Measure for Measure

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Original text
Act III, Scene I
Enter Duke, Claudio, and Prouost.

Du.
So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?

Cla.
The miserable haue no other medicine
But onely hope:
I'haue hope to liue, and am prepar'd to die.

Duke.
Be absolute for death: either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
If I do loose thee, I do loose a thing
That none but fooles would keepe: a breath thou art,
Seruile to all the skyie-influences
That dost this habitation where thou keepst
Hourely afflict: Meerely, thou art deaths foole,
For him thou labourst by thy flight to shun,
And yet runst toward him still. Thou art not noble,
For all th' accommodations that thou bearst,
Are nurst by basenesse: Thou'rt by no meanes valiant,
For thou dost feare the soft and tender forke
Of a poore worme: thy best of rest is sleepe,
And that thou oft prouoakst, yet grosselie fearst
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thy selfe,
For thou exists on manie a thousand graines
That issue out of dust. Happie thou art not,
For what thou hast not, still thou striu'st to get,
And what thou hast forgetst. Thou art not certaine,
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the Moone: If thou art rich, thou'rt poore,
For like an Asse, whose backe with Ingots bowes;
Thou bearst thy heauie riches but a iournie,
And death vnloads thee; Friend hast thou none.
For thine owne bowels which do call thee, fire
The meere effusion of thy proper loines
Do curse the Gowt, Sapego, and the Rheume
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age
But as it were an after-dinners sleepe
Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth begge the almes
Of palsied-Eld: and when thou art old, and rich
Thou hast neither heate, affection, limbe, nor beautie
To make thy riches pleasant: what's yet in this
That beares the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid moe thousand deaths; yet death we feare
That makes these oddes, all euen.

Cla.
I humblie thanke you.
To sue to liue, I finde I seeke to die,
And seeking death, finde life: Let it come on.
Enter Isabella.

Isab.
What hoa? Peace heere; Grace, and good
companie.

Pro.
Who's there? Come in, the wish deserues a
welcome.

Duke.
Deere sir, ere long Ile visit you againe.

Cla.
Most holie Sir, I thanke you.

Isa.
My businesse is a word or two with Claudio.

Pro.
And verie welcom: looke Signior, here's your
sister.

Duke.
Prouost, a word with you.

Pro.
As manie as you please.

Duke.
Bring them to heare me speak, where I may be
conceal'd.

Cla.
Now sister, what's the comfort?

Isa.
Why,
As all comforts are: most good, most good indeede,
Lord Angelo hauing affaires to heauen
Intends you for his swift Ambassador,
Where you shall be an euerlasting Leiger;
Therefore your best appointment make with speed,
To Morrow you set on.

Clau.
Is there no remedie?

Isa.
None, but such remedie, as to saue a head
To cleaue a heart in twaine:

Clau.
But is there anie?

Isa.
Yes brother, you may liue;
There is a diuellish mercie in the Iudge,
If you'l implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.

Cla.
Perpetuall durance?

Isa.
I iust, perpetuall durance, a restraint
Through all the worlds vastiditie you had
To a determin'd scope.

Clau.
But in what nature?

Isa.
In such a one, as you consenting too't,
Would barke your honor from that trunke you beare,
And leaue you naked.

Clau.
Let me know the point.

Isa.
Oh, I do feare thee Claudio, and I quake,
Least thou a feauorous life shouldst entertaine,
And six or seuen winters more respect
Then a perpetuall Honor. Dar'st thou die?
The sence of death is most in apprehension,
And the poore Beetle that we treade vpon
In corporall sufferance, finds a pang as great,
As when a Giant dies.

Cla.
Why giue you me this shame?
Thinke you I can a resolution fetch
From flowrie tendernesse? If I must die,
I will encounter darknesse as a bride,
And hugge it in mine armes.

Isa.
There spake my brother: there my fathers graue
Did vtter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
Thou art too noble, to conserue a life
In base appliances. This outward sainted Deputie,
Whose setled visage, and deliberate word
Nips youth i'th head, and follies doth emmew
As Falcon doth the Fowle, is yet a diuell:
His filth within being cast, he would appeare
A pond, as deepe as hell.

Cla.
The prenzie, Angelo?

Isa.
Oh 'tis the cunning Liuerie of hell,
The damnest bodie to inuest, and couer
In prenzie gardes; dost thou thinke Claudio,
If I would yeeld him my virginitie
Thou might'st be freed?

Cla.
Oh heauens, it cannot be.

Isa.
Yes, he would giu't thee; from this rank offence
So to offend him still. This night's the time
That I should do what I abhorre to name,
Or else thou diest to morrow.

Clau.
Thou shalt not do't.

Isa.
O, were it but my life,
I'de throw it downe for your deliuerance
As frankely as a pin.

Clau.
Thankes deere Isabell.

