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Speeches (Lines) for Vincentio
in "Measure for Measure"

Total: 194

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(stage directions). [Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, ESCALUS, Lords and]

Vincentio. Escalus.



Escalus. My lord.

Vincentio. 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
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,
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you're as pregnant in
As art and practise hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
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,
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: what think you of it?



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

Vincentio. Look where he comes.



Angelo. Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.

Vincentio. Angelo,
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.



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

Vincentio. 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.



Angelo. Yet give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.

Vincentio. 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 hand:
I'll privily away. I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes:
Through it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause and Aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.



Escalus. Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!

Vincentio. I thank you. Fare you well.



(stage directions). [Enter DUKE VINCENTIO and FRIAR THOMAS]

Vincentio. 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
Of burning youth.



Friar Thomas. May your grace speak of it?

Vincentio. 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.
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 received. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this?



Friar Thomas. Gladly, my lord.

Vincentio. We have strict statutes and most biting laws.
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
Which for this nineteen 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
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.



Friar Thomas. 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.

Vincentio. I do fear, too dreadful:
Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
'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;
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,
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;
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.



(stage directions). [Enter, severally, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as a]
friar, and Provost]

Vincentio. Hail to you, provost! so I think you are.



Provost. I am the provost. What's your will, good friar?

Vincentio. Bound by my charity and my blest order,
I come to visit the afflicted spirits
Here in the prison. Do me the common right
To let me see them and to make me know
The nature of their crimes, that I may minister
To them accordingly.



Provost. I would do more than that, if more were needful.
[Enter JULIET]
Look, here comes one: a gentlewoman of mine,
Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,
Hath blister'd her report: she is with child;
And he that got it, sentenced; a young man
More fit to do another such offence
Than die for this.

Vincentio. When must he die?



Provost. As I do think, to-morrow.
I have provided for you: stay awhile,
And you shall be conducted.

Vincentio. Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?



Juliet. I do; and bear the shame most patiently.

Vincentio. I'll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,
And try your penitence, if it be sound,
Or hollowly put on.



Juliet. I'll gladly learn.

Vincentio. Love you the man that wrong'd you?



Juliet. Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.

Vincentio. So then it seems your most offenceful act
Was mutually committed?



Juliet. Mutually.

Vincentio. Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.



Juliet. I do confess it, and repent it, father.

Vincentio. 'Tis meet so, daughter: but lest you do repent,
As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,
Which sorrow is always towards ourselves, not heaven,
Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,
But as we stand in fear,—



Juliet. I do repent me, as it is an evil,
And take the shame with joy.

Vincentio. There rest.
Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,
And I am going with instruction to him.
Grace go with you, Benedicite!



(stage directions). [Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before, CLAUDIO,]
and Provost]

Vincentio. So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?



Claudio. The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope:
I've hope to live, and am prepared to die.

Vincentio. 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 skyey influences,
That dost 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 accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness. Thou'rt 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 provokest; 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 strivest to get,
And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear's thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid moe thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.



Provost. Who's there? come in: the wish deserves a welcome.

Vincentio. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.



Provost. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.

Vincentio. Provost, a word with you.



Provost. As many as you please.

Vincentio. Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be concealed.



(stage directions). [Re-enter DUKE VINCENTIO]

Vincentio. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.



Isabella. What is your will?

Vincentio. 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.



(stage directions). [Walks apart]

Vincentio. Son, I have overheard what hath passed between you
and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to
corrupt her; only he hath made an essay 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: tomorrow you must die; go to
your knees and make ready.



Claudio. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love
with life that I will sue to be rid of it.

Vincentio. Hold you there: farewell.
Provost, a word with you!



Provost. What's your will, father

Vincentio. 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.



(stage directions). [Exit Provost. ISABELLA comes forward]

Vincentio. 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, shall 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 will you do to content this
substitute, and to save your brother?



Isabella. 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.

Vincentio. 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.



Isabella. Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do
anything that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

Vincentio. 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?



Isabella. I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.

