESCALUS

 

    Of whence are you?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Not of this country, though my chance is now

    To use it for my time: I am a brother

    Of gracious order, late come from the See

    In special business from his holiness.

 

ESCALUS

 

    What news abroad i' the world?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    None, but that there is so great a fever on

    goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it:

    novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous

    to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous

    to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce

    truth enough alive to make societies secure; but

    security enough to make fellowships accurst: much

    upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This

    news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. I

    pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

 

ESCALUS

 

    One that, above all other strifes, contended

    especially to know himself.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    What pleasure was he given to?

 

ESCALUS

 

    Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at

    any thing which professed to make him rejoice: a

    gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to

    his events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous;

    and let me desire to know how you find Claudio

    prepared. I am made to understand that you have

    lent him visitation.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He professes to have received no sinister measure

    from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself

    to the determination of justice: yet had he framed

    to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many

    deceiving promises of life; which I by my good

    leisure have discredited to him, and now is he

    resolved to die.

 

ESCALUS

 

    You have paid the heavens your function, and the

    prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have

    laboured for the poor gentleman to the extremest

    shore of my modesty: but my brother justice have I

    found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him

    he is indeed Justice.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    If his own life answer the straitness of his

    proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he

    chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Peace be with you!

 

    Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost

    He who the sword of heaven will bear

    Should be as holy as severe;

    Pattern in himself to know,

    Grace to stand, and virtue go;

    More nor less to others paying

    Than by self-offences weighing.

    Shame to him whose cruel striking

    Kills for faults of his own liking!

    Twice treble shame on Angelo,

    To weed my vice and let his grow!

    O, what may man within him hide,

    Though angel on the outward side!

    How may likeness made in crimes,

    Making practise on the times,

    To draw with idle spiders' strings

    Most ponderous and substantial things!

    Craft against vice I must apply:

    With Angelo to-night shall lie

    His old betrothed but despised;

    So disguise shall, by the disguised,

    Pay with falsehood false exacting,

    And perform an old contracting.

 

    Exit


ACT IV

SCENE I. The moated grange at ST. LUKE's.

 

    Enter MARIANA and a Boy

 

    Boy sings

 

    Take, O, take those lips away,

    That so sweetly were forsworn;

    And those eyes, the break of day,

    Lights that do mislead the morn:

    But my kisses bring again, bring again;

    Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.

 

MARIANA

 

    Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away:

    Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice

    Hath often still'd my brawling discontent.

 

    Exit Boy

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

    I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish

    You had not found me here so musical:

    Let me excuse me, and believe me so,

    My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    'Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm

    To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.

    I pray, you, tell me, hath any body inquired

    for me here to-day? much upon this time have

    I promised here to meet.

 

MARIANA

 

    You have not been inquired after:

    I have sat here all day.

 

    Enter ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I do constantly believe you. The time is come even

    now. I shall crave your forbearance a little: may

    be I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.

 

MARIANA

 

    I am always bound to you.

 

    Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Very well met, and well come.

    What is the news from this good deputy?

 

ISABELLA

 

    He hath a garden circummured with brick,

    Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd;

    And to that vineyard is a planched gate,

    That makes his opening with this bigger key:

    This other doth command a little door

    Which from the vineyard to the garden leads;

    There have I made my promise

    Upon the heavy middle of the night

    To call upon him.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    But shall you on your knowledge find this way?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't:

    With whispering and most guilty diligence,

    In action all of precept, he did show me

    The way twice o'er.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Are there no other tokens

    Between you 'greed concerning her observance?

 

ISABELLA

 

    No, none, but only a repair i' the dark;

    And that I have possess'd him my most stay

    Can be but brief; for I have made him know

    I have a servant comes with me along,

    That stays upon me, whose persuasion is

    I come about my brother.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    'Tis well borne up.

    I have not yet made known to Mariana

    A word of this. What, ho! within! come forth!

 

    Re-enter MARIANA

    I pray you, be acquainted with this maid;

    She comes to do you good.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I do desire the like.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?

 

MARIANA

 

    Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Take, then, this your companion by the hand,

    Who hath a story ready for your ear.

    I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;

    The vaporous night approaches.

 

MARIANA

 

    Will't please you walk aside?

 

    Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O place and greatness! millions of false eyes

    Are stuck upon thee: volumes of report

    Run with these false and most contrarious quests

    Upon thy doings: thousand escapes of wit

    Make thee the father of their idle dreams

    And rack thee in their fancies.

 

    Re-enter MARIANA and ISABELLA

    Welcome, how agreed?

 

ISABELLA

 

    She'll take the enterprise upon her, father,

    If you advise it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is not my consent,

    But my entreaty too.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Little have you to say

    When you depart from him, but, soft and low,

    'Remember now my brother.'

 

MARIANA

 

    Fear me not.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all.

    He is your husband on a pre-contract:

    To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin,

    Sith that the justice of your title to him

    Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go:

    Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe's to sow.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE II. A room in the prison.

 

    Enter Provost and POMPEY

 

Provost

 

    Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?

