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Prov. It is a bitter deputy.
Duke. Not so, not so ; his life is parallel'd
That in himself, which he spurs on his power
With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous ;
This is a gentle provost : Seldom, when
That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes.
Provost returns, speaking to one at the door. 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?
Enter a Messenger.
Duke. This is his lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.
Mess. My lord hath sent you this note; and by me, this further charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or other circumstance. Good-morrow; for, as I take it, it is almost day. Prov. I shall obey him. [Exit Messenger.
Duke. [Aside.] This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin,
For which the pardoner himself is in:
When it is borne in high authority:
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
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.
Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be execut ed 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 deliver'd 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. Is it now apparent ?
Prov. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison ? How seems he to be touch'd?
Prov. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.
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 often awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and show'd 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 bold. ness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have a warrant to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath sen tenced him: To make you understand this in a mani fested effect, I crave but four days respite; for the which you are to do me both a present and a danger ous courtesy.
Prov. Pray, sir, in what?
Duke. In the delaying death.
Prov. Alack! how may I do it? having the hour limited; and an express command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.
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 te 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 any thing 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. since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor my persuasion, can with ease attempt you, I will
Prov. [Reads.] Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and, in the afternoon, Barnardine: for my better satisfac-go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you. tion, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly perform'd; 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?
Look you, sir, here is the hand and seal of the duke. You know the character, I doubt not; and the siguet 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
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.
Barn. 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. Barn. I swear, 1 will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.
Duke. But hear you,
Barn. Not a word; if you have any thing to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day. [Exit. Enter Provost.
Duke. Unfit to live, or die: O, gravel heart!
[Exe. Abhor. and Clown. Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner? Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
Clown. I am as well aequainted 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 master Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine-And, to transport him in the mind he is, score and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks, ready money: marry, then, ginger was not much in request, for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one master Caper, at the suit of master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young master Deep-vow, and master Copper-spur, and master Starvelackey the rapier and dagger-man, and young Drop-heir that kill'd lusty Pudding, and master Forthright the tilter, and brave master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-eann that stabb'd Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are now for the Lord's sake.
Bher. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
Clown. Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hang'd, master Barnardine.
Abher. What, ho, Barnardine!!
Barn. [Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there? What are you?
Clown. Your friends, sir; the hangman: You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
Barn. [Within.] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.
Abhor. Tell him, he must awake, and that quickly
Abher. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
Barn. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?
Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.
Barn. You rogue, I have been drinking all night, I am not fitted for't.
Clown. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning, may sleep the sounder all the next day.
Abher. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly faTher: Do we jest now, think you?
Despatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently.
To save me from the danger that might come,
Duke. Let this be done ;-Put them in secret holds,
Prov. I am your free dependant.
Quick, despatch, [Exit Provost.
And send the head to Angelo.
To meet me at the consecrated fount,
Prov. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
When it is least expected.
Isab. Ho, by your leave.
Duke. Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man. Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
Duke. Did you such a thing?
Lucio. Yes, marry did I: but I was fain to forswear it; they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
Duke. Sir, your company is fairer than honest: Rest you well.
Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end: if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little
Duke. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the world; of it: Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr, I shall stick.
His head is off, and sent to Angelo.
Isab. Nay, but it is not so.
It is no other:
Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
Duke. This nor hurts him, nor profits you a jot:
By every syllable, a faithful verity:
The duke comes home to-morrow :-nay, dry your
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,
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter:
Friar, where is the provost?
Not within, sir.
Duke. 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 lov'd thy brother: if the old fantastical duke of dark-corners had been at home, he [Exit Isab. had lived.
Duke. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholden 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. Duke. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
Lucio. Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.
Duke. You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none were enough. Lucio. I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
SCENE IV-A room in Angelo's house. Enter Angelo and Escalus.
Esca. Every letter he hath writ hath disvouch'd other.
Ang. In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions show much like to madness: pray heaven, his wisdom be not tainted! And why meet him at the gates, and re-deliver our authorities there?
Esca. I guess not.
Ang. And why should we proclaim it in an hour be fore his entering, that, if any crave redress of injus ice, they should exhibit their petitions in the street?
Esca. He shows his reason for that: to have a despatch of complaints; and to deliver us from devices hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand against us.
Aug. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd:
I shall, sir; fare you well. [Exit.
The law against it!-But that her tender shame
How might she tongue me? Yet reason dares her?
The provost knows our purpose, and our plot.
It shall be speeded well. [Exit Friar.
Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good
Come, we will walk: There's other of our friends
SCENE FI-Street near the City Gate. Enter Isabella and Mariana.
I. To speak so indirectly, I am loth;
Be rul'd by him.
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic,
Mari. I would, friar Peter,-
O, peace; the friar is come. Enter Friar Peter.
Peter. Come, I have found you out a stand most fit, Where you may have such vantage on the duke, He shall not pass you; Twice have the trumpets sounded;
The generous and gravest citizens
Have heat the gates, and very near upon
The duke is ent'ring; therefore hence, away. [Exe.
SCENE I-A public place near the City Gate. Mariana (veiled,) Isabella, and Peter, at a distance. Enter at opposite doors, Duke, Varrius, Lords; Angelo, Esealus, Lucio, Provost, Officers, and Citizens. Duke.
MY very worthy cousin, fairly met :
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.
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,
Peter and Isabella come forward.
Peter. Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel before him.
Lab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
By throwing it on any other object,
Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
Here is lord Angelo shall give you justice;
O, worthy duke,
Or wring redress from you: hear me, O, hear me, here.
Away with her:-Poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
Isab. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
The phrase is to the matter.
Duke. Mended again: the matter;-Proceed.
(For this was of much length,) the vile conclusion
And I did yield to him: but the next morn betimes
This is most likely!
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour,
And is this all?
Then, oh, you blessed ministers above,
In countenance !-Heaven shield your grace from woe,
Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone :-An officer!
On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.
Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar ; I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord, For certain words he spake against your grace In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly. Duke. Words against me? This'a good friar, belike! And to set on this wretched woman here Against our substitute!-Let this friar be found.
Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar I saw them at the prison: a sawcy friar, A very scurvy fellow.
Blessed be your royal grace! I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard Your royal ear abus'd. First, hath this woman Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute; Who is as free from touch or soil with her, As she from one ungot.
We did believe no less.
Duke. Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of?
Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy;
Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
As he is reported by this gentleman;
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.
Lucio. My lord, most villanously; believe it. Peter. Well, he in time may come to clear himself; But at this instant he is sick, my lord, Of a strange fever: Upon his mere request, (Being come to knowledge that there was complaint Intended 'gainst lord Angelo,) came I hither,
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
So vulgarly and personally accus'd,)
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
Good friar, let's hear it. [Isab. is carried [off, guarded; and Mariana comes forward. Do you not smile at this, lord Angelo ?O heaven! the vanity of wretched fools!Give us some seats.-Come, cousin Angelo; In this I'll be impartial; be you judge Of your own cause.Is this the witness, friar? First, let her show her face; and, after, speak. Mari. Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face, Until my husband bid me.
Mari. No, my lord,
What, are you married?
Mari. Not that I know.
Charges she more than me?
No? you say, your husband. Mari. Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo, Who thinks, he knows, that he ne'er knew my body, But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel's.
Ang. This is a strange abuse :-Let's see thy face.
This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,
Sirrah, no more.
Ang. My lord, I must confess, I know this woman; And, five years since, there was some speech of marriage