Vincentio. She 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 befell 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.



Isabella. Can this be so? did Angelo so leave her?

Vincentio. 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.



Isabella. 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?

Vincentio. 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.



Isabella. Show me how, good father.

Vincentio. 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,—and now 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?



Isabella. The image of it gives me content already; and I
trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

Vincentio. 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 Saint Luke's: there, at the moated
grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that
place call upon me; and dispatch with Angelo, that
it may be quickly.



Elbow. 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.

Vincentio. O heavens! what stuff is here



Elbow. Come your way, sir. 'Bless you, good father friar.

Vincentio. And you, good brother father. What offence hath
this man made you, sir?



Elbow. 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.

Vincentio. Fie, 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 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
From such a filthy vice: say to thyself,
From their abominable and beastly touches
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.



Pompey. Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet,
sir, I would prove—

Vincentio. 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.



Elbow. 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.

Vincentio. That we were all, as some would seem to be,
From our faults, as faults from seeming, free!



Lucio. How now, noble Pompey! What, at the wheels of
Caesar? 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 clutch'd? What reply, ha? What
sayest thou to this tune, matter and method? Is't
not drowned i' the last rain, ha? What sayest
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?

Vincentio. Still thus, and thus; still worse!



Lucio. No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear.
I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage: If
you take it not patiently, why, your mettle is the
more. Adieu, trusty Pompey. 'Bless you, friar.

Vincentio. And you.



Lucio. Go to kennel, Pompey; go.
[Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY and Officers]
What news, friar, of the duke?

Vincentio. 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?

Vincentio. 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.

Vincentio. He does well in 't.



Lucio. A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in
him: something too crabbed that way, friar.

Vincentio. 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 this downright way of creation: is it
true, think you?

Vincentio. How should he be made, then?



Lucio. Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he
was begot between two stock-fishes. 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 generative; that's infallible.

Vincentio. 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 hanged a man for the getting a
hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing
a thousand: he had some feeling of the sport: he
knew the service, and that instructed him to mercy.

Vincentio. I never heard the absent duke much detected for
women; he was not inclined that way.



Lucio. O, sir, you are deceived.

Vincentio. 'Tis not possible.



Lucio. Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty; and
his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish: the
duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk too;
that let me inform you.

Vincentio. You do him wrong, surely.



Lucio. Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the
duke: and I believe I know the cause of his

Vincentio. What, I prithee, might be the cause?



Lucio. No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be locked within the
teeth and the lips: but this I can let you
understand, the greater file of the subject held the
duke to be wise.

Vincentio. Wise! why, no question but he was.



Lucio. A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

Vincentio. Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking:
the very stream of his life and the business he hath
helmed must upon a warranted need give him a better
proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in his own
bringings-forth, and he shall appear to the
envious a scholar, a statesman and a soldier.
Therefore you speak unskilfully: or if your
knowledge be more it is much darkened in your malice.



Lucio. Sir, I know him, and I love him.

Vincentio. Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with
dearer love.



Lucio. Come, sir, I know what I know.

Vincentio. I can hardly believe that, since you know not what
you speak. But, if ever the duke return, as our
prayers are he may, let me desire you to make your
answer before him. If it be honest you have spoke,
you have courage to maintain it: I am bound to call
upon you; and, I pray you, your name?



Lucio. Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.

Vincentio. He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to
report you.



Lucio. I fear you not.

Vincentio. O, you hope the duke will return no more; or you
imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But indeed I
can do you little harm; you'll forswear this again.



Lucio. I'll be hanged first: thou art deceived in me,
friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell if
Claudio die to-morrow or no?

Vincentio. Why should he die, sir?



(stage directions). [Exit]

Vincentio. No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?



Escalus. Good even, good father.

Vincentio. Bliss and goodness on you!



Escalus. Of whence are you?

Vincentio. Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See
In special business from his holiness.



Escalus. What news abroad i' the world?

