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Escal. Alas! it hath been great pains to you! They do you wrong to put you so oft upon't: Are there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it?

Elb. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I do it for some piece of money, and go through with all.

Escal. Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish. Elb. To your worship's house, sir?

Escal. To my house: Fare you well. [Exit Elbow.] What's o'clock, think you?

Just. Eleven, sir.

Escal. I pray you home to dinner with me.
Just. I humbly thank you.

Escal. It grieves me for the death of Claudio;

But there's no remedy.

Just. Lord Angelo is severe.


It is but needful:

Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so:

Pardon is still the nurse of second wo:

But yet,-Poor Claudio!-There's no remedy.
Come, sir.


SCENE II-Another room in the same. Enter Provost and a Servant.

Serv. He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight.

I'll tell him of you.

Prov. Pray you, do. [Exit Servant.] I'll know
His pleasure; may be, he will relent: Alas,
He hath but as offended in a dream!

All sects, all ages, smack of this vice; and he
To die for it!


Enter Angelo.

Now, what's the matter, provost? Prov. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-morrow? Ang. Did I not tell thee, yea? hadst thou not


Lest I might be too rash:

Why dost thou ask again?


Under your good correction, I have seen,
When, after execution, judgment hath
Repented o'er his doom.


Go to; let that be mine;

Do you your office, or give up your place,
And you shall well be spar'd.


I crave your honour's pardon.

What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet? She's very near her hour.


Dispose of her To some more fitter place; and that with speed.

Re-enter Servant.

Serv. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd, Desires access to you.


Hath he a sister?

Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid, And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

If not already.


Well, let her be admitted. [Ex. Serv.

See you the fornicatress be remov'd;

Let her have needful, but not lavish, means';
There shall be order for it.

Enter Lucio and Isabella.

Prov. Save your honour! [Offering to retire. Ang. Stay a little while.-[To Isab.] You are welcome: What's your will?

Isab. I am a woful suitor to your honour, Please but your honour hear me.


Well; what's your suit? Isab. There is a vice, that most I do abhor, And most desire should meet the blow of justice; For which I would not plead, but that I must; For which I must not plead, but that I am At war, 'twixt will, and will not.


Well; the matter?

Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die:

I do beseech you, let it be his fault,
And not my brother.


Heaven give thee moving graces! Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it! Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done : Mine were the very cipher of a function,

To find the faults, whose fine stands in record,
And let go by the actor.

O just, but severe law!
I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your honour!

[Retiring. Lucio. [To Isab.] Give't not o'er so: to him again, entreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;
You are too cold: if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say.

Isab. Must he needs die?

Ang. Maiden, no remedy. Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy. Ang. I will not do't.


But can you, if you would? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no


If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse! As mine is to him?

Ang. He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.

Lucio. You are too cold.

[To Isabella. Isab. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word, May call it back again: Well believe this, No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, Become them with one half so good a grace, As mercy does. If he had been as you, And you as he, you would have slipt like him; (2) Be assured.

(1) Pity.

But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Ang. Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency,
And you were Isabel! should it then be thus?
No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
And what a prisoner.

Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. [Aside. Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.

Isab. Alas! alas! Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once; And He that might the vantage best have took, Found out the remedy: How would you be, If He, which is the top of judgment, should But judge you as you are? O, think on that; And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Like man new made.

Ang. Be you content, fair maid: It is the law, not I, condemns your brother: Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him;-He must die to-mor


Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him :

He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens We kill the fowl of season; shall we serve heaven With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink


Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.


Ay, well said.

Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept :

Those many

had not dar'd to do that evil,
If the first man that did the edict infringe;

Had answer'd for his deed: now, 'tis awake;
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,

(1) When in season.

Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,)
Are now to have no successive degrees,
But, where they live, to end.


Yet show some pity.

Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice; For then I pity those I do not know,

Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;
And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong,
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;

Your brother dies to-morrow: be content.
Isab. So you must be the first, that gives this


And he, that suffers: O, it is excellent

To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.


That's well said.

Isab. Could great men thunder

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet, For every pelting petty officer,

Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder.

Merciful heaven!

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled2 oak,
Than the soft myrtle:-O, but man, proud man!
Drest in a little brief authority;

Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence,-like an angry ape,

Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep: who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent; He's coming, I perceive't.

Prov. Pray heaven, she win him! Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself: Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in them;

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