Isa.
Be readie Claudio, for your death to morrow.

Clau.
Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the Law by th' nose,
When he would force it? Sure it is no sinne,
Or of the deadly seuen it is the least.

Isa.
Which is the least?

Cla.
If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentarie tricke
Be perdurablie fin'de? Oh Isabell.

Isa.
What saies my brother?

Cla.
Death is a fearefull thing.

Isa.
And shamed life, a hatefull.

Cla.
I, but to die, and go we know not where,
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot,
This sensible warme motion, to become
A kneaded clod; And the delighted spirit
To bath in fierie floods, or to recide
In thrilling Region of thicke-ribbed Ice,
To be imprison'd in the viewlesse windes
And blowne with restlesse violence round about
The pendant world: or to be worse then worst
Of those, that lawlesse and incertaine thought,
Imagine howling, 'tis too horrible.
The weariest, and most loathed worldly life
That Age, Ache, periury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a Paradise
To what we feare of death.

Isa.
Alas, alas.

Cla.
Sweet Sister, let me liue.
What sinne you do, to saue a brothers life,
Nature dispenses with the deede so farre,
That it becomes a vertue.

Isa.
Oh you beast,
Oh faithlesse Coward, oh dishonest wretch,
Wilt thou be made a man, out of my vice?
Is't not a kinde of Incest, to take life
From thine owne sisters shame? What should I thinke,
Heauen shield my Mother plaid my Father faire:
For such a warped slip of wildernesse
Nere issu'd from his blood. Take my defiance,
Die, perish: Might but my bending downe
Repreeue thee from thy fate, it should proceede.
Ile pray a thousand praiers for thy death,
No word to saue thee.

Cla.
Nay heare me Isabell.

Isa.
Oh fie, fie, fie:
Thy sinn's not accidentall, but a Trade;
Mercy to thee would proue it selfe a Bawd,
'Tis best that thou diest quickly.

Cla.
Oh heare me Isabella.

Duk.
Vouchsafe a word, yong sister, but one word.

Isa.
What is your Will.

Duk.
Might you dispense with your leysure, I would by
and by haue some speech with you: the satisfaction I
would require, is likewise your owne benefit.

Isa.
I haue no superfluous leysure, my stay must be
stolen out of other affaires: but I will attend you a while.

Duke.
Son, I haue ouer-heard what hath past
between you & your sister. Angelo had neuer the
purpose to corrupt her; onely he hath made an assay of
her vertue, to practise his iudgement with the disposition
of natures. She (hauing the truth of honour in her) hath
made him that gracious deniall, which he is most glad to
receiue: I am Confessor to Angelo, and I know this to
be true, therfore prepare your selfe to death: do not
satisfie your resolution with hopes that are fallible,
to morrow you must die, goe to your knees, and make
ready.

Cla.
Let me ask my sister pardon, I am so out of
loue with life, that I will sue to be rid of it.

Duke.
Hold you there: farewell:
Prouost, a word with you.

Pro.
What's your will (father?)

Duk.
That now you are come, you wil be gone: leaue
me a while with the Maid, my minde promises with my
habit, no losse shall touch her by my company.

Pro.
In good time.
Exit.

Duk.
The hand that hath made you faire, hath made you
good: the goodnes that is cheape in beauty, makes
beauty briefe in goodnes; but grace being the soule of
your complexion, shall keepe the body of it euer faire:
the assault that Angelo hath made to you, Fortune
hath conuaid to my vnderstanding; and but that
frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at
Angelo: how will you doe to content this Substitute,
and to saue your Brother?

Isab.
I am now going to resolue him: I had rather my
brother die by the Law, then my sonne should be vnlawfullie
borne. But (oh) how much is the good Duke deceiu'd
in Angelo: if euer he returne, and I can speake to
him, I will open my lips in vaine, or discouer his
gouernment.

Duke.
That shall not be much amisse: yet, as the matter
now stands, he will auoid your accusation: he made triall
of you onelie. Therefore fasten your eare on my aduisings,
to the loue I haue in doing good; a remedie presents
it selfe. I doe make my selfe beleeue that you may most
vprighteously do a poor wronged Lady a merited benefit;
redeem your brother from the angry Law; doe no staine
to your owne gracious person, and much please the
absent Duke, if peraduenture he shall euer returne to
haue hearing of this businesse.

Isab.
Let me heare you speake farther; I haue spirit to
do any thing that appeares not fowle in the truth of my
spirit.

Duke.
Vertue is bold, and goodnes neuer fearefull: / Haue
you not heard speake of Mariana the sister of Fredericke
the great Souldier, who miscarried at Sea?

Isa.
I haue heard of the Lady, and good words went
with her name.

Duke.
Shee should this Angelo haue married: was affianced
to her oath, and the nuptiall appointed: between
which time of the contract, and limit of the solemnitie,
her brother Fredericke was wrackt at Sea, hauing in that
perished vessell, the dowry of his sister: but marke how
heauily this befell to the poore Gentlewoman, there she
lost a noble and renowned brother, in his loue toward
her, euer most kinde and naturall: with him the portion
and sinew of her fortune, her marriage dowry: with
both, her combynate-husband, this well-seeming
Angelo.

Isab.
Can this be so? did Angelo so leaue her?

Duke.
Left her in her teares, & dried not one of them
with his comfort: swallowed his vowes whole, pretending
in her, discoueries of dishonor: in few, bestow'd her
on her owne lamentation, which she yet weares for his sake:
and he, a marble to her teares, is washed with them, but
relents not.

Isab.
What a merit were it in death to take this poore
maid from the world? what corruption in this life, that
it will let this man liue? But how out of this can shee auaile?

Duke.
It is a rupture that you may easily heale: and the cure
of it not onely saues your brother, but keepes you from
dishonor in doing it.

Isab.
Shew me how (good Father.)

Duk.
This fore-named Maid hath yet in her the continuance
of her first affection: his vniust vnkindenesse (that
in all reason should haue quenched her loue) hath (like
an impediment in the Current) made it more violent and
vnruly: Goe you to Angelo, answere his requiring with a
plausible obedience, agree with his demands to the
point: onely referre your selfe to this aduantage; first, that
your stay with him may not be long: that the time may
haue all shadow, and silence in it: and the place answere to
conuenience: this being granted in course, and now
followes all: wee shall aduise this wronged maid
to steed vp your appointment, goe in your place: if the
encounter acknowledge it selfe heereafter, it may compell
him to her recompence; and heere, by this is your brother
saued, your honor vntainted, the poore Mariana
aduantaged, and the corrupt Deputy scaled. The Maid
will I frame, and make fit for his attempt: if you thinke
well to carry this as you may, the doublenes of the
benefit defends the deceit from reproofe. What thinke you
of it?

Isab.
The image of it giues me content already, and I
trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

Duk.
It lies much in your holding vp: haste you speedily
to Angelo, if for this night he intreat you to his bed,
giue him promise of satisfaction: I will presently to
S. Lukes, there at the moated-Grange recides this
deiected Mariana; at that place call vpon me, and dispatch
with Angelo, that it may be quickly.

Isab.
I thank you for this comfort: fare you well
good father.
Exit.
Original text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Elbow, Clowne, Officers.

Elb.
Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will
needes buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall
haue all the world drinke browne & white bastard.

Duk.
Oh heauens, what stuffe is heere.

Clow.
Twas neuer merry world since of two vsuries
the merriest was put downe, and the worser allow'd by
order of Law; a fur'd gowne to keepe him warme; and
furd with Foxe and Lamb-skins too, to signifie, that craft
being richer then Innocency, stands for the facing.

Elb.
Come your way sir: 'blesse you good Father Frier.

Duk.
And you good Brother Father; what offence hath
this man made you, Sir?

Elb.
Marry Sir, he hath offended the Law; and Sir, we
take him to be a Theefe too Sir: for wee haue found vpon
him Sir, a strange Pick-lock, which we haue sent to the
Deputie.

Duke.
Fie, sirrah, a Bawd, a wicked bawd,
The euill that thou causest to be done,
That is thy meanes to liue. Do thou but thinke
What 'tis to cram a maw, or cloath a backe
From such a filthie vice: say to thy selfe,
From their abhominable and beastly touches
I drinke, I eate away my selfe, and liue:
Canst thou beleeue thy liuing is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

Clo.
Indeed, it do's stinke in some sort, Sir: / But yet
Sir I would proue.

Duke.
Nay, if the diuell haue giuen thee proofs for sin
Thou wilt proue his. Take him to prison Officer:
Correction, and Instruction must both worke
Ere this rude beast will profit.

Elb.
He must before the Deputy Sir, he ha's giuen him
warning: the Deputy cannot abide a Whore-master: if he
be a Whore-monger, and comes before him, he were as
good go a mile on his errand.

Duke.
That we were all, as some would seeme to bee
From our faults, as faults from seeming free.
Enter Lucio.

Elb.
His necke will come to your wast, a Cord sir.

Clo.
I spy comfort, I cry baile: Here's a Gentleman, and
a friend of mine.

Luc.
How now noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of
Casar? Art thou led in triumph? What is there none
of Pigmalions Images newly made woman to bee had
now, for putting the hand in the pocket, and extracting
clutch'd? What reply? Ha? What saist thou to this
Tune, Matter, and Method? Is't not drown'd i'th last
raine? Ha? What saist thou Trot? Is the world as it was
Man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words?
Or how? The tricke of it?

Duke.
Still thus, and thus: still worse?

Luc.
How doth my deere Morsell, thy Mistris? Procures
she still? Ha?

Clo.
Troth sir, shee hath eaten vp all her beefe, and
she is her selfe in the tub.

Luc.
Why 'tis good: It is the right of it: it must be so.
Euer your fresh Whore, and your pouder'd Baud, an
vnshun'd consequence, it must be so. Art going to
prison Pompey?

Clo.
Yes faith sir.

Luc.
Why 'tis not amisse Pompey: farewell: goe say I
sent thee thether: for debt Pompey? Or how?

Elb.
For being a baud, for being a baud.

Luc.
Well, then imprison him: If imprisonment be the
due of a baud, why 'tis his right. Baud is he doubtlesse,
and of antiquity too: Baud borne. Farwell good
Pompey: Commend me to the prison Pompey, you will
turne good husband now Pompey, you will keepe the
house.

Clo.
I hope Sir, your good Worship wil be my baile?

Luc.
No indeed wil I not Pompey, it is not the wear: I
will pray (Pompey) to encrease your bondage if you
take it not patiently: Why, your mettle is the more:
Adieu trustie Pompey. / Blesse you Friar.

Duke.
And you.

Luc.
Do's Bridget paint still, Pompey? Ha?

Elb.
Come your waies sir, come.

Clo.
You will not baile me then Sir?

Luc.
Then Pompey, nor now: what newes abroad
Frier? What newes?

Elb.
Come your waies sir, come.

Luc.
Goe to kennell (Pompey) goe:
What newes Frier of the Duke?

Duke.
I know none: can you tell me of any?

Luc.
Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia: other
some, he is in Rome: but where is he thinke you?

Duke.
I know not where: but wheresoeuer, I wish him
well.

Luc.
It was a mad fantasticall tricke of him to steale from
the State, and vsurpe the beggerie hee was neuer borne to:
Lord Angelo Dukes it well in his absence: he puts
transgression too't.

Duke.
He do's well in't.

Luc.
A little more lenitie to Lecherie would doe no harme
in him: Something too crabbed that way, Frier.

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

Luc.
Yes in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;
it is well allied, but it is impossible to extirpe it quite,
Frier, till eating and drinking be put downe. They say this
Angelo was not made by Man and Woman, after this
downe-right way of Creation: is it true, thinke you?

Duke.
How should he be made then?

Luc.
Some report, a Sea-maid spawn'd him. Some, that
he was begot betweene two Stock-fishes. But it is certaine,
that when he makes water, his Vrine is congeal'd ice,
that I know to bee true: and he is a motion generatiue,
that's infallible.

Duke.
You are pleasant sir, and speake apace.

Luc.
Why, what a ruthlesse thing is this in him, for the
rebellion of a Cod-peece, to take away the life of a man?
Would the Duke that is absent haue done this? Ere he
would haue hang'd a man for the getting a hundred
Bastards, he would haue paide for the Nursing a thousand.
He had some feeling of the sport, hee knew the seruice,
and that instructed him to mercie.

Duke.
I neuer heard the absent Duke much detected for
Women, he was not enclin'd that way.

Luc.
Oh Sir, you are deceiu'd.

Duke.
'Tis not possible.

Luc.
Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty:
and his vse was, to put a ducket in her Clack-dish; the
Duke had Crochets in him. Hee would be drunke too,
that let me informe you.

Duke.
You do him wrong, surely.

Luc.
Sir, I was an inward of his: a shie fellow was the
Duke, and I beleeue I know the cause of his
withdrawing.

Duke.
What (I prethee) might be the cause?

Luc.
No, pardon: 'Tis a secret must bee lockt within
the teeth and the lippes: but this I can let you vnderstand,
the greater file of the subiect held the Duke to be wise.

Duke.
Wise? Why no question but he was.

Luc.
A very superficiall, ignorant, vnweighing fellow

Duke.
Either this is Enuie in you, Folly, or mistaking: The
very streame of his life, and the businesse he hath helmed,
must vppon a warranted neede, giue him a better proclamation.
Let him be but testimonied in his owne bringings forth,
and hee shall appeare to the enuious, a Scholler, a
Statesman, and a Soldier: therefore you speake vnskilfully:
or, if your knowledge bee more, it is much
darkned in your malice.

Luc.
Sir, I know him, and I loue him.

Duke.
Loue talkes with better knowledge, & knowledge
with deare loue.

Luc.
Come Sir, I know what I know.

Duke.
I can hardly beleeue that, since you know not what
you speake. But if euer the Duke returne (as our praiers
are he may) let mee desire you to make your answer
before him: if it bee honest you haue spoke, you haue
courage to maintaine it; I am bound to call vppon you, and
I pray you your name?

Luc.
Sir my name is Lucio, wel known to the Duke.

Duke.
He shall know you better Sir, if I may liue to report
you.

Luc.
I feare you not.

Duke.
O, you hope the Duke will returne no more: or you
imagine me to vnhurtfull an opposite: but indeed I can
doe you little harme: You'll for-sweare this againe?

Luc.
Ile be hang'd first: Thou art deceiu'd in mee Friar.
But no more of this: Canst thou tell if Claudio die
to morrow, or no?

Duke.
Why should he die Sir?

Luc.
Why? For filling a bottle with a Tunne-dish: / I would
the Duke we talke of were return'd againe: this
vngenitur'd Agent will vn-people the Prouince with
Continencie. Sparrowes must not build in his house-eeues,
because they are lecherous: The Duke yet would haue
darke deeds darkelie answered, hee would neuer bring
them to light: would hee were return'd. Marrie this
Claudio is condemned for vntrussing. Farwell good
Friar, I prethee pray for me: The Duke (I say to thee
againe) would eate Mutton on Fridaies. He's now past it,
yet (and I say to thee) hee would mouth with a beggar,
though she smelt browne-bread and Garlicke: say that I
said so: Farewell.
Exit.

Duke.
No might, nor greatnesse in mortality
Can censure scape: Back-wounding calumnie
The whitest vertue strikes. What King so strong,
Can tie the gall vp in the slanderous tong?
But who comes heere?
Enter Escalus, Prouost, and Bawd.

Esc.
Go, away with her to prison.

Bawd.
Good my Lord be good to mee,
your Honor is accounted a mercifull man: good my
Lord.

Esc.
Double, and trebble admonition, and still forfeite
in the same kinde? This would make mercy sweare and
play the Tirant.

Pro.
A Bawd of eleuen yeares continuance, may it
please your Honor.

Bawd.
My Lord, this is one Lucio's
information against me, Mistris Kate Keepe-downe
was with childe by him in the Dukes time, he promis'd her
marriage: his Childe is a yeere and a quarter olde come
Philip and Iacob: I haue kept it my selfe; and see how hee
goes about to abuse me.

Esc.
That fellow is a fellow of much License: Let him
be call'd before vs, Away with her to prison: Goe too, no
more words.
Prouost, my Brother Angelo will not be alter'd, Claudio
must die to morrow: Let him be furnish'd with Diuines,
and haue all charitable preparation. If my brother
wrought by my pitie, it should not be so with him.

Pro.
So please you, this Friar hath beene with him,
and aduis'd him for th' entertainment of death.

Esc.
Good' euen, good Father.

Duke.
Blisse, and goodnesse on you.

Esc.
Of whence are you?

Duke.
Not of this Countrie, though my chance is now
To vse it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious Order, late come from the Sea,
In speciall businesse from his Holinesse.

Esc.
What newes abroad i'th World?

Duke.
None, but that there is so great a Feauor on goodnesse,
that the dissolution of it must cure it. Noueltie is onely
in request, and as it is as dangerous to be aged in any kinde
of course, as it is vertuous to be constant in any vndertaking.
There is scarse truth enough aliue to make
Societies secure, but Securitie enough to make Fellowships
accurst: Much vpon this riddle runs the wisedome
of the world: This newes is old enough, yet it is euerie
daies newes. I pray you Sir, of what disposition was the
Duke?

Esc.
One, that aboue all other strifes, / Contended
especially to know himselfe.

Duke.
What pleasure was he giuen to?

Esc.
Rather reioycing to see another merry, then
merrie at anie thing which profest to make him reioice.
A Gentleman of all temperance. But leaue wee him to his
euents, with a praier they may proue prosperous, &
let me desire to know, how you finde Claudio prepar'd?
I am made to vnderstand, that you haue lent him
visitation.

Duke.
He professes to haue receiued no sinister measure
from his Iudge, but most willingly humbles himselfe
to the determination of Iustice: yet had he framed to
himselfe (by the instruction of his frailty) manie deceyuing
promises of life, which I (by my good leisure) haue
discredited to him, and now is he resolu'd to die.

Esc.
You haue paid the heauens your Function, and
the prisoner the verie debt of your Calling. I haue
labour'd for the poore Gentleman, to the extremest shore
of my modestie, but my brother-Iustice haue I found so
seuere, that he hath forc'd me to tell him, hee is indeede
Iustice.

Duke.
If his owne life, / Answere the straitnesse of his proceeding,
It shall become him well: wherein if he chance to
faile he hath sentenc'd himselfe.

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

Duke.
Peace be with you.
He who the sword of Heauen will beare,
Should be as holy, as seueare
Patterne in himselfe to know,
Grace to stand, and Vertue go:
More, nor lesse to others paying,
Then by selfe-offences weighing.
Shame to him, whose cruell striking,
Kils for faults of his owne liking:
Twice trebble shame on Angelo,
To weede my vice, and let his grow.
Oh, what may Man within him hide,
Though Angel on the outward side?
How may likenesse made in crimes,
Making practise on the Times,
To draw with ydle Spiders strings
Most ponderous and substantiall things?
Craft against vice, I must applie.
With Angelo to night shall lye
His old betroathed (but despised:)
So disguise shall by th' disguised
Pay with falshood, false exacting,
And performe an olde contracting.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene I
Enter Duke, as a friar, Claudio, and Provost

DUKE
So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?

CLAUDIO
The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope:
I have hope to live, and am prepared to die.

DUKE
Be absolute for death: either death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep; a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences
That dost this habitation where thou keep'st
Hourly afflict. Merely, thou art death's fool,
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble,
For all th' accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness. Thou'rt by no means valiant,
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'st, yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself,
For thou exists on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not,
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get,
And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain,
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor,
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none,
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,
But as it were an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld: and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

CLAUDIO
I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find I seek to die,
And, seeking death, find life. Let it come on.
Enter Isabella

ISABELLA
What, ho! Peace here, grace and good
company.

PROVOST
Who's there? Come in. The wish deserves a
welcome.

DUKE
Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.

CLAUDIO
Most holy sir, I thank you.

ISABELLA
My business is a word or two with Claudio.

PROVOST
And very welcome. Look, signor, here's your
sister.

DUKE
Provost, a word with you.

PROVOST
As many as you please.

DUKE
Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be
concealed.
Duke and Provost retire

CLAUDIO
Now, sister, what's the comfort?

ISABELLA
Why,
As all comforts are: most good, most good indeed.
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Intends you for his swift ambassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger.
Therefore your best appointment make with speed;
Tomorrow you set on.

CLAUDIO
Is there no remedy?

ISABELLA
None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.

CLAUDIO
But is there any?

ISABELLA
Yes, brother, you may live;
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.

CLAUDIO
Perpetual durance?

ISABELLA
Ay, just. Perpetual durance, a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidity you had,
To a determined scope.

CLAUDIO
But in what nature?

ISABELLA
In such a one as, you consenting to't,
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
And leave you naked.

CLAUDIO
Let me know the point.

ISABELLA
O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension,
And the poor beetle that we tread upon
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.

CLAUDIO
Why give you me this shame?
Think you I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.

ISABELLA
There spake my brother. There my father's grave
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die.
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i'th' head, and follies doth enew
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil.
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.

CLAUDIO
The precise Angelo?

ISABELLA
O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'st body to invest and cover
In precious guards. Dost thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou might'st be freed?

CLAUDIO
O heavens, it cannot be.

ISABELLA
Yes, he would give't thee, from this rank offence,
So to offend him still. This night's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest tomorrow.

CLAUDIO
Thou shalt not do't.

ISABELLA
O, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly as a pin.

CLAUDIO
Thanks, dear Isabel.

ISABELLA
Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

CLAUDIO
Yes. Has he affections in him
That thus can make him bite the law by th' nose,
When he would force it? Sure it is no sin,
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.

ISABELLA
Which is the least?

CLAUDIO
If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fined? O Isabel!

ISABELLA
What says my brother?

CLAUDIO
Death is a fearful thing.

ISABELLA
And shamed life a hateful.

CLAUDIO
Ay, but to die, and go we know not where,
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice,
To be imprisoned in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling, 'tis too horrible.
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

ISABELLA
Alas, alas.

CLAUDIO
Sweet sister, let me live.
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far
That it becomes a virtue.

ISABELLA
O you beast!
O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!
Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?
Is't not a kind of incest to take life
From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?
Heaven shield my mother played my father fair,
For such a warped slip of wilderness
Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance,
Die, perish. Might but my bending down
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.
I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
No word to save thee.

CLAUDIO
Nay, hear me, Isabel.

ISABELLA
O, fie, fie, fie!
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade.
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd,
'Tis best thou diest quickly.
Going

CLAUDIO
O hear me, Isabella.
Duke comes forward

DUKE
Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.

ISABELLA
What is your will?

DUKE
Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by
and by have some speech with you. The satisfaction I
would require is likewise your own benefit.

ISABELLA
I have no superfluous leisure. My stay must be
stolen out of other affairs, but I will attend you a while.

DUKE
(aside)
Son, I have overheard what hath passed
between you and your sister. Angelo had never the
purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an assay of
her virtue to practise his judgement with the disposition
of natures. She, having the truth of honour in her, hath
made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to
receive. I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to
be true. Therefore prepare yourself to death. Do not
satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible.
Tomorrow you must die. Go to your knees and make
ready.

CLAUDIO
Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of
love with life that I will sue to be rid of it.

DUKE
Hold you there. Farewell.
Exit Claudio
Enter Provost
Provost, a word with you.

PROVOST
What's your will, father?

DUKE
That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave
me a while with the maid. My mind promises with my
habit no loss shall touch her by my company.

PROVOST
In good time.
Exit

DUKE
The hand that hath made you fair hath made you
good. The goodness that is cheap in beauty makes
beauty brief in goodness, but grace, being the soul of
your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever fair.
The assault that Angelo hath made to you, fortune
hath conveyed to my understanding, and, but that
frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at
Angelo. How will you do to content this substitute,
and to save your brother?

ISABELLA
I am now going to resolve him. I had rather my
brother die by the law than my son should be unlawfully
born. But O, how much is the good Duke deceived
in Angelo! If ever he return and I can speak to
him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his
government.

DUKE
That shall not be much amiss. Yet, as the matter
now stands, he will avoid your accusation; he made trial
of you only. Therefore fasten your ear on my advisings.
To the love I have in doing good a remedy presents
itself. I do make myself believe that you may most
uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit,
redeem your brother from the angry law, do no stain
to your own gracious person, and much please the
absent Duke, if peradventure he shall ever return to
have hearing of this business.

ISABELLA
Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to
do anything that appears not foul in the truth of my
spirit.

DUKE
Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have
you not heard speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick,
the great soldier who miscarried at sea?

ISABELLA
I have heard of the lady, and good words went
with her name.

DUKE
She should this Angelo have married, was affianced
to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed, between
which time of the contract and limit of the solemnity,
her brother Frederick was wrecked at sea, having in that
perished vessel the dowry of his sister. But mark how
heavily this befell to the poor gentlewoman. There she
lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love toward
her ever most kind and natural; with him the portion
and sinew of her fortune, her marriage dowry; with
both, her combinate husband, this well-seeming
Angelo.

ISABELLA
Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?

DUKE
Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them
with his comfort, swallowed his vows whole, pretending
in her discoveries of dishonour. In few, bestowed her
on her own lamentation, which she yet wears for his sake,
and he, a marble to her tears, is washed with them, but
relents not.

ISABELLA
What a merit were it in death to take this poor
maid from the world! What corruption in this life, that
it will let this man live! But how out of this can she avail?

DUKE
It is a rupture that you may easily heal, and the cure
of it not only saves your brother, but keeps you from
dishonour in doing it.

ISABELLA
Show me how, good father.

DUKE
This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance
of her first affection. His unjust unkindness, that
in all reason should have quenched her love, hath, like
an impediment in the current, made it more violent and
unruly. Go you to Angelo, answer his requiring with a
plausible obedience, agree with his demands to the
point. Only refer yourself to this advantage: first, that
your stay with him may not be long, that the time may
have all shadow and silence in it, and the place answer to
convenience. This being granted in course – and now
follows all – we shall advise this wronged maid
to stead up your appointment, go in your place. If the
encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel
him to her recompense, and here, by this, is your brother
saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana
advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid
will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you think
well to carry this, as you may, the doubleness of the
benefit defends the deceit from reproof. What think you
of it?

ISABELLA
The image of it gives me content already, and I
trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

DUKE
It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily
to Angelo. If for this night he entreat you to his bed,
give him promise of satisfaction. I will presently to
Saint Luke's. There, at the moated grange, resides this
dejected Mariana. At that place call upon me, and dispatch
with Angelo, that it may be quickly.

ISABELLA
I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well,
good father.
Exit
Modern text
Act III, Scene II
Enter Elbow, Pompey, and Officers

ELBOW
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.

DUKE
O heavens, what stuff is here?

POMPEY
'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries,
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.

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

DUKE
And you, good brother father. What offence hath
this man made you, sir?

ELBOW
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
deputy.

DUKE
Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!
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
From such a filthy vice. Say to thyself,
From their abominable and beastly touches
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

POMPEY
Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir, but yet,
sir, I would prove –

DUKE
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
Ere this rude beast will profit.

ELBOW
He must before the deputy, sir. He has given him
warning. The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster. If he
be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were as
good go a mile on his errand.

DUKE
That we were all, as some would seem to be,
Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free.
Enter Lucio

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

POMPEY
I spy comfort, I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and
a friend of mine.

LUCIO
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
now, for putting the hand in the pocket and extracting
it clutched? What reply? Ha? What say'st thou to this
tune, matter, and method? Is't not drowned i'th' last
rain, ha? What say'st thou, trot? Is the world as it was,
man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words?
Or how? The trick of it?

DUKE
Still thus, and thus, still worse?

LUCIO
How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures
she still, ha?

POMPEY
Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and
she is herself in the tub.

LUCIO
Why, 'tis good. It is the right of it. It must be so.
Ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd. An
unshunned consequence, it must be so. Art going to
prison, Pompey?

POMPEY
Yes, faith, sir.

LUCIO
Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go, say I
sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? Or how?

ELBOW
For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

LUCIO
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
Pompey. Commend me to the prison, Pompey. You will
turn good husband now, Pompey. You will keep the
house.

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

LUCIO
No, indeed will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear. I
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.

DUKE
And you.

LUCIO
Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?

ELBOW
Come your ways, sir, come.

POMPEY
You will not bail me then, sir?

LUCIO
Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad,
friar, what news?

ELBOW
Come your ways, sir, come.

LUCIO
Go to kennel, Pompey, go.
Exeunt Elbow, Pompey, and Officers
What news, friar, of the Duke?

DUKE
I know none. Can you tell me of any?

LUCIO
Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other
some, he is in Rome. But where is he, think you?

DUKE
I know not where, but wheresoever, I wish him
well.

LUCIO
It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from
the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born to.
Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence. He puts
transgression to't.

DUKE
He does well in't.

LUCIO
A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm
in him. Something too crabbed that way, friar.

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

LUCIO
Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred.
It is well allied, but it is impossible to extirp it quite,
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?

DUKE
How should he be made, then?

LUCIO
Some report a sea-maid spawned him. Some that
he was begot between two stockfishes. But it is certain
that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice.
That I know to be true. And he is a motion generative.
That's infallible.

DUKE
You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.

LUCIO
Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the
rebellion of a codpiece 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
bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand.
He had some feeling of the sport. He knew the service,
and that instructed him to mercy.

DUKE
I never heard the absent Duke much detected for
women. He was not inclined that way.

LUCIO
O, sir, you are deceived.

DUKE
'Tis not possible.

LUCIO
Who? Not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty,
and his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish. The
Duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk, too;
that let me inform you.

DUKE
You do him wrong, surely.

LUCIO
Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the
Duke, and I believe I know the cause of his
withdrawing.

DUKE
What, I prithee, might be the cause?

LUCIO
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.

DUKE
Wise? Why, no question but he was.

LUCIO
A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

DUKE
Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking. The
very stream of his life and the business he hath helmed
must, upon a warranted need, give him a better proclamation.
Let him be but testimonied in his own bringings-forth,
and he shall appear to the envious a scholar, a
statesman, and a soldier. Therefore you speak unskilfully;
or, if your knowledge be more, it is much
darkened in your malice.

LUCIO
Sir, I know him, and I love him.

DUKE
Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge
with dearer love.

LUCIO
Come, sir, I know what I know.

DUKE
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
courage to maintain it. I am bound to call upon you, and,
I pray you, your name?

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

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

LUCIO
I fear you not.

DUKE
O, you hope the Duke will return no more, or you
imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But indeed I can
do you little harm; you'll forswear this again.

LUCIO
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?

DUKE
Why should he die, sir?

LUCIO
Why? For filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would
the Duke we talk of were returned again. This
ungenitured agent will unpeople the province with
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
friar. I prithee, pray for me. The Duke, I say to thee
again, would eat mutton on Fridays. He's not past it
yet, and I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar,
though she smelt brown bread and garlic. Say that I
said so. Farewell.
Exit

DUKE
No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?
Enter Escalus, Provost, and Officers with Mistress
Overdone

ESCALUS
Go! Away with her to prison.

MISTRESS OVERDONE
Good my lord, be good to me.
Your honour is accounted a merciful man, good my
lord.

ESCALUS
Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit
in the same kind? This would make mercy swear, and
play the tyrant.

PROVOST
A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it
please your honour.

MISTRESS OVERDONE
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.

ESCALUS
That fellow is a fellow of much licence. Let him
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,
and have all charitable preparation. If my brother
wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.

PROVOST
So please you, this friar hath been with him,
and advised him for th' entertainment of death.

ESCALUS
Good even, good father.

DUKE
Bliss and goodness on you!

ESCALUS
Of whence are you?

DUKE
Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time. I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See,
In special business from his Holiness.

ESCALUS
What news abroad i'th' world?

DUKE
None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness
that the dissolution of it must cure it. Novelty is only
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.
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
Duke?

ESCALUS
One that, above all other strifes, contended
especially to know himself.

DUKE
What pleasure was he given to?

ESCALUS
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
events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous, and
let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared.
I am made to understand that you have lent him
visitation.

DUKE
He professes to have received no sinister measure
from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself
to the determination of justice. Yet had he framed to
himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving
promises of life, which I, by my good leisure, have
discredited to him, and now is he resolved to die.

ESCALUS
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
of my modesty, but my brother-justice have I found so
severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is indeed
Justice.

DUKE
If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding,
it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to
fail, he hath sentenced himself.

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

DUKE
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;
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,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
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,
And perform an old contracting.
Exit
SHAKESPEARE'S WORDS © 2020 DAVID CRYSTAL & BEN CRYSTAL