Vincentio. None, but that there is so great a fever on
goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it:
novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous
to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous
to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce
truth enough alive to make societies secure; but
security enough to make fellowships accurst: much
upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This
news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. I
pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?



Escalus. One that, above all other strifes, contended
especially to know himself.

Vincentio. What pleasure was he given to?



Escalus. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at
any thing which professed to make him rejoice: a
gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to
his events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous;
and let me desire to know how you find Claudio
prepared. I am made to understand that you have
lent him visitation.

Vincentio. He professes to have received no sinister measure
from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself
to the determination of justice: yet had he framed
to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many
deceiving promises of life; which I by my good
leisure have discredited to him, and now is he
resolved to die.



Escalus. You have paid the heavens your function, and the
prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have
laboured for the poor gentleman to the extremest
shore of my modesty: but my brother justice have I
found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him
he is indeed Justice.

Vincentio. If his own life answer the straitness of his
proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he
chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.



Escalus. I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.

Vincentio. Peace be with you!
[Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost]
He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
How may likeness made in crimes,
Making practise on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most ponderous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply:
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despised;
So disguise shall, by the disguised,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting.



Mariana. Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away:
Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
Hath often still'd my brawling discontent.
[Exit Boy]
[Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]
I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish
You had not found me here so musical:
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.

Vincentio. 'Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.
I pray, you, tell me, hath any body inquired
for me here to-day? much upon this time have
I promised here to meet.



(stage directions). [Enter ISABELLA]

Vincentio. I do constantly believe you. The time is come even
now. I shall crave your forbearance a little: may
be I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Vincentio. Very well met, and well come.
What is the news from this good deputy?



Isabella. He hath a garden circummured with brick,
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd;
And to that vineyard is a planched gate,
That makes his opening with this bigger key:
This other doth command a little door
Which from the vineyard to the garden leads;
There have I made my promise
Upon the heavy middle of the night
To call upon him.

Vincentio. But shall you on your knowledge find this way?



Isabella. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't:
With whispering and most guilty diligence,
In action all of precept, he did show me
The way twice o'er.

Vincentio. Are there no other tokens
Between you 'greed concerning her observance?



Isabella. No, none, but only a repair i' the dark;
And that I have possess'd him my most stay
Can be but brief; for I have made him know
I have a servant comes with me along,
That stays upon me, whose persuasion is
I come about my brother.

Vincentio. 'Tis well borne up.
I have not yet made known to Mariana
A word of this. What, ho! within! come forth!
[Re-enter MARIANA]
I pray you, be acquainted with this maid;
She comes to do you good.



Isabella. I do desire the like.

Vincentio. Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?



Mariana. Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.

Vincentio. Take, then, this your companion by the hand,
Who hath a story ready for your ear.
I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;
The vaporous night approaches.



(stage directions). [Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELLA]

Vincentio. O place and greatness! millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee: volumes of report
Run with these false and most contrarious quests
Upon thy doings: thousand escapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dreams
And rack thee in their fancies.
Welcome, how agreed?



Isabella. She'll take the enterprise upon her, father,
If you advise it.

Vincentio. It is not my consent,
But my entreaty too.



Mariana. Fear me not.

Vincentio. 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.



Provost. Who can do good on him?
Well, go, prepare yourself.
[Knocking within]
But, hark, what noise?
Heaven give your spirits comfort!
By and by.
I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
For the most gentle Claudio.
[Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]
Welcome father.

Vincentio. The best and wholesomest spirts of the night
Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?



Provost. None, since the curfew rung.

Vincentio. Not Isabel?



Provost. No.

Vincentio. They will, then, ere't be long.



Provost. What comfort is for Claudio?

Vincentio. There's some in hope.



Provost. It is a bitter deputy.

Vincentio. Not so, not so; his life is parallel'd
Even with the stroke and line of his great justice:
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.
[Exit Provost]
This is a gentle provost: seldom when
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.
[Knocking within]
How now! what noise? That spirit's possessed with haste
That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes.



