Contents

 

Measure for Measure

by William Shakespeare

Easiest-to-Read Edition

 

 

 

Measure for Measure



Measure for Measure Easiest-to-Read Edition

Table of Contents

ACT I. SCENE 1. The Duke’s office. (some editions say the Duke’s palace) 2

ACT I. SCENE 2. A street in Vienna. 7

ACT I. SCENE 3. A monastery. 22

ACT I. SCENE 4. A nunnery. 25

ACT 2. SCENE 1. A hall in Angelo’s house. 32

ACT 2. SCENE 2. Another room in Angelo’s house. 53

ACT 2. SCENE 3. The prison. 68

ACT 2. SCENE 4. A room in Angelo’s house. 73

ACT 3. SCENE 1. A room in the prison. 85

ACT 3. SCENE 2. The street before the prison. 102

ACT 4. SCENE 1. The moated grange. 120

ACT 4. SCENE 2. The prison. 126

ACT 4. SCENE 3. Another room in the prison. 141

ACT 4. SCENE 4. A room in Angelo’s house. 154

ACT 4. SCENE 5. The Friary. (some editions say fields without the town) 157

ACT 4. SCENE 6. The moated grange. (some editions say a street near the city gate) 159

ACT 5. SCENE 1. The city gates. 161

 


 

ACT I. SCENE 1. The Duke’s office.
(some editions say the Duke’s palace)

 

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, ESCALUS, lords, and attendants

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Escalus.

 

ESCALUS

My lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Of government (a ruler) the properties (essential qualities) to unfold (enlarge upon)
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse,
(for speech and discourse in me to be affected=shallow)
Since I am put to know (compelled to recognize) that your own science
Exceeds, in that (qualities of a ruler), the lists (limits) of all advice
My strength (intellectual power) can give you. Then, no more remains
But that to your sufficiency (authority), as your Worth is able, [you add your science]
And let them (your sufficiency and your science) work [together]. The nature of our people,
(the above two lines in the original stump Shakespeare scholars. Some think that strength and sufficiency work together.)
Our city's institutions, and the terms (times in session or, maybe, conditions)
For common justice, you're as pregnant in
As art and practice hath enriched any [people]
That we remember. There is our commission (authorization),
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
us=the royal “me”

Exit an attendant

What figure of us think you he will bear?
(how will he handle himself as my representative)
For, you must know, we have with special soul (with absolute confidence)
Elected him our absence to supply,
our absence to supply=to fill in for me
Lent him our terror (my power to command respect), dress'd (adorned) him with our love,
And given his deputation (appointment as deputy) 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 honor,
It is Lord Angelo.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Look where he comes.

Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Angelo,
There is a kind of character (inscription) in thy life
That to the observer doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings (qualities you possess)
Are not thine own so proper (not your own property) 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 (from) us, 't were all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd (minutely tested)
But to fine issues (excellent results), nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple (minute measure) of her excellence
But [that], like a thrifty goddess, she determines,
Herself, the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks (gratitude for the favor) and use (interest on money loaned). But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise.
Hold (remember), therefore, Angelo:
In our remove (absence) be thou at full ourself.
Mortality (the power over life and death) and [the exercise of] mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
Though first in question (first appointed), 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.
(leaders’ likenesses were stamped upon coins)

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

No more evasion.
We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
Proceeded to you. Therefore, take your honors.
(Vincentio’s choice was made with care, like in breadmaking)
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition (lively quality)
That it prefers (gives priority to) itself and leaves unquestion'd (undiscussed)
Matters of needful value (that needed attention). We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings (important affairs) shall importune (urge upon me),
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 (accompany you part of the way).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

My haste may not admit it,
Nor need you, on mine honor, have to do
With any scruple (even the smallest matter). 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 (secretly) away. I love the people
But do not like to stage me to their eyes (be exhibited to them).
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause and aves (acclamations=”hail”) vehement,
(a compliment – King James I disliked crowds)
Nor do I think the man of safe (sound) discretion
That does affect (relish) it. Once more, fare you well.

 

ANGELO

The heavens give safety to your purposes!

 

ESCALUS

Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!

 

DUKE

I thank you. Fare you well.

Exit

 

ESCALUS

I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
To have free speech with you, and it concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place (the full extent of my position).
A power I have, but of what strength and nature
I am not yet instructed.

 

ANGELO

'T is so with me. Let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
Touching that point.