 

POMPEY

 

    If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can; but if he be a

    married man, he's his wife's head, and I can never

    cut off a woman's head.

 

Provost

 

    Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a

    direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio

    and Barnardine. Here is in our prison a common

    executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if

    you will take it on you to assist him, it shall

    redeem you from your gyves; if not, you shall have

    your full time of imprisonment and your deliverance

    with an unpitied whipping, for you have been a

    notorious bawd.

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind;

    but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I

    would be glad to receive some instruction from my

    fellow partner.

 

Provost

 

    What, ho! Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?

 

    Enter ABHORSON

 

ABHORSON

 

    Do you call, sir?

 

Provost

 

    Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in

    your execution. If you think it meet, compound with

    him by the year, and let him abide here with you; if

    not, use him for the present and dismiss him. He

    cannot plead his estimation with you; he hath been a bawd.

 

ABHORSON

 

    A bawd, sir? fie upon him! he will discredit our mystery.

 

Provost

 

    Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn

    the scale.

 

    Exit

 

POMPEY

 

    Pray, sir, by your good favour,--for surely, sir, a

    good favour you have, but that you have a hanging

    look,--do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?

 

ABHORSON

 

    Ay, sir; a mystery

 

POMPEY

 

    Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and

    your whores, sir, being members of my occupation,

    using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery:

    but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I

    should be hanged, I cannot imagine.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Sir, it is a mystery.

 

POMPEY

 

    Proof?

 

ABHORSON

 

    Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be

    too little for your thief, your true man thinks it

    big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your

    thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's

    apparel fits your thief.

 

    Re-enter Provost

 

Provost

 

    Are you agreed?

 

POMPEY

 

    Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is

    a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth

    oftener ask forgiveness.

 

Provost

 

    You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe

    to-morrow four o'clock.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.

 

POMPEY

 

    I do desire to learn, sir: and I hope, if you have

    occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find

    me yare; for truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you

    a good turn.

 

Provost

 

    Call hither Barnardine and Claudio:

 

    Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON

    The one has my pity; not a jot the other,

    Being a murderer, though he were my brother.

 

    Enter CLAUDIO

    Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death:

    'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow

    Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?

 

CLAUDIO

 

    As fast lock'd up in sleep as guiltless labour

    When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones:

    He will not wake.

 

Provost

 

    Who can do good on him?

    Well, go, prepare yourself.

 

    Knocking within

    But, hark, what noise?

    Heaven give your spirits comfort!

 

    Exit CLAUDIO

    By and by.

    I hope it is some pardon or reprieve

    For the most gentle Claudio.

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

    Welcome father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    The best and wholesomest spirts of the night

    Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?

 

Provost

 

    None, since the curfew rung.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Not Isabel?

 

Provost

 

    No.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    They will, then, ere't be long.

 

Provost

 

    What comfort is for Claudio?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    There's some in hope.

 

Provost

 

    It is a bitter deputy.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Not so, not so; his life is parallel'd

    Even with the stroke and line of his great justice:

    He doth with holy abstinence subdue

    That in himself which he spurs on his power

    To qualify in others: were he meal'd with that

    Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;

    But this being so, he's just.

 

    Knocking within

    Now are they come.

 

    Exit Provost

    This is a gentle provost: seldom when

    The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.

 

    Knocking within

    How now! what noise? That spirit's possessed with haste

    That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes.

 

    Re-enter Provost

 

Provost

 

    There he must stay until the officer

    Arise to let him in: he is call'd up.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,

    But he must die to-morrow?

 

Provost

 

    None, sir, none.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    As near the dawning, provost, as it is,

    You shall hear more ere morning.

 

Provost

 

    Happily

    You something know; yet I believe there comes

    No countermand; no such example have we:

    Besides, upon the very siege of justice

    Lord Angelo hath to the public ear

    Profess'd the contrary.

 

    Enter a Messenger

    This is his lordship's man.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    And here comes Claudio's pardon.

 

Messenger

 

    [Giving a paper]

    My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this

    further charge, that you swerve not from the

    smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or

    other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I take it,

    it is almost day.

 

Provost

 

    I shall obey him.

 

    Exit Messenger

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    [Aside] This is his pardon, purchased by such sin

    For which the pardoner himself is in.

    Hence hath offence his quick celerity,

    When it is born in high authority:

    When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,

    That for the fault's love is the offender friended.

    Now, sir, what news?

 

Provost

 

    I told you. Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss

    in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted

    putting-on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Pray you, let's hear.

 

Provost

 

    [Reads]

    'Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let

    Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and in the

    afternoon Barnardine: for my better satisfaction,

    let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let

    this be duly performed; with a thought that more

    depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail

    not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril.'

    What say you to this, sir?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the

    afternoon?

 

Provost

 

    A Bohemian born, but here nursed un and bred; one

    that is a prisoner nine years old.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    How came it that the absent duke had not either

    delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I

    have heard it was ever his manner to do so.

 

Provost

 

    His friends still wrought reprieves for him: and,

    indeed, his fact, till now in the government of Lord

    Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is now apparent?

 

Provost

 

    Most manifest, and not denied by himself.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Hath he born himself penitently in prison? how

    seems he to be touched?

