Facsimile of the first page of Measure for Measure
, published in 1623
DRAMATIS PERSONAE (Persons Represented):
- VICENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
- ANGELO, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence.
- ESCALUS, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the
- CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
- LUCIO, a Fantastic.
- Two other like Gentlemen.
- VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
- THOMAS, friar.
- PETER, friar.
- A JUSTICE.
- ELBOW, a simple Constable.
- FROTH, a foolish Gentleman.
- POMPEY, Servant to Mistress Overdone.
- ABHORSON, an Executioner.
- BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.
- ISABELLA, Sister to Claudio.
- MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo.
- JULIET, beloved by Claudio.
- FRANCISCA, a nun.
- MISTRESS OVERDONE, a Bawd.
- Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
SCENE I. An
apartment in the DUKE'S Palace.
[Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, LORDS, and ATTENDANTS.]
- My lord.
- 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 are as pregnant in
- As art and practice 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, drest him with our love,
- And given his deputation all the organs
- Of our own power: what think you of it?
- If any in Vienna be of worth
- To undergo such ample grace and honour,
- It is Lord Angelo.
- Look where he comes.
- Always obedient to your grace's will,
- I come to know your pleasure.
- There is a kind of character in thy life
- That to th' 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.
- Now, good my lord,
- Let there be some more test made of my metal,
- Before so noble and so great a figure
- Be stamped upon it.
- 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.
- Yet give leave, my lord,
- That we may bring you something on the way.
- 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:
- Though 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.
- The heavens give safety to your purposes!
- Lead forth and bring you back in happiness.
- I thank you. Fare you well.
- 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 pow'r I have, but of what strength and nature
- I am not yet instructed.
- 'Tis so with me.—Let us withdraw together,
- And we may soon our satisfaction have
- Touching that point.
- I'll wait upon your honour.
SCENE II. A
[Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.]
- 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.
- Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of Hungary's!
- Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate that went to
- with the ten
- commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
- Thou shalt not steal?
- Ay, that he razed.
- Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the
- from their
- functions; they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of
- all that, in
- the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition well
- prays for
- I never heard any soldier dislike it.
- I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was
- SECOND GENTLEMAN.
- No? A dozen times at least.
- What? in metre?
- In any proportion or in any language.
- I think, or in any religion.
- Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy. As,
- thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.
- Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.
- I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet. Thou
- the list.
- And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt a
- piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an
- kersey as be piled, as thou art piled, for a French
- Do I speak feelingly now?
- I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of
- speech. I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin
- health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.
- I think I have done myself wrong; have I not?
- Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.
- Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes! I have purchased
- many diseases under her roof as come to—
- To what, I pray?
- To three thousand dollars a year.
- Ay, and more.
- A French crown more.
- Thou art always figuring diseases in me, but thou art full
- error; I am sound.
- Nay, not, as one would say, healthy; but so sound as things
- are hollow: thy bones are hollow: impiety has made a feast of
- How now! which of your hips has the most profound
- Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison
- worth five thousand of you all.
- Who's that, I pray thee?
- Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.
- Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.
- Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him
- away; and, which is more, within these three days his head
- be chopped off.
- But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art
- sure of this?
- I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam Julietta
- Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours
- and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
- Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we
- to such a purpose.
- But most of all agreeing with the proclamation.
- Away; let's go learn the truth of it.
[Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen.]
- Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with
- gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
- How now! what's the news with you?
- Yonder man is carried to prison.
- Well: what has he done?
- A woman.
- But what's his offence?
- Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
- What! is there a maid with child by him?
- No; but there's a woman with maid by him. You have not heard
- the proclamation, have you?
- What proclamation, man?
- All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.
- And what shall become of those in the city?
- They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that
- wise burgher put in for them.
- But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled
- To the ground, mistress.
- Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth! What
- become of me?
- Come, fear not you; good counsellors lack no clients: though
- change your place you need not change your trade; I'll be
- tapster still.
- Courage; there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn
- eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.
- What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.
- Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison:
- there's Madam Juliet.
[Enter PROVOST, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; LUCIO and two
- Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
- Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
- I do it not in evil disposition,
- But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
- Thus can the demi-god 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.
- Why, how now, Claudio, whence comes this restraint?
- 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.
- If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send
- certain of my creditors; and yet, to say the truth, I had
- lief have the foppery of freedom as the morality of
- imprisonment.—What's thy offence, Claudio?
- What but to speak of would offend again.
- What, is't murder?
- Call it so.
- Away, sir; you must go.
- One word, good friend.—Lucio, a word with you.
[Takes him aside.]
- A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Is lechery so
- 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.
- With child, perhaps?
- 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 eminence 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.
- I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy
- that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after
- duke, and appeal to him.
- I have done so, but he's not to be found.
- I pr'ythee, 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 moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art
- When she will play with reason and discourse,
- And well she can persuade.
- I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the like,
- else would stand under grievous imposition, as for the
- of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly
- at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
- I thank you, good friend Lucio.
- Within two hours,—
- Come, officer, away.
[Enter DUKE and FRIAR THOMAS.]
- 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.
- May your grace speak of it?
- My holy sir, none better knows than you
- How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd,
- And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
- Where youth, and cost, a 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?
- Gladly, my lord.
- We have strict statutes and most biting laws,—
- The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,—
- Which for this fourteen years we have let sleep,
- Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
- That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
- Having bound up the threat'ning 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.
- It rested in your grace
- To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleas'd;
- And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
- Than in Lord Angelo.
- 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 impos'd 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 pr'ythee,
- Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
- How I may formally in person bear me
- Like a true friar. Moe 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, o that his appetite
- Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,
- If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
SCENE V. A
[Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.]
- And have you nuns no further privileges?
- Are not these large enough?
- Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more,
- But rather wishing a more strict restraint
- Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
- [Within.] Ho! Peace be in this place!
- Who's that which calls?
- 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.
- Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls?
- 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?
- Why her unhappy brother? let me ask;
- The rather, for I now must make you know
- I am that Isabella, and his sister.
- Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:
- Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
- Woe me! For what?
- For that which, if myself might be his judge,
- He should receive his punishment in thanks:
- He hath got his friend with child.
- Sir, make me not your story.
- 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.
- You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
- 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.
- Some one with child by him?—My cousin Juliet?
- Is she your cousin?
- Adoptedly, as school-maids change their names
- By vain though apt affection.
- She it is.
- O, let him marry her!
- 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.
- Doth he so seek his life?
