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The Complete Works of William Shakespeare Measure for Measure

Part 2 out of 2

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ESCALUS. Good even, good father.
DUKE. Bliss and goodness on you!
ESCALUS. Of whence are you?
DUKE. Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time. I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See
In special business from his Holiness.
ESCALUS. What news abroad i' th' world?
DUKE. 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
truth enough alive to make societies secure; but security
to make fellowships accurst. Much upon this riddle runs the
wisdom of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every
day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the
ESCALUS. One that, above all other strifes, contended
especially to
know himself.
DUKE. What pleasure was he given to?
ESCALUS. Rather rejoicing to see another merry than merry at
anything which profess'd to make him rejoice; a gentleman of
temperance. But leave we him to his events, with a prayer
may prove prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find
Claudio prepar'd. I am made to understand that you have lent
DUKE. He professes to have received no sinister measure from
judge, 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 good
leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolv'd to
ESCALUS. You have paid the heavens your function, and the
the very debt of your calling. I have labour'd for the poor
gentleman to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my
justice have I found so severe that he hath forc'd me to tell
he is indeed Justice.
DUKE. If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding,
shall become him well; wherein if he chance to fail, he hath
sentenc'd himself.
ESCALUS. I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.
DUKE. 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 ponderous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply.
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despised;
So disguise shall, by th' disguised,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting. Exit

Act IV. Scene I.
The moated grange at Saint Duke's

Enter MARIANA; and 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, seal'd in vain.

Enter DUKE, disguised as before

MARIANA. Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away;
Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
Hath often still'd my brawling discontent. Exit BOY
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.
DUKE. '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 inquir'd for me here to-day.
upon this time have I promis'd here to meet.
MARIANA. You have not been inquir'd after; I have sat here all


DUKE. I do constantly believe you. The time is come even now. I
shall crave your forbearance a little. May be I will call
you anon, for some advantage to yourself.
MARIANA. I am always bound to you. Exit
DUKE. Very well met, and well come.
What is the news from this good deputy?
ISABELLA. 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
Upon the heavy middle of the night
To call upon him.
DUKE. But shall you on your knowledge find this way?
ISABELLA. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't;
With whispering and most guilty diligence,
In action all of precept, he did show me
The way twice o'er.
DUKE. Are there no other tokens
Between you 'greed concerning her observance?
ISABELLA. No, none, but only a repair i' th' dark;
And that I have possess'd him my most stay
Can be but brief; for I have made him know
I have a servant comes with me along,
That stays upon me; whose persuasion is
I come about my brother.
DUKE. 'Tis well borne up.
I have not yet made known to Mariana
A word of this. What ho, within! come forth.

Re-enter MARIANA

I pray you be acquainted with this maid;
She comes to do you good.
ISABELLA. I do desire the like.
DUKE. Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?
MARIANA. Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.
DUKE. Take, then, this your companion by the hand,
Who hath a story ready for your ear.
I shall attend your leisure; but make haste;
The vaporous night approaches.
MARIANA. Will't please you walk aside?
DUKE. 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 escapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dream,
And rack thee in their fancies.


Welcome, how agreed?
ISABELLA. She'll take the enterprise upon her, father,
If you advise it.
DUKE. It is not my consent,
But my entreaty too.
ISABELLA. Little have you to say,
When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
'Remember now my brother.'
MARIANA. Fear me not.
DUKE. Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all.
He is your husband on a pre-contract.
To bring you thus together 'tis no sin,
Sith that the justice of your title to him
Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go;
Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe's to sow. Exeunt

The prison


PROVOST. Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?
POMPEY. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can; but if he be a
married man, he's his wife's head, and I can never cut of a
woman's head.
PROVOST. Come, sir, leave me your snatches and yield me a
answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine.
is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office
lacks a
helper; if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall
you from your gyves; if not, you shall have your full time of
imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping,
you have been a notorious bawd.
POMPEY. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind; but
I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to
receive some instructions from my fellow partner.
PROVOST. What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson there?


