Cla. Now, sister, what 's the comfort?
As all comforts are : most good, most good indeed,
Lord Angelo having affairs to heaven
Intends you for his swift ambassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting lieger ;
Therefore your best appointment make with
To-morrow you set on.
Cla. Is there no remedy?
Isa. None, but such remedy, as to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.
Cla. But is there any ?
Isa. Yes, brother, you may live ;
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you '11 implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.
Cla. Perpetual durance ?
Isa. Ay, just, perpetual durance, a restraint
Though all the world's vastidity you had
To a determined scope.
Cla. But in what nature ?
Isa. In such a one, as you consenting to 't,
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
And leave you naked.
Cla. Let me know the point.
Isa. O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake,
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension,
And the poor beetle that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
Cla. Why give you me this shame?
Think you I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness ? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isa. There spake my brother : there my father's
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die :
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth emmew
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil :
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Cla. The princely Angelo ?
Isa. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damnedst body to invest and cover
In princely guards ; d'ost thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity
Thou might' st be freed?
Cla. O heavens ! it cannot be*
Isa. Yes, he would give 't thee, from this rank
So to offend him still. This night 's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Cla. Thou shalt not do 't*
Isa. O, were it but my life,
I 'd throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly as a pin.
ACT in., Sc. 1.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
Cla. Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isa. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-
Cla. Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it ? Sure it is no sin,
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.
Isa. Which is the least ?
Gla. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fined ? O Isabel !
Isa. What says my brother ?
Cla. Death is a fearful thing.
Isa. And shamed life, a hateful.
Cla. Ay, but to die, and go we know not
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot ;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod ; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice,
To be imprison' d in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendant world : or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thought,
Imagine howling, 'tis too horrible !
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
Isa. Alas, alas !
Cla. Sweet sister, let me live.
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far
That it becomes a virtue.
Isa. O you beast !
faithless coward ! O dishonest wretch !
Wilt thou be made a man, out of my vice ?
Is 't not a kind of incest, to take life
From thine own sister's shame ? What should I
Heaven shield my mother played my father fair !
For such a warped slip of wilderness
Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take iny defiance ;
Die, perish ! Might but my bending down
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.
1 '11 pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
No word to save thee.
Cla. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Isa. O fie, fie, fie !
Thy sin 's not accidental, but a trade.
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd,
'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
Cla. O hear me, Isabella.
Duke. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one
Isa. What is your will ?
Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I
would by and by have some speech with you :
the satisfaction I would require is likewise your
Isa. I have no superfluous leisure ; my stay
must be stolen out of other affairs : but I will
attend you awhile.
Duke. Son, I have overheard what hath passed
between you and your sister. Angelo had never
the purpose to corrupt her ; only he hath made an
assay of her virture, to practise his judgment with
the disposition of natures. She (having the
truth of honour in her) hath made him that
gracious denial which he is most glad to receive.
I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be
true, therefore prepare yourself to death : do not
satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible ;
to-morrow you must die ; go to your knees, and
Cla. Let me ask my sister pardon : I am so out
of love with life, that I will sue to be rid of it.
Duke. Hold you there : farewell. Provost, a
word with you. Exit Claudio.
Pro. What 's your will, father ?
Duke. That now you are come, you will be
gone. Leave me awhile with the maid : my mind
promises with my habit no loss shall touch her
by my company.
Pro. In good time. Exit,
Duke. The hand that hath made you fair hath
made you good: the. goodness that is cheap in
beauty makes beauty brief in goodness ; but grace,
being the soul of your complexion, shall keep the
body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo hath
made to you, fortune hath conveyed to my under-
standing ; and but that frailty hath examples for
his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How will
you do to content this substitute, and to save your
Isa. I am now going to resolve him. I had
rather my brother die by the law than my son
should be unlawfully born. But, 0, how much
is the good duke deceived in Angelo ! If ever he
return, and I can speak to him, I will open my
lips in vain, or discover his government.
Duke. That shall not be much amiss : yet, as
the matter now stands, he will avoid your accusa-
tion : he made trial of you only. Therefore fasten
your ear on my advisings, to the love I have in
doing good a remedy presents itself. I do make
myself believe that you may most uprighteously
do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit ; redeem
your brother from the angry law ; do no stain
to your own gracious person, and much please the
absent duke, if peradventure he shall ever return
to have hearing of this business.
Isa. Let me hear you speak farther ; I have
spirit to do anything that appears not foul in the
truth of my spirit.