- Has censur'd him
- Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
- A warrant for his execution.
- Alas! what poor ability's in me
- To do him good.
- Assay the power you have.
- My power! alas, I doubt,—
- 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.
- I'll see what I can do.
- But speedily.
- 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.
- I take my leave of you.
- Good sir, adieu.
SCENE I. A hall in
[Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a JUSTICE, PROVOST, Officers, and other
- 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.
- 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 coher'd 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.
- '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 knows the laws
- That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very pregnant,
- The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
- 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.
- Be it as your wisdom will.
- Where is the provost?
- Here, if it like your honour.
- See that Claudio
- Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
- Bring him his confessor; let him be prepard;
- For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.
- Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!
- Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
- Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none,
- And some condemned for a fault alone.
[Enter ELBOW, FROTH, POMPEY, Officers, &c.]
- Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a
- that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I
- no law; bring them away.
- How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
- If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and
- name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in
- before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
- Benefactors! Well; what benefactors are they? are they not
- If it please your honour, I know not well what they are;
- precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of
- profanation in the world that good Christians ought to
- This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
- Go to;—what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why
- thou not speak, Elbow?
- He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
- What are you, sir?
- He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a
- woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in
- suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think,
- a very ill house too.
- How know you that?
- My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your
- How! thy wife!
- Ay, sir; who, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,—
- Dost thou detest her therefore?
- I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that
- house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life,
- it is a naughty house.
- How dost thou know that, constable?
- Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman
- given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and
- uncleanliness there.
- By the woman's means?
- Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means: but as she spit in
- face, so she defied him.
- Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.
- Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man,
- [To ANGELO.] Do you hear how he misplaces?
- Sir, she came in great with child; and longing,—saving
- honour's reverence—for stew'd prunes; sir, we had but two
- the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it
- in a fruit dish, a dish of some threepence; your honours
- seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good
- Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.
- No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right;
- to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being, as I
- with child, and being great-bellied, and longing, as I said,
- prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said, Master
- here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as
- say, paying for them very honestly;—for, as you know,
- Froth, I could not give you threepence again,—
- No, indeed.
- Very well; you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking
- stones of the foresaid prunes,—
- Ay, so I did indeed.
- Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd,
- such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing you wot
- unless they kept very good diet, as I told you,—
- All this is true.
- Why, very well then.
- Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What was done
- Elbow's wife that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to
- was done to her.
- Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
- No, sir, nor I mean it not.
- Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave. And,
- beseech you, look into Master Froth here, sir, a man of
- pound a-year; whose father died at Hallowmas:—was't not at
- Hallowmas, Master Froth?
- All-hallond eve.
- Why, very well; I hope here be truths: He, sir, sitting, as
- say, in a lower chair, sir;—'twas in the 'Bunch of
- where, indeed, you have a delight to sit, have you not?—
- I have so; because it is an open room, and good for
- Why, very well then;—I hope here be truths.
- 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.
- I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.
Now, sir, come on; what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
- Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.
- I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
- I beseech your honour, ask me.
- Well, sir: what did this gentleman to her?
- I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face.—Good
- Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose.—Doth
- honour mark his face?
- Ay, sir, very well.
- Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
- Well, I do so.
- Doth your honour see any harm in his face?
- Why, no.
- I'll be supposed upon a book his face is the worst thing
- him. Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him,
- could Master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I
- know that of your honour.
- He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?
- First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next,
- is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected
- By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than
- of us all.
- Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet
- come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or
- Sir, she was respected with him before he married with
- Which is the wiser here, Justice or Iniquity?—is this
- O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I
- respected with her before I was married to her? If ever I
- respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship
- me the poor duke's officer.—Prove this, thou wicked
- or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
- If he took you a box o' th' ear, you might have your action
- slander too.
- Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is't your
- pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff?
- Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him that
- wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his
- till thou knowest what they are.
- Marry, I thank your worship for it.—Thou seest, thou
- varlet, now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now,
- varlet; thou art to continue.
- [To FROTH.] Where were you born, friend?
- Here in Vienna, sir.
- Are you of fourscore pounds a-year?
- Yes, an't please you, sir.
- So.—[To the POMPEY.] What trade are you of, sir?
- A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
- Your mistress' name?
- Mistress Overdone.
- Hath she had any more than one husband?
- Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.
- Nine!—Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master Froth, I would
- have you acquainted with tapsters: they will draw you,
- Froth, and you will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear
- more of you.
- I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never come into
- room in a taphouse but I am drawn in.
- Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell.
—Come you hither to me, master tapster; what's your name,
- What else?
- Bum, sir.
- 'Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that,
- the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you
- partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a
- Are you not? come, tell me true; it shall be the better for
- Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
- How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think
- the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?
- If the law would allow it, sir.
- But the law will not allow it, Pompey: nor it shall not be
- allowed in Vienna.
- Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of
- No, Pompey.
- Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then. If
- worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you
- not to fear the bawds.
- There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell you. It is
- heading and hanging.
- If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten
- together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more
- If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest
- in it, after threepence a bay. If you live to see this come
- pass, say Pompey told you so.
- Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your prophecy,
- you,—I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon
- complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you do; if I
- Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd
- to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt: so
- this time, Pompey, fare you well.
- I thank your worship for your good counsel; but I shall follow
- as the flesh and fortune shall better determine.
- Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade;
- The valiant heart's not whipt out of his trade.
- Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master
- How long have you been in this place of constable?
- Seven year and a half, sir.
- I thought, by the readiness in the office, you had continued
- it some time.
- You say seven years together?
- And a half, sir.
- Alas, it hath been great pains to you!—They do you wrong to
- you so oft upon't. Are there not men in your ward sufficient
- serve it?
- Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are
- they are glad to choose me for them; I do it for some piece
- money, and go through with all.
- Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the
- sufficient of your parish.
- To your worship's house, sir?
- To my house. Fare you well.
What's o'clock, think you?
- Eleven, sir.
- I pray you home to dinner with me.
- I humbly thank you.
- It grieves me for the death of Claudio;
- But there's no remedy.
- Lord Angelo is severe.
- 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's no remedy.
- Come, sir.
SCENE II. Another room in
[Enter PROVOST and a SERVANT.]
- He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight.
- I'll tell him of you.
- Pray you do.
- 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 it!
- Now, what's the matter, provost?
- Is it your will Claudio shall die to-morrow?
- Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order?
- Why dost thou ask again?
- Lest I might be too rash:
- Under your good correction, I have seen
- When, after execution, judgment hath
- Repented o'er his doom.
