Page images


Fear me not. 71 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 flourish the deceit. Come, let us go: Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe 's to sow. Exeunt.

SCENE II-A Room in the Prison.

Enter Provost and POMPEY. Prov. Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?

Pompey. 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.

Prov. 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, for you have been a notorious bawd.

Pompey. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner. Prov. What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?


Abhor. Do you call, sir?


Prov. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you tomorrow 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; he hath been a bawd.

Abhor. A bawd, sir? Fie upon him! he will discredit our mystery.


Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale. Exit.

Pompey. Pray, sir, by your good favour-for, surely, sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a hanging look-do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?

Abhor. Ay, sir; a mystery.

Pompey. Painting, sir, I have heard say is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery; but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hanged, I cannot imagine.

Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery.
Pompey. Proof!


Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your


[blocks in formation]

Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow four o'clock.

Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade: follow.


Pompey. 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 kindness I owe you a good turn.

Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio: Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON. The one has my pity; not a jot the other, Being a murderer, though he were my brother. Enter CLAUDIO,

Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death: 'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow Where's BarThou must be made immortal.


[blocks in formation]





They will, then, ere 't be long.
Prov. What comfort is for Claudio?
Duke. There's some in hope.
It is a bitter deputy.
Even with the stroke and line of his great justice:
Duke. Not so, not so: his life is parallel'd
He doth with holy abstinence subdue
That in himself which he spurs on his power
To qualify in others were he meal'd with that
Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
But this being so, he's just. Knocking within.
Now are they come, 90
Exit Provost.

This is a gentle provost : seldom when
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.


How now! What noise? That spirit 's possess'd with haste

That wounds the unsisting postern with these


Re-enter Provost.

Prov. There he must stay until the officer Arise to let him in; he is call'd up.

Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,

But he must die to-morrow?


None, sir, none.

Duke. As near the dawning, provost, as it is, You shall hear more ere morning.


[blocks in formation]

For which the pardoner himself is in;
Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
When it is borne in high authority.
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
That for the fault's love is the offender friended.
Now, sir, what news?


Prov. I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting-on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

Duke. Pray you, let's hear.

Prov. Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, Let Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and in the afternoon Barnardine. For my better satisjaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly performed; with a thought that more depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril. What say you to this, sir?


Duke. What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the afternoon?

Prov. A Bohemian born, but here nursed up and bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old. Duke. How came it that the absent duke had not either delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I have heard it was ever his manner to do so.



Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him and, indeed, his fact, till now in the government of Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.

Duke. It is now apparent ?

Prov. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? how seems he to be touched?

[blocks in formation]

Duke. By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo.

Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.

Duke. O! death's a great disguiser, and you may add to it. Shave the head and tie the beard; and say it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his death: you know the course is common. If anything fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life.


Prov. Pardon me, good father: it is against my oath.

Duke. Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?

Prov. To him, and to his substitutes.
Duke. You will think you have made no offence,
if the duke avouch the justice of your dealing?
Prov. But what likelihood is in that?


Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you. Look you, sir; here is the hand and seal of the duke: you know the character, I doubt not, and the signet is not strange to you.

Prov. I know them both.


Duke. The contents of this is the return of the duke: you shall anon over-read it at your pleasure, where you shall find within these two days he will be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not, for he this very day receives letters of strange tenour; perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the Prov. A man that apprehends death no more unfolding star calls up the shepherd. dreadfully but as a drunken sleep; careless, reck- not yourself into amazement how these things less, and fearless of what's past, present, or to should be: all difficulties are but easy when they come; insensible of mortality, and desperately are known. Call your executioner, and off with 153 Barnardine's head: I will give him a present shrift and advise him for a better place. Yet you are amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you. Come away; it is almost clear dawn. Exeunt.


Duke. He wants advice.

Prov. He will hear none. He hath evermore had the liberty of the prison: give him leave to escape hence, he would not drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming warrant for it it hath not moved him at all.


Duke. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning I will

SCENE III.-Another Room in the Same.



Pompey. I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of profession: one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's young

[blocks in formation]

is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young Master Deep-vow, and Master Copper-spur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier-and-dagger man, and young Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthright the tilter, and brave Master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are How for the Lord's sake.'


Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.


