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There have I made my promise to call on him,
Upon the heavy middle of the night.

Duke. But shall you on your knowledge find this way?

Isab. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't; With whispering and most guilty diligence, In action all of precept, he did show me The way twice o'er.

Duke. Are there no other tokens Between you 'greed, concerning her observance? Isab. No, none, but only a repair i̇' the dark; And that I have possess'd1 him, my most stay Can be but brief: for I have made him know, I have a servant comes with me along, That stays upon me; whose persuasion is, I come about my brother.


'Tis well borne up.

I have not yet made known to Mariana

A word of this:- What, ho! within! come forth!

Re-enter MARIANA.

I pray you, be acquainted with this maid;

She comes to do you good.


I do desire the like.

Duke. Do you persuade yourself that I respect


Mari. Good friar, I know you do; and have found it.

Duke. Take then this your companion by the hand,

Who hath a story ready for your ear:

I shall attend your leisure; but make haste;

The vaporous night approaches.

Will't please you walk aside? [Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELla. 2 Waits.


1 Informed.

Duke. O place and greatness, millions of false


Are stuck upon thee! volumes of report

Run with these false and most contrarious quests3
Upon thy doings! thousand 'scapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dream,

And rack thee in their fancies! - Welcome! How agreed?

Re-enter MARiana and Isabella.

Isab. She'll take the enterprize upon her, father, If you advise it.

It is not my consent,


But my intreaty too.


Little have you to say,

When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
Remember now my brother.


Fear me not.

Duke. Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all: He is your husband on a pre-contract: To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin; Sith 5 that the justice of your title to him Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go;

Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe's7 to sow.


A Room in the Prison.

Enter Provost and Clown.


Prov. Come hither, sirrah: Can you cut off a

man's head?

• Inquisitions, inquiries.

4 Sallies.

5 Since.
6 Gild, or varnish over.
7 Tilth, land prepared for sowing.


Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can: but if he be a married man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.

Prov. Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine: Here is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you from your gyves; if not, you shall have your full time of imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping; for you have been a notorious bawd.

Clo. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner.

Prov. What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?


Abhor. Do you call, sir?

Prov. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you tomorrow in your execution: if you think it meet, compound with him by the year, and let him abide here with you; if not, use him for the present, and dismiss him: He cannot plead his estimation with you; he hath been a bawd.

Abhor. A bawd, sir? Fye upon him, he will discredit our mystery. 9

Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale. [Exit.

Clo. Pray, sir, by your good favour, (for, surely, sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a

8 Fetters.

9 Trade.

1 Countenance.

hanging look,) do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?

Abhor. Ay, sir; a mystery.

Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery: but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine. Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery.

Clo. Proof.

Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: If it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your thief.

Re-enter Provost.

Prov. Are you agreed?

Clo. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd he doth oftener ask forgiveness.

Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe, to-morrow four o'clock.

Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.

Clo. I do desire to learn, sir; and, I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare3: for, truly, sir, for your kindness, I owe you a good turn.

Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio:

[Exeunt Clown and ABHORSON.

One has my pity; not a jot the other,

Being a murderer, though he were my brother.

2 Honest.

3 Ready..


Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death: 'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?

Claud. As fast lock'd up in sleep, as guiltless labour

When it lies starkly 4 in the traveller's bones:
He will not wake.


Who can do good on him?

Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise?

[Knocking within. Heaven give your spirits comfort! [Exit CLAUDIO. By and by:

I hope it is some pardon, or reprieve,

For the most gentle Claudio.- Welcome, father.

Enter Duke.

Duke. The best and wholesomest spirits of the night

Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of


[blocks in formation]

There's some in hope.

Prov. What comfort is for Claudio?

Prov. It is a bitter deputy.

Duke. Not so, not so; his life is parallel'd

Even with the stroke and line of his great justice;

He doth with holy abstinence subdue

That in himself, which he spurs on

• Stiffly.

his power

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