- Go to; let that be mine:
- Do you your office, or give up your place,
- And you shall well be spared.
- I crave your honour's pardon:
- What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet?
- She's very near her hour.
- Dispose of her
- To some more fitter place; and that with speed.
- Here is the sister of the man condemned
- Desires access to you.
- Hath he a sister?
- Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid,
- And to be shortly of a sisterhood,
- If not already.
- Well, let her be admitted.
See you the fornicatress be remov'd;
- Let her have needful but not lavish means;
- There shall be order for it.
[Enter Lucio and ISABELLA.]
- [Offering to retire.] Save your honour!
- Stay a little while.— [To ISABELLA.] You are welcome.
- your will?
- I am a woeful suitor to your honour,
- Please but your honour hear me.
- Well; what's your suit?
- 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.
- Well; the matter?
- I have a brother is condemn'd to die;
- I do beseech you, let it be his fault,
- And not my brother.
- Heaven give thee moving graces.
- 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 find the faults whose fine stands in record,
- And let go by the actor.
- O just but severe law!
- I had a brother, then.—Heaven keep your honour!
- [To ISABELLA.] Give't not o'er so: to him again, entreat
- 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.
- Must he needs die?
- Maiden, no remedy.
- Yes; I do think that you might pardon him,
- And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.
- I will not do't.
- But can you, if you would?
- Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.
- But might you do't, and do the world no wrong,
- If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse
- As mine is to him?
- He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.
- [To ISABELLA.] You are too cold.
- 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 slipp'd like him;
- But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
- Pray you, be gone.
- 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.
- [Aside.] Ay, touch him; there's the vein.
- Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
- And you but waste your words.
- 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.
- Be you content, fair maid:
- It is the law, not I, condemns your brother:
- Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,
- It should be thus with him;—he must die to-morrow.
- 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.
- Ay, well said.
- 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 now, or by remissness new conceiv'd,
- And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,—
- Are now to have no successive degrees,
- But, where they live, to end.
- Yet show some pity.
- 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.
- So you must be the first that gives this sentence;
- And he that suffers. O, it is excellent
- To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
- To use it like a giant.
- That's well said.
- 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!
- Dress'd 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 makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
- Would all themselves laugh mortal.
- O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent;
- He's coming; I perceive 't.
- Pray heaven she win him!
- We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:
- Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in them;
- But, in the less, foul profanation.
- Thou'rt i' the right, girl; more o' that.
- That in the captain's but a choleric word
- Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
- Art advised o' that? more on't.
- Why do you put these sayings upon me?
- 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.
- She speaks, and 'tis
- Such sense that my sense breeds with it.—
- Fare you well.
- Gentle my lord, turn back.
- I will bethink me:—Come again to-morrow.
- Hark how I'll bribe you. Good my lord, turn back.
- How! bribe me?
- Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.
- You had marr'd all else.
- Not with fond sickles 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 sunrise: prayers from preserved souls,
- From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate
- To nothing temporal.
- Well; come to me
- [Aside to ISABELLA.] Go to; 'tis well; away.
- Heaven keep your honour safe!
- [Aside.] Amen: for I
- Am that way going to temptation,
- Where prayers cross.
- At what hour to-morrow
- Shall I attend your lordship?
- At any time 'fore noon.
- Save your honour!
[Exeunt LUCIO, ISABELLA, PROVOST.]
- 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.—Ever till now,
- When men were fond, I smil'd and wonder'd how.
SCENE III. A Room in a
[Enter DUKE, habited like a Friar, and PROVOST.]
- Hail to you, provost! so I think you are.
- I am the provost. What's your will, good friar?
- Bound by my charity and my bless'd 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.
- I would do more than that, if more were needful.
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, sentenc'd: a young man
- More fit to do another such offence
- Than die for this.
- When must he die?
- As I do think, to-morrow.—
- [To JULIET.] I have provided for you; stay awhile
- And you shall be conducted.
- Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
- I do; and bear the shame most patiently.
- I'll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,
- And try your penitence, if it be sound
- Or hollowly put on.
- I'll gladly learn.
- Love you the man that wrong'd you?
- Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.
- So then, it seems, your most offenceful act
- Was mutually committed.
- Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.
- I do confess it, and repent it, father.
- 'Tis meet so, daughter: but lest you do repent
- As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,—
- Which sorrow is always toward ourselves, not heaven,
- Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,
- But as we stand in fear,—
- I do repent me as it is an evil,
- And take the shame with joy.
- There rest.
- Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,
- And I am going with instruction to him.—
- Grace go with you!
- Must die to-morrow! O, injurious law,
- That respites me a life whose very comfort
- Is still a dying horror!
- 'Tis pity of him.
SCENE IV. A Room in
- 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 sear'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.
How now, who's there?
- One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.
- Teach her the way.
- Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,
- Making both it unable for itself
- And dispossessing all the 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-wished king
- Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
- Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
- Must needs appear offence.
How now, fair maid?
- I am come to know your pleasure.
- That you might know it, would much better please me
- Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live.
- Even so?—Heaven keep your honour!
- Yet may he live awhile: and, it may be,
- As long as you or I: yet he must die.
- Under your sentence?
- When? I beseech you? that in his reprieve,
- Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted
- That his soul sicken not.
- 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.
- 'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.
- 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?
- Sir, believe this,
- I had rather give my body than my soul.
- I talk not of your soul; our compell'd sins
- Stand more for number than for accompt.
- How say you?
- 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?
- Please you to do't,
- I'll take it as a peril to my soul
- It is no sin at all, but charity.
- Pleas'd you to do't at peril of your soul,
- Were equal poise of sin and charity.
- 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.
- Nay, but hear me:
- Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ignorant
- Or seem so, craftily; and that's not good.
- Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good
- But graciously to know I am no better.
- Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright
- When it doth tax itself: as these black masks
- Proclaim an enshielded beauty ten times louder
- Than beauty could, displayed.—But mark me;
- To be received plain, I'll speak more gross:
- Your brother is to die.
- And his offence is so, as it appears,
- Accountant to the law upon that pain.
- 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 desir'd of such a person,
- Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
- Could fetch your brother from the manacles
- Of the all-binding 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 suppos'd, or else to let him suffer;
- What would you do?
- As much for my poor brother as myself:
- That is, were I under the terms of death,
- The impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
- And strip myself to death, as to a bed
- That longing have been sick for, ere I'd yield
- My body up to shame.
- Then must your brother die.
