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Measure for Measure

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Act IV, Scene 3

Another room in the same.


[Enter POMPEY]

  • Pompey. I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house
    of profession: one would think it were Mistress
    Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old
    customers. First, here's young Master Rash; he's in 2120
    for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,
    ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made
    five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not
    much in request, for the old women were all dead.
    Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of 2125
    Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of
    peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a
    beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young
    Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master
    Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young 2130
    Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master
    Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the
    great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed
    Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in
    our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.' 2135


  • Abhorson. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
  • Pompey. Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.
    Master Barnardine!
  • Barnardine. [Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that
    noise there? What are you?
  • Pompey. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so
    good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
  • Barnardine. [Within] Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy. 2145
  • Abhorson. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
  • Pompey. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are
    executed, and sleep afterwards.
  • Abhorson. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
  • Pompey. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle. 2150
  • Abhorson. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?


  • Barnardine. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?
  • Abhorson. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your 2155
    prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.
  • Barnardine. You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
    fitted for 't.
  • Pompey. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,
    and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the 2160
    sounder all the next day.
  • Abhorson. Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do
    we jest now, think you?

[Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]

  • Vincentio. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily 2165
    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 2170
    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
    persuasion. 2175
  • Barnardine. Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me,
    come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.


  • Vincentio. Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart! 2180
    After him, fellows; bring him to the block.


[Re-enter Provost]

  • Provost. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
  • Vincentio. A creature unprepared, unmeet for death; 2185
    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, 2190
    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? 2195
  • 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. 2200
  • 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? 2205
  • 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. 2210
  • 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 2215
    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, 2220
    By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
    We shall proceed with Angelo.

[Re-enter Provost]

  • Provost. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
  • Vincentio. Convenient is it. Make a swift return; 2225
    For I would commune with you of such things
    That want no ear but yours.


  • Isabella. [Within] Peace, ho, be here! 2230
  • 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. 2235


  • 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? 2240
  • Vincentio. He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
    His head is off and sent to Angelo.
  • Vincentio. It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
    In your close patience. 2245
  • 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; 2250
    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, 2255
    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, 2260
    And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
    Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
    And general honour.
  • Vincentio. This letter, then, to Friar Peter give; 2265
    '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 2270
    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, 2275
    If I pervert your course. Who's here?

[Enter LUCIO]

  • Lucio. Good even. Friar, where's the provost?
  • Lucio. O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see 2280
    thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain
    to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for
    my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set
    me to 't. But they say the duke will be here
    to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother: 2285
    if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been
    at home, he had lived.


  • Vincentio. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your
    reports; but the best is, he lives not in them. 2290
  • 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. 2295
  • 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.
  • Lucio. Yes, marry, did I. but I was fain to forswear it; 2300
    they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
  • Vincentio. Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
  • Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end:
    if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of
    it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick. 2305