ABHORSON. Do you call, sir?
PROVOST. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in
execution. If you think it meet, compound with him by the
and let him abide here with you; if not, use him for the
and dismiss him. He cannot plead his estimation with you; he
been a bawd.
ABHORSON. A bawd, sir? Fie upon him! He will discredit our
PROVOST. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the
scale. Exit
POMPEY. Pray, sir, by your good favour- for surely, sir, a good
favour you have but that you have a hanging look- do you
sir, your occupation a mystery?
ABHORSON. Ay, sir; a mystery.
POMPEY. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your
whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting,
prove my occupation a mystery; but what mystery there should
in hanging, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine.
ABHORSON. Sir, it is a mystery.
POMPEY. Proof?
ABHORSON. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be
little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough; if
be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little
enough; so
every true man's apparel fits your thief.

Re-enter PROVOST

PROVOST. Are you agreed?
POMPEY. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is a
penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask
PROVOST. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow
four o'clock.
ABHORSON. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade;
POMPEY. I do desire to learn, sir; and I hope, if you have
to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare; for
sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.
PROVOST. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio.
Th' 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?
CLAUDIO. As fast lock'd up in sleep as guiltless labour
When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones.
He will not wake.
PROVOST. Who can do good on him?
Well, go, prepare yourself. [Knocking within] But hark, what
Heaven give your spirits comfort! Exit CLAUDIO
[Knocking continues] By and by.
I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
For the most gentle Claudio.

Enter DUKE, disguised as before

Welcome, father.
DUKE. The best and wholesom'st spirits of the night
Envelop you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?
PROVOST. None, since the curfew rung.
DUKE. Not Isabel?
DUKE. They will then, ere't be long.
PROVOST. What comfort is for Claudio?
DUKE. There's some in hope.
PROVOST. It is a bitter deputy.
DUKE. 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 pow'r
To qualify in others. Were he meal'd with that
Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
But this being so, he's just. [Knocking within] Now are they
come. Exit PROVOST
This is a gentle provost; seldom when
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men. [Knocking within]
How now, what noise! That spirit's possess'd with haste
That wounds th' unsisting postern with these strokes.

Re-enter PROVOST

PROVOST. There he must stay until the officer
Arise to let him in; he is call'd up.
DUKE. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet
But he must die to-morrow?
PROVOST. None, sir, none.
DUKE. As near the dawning, Provost, as it is,
You shall hear more ere morning.
PROVOST. Happily
You something know; yet I believe there comes
No countermand; no such example have we.
Besides, upon the very siege of justice,
Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
Profess'd the contrary.

This is his lordship's man.
DUKE. And here comes Claudio's pardon.
MESSENGER. My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this
charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it,
neither in time, matter, or other circumstance. Good morrow;
as I take it, it is almost day.
PROVOST. I shall obey him. Exit MESSENGER
DUKE. [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 th' offender friended.
Now, sir, what news?
PROVOST. I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss in
office, awakens me with this unwonted putting-on; methinks
strangely, for he hath not us'd it before.
DUKE. Pray you, let's hear.
PROVOST. [Reads] 'Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let
Claudio be executed by four of the clock, and, in the
Barnardine. For my better satisfaction, let me have Claudio's
head sent me by five. Let this be duly performed, with a
that more depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail
to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril.'
What say you to this, sir?
DUKE. What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in th'
PROVOST. A Bohemian born; but here nurs'd up and bred.
One that is a prisoner nine years old.
DUKE. How came it that the absent Duke had not either deliver'd
to his liberty or executed him? I have heard it was ever his
manner to do so.
PROVOST. His friends still wrought reprieves for him; and,
his fact, till now in the government of Lord Angelo, came not
an undoubted proof.
DUKE. It is now apparent?
PROVOST. Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
DUKE. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? How seems he
be touch'd?
PROVOST. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but as
drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless, of what's
present, or to come; insensible of mortality and desperately
DUKE. He wants advice.
PROVOST. He will hear none. He hath evermore had the liberty of
prison; give him leave to escape hence, he would not; drunk
times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very
awak'd him, as if to carry him to execution, and show'd him a
seeming warrant for it; it hath not moved him at all.
DUKE. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, Provost,
honesty and constancy. If I read it not truly, my ancient
beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning I will lay
in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath sentenc'd
him. To
make you understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but
days' respite; for the which you are to do me both a present
a dangerous courtesy.
PROVOST. Pray, sir, in what?
DUKE. In the delaying death.
PROVOST. Alack! How may I do it, having the hour limited, and
express command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the
of Angelo? I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in
DUKE. By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, if my
may be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning
and his head borne to Angelo.
PROVOST. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the
DUKE. O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it.
the head and tie the beard; and say it was the desire of the
penitent to be so bar'd before his death. You know the course
common. If anything fall to you upon this more than thanks
good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead
it with my life.
PROVOST. Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
DUKE. Were you sworn to the Duke, or to the deputy?
PROVOST. To him and to his substitutes.
DUKE. You will think you have made no offence if the Duke
the justice of your dealing?
PROVOST. But what likelihood is in that?
DUKE. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see you
fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor persuasion, can
with ease attempt you, I will go further than I meant, to
all fears out of you. Look you, sir, here is the hand and
seal of
the Duke. You know the character, I doubt not; and the signet
not strange to you.
PROVOST. I know them both.
DUKE. The contents of this is the return of the Duke; you shall
anon over-read it at your pleasure, where you shall find
these two days he will be here. This is a thing that Angelo
not; for he this very day receives letters of strange tenour,
perchance of the Duke's death, perchance entering into some
monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, th'
unfolding star calls up the shepherd. Put not yourself into
amazement how these things should be: all difficulties are
easy when they are known. Call your executioner, and off with
Barnardine's head. I will give him a present shrift, and
him for a better place. Yet you are amaz'd, but this shall
absolutely resolve you. Come away; it is almost clear dawn.

