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To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd: And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd, Than in lord Angelo.

Duke. I do fear, too dreadful : Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, 'Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall thei For what I bid them do: For we bid this be done, When evil deeds have their permissive pass, And not the punishment.


Therefore, indeed, my

I have on Angelo impos'd the office;

Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home, And yet my nature never in the sight,

To do it slander: And to behold his sway,

I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,

Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr'ythee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me

Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only this one:-Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard 7 with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite

Is more to bread than stone: Hence shall we see,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.


A Nunnery.



Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges?
Fran. Are not these large enough?

Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more;

6 Since.

7 On his defence.

But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare.
Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place?



Who's that which calls? Fran. It is a man's voice: Gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him; You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn: When you have vow'd, you must not speak with


But in the presence of the prioress:

Then, if you speak, you must not show your face;

Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.
He calls again; I

pray you, answer him.

[Exit FRANCISCA. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls?

Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek-roses Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella,

A novice of this place, and the fair sister

To her unhappy brother Claudio?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask; The rather, for I now must make

I am that Isabella, and his sister.

you know

Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:

Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.

Isab. Woe me! For what?

Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his


He should receive his punishment in thanks:

He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story.8

* Do not make a jest of me.


It is true.

I would not-though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart,- play with all virgins so:
I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted;
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,

As with a saint.

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking


Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth 9, 'tis thus:

Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:

As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison1; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth 2 and husbandry.

İsab. Some one with child by him? - My cousin

Lucio. Is she your cousin?

Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their


By vain though apt affection.


She it is.

Isab. O let him marry her! Lucio. This is the point. The duke is very strangely gone from hence; Bore many gentlemen, myself being one, In hand, and hope of action: but we do learn By those that know the very nerves of state, His givings out were of an infinite distance From his true-meant design. Upon his place, And with full line 3 of his authority, Governs lord Angelo; a man, whose blood

9 In few and true words.

2 Tilling.

1 Breeding plenty.

3 Extent.

Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense;
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,

Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example: all hope is gone,
Unless you have the grace 4 by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother.

Isab. Doth he so seek his life?


Has censur'd 5 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?


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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,

All their petitions are as freely theirs

As they themselves would owe
Isab. I'll see what I can do.


Isab. I will about it straight;

4 Power of gaining favour.

6 Have.


But speedily.

5 Sentenced.

No longer staying but to give the mother 7
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:
Commend me to my brother: soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.
Lucio. I take my leave of you.



Good sir, adieu.


SCENE I. A Hall in Angelo's House.

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost,
Officers, and other Attendants.

Ang. We must not make a scare-crow of the

Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,

And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror.


Ay, but yet Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,

Than fall, and bruise to death: Alas! this gentle.


Whom I would save, had a most noble father,
Let but your honour know 9,

(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,)
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time coher'd' with place, or place with wish-

Or that the resolute acting of your blood

Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose, Whether you had not sometime in your life

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