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[Transcriber's Note:

This text of _Measure for Measure_ is from Volume I of the nine-volume
1863 Cambridge edition of Shakespeare. The Preface (e-text 23041) and
the other plays from this volume are each available as separate

General Notes are in their original location at the end of the play.
Text-critical notes are grouped at the end of each Scene. All line
numbers are from the original text; line breaks in dialogue - including
prose passages - are unchanged. Brackets are also unchanged; to avoid
ambiguity, footnotes and linenotes are given without added brackets.
In the notes, numerals printed as subscripts are shown inline as
F1, F2, Q1...

Texts cited in the Notes are listed at the end of the e-text.]




Edited by

Fellow and Tutor of Trinity College, and Public Orator
in the University of Cambridge;

Librarian Of Trinity College, Cambridge.


Cambridge and London:



VINCENTIO, the Duke.
ANGELO, Deputy.
ESCALUS, an ancient Lord.
CLAUDIO, a young gentleman.
LUCIO, a fantastic.
Two other gentlemen.
THOMAS, } two friars.
A Justice[2].
ELBOW, a simple constable.
FROTH, a foolish gentleman.
POMPEY, servant to Mistress Overdone[3].
ABHORSON, an executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute prisoner.

ISABELLA, sister to Claudio.
MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo.
JULIET, beloved of Claudio.

Lords, Officers, Citizens, Boy, and Attendants[2].

SCENE - _Vienna_.


(added at the end of the play).
2: Omitted in Ff.
3: Clowne. Ff.



SCENE I. _An apartment in the DUKE'S palace._

_Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, _Lords_ and _Attendants_._

_Duke._ Escalus.

_Escal._ My lord.

_Duke._ Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
Since I am put to know that your own science 5
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you: then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency . . . . . .
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people, 10
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you're as pregnant in
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither, 15
I say, bid come before us Angelo. [_Exit an Attendant._
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love, 20
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: what think you of it?

_Escal._ If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.

_Duke._ Look where he comes. 25

_Enter ANGELO._

_Ang._ Always obedient to your Grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.

_Duke._ Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That to th' observer doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings 30
Are not thine own so proper, as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike 35
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd
But to fine issues; nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor, 40
Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise;
Hold therefore, Angelo: -
In our remove be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna 45
Live in thy tongue and heart: old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.

_Ang._ Now, good my lord,
Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure 50
Be stamp'd upon it.

_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 55
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 60
Of your commissions.

_Ang._ Yet, give leave, my lord,
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, 65
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,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes:
Though it do well, I do not relish well 70
Their loud applause and Aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.

_Ang._ The heavens give safety to your purposes!

_Escal._ Lead forth and bring you back in happiness! 75

_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 concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place:
A power I have, but of what strength and nature 80
I am not yet instructed.

_Ang._ 'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
Touching that point.

_Escal._ I'll wait upon your honour. [_Exeunt._

NOTES: I, 1.

SCENE I. Lords and Attendants.] Singer. Lords. Ff. and Attendants.
5: _put_] _not_ Pope. _apt_ Collier MS.
7, 8: _remains, But that_] _remains; Put that_ Rowe.
8, 9: _But that to your sufficiency ..._]
_But that to your sufficiency you add Due diligency ..._
Theobald conj.
_But that to your sufficiency you joyn A will to serve us ..._
_But that to your sufficiency you put A zeal as willing ..._
Tyrwhitt conj.
_But that to your sufficiencies your worth is abled_ Johnson conj.
_But your sufficiency as worth is able_ Farmer conj.
_Your sufficiency ... able_ Steevens conj.
_But that your sufficiency be as your worth is stable_ Becket conj.
_But state to your sufficiency ..._ Jackson conj.
_But thereto your sufficiency ..._ Singer.
_But add to your sufficiency your worth_ Collier MS.
_But that_ [tendering his commission] _to your sufficiency. And, as
your worth is able, let them work_ Staunton conj.
_But that to your sufficiency I add Commission ample_ Spedding conj.
See note (I).
11: _city's_] _cities_ Ff.
16: [Exit an Attendant.] Capell.
18: _soul_] _roll_ Warburton. _seal_ Johnson conj.
22: _what_] _say, what_ Pope.
25: SCENE II. Pope.
27: _your pleasure_] F1. _your Graces pleasure_ F2 F3 F4.
28: _life_] _look_ Johnson conj.
28, 29: _character ... history_] _history ... character_
Monck Mason conj.
32: _they_] _them_ Hanmer.
35, 36: _all alike As if we_] _all as if We_ Hanmer.
37: _nor_] om. Pope.
42: _my part in him_] _in my part me_ Hanmer. _my part to him_
Johnson conj. _in him, my part_ Becket conj.
43: _Hold therefore, Angelo: - _] _Hold therefore, Angelo:_ [Giving
him his commission] Hanmer. _Hold therefore. Angelo,_ Tyrwhitt conj.
_Hold therefore, Angelo, our place and power:_ Grant White.
45: _Mortality_] _Morality_ Pope.
51: _upon it_] _upon 't_ Capell.
_No more_] _Come, no more_ Pope.
52: _leaven'd and prepared_] Ff. _leven'd and prepar'd_ Rowe.
_prepar'd and leaven'd_ Pope. _prepar'd and level'd_ Warburton.
_prepar'd unleaven'd_ Heath conj.
56: _to you_] om. Hanmer.
61: _your commissions_] F1. _your commission_ F2 F3 F4.
_our commission_ Pope.
66: _laws_] _law_ Pope.
76: [Exit.] F2. [Exit. (after line 75) F1.
84: _your_] _you_ F2.