[blocks in formation]

Were damnable,


There died this morning of a cruel fever
Here in the prison, father,
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 inclin'd,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
Duke. O! 'tis an accident that heaven provides.
Dispatch it presently: the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo. See this be done,
And sent according to command, whiles I

Pompey. Master Barnardine! you must rise Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.


and be hanged, Master Bardardine!
Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine!
Bar. Within. A pox o' your throats!
makes that noise there? What are you?
Pompey. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You
must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
Bar. Within. Away, you rogue, away! I am


Abhor. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

Pompey. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.

Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
Pompey. He is coming, sir, he is coming;

hear his straw rustle.

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


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?
Let this be done : 90
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and


Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To yonder generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.

Prov. I am your free dependant.

Quick, dispatch,

Exit Provost.

I And send the head to Angelo.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,-
The provost, he shall bear them,-whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,


[blocks in formation]

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

Enter DUKE disguised as before. 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.

Bar. 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. 61 Bar. I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Duke. It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,

In your close patience.

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.


Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If bawdy talk offend you, we 'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick. Exeunt.


A Room in ANGELO'S House.

Escal. Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched other.

Ang. In most uneven and distracted manner.

The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry His actions show much like to madness: pray your eyes:

One of our covent, 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 bosom 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 yours 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. Wend you with this letter: Command these fretting waters from your eyes With a light heart: trust not my holy order, 152 If I pervert your course. Who's here?

Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Good even. Friar, where is the provost? Duke. Not within, sir.

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 loved thy brother: if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived. Exit ISABELLA. Duke. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.

Lucio. Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do: he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.


[blocks in formation]

heaven his wisdom be not tainted! and why meet him at the gates, and redeliver our authorities there?

[blocks in formation]

Escal. He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch of complaints, and to deliver us from devices hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand against us.

Ang. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd: Betimes i' the morn I'll call you at your house. Give notice to such men of sort and suit As are to meet him. Escal.

I shall, sir: fare you well. 20
Ang. Good night.
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me un-

And dull to all proceedings. A deflower'd maid,
And by an eminent body that enforc'd
The law against it! But that her tender shame
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,
How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares

[blocks in formation]

SCENE V.-Fields without the Town. Enter DUKE in his own habit, and Friar PETER. Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me. Giving letters. The provost knows our purpose and our plot. The matter being afoot, keep your instruction, And hold you ever to our special drift, Though sometimes you do blench from this to that,

As cause doth minister.


Go call at Flavius'

And tell him where I stay: give the like notice
To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus,
And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate;
But send me Flavius first.

Fri. Pet.

It shall be speeded well. 10 Exit.


By throwing it on any other object,

Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!
good haste.
Duke. Relate your wrongs: in what? by whom?
Be brief.

Come, we will walk there's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.


[blocks in formation]

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met! Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. Ang., Escal. Happy return be to your royal grace!

Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you both. We have made inquiry of you; and we hear Such goodness of your justice, that our soul Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks, Forerunning more requital.

Ang. You make my bonds still greater. Duke. O your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it

To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
When it deserves, with characters of brass,
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time
And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand,
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus,
You must walk by us on our other hand;
And good supporters are you.


Friar PETER and ISABELLA come forward. Fri. Pet. Now is your time: speak loud and kneel before him.

Isab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a maid O worthy prince! dishonour not your eye

Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice:
Reveal yourself to him.


O worthy duke! You bid me seek redemption of the devil. Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak Must either punish me, not being believ'd, Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear here! me,


Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother
Cut off by course of justice,--

By course of justice!
Ang. And she will speak most bitterly and

Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will
I speak.

That Angelo's forsworn, is it not strange?
That Angelo's a murderer, is 't not strange ?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator;
Is it not strange and strange?


Nay, it is ten times strange. Isab. It is not truer he is Angelo Than this is all as true as it is strange; Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth To the end of reckoning.

Duke. Away with her! poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense. Isab. O prince! I conjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world, That thou neglect me not, with that opinion 50 That I am touch'd with madness. Make not impossible

That which but seems unlike. 'Tis not impossible
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
As Angelo; even so may Angelo,

In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain. Believe it, royal prince:
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.


Duke. By mine honesty, If she be mad, as I believe no other, Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense, Such a dependency of thing on thing, As e'er I heard in madness.


O gracious duke! Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason For inequality; but let your reason serve To make the truth appear where it seems hid, And hide the false seems true. Duke. Many that are not mad Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »