Measure for Measure

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Elbow, Pompey, and Officers


Nay, if there be no remedy for it but that you will

needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall

have all the world drink brown and white bastard.
bastard (n.) 3 variety of sweet Spanish wine


O heavens, what stuff is here?
stuff (n.) 8 people, rabble


'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries,
usury (n.) way of dealing with money, financial practice

the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by

order of law a furred gown to keep him warm; and

furred with fox and lamb skins too, to signify that craft,

being richer than innocency, stands for the facing.
facing (n.) trimming, adorning, decking out
innocency (n.) innocence
stand for (v.) 1 defend, uphold, protect, support


Come your way, sir. Bless you, good father friar.


And you, good brother father. What offence hath

this man made you, sir?


Marry, sir, he hath offended the law. And, sir, we

take him to be a thief too, sir, for we have found upon

him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have sent to the
picklock (n.) instrument for picking locks



Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

The evil that thou causest to be done,

That is thy means to live. Do thou but think

What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
maw (n.) belly, stomach; throat, gullet

From such a filthy vice. Say to thyself,

From their abominable and beastly touches

I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
array (v.) clothe, dress, attire

Canst thou believe thy living is a life,

So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.
mend (v.) 1 amend, improve, make better, put right


Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir, but yet,
sort (n.) 3 way, manner

sir, I would prove –


Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,

Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer.

Correction and instruction must both work
work (v.), past form wrought 4 happen, proceed, come about

Ere this rude beast will profit.
rude (adj.) 4 uncivilized, uncultivated, unrefined


He must before the deputy, sir. He has given him

warning. The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster. If he
whoremaster (n.) fornicator, lecher, one who deals with whores

be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were as
whoremonger (n.) fornicator, lecher, one who deals with whores

good go a mile on his errand.


That we were all, as some would seem to be,

Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free.
seeming (n.) 2 deceptive appearance, two-faced behaviour, pretence

Enter Lucio
waist (n.) 1 girdle, belt


His neck will come to your waist – a cord, sir.


I spy comfort, I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and
comfort (n.) 1 encouragement, support, hope

a friend of mine.


How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of

Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there none

of Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, to be had
image (n.) 2 effigy, statue, sculpture

now, for putting the hand in the pocket and extracting

it clutched? What reply? Ha? What say'st thou to this
clutch (v.) clench, close

tune, matter, and method? Is't not drowned i'th' last
matter (n.) 1 subject-matter, content, substance
tune (n.) 3 fashionable speech, jargon

rain, ha? What say'st thou, trot? Is the world as it was,
trot (n.) old woman, hag

man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words?
sad (adj.) 3 downcast, distressed, mournful, gloomy

Or how? The trick of it?
trick (n.) 1 habit, characteristic, typical behaviour


Still thus, and thus, still worse?


How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures
morsel (n.) dish, mouthful, piece of flesh

she still, ha?


Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and

she is herself in the tub.
tub (n.) sweating-tub [for curing venereal disease]


Why, 'tis good. It is the right of it. It must be so.

Ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd. An
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count
powdered (adj.) seasoned, salted, well-spiced

unshunned consequence, it must be so. Art going to
unshunned (adj.) unshunnable, unavoidable

prison, Pompey?


Yes, faith, sir.


Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go, say I

sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? Or how?


For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count


Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be the

due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right. Bawd is he doubtless,

and of antiquity too; bawd-born. Farewell, good
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

Pompey. Commend me to the prison, Pompey. You will
commend (v.) 1 convey greetings, present kind regards See Topics: Frequency count

turn good husband now, Pompey. You will keep the
husband (n.) houskeeper, steward, domestic manager



I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.


No, indeed will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear. I
wear (n.) fashion, vogue, trend

will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage. If you

take it not patiently, why, your mettle is the more.

Adieu, trusty Pompey. Bless you, friar.


And you.


Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?


Come your ways, sir, come.


You will not bail me then, sir?


Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad,

friar, what news?


Come your ways, sir, come.


Go to kennel, Pompey, go.

Exeunt Elbow, Pompey, and Officers

What news, friar, of the Duke?


I know none. Can you tell me of any?


Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other

some, he is in Rome. But where is he, think you?


I know not where, but wheresoever, I wish him



It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from
fantastical (adj.) 1 fanciful, imaginative, full of wild ideas

the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born to.

Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence. He puts
duke it (v.) act the duke, play the part of a duke
put to it put to the proof, make trial of

transgression to't.


He does well in't.


A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm

in him. Something too crabbed that way, friar.
crabbed (adj.) 3 harsh, unpalatable, bitter
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count


It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.


Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred.

