Measure for Measure by William Shakespeare

*** Scanner’s Notes: What this is and isn’t. This was taken from a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio and it is as close as I can come in ASCII to the printed text. The elongated S’s have been changed to small s’s and the conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the
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Scanner’s Notes: What this is and isn’t. This was taken from a copy of Shakespeare’s first folio and it is as close as I can come in ASCII to the printed text.

The elongated S’s have been changed to small s’s and the conjoined ae have been changed to ae. I have left the spelling, punctuation, capitalization as close as possible to the printed text. I have corrected some spelling mistakes (I have put together a spelling dictionary devised from the spellings of the Geneva Bible and Shakespeare’s First Folio and have unified spellings according to this template), typo’s and expanded abbreviations as I have come across them. Everything within brackets [] is what I have added. So if you don’t like that you can delete everything within the brackets if you want a purer Shakespeare.

Another thing that you should be aware of is that there are textual differences between various copies of the first folio. So there may be differences (other than what I have mentioned above) between this and other first folio editions. This is due to the printer’s habit of setting the type and running off a number of copies and then proofing the printed copy and correcting the type and then continuing the printing run. The proof run wasn’t thrown away but incorporated into the printed copies. This is just the way it is. The text I have used was a composite of more than 30 different First Folio editions’ best pages.

If you find any scanning errors, out and out typos, punctuation errors, or if you disagree with my spelling choices please feel free to email me those errors. I wish to make this the best etext possible. My email address for right now are and I hope that you enjoy this.

David Reed

Measvre, For Measure

Actus primus, Scena prima.

Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords.

Duke. Escalus

Esc. My Lord

Duk. Of Gouernment, the properties to vnfold, Would seeme in me t’ affect speech & discourse, Since I am put to know, that your owne Science Exceedes (in that) the lists of all aduice My strength can giue you: Then no more remaines But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able, And let them worke: The nature of our People, Our Cities Institutions, and the Termes
For Common Iustice, y’are as pregnant in As Art, and practise, hath inriched any
That we remember: There is our Commission, From which, we would not haue you warpe; call hither, I say, bid come before vs Angelo:
What figure of vs thinke you, he will beare. For you must know, we haue with speciall soule Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, drest him with our loue, And giuen his Deputation all the Organs
Of our owne powre: What thinke you of it? Esc. If any in Vienna be of worth
To vndergoe such ample grace, and honour, It is Lord Angelo.

Enter Angelo.

Duk. Looke where he comes

Ang. Alwayes obedient to your Graces will, I come to know your pleasure

Duke. Angelo:
There is a kinde of Character in thy life, That to th’ obseruer, doth thy history
Fully vnfold: Thy selfe, and thy belongings Are not thine owne so proper, as to waste Thy selfe vpon thy vertues; they on thee: Heauen doth with vs, as we, with Torches doe, Not light them for themselues: For if our vertues Did not goe forth of vs, ’twere all alike As if we had them not: Spirits are not finely touch’d, But to fine issues: nor nature neuer lends The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But like a thrifty goddesse, she determines Her selfe the glory of a creditour,
Both thanks, and vse; but I do bend my speech To one that can my part in him aduertise; Hold therefore Angelo:
In our remoue, be thou at full, our selfe: Mortallitie and Mercie in Vienna
Liue in thy tongue, and heart: Old Escalus Though first in question, is thy secondary. Take thy Commission

Ang. Now good my Lord
Let there be some more test, made of my mettle, Before so noble, and so great a figure
Be stamp’t vpon it

Duk. No more euasion:
We haue with a leauen’d, and prepared choice Proceeded to you; therefore take your honors: Our haste from hence is of so quicke condition, That it prefers it selfe, and leaues vnquestion’d Matters of needfull value: We shall write to you As time, and our concernings shall importune, How it goes with vs, and doe looke to know What doth befall you here. So fare you well: To th’ hopefull execution doe I leaue you, Of your Commissions

Ang. Yet giue leaue (my Lord,)
That we may bring you something on the way

Duk. My haste may not admit it,
Nor neede you (on mine honor) haue to doe With any scruple: your scope is as mine owne, So to inforce, or qualifie the Lawes
As to your soule seemes good: Giue me your hand, Ile priuily away: I loue the people,
But doe not like to stage me to their eyes: Though it doe well, I doe not rellish well Their lowd applause, and Aues vehement:
Nor doe I thinke the man of safe discretion That do’s affect it. Once more fare you well

Ang. The heauens giue safety to your purposes

Esc. Lead forth, and bring you backe in happinesse.


Duk. I thanke you, fare you well

Esc. I shall desire you, Sir, to giue me leaue To haue free speech with you; and it concernes me To looke into the bottome of my place:
A powre I haue, but of what strength and nature, I am not yet instructed

Ang. ‘Tis so with me: Let vs withdraw together, And we may soone our satisfaction haue
Touching that point

Esc. Ile wait vpon your honor.


Scena Secunda.

Enter Lucio, and two other Gentlemen.

Luc. If the Duke, with the other Dukes, come not to composition with the King of Hungary, why then all the Dukes fall vpon the King

1.Gent. Heauen grant vs its peace, but not the King of Hungaries

2.Gent. Amen

Luc. Thou conclud’st like the Sanctimonious Pirat, that went to sea with the ten Commandements, but scrap’d one out of the Table

2.Gent. Thou shalt not Steale?
Luc. I, that he raz’d

1.Gent. Why? ’twas a commandement, to command the Captaine and all the rest from their functions: they put forth to steale: There’s not a Souldier of vs all, that in the thanks-giuing before meate, do rallish the petition well, that praies for peace

2.Gent. I neuer heard any Souldier dislike it

Luc. I beleeue thee: for I thinke thou neuer was’t where Grace was said

2.Gent. No? a dozen times at least

1.Gent. What? In meeter?
Luc. In any proportion: or in any language

1.Gent. I thinke, or in any Religion

Luc. I, why not? Grace, is Grace, despight of all controuersie: as for example; Thou thy selfe art a wicked villaine, despight of all Grace

1.Gent. Well: there went but a paire of sheeres betweene vs

Luc. I grant: as there may betweene the Lists, and the Veluet. Thou art the List

1.Gent. And thou the Veluet; thou art good veluet; thou’rt a three pild-peece I warrant thee: I had as liefe be a Lyst of an English Kersey, as be pil’d, as thou art pil’d, for a French Veluet. Do I speake feelingly now? Luc. I thinke thou do’st: and indeed with most painfull feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine owne confession, learne to begin thy health; but, whilst I liue forget to drinke after thee

1.Gen. I think I haue done my selfe wrong, haue I not? 2.Gent. Yes, that thou hast; whether thou art tainted, or free.

Enter Bawde.

Luc. Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes. I haue purchas’d as many diseases vnder her Roofe, As come to
2.Gent. To what, I pray?
Luc. Iudge

2.Gent. To three thousand Dollours a yeare

1.Gent. I, and more

Luc. A French crowne more

1.Gent. Thou art alwayes figuring diseases in me; but thou art full of error, I am sound

Luc. Nay, not (as one would say) healthy: but so sound, as things that are hollow; thy bones are hollow; Impiety has made a feast of thee

1.Gent. How now, which of your hips has the most profound Ciatica?
Bawd. Well, well: there’s one yonder arrested, and carried to prison, was worth fiue thousand of you all

2.Gent. Who’s that I pray’thee?
Bawd. Marry Sir, that’s Claudio, Signior Claudio

1.Gent. Claudio to prison? ’tis not so

Bawd. Nay, but I know ’tis so: I saw him arrested: saw him carried away: and which is more, within these three daies his head to be chop’d off

Luc. But, after all this fooling, I would not haue it so: Art thou sure of this?
Bawd. I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam Iulietta with childe

Luc. Beleeue me this may be: he promis’d to meete me two howres since, and he was euer precise in promise keeping

2.Gent. Besides you know, it drawes somthing neere to the speech we had to such a purpose

1.Gent. But most of all agreeing with the proclamatio[n]

Luc. Away: let’s goe learne the truth of it.


Bawd. Thus, what with the war; what with the sweat, what with the gallowes, and what with pouerty, I am Custom-shrunke. How now? what’s the newes with you.

Enter Clowne.

Clo. Yonder man is carried to prison

Baw. Well: what has he done?
Clo. A Woman

Baw. But what’s his offence?
Clo. Groping for Trowts, in a peculiar Riuer

Baw. What? is there a maid with child by him? Clo. No: but there’s a woman with maid by him: you haue not heard of the proclamation, haue you? Baw. What proclamation, man?
Clow. All howses in the Suburbs of Vienna must bee pluck’d downe

Bawd. And what shall become of those in the Citie? Clow. They shall stand for seed: they had gon down to, but that a wise Burger put in for them

Bawd. But shall all our houses of resort in the Suburbs be puld downe?
Clow. To the ground, Mistris

Bawd. Why heere’s a change indeed in the Commonwealth: what shall become of me?
Clow. Come: feare not you; good Counsellors lacke no Clients: though you change your place, you neede not change your Trade: Ile bee your Tapster still; courage, there will bee pitty taken on you; you that haue worne your eyes almost out in the seruice, you will bee considered

Bawd. What’s to doe heere, Thomas Tapster? let’s withdraw?
Clo. Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the Prouost to prison: and there’s Madam Iuliet.


Scena Tertia.

Enter Prouost, Claudio, Iuliet, Officers, Lucio, & 2.Gent.

Cla. Fellow, why do’st thou show me thus to th’ world? Beare me to prison, where I am committed

Pro. I do it not in euill disposition, But from Lord Angelo by speciall charge

Clau. Thus can the demy-god (Authority) Make vs pay downe, for our offence, by waight The words of heauen; on whom it will, it will, On whom it will not (soe) yet still ’tis iust

Luc. Why how now Claudio? whence comes this restraint

Cla. From too much liberty, (my Lucio) Liberty As surfet is the father of much fast,
So euery Scope by the immoderate vse Turnes to restraint: Our Natures doe pursue Like Rats that rauyn downe their proper Bane, A thirsty euill, and when we drinke, we die

Luc. If I could speake so wisely vnder an arrest, I would send for certaine of my Creditors: and yet, to say the truth, I had as lief haue the foppery of freedome, as the mortality of imprisonment: what’s thy offence, Claudio?
Cla. What (but to speake of) would offend againe

Luc. What, is’t murder?
Cla. No

Luc. Lecherie?
Cla. Call it so

Pro. Away, Sir, you must goe

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

Luc. A hundred:
If they’ll doe you any good: Is Lechery so look’d after? Cla. Thus stands it with me: vpon a true contract I got possession of Iulietas bed,
You know the Lady, she is fast my wife, Saue that we doe the denunciation lacke
Of outward Order. This we came not to, Onely for propogation of a Dowre
Remaining in the Coffer of her friends, From whom we thought it meet to hide our Loue Till Time had made them for vs. But it chances The stealth of our most mutuall entertainment With Character too grosse, is writ on Iuliet

Luc. With childe, perhaps?
Cla. Vnhappely, euen so.
And the new Deputie, now for the Duke, Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newnes, Or whether that the body publique, be
A horse whereon the Gouernor doth ride, Who newly in the Seate, that it may know He can command; lets it strait feele the spur: Whether the Tirranny be in his place,
Or in his Eminence that fills it vp I stagger in: But this new Gouernor
Awakes me all the inrolled penalties Which haue (like vn-scowr’d Armor) hung by th’ wall So long, that ninteene Zodiacks haue gone round, And none of them beene worne; and for a name Now puts the drowsie and neglected Act
Freshly on me: ’tis surely for a name

Luc. I warrant it is: And thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders, that a milke-maid, if she be in loue, may sigh it off: Send after the Duke, and appeale to him

Cla. I haue done so, but hee’s not to be found. I pre’thee (Lucio) doe me this kinde seruice: This day, my sister should the Cloyster enter, And there receiue her approbation.
Acquaint her with the danger of my state, Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends To the strict deputie: bid her selfe assay him, I haue great hope in that: for in her youth There is a prone and speechlesse dialect, Such as moue men: beside, she hath prosperous Art When she will play with reason, and discourse, And well she can perswade

Luc. I pray shee may; aswell for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand vnder greeuous imposition: as for the enioying of thy life, who I would be sorry should bee thus foolishly lost, at a game of ticketacke: Ile to her

Cla. I thanke you good friend Lucio

Luc. Within two houres

Cla. Come Officer, away.


Scena Quarta.

Enter Duke and Frier Thomas.

Duk. No: holy Father, throw away that thought, Beleeue not that the dribling dart of Loue Can pierce a compleat bosome: why, I desire thee To giue me secret harbour, hath a purpose More graue, and wrinkled, then the aimes, and ends Of burning youth

Fri. May your Grace speake of it?
Duk. My holy Sir, none better knowes then you How I haue euer lou’d the life remoued
And held in idle price, to haunt assemblies Where youth, and cost, witlesse brauery keepes. I haue deliuerd to Lord Angelo
(A man of stricture and firme abstinence) My absolute power, and place here in Vienna, And he supposes me trauaild to Poland,
(For so I haue strewd it in the common eare) And so it is receiu’d: Now (pious Sir)
You will demand of me, why I do this

Fri. Gladly, my Lord

Duk. We haue strict Statutes, and most biting Laws, (The needfull bits and curbes to headstrong weedes,) Which for this foureteene yeares, we haue let slip, Euen like an ore-growne Lyon in a Caue
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond Fathers, Hauing bound vp the threatning twigs of birch, Onely to sticke it in their childrens sight, For terror, not to vse: in time the rod
More mock’d, then fear’d: so our Decrees, Dead to infliction, to themselues are dead, And libertie, plucks Iustice by the nose; The Baby beates the Nurse, and quite athwart Goes all decorum

Fri. It rested in your Grace
To vnloose this tyde-vp Iustice, when you pleas’d: And it in you more dreadfull would haue seem’d Then in Lord Angelo

Duk. I doe feare: too dreadfull:
Sith ’twas my fault, to giue the people scope, ‘Twould be my tirrany to strike and gall them, For what I bid them doe: For, we bid this be done When euill deedes haue their permissiue passe, And not the punishment: therefore indeede (my father) I haue on Angelo impos’d the office,
Who may in th’ ambush of my name, strike home, And yet, my nature neuer in the sight
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 pre’thee Supply me with the habit, and instruct me How I may formally in person beare
Like a true Frier: Moe reasons for this action At our more leysure, shall I render you; Onely, this one: Lord Angelo is precise, Stands at a guard with Enuie: scarce confesses That his blood flowes: or that his appetite Is more to bread then stone: hence shall we see If power change purpose: what our Seemers be.


Scena Quinta.

Enter Isabell and Francisca a Nun.

