Measure for Measure


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Lucio and two other Gentlemen


LUCIO

If the Duke, with the other dukes, come not to

composition with the King of Hungary, why then all the
composition (n.) 3 settlement, truce, coming to terms

dukes fall upon the King.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Heaven grant us its peace, but not

the King of Hungary's!


SECOND GENTLEMAN

Amen.


LUCIO

Thou conclud'st like the sanctimonious pirate,

that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but

scraped one out of the table.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

‘ Thou shalt not steal ’?


LUCIO

Ay, that he razed.
raze, raze out erase, obliterate, wipe out


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Why, 'twas a commandment to

command the captain and all the rest from their functions.

They put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of

us all that, in the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the

petition well that prays for peace.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

I never heard any soldier dislike it.


LUCIO

I believe thee, for I think thou never wast where

grace was said.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

No? A dozen times at least.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

What? In metre?


LUCIO

In any proportion, or in any language.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think, or in any religion.


LUCIO

Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all

controversy; as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked

villain, despite of all grace.
despite of (prep.) in spite of


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Well, there went but a pair of

shears between us.


LUCIO

I grant: as there may between the lists and the
list (n.) 6 cloth edging, border material

velvet. Thou art the list.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

And thou the velvet. Thou art good

velvet. Thou'rt a three-piled piece, I warrant thee. I
three-piled (adj.) triple-thickness, three-threaded [i.e. very expensive or ornate]
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

had as lief be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as
kersey (n./adj.) coarsely woven plain woollen cloth
lief, had as should like just as much See Topics: Frequency count
list (n.) 6 cloth edging, border material

thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly
feelingly (adv.) 1 pertinently, aptly, to the point
pilled (adj.) made bald, with hair removed
velvet (n.) piece of velvet fabric

now?


LUCIO

I think thou dost, and indeed with most painful

feeling of thy speech. I will, out of thine own confession,

learn to begin thy health, but, whilst I live, forget to

drink after thee.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think I have done myself wrong,
wrong (n.) 1 dishonour, discredit, harm

have I not?


SECOND GENTLEMAN

Yes, that thou hast, whether thou

art tainted or free.
free (adj.) 11 uninfected, free from disease
tainted (adj.) 1 infected, diseased

Enter Mistress Overdone


LUCIO

Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

I have purchased as many diseases

under her roof as come to –


SECOND GENTLEMAN

To what, I pray?


LUCIO

Judge.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

To three thousand dolours a year.
dolour (n.) sorrow, grief, lamentation


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Ay, and more.


LUCIO

A French crown more.
crown (n.) 1 type of coin [usually bearing the imprint of a monarch's crown] See Topics: Money


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Thou art always figuring diseases
figure (v.) 1 symbolize, represent, portray

in me, but thou art full of error. I am sound.


LUCIO

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.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

How now, which of your hips has

the most profound sciatica?


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Well, well; there's one yonder

arrested and carried to prison was worth five thousand

of you all.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

Who's that, I pray thee?


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signor

Claudio.


FIRST GENTLEMAN

Claudio to prison? 'Tis not so.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Nay, but I know 'tis so. I saw him

arrested, saw him carried away, and, which is more,

within these three days his head to be chopped off.


LUCIO

But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so.

Art thou sure of this?


MISTRESS OVERDONE

I am too sure of it; and it is for

getting Madam Julietta with child.


LUCIO

Believe me, this may be. He promised to meet me

two hours since, and he was ever precise in

promise-keeping.


SECOND GENTLEMAN

Besides, you know, it draws

something near to the speech we had to such a purpose.
purpose (n.) 3 outcome, result, end
something (adv.) 1 somewhat, rather See Topics: Frequency count


FIRST GENTLEMAN

But most of all agreeing with the

proclamation.


LUCIO

Away. Let's go learn the truth of it.

Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Thus, what with the war, what

with the sweat, what with the gallows, and what with
sweat (n.) sweating-sickness [type of plague]

poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
custom-shrunk (adj.) down in business, suffering great loss of trade

Enter Pompey. A Gaoler and Prisoner pass over the stage

How now? What's the news with you?


POMPEY

Yonder man is carried to prison.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Well, what has he done?


POMPEY

A woman.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

But what's his offence?


POMPEY

Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

What? Is there a maid with child

by him?


POMPEY

No, but there's a woman with maid by him. You
maid (n.) 4 young fish

have not heard of the proclamation, have you?


MISTRESS OVERDONE

What proclamation, man?


POMPEY

All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be
house (n.) 1 inn, tavern
suburbs (n.) (plural) parts of a city lying outside the walls [reputed for brothels and lawlessness]

plucked down.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

And what shall become of those

in the city?


POMPEY

They shall stand for seed. They had gone down

too, but that a wise burgher put in for them.
put in (v.) present a claim, put in a bid


MISTRESS OVERDONE

But shall all our houses of resort
resort (n.) 2 habitual meeting, regular visiting

in the suburbs be pulled down?


POMPEY

To the ground, mistress.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

Why, here's a change indeed in

the commonwealth. What shall become of me?