Duke. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fear-
ful. Have you not heard speak of Mariana the
sister of Frederick, the great soldier who mis-
carried at sea ?
Isa. I have heard of the lady, and good words
went with her name.
Duke. She should this Angelo have married :
was affianced to her oath, and the nuptial appoint-
ed : between which time of the contract and limit
of the solemnity, her brother Frederick was
wrecked at sea, having in that perished vessel the
dowry of his sister. But mark how heavily this
befel to the jy>or gentlewoman ; there she lost a
noble and renowned brother, in his love toward
her ever most kind and natural : with him the
portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage
dowry : with both, her combinate husband, this
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
ACT III., Sc. 2.
Isa. Can this be so? did Angelo so leave her?
Duke. Left her in her tears, and dried not one
of them with his comfort: swallowed his vows
whole, pretending in her discoveries of dishonour :
in few, bestowed her on her own lamentation,
which she yet wears for his sake : and he, a marble
to her tears, is washed with them, but relents
Isa. What a merit were it in death to take
this poor maid from the world ! What corruption
in this life, that it will let this man live ! But
how out of this can she avail ?
Duke. It is a rupture that you may easily heal :
and the cure of it not only saves your brother,
but keeps you from dishonour in doing it.
Isa. Show me how, good father.
Duke. This fore-named maid hath yet in her the
continuance of her first affection : his unjust un-
kindness, that in all reason should have quenched
her love, hath, like an impediment in the current,
made it more violent and unruly. Go you to
Angelo; answer his requiring with a plausible
obedience ; agree with his demands to the point :
only refer yourself to this advantage ; first, that
your stay with him may not be long ; that the
time may have all shadow and silence in it ; and
the place answer to convenience. This beinggranted
in course, and now follows all : we shall advise
this wronged maid to stead up your appointment,
go in your place : if the encounter acknowledge
itself hereafter, it may compel him to her recom-
pense ; and here, by this, is your brother saved,
your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advan-
taged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid
will I frame, and make fit for his attempt. If you
think well to carry this as you may, the double-
ness of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof.
What think you of it ?
Isa. The image of it gives me content already,
and I trust it will grow to a most prosperous per-
Duke. It lies much in your holding up. Haste
you speedily to Angelo, if for this night he entreat
you to his bed, give him promise of satisfaction.
I will presently to St. Luke's ; there, at the moated
grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that
place call upon me, and dispatch with Angelo,
that it may be quickly.
Isa. I thank you for this comfort: fare you
well, good father. Exeunt.
Scene II. A Street.
Enter Duke, as Friar, Elbow, Clown and Officers.
Elb. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that
you will needs buy and sell men and women like
beasts, we shall have all the world drink brown
and white bastard.
Duke. O heavens ! what s'tuff is here ?
Elb. Come your way, sir. Bless you, good father
Duke. And you, good brother father ; what
offence hath this man made you, sir ?
Elb. Marry sir, he hath offended the law ; and,
sir, we take him to be a thief too, sir : for we have
found upon him, sir, a strange pick-lock, which we
have sent to the deputy.
Duke. Fie, sirrah !
Clo. But yet, sir, I would prove.
Duke. Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison,
Correction and instruction must both work
Ere this rude beast will profit.
Elb. He must before the deputy, sir, he has
given him warning : he were as good go a mile on
Duke. That we were all, as some would seem
From our faults, as faults from seeming, free.
Elb. His neck will come to your waist, a cord,
Clo. I spy comfort, I cry bail. Here 's a
gentleman and a friend of mine.
Luc. How now, noble Pompey ? What, at the
wheels of Csesar ? Art thou led in triumph ? Or
how? The trick of it?
Duke. Still thus, and thus : still worse !
Luc. Art going to prison, Pompey ?
Clo. Yes faith, sir.
Luc. Why 'tis not amiss, Pompey : farewell :
go, say I sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey ?
Or how ?
Clo. I hope, sir, your good worship will be my
Luc. No, indeed will I not, Pompey, it is not
the wear : I will pray, Pompey, to increase your
bondage if you take it not patiently : why, your
mettle is the more. Adieu, trusty Pompey. Bless
Duke. And you.
Elb. Come your ways, sir, come.
Clo. You will not bail me then, sir ?
Luc. Then, Pompey, nor now : what news
abroad, friar? What news ?
Elb. Come your ways, sir, come.
Exeunt Elbow, Officers and Clown.
Luc. Go to kennel, Pompey, go :
What news, friar, of the duke ?
