Measure for Measure

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Pompey


I am as well acquainted here as I was in our

house of profession. One would think it were Mistress
house of profession brothel, whorehouse

Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old

customers. First, here's young Master Rash. He's in for

a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine-score
commodity (n.) 1 supply, quantity, stock, consignment

and seventeen pounds, of which he made five marks

ready money. Marry, then ginger was not much in request,

for the old women were all dead. Then is there

here one Master Caper, at the suit of Master Threepile
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

the mercer, for some four suits of peach-coloured satin,

which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here
peach (v.) 1 impeach, denounce, accuse

young Dizzy, and young Master Deepvow, and Master

Copperspur, and Master Starve-lackey, the rapier and

dagger man, and young Drop-heir that killed lusty

Pudding, and Master Forthright the tilter, and brave
brave (adj.) 2 noble, worthy, excellent
tilter (n.) jouster, tournament competitor

Master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-can

that stabbed Pots, and I think forty more, all great doers

in our trade, and are now ‘ for the Lord's sake.’
sake, for the Lord's [cry of a prisoner calling for alms through a cell window] in jail

Enter Abhorson


Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.


Master Barnardine, you must rise and be

hanged, Master Barnardine!


What ho, Barnardine!



A pox o' your throats! Who makes

that noise there? What are you?


Your friends, sir, the hangman. You must be so

good, sir, to rise and be put to death.



Away, you rogue, away! I am



Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.


Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are

executed, and sleep afterwards.


Go in to him, and fetch him out.


He is coming, sir, he is coming. I hear his straw


Enter Barnadine


Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?


Very ready, sir.


How now, Abhorson, what's the news with



Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into
clap into (v.) 2 make haste with, get on with

your prayers, for look you, the warrant's come.


You rogue, I have been drinking all night.

I am not fitted for't.


O, the better, sir, for he that drinks all night,

and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the
betimes (adv.) 1 early in the morning, at an early hour

sounder all the next day.

Enter Duke as a friar
ghostly (adj.) spiritual, holy


Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father.

Do we jest now, think you?


Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily

you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you,

and pray with you.


Friar, not I. I have been drinking hard all

night and I will have more time to prepare me, or they

shall beat out my brains with billets. I will not consent
billet (n.) thick stick, cudgel

to die this day, that's certain.


O, sir, you must, and therefore I beseech you look

forward on the journey you shall go.


I swear I will not die today for any man's



But hear you.


Not a word. If you have anything to say to

me, come to my ward, for thence will not I today.
ward (n.) 3 cell [in a prison]


Enter Provost


Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!

After him, fellows: bring him to the block.

Exeunt Abhorson and Pompey


Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?


A creature unprepared, unmeet for death,
unmeet (adj.) 2 unready, unfit, ill-equipped

And to transport him in the mind he is
transport (v.) 3 remove from the world, put to death

Were damnable.


                         Here in the prison, father,

There died this morning of a cruel fever

One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,

A man of Claudio's years, his beard and head

Just of his colour. What if we do omit
omit (v.) neglect, disregard, forget about

This reprobate till he were well inclined,

And satisfy the deputy with the visage
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count


O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides.

Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly
presently (adv.) 1 immediately, instantly, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Prefixed by Angelo. See this be done,
prefixed (adj.) fixed, settled, prearranged, decided in advance

And sent according to command, whiles I

Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
rude (adj.) 4 uncivilized, uncultivated, unrefined


This shall be done, good father, presently,

But Barnardine must die this afternoon,

And how shall we continue Claudio,
continue (v.) 2 retain, carry on with, preserve

To save me from the danger that might come

If he were known alive?


                         Let this be done.

Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine

And Claudio. Ere twice the sun hath made

His journal greeting to yond generation,
generation (n.) 5 [unclear meaning] world, human race
journal (adj.) daily, diurnal, routine

You shall find your safety manifested.


I am your free dependant.
free (adj.) 10 freely given, willing, unconstrained


Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
dispatch, despatch (v.) 1 deal with promptly, settle, get [something] done quickly

Exit Provost

Now will I write letters to Varrius –

The provost, he shall bear them – whose contents

Shall witness to him I am near at home,
witness (v.) 2 be a sign of, foreshadow, betoken

And that by great injunctions I am bound

To enter publicly. Him I'll desire

To meet me at the consecrated fount

A league below the city, and from thence,

By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
cold (adj.) 6 calm, cool, deliberate
form (n.) 6 formal procedure, due process, formality
gradation (n.) 1 step-by-step progress, steady steps

We shall proceed with Angelo.

Enter Provost


Here is the head. I'll carry it myself.


Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
convenient (adj.) fitting, suitable, appropriate

For I would commune with you of such things
commune (v.) 1 talk, converse, discourse

That want no ear but yours.


                         I'll make all speed.

want (v.) 4 require, demand, need



Peace, ho, be here.


The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know

If yet her brother's pardon be come hither,

But I will keep her ignorant of her good,

To make her heavenly comforts of despair

When it is least expected.

Enter Isabella


                         Ho, by your leave!


Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.


The better, given me by so holy a man.

Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?


He hath released him, Isabel, from the world.

His head is off and sent to Angelo.


Nay, but it is not so.


It is no other. Show your wisdom, daughter,

In your close patience.
close (adj.) 5 secretive, tight-lipped, uncommunicative


O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!


You shall not be admitted to his sight.


Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!

Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!


This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;

Forbear it therefore, give your cause to heaven.
forbear (v.) 1 stop, cease, desist See Topics: Frequency count

Mark what I say, which you shall find
mark (v.) 1 note, pay attention [to], take notice [of] See Topics: Frequency count

By every syllable a faithful verity.
verity (n.) 2 truth, reality, actuality

The Duke comes home tomorrow – nay, dry your eyes –

One of our covent, and his confessor,
covent (n.) convent, community

Gives me this instance. Already he hath carried
instance (n.) 1 sign, evidence, proof

Notice to Escalus and Angelo,

Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,

There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
pace (v.) 2 train to move, control the course of
power (n.) 3 authority, government

In that good path that I would wish it go,

And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
bosom (n.) 4 wish, desire

Grace of the Duke, revenges to your heart,
grace (n.) 1 honour, favour, recognition, respect

And general honour.


                         I am directed by you.


This letter then to Friar Peter give.

'Tis that he sent me of the Duke's return.

Say, by this token, I desire his company

At Mariana's house tonight. Her cause and yours

I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
perfect (v.) inform fully, instruct completely

Before the Duke; and to the head of Angelo
head, to one's to one's face, frankly, openly

Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
home (adv.) 1 fully, thoroughly, unsparingly

I am combined by a sacred vow
combine (v.) 1 bind, constrain, oblige

And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
wend (v.) direct, betake [oneself]

Command these fretting waters from your eyes
water (n.) 1 tears

With a light heart. Trust not my holy order

If I pervert your course. Who's here?
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count

Enter Lucio


Good even. Friar, where's the provost?


Not within, sir.


O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see

thine eyes so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain to
fain (adj.) 1 obliged, forced, compelled

dine and sup with water and bran. I dare not for my
sup (v.) 1 have supper See Topics: Frequency count

head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set me to't.
set (v.) 3 direct, put, make come

But they say the Duke will be here tomorrow. By my

troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother. If the old fantastical
fantastical (adj.) 1 fanciful, imaginative, full of wild ideas

Duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived.

Exit Isabella


Sir, the Duke is marvellous little beholding to your
beholding (adj.) beholden, obliged, indebted
marvellous (adv.) very, extremely, exceedingly See Topics: Frequency count

reports, but the best is, he lives not in them.


Friar, thou knowest not the Duke so well as I do.

He's a better woodman than thou tak'st him for.
woodman (n.) hunter, huntsman


Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.


Nay, tarry, I'll go along with thee. I can tell thee

pretty tales of the Duke.


You have told me too many of him already, sir, if

they be true; if not true, none were enough.


I was once before him for getting a wench with
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count



Did you such a thing?


Yes, marry, did I, but I was fain to forswear it.
fain (adj.) 1 obliged, forced, compelled
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 3 deny, repudiate, refuse to admit See Topics: Frequency count

They would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
medlar (n.) 2 whore, prostitute


Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you



By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If

bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay,

friar, I am a kind of burr, I shall stick.


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