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Duke. 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 importune, 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.
Ang. Yet give leave, my lord, co 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,
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 con
To look into the bottom of my place:
A power I have, but of what strength and nature I am not yet instructed.
Ang. "Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
I'll wait upon your honour. Excunt.
SCENE II.- A Street.
Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen.
Lucio. If the duke with the other dukes come not to composition with the King of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon the king.
First Gent. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of Hungary's!
Second Gent. Amen.
Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
Second Gent. Thou shalt not steal'?
First Gent. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions: they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.
Lucio. I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet: thou art the list.
First Gent. And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou 'rt a three-piled piece, I warrant thee. I had as lief be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?
Lucio. I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.
First Gent. I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?
Second Gent. Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.
Lucio. Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes!
First Gent. I have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to
Second Gent. To what, I pray?
Second Gent. To three thousand dolours a year. First Gent. Ay, and more.
Lucio. A French crown more.
First Gent. Thou art always figuring diseases in me; but thou art full of error: I am sound. Lucio. Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound as things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast of thee.
Enter Mistress OVERDONE.
First Gent. How now! which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?
Overdone. Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
Second Gent. Who's that, I pray thee?
Overdone. Marry, sir, that 's Claudio, Signior | The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will ; Claudio. On whom it will not, so: yet still 'tis just.
Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen.
First Gent. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so. Overdone. Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw him carried away; and, which is more, within these three days his head to be chopped off.
Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint ?
Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou sure of this?
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
Overdone. I am too sure of it; and it is for getting Madam Julietta with child.
Lucio. Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
Second Gent. Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we had to such a purpose. First Gent. But most of all agreeing with the proclamation.
Lucio. Away! let's go learn the truth of it.
Prov. Away, sir! you must go.
Claud. One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.
Lucio. A hundred, if they 'll do you any good. 90 Is lechery so looked after?
Claud. Thus stands it with me: upon a true
Pompey. They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in
Overdone. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled down?
Pompey. To the ground, mistress. Overdone. Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth! What shall become of me? 111 Pompey. Come; fear not you: good counsellors lack no clients: though you change your place, you need not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. Courage! there will be pity taken on you; you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.
Overdone. What's to do here, Thomas tapster? Let's withdraw.
Pompey. Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison; and there's Madam Juliet. Exeunt. Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers.
Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Claud. Thus can the demi-god Authority
Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors. And yet, to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom as the morality of imprisonWhat's thy offence, Claudio?
Claud. What but to speak of would offend again.
Claud. Call it so.
I got possession of Julietta's bed:
Unhappily, even so.
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round,
Lucio. I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to him.
Claud. I have done so, but he's not to be found.
There is a prone and speechless dialect,
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
When she will play with reason and discourse,
Lucio. I pray she may: as well for the en-
Come, officer; away! 200
SCENE III-A Monastery.
Duke. No, holy father; throw away that
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
May your grace speak of it?
A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
It rested in your grace
I do fear, too dreadful: Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, "Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them 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 father,
SCENE IV.-A Nunnery.
Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.
Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges?
Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more,
But in the presence of the prioress :
Fri. Gladly, my lord.
Duke. We have strict statutes and most biting
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,
It is truc. 20
Isab. You do blaspheme the good in mocking
Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
Isab. Why her unhappy brother'? let me ask,
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Lucio. For that which, if myself might be his
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:
I have on Angelo impos'd the office,
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
İsab. Some one with child by him? My cousin
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home, To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
Lucio. Is she vour cousin?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their
By vain though apt affection. Lucio.
Isab. O let him marry her. Lucio.
She it is.
This is the point. The duke is very strangely gone from hence; 50 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 of his authority, Governs Lord Angelo; a man whose blood 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 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?
Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me To do him good?
Lucio. Has censur'd him Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath A warrant for his execution.
All their petitions are as freely theirs As they themselves would owe them. Isab. I'll see what I can do.
Lucio. Assay the power you have. Isab. My power, alas! I doubt,Lucio. Our doubts are traitors, 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, so Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
That justice seizes: what know the laws
Good sir, adieu. Exeunt. 90
Had time coher'd with place or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of your blood Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
SCENE I-A Hall in ANGELO'S House. Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants.
Ang. We must not make a scarecrow of the law, 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.
Excal Ay, but yet Let us be keen and rather cut a little, Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas! this gentleman,
Whether you had not, sometime in your life, Err'd in this point which now you censure him, And pull'd the law upon you.
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny, The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two 20 Guiltier than him they try; what's open made to justice,
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall :
Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and POMPEY.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law : bring them away.
Ang. How now, sir. what's the matter?
What's your name, and
Elb. If it please your honour, I'm the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon justice, sir; and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors. 50
Ang. Benefactors! Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are; but precise villains they are, that I am sure of, and void of all profanation in the world that good Christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well: here's a wise officer. Ang. Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? why dost thou not speak, Elbow? Pompey. He cannot, sir: he's out at elbow. co Ang. What are you, sir?
Elb. He, sir! a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman, whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Whom I would save, had a most noble father.
Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
That, in the working of your own affections, 10 and your honour,
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven
Eib. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,——
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore? Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How dost thou know that, constable? Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means; but as she spit in his face, so she defied him. Pompey. Sir, if it please your honour, this is
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause, Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship. Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
Pompey. Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.
Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Pompey. I beseech your honour, ask me. Escal. Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her? Pompey. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face. Good Master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth your
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honour mark his face? honourable man, prove it.
Escal. To ANGELO. Do you hear how he misplaces?
Pompey. Sir, she came in great with child, and longing, saving your honour's reverence, for stewed prunes. Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some threepence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not china dishes, but very good dishes. Escal. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir. Pompey. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right; but to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great-bellied, and longing, as I said, for prunes, and having but two in the dish, as I said, Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again. Froth. No, indeed.
Pompey. Very well you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Pompey. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remembered, that such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you,Froth. All this is true.
Pompey. Why, very well then,-
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
Pompey. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Pompey. Doth your honour see any harm in his face?
Escal. Why, no.
Pompey. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him. Good, then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour. Escal. He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?
Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow, and his mistress is a respected woman. Pompey. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou liest: thou liest, wicked varlet. The time is yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Pompey. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?
Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her before I was married to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer. Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
Escal. If he took you a box o' th' car, you might have your action of slander too.
Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is 't your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?
Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou would'st discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou knowest what they are.
Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee: thou art to continue now, thou varlet, thou art to continue.
Escal. Where were you born, friend?
Escal. So. What trade are you of, sir?