- And 'twere the cheaper way:
- Better it were a brother died at once
- Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
- Should die for ever.
- Were not you, then, as cruel as the sentence
- That you have slandered so?
- Ignominy in ransom and free pardon
- Are of two houses; lawful mercy
- Is nothing kin to foul redemption.
- You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant;
- And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother
- A merriment than a vice.
- 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.
- We are all frail.
- Else let my brother die,
- If not a feodary, but only he,
- Owe, and succeed by weakness.
- Nay, women are frail too.
- 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.
- 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 destin'd livery.
- I have no tongue but one: gentle, my lord,
- Let me intreat you, speak the former language.
- Plainly conceive, I love you.
- My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me
- That he shall die for it.
- He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
- I know your virtue hath a license in't,
- Which seems a little fouler than it is,
- To pluck on others.
- Believe me, on mine honour,
- My words express my purpose.
- 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.
- Who will believe thee, Isabel?
- My unsoil'd name, th' 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.
- To whom should I complain? Did 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'd 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.
SCENE I. A Room in the
[Enter DUKE, CLAUDIO, and PROVOST.]
- So, then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?
- The miserable have no other medicine
- But only hope:
- I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.
- 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 skiey influences,
- That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st
- Hourly afflict; mere'y, 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 nurs'd by baseness. Thou art 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 provok'st; 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 striv'st to get;
- And what thou hast, forgett'st. Thou art not certain;
- For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
- After the moon. If thou art rich, thou art poor;
- For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
- Thou bear'st 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 more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
- That makes these odds all even.
- I humbly thank you.
- To sue to live, I find I seek to die;
- And, seeking death, find life. Let it come on.
- [Within.] What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!
- Who's there? come in: the wish deserves a welcome.
- Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.
- Most holy sir, I thank you.
- My business is a word or two with Claudio.
- And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.
- Provost, a word with you.
- As many as you please.
- Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be conceal'd.
[Exeunt DUKE and PROVOST.]
- Now, sister, what's the comfort?
- As all comforts are; most good, most good, in deed:
- 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.
- Is there no remedy?
- None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
- To cleave a heart in twain.
- But is there any?
- 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.
- Perpetual durance?
- Ay, just; perpetual durance; a restraint,
- Though all the world's vastidity you had,
- To a determin'd scope.
- But in what nature?
- In such a one as, you consenting to't,
- Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
- And leave you naked.
- Let me know the point.
- 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. Dar'st 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- The precise Angelo?
- O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell
- The damned'st body to invest and cover
- In precise guards! Dost thou think, Claudio,
- If I would yield him my virginity
- Thou mightst be freed?
- O heavens! it cannot be.
- Yes, he would give it 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.
- Thou shalt not do't.
- O, were it but my life,
- I'd throw it down for your deliverance
- As frankly as a pin.
- Thanks, dear Isabel.
- Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.
- 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.
- Which is the least?
- If it were damnable, he, being so wise,
- Why would he for the momentary trick
- Be perdurably fined?—O Isabel!
- What says my brother?
- Death is a fearful thing.
- And shamed life a hateful.
- 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 regions 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.
- Alas, alas!
- 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.
- 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.
- Nay, hear me, Isabel.
- O fie, fie, fie!
- Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade:
- Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:
- 'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
- O, hear me, Isabella.
- Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.
- What is your will?
- Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and by
- some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require is
- likewise your own benefit.
- I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out
- other affairs; but I will attend you awhile.
- [To CLAUDIO aside.] Son, I have overheard what hath passed
- between you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose
- corrupt her; only he hath made an assay of her virtue to
- practise his judgment with the disposition of natures;
- having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that
- denial which he is most glad to receive: I am confessor to
- Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore prepare
- to death. Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that
- fallible: to-morrow you must die; go to your knees and make
- Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love with life that
- will sue to be rid of it.
- Hold you there. Farewell.
Provost, a word with you.
- What's your will, father?
- That, now you are come, you will be gone. Leave me a while
- the maid; my mind promises with my habit no loss shall touch
- by my company.
- In good time.
- The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good; the
- that is cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in goodness; but
- being the soul of your complexion, shall keep the body of it
- fair. The assault that Angelo hath made to you, fortune
- conveyed to my understanding; and, but that frailty hath
- for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How will you do
- content this substitute, and to save your brother?
- I am now going to resolve him; I had rather my brother die by
- law than my son should be unlawfully born. But, O, how much is
- good duke deceived in Angelo! If ever he return, and I can
- to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his
- That shall not be much amiss: yet, as the matter now stands,
- will avoid your accusation; he made trial of you
- fasten your ear on my advisings; to the love I have in doing
- a remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe that you
- most uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited
- redeem your brother from the angry law; do no stain to your
- gracious person; and much please the absent duke, if
- he shall ever return to have hearing of this business.
- Let me hear you speak further; I have spirit to do anything
- appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.
- Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you not
- speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the great soldier
- miscarried at sea?
- I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her
- She should this Angelo have married; was affianced to her
- oath, and the nuptial appointed: between which time of the
- contract and limit of the solemnity her brother Frederick
- wrecked at sea, having in that perished vessel the dowry of
- sister. But mark how heavily this befell to the poor
- there she lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love
- her ever most kind and natural; with him the portion and sinew
- her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her combinate
- this well-seeming Angelo.
- Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?
- 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, bestow'd 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.
- What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid from
- world! What corruption in this life that it will let this
- live!—But how out of this can she avail?
- It is a rupture that you may easily heal; and the cure of it
- only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonour in doing
- Show me how, good father.
- This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance of her
- affection; his unjust unkindness, that in all reason should
- quenched her love, hath, like an impediment in the current,
- it more violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his
- with a plausible obedience; agree with his demands to the
- only refer yourself to this advantage,—first, that your stay
- him may not be long; that the time may have all shadow and
- in it; and the place answer to convenience: this being granted
- course, and now follows all. We shall advise this wronged maid
- stead up your appointment, go in your place; if the
- acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her
- and here, by this, is your brother saved, your honour
- the poor Mariana advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled.
- maid will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you think
- to carry this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit
- the deceit from reproof. What think you of it?
- The image of it gives me content already; and I trust it
- grow to a most prosperous perfection.
- It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily to Angelo;
- for this night he entreat you to his bed, give him promise
- satisfaction. I will presently to Saint Luke's; there, at
- moated grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that place
- upon me; and despatch with Angelo, that it may be quickly.
- I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.
SCENE II. The Street
before the Prison.
[Enter DUKE, as a Friar; to him, ELBOW, POMPEY and
- Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needs
- and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the
- drink brown and white bastard.
- O heavens! what stuff is here?
- 'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the merriest
- put down, and the worser allowed by order of law a furred
- to keep him warm; and furred with fox on lamb-skins too,
- signify that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for
- Come your way, sir.—Bless you, good father friar.
- And you, good brother father. What offence hath this man
- you, sir?
- Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir, we take him to
- a thief too, sir; for we have found upon him, sir, a
- picklock, which we have sent to the deputy.
- 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.
- Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, sir, I
- 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.
- He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him warning:
- The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if he be a
- and comes before him, he were as good go a mile on his
- That we were all, as some would seem to be,
- Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free!
- His neck will come to your waist, a cord, sir.
- I spy comfort; I cry bail! Here's a gentleman, and a friend
- How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of Caesar! Art
- led in triumph? What, is there none of Pygmalion's images,
- made woman, to be had now, for putting the hand in the
- and extracting it clutched? What reply, ha? What say'st thou
- this tune, matter, and method? Is't not drowned i' the last
- ha? What say'st thou to't? Is the world as it was, man?
- is the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The trick of
- Still thus, and thus! still worse!
- How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she still,
- Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she is herself
- the tub.
- Why, 'tis good: it is the right of it: it must be so: ever
- fresh whore and your powdered bawd—an unshunned
- it must be so. Art going to prison, Pompey?
- Yes, faith, sir.
- Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell; go, say I sent thee
- thither. For debt, Pompey? or how?
- For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
- Well, then, imprison him: if imprisonment be the due of a
- why, 'tis his right: bawd is he doubtless, and of
- too: bawd-born. Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the
- Pompey. You will turn good husband now, Pompey; you will
- the house.
- I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.
- No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear. I will
- Pompey, to increase your bondage: if you take it not
- why, your mettle is the more. Adieu, trusty Pompey.—Bless
- And you.
- Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?
- Come your ways, sir; come.
- You will not bail me then, sir?
- Then, Pompey, nor now.—What news abroad, friar? what news?
- Come your ways, sir; come.
- Go,—to kennel, Pompey, go:
[Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY, and Officers.]
What news, friar, of the duke?
- I know none. Can you tell me of any?
- Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other some, he is
- Rome: but where is he, think you?
- I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well.
- It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from the state
- usurp the beggary he was never born to. Lord Angelo dukes it
- in his absence; he puts transgression to't.
- He does well in't.
- A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in him:
- something too crabbed that way, friar.
- It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.
- Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred; it is
- allied: but it is impossible to extirp it quite, friar,
- eating and drinking be put down. They say this Angelo was
- made by man and woman after this downright way of
- is it true, think you?
- How should he be made, then?
- Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he was
- between two stock-fishes.—But it is certain that when he
- water, his urine is congealed ice; that I know to be true.
- he is a motion ungenerative; that's infallible.
- You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
- Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of
- codpiece to take away the life of a man! Would the duke that
- absent have done this? Ere he would have hanged a man for
- getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing
- thousand. He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the
- and that instructed him to mercy.
- I never heard the absent duke much detected for women; he was
- inclined that way.
- O, sir, you are deceived.
- 'Tis not possible.
- Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty;—and his use was
- put a ducat in her clack-dish: the duke had crotchets in
- He would be drunk too: that let me inform you.
- You do him wrong, surely.
- Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the duke: and
- believe I know the cause of his withdrawing.
- What, I pr'ythee, might be the cause?
- No,—pardon;—'tis a secret must be locked within the teeth
- the lips: but this I can let you understand,—the greater file
- the subject held the duke to be wise.
- Wise? why, no question but he was.
- A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
- Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very
- of his life, and the business he hath helmed, must, upon a
- warranted need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be
- testimonied in his own bringings forth, and he shall appear
- the envious a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier. Therefore
- speak unskilfully; or, if your knowledge be more, it is
- darkened in your malice.
- Sir, I know him, and I love him.
- Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer
- Come, sir, I know what I know.
- I can hardly believe that, since you know not what you
- 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
- bound to call upon you; and, I pray you, your name?
- Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.
- He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report
- I fear you not.
- O, you hope the duke will return no more; or you imagine me
- unhurtful an opposite. But, indeed, I can do you little
- you'll forswear this again.
- I'll be hanged first! thou art deceived in me, friar. But
- more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio die to-morrow or
- Why should he die, sir?
- Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would the duke
- talk of were returned again: this ungenitured agent will
- unpeople the province with continency; sparrows must not
- in his house-eaves because they are lecherous. The duke
- would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring
- to light: would he were returned! Marry, this Claudio is
- condemned for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I pr'ythee
- 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
- mouth with a beggar though she smelt brown bread and
- Say that I said so.—Farewell.
- 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, BAWD, and Officers.]
- Go, away with her to prison.
- Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted a
- man; good my lord.
- Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the same
- This would make mercy swear and play the tyrant.
- A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please your
- My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me:
- Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the duke's time; he
- promised her marriage: his child is a year and a quarter
- come Philip and Jacob; I have kept it myself; and see how
- goes about to abuse me.
- That fellow is a fellow of much license:—let him be called
- before us.—Away with her to prison. Go to; no more words.
[Exeunt BAWD and Officers.]
Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered, Claudio must
- to-morrow: let him be furnished with divines, and have all
- charitable preparation: if my brother wrought by my pity
- should not be so with him.
- So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him
- the entertainment of death.
- Good even, good father.
- Bliss and goodness on you!
- Of whence are you?
- 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.
- What news abroad i' the world?
- None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that
- dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request;
- as it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course as it
- virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce
- enough alive to make societies secure; but security enough
- make fellowships accurst: much upon this riddle runs the
- of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every day's
- I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?
- One that, above all other strifes, contended especially to
- What pleasure was he given to?
- Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at
- which professed to make him rejoice: a gentleman of all
- But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may
- prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio
- prepared. I am made to understand that you have lent him
- He professes to have received no sinister measure from his
- but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of
- justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of
- frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my
- leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolved to
- You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner
- very debt of your calling. I have laboured for the poor
- to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my brother justice
- I found so severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is
- If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it
- become him well: wherein if he chance to fail, he hath
- I am going to visit the prisoner.
- Fare you well.
- 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,
- Make a practice on the times,
- To draw with idle spiders' strings
- Most pond'rous and substantial things!
