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Scene I.-A Room in the Prison.
Enter Duke, CLAUDIO, and Provost. Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from Lord
Angelo? Claud. The miserable have no other medicine, But only hope : I have hope to live, and am prepared to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death; either death or life Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with
life : If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art, Servile to all the skiey influences That do this habitation where thou keep'st Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool; For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, And yet runn'st toward him still: thou art not
noble ; For all the accommodation that th bear'st Are nursed by baseness : thou art by no means
valiant; For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork Of a poor worm: thy best of rest is sleep, And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st Thy death, which is no more: thou art not thyself; For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains That issue out of dust : happy thou art not: For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get; And what thou hast, forget'st : thou art not
certain; For thy complexion shifts to strange affects, After the moon : if thou art rich, thou art poor; For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows, Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee: friend hast thou none;
Claud. I humbly thank you. To sue to live, I find I seek to die; And seeking death, find life: Let it come on.
Enter ISABELLA. Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good
company! Prov. Who's there? come in: the wish deserves
a welcome. Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again. Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you. Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
concealed, Yet hear them. [Exeunt Duke and Provost.
Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in
deed : 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 speed; To-morrow you set on.
Claud. Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy as, to save a head, To cleave a heart in twain.
Claud. But is there any?
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live;
Claud. Perpetual durance ?
Isab. Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint, Though all the world's vastidity you had, To a determined scope.
Claud. But in what nature ?
Isab. In such a one as (you consenting to 't) Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear, And leave you naked.
Claud. Let me know the point.
Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake, Lest thou a feverous life should'st 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.
Claud. Why give you me this shame? Think
I can a resolution fetch
Isab. There spake my brother; there my
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Claud. Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
Claud. Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise,
Isab. What says my brother?
Isab. Alas, alas!
Claud. 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.
Isab. 0, 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
think? Heaven shield my mother played my father fair! For such a warpéd slip of wilderness Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance! Die ; perish! Might but my bending down Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed: I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death, No word to save thee.
Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Isab. O, fy, fy, fy!
O, you beast !
Did utter forth a voice! Yes, thou must die :
Claud. The princely Angelo?
Isab. O, tis the cunning livery of hell,
Claud. O, heavens! it cannot be.
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd : 'Tis best that thou diest quickly. [Going.
Claud. O hear me, Isabella.
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 own benefit.
Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs : but I will attend you awhile.
Duke. [To Claudio, aside.] Son, I have overheard what hath past between you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her ; only he hath made an assay of her virtue, 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 make ready.
Claud. 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.
[Exit Claudio. Re-enter Provost. Provost, a word with you.
Prov. 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. Prov. In good time.
[Exit Provost. 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, should keep the body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo hath made to you, fortune hath conveyed to my understanding; and, but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How would you do to content this substitute, and to save your brother?
Isab. I am now going to resolve him: I had rather my brother die by the law, than my son should be unlawfully born. But O, 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
accusation; 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.
Isab. Let me hear you speak further; I have spirit to do anything that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.
Duke. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you not heard speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the great soldier, who miscarried at sea ?
Isab. I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.
Duke. Her should this Angelo have married ; was affianced to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed : 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 poor 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 well-seeming Angelo.
Isab. 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 not.
Isab. 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.
Isab. Shew me how, good father.
Duke. This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance of her first affection ; his unjust unkindness, 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 being granted in course, 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 recompense : and here, by this, is your brother saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, 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 doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof. What think you
of it ? Isab. The image of it gives me content already; and I trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.
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 despatch with Angelo, that it may be quickly.
Isab. I thank you for this comfort: Fare you well, good father.
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
Clo. Indeed it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, sir, I would proveDuke. Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs
for sin, Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer: Correction and instruction must both work, Ere this rude beast will profit.
Elb. He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him warning: the deputy cannot abide a whoremaster; if he be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were as good go a mile on his errand. Duke. That we were all, as some would seem
to be, Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free!
Elb. His neck will come to your waist; a cord, sir.
Enter Lucio. Clo. I spy comfort; I cry, bail : Here's a gentleman and a friend of mine.
Lucio. How now, noble Pompey? what, at the heels of Cæsar? art thou led in triumph? What, is there none of Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket, and extracting it clutched ? What reply? ha? What sayst thou to this tune, matter, and method ? Is 't not drowned i' the last rain ? ha? What sayst thou, trot? is the world as it was, man? Which is the way? is it sad, and few words? or how? the trick of it?
Duke. Still thus, and thus; still worse !
Lucio. How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? procures she still? ha?
Scene II.--The Street before the Prison. Enter Duke, as a Friar; to him 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. . is ?
two usuries, the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed, by order of law, a furred gown to keep him warm ; and furred with fox and lambskins too, to signify that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing. Elb. Come your way, sir :-Bless you, good
father friar. 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 picklock, which we have sent to the deputy.
Duke. Fy, sirrah; a bawd, a wicked bawd ! The evil that thou causest to be done, That is thy means to live. Do thou but think What 't is to cram a maw, or clothe a back, From such a filthy vice : say to thyself— From their abominable and beastly touches,
and she is herself in the tub.
Lucio. Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it: it must be so : ever your fresh whore, and your powdered bawd: an unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going to prison, Pompey?
Clo. Yes, faith, sir.
Lucio. Why, 't is not amiss, Pompey. Farewell: go; say I sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? or how?
Elb. For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
Lucio. Well, then imprison him; if imprisonment be the due of a bawd, why 'tis his right. Bawd is he, doubtless, and of antiquity too; bawdborn.-Farewell, good Pompey : commend me to the prison, Pompey: you will turn good husband now, Pompey; you will keep the house.
Clo. I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.
Lucio. No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is
Duke. I know none: can you tell me of any?
Lucio. 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.
Lucio. 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.
Lucio. A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in him : something too crabbed that Way, friar.
Duke. It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.
Lucio. 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 the downright way of creation. Is it true, think you?
Duke. How should he be made, then ?
Lucio. Some report a sea-maid spawned him: some, that he was begot between two stockfishes : but it is certain that, when he makes water, his urine is congealed ice; that I know to be true: and he is a motion ungenerative : that 's infallible.
Duke. You are pleasant, sir; and speak apace.
Lucio. Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a codpiece, to take away the life of a man? Would the Duke, that is absent, have done this? Ere he would have