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

Vincentio. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
But he must die to-morrow?



Provost. None, sir, none.

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



Provost. Happily
You something know; yet I believe there comes
No countermand; no such example have we:
Besides, upon the very siege of justice
Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
Profess'd the contrary.
[Enter a Messenger]
This is his lordship's man.

Vincentio. And here comes Claudio's pardon.



(stage directions). [Exit Messenger]

Vincentio. [Aside] This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
For which the pardoner himself is in.
Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
When it is born 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?



Provost. 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.

Vincentio. Pray you, let's hear.



Provost. [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 satisfaction,
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?

Vincentio. What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the



Provost. A Bohemian born, but here nursed un and bred; one
that is a prisoner nine years old.

Vincentio. 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.



Provost. 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.

Vincentio. It is now apparent?



Provost. Most manifest, and not denied by himself.

Vincentio. Hath he born himself penitently in prison? how
seems he to be touched?



Provost. 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.

Vincentio. He wants advice.



Provost. 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.

Vincentio. 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 lay myself in hazard.
Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath
sentenced him. To make you understand this in a
manifested effect, I crave but four days' respite;
for the which you are to do me both a present and a
dangerous courtesy.



Provost. Pray, sir, in what?

Vincentio. In the delaying death.



Provost. A lack, 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.

Vincentio. 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 born to Angelo.



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

Vincentio. 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.



Provost. Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.

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



Provost. To him, and to his substitutes.

Vincentio. You will think you have made no offence, if the duke
avouch the justice of your dealing?



Provost. But what likelihood is in that?

Vincentio. 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.



Provost. I know them both.

Vincentio. 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 tenor;
perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering
into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what
is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the
shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how these
things should be: all difficulties are but easy
when they are known. Call your executioner, and off
with 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.



(stage directions). [Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]

Vincentio. 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.



Barnardine. 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.

Vincentio. O, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you
Look forward on the journey you shall go.



Barnardine. I swear I will not die to-day for any man's

Vincentio. But hear you.



(stage directions). [Exit]

Vincentio. Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart!
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.



Provost. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

Vincentio. A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.



Provost. Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
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 inclined;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

Vincentio. 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
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.



Provost. 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?

Vincentio. Let this be done.
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.



Provost. I am your free dependant.

Vincentio. Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
[Exit Provost]
Now will I write letters to Angelo,—
The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly: him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.



Provost. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

Vincentio. Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.



Isabella. [Within] Peace, ho, be here!

Vincentio. The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.



Isabella. Ho, by your leave!

Vincentio. Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.



Isabella. The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

Vincentio. He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
His head is off and sent to Angelo.



Isabella. Nay, but it is not so.

Vincentio. It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close patience.



Isabella. O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

Vincentio. You shall not be admitted to his sight.



Isabella. Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! most damned Angelo!

Vincentio. 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:
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes;
One of our convent, 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.



Isabella. I am directed by you.

Vincentio. 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,
If I pervert your course. Who's here?



Lucio. Good even. Friar, where's the provost?

Vincentio. Not within, sir.



(stage directions). [Exit ISABELLA]

Vincentio. 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.

Vincentio. 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.

Vincentio. 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.

Vincentio. 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.

Vincentio. Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.



(stage directions). [Enter DUKE VINCENTIO in his own habit, and FRIAR PETER]

Vincentio. 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' house,
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.



(stage directions). [Enter VARRIUS]

Vincentio. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good haste:
Come, we will walk. There's other of our friends
Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.



(stage directions). [MARIANA veiled, ISABELLA, and FRIAR PETER, at their]
stand. Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, VARRIUS, Lords,
ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and
Citizens, at several doors]

Vincentio. My very worthy cousin, fairly met!
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.



Angelo. [with Escalus] Happy return be to your royal grace!

Vincentio. 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.



Angelo. You make my bonds still greater.

Vincentio. 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.



Isabella. 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
By throwing it on any other object
Till you have heard me in my true complaint
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!

