Page images

think, forty more; al! great doers in our trade, and are now for the Lord's sake.


Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

Clo. Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hang'd, master Barnardine!

Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine !

Barnar. [within.] A pox o'your throats! Who makes that noise there? What are you?

Clo. Your friends, sir; the hangman: You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.

Barnar. [within.] Away, yoù rogue, away; I am sleepy.

Abhor. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly


Clo. Pray, master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.

Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.

Clo. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

Enter BARNArdine.

Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
Clo. Very ready, sir.

Barnar. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant's


Barnar. You rogue, I have been drinking all night, I am not fitted for't.

Clo. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning, may sleep the sounder all the next day.

Enter Duke.

Abhor. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father; Do we jest you now, think you?

Duke. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.

Barnar. Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not consent to die this day, that's certain. Duke. O, sir, you must: and therefore, I beseech you,

Look forward on the journey you

shall go.

[ocr errors]

Barnar. I swear, I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

Duke. But hear you.

Barnar. Not a word; if you have any thing to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

Enter Provost.


Duke. Unfit to live or die: O, gravel heart! After him, fellows; bring him to the block.


[Exeunt ABHORSON and Clown. Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner? Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death; And, to transport him in the mind he is,

Were damnable.


Here in the prison, father,

There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard, and head,
Just of his colour: What if we do omit
This reprobate, till he were well inclined;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

Duke. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides ! Despatch it presently; the hour draws on Prefix'd by Angelo: See, this be done, And sent according to command: whiles I Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die. Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently. But Barnardine must die this afternoon:

And how shall we continue Claudio,

To save me from the danger that might come,
If he were known alive?

Duke. Let this be done:- Put them in secret holds,

Both Barnardine and Claudio: Ere twice
The sun hath made his journal greeting to
The under generation, you shall find


Your safety manifested.

Prov. I am your free dependant.

Quick, despatch,

[Exit Provost,

whose contents

And send the head to Angelo.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,
The provost, he shall bear them,
Shall witness to him, I am near at home;
And that by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publickly: him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount,
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and weal-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter Provost.

Prov. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself. Duke. Convenient is it: Make a swift return; For I would commune with you of such things, That want no ear but yours.

3 The antipodes.


I'll make all speed.

Isab. [within.] Peace, ho, be here!


Duke. The tongue of Isabel:- She's come to


If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.


Isab. Ho, by your leave.

Duke. Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man. Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon? Duke. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the world;

His head is off, and sent to Angelo.

Isab. Nay, but it is not so.

It is no other:

Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close pa


Isab. O, I will to him, and pluck out his eyes. Duke. You shall not be admitted to his sight. Isab. Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel! Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!

Duke. This nor hurts him, nor profits you a jot: Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven. Mark what I say, which you shall find

By every syllable, a faithful verity:

The duke comes home to-morrow;-nay, dry

your eyes;

One of our convent, and his confessor,

Gives me this instance: Already he hath carried Notice to Escalus and Angelo;

Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
There to give up their power. If you can, pace
your wisdom

In that good path that I would wish it go;
And you shall have your bosom4 on this wretch,
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour.


I am directed by you.

Duke. This letter then to friar Peter give; 'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return: Say, by this token, I desire his company

At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause, and


I'll perfect him withal; and he shall bring you
Before the duke; and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow,

And shall be absent. Wends you with this letter;
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course.-Who's here?

[blocks in formation]

Lucio. O, pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart, to see thine eyes so red: thou must be patient: I am fain to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set me to't: But they say the duke will be here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I lov'd thy brother: if the old fantastical

4 Your heart's desire.

5 Go.

« PreviousContinue »