Duke. I know none : can you tell me of any ?
Luc. Some say he is with the Emperor of
Russia : other some, he is in Rome : but where is
he, think you?
Duke. I know not where : but wheresoever, I
wish him well.
Luc. It was a mad fantastical trick of him to
steal from the state, and usurp the beggary he was
never born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his
absence : he puts transgression to 't.
Duke. He does well in 't.
Luc. A little more lenity to lechery would do
no harm in him : something too crabbed that
Duke. It is too general a vice, and severity
must cure it.
Luc. Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great
kindred ; it is well allied, but it is impossible to
extirp it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be
put down. They say this Angelo was not made
by man and woman after this downright way of
creation : is it true, think you ?
Duke. You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
Luc. The duke had crotchets in him. He
would be drunk too, that let me inform you.
Duke. You do him wrong, surely.
ACT III., Sc. 2.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
Luc. Sir, I was an inward of his : a shy fellow
was the duke, and I believe I know the cause of
Duke. What, I prithee, might be the cause?
Luc. No, pardon : 'tis a secret must be locked
within the teeth and the lips : but this I can let
you understand, the greater file of the subject
held the duke to be wise.
Duke. Wise ? Why, no question but he was.
Luc. A very superficial, ignorant, un weighing
Duke. Either this is envy in you, folly, or mis-
taking : the very stream of his life, and the
business he hath helmed must upon a warranted
need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be
but testimonied in his own bringings forth, and
he shall appear to the envious, a scholar, a
statesman and a soldier. Therefore you speak
unskilfully : or, if your knowledge be more, it is
much darkened in your malice.
Luc. Sir, I know him, and I love him.
Duke. Love talks with better knowledge, and
knowledge with dearer love.
Luc. Come, sir, I know what I know.
Duke. I can hardly believe that, since you know
not what you speak. But if ever the duke return
(as our prayers are he may), let me desire you to
make your answer before him : if it be honest you
have spoke, you have courage to maintain it ; I
am bound to call upon you, and I pray you your
Luc. Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the
Duke. He shall know you better, sir, if I may
live to report you.
Luc. I fear you not.
Duke. O, you hope the duke will return no
more : or you imagine me too unhurtful an op-
posite. But indeed I can do you little harm:
you '11 forswear this again.
Luc. I '11 be hanged first. Thou art deceived in
me, friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell
if Claudio die to-morrow, or no ?
Duke. Why should he die, sir?
Luc. Why ? The duke yet would have dark
deeds darkly answered, he would never bring them
to light : would he were returned. Farewell, good
friar, I prithee pray for me. The duke, I say to
thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays: say,
that I said so. Farewell. Exit.
Duke. No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape. Back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue ?
But who comes here ?
Enter Escalus and Provost.
Esc. Provost, my brother Angelo will not be
altered ; Claudio must die to-morrow : let him be
furnished with divines, and have all charitable
preparation. If my brother wrought by my pity,
it should not be so with him.
Pro. So please you, this friar hath been with
him, and advised him for the entertainment of
Esc. G-ood even, good father.
Duke. Bliss and goodness on you.
Esc. Of whence are you ?
Duke. Not of this country, though my chance
To use it for my time : I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See,
In special business from his Holiness.
Esc. What news abroad i' the world ?
Duke. None, but that there is so great a fever
on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure
it. Novelty is only in request, and as it is as
dangerous to be aged in any kind of course, as it
is virtuous to be constant in any undertaking,
there is scarce truth enough alive to make socie-
ties secure, but security enough to make fellow-
ships accurs'd. Much upon this riddle runs the
wisdom of the world. This news is old enough,
yet it is every day's news. I pray you, sir, of what
disposition was the duke ?
Esc. One, that above all other strifes, contended
especially to know himself.
Duke. What pleasure was he given to ?
Esc. Rather rejoicing to see another merry,
than merry at anything which professed to make
him rejoice ; a gentleman of all temperance.
But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they
may prove prosperous, and let me desire to know,
how you find Claudio prepared ? I am made to
understand that you have lent him visitation.
Duke. He professes to have received no sinister
measure from his judge, but most willingly
humbles himself to the determination of justice :
yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction
of his frailty, many deceiving promises of life,
which I, by my good leisure, have discredited to
him, and now is he resolved to die.
Esc. You have paid the heavens your function,
and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I
have laboured for the poor gentleman to the ex-
tremest shore of my modesty, but my brother-
justice have I found so severe, that he hath forced
me to tell him, he is indeed Justice.