 

Provost

 

    A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but

    as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless

    of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of

    mortality, and desperately mortal.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He wants advice.

 

Provost

 

    He will hear none: he hath evermore had the liberty

    of the prison; give him leave to escape hence, he

    would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days

    entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if

    to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming

    warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    More of him anon. There is written in your brow,

    provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not

    truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but, in the

    boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard.

    Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is

    no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath

    sentenced him. To make you understand this in a

    manifested effect, I crave but four days' respite;

    for the which you are to do me both a present and a

    dangerous courtesy.

 

Provost

 

    Pray, sir, in what?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    In the delaying death.

 

Provost

 

    A lack, how may I do it, having the hour limited,

    and an express command, under penalty, to deliver

    his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case

    as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my

    instructions may be your guide. Let this Barnardine

    be this morning executed, and his head born to Angelo.

 

Provost

 

    Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it.

    Shave the head, and tie the beard; and say it was

    the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his

    death: you know the course is common. If any thing

    fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good

    fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead

    against it with my life.

 

Provost

 

    Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?

 

Provost

 

    To him, and to his substitutes.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You will think you have made no offence, if the duke

    avouch the justice of your dealing?

 

Provost

 

    But what likelihood is in that?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see

    you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor

    persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will go

    further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you.

    Look you, sir, here is the hand and seal of the

    duke: you know the character, I doubt not; and the

    signet is not strange to you.

 

Provost

 

    I know them both.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    The contents of this is the return of the duke: you

    shall anon over-read it at your pleasure; where you

    shall find, within these two days he will be here.

    This is a thing that Angelo knows not; for he this

    very day receives letters of strange tenor;

    perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering

    into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what

    is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the

    shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how these

    things should be: all difficulties are but easy

    when they are known. Call your executioner, and off

    with Barnardine's head: I will give him a present

    shrift and advise him for a better place. Yet you

    are amazed; but this shall absolutely resolve you.

    Come away; it is almost clear dawn.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE III. Another room in the same.

 

    Enter POMPEY

 

POMPEY

 

    I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house

    of profession: one would think it were Mistress

    Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old

    customers. First, here's young Master Rash; he's in

    for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,

    ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made

    five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not

    much in request, for the old women were all dead.

    Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of

    Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of

    peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a

    beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young

    Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master

    Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young

    Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master

    Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the

    great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed

    Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in

    our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'

 

    Enter ABHORSON

 

ABHORSON

 

    Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

 

POMPEY

 

    Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.

    Master Barnardine!

 

ABHORSON

 

    What, ho, Barnardine!

 

BARNARDINE

 

    [Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that

    noise there? What are you?

 

POMPEY

 

    Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so

    good, sir, to rise and be put to death.

 

BARNARDINE

 

    [Within] Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

 

POMPEY

 

    Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are

    executed, and sleep afterwards.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Go in to him, and fetch him out.

 

POMPEY

 

    He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

 

POMPEY

 

    Very ready, sir.

 

    Enter BARNARDINE

 

BARNARDINE

 

    How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

 

ABHORSON

 

    Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your

    prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.

 

BARNARDINE

 

    You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not

    fitted for 't.

 

POMPEY

 

    O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,

    and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the

    sounder all the next day.

 

ABHORSON

 

    Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do

    we jest now, think you?

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily

    you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort

    you and pray with you.

 

BARNARDINE

 

    Friar, not I I have been drinking hard all night,

    and I will have more time to prepare me, or they

    shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not

    consent to die this day, that's certain.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you

    Look forward on the journey you shall go.

 

BARNARDINE

 

    I swear I will not die to-day for any man's

    persuasion.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    But hear you.

 

BARNARDINE

 

    Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me,

    come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

 

    Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart!

    After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

 

    Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY

 

    Re-enter Provost

 

Provost

 

    Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;

    And to transport him in the mind he is

    Were damnable.

 

Provost

 

    Here in the prison, father,

    There died this morning of a cruel fever

    One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,

    A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head

    Just of his colour. What if we do omit

    This reprobate till he were well inclined;

    And satisfy the deputy with the visage

    Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!

    Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on

    Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done,

    And sent according to command; whiles I

    Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

 

Provost

 

    This shall be done, good father, presently.

    But Barnardine must die this afternoon:

    And how shall we continue Claudio,

    To save me from the danger that might come

    If he were known alive?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Let this be done.

    Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:

    Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting

    To the under generation, you shall find

    Your safety manifested.

 

Provost

 

    I am your free dependant.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

 

    Exit Provost

    Now will I write letters to Angelo,--

    The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents

    Shall witness to him I am near at home,

    And that, by great injunctions, I am bound

    To enter publicly: him I'll desire

    To meet me at the consecrated fount

    A league below the city; and from thence,

    By cold gradation and well-balanced form,

    We shall proceed with Angelo.

 

    Re-enter Provost

 

Provost

 

    Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Convenient is it. Make a swift return;

    For I would commune with you of such things

    That want no ear but yours.

 

Provost

 

    I'll make all speed.