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! 5

_Sec. Gent._ Amen.

_Lucio._ Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate,
that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped
one out of the table.

_Sec. Gent._ 'Thou shalt not steal'? 10

_Lucio._ Ay, that he razed.

_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, do relish the petition well that 15
prays for peace.

_Sec. Gent._ I never heard any soldier dislike it.

_Lucio._ I believe thee; for I think thou never wast
where grace was said.

_Sec. Gent._ No? a dozen times at least. 20

_First Gent._ What, in metre?

_Lucio._ In any proportion or in any language.

_First Gent._ I think, or in any religion.

_Lucio._ Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all
controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked 25
villain, despite of all grace.

_First Gent._ Well, there went but a pair of shears between

_Lucio._ I grant; as there may between the lists and the
velvet. Thou art the list. 30

_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 35
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? 40

_Sec. Gent._ Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted
or free.

_Lucio._ Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation
comes! I have purchased as many diseases under her roof
as come to - 45

_Sec. Gent._ To what, I pray?

_Lucio._ Judge.

_Sec. Gent._ To three thousand dolours a year.

_First Gent._ Ay, and more.

_Lucio._ A French crown more. 50

_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. 55


_First Gent._ How now! which of your hips has the
most profound sciatica?

_Mrs Ov._ Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and
carried to prison was worth five thousand of you all.

_Sec. Gent._ Who's that, I pray thee? 60

_Mrs Ov._ Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.

_First Gent._ Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.

_Mrs Ov._ 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. 65

_Lucio._ But, after all this fooling, I would not have it
so. Art thou sure of this?

_Mrs Ov._ 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 70
me two hours since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.

_Sec. 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. 75

_Lucio._ Away! let's go learn the truth of it.

[_Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen._

_Mrs Ov._ Thus, what with the war, what with the
sweat, what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am
custom-shrunk. 80

_Enter POMPEY._

How now! what's the news with you?

_Pom._ Yonder man is carried to prison.

_Mrs Ov._ Well; what has he done?

_Pom._ A woman.

_Mrs Ov._ But what's his offence? 85

_Pom._ Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

_Mrs Ov._ What, is there a maid with child by him?

_Pom._ No, but there's a woman with maid by him.
You have not heard of the proclamation, have you?

_Mrs Ov._ What proclamation, man? 90

_Pom._ All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be
plucked down.

_Mrs Ov._ And what shall become of those in the city?

_Pom._ They shall stand for seed: they had gone down
too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. 95

_Mrs Ov._ But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs
be pulled down?

_Pom._ To the ground, mistress.

_Mrs Ov._ Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!
What shall become of me? 100

_Pom._ 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. 105

_Mrs Ov._ What's to do here, Thomas tapster? let's

_Pom._ 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? 110
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

_Prov._ I do it not in evil disposition,
But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

_Claud._ Thus can the demigod Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight 115
The words of heaven; - on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.

_Re-enter LUCIO and two _Gentlemen_._

_Lucio._ Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint?

_Claud._ From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast, 120
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

_Lucio._ If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I 125
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 imprisonment. What's thy offence, Claudio?

_Claud._ What but to speak of would offend again.

_Lucio._ What, is't murder? 130

_Claud._ No.

_Lucio._ Lechery?

_Claud._ Call it so.

_Prov._ Away, sir! you must go.

_Claud._ One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you. 135

_Lucio._ A hundred, if they'll do you any good.
Is lechery so look'd after?

_Claud._ Thus stands it with me: - upon a true contract
I got possession of Julietta's bed:
You know the lady; she is fast my wife, 140
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order: this we came not to,
Only for propagation of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends;
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love 145
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
With character too gross is writ on Juliet.

_Lucio._ With child, perhaps?

_Claud._ Unhappily, even so.
And the new Deputy now for the Duke, - 150
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur; 155
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his eminence that fills it up.
I stagger in: - but this new governor
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
So long, that nineteen zodiacs have gone round,
And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.

_Lucio._ I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle 165
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.
I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter 170
And there receive her approbation:
Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:
I have great hope in that; for in her youth 175
There is a prone and speechless dialect,
Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

_Lucio._ I pray she may; as well for the encouragement 180
of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition,
as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry
should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll
to her.

_Claud._ I thank you, good friend Lucio. 185

_Lucio._ Within two hours.

_Claud._ Come, officer, away!