Duke. If his own life answer the straightness
of his proceeding, it shall become him well :
wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced
Esc. I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare
you well. Exeunt Escalus and Provost.
Duke. Peace be with you.
He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe :
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go :
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking,
Kills for faults of his own liking :
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow.
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side :
How may likeness made in crimes,
Making practice on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most ponderous and substantial things ?
Craft against vice I must apply.
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed, but despised :
So disguise shall by the disguised
Pay with falshood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting. Exit.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
ACT IV., Sc. 2.
Scene I. The Moated Grange.
Enter Mariana and Boy singing.
SONG. Take, oh take those lips away, '
That so sweetly were forsivorn,
And those eyes, the break of da,y,
Lights that do mislead the morn ;
But my kisses bring again,
bring _ again,
Seals of lore, but seal'd in vain,
seal'd in vain.
Mar. Break off thy song, and haste thee quick
Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
Hath often still'd my braAvling discontent.
I cry you mercy, sir, and well could wish
You had not found me here so musical.
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.
Duke. 'Tis good; though music oft hath such
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.
I pray you, tell me, hath anybody inquired for me
here to-day ? much upon this time have I promised
here to meet.
Mar. You have not been inquired after : I have
sat here all day.
Duke. I do constantly believe you: the time is
come even now. I shall crave your forbearance a
little ; may be I will call upon you anon, for some
advantage to yourself.
Mar. I am always bound to you. Exit.
Duke. Very well met, and welcome.
What is the news from this good deputy ?
Isa. He hath a garden circummured with brick,
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd ;
And to that vineyard is a planched gate,
That makes his opening with this bigger key :
This other doth command a little door,
'Which from the vineyard to the garden leads,
There have I made my promise upon the
Heavy middle of the night to call upon him.
Duke. But shall you on your knowledge find
this way ?
Isa. 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 ?
Isa. No : none, but only a repair i' the dark,
And that I have possess'd 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.
Duke. 'Tis well borne up.
I have not yet made known to Mariana
A word of this : what ho ! within ; come forth.
I pray you be acquainted with this maid ;
.She comes to do you good.
Isa. I do desire the like.
Duke. Do you persuade yourself that I respect
Mar. Good friar, I know you do, and have
Duke. Take then this your companion by the
Who hath a story ready for your ear :
I shall attend your leisure, but make haste ;
The vaporous night approaches.
Mar. Will 't please you walk aside ? Exeuntt
Duke. O place and greatness, millions of false
Are stuck upon thee : volumes of report
Run with these false and most contrarious quests
Upon thy doings : thousand escapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dream,
And rack thee in their fancies.
Welcome, how agreed ?
Re-enter Mariana and Isabella.
Isa. She '11 take the enterprise upon her, father,
If you advise it.
Duke. It is not my consent,
But my entreaty too.
Isa. Little have you to say
When you depart from him, but soft and low,
Remember now my brother.
Mar. 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 that the justice of your title to him
Doth nourish the deceit. Come, let us go,
Our corn 's to reap, for yet our tithe 's to sow.
Scene II. The Prison.
Enter Provost and Clown.
Pro. Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a
man's head ?
Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can : but
if he be a married man, he 's his wife's head, and
I can never cut off a woman's head.
Pro. 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.
Glo. I will be content to be a lawful hangman :
I would be glad to receive some instruction from
my fellow partner.
Pro. What ho, Abhorson ! where 's Abhorson,
Abh. Do you call, sir ?
Pro. Sirrah, here 's a fellow will help you to-
morrow 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.
Abh. Fie upon him, he will discredit our
Pro. Go to, sir, you weigh equally : a feather
will turn the scale.
ACT IV., Sc. 2.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
Clo. Pray, sir, by your gopd favour, for surely,
sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a
hanging look. Do you call, sir, your occupation a
Abh. Ay, sir, a mystery.
Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a
mystery ; but what mystery there should be in
hanging, if I should be hanged, I cannot imagine.
Abh. Sir, it is a mystery.
Abh. Every true man's apparel fits your thief.
Clo. 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.
Pro. Are you agreed ?
Glo. Sir, I will serve him.
Pro. You, sirrah, provide your block and your
axe to-morrow, four o'clock.
Abh. Come on, clown, I will instruct thee in my
trade : follow.
Glo. I do desire to learn, sir : and I hope, if
you have occasion to use me for your own turn,
you shall find me yare. For truly, sir, for your