Vincentio. Relate your wrongs; in what? by whom? be brief.
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice:
Reveal yourself to him.



Isabella. 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?

Vincentio. Nay, it is ten times strange.



Isabella. 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.

Vincentio. Away with her! Poor soul,
She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.



Isabella. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest
There is another comfort than this world,
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion
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.

Vincentio. 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.



Isabella. 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.

Vincentio. Many that are not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you say?



Isabella. That's he indeed.

Vincentio. You were not bid to speak.



Lucio. No, my good lord;
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.

Vincentio. I wish you now, then;
Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
Be perfect.



Lucio. I warrant your honour.

Vincentio. The warrants for yourself; take heed to't.



Lucio. Right.

Vincentio. It may be right; but you are i' the wrong
To speak before your time. Proceed.



Isabella. I went
To this pernicious caitiff deputy,—

Vincentio. That's somewhat madly spoken.



Isabella. Pardon it;
The phrase is to the matter.

Vincentio. Mended again. The matter; proceed.



Isabella. In brief, to set the needless process by,
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,
How he refell'd me, and how I replied,—
For this was of much length,—the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter:
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,
Release my brother; and, after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,
And I did yield to him: but the next morn betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.

Vincentio. This is most likely!



Isabella. O, that it were as like as it is true!

Vincentio. By heaven, fond wretch, thou knowist not what thou speak'st,
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour
In hateful practise. First, his integrity
Stands without blemish. Next, it imports no reason
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself
And not have cut him off. Some one hath set you on:
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Thou camest here to complain.



Isabella. And is this all?
Then, O you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience, and with ripen'd time
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up
In countenance! Heaven shield your grace from woe,
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

Vincentio. I know you'ld fain be gone. An officer!
To prison with her! Shall we thus permit
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
On him so near us? This needs must be a practise.
Who knew of Your intent and coming hither?



Isabella. One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.

Vincentio. A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?



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 swinged him soundly.

Vincentio. Words against me? this is a good friar, belike!
And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our substitute! Let this friar be found.



Friar Peter. Blessed be your royal grace!
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Your royal ear abused. First, hath this woman
Most wrongfully accused your substitute,
Who is as free from touch or soil with her
As she from one ungot.

Vincentio. We did believe no less.
Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?



Friar 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
Is true and false; and what he with his oath
And all probation will make up full clear,
Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman.
To justify this worthy nobleman,
So vulgarly and personally accused,
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
Till she herself confess it.

Vincentio. Good friar, let's hear it.
[ISABELLA 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.



Mariana. Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face
Until my husband bid me.

Vincentio. What, are you married?



Mariana. No, my lord.

Vincentio. Are you a maid?



Mariana. No, my lord.

Vincentio. A widow, then?



Mariana. Neither, my lord.

Vincentio. Why, you are nothing then: neither maid, widow, nor wife?



Lucio. My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are
neither maid, widow, nor wife.

Vincentio. Silence that fellow: I would he had some cause
To prattle for himself.



Lucio. He was drunk then, my lord: it can be no better.

Vincentio. For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too!



Lucio. Well, my lord.

Vincentio. This is no witness for Lord Angelo.



Mariana. Not that I know.

Vincentio. No? you say your husband.



Mariana. My husband bids me; now I will unmask.
This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,
Which once thou sworest was worth the looking on;
This is the hand which, with a vow'd contract,
Was fast belock'd in thine; this is the body
That took away the match from Isabel,
And did supply thee at thy garden-house
In her imagined person.

Vincentio. Know you this woman?



Lucio. Carnally, she says.

Vincentio. Sirrah, no more!



Angelo. I did but smile till now:
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice
My patience here is touch'd. I do perceive
These poor informal women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member
That sets them on: let me have way, my lord,
To find this practise out.

Vincentio. Ay, with my heart
And punish them to your height of pleasure.
Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,
Compact with her that's gone, think'st thou thy oaths,
Though they would swear down each particular saint,
Were testimonies against his worth and credit
That's seal'd in approbation? You, Lord Escalus,
Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis derived.
There is another friar that set them on;
Let him be sent for.



