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Duke. You are pleasant, sir; and speak apace. Lucio. Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a cod-piece, to take away the life of a man? Would the duke, that is absent, have done this? Ere he would have hang'd 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 de-
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 pr'ythee, might be the cause?
Lucio. No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be lock'd within the teeth and the lips; but this I can let you understand,―The greater file2 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 envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very stream of his life, and the business he hath helmed,4 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
(1) Suspected. (2) The majority of his subjects. Inconsiderate. (4) Guided.
your knowledge be more, it is much darken'd 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
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.1 But, indeed, I can do you little harm: you'll forswear this again.
Lucio. I'll be hang'd first: thou art deceived in me, friar. But no more of this: canst thou tell, if Claudio die to-morrrow, 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 return'd again : this ungenitur'd 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 answer'd; he would never bring them to light: would he were return'd! Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I pr'ythee, pray for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton2 on Fridays. He's now past it; yet, and I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar, though she (2) Have a wench.
smelt brown bread and garlic: say, that I said so, Farewell.
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, Bawd, and Officers.
Escal. Go, away with her to prison. Bawd. Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted a merciful man: good my lord.
Escal. Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit1 in the same kind? This would make mercy swear, and play the tyrant.
Prov. A bawd of eleven years continuance, may it please your honour.
Bawd. My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me: mistress Kate Keep-down 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.
Escal. That fellow is a fellow of much license: -let him be called before us.-Away with her to prison: Go to; no more words. [Exeunt Bawd and Officers.] Provost, my brother Angelo will not be alter'd, Claudio must die to-morrow; 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.
Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for the entertainment of death. Escal. Good even, good father.
Duke. Bliss and goodness on you?
Escal. Of whence are you.
Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Escal. What news abroad i' the world?
Duke. What pleasure was he given to?
Duke. He professes to have received no sinister measures 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.
Escal. You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have labour'd 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 answers the straitness of
his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein, if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. Escal. I am going to visit the prisoner: Fare you
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,1 made2 in crimes, Making practice on the times, Draw with idle spiders' strings Most pond'rous and substantial things!" Craft against vice I must apply: With Angelo to-night shall lie His old betrothed, but despis'd; So disguise shall, by the disguis'd, Pay with falsehood false exacting, And perform an old contracting.
SCENE I-A room in Mariana's house. Mariana discovered sitting; a Boy singing.