 

    Exit

 

ISABELLA

 

    [Within] Peace, ho, be here!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know

    If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:

    But I will keep her ignorant of her good,

    To make her heavenly comforts of despair,

    When it is least expected.

 

    Enter ISABELLA

 

ISABELLA

 

    Ho, by your leave!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

 

ISABELLA

 

    The better, given me by so holy a man.

    Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:

    His head is off and sent to Angelo.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Nay, but it is not so.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,

    In your close patience.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You shall not be admitted to his sight.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel!

    Injurious world! most damned Angelo!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;

    Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.

    Mark what I say, which you shall find

    By every syllable a faithful verity:

    The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes;

    One of our convent, and his confessor,

    Gives me this instance: already he hath carried

    Notice to Escalus and Angelo,

    Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,

    There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom

    In that good path that I would wish it go,

    And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,

    Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,

    And general honour.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I am directed by you.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    This letter, then, to Friar Peter give;

    'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return:

    Say, by this token, I desire his company

    At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours

    I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you

    Before the duke, and to the head of Angelo

    Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,

    I am combined by a sacred vow

    And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter:

    Command these fretting waters from your eyes

    With a light heart; trust not my holy order,

    If I pervert your course. Who's here?

 

    Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

 

    Good even. Friar, where's the provost?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Not within, sir.

 

LUCIO

 

    O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see

    thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain

    to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for

    my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set

    me to 't. But they say the duke will be here

    to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother:

    if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been

    at home, he had lived.

 

    Exit ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your

    reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.

 

LUCIO

 

    Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do:

    he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.

 

LUCIO

 

    Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee

    I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You have told me too many of him already, sir, if

    they be true; if not true, none were enough.

 

LUCIO

 

    I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Did you such a thing?

 

LUCIO

 

    Yes, marry, did I but I was fain to forswear it;

    they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.

 

LUCIO

 

    By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end:

    if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of

    it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE IV. A room in ANGELO's house.

 

    Enter ANGELO and ESCALUS

 

ESCALUS

 

    Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched other.

 

ANGELO

 

    In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions

    show much like to madness: pray heaven his wisdom be

    not tainted! And why meet him at the gates, and

    redeliver our authorities there

 

ESCALUS

 

    I guess not.

 

ANGELO

 

    And why should we proclaim it in an hour before his

    entering, that if any crave redress of injustice,

    they should exhibit their petitions in the street?

 

ESCALUS

 

    He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch of

    complaints, and to deliver us from devices

    hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand

    against us.

 

ANGELO

 

    Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaimed betimes

    i' the morn; I'll call you at your house: give

    notice to such men of sort and suit as are to meet

    him.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I shall, sir. Fare you well.

 

ANGELO

 

    Good night.

 

    Exit ESCALUS

    This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant

    And dull to all proceedings. A deflower'd maid!

    And by an eminent body that enforced

    The law against it! But that her tender shame

    Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,

    How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her no;

    For my authority bears of a credent bulk,

    That no particular scandal once can touch

    But it confounds the breather. He should have lived,

    Save that riotous youth, with dangerous sense,

    Might in the times to come have ta'en revenge,

    By so receiving a dishonour'd life

    With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had lived!

    A lack, when once our grace we have forgot,

    Nothing goes right: we would, and we would not.

 

    Exit

 


SCENE V. Fields without the town.

 

    Enter DUKE VINCENTIO in his own habit, and FRIAR PETER

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    These letters at fit time deliver me

 

    Giving letters

    The provost knows our purpose and our plot.

    The matter being afoot, keep your instruction,

    And hold you ever to our special drift;

    Though sometimes you do blench from this to that,

    As cause doth minister. Go call at Flavius' house,

    And tell him where I stay: give the like notice

    To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus,

    And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate;

    But send me Flavius first.

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    It shall be speeded well.

 

    Exit

 

    Enter VARRIUS

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good haste:

    Come, we will walk. There's other of our friends

    Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.

 

    Exeunt

 


SCENE VI. Street near the city gate.

 

    Enter ISABELLA and MARIANA

 

ISABELLA

 

    To speak so indirectly I am loath:

    I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,

    That is your part: yet I am advised to do it;

    He says, to veil full purpose.

 

MARIANA

 

    Be ruled by him.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure

    He speak against me on the adverse side,

    I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic

    That's bitter to sweet end.

 

MARIANA

 

    I would Friar Peter--

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, peace! the friar is come.

 

    Enter FRIAR PETER

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    Come, I have found you out a stand most fit,

    Where you may have such vantage on the duke,

    He shall not pass you. Twice have the trumpets sounded;

    The generous and gravest citizens

    Have hent the gates, and very near upon

    The duke is entering: therefore, hence, away!

 

    Exeunt

 


ACT V

SCENE I. The city gate.

 

    MARIANA veiled, ISABELLA, and FRIAR PETER, at their stand. Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, VARRIUS, Lords, ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and Citizens, at several doors

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    My very worthy cousin, fairly met!

    Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.

 

ANGELO ESCALUS

 

    Happy return be to your royal grace!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Many and hearty thankings to you both.

