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Vincentio, duke of Vienna.

Angelo, lord deputy in the duke's absence. Escalus, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation.

Claudio, a young gentleman.

Lucio, a fantastic.

Two other like gentlemen.

Varrius, a gentleman, servant to the duke.

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Elbow, a simple constable.

Froth, a foolish gentleman.

Clown, servant to Mrs. Over-done.

Abhorson, an executioner.

Barnardine, a dissolute prisoner.

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Lords, gentlemen, guards, officers, and other at


Scene, Vienna.



SCENE I. An apartment in the Duke's palace.

Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, and attendants.


Escal. My lord.


Duke. Of government the properties to unfold, Would seem in me to 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, you are as pregnantt in,
As art and practice hath enriched any

That we remember: there is our commission,

From which we would not have you warp.-Call


I say, bid come before us Angelo.

[Exit un attendant.


+ Full of.

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, drest him with our love;
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: what think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vieuna be of worth

To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.


Enter Angelo.

Look, where he comes.

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


There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold: thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so propert, as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them 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 touch'd,
But to fine issuest: 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 uses. 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.


For high purposes.

+ So much thy own property. 9 Interest.


Now, good my lord,

Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure

Be stamp'd upon it.


No more evasion:

We have with a leaven'd 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 unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall impórtune,
How it goes with us; and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So, fare you well:
To the hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.


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 avest vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion,
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
Ang. The heavens give safety to your purposes !
Escal. Lead forth, and bring you back in happiness.
Duke. I thank you: fare you well. [Exit.

Escal. 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.

And. 'Tis so with me:-Let us withdraw toge ther,

*Extent of power.

+ Hailings.

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