- Craft against vice I must apply;
- With Angelo to-night shall lie
- His old betrothed but despis'd;
- So disguise shall, by the disguis'd,
- Pay with falsehood false exacting,
- And perform an old contracting.
SCENE I. A Room in
[MARIANA discovered sitting; a Boy singing.]
- 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 seal'd in vain,
- Sealed in vain.
- Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away;
- Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
- Hath often still'd my brawling discontent.—
- [Enter DUKE.]
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 displeas'd, but pleas'd my woe.
- 'Tis good: though music oft hath such a charm
- To make bad good and good provoke to harm.
- I pray you ,tell me hath anybody inquired for me here
- much upon this time have I promised here to meet.
- You have not been inquired after: I have sat here all day.
- I do constantly believe you.—The time is come even now. I
- crave your forbearance a little: may be I will call upon you
- for some advantage to yourself.
- I am always bound to you.
- Very well met, and welcome.
- What is the news from this good deputy?
- He hath a garden circummur'd 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 to call on him
- Upon the heavy middle of the night.
- But shall you on your knowledge find this way?
- 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.
- Are there no other tokens
- Between you 'greed concerning her observance?
- 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.
- 'Tis well borne up.
- I have not yet made known to Mariana
- A word of this.—What ho, within! come forth.
I pray you be acquainted with this maid;
- She comes to do you good.
- I do desire the like.
- Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?
- Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.
- 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.
- Will't please you walk aside?
[Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELLA.]
- O place and greatness, millions of false eyes
- Are stuck upon thee! volumes of report
- Run with these false, and most contrarious quest
- Upon thy doings! Thousand 'scapes of wit
- Make thee the father of their idle dream,
- And rack thee in their fancies!—Welcome! how agreed?
[Re-enter MARIANA and ISABELLA.]
- She'll take the enterprise upon her, father,
- If you advise it.
- It is not my consent,
- But my entreaty too.
- Little have you to say,
- When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
- 'Remember now my brother.'
- Fear me not.
- 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.
SCENE II. A Room in the
[Enter PROVOST and POMPEY.]
- Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?
- If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can: but if he be a married
- he's his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's
- Come, sir, leave me your snatches and yield me a direct
- To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine. Here is
- our prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a
- if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you
- your gyves; if not, you shall have your full time of
- and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping; for you have
- a notorious bawd.
- Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind; but yet
- will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to
- some instruction from my fellow-partner.
- What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?
- Do you call, sir?
- Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in your
- execution. If you think it meet, compound with him by the
- and let him abide here with you; if not, use him for the
- present, and dismiss him. He cannot plead his estimation
- you; he hath been a bawd.
- A bawd, sir? Fie upon him; he will discredit our mystery.
- Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the
- Pray, sir, by your good favour,—for, surely, sir, a good
- you have, but that you have a hanging look,—do you call,
- your occupation a mystery?
- Ay, sir; a mystery.
- Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your
- sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do
- my occupation a mystery: but what mystery there should be
- hanging, if I should be hanged, I cannot imagine.
- Sir, it is a mystery.
- Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little
- your thief, your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too
- for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough; so every
- man's apparel fits your thief.
- Are you agreed?
- Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is a
- penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask
- You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow
- Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
- I do desire to learn, sir; and I hope, if you have occasion
- use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare; for
- sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.
- Call hither Barnardine and Claudio.
[Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON.]
One has my pity; not a jot the other,
- Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
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?
- As fast lock'd up in sleep as guiltless labour
- When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones:
- He will not wake.
- Who can do good on him?
- Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise?
- Heaven give your spirits comfort!
By and by!—
- I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
- For the most gentle Claudio.—Welcome, father.
- The best and wholesom'st spirits of the night
- Envelop you, good provost! Who call'd here of late?
- None, since the curfew rung.
- Not Isabel?
- They will then, ere't be long.
- What comfort is for Claudio?
- There's some in hope.
- It is a bitter deputy.
- 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.—Now are they come.
[Knocking within—PROVOST goes out.]
This is a gentle provost: seldom when
- The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.—
- How now? what noise? That spirit's possess'd with haste
- That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes.
[PROVOST returns, speaking to one at the door.]
- There he must stay until the officer
- Arise to let him in; he is call'd up.
- Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
- But he must die to-morrow?
- None, sir, none.
- As near the dawning, Provost, as it is,
- You shall hear more ere morning.
- 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.
- And here comes Claudio's pardon.
- My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this further
- that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither
- time, matter, or other circumstance. Good morrow; for as I
- it, it is almost day.
- I shall obey him.
- [Aside.] This is his pardon, purchas'd by such sin,
- For which the pardoner himself is in:
- Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
- When it is borne 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?
- 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.
- Pray you, let's hear.
- [Reads.] 'Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio
- executed by four of the clock; and, in the afternoon,
- for my better satisfaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me
- five. Let this be duly performed; with a thought that more
- depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do
- office, as you will answer it at your peril.'
- What say you to this, sir?
- What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the
- A Bohemian born; but here nursed up and bred: one that is
- prisoner nine years old.
- How came it that the absent duke had not either delivered him
- his liberty or executed him? I have heard it was ever his
- to do so.
- His friends still wrought reprieves for him; and, indeed,
- fact, till now in the government of Lord Angelo, came not to
- undoubtful proof.
- It is now apparent?
- Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
- Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? How seems he to
- A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but as a
- sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless, of what's past,
- or to come; insensible of mortality and desperately
- He wants advice.
- He will hear none; he hath evermore had the liberty of the
- prison; give him leave to escape hence, he would not: drunk
- times a-day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very
- awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and showed him
- seeming warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.
- More of him anon. There is written in your brow, Provost,
- and constancy: if I read it not truly, my ancient skill
- but in the boldness of my cunning I will lay myself in
- Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is no
- forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath sentenced him. To make
- understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four
- respite; for the which you are to do me both a present and
- dangerous courtesy.
- Pray, sir, in what?
- In the delaying death.
- Alack! How may I do it? having the hour limited; and an
- command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the view of
- I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the
- By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, if my instructions
- be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning
- and his head borne to Angelo.
- Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
- O, death's a great disguiser: and you may add to it. Shave
- head and tie the beard; and say it was the desire of the
- to be so bared before his death. You know the course is
- If anything fall to you upon this, more than thanks and
- fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it
- my life.
- Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
- Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?
- To him and to his substitutes.
- You will think you have made no offence if the duke avouch
- justice of your dealing?