POMPEY

Come, fear not you; good counsellors lack no

clients. Though you change your place, you need not
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

change your trade. I'll be your tapster still. Courage,
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]
tapster (n.) inn waiter, drawer of ale

there will be pity taken on you. You that have worn your

eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.


MISTRESS OVERDONE

What's to do here, Thomas Tapster?

Let's withdraw.


POMPEY

Here comes Signor Claudio, led by the provost

to prison; and there's Madam Juliet.

Exeunt

Enter Provost, Claudio, Juliet, Officers, Lucio, and

two Gentlemen


CLAUDIO

Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to th'world?
provost (n.) officer in charge of the arrest, custody, and punishment of prisoners

Bear me to prison, where I am committed.


PROVOST

I do it not in evil disposition,
disposition (n.) 3 inclination, mood, frame of mind

But from Lord Angelo by special charge.


CLAUDIO

Thus can the demigod Authority

Make us pay down for our offence by weight

The words of heaven. On whom it will, it will;

On whom it will not, so: yet still 'tis just.
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count


LUCIO

Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this restraint?
restraint (n.) 1 captivity, imprisonment, confinement


CLAUDIO

From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty.

As surfeit is the father of much fast,
surfeit (n.) 1 excess, over-indulgence

So every scope by the immoderate use
scope (n.) 3 opportunity, liberty, free course of action

Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,

Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
bane (n.) 3 poison [from ‘ratsbane’]
proper (adj.) 5 special, particular, specific
ravin down (v.) gobble ravenously, devour voraciously

A thirsty evil, and when we drink we die.


LUCIO

If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would

send for certain of my creditors. And yet, to say the

truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom as
foppery (n.) 1 folly, foolishness, stupidity

the mortality of imprisonment. What's thy offence,
lief, had as should like just as much See Topics: Frequency count
mortality (n.) 3 deadliness, mortification, deadly situation

Claudio?


CLAUDIO

What but to speak of would offend again.


LUCIO

What, is't murder?


CLAUDIO

No.


LUCIO

Lechery?


CLAUDIO

Call it so.


PROVOST

Away, sir, you must go.


CLAUDIO

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


LUCIO

A hundred, if they'll do you any good.

Is lechery so looked after?
look after (v.) 2 watch closely, keep an eye on, police


CLAUDIO

Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract

I got possession of Julietta's bed.

You know the lady. She is fast my wife
fast (adj.) 3 bound, assured, promised

Save that we do the denunciation lack
denunciation (n.) proclamation, public announcement, official declaration

Of outward order. This we came not to,
order (n.) 2 prescribed practice, regular procedure
outward (adj.) 3 formal, official, public

Only for propagation of a dower
dower (n.) dowry, property or wealth given with a wife
propagation (n.) enlargement, increasing in extent

Remaining in the coffer of her friends,

From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count

Till time had made them for us. But it chances
chance (v.) 1 happen [to], transpire, come about

The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
stealth (n.) 1 stealing away, furtive journey, clandestine act

With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
character (n.) 1 distinctive sign, stamp, trait
gross (adj.) 1 plain, striking, evident, obvious


LUCIO

With child, perhaps?


CLAUDIO

                         Unhappily, even so.

And the new deputy now for the Duke –

Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,

Or whether that the body public be

A horse whereon the governor doth ride,

Who, newly in the seat, that it may know

He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count

Whether the tyranny be in his place,
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Or in his eminence that fills it up,

I stagger in – but this new governor
stagger (v.) 1 hesitate, waver, vacillate

Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
enrolled (adj.) recorded, registered, legally entered

Which have, like unscoured armour, hung by th' wall

So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
zodiac (n.) 2 year, calendar course of the zodiac

And none of them been worn, and, for a name

Now puts the drowsy and neglected act

Freshly on me. 'Tis surely for a name.
name (n.) 1 reputation, fame, renown


LUCIO

I warrant it is, an thy head stands so tickle on thy
tickle (adv.) insecurely, precariously, unstably
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count

shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it

off. Send after the Duke and appeal to him.


CLAUDIO

I have done so, but he's not to be found.

I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service;

This day my sister should the cloister enter,

And there receive her approbation.
approbation (n.) 3 acceptance as a novice, probationary period

Acquaint her with the danger of my state,

Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends

To the strict deputy, bid herself assay him.
assay (v.) 4 make advances to, accost, address proposals to

I have great hope in that, for in her youth

There is a prone and speechless dialect,
dialect (n.) language, manner of speaking
prone (adj.) 2 submissive, vulnerable, docile

Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
art (n.) 8 rhetorical art, verbal artistry

When she will play with reason and discourse,
discourse (n.) 1 conversation, talk, chat
reason (n.) 5 observation, remark, point

And well she can persuade.


LUCIO

I pray she may, as well for the encouragement of the
like, the the same

like, which else would stand under grievous imposition,
imposition (n.) 4 accusation, charge, imputation

as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry

should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack.
tick-tack (n.) type of backgammon in which scoring is by placing pegs in holes

I'll to her.


CLAUDIO

I thank you, good friend Lucio.


LUCIO

Within two hours.


CLAUDIO

                         Come, officer, away.

Exeunt

 
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