Isa. And haue you Nuns no farther priuiledges? Nun. Are not these large enough?
Isa. Yes truely; I speake not as desiring more, But rather wishing a more strict restraint Vpon the Sisterhood, the Votarists of Saint Clare.

Lucio within.

Luc. Hoa? peace be in this place

Isa. Who’s that which cals?
Nun. It is a mans voice: gentle Isabella Turne you the key, and know his businesse of him; You may; I may not: you are yet vnsworne: When you haue vowd, you must not speake with men, But in the presence of the Prioresse;
Then if you speake, you must not show your face; Or if you show your face, you must not speake. He cals againe: I pray you answere him

Isa. Peace and prosperitie: who is’t that cals? Luc. Haile Virgin, (if you be) as those cheeke-Roses Proclaime you are no lesse: can you so steed me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A Nouice of this place, and the faire Sister To her vnhappie brother Claudio?
Isa. Why her vnhappy Brother? Let me aske, The rather for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his Sister

Luc. Gentle & faire: your Brother kindly greets you; Not to be weary with you; he’s in prison

Isa. Woe me; for what?
Luc. For that, which if my selfe might be his Iudge, He should receiue his punishment, in thankes: He hath got his friend with childe

Isa. Sir, make me not your storie

Luc. ‘Tis true; I would not, though ’tis my familiar sin, With Maids to seeme the Lapwing, and to iest Tongue, far from heart: play with all Virgins so: I hold you as a thing en-skied, and sainted, By your renouncement, an imortall spirit And to be talk’d with in sincerity,
As with a Saint

Isa. You doe blaspheme the good, in mocking me

Luc. Doe not beleeue it: fewnes, and truth; tis thus, Your brother, and his louer haue embrac’d; As those that feed, grow full: as blossoming Time That from the seednes, the bare fallow brings To teeming foyson: euen so her plenteous wombe Expresseth his full Tilth, and husbandry

Isa. Some one with childe by him? my cosen Iuliet? Luc. Is she your cosen?
Isa. Adoptedly, as schoole-maids change their names By vaine, though apt affection

Luc. She it is

Isa. Oh, let him marry her

Luc. This is the point.
The Duke is very strangely gone from hence; Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one) In hand, and hope of action: but we doe learne, By those that know the very Nerues of State, His giuing-out, were of an infinite distance From his true meant designe: vpon his place, (And with full line of his authority)
Gouernes Lord Angelo; A man, whose blood Is very snow-broth: one, who neuer feeles The wanton stings, and motions of the sence; But doth rebate, and blunt his naturall edge With profits of the minde: Studie, and fast He (to giue feare to vse, and libertie,
Which haue, for long, run-by the hideous law, As Myce, by Lyons) hath pickt out an act, Vnder whose heauy sence, your brothers life Fals into forfeit: he arrests him on it, And followes close the rigor of the Statute To make him an example: all hope is gone, Vnlesse you haue the grace, by your faire praier To soften Angelo: And that’s my pith of businesse ‘Twixt you, and your poore brother

Isa. Doth he so,
Seeke his life?
Luc. Has censur’d him already,
And as I heare, the Prouost hath a warrant For’s execution

Isa. Alas: what poore
Abilitie’s in me, to doe him good

Luc. Assay the powre you haue

Isa. My power? alas, I doubt

Luc. Our doubts are traitors
And makes vs loose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt: Goe to Lord Angelo And let him learne to know, when Maidens sue Men giue like gods: but when they weepe and kneele, All their petitions, are as freely theirs As they themselues would owe them

Isa. Ile see what I can doe

Luc. But speedily

Isa. I will about it strait;
No longer staying, but to giue the Mother Notice of my affaire: I humbly thanke you: Commend me to my brother: soone at night Ile send him certaine word of my successe

Luc. I take my leaue of you

Isa. Good sir, adieu.


Actus Secundus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Angelo, Escalus, and seruants, Iustice.

Ang. We must not make a scar-crow of the Law, Setting it vp to feare the Birds of prey, And let it keepe one shape, till custome make it Their pearch, and not their terror

Esc. I, but yet
Let vs be keene, and rather cut a little Then fall, and bruise to death: alas, this gentleman Whom I would saue, had a most noble father, Let but your honour know
(Whom I beleeue to be most strait in vertue) That in the working of your owne affections, Had time coheard with Place, or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of our blood Could haue attaind th’ effect of your owne purpose, Whether you had not sometime in your life Er’d in this point, which now you censure him, And puld the Law vpon you

Ang. ‘Tis one thing to be tempted (Escalus) Another thing to fall: I not deny
The Iury passing on the Prisoners life May in the sworne-twelue haue a thiefe, or two Guiltier then him they try; what’s open made to Iustice, That Iustice ceizes; What knowes the Lawes That theeues do passe on theeues? ‘Tis very pregnant, The Iewell that we finde, we stoope, and take’t, Because we see it; but what we doe not see, We tread vpon, and neuer thinke of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence, For I haue had such faults; but rather tell me When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine owne Iudgement patterne out my death, And nothing come in partiall. Sir, he must dye.

Enter Prouost.

Esc. Be it as your wisedome will

Ang. Where is the Prouost?
Pro. Here if it like your honour

Ang. See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to morrow morning, Bring him his Confessor, let him be prepar’d, For that’s the vtmost of his pilgrimage

Esc. Well: heauen forgiue him; and forgiue vs all: Some rise by sinne, and some by vertue fall: Some run from brakes of Ice, and answere none, And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter Elbow, Froth, Clowne, Officers.

Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a Common-weale, that doe nothing but vse their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away

Ang. How now Sir, what’s your name? And what’s the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poore Dukes Constable, and my name is Elbow; I doe leane vpon Iustice Sir, and doe bring in here before your good honor, two notorious Benefactors

Ang. Benefactors? Well: What Benefactors are they? Are they not Malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: But precise villaines they are, that I am sure of, and void of all prophanation in the world, that good Christians ought to haue

Esc. This comes off well: here’s a wise Officer

Ang. Goe to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name?
Why do’st thou not speake Elbow?
Clo. He cannot Sir: he’s out at Elbow

Ang. What are you Sir?
Elb. He Sir: a Tapster Sir: parcell Baud: one that serues a bad woman: whose house Sir was (as they say) pluckt downe in the Suborbs: and now shee professes a hot-house; which, I thinke is a very ill house too

Esc. How know you that?
Elb. My wife Sir? whom I detest before heauen, and your honour

Esc. How? thy wife?
Elb. I Sir: whom I thanke heauen is an honest woman

Esc. Do’st thou detest her therefore? Elb. I say sir, I will detest my selfe also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a Bauds house, it is pitty of her life, for it is a naughty house

Esc. How do’st thou know that, Constable? Elb. Marry sir, by my wife, who, if she had bin a woman Cardinally giuen, might haue bin accus’d in fornication, adultery, and all vncleanlinesse there

Esc. By the womans meanes?
Elb. I sir, by Mistris Ouerdons meanes: but as she spit in his face, so she defide him

Clo. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so

Elb. Proue it before these varlets here, thou honorable man, proue it

Esc. Doe you heare how he misplaces? Clo. Sir, she came in great with childe: and longing (sauing your honors reuerence) for stewd prewyns; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were in a fruit dish (a dish of some three pence; your honours haue seene such dishes) they are not China-dishes, but very good dishes

Esc. Go too: go too: no matter for the dish sir

Clo. No indeede sir not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point: As I say, this Mistris Elbow, being (as I say) with childe, and being great bellied, and longing (as I said) for prewyns: and hauing but two in the dish (as I said) Master Froth here, this very man, hauing eaten the rest (as I said) & (as I say) paying for them very honestly: for, as you know Master Froth, I could not giue you three pence againe

Fro. No indeede

Clo. Very well: you being then (if you be remembred) cracking the stones of the foresaid prewyns

Fro. I, so I did indeede

Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then (if you be remembred) that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, vnlesse they kept very good diet, as I told you

Fro. All this is true

Clo. Why very well then

Esc. Come: you are a tedious foole: to the purpose: what was done to Elbowes wife, that hee hath cause to complaine of? Come me to what was done to her

Clo. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet

Esc. No sir, nor I meane it not

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honours leaue: And I beseech you, looke into Master Froth here sir, a man of foure-score pound a yeare; whose father died at Hallowmas: Was’t not at Hallowmas Master Froth?
Fro. Allhallond-Eue

Clo. Why very well: I hope here be truthes: he Sir, sitting (as I say) in a lower chaire, Sir, ’twas in the bunch of Grapes, where indeede you haue a delight to sit, haue you not?
Fro. I haue so, because it is an open roome, and good for winter

Clo. Why very well then: I hope here be truthes

Ang. This will last out a night in Russia When nights are longest there: Ile take my leaue, And leaue you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping youle finde good cause to whip them all.


Esc. I thinke no lesse: good morrow to your Lordship. Now Sir, come on: What was done to Elbowes wife, once more?
Clo. Once Sir? there was nothing done to her once

Elb. I beseech you Sir, aske him what this man did to my wife

Clo. I beseech your honor, aske me

Esc. Well sir, what did this Gentleman to her? Clo. I beseech you sir, looke in this Gentlemans face: good Master Froth looke vpon his honor; ’tis for a good purpose: doth your honor marke his face? Esc. I sir, very well

Clo. Nay, I beseech you marke it well

Esc. Well, I doe so

Clo. Doth your honor see any harme in his face? Esc. Why no

Clo. Ile be supposd vpon a booke, his face is the worst thing about him: good then: if his face be the worst thing about him, how could Master Froth doe the Constables wife any harme? I would know that of your honour

Esc. He’s in the right (Constable) what say you to it? Elb. First, and it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his Mistris is a respected woman

Clo. By this hand Sir, his wife is a more respected person then any of vs all

Elb. Varlet, thou lyest; thou lyest wicked varlet: the time is yet to come that shee was euer respected with man, woman, or childe

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

Esc. Which is the wiser here; Iustice or Iniquitie? Is this true?
Elb. O thou caytiffe: O thou varlet: O thou wicked Hanniball; I respected with her, before I was married to her? If euer I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship thinke mee the poore Dukes Officer: proue this, thou wicked Hanniball, or ile haue mine action of battry on thee

Esc. If he tooke you a box o’th’ eare, you might haue your action of slander too

Elb. Marry I thanke your good worship for it: what is’t your Worships pleasure I shall doe with this wicked Caitiffe?
Esc. Truly Officer, because he hath some offences in him, that thou wouldst discouer, if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou knowst what they are

Elb. Marry I thanke your worship for it: Thou seest thou wicked varlet now, what’s come vpon thee. Thou art to continue now thou Varlet, thou art to continue

Esc. Where were you borne, friend?
Froth. Here in Vienna, Sir

Esc. Are you of fourescore pounds a yeere? Froth. Yes, and’t please you sir

Esc. So: what trade are you of, sir? Clo. A Tapster, a poore widdowes Tapster

Esc. Your Mistris name?
Clo. Mistris Ouerdon

Esc. Hath she had any more then one husband? Clo. Nine, sir: Ouerdon by the last

Esc. Nine? come hether to me, Master Froth; Master Froth, I would not haue you acquainted with Tapsters; they will draw you Master Froth, and you wil hang them: get you gon, and let me heare no more of you

Fro. I thanke your worship: for mine owne part, I neuer come into any roome in a Tap-house, but I am drawne in

Esc. Well: no more of it Master Froth: farewell: Come you hether to me, Mr. Tapster: what’s your name Mr. Tapster?
Clo. Pompey

Esc. What else?
Clo. Bum, Sir

Esc. Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you, so that in the beastliest sence, you are Pompey the great; Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey; howsoeuer you colour it in being a Tapster, are you not? come, tell me true, it shall be the better for you

Clo. Truly sir, I am a poore fellow that would liue

Esc. How would you liue Pompey? by being a bawd? what doe you thinke of the trade Pompey? is it a lawfull trade?
Clo. If the Law would allow it, sir

Esc. But the Law will not allow it Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna

Clo. Do’s your Worship meane to geld and splay all the youth of the City?
Esc. No, Pompey

Clo. Truely Sir, in my poore opinion they will too’t then: if your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaues, you need not to feare the bawds

Esc. There is pretty orders beginning I can tell you: It is but heading, and hanging

Clo. If you head, and hang all that offend that way but for ten yeare together; you’ll be glad to giue out a Commission for more heads: if this law hold in Vienna ten yeare, ile rent the fairest house in it after three pence a Bay: if you liue to see this come to passe, say Pompey told you so

Esc. Thanke you good Pompey; and in requitall of your prophesie, harke you: I aduise you let me not finde you before me againe vpon any complaint whatsoeuer; no, not for dwelling where you doe: if I doe Pompey, I shall beat you to your Tent, and proue a shrewd Cæsar to you: in plaine dealing Pompey, I shall haue you whipt; so for this time, Pompey, fare you well

Clo. I thanke your Worship for your good counsell; but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better determine. Whip me? no, no, let Carman whip his Iade, The valiant heart’s not whipt out of his trade.


Esc. Come hether to me, Master Elbow: come hither Master Constable: how long haue you bin in this place of Constable?
Elb. Seuen yeere, and a halfe sir

Esc. I thought by the readinesse in the office, you had continued in it some time: you say seauen yeares together

Elb. And a halfe sir

Esc. Alas, it hath beene great paines to you: they do you wrong to put you so oft vpon’t. Are there not men in your Ward sufficient to serue it?
Elb. ‘Faith sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I do it for some peece of money, and goe through with all

Esc. Looke you bring mee in the names of some sixe or seuen, the most sufficient of your parish

Elb. To your Worships house sir?
Esc. To my house: fare you well: what’s a clocke, thinke you?
Iust. Eleuen, Sir

Esc. I pray you home to dinner with me

Iust. I humbly thanke you

Esc. It grieues me for the death of Claudio But there’s no remedie:
Iust. Lord Angelo is seuere

Esc. It is but needfull.
Mercy is not it selfe, that oft lookes so, Pardon is still the nurse of second woe: But yet, poore Claudio; there is no remedie. Come Sir.


Scena Secunda.

Enter Prouost, Seruant.

Ser. Hee’s hearing of a Cause; he will come straight, I’le tell him of you

Pro. ‘Pray you doe; Ile know
His pleasure, may be he will relent; alas He hath but as offended in a dreame,
All Sects, all Ages smack of this vice, and he To die for’t?

Enter Angelo.

Ang. Now, what’s the matter Prouost? Pro. Is it your will Claudio shall die to morrow? Ang. Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order? Why do’st thou aske againe?
Pro. Lest I might be too rash:
Vnder your good correction I haue seene When after execution, Iudgement hath
Repented ore his doome

Ang. Goe to; let that be mine,
Doe you your office, or giue vp your Place, And you shall well be spar’d

Pro. I craue your Honours pardon:
What shall be done Sir, with the groaning Iuliet? Shee’s very neere her howre

Ang. Dispose of her
To some more fitter place; and that with speed

Ser. Here is the sister of the man condemn’d, Desires accesse to you

Ang. Hath he a Sister?
Pro. I my good Lord, a very vertuous maid, And to be shortlie of a Sister-hood,
If not alreadie

Ang. Well: let her be admitted,
See you the Fornicatresse be remou’d, Let her haue needfull, but not lauish meanes, There shall be order for’t.

Enter Lucio and Isabella.

Pro. ‘Saue your Honour

Ang. Stay a little while: y’are welcome: what’s your will? Isab. I am a wofull Sutor to your Honour, ‘Please but your Honor heare me

Ang. Well: what’s your suite

Isab. There is a vice that most I doe abhorre, And most desire should meet the blow of Iustice; For which I would not plead, but that I must, For which I must not plead, but that I am At warre, twixt will, and will not

Ang. Well: the matter?
Isab. I haue a brother is condemn’d to die, I doe beseech you let it be his fault,
And not my brother

Pro. Heauen giue thee mouing graces

Ang. Condemne the fault, and not the actor of it, Why euery fault’s condemnd ere it be done: Mine were the verie Cipher of a Function To fine the faults, whose fine stands in record, And let goe by the Actor

Isab. Oh iust, but seuere Law:
I had a brother then; heauen keepe your honour

Luc. Giue’t not ore so: to him againe, entreat him, Kneele downe before him, hang vpon his gowne, You are too cold: if you should need a pin, You could not with more tame a tongue desire it: To him, I say

Isab. Must he needs die?
Ang. Maiden, no remedie

Isab. Yes: I doe thinke that you might pardon him, And neither heauen, nor man grieue at the mercy

Ang. I will not doe’t

Isab. But can you if you would?
Ang. Looke what I will not, that I cannot doe

Isab. But might you doe’t & do the world no wrong If so your heart were touch’d with that remorse, As mine is to him?
Ang. Hee’s sentenc’d, tis too late

Luc. You are too cold

Isab. Too late? why no: I that doe speak a word May call it againe: well, beleeue this
No ceremony that to great ones longs, Not the Kings Crowne; nor the deputed sword, The Marshalls Truncheon, nor the Iudges Robe Become them with one halfe so good a grace As mercie does: If he had bin as you, and you as he, You would haue slipt like him, but he like you Would not haue beene so sterne

Ang. Pray you be gone

Isab. I would to heauen I had your potencie, And you were Isabell: should it then be thus? No: I would tell what ’twere to be a Iudge, And what a prisoner

Luc. I, touch him: there’s the veine

Ang. Your Brother is a forfeit of the Law, And you but waste your words

Isab. Alas, alas:
Why all the soules that were, were forfeit once, And he that might the vantage best haue tooke, Found out the remedie: how would you be, If he, which is the top of Iudgement, should But iudge you, as you are? Oh, thinke on that, And mercie then will breathe within your lips Like man new made

Ang. Be you content, (faire Maid)
It is the Law, not I, condemne your brother, Were he my kinsman, brother, or my sonne, It should be thus with him: he must die to morrow

Isab. To morrow? oh, that’s sodaine, Spare him, spare him:
Hee’s not prepar’d for death; euen for our kitchins We kill the fowle of season: shall we serue heauen With lesse respect then we doe minister
To our grosse-selues? good, good my Lord, bethink you; Who is it that hath di’d for this offence? There’s many haue committed it

Luc. I, well said

Ang. The Law hath not bin dead, thogh it hath slept Those many had not dar’d to doe that euill If the first, that did th’ Edict infringe Had answer’d for his deed. Now ’tis awake, Takes note of what is done, and like a Prophet Lookes in a glasse that shewes what future euils Either now, or by remissenesse, new conceiu’d, And so in progresse to be hatch’d, and borne, Are now to haue no successiue degrees,
But here they liue to end

Isab. Yet shew some pittie

Ang. I shew it most of all, when I show Iustice; For then I pittie those I doe not know,
Which a dismis’d offence, would after gaule And doe him right, that answering one foule wrong Liues not to act another. Be satisfied;
Your Brother dies to morrow; be content

Isab. So you must be y first that giues this sentence, And hee, that suffers: Oh, it is excellent To haue a Giants strength: but it is tyrannous To vse it like a Giant

Luc. That’s well said

Isab. Could great men thunder
As Ioue himselfe do’s, Ioue would neuer be quiet, For euery pelting petty Officer
Would vse his heauen for thunder;
Nothing but thunder: Mercifull heauen, Thou rather with thy sharpe and sulpherous bolt Splits the vn-wedgable and gnarled Oke,
Then the soft Mertill: But man, proud man, Drest in a little briefe authoritie,
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur’d, (His glassie Essence) like an angry Ape
Plaies such phantastique tricks before high heauen, As makes the Angels weepe: who with our spleenes, Would all themselues laugh mortall

Luc. Oh, to him, to him wench: he will relent, Hee’s comming: I perceiue’t

Pro. Pray heauen she win him

Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with our selfe, Great men may iest with Saints: tis wit in them, But in the lesse fowle prophanation

Luc. Thou’rt i’th right (Girle) more o’that

Isab. That in the Captaine’s but a chollericke word, Which in the Souldier is flat blasphemie

Luc. Art auis’d o’that? more on’t

Ang. Why doe you put these sayings vpon me? Isab. Because Authoritie, though it erre like others, Hath yet a kinde of medicine in it selfe That skins the vice o’th top; goe to your bosome, Knock there, and aske your heart what it doth know That’s like my brothers fault: if it confesse A naturall guiltinesse, such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought vpon your tongue Against my brothers life

Ang. Shee speakes, and ’tis such sence That my Sence breeds with it; fare you well

Isab. Gentle my Lord, turne backe

Ang. I will bethinke me: come againe to morrow

Isa. Hark, how Ile bribe you: good my Lord turn back

Ang. How? bribe me?
Is. I, with such gifts that heauen shall share with you

Luc. You had mar’d all else

Isab. Not with fond Sickles of the tested-gold, Or Stones, whose rate are either rich, or poore As fancie values them: but with true prayers, That shall be vp at heauen, and enter there Ere Sunne rise: prayers from preserued soules, From fasting Maides, whose mindes are dedicate To nothing temporall

Ang. Well: come to me to morrow

Luc. Goe to: ’tis well; away

Isab. Heauen keepe your honour safe

Ang. Amen.
For I am that way going to temptation, Where prayers crosse

Isab. At what hower to morrow,
Shall I attend your Lordship?
Ang. At any time ‘fore-noone

Isab. ‘Saue your Honour

Ang. From thee: euen from thy vertue. 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 Sunne,
Doe as the Carrion do’s, not as the flowre, Corrupt with vertuous season: Can it be, That Modesty may more betray our Sence
Then womans lightnesse? hauing waste ground enough, Shall we desire to raze the Sanctuary
And pitch our euils there? oh fie, fie, fie: What dost thou? or what art thou Angelo? Dost thou desire her fowly, for those things That make her good? oh, let her brother liue: Theeues for their robbery haue authority, When Iudges steale themselues: what, doe I loue her, That I desire to heare her speake againe? And feast vpon her eyes? what is’t I dreame on? Oh cunning enemy, that to catch a Saint, With Saints dost bait thy hooke: most dangerous Is that temptation, that doth goad vs on To sinne, in louing vertue: neuer could the Strumpet With all her double vigor, Art, and Nature Once stir my temper: but this vertuous Maid Subdues me quite: Euer till now
When men were fond, I smild, and wondred how.


Scena Tertia.

Enter Duke and Prouost.

Duke. Haile to you, Prouost, so I thinke you are

Pro. I am the Prouost: whats your will, good Frier? Duke. Bound by my charity, and my blest order, I come to visite the afflicted spirits
Here in the prison: doe 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

Pro. I would do more then that, if more were needfull

Enter Iuliet.

Looke here comes one: a Gentlewoman of mine, Who falling in the flawes of her owne youth, Hath blisterd her report: She is with childe, And he that got it, sentenc’d: a yong man, More fit to doe another such offence,
Then dye for this

Duk. When must he dye?
Pro. As I do thinke to morrow.
I haue prouided for you, stay a while And you shall be conducted

Duk. Repent you (faire one) of the sin you carry? Iul. I doe; and beare the shame most patiently

Du. Ile teach you how you shal araign your conscie[n]ce And try your penitence, if it be sound,
Or hollowly put on

Iul. Ile gladly learne

Duk. Loue you the man that wrong’d you? Iul. Yes, as I loue the woman that wrong’d him

Duk. So then it seemes your most offence full act Was mutually committed

Iul. Mutually

Duk. Then was your sin of heauier kinde then his

Iul. I doe confesse it, and repent it (Father.) Duk. ‘Tis meet so (daughter) but least you do repent As that the sin hath brought you to this shame, Which sorrow is alwaies toward our selues, not heauen, Showing we would not spare heauen, as we loue it, But as we stand in feare

Iul. I doe repent me, as it is an euill, And take the shame with ioy

Duke. There rest:
Your partner (as I heare) must die to morrow, And I am going with instruction to him:
Grace goe with you, Benedicite.


Iul. Must die to morrow? oh iniurious Loue That respits me a life, whose very comfort Is still a dying horror

Pro. ‘Tis pitty of him.


Scena Quarta.

Enter Angelo.

An. When I would pray, & think, I thinke, and pray To seuerall subiects: heauen hath my empty words, Whilst my Inuention, hearing not my Tongue, Anchors on Isabell: heauen in my mouth,
As if I did but onely chew his name, And in my heart the strong and swelling euill Of my conception: the state whereon I studied Is like a good thing, being often read
Growne feard, and tedious: yea, my Grauitie Wherein (let no man heare me) I take pride, Could I, with boote, change for an idle plume Which the ayre beats for vaine: oh place, oh forme, How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit Wrench awe from fooles, and tye the wiser soules To thy false seeming? Blood, thou art blood, Let’s write good Angell on the Deuills horne ‘Tis not the Deuills Crest: how now? who’s there?

Enter Seruant.

Ser. One Isabell, a Sister, desires accesse to you

Ang. Teach her the way: oh, heauens Why doe’s my bloud thus muster to my heart, Making both it vnable for it selfe,
And dispossessing all my other parts Of necessary fitnesse?
So play the foolish throngs with one that swounds, Come all to help him, and so stop the ayre By which hee should reuiue: and euen so
The generall subiect to a wel-wisht King Quit their owne part, and in obsequious fondnesse Crowd to his presence, where their vn-taught loue Must needs appear offence: how now faire Maid.

Enter Isabella.

Isab. I am come to know your pleasure

An. That you might know it, wold much better please me, Then to demand what ’tis: your Brother cannot liue

Isab. Euen so: heauen keepe your Honor

Ang. Yet may he liue a while: and it may be As long as you, or I: yet he must die

Isab. Vnder your Sentence?
Ang. Yea

Isab. When, I beseech you: that in his Reprieue (Longer, or shorter) he may be so fitted That his soule sicken not

Ang. Ha? fie, these filthy vices: It were as good To pardon him, that hath from nature stolne A man already made, as to remit
Their sawcie sweetnes, that do coyne heauens Image In stamps that are forbid: ’tis all as easie, Falsely to take away a life true made,
As to put mettle in restrained meanes To make a false one

Isab. ‘Tis set downe so in heauen, but not in earth

Ang. Say you so: then I shall poze you quickly. Which had you rather, that the most iust Law Now tooke your brothers life, and to redeeme him Giue vp your body to such sweet vncleannesse As she that he hath staind?
Isab. Sir, beleeue this.
I had rather giue my body, then my soule

Ang. I talke not of your soule: our compel’d sins Stand more for number, then for accompt

Isab. How say you?
Ang. Nay Ile not warrant that: for I can speake Against the thing I say: Answere to this, I (now the voyce of the recorded Law)
Pronounce a sentence on your Brothers life, Might there not be a charitie in sinne,
To saue this Brothers life?
Isab. Please you to doo’t,
Ile take it as a perill to my soule, It is no sinne at all, but charitie

Ang. Pleas’d you to doo’t, at perill of your soule Were equall poize of sinne, and charitie

Isab. That I do beg his life, if it be sinne Heauen let me beare it: you granting of my suit, If that be sin, Ile make it my Morne-praier, To haue it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your answere

Ang. Nay, but heare me,
Your sence pursues not mine: either you are ignorant, Or seeme so crafty; and that’s not good

Isab. Let be ignorant, and in nothing good, But graciously to know I am no better

Ang. Thus wisdome wishes to appeare most bright, When it doth taxe it selfe: As these blacke Masques Proclaime an en-shield beauty ten times louder Then beauty could displaied: But marke me, To be receiued plaine, Ile speake more grosse: Your Brother is to dye

Isab. So

Ang. And his offence is so, as it appeares, Accountant to the Law, vpon that paine

Isab. True

Ang. Admit no other way to saue his life (As I subscribe not that, nor any other, But in the losse of question) that you, his Sister, Finding your selfe desir’d of such a person, Whose creadit with the Iudge, or owne great place, Could fetch your Brother from the Manacles Of the all-building-Law: and that there were No earthly meane to saue him, but that either You must lay downe the treasures of your body, To this supposed, or else to let him suffer: What would you doe?
Isab. As much for my poore Brother, as my selfe; That is: were I vnder the tearmes of death, Th’ impression of keene whips, I’ld weare as Rubies, And strip my selfe to death, as to a bed, That longing haue bin sicke for, ere I’ld yeeld My body vp to shame

Ang. Then must your brother die

Isa. And ‘twer the cheaper way:
Better it were a brother dide at once, Then that a sister, by redeeming him
Should die for euer

Ang. Were not you then as cruell as the Sentence, That you haue slander’d so?
Isa. Ignomie in ransome, and free pardon Are of two houses: lawfull mercie,
Is nothing kin to fowle redemption

Ang. You seem’d of late to make the Law a tirant, And rather prou’d the sliding of your brother A merriment, then a vice

Isa. Oh pardon me my Lord, it oft fals out To haue, what we would haue,
We speake not what we meane;
I something do excuse the thing I hate, For his aduantage that I dearely loue

Ang. We are all fraile

Isa. Else let my brother die,
If not a fedarie but onely he
Owe, and succeed thy weaknesse

Ang. Nay, women are fraile too

Isa. I, as the glasses where they view themselues, Which are as easie broke as they make formes: Women? Helpe heauen; men their creation marre In profiting by them: Nay, call vs ten times fraile, For we are soft, as our complexions are, And credulous to false prints

Ang. I thinke it well:
And from this testimonie of your owne sex (Since I suppose we are made to be no stronger Then 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’r none. If you be one (as you are well exprest
By all externall warrants) shew it now, By putting on the destin’d Liuerie

Isa. I haue no tongue but one; gentle my Lord, Let me entreate you speake the former language

Ang. Plainlie conceiue I loue you

Isa. My brother did loue Iuliet,
And you tell me that he shall die for’t

Ang. He shall not Isabell if you giue me loue

Isa. I know your vertue hath a licence in’t, Which seemes a little fouler then it is, To plucke on others

Ang. Beleeue me on mine Honor,
My words expresse my purpose

Isa. Ha? Little honor, to be much beleeu’d, And most pernitious purpose: Seeming, seeming. I will proclaime thee Angelo, looke for’t. Signe me a present pardon for my brother, Or with an out-stretcht throate Ile tell the world aloud What man thou art

Ang. Who will beleeue thee Isabell? My vnsoild name, th’ austeerenesse of my life, My vouch against you, and my place i’th State, Will so your accusation ouer-weigh,
That you shall stifle in your owne report, And smell of calumnie. I haue begun,
And now I giue my sensuall race, the reine, Fit thy consent to my sharpe appetite,
Lay by all nicetie, and prolixious blushes That banish what they sue for: Redeeme thy brother, By yeelding vp thy bodie to my will,
Or else he must not onelie die the death, But thy vnkindnesse shall his death draw out To lingring sufferance: Answer me to morrow, Or by the affection that now guides me most, Ile proue a Tirant to him. As for you,
Say what you can; my false, ore-weighs your true.


Isa. To whom should I complaine? Did I tell this, Who would beleeue me? O perilous mouthes That beare in them, one and the selfesame tongue, Either of condemnation, or approofe,
Bidding the Law make curtsie to their will, Hooking both right and wrong to th’ appetite, To follow as it drawes. Ile to my brother, Though he hath falne by prompture of the blood, Yet hath he in him such a minde of Honor, That had he twentie heads to tender downe On twentie bloodie blockes, hee’ld yeeld them vp, Before his sister should her bodie stoope To such abhord pollution.
Then Isabell liue chaste, and brother die; “More then our Brother, is our Chastitie. Ile tell him yet of Angelo’s request,
And fit his minde to death, for his soules rest.


Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Prouost.

Du. So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo? Cla. The miserable haue no other medicine But onely hope: I’haue hope to liue, and am prepar’d to die

Duke. Be absolute for death: either death or life Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life: If I do loose thee, I do loose a thing
That none but fooles would keepe: a breath thou art, Seruile to all the skyie-influences
That dost this habitation where thou keepst Hourely afflict: Meerely, thou art deaths foole, For him thou labourst by thy flight to shun, And yet runst toward him still. Thou art not noble, For all th’ accommodations that thou bearst, Are nurst by basenesse: Thou’rt by no meanes valiant, For thou dost feare the soft and tender forke Of a poore worme: thy best of rest is sleepe, And that thou oft prouoakst, yet grosselie fearst Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thy selfe, For thou exists on manie a thousand graines That issue out of dust. Happie thou art not, For what thou hast not, still thou striu’st to get, And what thou hast forgetst. Thou art not certaine, For thy complexion shifts to strange effects, After the Moone: If thou art rich, thou’rt poore, For like an Asse, whose backe with Ingots bowes; Thou bearst thy heauie riches but a iournie, And death vnloads thee; Friend hast thou none. For thine owne bowels which do call thee, fire The meere effusion of thy proper loines
Do curse the Gowt, Sapego, and the Rheume For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age But as it were an after-dinners sleepe
Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth Becomes as aged, and doth begge the almes Of palsied-Eld: and when thou art old, and rich Thou hast neither heate, affection, limbe, nor beautie To make thy riches pleasant: what’s yet in this That beares the name of life? Yet in this life Lie hid moe thousand deaths; yet death we feare That makes these oddes, all euen

Cla. I humblie thanke you.
To sue to liue, I finde I seeke to die, And seeking death, finde life: Let it come on.

Enter Isabella.

Isab. What hoa? Peace heere; Grace, and good companie

Pro. Who’s there? Come in, the wish deserues a welcome

Duke. Deere sir, ere long Ile visit you againe

Cla. Most holie Sir, I thanke you

Isa. My businesse is a word or two with Claudio

Pro. And verie welcom: looke Signior, here’s your sister

Duke. Prouost, a word with you

Pro. As manie as you please

Duke. Bring them to heare me speak, where I may be conceal’d

Cla. Now sister, what’s the comfort? Isa. Why,
As all comforts are: most good, most good indeede, Lord Angelo hauing affaires to heauen
Intends you for his swift Ambassador, Where you shall be an euerlasting Leiger; Therefore your best appointment make with speed, To Morrow you set on

Clau. Is there no remedie?
Isa. None, but such remedie, as to saue a head To cleaue a heart in twaine:
Clau. But is there anie?
Isa. Yes brother, you may liue;
There is a diuellish mercie in the Iudge, If you’l implore it, that will free your life, But fetter you till death

Cla. Perpetuall durance?
Isa. I iust, perpetuall durance, a restraint Through all the worlds vastiditie you had To a determin’d scope

Clau. But in what nature?
Isa. In such a one, as you consenting too’t, Would barke your honor from that trunke you beare, And leaue you naked

Clau. Let me know the point

Isa. Oh, I do feare thee Claudio, and I quake, Least thou a feauorous life shouldst entertaine, And six or seuen winters more respect
Then a perpetuall Honor. Dar’st thou die? The sence of death is most in apprehension, And the poore Beetle that we treade vpon In corporall sufferance, finds a pang as great, As when a Giant dies

Cla. Why giue you me this shame?
Thinke you I can a resolution fetch From flowrie tendernesse? If I must die, I will encounter darknesse as a bride,
And hugge it in mine armes

Isa. There spake my brother: there my fathers graue Did vtter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die: Thou art too noble, to conserue a life
In base appliances. This outward sainted Deputie, Whose setled visage, and deliberate word Nips youth i’th head, and follies doth emmew As Falcon doth the Fowle, is yet a diuell: His filth within being cast, he would appeare A pond, as deepe as hell

Cla. The prenzie, Angelo?
Isa. Oh ’tis the cunning Liuerie of hell, The damnest bodie to inuest, and couer
In prenzie gardes; dost thou thinke Claudio, If I would yeeld him my virginitie
Thou might’st be freed?
Cla. Oh heauens, it cannot be

Isa. Yes, he would giu’t thee; from this rank offence So to offend him still. This night’s the time That I should do what I abhorre to name, Or else thou diest to morrow

Clau. Thou shalt not do’t

Isa. O, were it but my life,
I’de throw it downe for your deliuerance As frankely as a pin

Clau. Thankes deere Isabell

Isa. Be readie Claudio, for your death to morrow

Clau. Yes. Has he affections in him, That thus can make him bite the Law by th’ nose, When he would force it? Sure it is no sinne, Or of the deadly seuen it is the least

Isa. Which is the least?
Cla. If it were damnable, he being so wise, Why would he for the momentarie tricke
Be perdurablie fin’de? Oh Isabell