It is well allied, but it is impossible to extirp it quite,
allied (adj.) related, connected
extirp (v.) root out, eradicate, eliminate

friar, till eating and drinking be put down. They say this

Angelo was not made by man and woman after this

downright way of creation. Is it true, think you?
downright (adj.) 1 plain, ordinary, straightforward


How should he be made, then?


Some report a sea-maid spawned him. Some that
sea-maid (n.) mermaid, sea-nymph

he was begot between two stock-fishes. But it is certain
stockfish (n.) dried cod

that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice.

That I know to be true. And he is a motion generative.
generative (adj.) male, capable of generation
motion (n.) 11 puppet-show
ungenerative (adj.) lacking the power of generation, impotent

That's infallible.
infallible (adj.) unquestionable, definite, certain


You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
apace (adv.) quickly, speedily, at a great rate See Topics: Frequency count
pleasant (adj.) 1 facetious, joking, droll


Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the

rebellion of a cod-piece to take away the life of a man!

Would the Duke that is absent have done this? Ere he

would have hanged a man for the getting a hundred
getting (n.) 1 begetting, procreation, breeding

bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand.

He had some feeling of the sport. He knew the service,
sport (n.) 3 sexual recreation, intercourse, amorous dalliance

and that instructed him to mercy.


I never heard the absent Duke much detected for
detect (v.) 3 accuse, censure, condemn

women. He was not inclined that way.


O, sir, you are deceived.


'Tis not possible.


Who? Not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty,

and his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish. The
clack-dish (n.) begging bowl with a lid that could be clacked to attract attention
use (n.) 1 usual practice, habit, custom

Duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk, too;
crotchet (n.) strange notion, perverse idea, whimsical fancy

that let me inform you.


You do him wrong, surely.


Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the
inward (n.) intimate friend, close acquaintance
shy (adj.) wary, cautious, reserved

Duke, and I believe I know the cause of his



What, I prithee, might be the cause?


No, pardon. 'Tis a secret must be locked within

the teeth and the lips. But this I can let you understand,

the greater file of the subject held the Duke to be wise.
file (n.) 3 body, number
subject (n.) 1 subjects, people [of a state]


Wise? Why, no question but he was.


A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
unweighing (adj.) thoughtless, injudicious, undiscriminating


Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking. The
envy (n.) 1 malice, ill-will, enmity

very stream of his life and the business he hath helmed
helm (v.) guide, steer, direct

must, upon a warranted need, give him a better proclamation.
proclamation (n.) reputation, favourable account, public standing
warranted (adj.) justified, legitimate, rightful

Let him be but testimonied in his own bringings-forth,
bringing-forth (n.) achievement, accomplishment, public deed
testimony (v.) justify in the light of evidence, vindicate

and he shall appear to the envious a scholar, a

statesman, and a soldier. Therefore you speak unskilfully;
unskilfully (adv.) ignorantly, foolishly, in an uninformed way

or, if your knowledge be more, it is much

darkened in your malice.


Sir, I know him, and I love him.


Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge

with dearer love.


Come, sir, I know what I know.


I can hardly believe that, since you know not what

you speak. But if ever the Duke return – as our prayers

are he may – let me desire you to make your answer

before him. If it be honest you have spoke, you have
honest (adj.) 3 genuine, real, true

courage to maintain it. I am bound to call upon you, and,

I pray you, your name?


Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the Duke.


He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report



I fear you not.


O, you hope the Duke will return no more, or you

imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But indeed I can
opposite (n.) 1 opponent, adversary, anatagonist
unhurtful (adj.) harmless, innocuous, incapable of causing injury

do you little harm; you'll forswear this again.
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 3 deny, repudiate, refuse to admit See Topics: Frequency count


I'll be hanged first. Thou art deceived in me, friar.

But no more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio die

tomorrow or no?


Why should he die, sir?


Why? For filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would
tun-dish (n.) [brewing] type of funnel fitting into the bung-hole of a cask [tun]

the Duke we talk of were returned again. This
ungenitured (adj.) lacking genitals, sterile, impotent

ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with
continency (n.) 2 continence, sexual abstinence, self-restraint
unpeople (v.) empty of people, depopulate

continency. Sparrows must not build in his house-eaves

because they are lecherous. The Duke yet would have

dark deeds darkly answered. He would never bring

them to light. Would he were returned. Marry, this

Claudio is condemned for untrussing. Farewell, good
untrussing (n.) undoing the points attaching hose to doublet, dropping one's breeches

friar. I prithee, pray for me. The Duke, I say to thee

again, would eat mutton on Fridays. He's not past it
mutton (n.) 2 prostitute, courtesan

yet, and I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar,
mouth (v.) 2 join mouths, kiss erotically, snog

though she smelt brown bread and garlic. Say that I

said so. Farewell.



No might nor greatness in mortality
mortality (n.) 1 mortal nature, human life

Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
censure (n.) 2 condemnation, blame, stricture
scape, 'scape (v.) escape, avoid See Topics: Frequency count

The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
gall (n.) 2 bitterness, spitefulness, vindictiveness

But who comes here?

Enter Escalus, Provost, and Officers with Mistress



Go! Away with her to prison.


Good my lord, be good to me.

Your honour is accounted a merciful man, good my



Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit
admonition (n.) warning, cautioning, exhortation
forfeit (v.) sin, transgress, do wrong

in the same kind? This would make mercy swear, and
kind (n.) 2 manner, way, state

play the tyrant.


A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it
bawd (n.) pimp, procurer, pander, go-between See Topics: Frequency count

please your honour.


My lord, this is one Lucio's

information against me. Mistress Kate Keepdown

was with child by him in the Duke's time. He promised her

marriage. His child is a year and a quarter old, come

Philip and Jacob. I have kept it myself, and see how he

goes about to abuse me.


That fellow is a fellow of much licence. Let him
licence (n.) 2 licentiousness, immorality, promiscuity

be called before us. Away with her to prison. Go to, no

more words.

Exeunt Officers with Mistress Overdone

Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered. Claudio

must die tomorrow. Let him be furnished with divines,
divine (n.) 1 clergyman, priest, parson
furnish (v.) 1 provide, supply, possess

and have all charitable preparation. If my brother

wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.
work (v.), past form wrought 6 act, behave, conduct oneself


So please you, this friar hath been with him,

and advised him for th' entertainment of death.
entertainment (n.) 5 manner of reception, way to handle


Good even, good father.


Bliss and goodness on you!


Of whence are you?


Not of this country, though my chance is now

To use it for my time. I am a brother
time (n.) 7 circumstance, particular occasion

Of gracious order, late come from the See,

In special business from his Holiness.


What news abroad i'th' world?


None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness

that the dissolution of it must cure it. Novelty is only
dissolution (n.) 2 total destruction, disintegration

in request, and it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind

of course as it is virtuous to be constant in any undertaking.
course (n.) 2 habit, custom, practise, normal procedure

There is scarce truth enough alive to make

societies secure, but security enough to make fellowships

accursed. Much upon this riddle runs the wisdom

of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every

day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the
disposition (n.) 2 natural temperament, normal state of mind



One that, above all other strifes, contended
contend (v.) 1 fight, engage in combat, struggle
strife (n.) striving, endeavour, strong effort

especially to know himself.


What pleasure was he given to?


Rather rejoicing to see another merry than

merry at anything which professed to make him rejoice:

a gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to his
temperance (n.) 1 self-control, calm behaviour, moderation

events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous, and
event (n.) outcome, issue, consequence

let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared.

I am made to understand that you have lent him
lend (v.) give, grant, bestow [on]



He professes to have received no sinister measure
measure (n.) 7 punishment, treatment, retribution
sinister (adj.) 4 unjust, unfair, underhand

from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself

to the determination of justice. Yet had he framed to
frame (v.) 1 fashion, make, form, create

himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving
instruction (n.) 2 prompting, suggestion, insinuation

promises of life, which I, by my good leisure, have

discredited to him, and now is he resolved to die.
resolved (adj.) 1 determined, settled, decided


You have paid the heavens your function, and

the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have

laboured for the poor gentleman to the extremest shore
shore (n.) 1 limit, border, bound

of my modesty, but my brother-justice have I found so
modesty (n.) 2 propriety, protocol, seemly behaviour

severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is indeed



If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding,
answer (v.) 10 live up to, correspond to, be equal to
straitness (n.) severity, strictness, rigour

it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

fail, he hath sentenced himself.


I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.


Peace be with you!

Exeunt Escalus and Provost

He who the sword of heaven will bear

Should be as holy as severe;

Pattern in himself to know,

Grace to stand, and virtue go;
stand (v.) 2 continue, remain, wait, stay put

More nor less to others paying

Than by self-offences weighing.

Shame to him whose cruel striking

Kills for faults of his own liking.

Twice treble shame on Angelo,

To weed my vice and let his grow.

O, what may man within him hide,

Though angel on the outward side?

How may likeness made in crimes,

Making practice on the times,
practice (n.) 2 trickery, treachery

To-draw with idle spiders' strings
draw (v.) 1 bring together, draw in, gather

Most ponderous and substantial things!

Craft against vice I must apply.

With Angelo tonight shall lie

His old betrothed, but despised:

So disguise shall by th' disguised

Pay with falsehood, false exacting,
false (adj.) 7 unfair, unjust, double-crossing

And perform an old contracting.
contracting (n.) marriage contract, betrothal


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