NOTES: I, 2.

12: First Gent. _Why, 'twas_] 1. Gent. _Why? 'twas_ Ff.
First Gent. _Why?_ Luc. _'Twas_ Singer.
15: _before_] _after_ Hanmer. See note (II).
_do_] _doth_ Hanmer. _does_ Warburton.
22-26: Lucio. _In any proportion ... language._ First Gent. _I think
... religion._ Lucio. _Ay, why not?... all grace._] Lucio. _Not in
any profession ... language, I ... religion._ 2. Gent. _And why
not?... controversy._ Lucio. _As for ... all grace._ Hanmer.
See note (III).
29: _lists_] _list_ Anon. conj.
42: Here Ff have _Enter Bawde_, transferred by Theobald to line 56.
43: SCENE IV. Pope. Bawd coming at a distance. Hanmer.
44: _I have_] 1. Gent. _I have_ Pope (ed. 2). _He has_ Halliwell.
48: _dolours_] Rowe. _dollours_ Ff. _dollars_ Pope.
56: SCENE IV. Johnson.
65: _head_] _head is_ Rowe. _head's_ Capell.
81: SCENE V. Pope.
88: _with maid_] _with-made_ Seymour conj.
91: _houses_] _bawdy houses_ Tyrwhitt conj.
96: _all_] om. Pope.
Juliet] Ff. Gaoler. Halliwell. om. Collier MS. See note (IV).

[Transcriber's Note:
Pope's Scene I.VI is not mentioned, but presumably begins here.]

113: _Lord_] om. F2 F3 F4.
115: _offence_] _offence'_ (for _offences_) S. Walker conj.
115, 116: _by weight The words_] Ff. _by weight; I' th' words_ Hanmer.
_by weight. The words_ Warburton (after Davenant).
_by weight - The sword_ Roberts conj. _by weight The word_ Halliwell.
_by weight. - The word's_ Becket conj. _by weight - The works_
Jackson conj. See note (V).
117: _yet still 'tis just_] _yet 'tis just still_ S. Walker conj.
121: _every scope_] _liberty_ Wheeler MS.
124: _A thirsty evil_] _An evil thirst_ Davenant's version.
_A thirsted evil_ Spedding conj.
128: _morality_] Rowe (after Davenant). _mortality_ Ff.
141: _denunciation_] _pronunciation_ Collier MS.
143: _propagation_] F2 F3 F4. _propogation_ F1. _prorogation_
Malone conj. _procuration_ Jackson conj. _preservation_ Grant White.
147: _most_] om. Hanmer.
148: _on_] F1. _in_ F2 F3 F4.
151: _fault and_] _flash and_ Johnson conj. _foult or_ Id. conj.
_foil and_ Anon. conj. _fault and_] _flash and_ Johnson conj.
_fault or_ Id. conj. _foil and_ Anon. conj.
_glimpse_] _guise_ Anon. conj.
161: _nineteen_] _fourteen_ Whalley conj.
165: _it is_] _so it is_ Hanmer (who prints line 165-167 as four
verses ending _stands, milkmaid, off, him._
166: _she be_] _she be but_ Hanmer.
173: _voice_] _name_ Wheler MS.
175: _youth_] _zenith_ Johnson conj.
176: _prone_] _prompt_ Johnson conj. _pow'r_ Id. conj. _proue_
Becket conj.
177: _move_] Ff. _moves_ Rowe.
_beside_] _besides_ Capell.
181: _under_] F1. _upon_ F2 F3 F4. _on_ Hanmer, who prints 179-185
as six verses ending _may, like, imposition, be, tick-tack, Lucio._
_imposition_] _inquisition_ Johnson conj. (withdrawn).
182: _the enjoying of_] om. Hanmer.
_who I would_] _which I'd_ Hanmer.
184: _her_] _her strait_ Hanmer.

SCENE III. _A monastery._

_Enter _Duke_ and FRIAR THOMAS._

_Duke._ No, holy father; throw away that thought;
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends 5
Of burning youth.

_Fri. T._ May your grace speak of it?

_Duke._ My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever loved the life removed,
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps. 10
I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,
A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear, 15
And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this?

_Fri. T._ Gladly, my lord.

_Duke._ We have strict statutes and most biting laws,
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds, 20
Which for this fourteen years we have let slip;
Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight 25
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees.
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart 30
Goes all decorum.

_Fri. T._ It rested in your Grace
To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:
And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
Than in Lord Angelo.

_Duke._ I do fear, too dreadful:
Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, 35
'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,
I have on Angelo imposed the office; 40
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet my nature never in the fight
To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee, 45
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise; 50
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be. [_Exeunt._

NOTES: I, 3.

3: _bosom_] _breast_ Pope.
10: _and witless_] F2 F3 F4. _witless_ F1. _with witless_ Edd. conj.
_keeps_] _keep_ Hammer.
12: _stricture_] _strictness_ Davenant's version. _strict ure_
15: _For_] _Far_ F2.

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