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Why dost thou ask again?
Prov. Lest I might be too rash: Under your good correction, I have seen, When, after execution, judgment hath Repented o'er his doom.
Ang. 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.
Ang. 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,
Prov. 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;
Isab. Must he needs die?
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. Isab. 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
Ang. He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.
[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.
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency,
Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. [Aside. Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.
Be you content, fair maid:
Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden ! Spare him,
He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
Ay, well said. Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept :
Those many had not dar'd to do that evil,
(1) When in season.
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils
Yet show some pity.
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
That's well said.
Isab. Could great men thunder
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but
Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent;
But, in less, foul profanation.
Lucio. Thou art in the right, girl; more o' that. Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
Lucio. Art advis'd o' that? more on't.
Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me? Isab. Because authority, though it err like others, Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skims the vice o' the top: Go to your bosom ;
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back.
Ang. I will bethink me:--Come again to-morrow. Isab. Hark, how I'll bribe you: Good my lord, turn back.
Ang. How! bribe me?
Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that heaven shall share with you.
Lucio. You had marr'd all else.
Isab. Not with fond shekels of the tested1 gold, Or stones, whose rates are either rich or poor, As fancy values them: but with true prayers, That shall be up in heaven, and enter there, Ere sun-rise; prayers from preserved2 souls, From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate To nothing temporal.
Well; come to me
Lucio. Go to; it is well; away. [Aside to Isab.
Amen: for I
(1) Attested, stamped.
(2) Preserved from the corruption of the world. VOL. I.