    We have made inquiry of you; and we hear

    Such goodness of your justice, that our soul

    Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,

    Forerunning more requital.

 

ANGELO

 

    You make my bonds still greater.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it,

    To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,

    When it deserves, with characters of brass,

    A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time

    And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand,

    And let the subject see, to make them know

    That outward courtesies would fain proclaim

    Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus,

    You must walk by us on our other hand;

    And good supporters are you.

 

    FRIAR PETER and ISABELLA come forward

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    Now is your time: speak loud and kneel before him.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard

    Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a maid!

    O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye

    By throwing it on any other object

    Till you have heard me in my true complaint

    And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Relate your wrongs; in what? by whom? be brief.

    Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice:

    Reveal yourself to him.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O worthy duke,

    You bid me seek redemption of the devil:

    Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak

    Must either punish me, not being believed,

    Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear me, here!

 

ANGELO

 

    My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:

    She hath been a suitor to me for her brother

    Cut off by course of justice,--

 

ISABELLA

 

    By course of justice!

 

ANGELO

 

    And she will speak most bitterly and strange.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak:

    That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange?

    That Angelo's a murderer; is 't not strange?

    That Angelo is an adulterous thief,

    An hypocrite, a virgin-violator;

    Is it not strange and strange?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Nay, it is ten times strange.

 

ISABELLA

 

    It is not truer he is Angelo

    Than this is all as true as it is strange:

    Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth

    To the end of reckoning.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Away with her! Poor soul,

    She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest

    There is another comfort than this world,

    That thou neglect me not, with that opinion

    That I am touch'd with madness! Make not impossible

    That which but seems unlike: 'tis not impossible

    But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,

    May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute

    As Angelo; even so may Angelo,

    In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,

    Be an arch-villain; believe it, royal prince:

    If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,

    Had I more name for badness.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    By mine honesty,

    If she be mad,--as I believe no other,--

    Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,

    Such a dependency of thing on thing,

    As e'er I heard in madness.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O gracious duke,

    Harp not on that, nor do not banish reason

    For inequality; but let your reason serve

    To make the truth appear where it seems hid,

    And hide the false seems true.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Many that are not mad

    Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you say?

 

ISABELLA

 

    I am the sister of one Claudio,

    Condemn'd upon the act of fornication

    To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo:

    I, in probation of a sisterhood,

    Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio

    As then the messenger,--

 

LUCIO

 

    That's I, an't like your grace:

    I came to her from Claudio, and desired her

    To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo

    For her poor brother's pardon.

 

ISABELLA

 

    That's he indeed.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You were not bid to speak.

 

LUCIO

 

    No, my good lord;

    Nor wish'd to hold my peace.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I wish you now, then;

    Pray you, take note of it: and when you have

    A business for yourself, pray heaven you then

    Be perfect.

 

LUCIO

 

    I warrant your honour.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    The warrants for yourself; take heed to't.

 

ISABELLA

 

    This gentleman told somewhat of my tale,--

 

LUCIO

 

    Right.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It may be right; but you are i' the wrong

    To speak before your time. Proceed.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I went

    To this pernicious caitiff deputy,--

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    That's somewhat madly spoken.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Pardon it;

    The phrase is to the matter.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Mended again. The matter; proceed.

 

ISABELLA

 

    In brief, to set the needless process by,

    How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,

    How he refell'd me, and how I replied,--

    For this was of much length,--the vile conclusion

    I now begin with grief and shame to utter:

    He would not, but by gift of my chaste body

    To his concupiscible intemperate lust,

    Release my brother; and, after much debatement,

    My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,

    And I did yield to him: but the next morn betimes,

    His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant

    For my poor brother's head.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    This is most likely!

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, that it were as like as it is true!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    By heaven, fond wretch, thou knowist not what thou speak'st,

    Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour

    In hateful practise. First, his integrity

    Stands without blemish. Next, it imports no reason

    That with such vehemency he should pursue

    Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,

    He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself

    And not have cut him off. Some one hath set you on:

    Confess the truth, and say by whose advice

    Thou camest here to complain.

 

ISABELLA

 

    And is this all?

    Then, O you blessed ministers above,

    Keep me in patience, and with ripen'd time

    Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up

    In countenance! Heaven shield your grace from woe,

    As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I know you'ld fain be gone. An officer!

    To prison with her! Shall we thus permit

    A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall

    On him so near us? This needs must be a practise.

    Who knew of Your intent and coming hither?

 

ISABELLA

 

    One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?

 

LUCIO

 

    My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar;

    I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord

    For certain words he spake against your grace

    In your retirement, I had swinged him soundly.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Words against me? this is a good friar, belike!

    And to set on this wretched woman here

    Against our substitute! Let this friar be found.

 

LUCIO

 

    But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,

    I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,

    A very scurvy fellow.

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    Blessed be your royal grace!

    I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard

    Your royal ear abused. First, hath this woman

    Most wrongfully accused your substitute,

    Who is as free from touch or soil with her

    As she from one ungot.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    We did believe no less.

    Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    I know him for a man divine and holy;

    Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,

    As he's reported by this gentleman;

    And, on my trust, a man that never yet

    Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

 

LUCIO

 

    My lord, most villanously; believe it.

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    Well, he in time may come to clear himself;

    But at this instant he is sick my lord,

    Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,

    Being come to knowledge that there was complaint

    Intended 'gainst Lord Angelo, came I hither,

    To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know

    Is true and false; and what he with his oath

    And all probation will make up full clear,

    Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman.

    To justify this worthy nobleman,

    So vulgarly and personally accused,

    Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,

    Till she herself confess it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Good friar, let's hear it.

 

    ISABELLA is carried off guarded; and MARIANA comes forward

    Do you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?

    O heaven, the vanity of wretched fools!

    Give us some seats. Come, cousin Angelo;

    In this I'll be impartial; be you judge

    Of your own cause. Is this the witness, friar?

    First, let her show her face, and after speak.

 

MARIANA

 

    Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face

    Until my husband bid me.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    What, are you married?

 

MARIANA

 

    No, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Are you a maid?

 

MARIANA

 

    No, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    A widow, then?

 

MARIANA

 

    Neither, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Why, you are nothing then: neither maid, widow, nor wife?

 

LUCIO

 

    My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are

    neither maid, widow, nor wife.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Silence that fellow: I would he had some cause

    To prattle for himself.

 

LUCIO

 

    Well, my lord.

 

MARIANA

 

    My lord; I do confess I ne'er was married;

    And I confess besides I am no maid:

    I have known my husband; yet my husband

    Knows not that ever he knew me.

 

LUCIO

 

    He was drunk then, my lord: it can be no better.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too!

 

LUCIO

 

    Well, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    This is no witness for Lord Angelo.

 

MARIANA

 

    Now I come to't my lord

    She that accuses him of fornication,

    In self-same manner doth accuse my husband,

    And charges him my lord, with such a time

    When I'll depose I had him in mine arms

    With all the effect of love.

 

ANGELO

 

    Charges she more than me?

 

MARIANA

 

    Not that I know.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    No? you say your husband.

 

MARIANA

 

    Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,

    Who thinks he knows that he ne'er knew my body,

    But knows he thinks that he knows Isabel's.

 

ANGELO

 

    This is a strange abuse. Let's see thy face.

 

MARIANA

 

    My husband bids me; now I will unmask.

 

    Unveiling

    This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,

    Which once thou sworest was worth the looking on;

    This is the hand which, with a vow'd contract,

    Was fast belock'd in thine; this is the body

    That took away the match from Isabel,

    And did supply thee at thy garden-house

    In her imagined person.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Know you this woman?

 

LUCIO

 

    Carnally, she says.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Sirrah, no more!

 

LUCIO

 

    Enough, my lord.

 

ANGELO

 

    My lord, I must confess I know this woman:

    And five years since there was some speech of marriage

    Betwixt myself and her; which was broke off,

    Partly for that her promised proportions

    Came short of composition, but in chief

    For that her reputation was disvalued

    In levity: since which time of five years

    I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,

    Upon my faith and honour.

 

MARIANA

 

    Noble prince,

    As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,

    As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,

    I am affianced this man's wife as strongly

    As words could make up vows: and, my good lord,

    But Tuesday night last gone in's garden-house

    He knew me as a wife. As this is true,

    Let me in safety raise me from my knees

    Or else for ever be confixed here,

    A marble monument!

 

ANGELO

 

    I did but smile till now:

    Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice

    My patience here is touch'd. I do perceive

    These poor informal women are no more

    But instruments of some more mightier member

    That sets them on: let me have way, my lord,

    To find this practise out.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Ay, with my heart

    And punish them to your height of pleasure.

    Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,

    Compact with her that's gone, think'st thou thy oaths,

    Though they would swear down each particular saint,

    Were testimonies against his worth and credit

    That's seal'd in approbation? You, Lord Escalus,

    Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains

    To find out this abuse, whence 'tis derived.

    There is another friar that set them on;

    Let him be sent for.

 

FRIAR PETER

 

    Would he were here, my lord! for he indeed

    Hath set the women on to this complaint:

    Your provost knows the place where he abides

    And he may fetch him.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Go do it instantly.

 

    Exit Provost

    And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,

    Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,

    Do with your injuries as seems you best,

    In any chastisement: I for a while will leave you;

    But stir not you till you have well determined

    Upon these slanderers.

 

ESCALUS

 

    My lord, we'll do it throughly.

 

    Exit DUKE

    Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that

    Friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person?

 

LUCIO

 

    'Cucullus non facit monachum:' honest in nothing

    but in his clothes; and one that hath spoke most

    villanous speeches of the duke.

 

ESCALUS

 

    We shall entreat you to abide here till he come and

    enforce them against him: we shall find this friar a

    notable fellow.

 

LUCIO

 

    As any in Vienna, on my word.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Call that same Isabel here once again; I would speak with her.

 

    Exit an Attendant

    Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question; you

    shall see how I'll handle her.

 

LUCIO

 

    Not better than he, by her own report.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Say you?

 

LUCIO

 

    Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately,

    she would sooner confess: perchance, publicly,

    she'll be ashamed.