Isa. What saies my brother?
Cla. Death is a fearefull thing

Isa. And shamed life, a hatefull

Cla. I, but to die, and go we know not where, To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot,
This sensible warme motion, to become A kneaded clod; And the delighted spirit To bath in fierie floods, or to recide
In thrilling Region of thicke-ribbed Ice, To be imprison’d in the viewlesse windes And blowne with restlesse violence round about The pendant world: or to be worse then worst Of those, that lawlesse and incertaine thought, Imagine howling, ’tis too horrible.
The weariest, and most loathed worldly life That Age, Ache, periury, and imprisonment Can lay on nature, is a Paradise
To what we feare of death

Isa. Alas, alas

Cla. Sweet Sister, let me liue.
What sinne you do, to saue a brothers life, Nature dispenses with the deede so farre, That it becomes a vertue

Isa. Oh you beast,
Oh faithlesse Coward, oh dishonest wretch, Wilt thou be made a man, out of my vice? Is’t not a kinde of Incest, to take life From thine owne sisters shame? What should I thinke, Heauen shield my Mother plaid my Father faire: For such a warped slip of wildernesse
Nere issu’d from his blood. Take my defiance, Die, perish: Might but my bending downe
Repreeue thee from thy fate, it should proceede. Ile pray a thousand praiers for thy death, No word to saue thee

Cla. Nay heare me Isabell

Isa. Oh fie, fie, fie:
Thy sinn’s not accidentall, but a Trade; Mercy to thee would proue it selfe a Bawd, ‘Tis best that thou diest quickly

Cla. Oh heare me Isabella

Duk. Vouchsafe a word, yong sister, but one word

Isa. What is your Will

Duk. Might you dispense with your leysure, I would by and by haue some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require, is likewise your owne benefit

Isa. I haue no superfluous leysure, my stay must be stolen out of other affaires: but I will attend you a while

Duke. Son, I haue ouer-heard what hath past between you & your sister. Angelo had neuer the purpose to corrupt her; onely he hath made an assay of her vertue, to practise his iudgement with the disposition of natures. She (hauing the truth of honour in her) hath made him that gracious deniall, which he is most glad to receiue: I am Confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true, therfore prepare your selfe to death: do not satisfie your resolution with hopes that are fallible, to morrow you must die, goe to your knees, and make ready

Cla. Let me ask my sister pardon, I am so out of loue with life, that I will sue to be rid of it

Duke. Hold you there: farewell: Prouost, a word with you

Pro. What’s your will (father?)
Duk. That now you are come, you wil be gone: leaue me a while with the Maid, my minde promises with my habit, no losse shall touch her by my company

Pro. In good time.


Duk. The hand that hath made you faire, hath made you good: the goodnes that is cheape in beauty, makes beauty briefe in goodnes; but grace being the soule of your complexion, shall keepe the body of it euer faire: the assault that Angelo hath made to you, Fortune hath conuaid to my vnderstanding; and but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo: how will you doe to content this Substitute, and to saue your Brother?
Isab. I am now going to resolue him: I had rather my brother die by the Law, then my sonne should be vnlawfullie borne. But (oh) how much is the good Duke deceiu’d in Angelo: if euer he returne, and I can speake to him, I will open my lips in vaine, or discouer his gouernment

Duke. That shall not be much amisse: yet, as the matter now stands, he will auoid your accusation: he made triall of you onelie. Therefore fasten your eare on my aduisings, to the loue I haue in doing good; a remedie presents it selfe. I doe make my selfe beleeue that you may most vprighteously do a poor wronged Lady a merited benefit; redeem your brother from the angry Law; doe no staine to your owne gracious person, and much please the absent Duke, if peraduenture he shall euer returne to haue hearing of this businesse

Isab. Let me heare you speake farther; I haue spirit to do any thing that appeares not fowle in the truth of my spirit

Duke. Vertue is bold, and goodnes neuer fearefull: Haue you not heard speake of Mariana the sister of Fredericke the great Souldier, who miscarried at Sea? Isa. I haue heard of the Lady, and good words went with her name

Duke. Shee should this Angelo haue married: was affianced to her oath, and the nuptiall appointed: between which time of the contract, and limit of the solemnitie, her brother Fredericke was wrackt at Sea, hauing in that perished vessell, the dowry of his sister: but marke how heauily this befell to the poore Gentlewoman, there she lost a noble and renowned brother, in his loue toward her, euer most kinde and naturall: with him the portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage dowry: with both, her combynate-husband, this well-seeming Angelo

Isab. Can this be so? did Angelo so leaue her? Duke. Left her in her teares, & dried not one of them with his comfort: swallowed his vowes whole, pretending in her, discoueries of dishonor: in few, bestow’d her on her owne lamentation, which she yet weares for his sake: and he, a marble to her teares, is washed with them, but relents not

Isab. What a merit were it in death to take this poore maid from the world? what corruption in this life, that it will let this man liue? But how out of this can shee auaile? Duke. It is a rupture that you may easily heale: and the cure of it not onely saues your brother, but keepes you from dishonor in doing it

Isab. Shew me how (good Father.)
Duk. This fore-named Maid hath yet in her the continuance of her first affection: his vniust vnkindenesse (that in all reason should haue quenched her loue) hath (like an impediment in the Current) made it more violent and vnruly: Goe you to Angelo, answere his requiring with a plausible obedience, agree with his demands to the point: onely referre your selfe to this aduantage; first, that your stay with him may not be long: that the time may haue all shadow, and silence in it: and the place answere to conuenience: this being granted in course, and now followes all: wee shall aduise this wronged maid to steed vp your appointment, goe in your place: if the encounter acknowledge it selfe heereafter, it may compell him to her recompence; and heere, by this is your brother saued, your honor vntainted, the poore Mariana aduantaged, and the corrupt Deputy scaled. The Maid will I frame, and make fit for his attempt: if you thinke well to carry this as you may, the doublenes of the benefit defends the deceit from reproofe. What thinke you of it?
Isab. The image of it giues me content already, and I trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection

Duk. It lies much in your holding vp: haste you speedily to Angelo, if for this night he intreat you to his bed, giue him promise of satisfaction: I will presently to S[aint]. Lukes, there at the moated-Grange recides this deiected Mariana; at that place call vpon me, and dispatch with Angelo, that it may be quickly

Isab. I thank you for this comfort: fare you well good father.


Enter Elbow, Clowne, Officers.

Elb. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needes buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall haue all the world drinke browne & white bastard

Duk. Oh heauens, what stuffe is heere

Clow. Twas neuer merry world since of two vsuries the merriest was put downe, and the worser allow’d by order of Law; a fur’d gowne to keepe him warme; and furd with Foxe and Lamb-skins too, to signifie, that craft being richer then Innocency, stands for the facing

Elb. Come your way sir: ‘blesse you good Father Frier

Duk. And you good Brother Father; what offence hath this man made you, Sir?
Elb. Marry Sir, he hath offended the Law; and Sir, we take him to be a Theefe too Sir: for wee haue found vpon him Sir, a strange Pick-lock, which we haue sent to the Deputie

Duke. Fie, sirrah, a Bawd, a wicked bawd, The euill that thou causest to be done,
That is thy meanes to liue. Do thou but thinke What ’tis to cram a maw, or cloath a backe From such a filthie vice: say to thy selfe, From their abhominable and beastly touches I drinke, I eate away my selfe, and liue: Canst thou beleeue thy liuing is a life, So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend

Clo. Indeed, it do’s stinke in some sort, Sir: But yet Sir I would proue

Duke. Nay, if the diuell haue giuen thee proofs for sin Thou wilt proue his. Take him to prison Officer: