Measure for Measure

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Original text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords.

Duke.
EScalus.

Esc.
My Lord.

Duk.
Of Gouernment, the properties to vnfold,
Would seeme in me t' affect speech & discourse,
Since I am put to know, that your owne Science
Exceedes (in that) the lists of all aduice
My strength can giue you: Then no more remaines
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them worke: The nature of our People,
Our Cities Institutions, and the Termes
For Common Iustice, y'are as pregnant in
As Art, and practise, hath inriched any
That we remember: There is our Commission,
From which, we would not haue you warpe; call hither,
I say, bid come before vs Angelo:
What figure of vs thinke you, he will beare.
For you must know, we haue with speciall soule
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, drest him with our loue,
And giuen his Deputation all the Organs
Of our owne powre: What thinke you of it?

Esc.
If any in Vienna be of worth
To vndergoe such ample grace, and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.
Enter Angelo.

Duk.
Looke where he comes.

Ang.
Alwayes obedient to your Graces will,
I come to know your pleasure.

Duke.
Angelo:
There is a kinde of Character in thy life,
That to th' obseruer, doth thy history
Fully vnfold: Thy selfe, and thy belongings
Are not thine owne so proper, as to waste
Thy selfe vpon thy vertues; they on thee:
Heauen doth with vs, as we, with Torches doe,
Not light them for themselues: For if our vertues
Did not goe forth of vs, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not: Spirits are not finely tonch'd,
But to fine issues: nor nature neuer lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But like a thrifty goddesse, she determines
Her selfe the glory of a creditour,
Both thanks, and vse; but I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him aduertise;
Hold therefore Angelo:
In our remoue, be thou at full, our selfe:
Mortallitie and Mercie in Vienna
Liue in thy tongue, and heart: Old Escalus
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy Commission.

Ang.
Now good my Lord
Let there be some more test, made of my mettle,
Before so noble, and so great a figure
Be stamp't vpon it.

Duk.
No more euasion:
We haue with a leauen'd, and prepared choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honors:
Our haste from hence is of so quicke condition,
That it prefers it selfe, and leaues vnquestion'd
Matters of needfull value: We shall write to you
As time, and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with vs, and doe looke to know
What doth befall you here. So fare you well:
To th' hopefull execution doe I leaue you,
Of your Commissions

Ang.
Yet giue leaue (my Lord,)
That we may bring you something on the way

Duk.
My haste may not admit it,
Nor neede you (on mine honor) haue to doe
With any scruple: your scope is as mine owne,
So to inforce, or qualifie the Lawes
As to your soule seemes good: Giue me your hand,
Ile priuily away: I loue the people,
But doe not like to stage me to their eyes:
Though it doe well, I doe not rellish well
Their lowd applause, and Aues vehement:
Nor doe I thinke the man of safe discretion
That do's affect it. Once more fare you well.

Ang.
The heauens giue safety to your purposes.

Esc.
Lead forth, and bring you backe in happinesse.

Duk.
I thanke you, fare you well.
Exit.

Esc.
I shall desire you, Sir, to giue me leaue
To haue free speech with you; and it concernes me
To looke into the bottome of my place :
A powre I haue, but of what strength and nature,
I am not yet instructed.

Ang.
'Tis so with me: Let vs with-draw together,
And we may soone our satisfaction haue
Touching that point.

Esc.
Ile wait vpon your honor.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act I, Scene II
Enter Lucio, and two other Gentlemen.

Luc.
If the Duke, with the other Dukes, come not to
composition with the King of Hungary, why then all the
Dukes fall vpon the King.

1. Gent.
Heauen grant vs its peace, but not
the King of Hungaries.

2. Gent.
Amen.

Luc.
Thou conclud'st like the Sanctimonious Pirat,
that went to sea with the ten Commandements, but
scrap'd one out of the Table.

2. Gent.
Thou shalt not Steale?

Luc.
I, that he raz'd.

1. Gent.
Why? 'twas a commandement, to
command the Captaine and all the rest from their functions:
they put forth to steale: There's not a Souldier of
vs all, that in the thanks-giuing before meate, do rallish the
petition well, that praies for peace.

2. Gent.
I neuer heard any Souldier dislike it.

Luc.
I beleeue thee: for I thinke thou neuer was't where
Grace was said.

2. Gent.
No? a dozen times at least.

1. Gent.
What? In meeter?

Luc.
In any proportion. or in any language.

1. Gent.
I thinke, or in any Religion.

Luc.
I, why not? Grace, is Grace, despight of all
controuersie: as for example; Thou thy selfe art a wicked
villaine, despight of all Grace.

1. Gent.
Well: there went but a paire of
sheeres betweene vs.

Luc.
I grant: as there may betweene the Lists, and the
Veluet. Thou art the List.

1. Gent.
And thou the Veluet; thou art good
veluet; thou'rt a three pild-peece I warrant thee: I
had as liefe be a Lyst of an English Kersey, as be pil'd, as
thou art pil'd, for a French Veluet. Do I speake feelingly
now?

Luc.
I thinke thou do'st: and indeed with most painfull
feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine owne confession,
learne to begin thy health; but, whilst I liue forget to
drinke after thee.

1. Gen.
I think I haue done my selfe wrong,
haue I not?

2. Gent.
Yes, that thou hast; whether thou
art tainted, or free.
Enter Bawde.

Luc.
Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes.
I haue purchas'd as many diseases
vnder her Roofe, / As come to

2. Gent.
To what, I pray?

Luc.
Iudge.

2. Gent.
To three thousand Dollours a yeare.

1. Gent.
I, and more.

Luc.
A French crowne more.

1. Gent.
Thou art alwayes figuring diseases
in me; but thou art full of error, I am sound.

Luc.
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.

1. Gent.
How now, which of your hips has
the most profound Ciatica?

Bawd.
Well, well: there's one yonder
arrested, and carried to prison, was worth fiue thousand
of you all.

2. Gent.
Who's that I pray'thee?

Bawd.
Marry Sir, that's Claudio, Signior
Claudio.

1. Gent.
Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.

Bawd.
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him
arrested: saw him carried away: and which is more,
within these three daies his head to be chop'd off.

Luc.
But, after all this fooling, I would not haue it so:
Art thou sure of this?

Bawd.
I am too sure of it: and it is for
getting Madam Iulietta with childe.

Luc.
Beleeue me this may be: he promis'd to meete me
two howres since, and he was euer precise in
promise keeping.

2. Gent.
Besides you know, it drawes
somthing neere to the speech we had to such a purpose.

1. Gent.
But most of all agreeing with the
proclamatiõ.

Luc.
Away: let's goe learne the truth of it.
Exit.

Bawd.
Thus, what with the war; what
with the sweat, what with the gallowes, and what with
pouerty, I am Custom-shrunke.
Enter Clowne.
How now? what's the newes with you.

Clo.
Yonder man is carried to prison.

Baw.
Well: what has he done?

Clo.
A Woman.

Baw.
But what's his offence?

Clo.
Groping for Trowts, in a peculiar Riuer.

Baw.
What? is there a maid with child
by him?

Clo.
No: but there's a woman with maid by him: you
haue not heard of the proclamation, haue you?

Baw.
What proclamation, man?

Clow.
All howses in the Suburbs of Vienna must bee
pluck'd downe.

Bawd.
And what shall become of those
in the Citie?

Clow.
They shall stand for seed: they had gon down
to, but that a wise Burger put in for them.

Bawd.
But shall all our houses of resort
in the Suburbs be puld downe?

Clow.
To the ground, Mistris.

Bawd.
Why heere's a change indeed in
the Commonwealth: what shall become of me?

Clow.
Come: feare not you; good Counsellors lacke no
Clients: though you change your place, you neede not
change your Trade: Ile bee your Tapster still; courage,
there will bee pitty taken on you; you that haue worne your
eyes almost out in the seruice, you will bee considered.

Bawd.
What's to doe heere, Thomas Tapster?
let's withdraw?

Clo.
Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the Prouost
to prison: and there's Madam Iuliet.
Exeunt.
Enter Prouost, Claudio, Iuliet, Officers, Lucio, &
2. Gent.

Cla.
Fellow, why do'st thou show me thus to th' world?
Beare me to prison, where I am committed.

Pro.
I do it not in euill disposition,
But from Lord Angelo by speciall charge.

Clau.
Thus can the demy-god (Authority)
Make vs pay downe, for our offence, by waight
The words of heauen; on whom it will, it will,
On whom it will not (soe) yet still 'tis iust.

Luc.
Why how now Claudio? whence comes this restraint.

Cla.
From too much liberty, (my Lucio) Liberty
As surfet is the father of much fast,
So euery Scope by the immoderate vse
Turnes to restraint: Our Natures doe pursue
Like Rats that rauyn downe their proper Bane,
A thirsty euill, and when we drinke, we die.

Luc.
If I could speake so wisely vnder an arrest, I would
send for certaine of my Creditors: and yet, to say the
truth, I had as lief haue the foppery of freedome, as
the mortality of imprisonment: what's thy offence,
Claudio?

Cla.
What (but to speake of) would offend againe.

Luc.
What, is't murder?

Cla.
No.

Luc.
Lecherie?

Cla.
Call it so.

Pro.
Away, Sir, you must goe.

Cla.
One word, good friend: / Lucio, a word with you.

Luc.
A hundred: / If they'll doe you any good:
Is Lechery so look'd after?

Cla.
Thus stands it with me: vpon a true contract
I got possession of Iulietas bed,
You know the Lady, she is fast my wife,
Saue that we doe the denunciation lacke
Of outward Order. This we came not to,
Onely for propogation of a Dowre
Remaining in the Coffer of her friends,
From whom we thought it meet to hide our Loue
Till Time had made them for vs. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutuall entertainment
With Character too grosse, is writ on Iuliet.

Luc.
With childe, perhaps?

Cla.
Vnhappely, euen so.
And the new Deputie, now for the Duke,
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newnes,
Or whether that the body publique, be
A horse whereon the Gouernor doth ride,
Who newly in the Seate, that it may know
He can command; lets it strait feele the spur:
Whether the Tirranny be in his place,
Or in his Eminence that fills it vp
I stagger in: But this new Gouernor
Awakes me all the inrolled penalties
Which haue (like vn-scowr'd Armor) hung by th' wall
So long, that ninteene Zodiacks haue gone round,
And none of them beene worne; and for a name
Now puts the drowsie and neglected Act
Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.

Luc.
I warrant it is: And thy head stands so tickle on thy
shoulders, that a milke-maid, if she be in loue, may sigh it
off: Send after the Duke, and appeale to him.

Cla.
I haue done so, but hee's not to be found.
I pre'thee ( Lucio) doe me this kinde seruice:
This day, my sister should the Cloyster enter,
And there receiue her approbation.
Acquaint her with the danger of my state,
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputie: bid her selfe assay him,
I haue great hope in that: for in her youth
There is a prone and speechlesse dialect,
Such as moue men: beside, she hath prosperous Art
When she will play with reason, and discourse,
And well she can perswade.

Luc.
I pray shee may; aswell for the encouragement of the
like, which else would stand vnder greeuous imposition:
as for the enioying of thy life, who I would be sorry
should bee thus foolishly lost, at a game of ticke-tacke:
Ile to her.

Cla.
I thanke you good friend Lucio.

Luc.
Within two houres.

Cla.
Come Officer, away.
Exeunt.
Original text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Duke and Frier Thomas.

Duk.
No: holy Father, throw away that thought,
Beleeue not that the dribling dart of Loue
Can pierce a compleat bosome: why, I desire thee
To giue me secret harbour, hath a purpose
More graue, and wrinkled, then the aimes, and ends
Of burning youth.

Fri.
May your Grace speake of it?

Duk.
My holy Sir, none better knowes then you
How I haue euer lou'd the life remoued
And held in idle price, to haunt assemblies
Where youth, and cost, witlesse brauery keepes.
I haue deliuerd to Lord Angelo
(A man of stricture and firme abstinence)
My absolute power, and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me trauaild to Poland,
(For so I haue strewd it in the common eare)
And so it is receiu'd: Now (pious Sir)
You will demand of me, why I do this.

Fri.
Gladly, my Lord.

Duk.
We haue strict Statutes, and most biting Laws,
(The needfull bits and curbes to headstrong weedes,)
Which for this foureteene yeares, we haue let slip,
Euen like an ore-growne Lyon in a Caue
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond Fathers,
Hauing bound vp the threatning twigs of birch,
Onely to sticke it in their childrens sight,
For terror, not to vse: in time the rod
More mock'd, then fear'd: so our Decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselues are dead,
And libertie, plucks Iustice by the nose;
The Baby beates the Nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.

Fri.
It rested in your Grace
To vnloose this tyde-vp Iustice, when you pleas'd:
And it in you more dreadfull would haue seem'd
Then in Lord Angelo.

Duk.
I doe feare: too dreadfull:
Sith 'twas my fault, to giue the people scope,
'Twould be my tirrany to strike and gall them,
For what I bid them doe: For, we bid this be done
When euill deedes haue their permissiue passe,
And not the punishment: therefore indeede (my father)
I haue on Angelo impos'd the office,
Who may in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet, my nature neuer in the sight
To do in slander: And to behold his sway
I will, as 'twere a brother of your Order,
Visit both Prince, and People: Therefore I pre'thee
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person beare
Like a true Frier: Moe reasons for this action
At our more leysure, shall I render you;
Onely, this one: Lord Angelo is precise,
Stands at a guard with Enuie: scarce confesses
That his blood flowes: or that his appetite
Is more to bread then stone: hence shall we see
If power change purpose: what our Seemers be.
Exit.
Original text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Isabell and Francisca a Nun.

Isa.
And haue you Nuns no farther priuiledges?

Nun.
Are not these large enough?

Isa.
Yes truely; I speake not as desiring more,
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Vpon the Sisterhood, the Votarists of Saint Clare.
Lucio within.

Luc.
Hoa? peace be in this place.

Isa.
Who's that which cals?

Nun.
It is a mans voice: gentle Isabella
Turne you the key, and know his businesse of him;
You may; I may not: you are yet vnsworne:
When you haue vowd, you must not speake with men,
But in the presence of the Prioresse;
Then if you speake, you must not show your face;
Or if you show your face, you must not speake:
He cals againe: I pray you answere him.

Isa.
Peace and prosperitie: who is't that cals?

Luc.
Haile Virgin, (if you be) as those cheeke-Roses
Proclaime you are no lesse: can you so steed me,
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A Nouice of this place, and the faire Sister
To her vnhappie brother Claudio?

Isa.
Why her vnhappy Brother? Let me aske,
The rather for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his Sister.

Luc.
Gentle & faire: your Brother kindly greets you;
Not to be weary with you; he's in prison.

Isa.
Woe me; for what?

Luc.
For that, which if my selfe might be his Iudge,
He should receiue his punishment, in thankes:
He hath got his friend with childe.

Isa.
Sir, make me not your storie.

Luc.
'Tis true;
I would not, though 'tis my familiar sin,
With Maids to seeme the Lapwing, and to iest
Tongue, far from heart: play with all Virgins so:
I hold you as a thing en-skied, and sainted,
By your renouncement, an imortall spirit
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a Saint.

Isa.
You doe blaspheme the good, in mocking me.

Luc.
Doe not beleeue it: fewnes, and truth; tis thus,
Your brother, and his louer haue embrac'd;
As those that feed, grow full: as blossoming Time
That from the seednes, the bare fallow brings
To teeming foyson: euen so her plenteous wombe
Expresseth his full Tilth, and husbandry.

Isa.
Some one with childe by him? my cosen Iuliet?

Luc.
Is she your cosen?

Isa.
Adoptedly, as schoole-maids change their names
By vaine, though apt affection.

Luc.
She it is.

Isa.
Oh, let him marry her.

Luc.
This is the point.
The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one)
In hand, and hope of action: but we doe learne,
By those that know the very Nerues of State,
His giuing-out, were of an infinite distance
From his true meant designe: vpon his place,
(And with full line of his authority)
Gouernes Lord Angelo; A man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth: one, who neuer feeles
The wanton stings, and motions of the sence;
But doth rebate, and blunt his naturall edge
With profits of the minde: Studie, and fast
He (to giue feare to vse, and libertie,
Which haue, for long, run-by the hideous law,
As Myce, by Lyons) hath pickt out an act,
Vnder whose heauy sence, your brothers life
Fals into forfeit : he arrests him on it,
And followes close the rigor of the Statute
To make him an example: all hope is gone,
Vnlesse you haue the grace, by your faire praier
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith of businesse
'Twixt you, and your poore brother.

Isa.
Doth he so, / Seeke his life?

Luc.
Has censur'd him already,
And as I heare, the Prouost hath
a warrant / For's execution.

Isa.
Alas: what poore / Abilitie's in me,
to doe him good.

Luc.
Assay the powre you haue.

Isa.
My power? alas, I doubt.

Luc.
Our doubts are traitors
And makes vs loose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt: Goe to Lord Angelo
And let him learne to know, when Maidens sue
Men giue like gods: but when they weepe and kneele,
All their petitions, are as freely theirs
As they themselues would owe them.

Isa.
Ile see what I can doe.

Luc.
But speedily.

Isa.
I will about it strait;
No longer staying, but to giue the Mother
Notice of my affaire: I humbly thanke you:
Commend me to my brother: soone at night
Ile send him certaine word of my successe.

Luc.
I take my leaue of you.

Isa.
Good sir, adieu.
Exeunt.
Modern text
Act I, Scene I
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, and Attendants

DUKE
Escalus.

ESCALUS
My lord.

DUKE
Of government the properties to unfold
Would seem in me t' affect speech and discourse,
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you. Then no more remains
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, y'are as pregnant in
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
Exit an Attendant
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply,
Lent him our terror, dressed him with our love,
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power. What think you of it?

ESCALUS
If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.
Enter Angelo

DUKE
Look where he comes.

ANGELO
Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.

DUKE
Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life
That to th' observer doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched
But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise.
Hold therefore, Angelo:
In our remove be thou at full ourself.
Mortality and mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.

ANGELO
Now, good my lord,
Let there be some more test made of my metal
Before so noble and so great a figure
Be stamped upon't.

DUKE
No more evasion.
We have with leavened and prepared choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestioned
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with us, and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So fare you well.
To th' hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.

ANGELO
Yet give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.

DUKE
My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple. Your scope is as mine own,
So to enforce or qualify the laws
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand.
I'll privily away: I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes;
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause and aves vehement,
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.

ANGELO
The heavens give safety to your purposes!

ESCALUS
Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!

DUKE
I thank you. Fare you well.
Exit

ESCALUS
I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
To have free speech with you, and it concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place.
A power I have, but of what strength and nature
I am not yet instructed.

ANGELO
'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
Touching that point.

ESCALUS
I'll wait upon your honour.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene II
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
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.

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.

FIRST GENTLEMAN
Well, there went but a pair of
shears between us.

LUCIO
I grant: as there may between the lists and the
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
had as lief be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as
thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly
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,
have I not?

SECOND GENTLEMAN
Yes, that thou hast, whether thou
art tainted or free.
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.

FIRST GENTLEMAN
Ay, and more.

LUCIO
A French crown more.

FIRST GENTLEMAN
Thou art always figuring diseases
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.

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
poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
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
have not heard of the proclamation, have you?

MISTRESS OVERDONE
What proclamation, man?

POMPEY
All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be
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.

MISTRESS OVERDONE
But shall all our houses of resort
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
change your trade. I'll be your tapster still. Courage,
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?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

PROVOST
I do it not in evil disposition,
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.

LUCIO
Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this restraint?

CLAUDIO
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty.
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
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
the morality of imprisonment. What's thy offence,
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?

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
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order. This we came not to,
Only for propagation of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
With character too gross is writ on Juliet.

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;
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his eminence that fills it up,
I stagger in – but this new governor
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscoured armour, hung by th' wall
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
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.

LUCIO
I warrant it is, an thy head stands so tickle on thy
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.
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.
I have great hope in that, for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect,
Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

LUCIO
I pray she may, as well for the encouragement of the
like, which else would stand under grievous imposition,
as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry
should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack.
I'll to her.

CLAUDIO
I thank you, good friend Lucio.

LUCIO
Within two hours.

CLAUDIO
Come, officer, away.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene III
Enter Duke and Friar Thomas

DUKE
No, holy father, throw away that thought;
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
To give me secret harbour hath a purpose
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
Of burning youth.

FRIAR THOMAS
May your grace speak of it?

DUKE
My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever loved the life removed
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth and cost a witless bravery keeps.
I have delivered to Lord Angelo,
A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travelled to Poland,
For so I have strewed it in the common ear,
And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this.

FRIAR THOMAS
Gladly, my lord.

DUKE
We have strict statutes and most biting laws,
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
Which for this fourteen years we have let slip;
Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mocked than feared, so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.

FRIAR THOMAS
It rested in your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased,
And it in you more dreadful would have seemed
Than in Lord Angelo.

DUKE
I do fear, too dreadful.
Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done
When evil deeds have their permissive pass
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my father,
I have on Angelo imposed the office,
Who may, in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
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 prithee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct
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.
Exeunt
Modern text
Act I, Scene IV
Enter Isabella and Francisca, a nun

ISABELLA
And have you nuns no farther privileges?

FRANCISCA
Are not these large enough?

ISABELLA
Yes, truly. I speak not as desiring more,
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
Lucio within

LUCIO
Ho! Peace be in this place.

ISABELLA
Who's that which calls?

FRANCISCA
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 vowed, you must not speak with men
But in the presence of the prioress;
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

ISABELLA
Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls?
Enter Lucio

LUCIO
Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
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?

ISABELLA
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.

ISABELLA
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.

ISABELLA
Sir, make me not your story.

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 talked with in sincerity,
As with a saint.

ISABELLA
You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.

LUCIO
Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:
Your brother and his lover have embraced.
As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.

ISABELLA
Someone with child by him? My cousin Juliet?

LUCIO
Is she your cousin?

ISABELLA
Adoptedly, as school-maids change their names
By vain though apt affection.

LUCIO
She it is.

ISABELLA
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 picked 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 grace by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo. And that's my pith of business
'Twixt you and your poor brother.

ISABELLA
Doth he so seek his life?

LUCIO
Has censured him
Already and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

ISABELLA
Alas, what poor ability's in me
To do him good?

LUCIO
Assay the power you have.

ISABELLA
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 kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them.

ISABELLA
I'll see what I can do.

LUCIO
But speedily.

ISABELLA
I will about it straight,
No longer staying but to give the Mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you.
Commend me to my brother. Soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.

LUCIO
I take my leave of you.

ISABELLA
Good sir, adieu.
Exeunt
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