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Isab. 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.
Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
Isab. Sir, make me not your story.1
It is true.
I would not-though 'tis my familiar sin
As with a saint.
Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth,2 'tis thus:
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:
İsab. Some one with child by him?-My cousin
Lucio. Is she your cousin?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their
(1) Do not make a jest of me.
She it is.
(2) In few and true words. (3) Breeding plenty. (4) Tilling.
Isab. O, let him marry her!
Governs lord Angelo; a man, whose blood
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
Has censur'd3 him Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath A warrant for his execution.
Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me To do him good?
Our doubts are traitors,
Assay the power you have. Isab. My power! Alas! I doubt,Lucio. 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,
(2) Power of gaining favour.
All their petitions are as freely theirs
Isab. I will about it straight;
Good sir, adieu.
SCENE I-A hall in Angelo's house. Enter Angelo, Escalus, a Justice, Provost, Officers, and attendants.
Ang. We must not make a scare-crow of the law, Setting it up to fears the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
Than fall, and bruise to death: alas! this gentleman, Whom I would save, had a most noble father.
Let but your honour know4
(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,)
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny,
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two Guiltier than him they try: what's open made to justice,
That justice seizes. What know the laws,
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
See that Claudio
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, Officers, &c.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common weal,6 that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
(1) Pass judgment. (2) Plain. (3) Because.
Ang. How now, sir! what's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
Ang. What are you, sir?
Elb. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel2-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?
Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. how dost thou know that, constable?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
(1) Well told. (2) Partly. (3) Keeps a bagnio. For protest.