The prison


POMPEY. I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of
profession; one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own
house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's
Master Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old
ginger, nine score and seventeen pounds, of which he made
marks ready money. Marry, then ginger was not much in
for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one
Caper, at the suit of Master Threepile the mercer, for some
suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches him a
Then have we here young Dizy, and young Master Deepvow, and
Master Copperspur, and Master Starvelackey, the rapier and
man, and young Dropheir that kill'd lusty Pudding, and Master
Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shootie the great
traveller, and wild Halfcan that stabb'd Pots, and, I think,
forty more- all great doers in our trade, and are now 'for
Lord's sake.'


ABHORSON. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
POMPEY. Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hang'd, Master
ABHORSON. What ho, Barnardine!
BARNARDINE. [Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that
there? What are you?
POMPEY. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so good,
to rise and be put to death.
BARNARDINE. [ Within ] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.
ABHORSON. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
POMPEY. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed,
sleep afterwards.
ABHORSON. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
POMPEY. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw


ABHORSON. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
POMPEY. Very ready, sir.
BARNARDINE. How now, Abhorson, what's the news with you?
ABHORSON. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your
for, look you, the warrant's come.
BARNARDINE. You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
fitted for't.
POMPEY. O, the better, sir! For he that drinks all night and is
hanged betimes in the morning may sleep the sounder all the

Enter DUKE, disguised as before

ABHORSON. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father.
Do we jest now, think you?
DUKE. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you
to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray
BARNARDINE. Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night,
I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out
brains with billets. I will not consent to die this day,
DUKE. O, Sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you
Look forward on the journey you shall go.
BARNARDINE. I swear I will not die to-day for any man's
DUKE. But hear you-
BARNARDINE. Not a word; if you have anything to say to me, come
my ward; for thence will not I to-day. Exit
DUKE. Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.


PROVOST. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
DUKE. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.
PROVOST. Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclin'd,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
DUKE. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo. See this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
PROVOST. This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon;
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?
DUKE. Let this be done:
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio.
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.
PROVOST. I am your free dependant.
DUKE. 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-balanc'd form.
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter PROVOST

PROVOST. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
DUKE. Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.
PROVOST. I'll make all speed. Exit
ISABELLA. [ Within ] Peace, ho, be here!
DUKE. 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.


ISABELLA. Ho, by your leave!
DUKE. Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
ISABELLA. The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
DUKE. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the world.
His head is off and sent to Angelo.
ISABELLA. Nay, but it is not so.
DUKE. It is no other.
Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
ISABELLA. O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
DUKE. You shall not be admitted to his sight.
ISABELLA. Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!
DUKE. 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 pow'r. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the Duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour.
ISABELLA. I am directed by you.
DUKE. 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?


