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And yet my nature never in the sight,
To do it slander: And to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr'y-

Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only, this one:-Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone: Hence shall we see,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.

SCENE V-A Nunnery.


Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges?

Fran. Are not these large enough? Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more; But rather wishing a more strict restraint Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of saint Clare. Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place! [Within.] Isab. Who's that which calls?

Fran. It is a man's voice: Gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him; You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn: When you have vow'd, you must not speak with But in the presence of the prioress: [men, Then, if you speak, you must not show your face;

Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. He calls again; I pray you, answer him. [Exit FRANCISCA. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls?

Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek


Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me,
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother, Claudio?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask;
The rather, for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his sister.

Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:

Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me! For what?

Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be
his judge,

He should receive his punishment in thanks:
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story.t
Lucio. It is true.

I would not-though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart,-play with all virgins so:
I hold you as a thing enskied, and sainted;
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint.

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mock-
ing me.

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

Your brother and his lover have embrac❜d:
As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings

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To teeming foison; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
Isab. Some one with child by him?-My
cousin Juliet?

Lucio. Is she your cousin?

Isub. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their names,

By vain though apt affection.
Lucio. She it is.

Isab. O, let him marry her!
Lucio. This is the point.

The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action: but we do learn
By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line of his authority,
Governs lord Angelo; a man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense;
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example: all hope is gone,
Unless you have the graces by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother.
Isab. Doth he so seek his life?
Lucio. Has censur'd|| him
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me
To do him good?

Lucio. Assay the power you have.
Isab. My power! "Alas! I doubt,—
Lucio. Our doubts are traitors,

And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt: Go to lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and
All their petitions are as freely theirs [kneel,
As they themselves would owe¶ them.
Isab. I'll see what I can do.

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The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
Because we see it; but what we do not see,
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence,
Fors I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure|| him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgement pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Ang. Where is the provost?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.
Ang. See that Claudio

Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared;
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.
Escal. Well, heaven forgive him; and forgive

us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall: Some run from brakes¶ of vice, and answer


And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter ELBOW, FROTH, CLOWN, Officers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal,** that do nothing but use 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 poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, Sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.

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 villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have.

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

Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak,


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Escal. How know you that? Elb. My wife, Sir, whom I detest* before heaven and your honour,

Escal. How! thy wife?

Elb. Ay, Sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,

Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?

Elb. I say, Sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.

Escal. How dost thou know that, constable? Elb. Marry, Sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

Escal. By the woman's means?

Elb. Ay, Sir, by mistress Overdone's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him. Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not


Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.

Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces?

Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes; Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit dish, a dish of some threepence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes. Escal. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, Sir.

Clo. No, indeed, Sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point; As I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great belly'd, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as paying for them very honestly;-for, as you know, master Froth, I cou'd not give you threepence again.

Froth. No, indeed.


Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.

Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.

Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you. Froth. All this is true.

Clo. Why, very well then.

Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose.-What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.

Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, Sir, nor I mean it not.

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, Sir; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallow mas:-Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth? Froth. All-hollond+ eve.

Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths: He, Sir, sitting, as I say, in a lowert chair, Sir;-'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit: Have you not?

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

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

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Ang. This will last out a Russia, When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave,

And leave you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less: Good morrow to your lordship. [Exit ANGELO. Now, Sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

Clo. Once, Sir? there was nothing done to her once.

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

Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me. Escal. Well, Sir: What did this gentleman to her?

Clo. I beseech you, Sir, look in this gentleman's face:-Good master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose: Doth your honour mark his face?

Escal. Ay, Sir, very well.

Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Escal. Well, I do so.

Clo. Doth your honour see any harm in his face?

Escal. Why, no.

Clo. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour.

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

Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.

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

Elb. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.

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

Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice, or Iniquity? Is this true?

Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her, before 1 was married to her? If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer:Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.

Escal. If he took you a box o' ear, you might have your action of slander too.

Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it: What is't your worship's pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff?

Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou know'st what they are.

Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it:Thou seest, thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.

Escal. Where were you born, friend?
Froth. Here in Vienna, Sir.
Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
Froth. Yes, and't please you, Sir.
Escal. So. What trade are you of, Sir?
[To the CLOWN.
Clo. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Escal. Your mistress's name?

Clo. Mistress Over-done.

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Escal. Hath she had any more than one husband.

Clo. Nine, Sir; Over-done by the last. Escal. Nine!-Come hither to me, master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters; they will draw you master Froth, and you will hang them: Ge you gone, and let me hear no more of you.

Froth. I thank your worship: For mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I am drawn in.

Escal. Well; no more of it, master Froth: farewell. [Exit FROTH.-Come you hither to me, master tapster; what's your name, master tapster?

Clo. Pompey.

Escal. What else?

Clo. Bum, Sir.

Escal. "Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that, in the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster. Are you not? come, tell me true; it shall be the better for you.

Clo. Truly, Sir, I am a poor fellow, that would live.

Escal. How would you live Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?

Clo. If the law would allow it, Sir. Escal. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna. Clo. Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth in the city?

Escal. No, Pompey.

Clo. Truly, Sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then: If your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.

Escal. There are 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 year together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it, after threepence a bay: If you live to see this come to pass, say, Pompey told you so.

Escal. Thank you, good Pompey and, in requital of your prophecy, hark you,—I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you do; if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Cæsar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt: so for this time, Pompey, fare you


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* Measures.

Elb. Faith, Sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; do it for some piece of money, and go through with all.

Escal. Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish.

Elb. To your worship's house, Sir?

Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die:
I do beseech you, let it be his fault,
And not my brother.

Prov. Heaven give thee moving graces!
Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor
of it!

Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done :
Mine were the very cipher of a function,

Escal. To my house: Fare you well. [Exit To find the faults, whose fine stands in record, ELBOW.] What's o'clock, think you?

Just. Eleven, Sir.

Escal. I pray you home to dinner with me.
Just. 1 humbly thank you.

Escal. It grieves me for the death of Claudio;

But there's no remedy.

Just. Lord Angelo is severe.

Escal. It is but needful:

Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet,-Poor Claudio!-There's no remedy.
Come, Sir.


SCENE II.-Another Room in the same.


Serv. He's hearing of a cause; he will come I'll tell him of you. [straight.

Prov. Pray you, do. [Exit SERV.] I'll know
His pleasure; may be, he will relent: Alas,
He hath but as offended in a dream!

All sects, all ages smack of this vice; and he
To die for it!-


Ang Now, what's the matter, provost?
Prov. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-


Ang. Did I not tell thee, yea? hadst thou not
Why dost thou ask again?

Prov. Lest I might be too rash:
Under your good correction, I have seen,
When, after execution, judgement hath
Repented o'er his doom.

Ang. Go to; let that be mine:

Do you your office, or give up your place,
And you shall well be spar'd.

Prov. I crave your honour's pardon.-
What shall be done, Sir, with the groaning
She's very near her hour.

Ang. Dispose of her


To some more fitter place; and that with speed.

Re-enter SERVANT.

And let go by the actor.

Isab. O just, but severe law!

I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your hon-

Lucio. [To ISAB.] Give't not o'er so: to him

again, entreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;
You are too cold: if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire
To him, I say.

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


Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon [mercy. And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the Ang. I will not do't.

Isab. But can you, if you would?

Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.
Isub. But might you do't, and do the world

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May call it back again: Well believe this,
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace,
As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipt like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Ang. Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency,
And you were Isabel! should it then be thus?
No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
And what a prisoner.

Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein.

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
And you but waste your words.
Isab. Alas! alas!

Serv. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd, Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;

Desires access to you.

Ang. Hath he a sister?

And He that might the vantage best have took,
Found out the remedy: How would you be,

Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid, If He, which is the top of judgement, should And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

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Prov. Save your honour! [Offering to retire.
Ang. Stay a little while. [To ISAB.] You
are welcome: What's your will?
Isab. I am a woeful suitor to your honour,
Please but your honour hear me.

Ang. Well; what's your suit?

Isab. There is a vice, that most 1 do abhor,
And most desire should meet the blow of justice;
For which I would not plead, but that I must;
For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war, 'twixt will, and will not.
Ang, Well; the matter?

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Lucio. Ay, well said.

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

Those many had not dar'd to do that evil,
If the first man that did the edict infringe,
Had answer'd for his deed: now, 'tis awake;
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,)
Are now to have no successive degrees,
But, where they live, to end.

Isab. Yet show some pity.

Ang. 1 show it most of all, when I show

For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;
And do him right, that, answering one foul

Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

Isab. So you must be the first, that gives this

And he, that suffers: O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

Lucio. That's well said.

Isab. Could great men thunder

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer,
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but
Merciful heaven!

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,

Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarledt oak,
Than the soft myrtle:-O, but man, proud man!
Drest in a little brief authority;

Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence,-like an angry ape,
Play's such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will reHe's coming, I perceive't. [lent;

Prov. Pray heaven, she win him! Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself: [them; Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in But, in the less, foul profanation.

Lucio. Thou'rt in the right, girl; more o' that. Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

Lucio. Art advis'd o' that? more on't.
Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me?
Isab. Because authority, though it err like

Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the vice o' the top: Go to your

Knock there; and ask your heart, what it doth
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness, such as is his,

Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

Ang. She speaks, and 'tis

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

Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back.
Ang. I will bethink me:-Come again to-


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

Ang. How! bribe me?

Lucio. You had marr'd all, else. Isab. Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,

Or stones, whose rates are either rich, or poor, As fancy values them: but with true prayers, That shall be up at heaven, and enter there, Ere sunrise; prayers from preserved souls, From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate To nothing temporal.

Ang. Well: come to me To-morrow.

Lucio. Go to; it is well; away.

[Aside to ISABELLA. Isab. Heaven keep your honour safe! Ang. Amen: for I

Am that way going to temptation,
Where prayers cross.

Isub. At what hour to-morrow
Shall I attend your lordship?
Ang. At any time 'fore noon.
Isub. Save your honour!


[Exeunt Lucio, ISABELLA, and PROVOST. Ang. From thee; even from thy virtue!What's this? what's this? Is this her fault, or mine? [Ha! The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most? Not she; nor doth she tempt: but it is I, That lying by the violet, in the sun, Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower, Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be, That modesty may more betray our sense Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,

Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary,
And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
What dost thou? or what art thou, Angelo
Dost thou desire her foully, for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live:
Thieves for their robbery have authority,
When judges steal themselves. What? do I
love her,
That I desire to hear her speak again,
And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation, that doth goad us on [pet,
To sin in loving virtue: never could the strum-
With all her double vigour, art, and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite;-Ever, till now,
When men were fond, I smil'd, and wonder'd

SCENE III-A Room in a Prison. Enter DUKE, habited like a Friar, and PROVOST. Duke. Hail to you, provost! so, I think you


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

Duke. Bound by my charity, and my bless'd I come to visit the afflicted spirits [order, Here in the prison: do me the common right To let me see them; and to make me know The nature of their crimes, that I may minister To them accordingly.

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


Look, here comes one; a gentlewoman of mine,
Who falling in the flames of her own youth,
Hath blister'd her report: She is with child.

Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that heaven shall And he that got it, sentenc'd: a young man

share with you.

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Sec 2 Kings x. 27.

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