 

ESCALUS

 

    I will go darkly to work with her.

 

LUCIO

 

    That's the way; for women are light at midnight.

 

    Re-enter Officers with ISABELLA; and Provost with the DUKE VINCENTIO in his friar's habit

 

ESCALUS

 

    Come on, mistress: here's a gentlewoman denies all

    that you have said.

 

LUCIO

 

    My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of; here with

    the provost.

 

ESCALUS

 

    In very good time: speak not you to him till we

    call upon you.

 

LUCIO

 

    Mum.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Come, sir: did you set these women on to slander

    Lord Angelo? they have confessed you did.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    'Tis false.

 

ESCALUS

 

    How! know you where you are?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Respect to your great place! and let the devil

    Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne!

    Where is the duke? 'tis he should hear me speak.

 

ESCALUS

 

    The duke's in us; and we will hear you speak:

    Look you speak justly.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Boldly, at least. But, O, poor souls,

    Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?

    Good night to your redress! Is the duke gone?

    Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust,

    Thus to retort your manifest appeal,

    And put your trial in the villain's mouth

    Which here you come to accuse.

 

LUCIO

 

    This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd friar,

    Is't not enough thou hast suborn'd these women

    To accuse this worthy man, but, in foul mouth

    And in the witness of his proper ear,

    To call him villain? and then to glance from him

    To the duke himself, to tax him with injustice?

    Take him hence; to the rack with him! We'll touse you

    Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.

    What 'unjust'!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Be not so hot; the duke

    Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he

    Dare rack his own: his subject am I not,

    Nor here provincial. My business in this state

    Made me a looker on here in Vienna,

    Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble

    Till it o'er-run the stew; laws for all faults,

    But faults so countenanced, that the strong statutes

    Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,

    As much in mock as mark.

 

ESCALUS

 

    Slander to the state! Away with him to prison!

 

ANGELO

 

    What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio?

    Is this the man that you did tell us of?

 

LUCIO

 

    'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, goodman baldpate:

    do you know me?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice: I

    met you at the prison, in the absence of the duke.

 

LUCIO

 

    O, did you so? And do you remember what you said of the duke?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Most notedly, sir.

 

LUCIO

 

    Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a

    fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You must, sir, change persons with me, ere you make

    that my report: you, indeed, spoke so of him; and

    much more, much worse.

 

LUCIO

 

    O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the

    nose for thy speeches?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I protest I love the duke as I love myself.

 

ANGELO

 

    Hark, how the villain would close now, after his

    treasonable abuses!

 

ESCALUS

 

    Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away with

    him to prison! Where is the provost? Away with him

    to prison! lay bolts enough upon him: let him

    speak no more. Away with those giglots too, and

    with the other confederate companion!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    [To Provost] Stay, sir; stay awhile.

 

ANGELO

 

    What, resists he? Help him, Lucio.

 

LUCIO

 

    Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir! Why, you

    bald-pated, lying rascal, you must be hooded, must

    you? Show your knave's visage, with a pox to you!

    show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged an hour!

    Will't not off?

 

    Pulls off the friar's hood, and discovers DUKE VINCENTIO

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Thou art the first knave that e'er madest a duke.

    First, provost, let me bail these gentle three.

 

    To LUCIO

    Sneak not away, sir; for the friar and you

    Must have a word anon. Lay hold on him.

 

LUCIO

 

    This may prove worse than hanging.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    [To ESCALUS] What you have spoke I pardon: sit you down:

    We'll borrow place of him.

 

    To ANGELO

    Sir, by your leave.

    Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,

    That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,

    Rely upon it till my tale be heard,

    And hold no longer out.

 

ANGELO

 

    O my dread lord,

    I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,

    To think I can be undiscernible,

    When I perceive your grace, like power divine,

    Hath look'd upon my passes. Then, good prince,

    No longer session hold upon my shame,

    But let my trial be mine own confession:

    Immediate sentence then and sequent death

    Is all the grace I beg.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Come hither, Mariana.

    Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?

 

ANGELO

 

    I was, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Go take her hence, and marry her instantly.

    Do you the office, friar; which consummate,

    Return him here again. Go with him, provost.

 

    Exeunt ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER and Provost

 

ESCALUS

 

    My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour

    Than at the strangeness of it.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Come hither, Isabel.

    Your friar is now your prince: as I was then

    Advertising and holy to your business,

    Not changing heart with habit, I am still

    Attorney'd at your service.

 

ISABELLA

 

    O, give me pardon,

    That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd

    Your unknown sovereignty!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You are pardon'd, Isabel:

    And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.

    Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart;

    And you may marvel why I obscured myself,

    Labouring to save his life, and would not rather

    Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power

    Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,

    It was the swift celerity of his death,

    Which I did think with slower foot came on,

    That brain'd my purpose. But, peace be with him!

    That life is better life, past fearing death,

    Than that which lives to fear: make it your comfort,

    So happy is your brother.

 

ISABELLA

 

    I do, my lord.

 

    Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and Provost

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    For this new-married man approaching here,

    Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd

    Your well defended honour, you must pardon

    For Mariana's sake: but as he adjudged your brother,--

    Being criminal, in double violation

    Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach

    Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,--

    The very mercy of the law cries out

    Most audible, even from his proper tongue,

    'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!'

    Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;

    Like doth quit like, and MEASURE still FOR MEASURE.

    Then, Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested;

    Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage.

    We do condemn thee to the very block

    Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste.

    Away with him!

 

MARIANA

 

    O my most gracious lord,

    I hope you will not mock me with a husband.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    It is your husband mock'd you with a husband.

    Consenting to the safeguard of your honour,

    I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,

    For that he knew you, might reproach your life

    And choke your good to come; for his possessions,

    Although by confiscation they are ours,

    We do instate and widow you withal,

    To buy you a better husband.

 

MARIANA

 

    O my dear lord,

    I crave no other, nor no better man.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Never crave him; we are definitive.

 

MARIANA

 

    Gentle my liege,--

 

    Kneeling

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    You do but lose your labour.

    Away with him to death!

 

    To LUCIO

    Now, sir, to you.

 

MARIANA

 

    O my good lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part;

    Lend me your knees, and all my life to come

    I'll lend you all my life to do you service.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Against all sense you do importune her:

    Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,

    Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,

    And take her hence in horror.

 

MARIANA

 

    Isabel,

    Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me;

    Hold up your hands, say nothing; I'll speak all.

    They say, best men are moulded out of faults;

    And, for the most, become much more the better

    For being a little bad: so may my husband.

    O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    He dies for Claudio's death.

 

ISABELLA

 

    Most bounteous sir,

 

    Kneeling

    Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd,

    As if my brother lived: I partly think

    A due sincerity govern'd his deeds,

    Till he did look on me: since it is so,

    Let him not die. My brother had but justice,

    In that he did the thing for which he died:

    For Angelo,

    His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,

    And must be buried but as an intent

    That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subjects;

    Intents but merely thoughts.

 

MARIANA

 

    Merely, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.

    I have bethought me of another fault.

    Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded

    At an unusual hour?

 

Provost

 

    It was commanded so.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Had you a special warrant for the deed?

 

Provost

 

    No, my good lord; it was by private message.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    For which I do discharge you of your office:

    Give up your keys.

 

Provost

 

    Pardon me, noble lord:

    I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;

    Yet did repent me, after more advice;

    For testimony whereof, one in the prison,

    That should by private order else have died,

    I have reserved alive.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    What's he?

 

Provost

 

    His name is Barnardine.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.

    Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him.

 

    Exit Provost

 

ESCALUS

 

    I am sorry, one so learned and so wise

    As you, Lord Angelo, have still appear'd,

    Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood.

    And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.

 

ANGELO

 

    I am sorry that such sorrow I procure:

    And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart

    That I crave death more willingly than mercy;

    'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.

 

    Re-enter Provost, with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO muffled, and JULIET

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Which is that Barnardine?

 

Provost

 

    This, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    There was a friar told me of this man.

    Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul.

    That apprehends no further than this world,

    And squarest thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd:

    But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all;

    And pray thee take this mercy to provide

    For better times to come. Friar, advise him;

    I leave him to your hand. What muffled fellow's that?

 

Provost

 

    This is another prisoner that I saved.

    Who should have died when Claudio lost his head;

    As like almost to Claudio as himself.

 

    Unmuffles CLAUDIO

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    [To ISABELLA] If he be like your brother, for his sake

    Is he pardon'd; and, for your lovely sake,

    Give me your hand and say you will be mine.

    He is my brother too: but fitter time for that.

    By this Lord Angelo perceives he's safe;

    Methinks I see a quickening in his eye.

    Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well:

    Look that you love your wife; her worth worth yours.

    I find an apt remission in myself;

    And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon.

 

    To LUCIO

    You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,

    One all of luxury, an ass, a madman;

    Wherein have I so deserved of you,

    That you extol me thus?

 

LUCIO

 

    'Faith, my lord. I spoke it but according to the

    trick. If you will hang me for it, you may; but I

    had rather it would please you I might be whipt.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Whipt first, sir, and hanged after.

    Proclaim it, provost, round about the city.

    Is any woman wrong'd by this lewd fellow,

    As I have heard him swear himself there's one

    Whom he begot with child, let her appear,

    And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd,

    Let him be whipt and hang'd.

 

LUCIO

 

    I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore.

    Your highness said even now, I made you a duke:

    good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a cuckold.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.

    Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal

    Remit thy other forfeits. Take him to prison;

    And see our pleasure herein executed.

 

LUCIO

 

    Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,

    whipping, and hanging.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

 

    Slandering a prince deserves it.

 

    Exit Officers with LUCIO

    She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.

    Joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo:

    I have confess'd her and I know her virtue.

    Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:

    There's more behind that is more gratulate.

    Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy:

    We shill employ thee in a worthier place.

    Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home

    The head of Ragozine for Claudio's:

    The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,

    I have a motion much imports your good;

    Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,

    What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.

    So, bring us to our palace; where we'll show

    What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.

 

    Exeunt

 

 

THE END