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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 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 grace2 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? Lucio. Has censur'd3 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?
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, Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
(2) Power of gaining favour.
(1) Extent. Sentenced.
All their petitions are as freely theirs
Isab. I will about it straight;
SCENE I-A hall in Angelo's house. Enter Angelo, Escalus, a Justice, Provost, Officers, and attendants.
Good sir, adieu. [Exeunt.
Ang. We must not make a scare-crow of the law, Setting it up to fears the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Escal. Ay, but yet Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, Than fall, and bruise to death: alas! this gentleman, Whom I would save, had a most noble father. Let but your honour know4
(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,)
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 Guiltier than him they try: what's open made to justice,
That justice seizes. What know the laws,
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, Officers, &c.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
(1) Pass judgment. (2) Plain. (3) Because.
Ang. How now, sir! what's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am 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.
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.
Elb. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel2-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. 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.
(1) Well told. (2) Partly. (3) Keeps a bagnio. For protest.
Escal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him. Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so. Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces?
[To Angelo. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence) for stew'd prunes: sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruitdish, a dish of some three-pence: 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. Clo. 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 belly'd, 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.
Clo. Very well you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, 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.
Clo. 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.