- But what likelihood is in that?
- Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see you
- that neither my coat, integrity, nor persuasion, can with
- attempt you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck all
- out of you. Look you, sir, here is the hand and seal of the
- You know the character, I doubt not; and the signet is not
- strange to you.
- I know them both.
- The contents of this is the return of the duke; you shall
- over-read it at your pleasure, where you shall find within
- two days he will be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows
- for he this very day receives letters of strange tenour:
- of the duke's death; perchance entering into some monastery;
- by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the unfolding star
- up the shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how these
- should be: all difficulties are but easy when they are known.
- your executioner, and off with Barnardine's head: I will give
- a present shrift, and advise him for a better place. Yet you
- amazed: but this shall absolutely resolve you. Come away; it
- almost clear dawn.
SCENE III. Another Room
in the same.
- I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of
- one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own house, for
- be many of her old customers. First, here's young Master
- he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine
- and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks ready
- marry, then ginger was not much in request, for the old
- were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper, at the
- of Master Threepile the mercer, for some four suits of
- coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we
- young Dizy, and young Master Deepvow, and Master Copperspur,
- Master Starvelackey, the rapier and dagger man, and young
- Dropheir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight
- tilter, and brave Master Shoetie the great traveller, and
- Halfcan that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all
- doers in our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'
- Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
- Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hanged, Master
- What ho, Barnardine!
- [Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there?
- are you?
- Your friend, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to
- and be put to death.
- [Within.] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.
- Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
- Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and
- Go in to him, and fetch him out.
- He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.
- Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
- Very ready, sir.
- How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?
- Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers;
- look you, the warrant's come.
- You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not fitted
- O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night and is
- betimes in the morning may sleep the sounder all the next
- Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father. Do we jest
- think you?
- Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are
- depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with
- Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and I
- have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my
- with billets: I will not consent to die this day, that's
- O, Sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you,
- Look forward on the journey you shall go.
- I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.
- But hear you,—
- Not a word; if you have anything to say to me, come to my
- for thence will not I to-day.
- Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!—
- After him, fellows; bring him to the block.
[Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY.]
- Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
- A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
- And to transport him in the mind he is
- Were damnable.
- 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?
- O, 'tis an accident that Heaven provides!
- Despatch 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- I am your free dependant.
- Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
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.
- Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
- Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
- For I would commune with you of such things
- That want no ear but yours.
- I'll make all speed.
- [Within.] Peace, ho, be here!
- 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.
- Ho, by your leave!
- Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
- The better, given me by so holy a man.
- Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
- He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
- His head is off and sent to Angelo.
- Nay, but it is not so.
- It is no other:
- Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
- O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
- You shall not be admitted to his sight.
- Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
- Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!
- 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.
- I am directed by you.
- 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?
- Good even. Friar, where is the provost?
- Not within, sir.
- O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes
- red; thou must be patient: I am fain to dine and sup with
- and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one fruitful
- would set me to't. But they say the duke will be here
- By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother. If the old
- duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived.
- Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports;
- the best is, he lives not in them.
- Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do: he's a
- woodman than thou takest him for.
- Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
- Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I can tell thee pretty
- of the duke.
- You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be
- if not true, none were enough.
- I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
- Did you such a thing?
- Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they would
- have married me to the rotten medlar.
- Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
- By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If bawdy
- offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a
- of burr; I shall stick.
SCENE IV. A Room in
[Enter ANGELO and ESCALUS.]
- Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched other.
- In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions show much
- to madness; pray heaven his wisdom be not tainted! And why meet
- at the gates, and re-deliver our authorities there?
- I guess not.
- And why should we proclaim it in an hour before his
- that, if any crave redress of injustice, they should
- their petitions in the street?
- He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch of
- and to deliver us from devices hereafter, which shall then
- no power to stand against us.
- Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd:
- 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.
- I shall, sir: fare you well.
- Good night.—
- 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 a so credent bulk,
- That no particular scandal once can touch
- But it confounds the breather. He should have liv'd,
- Save that his 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 liv'd!
- Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
- Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not.
SCENE V. Fields without the
[Enter DUKE in his own habit, and Friar PETER.]
- 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.
- It shall be speeded well.
- 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.
SCENE VI. Street near the
[Enter ISABELLA and MARIANA.]
- To speak so indirectly I am loath;
- I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,
- That is your part: yet I am advis'd to do it;
- He says, to 'vailfull purpose.
- Be ruled by him.
- 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.
- I would Friar Peter.—
- O, peace! the friar is come.
[Enter 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.
SCENE I. A public
place near the city gate.
[MARIANA (veiled), ISABELLA, and PETER, at a distance. Enter
- opposite doors DUKE, VARRIUS, Lords; ANGELO, ESCALUS,
- PROVOST, Officers, and Citizens.]
- My very worthy cousin, fairly met;—
- Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.
ANGELO and ESCALUS.
- Happy return be to your royal grace!
- 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.
- You make my bonds still greater.
- 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 rasure 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.
[Enter PETER and ISABELLA come forward.]
- Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel before him.
- Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
- Upon a wrong'd, I'd 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!
- Relate your wrongs. In what? By whom? Be brief:
- Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice.
- Reveal yourself to him.
- 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 believ'd,
- Or wring redress from you; hear me, O, hear me here!
- 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.
- By course of justice!
- And she will speak most bitterly and strange.
- 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?
- Nay, it is ten times strange.
- 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.
- Away with her!—Poor soul,
- She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
- O prince! I conjure thee, as thou believ'st
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Many that are not mad
- Have, sure, more lack of reason.—What would you say?
- 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;—
- That's I, an't like your grace:
- I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
- To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
- For her poor brother's pardon.
- That's he, indeed.
- You were not bid to speak.
- No, my good lord;
- Nor wish'd to hold my peace.
- 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.
- I warrant your honour.
- The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it.
- This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.
- It may be right; but you are in the wrong
- To speak before your time.—Proceed.
- I went
- To this pernicious caitiff deputy.
- That's somewhat madly spoken.
- Pardon it;
- The phrase is to the matter.
- Mended again. The matter;—proceed.
- 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.
- This is most likely!
- O, that it were as like as it is true!
- By heaven, fond wretch, thou know'st not what thou
- Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour
- In hateful practice. 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 cam'st here to complain.
- 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!
- I know you'd 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 practice.
- Who knew of your intent and coming hither?
- One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.
- A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
- 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 swing'd him soundly.
- Words against me? This's a good friar, belike!
