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Than beauty could displayed.-But mark me ;
To be receiv'd plain, I'll speak more gross :
Your brother is to die.

Isab. So.

Ang. And his offence is so, as it appears Accountant to the law upon that pain.1 Isab. True.

Ang. Admit no other way to save his life (As I subscribe2 not that, nor any other, But in the loss of question,3) that you, his sister, Finding yourself desir'd of such a person, Whose credit with the judge, or own great place, Could fetch your brother from the manacles Of the all-binding law; and that there were No earthly mean to save him, but that either You must lay down the treasures of your body To this supposed, or else let him suffer; What would you do?

Isab. As much for my poor brother, as myself: That is, Were I under the terms of death,

The impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a bed

That longing I have been sick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.

Then must your brother die.

Isab. And 'twere the cheaper way:
Better it were, a brother died at once,
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Should die for ever.

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence That you have slander'd so?

Isab. Ignomy4 in ransom, and free pardon, Are of two houses: lawful mercy is

Nothing akin to foul redemption.

Ang. You seem'd of late to make the law a ty


And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother

(1) Penalty. (2) Agree to. (3) Conversation. (4) Ignominy.

A merriment than a vice.

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out, To have what we'd have, we speak not what we


I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.,
Ang. We are all frail.


Else let my brother die,

If not a feodary,' but only he,
Owe,2 and succeed by weakness.


Nay, women are frail too. Isab. Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;

Which are as easy broke as they make forms. Women!-Help heaven! men their creation mar In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail; For we are soft as our complexions are,

And credulous to false prints.3

I think it well:
And from this testimony of your own sex
(Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger
Than faults may shake our frames,) let me be bold;
I do arrest your words; Be that you are,

That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none;
you be one (as you are well express'd
By all external warrants,) show it now,

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By putting on the destin'd, livery.

Isab. I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord, Let me entreat you speak the former language. Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.

Isab. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me,

That he shall die for it.

Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love. Isab. I know, your virtue hath a license in't, Which seems a little fouler than it is,

To pluck on others.


Believe me, on mine honour,

(3) Impressions.

(1) Associate. (2) Own.

My words express my purpose.

Isab. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd, And most pernicious purpose!-Seeming, seeming!! I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't: Sign me a present pardon for my brother,

Or, with an outstretch'd throat, I'll tell the world Aloud, what man thou art.

Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch2 against you, and my place i' the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,

That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious3 blushes,
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance: answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him: As for you,
Say what

you can, my false o'erweighs your true.

Isab. To whom shall I complain? Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!

Bidding the law make court'sy, to their will;
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:
Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.

(1) Hypocrisy. (2) Attestation. (3) Reluctant.

Then Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die :
More than our brother is our chastity.

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

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


SCENE I-A room in the prison. Enter Duke,
Claudio, and Provost.

Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord

Claud. The miserable have no other medicine, But only hope:

I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.

Duke. Be absolutel for death; either death, or life, Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life,

If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing

That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art (Servile to all the skiey influences,)

That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet run'st toward him still: Thou art not noble;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st,
Are nurs'd by baseness: Thou art by no means
valiant :

For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust: Happy thou art not:
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast, forget'st; Thou art not certain;
(1) Determined.

For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,1
After the moon: If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee: Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,

Do curse the gout, serpigo,2 and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth,
nor age;

But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg thee alms

Of palsied eld; and when thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die;

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

Enter Isabella.

Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!

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

Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.
Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you.

Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.

Duke. Provost, a word with you.


As many as you please. Duke. Bring them to speak, where I may be conceal'd,

(1) Affects, affections. (2) Leprous eruptions. (3) Old age.


2 A

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