LUCIO. Good even. Friar, where's the Provost?
DUKE. Not within, sir.
LUCIO. O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine
so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain to dine and sup with
water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one
fruitful meal would set me to't. But they say the Duke will
here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I lov'd thy brother. If
old fantastical Duke of dark corners had been at home, he had

lived. Exit ISABELLA
DUKE. Sir, the Duke is marvellous little beholding to your
but the best is, he lives not in them.
LUCIO. Friar, thou knowest not the Duke so well as I do; he's a
better woodman than thou tak'st him for.
DUKE. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
LUCIO. Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I can tell thee
tales of the Duke.
DUKE. You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be
true; if not true, none were enough.
LUCIO. I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
DUKE. Did you such a thing?
LUCIO. Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they
else have married me to the rotten medlar.
DUKE. Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
LUCIO. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If
talk offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I
am a
kind of burr; I shall stick. Exeunt

ANGELO'S house


ESCALUS. Every letter he hath writ hath disvouch'd other.
ANGELO. In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions show
like to madness; pray heaven his wisdom be not tainted! And
meet him at the gates, and redeliver our authorities there?
ESCALUS. I guess not.
ANGELO. And why should we proclaim it in an hour before his
ent'ring that, if any crave redress of injustice, they should
exhibit their petitions in the street?
ESCALUS. He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch of
complaints; and to deliver us from devices hereafter, which
shall then have no power to stand against us.
ANGELO. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd;
Betimes i' th' morn I'll call you at your house;
Give notice to such men of sort and suit
As are to meet him.
ESCALUS. I shall, sir; fare you well.
ANGELO. Good night. Exit ESCALUS
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant
And dull to all proceedings. A deflow'red maid!
And by an eminent body that enforc'd
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. Exit

Fields without the town

Enter DUKE in his own habit, and Friar PETER

DUKE. 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.
PETER. It shall be speeded well. Exit FRIAR


DUKE. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good haste.
Come, we will walk. There's other of our friends
Will greet us here anon. My gentle Varrius! Exeunt

A street near the city gate


ISABELLA. To speak so indirectly I am loath;
I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,
That is your part. Yet I am advis'd to do it;
He says, to veil full purpose.
MARIANA. Be rul'd by him.
ISABELLA. Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure
He speak against me on the adverse side,
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic
That's bitter to sweet end.
MARIANA. I would Friar Peter-


ISABELLA. O, peace! the friar is come.
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 ent'ring; therefore, hence, away. Exeunt


The city gate

Enter at several doors DUKE, VARRIUS, LORDS; ANGELO, ESCALUS,

DUKE. My very worthy cousin, fairly met!
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.
ANGELO, ESCALUS. Happy return be to your royal Grace!
DUKE. Many and hearty thankings to you both.
We have made inquiry of you, and we hear
Such goodness of your justice that our soul
Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
Forerunning more requital.
ANGELO. You make my bonds still greater.
DUKE. O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
When it deserves, with characters of brass,
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time
And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand.
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus,
You must walk by us on our other hand,
And good supporters are you.