- And to set on this wretched woman here
- Against our substitute!—Let this friar be found.
- But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
- I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,
- A very scurvy fellow.
- Bless'd be your royal grace!
- I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
- Your royal ear abus'd. First, hath this woman
- Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute;
- Who is as free from touch or soil with her
- As she from one ungot.
- We did believe no less.
- Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?
- 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.
- My lord, most villainously; believe it.
- 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 accus'd,—
- Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
- Till she herself confess it.
- Good friar, let's hear it.
[ISABELLA is carried off, guarded; and MARIANA comes
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.
- Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face
- Until my husband bid me.
- What! are you married?
- No, my lord.
- Are you a maid?
- No, my lord.
- A widow, then?
- Neither, my lord.
- Why, you are nothing then:—neither maid, widow, nor wife?
- My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are neither
- widow, nor
- Silence that fellow: I would he had some cause
- To prattle for himself.
- Well, my lord.
- 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.
- He was drunk, then, my lord; it can be no better.
- For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too!
- Well, my lord.
- This is no witness for Lord Angelo.
- 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.
- Charges she more than me?
- Not that I know.
- No? you say your husband.
- 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.
- This is a strange abuse.—Let's see thy face.
- My husband bids me; now I will unmask. [Unveiling.]
- This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,
- Which once thou swor'st 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 imagin'd person.
- Know you this woman?
- Carnally, she says.
- Sirrah, no more.
- Enough, my lord.
- 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 promis'd 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.
- Noble prince,
- As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,
- As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,
- I am affianc'd this man's wife as strongly
- As words could make up vows: and, my good lord,
- But Tuesday night last gone, in his 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!
- 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 practice out.
- 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, thinkst 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 deriv'd.—
- There is another friar that set them on;
- Let him be sent for.
- Would lie 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.
- Go, do it instantly.—
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.
- My lord, we'll do it throughly.
Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar Lodowick to
- a dishonest person?
- 'Cucullus non facit monachum': honest in nothing but in
- clothes; and one that hath spoke most villainous speeches of
- We shall entreat you to abide here till he come and enforce
- against him: we shall find this friar a notable fellow.
- As any in Vienna, on my word.
- Call that same Isabel here once again [to an Attendant]; I
- speak with her. Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question;
- shall see how I'll handle her.
- Not better than he, by her own report.
- Say you?
- Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately, she
- sooner confess: perchance, publicly, she'll be ashamed.
[Re-enter Officers, with ISABELLA.]
- I will go darkly to work with her.
- That's the way; for women are light at midnight.
- Come on, mistress [to ISABELLA]; here's a gentlewoman denies
- that you have said.
- My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of, here with the
[Re-enter the DUKE in his friar's habit, and PROVOST.]
- In very good time:—speak not you to him till we call upon
- Come, sir: did you set these women on to slander Lord
- they have confessed you did.
- 'Tis false.
- How! Know you where you are?
- 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.
- The duke's in us; and we will hear you speak:
- Look you speak justly.
- 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.
- This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.
- 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 touze you joint by joint,
- But we will know his purpose.—What! unjust?
- 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'errun the stew: laws for all faults,
- But faults so countenanc'd that the strong statutes
- Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
- As much in mock as mark.
- Slander to the state! Away with him to prison!
- What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio?
- Is this the man that you did tell us of?
- 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, good-man bald-pate.
- Do you know me?
- I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice. I met you at
- prison, in the absence of the duke.
- O did you so? And do you remember what you said of the
- Most notedly, sir.
- Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a fool, and
- coward, as you then reported him to be?
- You must, sir, change persons with me ere you make that my
- report: you, indeed, spoke so of him; and much more, much
- O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the nose for
- I protest I love the duke as I love myself.
- Hark how the villain would gloze now, after his
- 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
- giglots too, and with the other confederate companion!
[The PROVOST lays hands on the DUKE.]
- Stay, sir; stay awhile.
- What! resists he?—Help him, Lucio.
- Come, sir; come, sir! come, sir; foh, sir! Why, you
- lying rascal! you must be hooded, must you? Show your
- visage, with a pox to you! show your sheep-biting face, and
- hanged an hour! Will't not off?
[Pulls off the Friar's hood and discovers the DUKE.]
- Thou art the first knave that e'er made a duke.—
- First, Provost, let me bail these gentle three:—
- Sneak not away, sir[To Lucio.]; for the friar and you
- Must have a word anon:—Lay hold on him.
- This may prove worse than hanging.
- What you have spoke I pardon; sit you down.—[To ESCALUS.]
- We'll borrow place of him.—[To ANGELO.] Sir, by your
- 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.
- 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.
- Come hither, Mariana:—
- Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?
- I was, my lord.
- 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, PETER, and PROVOST.]
- My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour
- Than at the strangeness of it.
- 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.
- O, give me pardon,
- That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd
- Your unknown sovereignty.
- 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 obscur'd 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.
- I do, my lord.
[Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, PETER, and PROVOST.]
- 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 adjudg'd 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.
- O my most gracious lord,
- I hope you will not mock me with a husband!
- 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.
- O my dear lord,
- I crave no other, nor no better man.
- Never crave him; we are definitive.
- Gentle my liege—[Kneeling.]
- You do but lose your labour.—
- Away with him to death!—[To LUCIO.] Now, sir, to you.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- He dies for Claudio's death.
- [Kneeling.] Most bounteous sir,
- Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd,
- As if my brother liv'd: 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.
- Merely, my lord.
- 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?
- It was commanded so.
- Had you a special warrant for the deed?
- No, my good lord; it was by private message.
- For which I do discharge you of your office:
- Give up your keys.
- 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.
- What's he?
- His name is Barnardine.
- I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.—
- Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him.
- 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.
- 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
- Which is that Barnardine?
- This, my lord.
- 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 squar'st 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?
- This is another prisoner that I sav'd,
- Who should have died when Claudio lost his head;
- As like almost to Claudio as himself.
- If he be like your brother [to ISABELLA], 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 quick'ning 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.—
- You, sirrah [to Lucio], 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?
- Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the trick. If
- will hang me for
- it, you may; but I had rather it would please you I might
- Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after.—
- Proclaim it, Provost, round about the city,
- If 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 whipp'd and hang'd.
- 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
- recompense me in making me a cuckold.
- 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.
- Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping,
- Slandering a prince deserves it.—
[Exeunt 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 shall 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.
||This work published before January 1, 1923 is in the public domain worldwide
because the author died at least 100 years ago.