Friar Peter. Would he were here, my lord! for he indeed
Hath set the women on to this complaint:
Your provost knows the place where he abides
And he may fetch him.

Vincentio. Go do it instantly.
[Exit Provost]
And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,
Do with your injuries as seems you best,
In any chastisement: I for a while will leave you;
But stir not you till you have well determined
Upon these slanderers.



Escalus. Come, sir: did you set these women on to slander
Lord Angelo? they have confessed you did.

Vincentio. 'Tis false.



Escalus. How! know you where you are?

Vincentio. Respect to your great place! and let the devil
Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne!
Where is the duke? 'tis he should hear me speak.



Escalus. The duke's in us; and we will hear you speak:
Look you speak justly.

Vincentio. Boldly, at least. But, O, poor souls,
Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?
Good night to your redress! Is the duke gone?
Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust,
Thus to retort your manifest appeal,
And put your trial in the villain's mouth
Which here you come to accuse.



Escalus. Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd friar,
Is't not enough thou hast suborn'd these women
To accuse this worthy man, but, in foul mouth
And in the witness of his proper ear,
To call him villain? and then to glance from him
To the duke himself, to tax him with injustice?
Take him hence; to the rack with him! We'll touse you
Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
What 'unjust'!

Vincentio. Be not so hot; the duke
Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he
Dare rack his own: his subject am I not,
Nor here provincial. My business in this state
Made me a looker on here in Vienna,
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble
Till it o'er-run the stew; laws for all faults,
But faults so countenanced, that the strong statutes
Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
As much in mock as mark.



Lucio. 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, goodman baldpate:
do you know me?

Vincentio. I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice: I
met you at the prison, in the absence of the duke.



Lucio. O, did you so? And do you remember what you said of the duke?

Vincentio. Most notedly, sir.



Lucio. Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a
fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?

Vincentio. You must, sir, change persons with me, ere you make
that my report: you, indeed, spoke so of him; and
much more, much worse.



Lucio. O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the
nose for thy speeches?

Vincentio. I protest I love the duke as I love myself.



Escalus. Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away with
him to prison! Where is the provost? Away with him
to prison! lay bolts enough upon him: let him
speak no more. Away with those giglots too, and
with the other confederate companion!

Vincentio. [To Provost] Stay, sir; stay awhile.



(stage directions). [Pulls off the friar's hood, and discovers DUKE VINCENTIO]

Vincentio. Thou art the first knave that e'er madest a duke.
First, provost, let me bail these gentle three.
Sneak not away, sir; for the friar and you
Must have a word anon. Lay hold on him.



Lucio. This may prove worse than hanging.

Vincentio. [To ESCALUS] What you have spoke I pardon: sit you down:
We'll borrow place of him.
Sir, by your leave.
Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
And hold no longer out.



Angelo. O my dread lord,
I should be guiltier than my guiltiness,
To think I can be undiscernible,
When I perceive your grace, like power divine,. Hath look'd upon my passes. Then, good prince,
No longer session hold upon my shame,
But let my trial be mine own confession:
Immediate sentence then and sequent death
Is all the grace I beg.

Vincentio. Come hither, Mariana.
Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?



Angelo. I was, my lord.

Vincentio. Go take her hence, and marry her instantly.
Do you the office, friar; which consummate,
Return him here again. Go with him, provost.



Escalus. My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour
Than at the strangeness of it.

Vincentio. Come hither, Isabel.
Your friar is now your prince: as I was then
Advertising and holy to your business,
Not changing heart with habit, I am still
Attorney'd at your service.



Isabella. O, give me pardon,
That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd
Your unknown sovereignty!

Vincentio. You are pardon'd, Isabel:
And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart;
And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
Labouring to save his life, and would not rather
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,
It was the swift celerity of his death,
Which I did think with slower foot came on,
That brain'd my purpose. But, peace be with him!
That life is better life, past fearing death,
Than that which lives to fear: make it your comfort,
So happy is your brother.



(stage directions). [Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and Provost]

Vincentio. For this new-married man approaching here,
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd
Your well defended honour, you must pardon
For Mariana's sake: but as he adjudged your brother,—
Being criminal, in double violation
Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach
Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,—
The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!'
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and MEASURE still FOR MEASURE.
Then, Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested;
Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage.
We do condemn thee to the very block
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste.
Away with him!



Mariana. O my most gracious lord,
I hope you will not mock me with a husband.

Vincentio. It is your husband mock'd you with a husband.
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour,
I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,
For that he knew you, might reproach your life
And choke your good to come; for his possessions,
Although by confiscation they are ours,
We do instate and widow you withal,
To buy you a better husband.



Mariana. O my dear lord,
I crave no other, nor no better man.

Vincentio. Never crave him; we are definitive.



(stage directions). [Kneeling]

Vincentio. You do but lose your labour.
Away with him to death!
Now, sir, to you.



Mariana. O my good lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part;
Lend me your knees, and all my life to come
I'll lend you all my life to do you service.

Vincentio. Against all sense you do importune her:
Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
And take her hence in horror.



Mariana. Isabel,
Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me;
Hold up your hands, say nothing; I'll speak all.
They say, best men are moulded out of faults;
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad: so may my husband.
O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?

Vincentio. He dies for Claudio's death.



Mariana. Merely, my lord.

Vincentio. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.
I have bethought me of another fault.
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
At an unusual hour?



Provost. It was commanded so.

Vincentio. Had you a special warrant for the deed?



Provost. No, my good lord; it was by private message.

Vincentio. For which I do discharge you of your office:
Give up your keys.



Provost. Pardon me, noble lord:
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;
Yet did repent me, after more advice;
For testimony whereof, one in the prison,
That should by private order else have died,
I have reserved alive.

Vincentio. What's he?



Provost. His name is Barnardine.

Vincentio. I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.
Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him.



Angelo. I am sorry that such sorrow I procure:
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart
That I crave death more willingly than mercy;
'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.
[Re-enter Provost, with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO muffled,]

Vincentio. Which is that Barnardine?



Provost. This, my lord.

Vincentio. There was a friar told me of this man.
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul.
That apprehends no further than this world,
And squarest thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd:
But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all;
And pray thee take this mercy to provide
For better times to come. Friar, advise him;
I leave him to your hand. What muffled fellow's that?



(stage directions). [Unmuffles CLAUDIO]

Vincentio. [To ISABELLA] If he be like your brother, for his sake
Is he pardon'd; and, for your lovely sake,
Give me your hand and say you will be mine.
He is my brother too: but fitter time for that.
By this Lord Angelo perceives he's safe;
Methinks I see a quickening in his eye.
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well:
Look that you love your wife; her worth worth yours.
I find an apt remission in myself;
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon.
You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman;
Wherein have I so deserved of you,
That you extol me thus?



Lucio. 'Faith, my lord. I spoke it but according to the
trick. If you will hang me for it, you may; but I
had rather it would please you I might be whipt.

Vincentio. Whipt first, sir, and hanged after.
Proclaim it, provost, round about the city.
Is any woman wrong'd by this lewd fellow,
As I have heard him swear himself there's one
Whom he begot with child, let her appear,
And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd,
Let him be whipt and hang'd.



Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore.
Your highness said even now, I made you a duke:
good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a cuckold.

Vincentio. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Remit thy other forfeits. Take him to prison;
And see our pleasure herein executed.



Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
whipping, and hanging.

Vincentio. Slandering a prince deserves it.
[Exit Officers with LUCIO]
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.
Joy to you, Mariana! Love her, Angelo:
I have confess'd her and I know her virtue.
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:
There's more behind that is more gratulate.
Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy:
We shill employ thee in a worthier place.
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's:
The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,
I have a motion much imports your good;
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
So, bring us to our palace; where we'll show
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.

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