PETER. Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel before him.
ISABELLA. Justice, O royal Duke! Vail your regard
Upon a wrong'd- I would fain have said a maid!
O worthy Prince, dishonour not your eye
By throwing it on any other object
Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice.
DUKE. Relate your wrongs. In what? By whom? Be brief.
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice;
Reveal yourself to him.
ISABELLA. O worthy Duke,
You bid me seek redemption of the devil!
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak
Must either punish me, not being believ'd,
Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O, hear me, here!
ANGELO. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm;
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,
Cut off by course of justice-
ISABELLA. By course of justice!
ANGELO. And she will speak most bitterly and strange.
ISABELLA. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak.
That Angelo's forsworn, is it not strange?
That Angelo's a murderer, is't not strange?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator,
Is it not strange and strange?
DUKE. Nay, it is ten times strange.
ISABELLA. It is not truer he is Angelo
Than this is all as true as it is strange;
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
To th' end of reck'ning.
DUKE. Away with her. Poor soul,
She speaks this in th' infirmity of sense.
ISABELLA. 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.
DUKE. By mine honesty,
If she be mad, as I believe no other,
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.
ISABELLA. O gracious Duke,
Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.
DUKE. Many that are not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you say?
ISABELLA. I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo.
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio
As then the messenger-
LUCIO. That's I, an't like your Grace.
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
For her poor brother's pardon.
ISABELLA. That's he, indeed.
DUKE. You were not bid to speak.
LUCIO. No, my good lord;
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.
DUKE. I wish you now, then;
Pray you take note of it; and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
Be perfect.
LUCIO. I warrant your honour.
DUKE. The warrant's for yourself; take heed to't.
ISABELLA. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.
LUCIO. Right.
DUKE. It may be right; but you are i' the wrong
To speak before your time. Proceed.
To this pernicious caitiff deputy.
DUKE. That's somewhat madly spoken.
ISABELLA. Pardon it;
The phrase is to the matter.
DUKE. Mended again. The matter- proceed.
ISABELLA. In brief- to set the needless process by,
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,
How he refell'd me, and how I replied,
For this was of much length- the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter:
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,
Release my brother; and, after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,
And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.
DUKE. This is most likely!
ISABELLA. O that it were as like as it is true!
DUKE. 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.
ISABELLA. And is this all?
Then, O you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, with ripened time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up
In countenance! Heaven shield your Grace from woe,
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!
DUKE. 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?
ISABELLA. One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.
DUKE. A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
LUCIO. My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar.
I do not like the man; had he been lay, my lord,
For certain words he spake against your Grace
In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly.
DUKE. 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.
LUCIO. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
I saw them at the prison; a saucy friar,
A very scurvy fellow.
PETER. Blessed 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.
DUKE. We did believe no less.
Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?
PETER. I know him for a man divine and holy;
Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
As he's reported by this gentleman;
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your Grace.
LUCIO. My lord, most villainously; believe it.
PETER. Well, he in time may come to clear himself;
But at this instant he is sick, my lord,
Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request-
Being come to knowledge that there was complaint
Intended 'gainst Lord Angelo- came I hither
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
Is true and false; and what he, with his oath
And all probation, will make up full clear,
Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman-
To justify this worthy nobleman,
So vulgarly and personally accus'd-
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
Till she herself confess it.
DUKE. Good friar, let's hear it. Exit ISABELLA guarded
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.

Enter MARIANA veiled

Is this the witness, friar?
FIRST let her show her face, and after speak.
MARIANA. Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face
Until my husband bid me.
DUKE. What, are you married?
MARIANA. No, my lord.
DUKE. Are you a maid?
MARIANA. No, my lord.
DUKE. A widow, then?
MARIANA. Neither, my lord.
DUKE. Why, you are nothing then; neither maid, widow, nor wife.
LUCIO. My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are neither
maid, widow, nor wife.
DUKE. Silence that fellow. I would he had some cause
To prattle for himself.
LUCIO. Well, my lord.
MARIANA. My lord, I do confess I ne'er was married,
And I confess, besides, I am no maid.
I have known my husband; yet my husband
Knows not that ever he knew me.
LUCIO. He was drunk, then, my lord; it can be no better.
DUKE. For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too!
LUCIO. Well, my lord.
DUKE. This is no witness for Lord Angelo.
MARIANA. Now I come to't, my lord:
She that accuses him of fornication,
In self-same manner doth accuse my husband;
And charges him, my lord, with such a time
When I'll depose I had him in mine arms,
With all th' effect of love.
ANGELO. Charges she moe than me?
MARIANA. Not that I know.
DUKE. No? You say your husband.
MARIANA. Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,
Who thinks he knows that he ne'er knew my body,
But knows he thinks that he knows Isabel's.
ANGELO. This is a strange abuse. Let's see thy face.
MARIANA. My husband bids me; now I will unmask.
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.
DUKE. Know you this woman?
LUCIO. Carnally, she says.
DUKE. Sirrah, no more.
LUCIO. Enough, my lord.
ANGELO. My lord, I must confess I know this woman;
And five years since there was some speech of marriage
Betwixt myself and her; which was broke off,
Partly for that her promised proportions
Came short of composition; but in chief
For that her reputation was disvalued
In levity. Since which time of five years
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
Upon my faith and honour.
MARIANA. Noble Prince,
As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,
As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,
I am affianc'd this man's wife as strongly
As words could make up vows. And, my good lord,
But Tuesday night last gone, in's garden-house,
He knew me as a wife. As this is true,
Let me in safety raise me from my knees,
Or else for ever be confixed here,
A marble monument!
ANGELO. I did but smile till now.
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice;
My patience here is touch'd. I do perceive
These poor informal women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member
That sets them on. Let me have way, my lord,
To find this practice out.
DUKE. Ay, with my heart;
And punish them to your height of pleasure.
Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,
Compact with her that's gone, think'st thou thy oaths,
Though they would swear down each particular saint,
Were testimonies against his worth and credit,
That's seal'd in approbation? You, Lord Escalus,
Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis deriv'd.
There is another friar that set them on;
Let him be sent for.
PETER. 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.
DUKE. Go, do it instantly. Exit PROVOST
And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,
Do with your injuries as seems you best
In any chastisement. I for a while will leave you;
But stir not you till you have well determin'd
Upon these slanderers.
ESCALUS. My lord, we'll do it throughly. Exit DUKE
Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar Lodowick
to be
a dishonest person?
LUCIO. 'Cucullus non facit monachum': honest in nothing but in
clothes; and one that hath spoke most villainous speeches of
ESCALUS. We shall entreat you to abide here till he come and
enforce them against him. We shall find this friar a notable
LUCIO. As any in Vienna, on my word.
ESCALUS. Call that same Isabel here once again; I would speak
her. [Exit an ATTENDANT] Pray you, my lord, give me leave to
question; you shall see how I'll handle her.
LUCIO. Not better than he, by her own report.
ESCALUS. Say you?
LUCIO. Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately, she
sooner confess; perchance, publicly, she'll be asham'd.

Re-enter OFFICERS with ISABELLA; and PROVOST with the
DUKE in his friar's habit

ESCALUS. I will go darkly to work with her.
LUCIO. That's the way; for women are light at midnight.
ESCALUS. Come on, mistress; here's a gentlewoman denies all
you have said.
LUCIO. My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of, here with the

ESCALUS. In very good time. Speak not you to him till we call
ESCALUS. Come, sir; did you set these women on to slander Lord
Angelo? They have confess'd you did.
DUKE. 'Tis false.
ESCALUS. How! Know you where you are?
DUKE. Respect to your great place! and let the devil
Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne!
Where is the Duke? 'Tis he should hear me speak.
ESCALUS. The Duke's in us; and we will hear you speak;
Look you speak justly.
DUKE. Boldly, at least. But, O, poor souls,
Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox,
Good night to your redress! Is the Duke gone?
Then is your cause gone too. The Duke's unjust
Thus to retort your manifest appeal,
And put your trial in the villain's mouth
Which here you come to accuse.
LUCIO. This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.
ESCALUS. Why, thou unreverend and unhallowed 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 th' Duke himself, to tax him with injustice?
Take him hence; to th' rack with him! We'll touze you
Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
What, 'unjust'!
DUKE. 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.
ESCALUS. Slander to th' state! Away with him to prison!
ANGELO. What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio?
Is this the man that you did tell us of?
LUCIO. 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, good-man bald-pate.
Do you know me?
DUKE. I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice. I met
you at
the prison, in the absence of the Duke.
LUCIO. O did you so? And do you remember what you said of the
DUKE. Most notedly, sir.
LUCIO. Do you so, sir? And was the Duke a fleshmonger, a fool,
a coward, as you then reported him to be?
DUKE. You must, sir, change persons with me ere you make that
report; you, indeed, spoke so of him; and much more, much
LUCIO. O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the nose
thy speeches?
DUKE. I protest I love the Duke as I love myself.
ANGELO. Hark how the villain would close now, after his
ESCALUS. Such a fellow is not to be talk'd withal. Away with
him to
prison! Where is the Provost? Away with him to prison! Lay
enough upon him; let him speak no more. Away with those
too, and with the other confederate companion!
[The PROVOST lays hands on the DUKE]
DUKE. Stay, sir; stay awhile.
ANGELO. What, resists he? Help him, Lucio.
LUCIO. Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir! Why, you
bald-pated lying rascal, you must be hooded, must you? Show
knave's visage, with a pox to you! Show your sheep-biting
and be hang'd an hour! Will't not off?
[Pulls off the FRIAR'S hood and discovers the DUKE]
DUKE. Thou art the first knave that e'er mad'st a duke.
First, Provost, let me bail these gentle three.
[To Lucio] Sneak not away, sir, for the friar and you
Must have a word anon. Lay hold on him.
LUCIO. This may prove worse than hanging.
DUKE. [To ESCALUS] What you have spoke I pardon; sit you down.
We'll borrow place of him. [To ANGELO] Sir, by your leave.
Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
And hold no longer out.
ANGELO. O my dread lord,
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
To think I can be undiscernible,
When I perceive your Grace, like pow'r divine,
Hath look'd upon my passes. Then, good Prince,
No longer session hold upon my shame,
But let my trial be mine own confession;
Immediate sentence then, and sequent death,
Is all the grace I beg.
DUKE. Come hither, Mariana.
Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?
ANGELO. I was, my lord.
DUKE. Go, take her hence and marry her instantly.
Do you the office, friar; which consummate,
Return him here again. Go with him, Provost.
ESCALUS. My lord, I am more amaz'd at his dishonour
Than at the strangeness of it.
DUKE. Come hither, Isabel.
Your friar is now your prince. As I was then
Advertising and holy to your business,
Not changing heart with habit, I am still
Attorney'd at your service.
ISABELLA. O, give me pardon,
That I, your vassal have employ'd and pain'd
Your unknown sovereignty.
DUKE. 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 pow'r
Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,
It was the swift celerity of his death,
Which I did think with slower foot came on,
That brain'd my purpose. But peace be with him!
That life is better life, past fearing death,
Than that which lives to fear. Make it your comfort,
So happy is your brother.
ISABELLA. I do, my lord.


DUKE. 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!
MARIANA. O my most gracious lord,
I hope you will not mock me with a husband.
DUKE. It is your husband mock'd you with a husband.
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour,
I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,
For that he knew you, might reproach your life,
And choke your good to come. For his possessions,
Although by confiscation they are ours,
We do instate and widow you withal
To buy you a better husband.
MARIANA. O my dear lord,
I crave no other, nor no better man.
DUKE. Never crave him; we are definitive.
MARIANA. Gentle my liege- [Kneeling]
DUKE. You do but lose your labour.
Away with him to death! [To LUCIO] Now, sir, to you.
MARIANA. O my good lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part;
Lend me your knees, and all my life to come
I'll lend you all my life to do you service.
DUKE. Against all sense you do importune her.
Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
And take her hence in horror.
MARIANA. Isabel,
Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me;
Hold up your hands, say nothing; I'll speak all.
They say best men moulded out of faults;
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad; so may my husband.
O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?
DUKE. He dies for Claudio's death.
ISABELLA. [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.
MARIANA. Merely, my lord.
DUKE. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.
I have bethought me of another fault.
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
At an unusual hour?
PROVOST. It was commanded so.
DUKE. Had you a special warrant for the deed?
PROVOST. No, my good lord; it was by private message.
DUKE. For which I do discharge you of your office;
Give up your keys.
PROVOST. Pardon me, noble lord;
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;
Yet did repent me, after more advice;
For testimony whereof, one in the prison,
That should by private order else have died,
I have reserv'd alive.
DUKE. What's he?
PROVOST. His name is Barnardine.
DUKE. I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.
Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him. Exit PROVOST
ESCALUS. I am sorry one so learned and so wise
As you, Lord Angelo, have still appear'd,
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood
And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.
ANGELO. I am sorry that such sorrow I procure;
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart
That I crave death more willingly than mercy;
'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.

Re-enter PROVOST, with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO (muffled)

DUKE. Which is that Barnardine?
PROVOST. This, my lord.
DUKE. 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 muffl'd fellow's that?
PROVOST. This is another prisoner that I sav'd,
Who should have died when Claudio lost his head;
As like almost to Claudio as himself. [Unmuffles CLAUDIO]
DUKE. [To ISABELLA] If he be like your brother, for his sake
Is he pardon'd; and for your lovely sake,
Give me your hand and say you will be mine,
He is my brother too. But fitter time for that.
By this Lord Angelo perceives he's safe;
Methinks I see a 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.
To Lucio] You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman!
Wherein have I so deserv'd of you
That you extol me thus?
LUCIO. Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the trick.
If you will hang me for it, you may; but I had rather it
please you I might be whipt.
DUKE. Whipt 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 whipt and hang'd.
LUCIO. I beseech your Highness, do not marry me to a whore.
Highness said even now I made you a duke; good my lord, do
recompense me in making me a cuckold.
DUKE. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Remit thy other forfeits. Take him to prison;
And see our pleasure herein executed.
LUCIO. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
and hanging.
DUKE. Slandering a prince deserves it.
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:
Th' 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.



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