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Duke. There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings 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

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,

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

Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.

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Let there be some more test made of my


Before so noble and so great a figure Be stamp'd upon it.


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
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
Of your commissions.

Yet give leave, my lord, co
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,
So to enforce or qualify the laws

As to your soul seems good. Give me your


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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, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.

Second Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it. Lucio. I believe thee, for I think thou never wast where grace was said.

Second Gent. No? a dozen times at least.
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 villain, despite of all grace.

First G nt. Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.

Lucio. I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet: thou art the list.


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 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?

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

Lucio. Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes!

First Gent. I have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to

Second Gent. To what, I pray?

Lucio. Judge.


Second Gent. To three thousand dolours a year. First Gent. Ay, and more.

Lucio. A French crown more.

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.

Enter Mistress OVERDONE.

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

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

Second Gent. Who's that, I pray thee?

Overdone. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior | The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so: yet still 'tis just.

First Gent. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so. Overdone. 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.


Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou sure of this!

Overdone. 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 me two hours since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.

Second 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.


Lucio. Away! let's go learn the truth of it. Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen.

Overdone. Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.

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Pompey. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. Overdone. What, is there a maid with child by him?

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

Overdone. What proclamation, man? Pompey. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down. 101

Overdone. And what shall become of those in the city?

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

for them.

Overdone. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled down?

Pompey. To the ground, mistress. Overdone. Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth! What shall become of me? 11 Pompey. 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.

Overdone. What 's to do here, Thomas tapster? Let's withdraw.

Pompey. Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison; and there's Madam Juliet. Exeunt.

Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and

Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?

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 demi-god Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight.


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Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:

As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper banc,
A thirsty evil, and when we drink we die.

Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I 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 imprisonWhat's thy offence, Claudio?



Claud. What but to speak of would offend again.
Lucio. What, is it murder?
Claud. No.

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I got possession of Julietta's bed:

You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the annunciation lack
Of outward order: this we came not to,
Only for procuration of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment 16)
With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
Lucio. With child, perhaps?


Unhappily, even so. And the new deputy now for the duke, 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; 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


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There is a prone and speechless dialect,
Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous


When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.


Like a true friar. More reasons for this action At our more leisure shall I render you; Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise; Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses That his blood flows, or that his appetite Lucio. I pray she may: as well for the en. Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see, couragement of the like, which else would stand | If power change purpose, what our seemers be. under grievous imposition, as for the enjoying Exeunt. of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus SCENE IV.-A Nunnery. foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her. Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio. Lucio. Within two hours.


Come, officer; away! 200

SCENE III-A Monastery.
Enter DUKE and Friar THOMAS.
Duke. No, holy father; throw away that

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
Of burning youth.

May your grace speak of it?
Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd,
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.
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,
And so it is receiv'd. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this?
Fri. Gladly, my lord.


Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges?
Fran. Are not these large enough?

Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more,
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
Lucio. Within. Ho! Peace be in this place!
Who's that which calls?
Fran. It is a man's voice. Gentle Isabella,
Turn you the key, and know his business of him:
You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn.
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with

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Isab. Why her unhappy brother'? let me ask,

Duke. We have strict statutes and most biting The rather for I now must make you know laws,


The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,
Which for this fourteen years we have let sleep;
Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
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
Goes all decorum.
It rested in your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleas'd;
And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
Than in Lord Angelo.


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I am that Isabella and his sister.

Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly
greets you.

Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me! for what?

Lucio. For that which, if myself might be his

He should receive his punishment in thanks:
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story.

It is truc. so

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By vain though apt affection.

Isab. O let him marry her.

She it is.

This is the point. The duke is very strangely gone from hence; 50 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 grace 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'd 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?

Lucio. 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, so Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,

All their petitions are as freely theirs

As they themselves would owe them.
Isab. I'll see what I can do.

But speedily.

Isab. I will about it straight; No longer staying but to give the Mother Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you: Commend me to my brother; soon at night I'll send him certain word of my success. Lucio. I take my leave of you. Isab.

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The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death, 30
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Where is the provost ?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.
See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd;
For that 's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

Exit Provost. Escal. Well, heaven forgive him, and forgive us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none,
And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and


Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law : bring them away.

Ang. How now, sir. What's your name, and what's the matter?

Elb. If it please your honour, I'm the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon justice, sir; and do bring in here before Good sir, adieu. Exeunt. 90 your good honour two notorious benefactors. 50

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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. Ang. Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? why dost thou not speak, Elbow? Pompey. He cannot, sir: he's out at elbow. Go Ang. What are you, sir?

Elb. He, sir! a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman, whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked 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

That, in the working of your own affections, 10 and your honour,—

Escal. How! thy wife?



Ang. This will last out a night in Russia,

Eib. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave, honest woman,——

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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.

Escal. By the woman's means?


Elb. Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means; but as she spit in his face, so she defied him. Pompey. Sir, if it please your honour, this is

not so.

And leave you to the hearing of the cause, Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship. Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

Pompey. Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.

Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.


Pompey. I beseech your honour, ask me. Escal. Well, sir, what did this gentlemanto her? Pompey. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face. Good Master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth your

Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honour mark his face? honourable man, prove it.

Escal. To ANGELO. Do you hear how he misplaces?


Pompey. Sir, she came in great with child, and longing, saving your honour's reverence, for stewed prunes. Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some threepence; 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. Pompey. 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-bellied, 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.

Pompey. Very well you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,

Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.


Pompey. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remembered, 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.

Pompey. 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.


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Escal. Ay, sir, very well.

Pompey. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Escal. Well, I do so.

Pompey. Doth your honour see any harm in his face?

Escal. Why, no.


Pompey. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him. Good, then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour.

Escal. He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?


Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow, and his mistress is a respected woman. Pompey. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.

Elb. Varlet, thou liest: thou liest, wicked varlet. The time is yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.

Pompey. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?

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Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is 't your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?

Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou would'st discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou knowest what they are.

Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee: thou art to continue now, thou varlet, thou art to continue.

Escal. Where were you born, friend?
Froth. Here in Vienna, sir.
Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
Froth. Yes, an 't please you, sir.

Escal. So. What trade are you of, sir?
Pompey. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Escal. Your mistress' name?


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