 

ESCALUS

I'll wait upon your honor.

Exeunt

ACT I. SCENE 2. A street in Vienna.

 

Enter LUCIO and two gentlemen

 

LUCIO

If the Duke with the other dukes come not to
composition (agreement) with the King of Hungary, why then all
the dukes fall upon the King (when the King falls).
(King of Hungary is Shakespeare’s substitution for King of Spain, with whom King James I was negotiating)

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Heaven grant us its peace but not the King of
Hungary's!

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Amen.

 

LUCIO

Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate that
went to sea with the Ten Commandments but scraped
one [commandment] out of the table.

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

'Thou shalt not steal'?

 

LUCIO

Ay, that he razed (erased).

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Why, 't was a commandment to command the captain and
all the rest from their functions (occupations). They put forth
to steal. There 's not a soldier of us all, that, in
the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition (asking God for favors)
well that prays for peace.

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

I never heard any soldier dislike it.

 

LUCIO

I believe thee, for I think thou never wast where
grace was said.

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

No? A dozen times at least.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

What, in meter (poetic)?

 

LUCIO

In any proportions (metrical rhythms) or in any language (Latin, English).

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think or in any religion.

 

LUCIO

Ay, why not? Grace (the mercy and love of God) is grace, despite of all
controversy, as, for example, thou thyself art a
wicked villain, despite of all grace.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.
(we are cut from the same cloth)

 

LUCIO

I grant, as there may [go] between the lists (borders of the bolt of cloth) and the
velvet (cloth for gentlemen’s suits). Thou art the list (the poor part of the cloth).

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

And thou the velvet. Thou art good velvet. Thou 'rt
a three-piled piece (three thicknesses), I warrant (assure) thee. I had as lief (sooner)
be a list of an English kersey (coarse woolen cloth) as be pilled (made bald from the French disease), as thou
art pilled for (from) a French (syphilitic) 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 (offer a toast to) thy health, but, whilst I
live, forget to drink [the toast] after thee [from your glass].
(Lucio doesn’t drink out of fear of catching a disease)

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think I have done myself wrong (lost the sparring match), have I not?

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free [of disease].

 

LUCIO

Behold, behold where Madam Mitigation (satisfaction) comes! I
have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to--

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

To what, I pray?

 

LUCIO

Judge.

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

To three thousand dolors (griefs) a year.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Ay and more.

 

LUCIO

A French (syphilitic) crown (money and, also, the top of the head, which is bald from disease) more.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

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 [from syphilis].
Impiety has made a feast of thee.

Enter MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

How now! Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

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

 

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Who's that, I pray thee?

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), sir, that 's Claudio, Signor Claudio.

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Claudio to prison? 't is not so.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Nay, but I know 't is so. I saw him arrested, saw
him carried away, and, which is more, within these
three days his head [is] to be chopped off.

 

LUCIO

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

 

MISTRESS 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 GENTLEMAN

Besides, you know, it draws something near to the
speech (talk) we had to such a purpose (on this subject).

 

FIRST GENTLEMAN

But, most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.

 

LUCIO

Away! Let's go learn the truth of it.

Exeunt LUCIO and gentlemen

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat (the plague), what
with the gallows (convictions of treason), and what with poverty, I am
custom-shrunk (lacking customers).

Enter POMPEY

How now! What's the news with you?

 

POMPEY

Yonder man is carried to prison.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Well, what has he done?

 

POMPEY

A woman.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

But what 's his offence?

 

POMPEY

Groping for trouts in a peculiar (private) river.

 

MISTRESS 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?
maid=offspring

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What proclamation, man?

 

POMPEY

All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.
(the suburbs, outside the city line, were the location of many brothels)

 

MISTRESS 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 (made an offer) for them.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

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

 

POMPEY

To the ground, mistress.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!
What shall become of me?

 

POMPEY

Come , fear you not. Good counsellors lack no
clients. Though you change your place, you need not
change your trade. I'll be your tapster (pimp) still.
Courage! There will be pity taken on you. You that
have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you
will be considered.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

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

 

POMPEY

Here comes Signor Claudio, led by the Provost to
prison, and there's Madam Juliet.

Exeunt

Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and officers

 

CLAUDIO

Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

 

PROVOST

I do it not in evil disposition
But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

 

CLAUDIO

Thus can the demigod Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight
pay down=pay in full
(payment by weight is more exact than payment by number of coins)
The words of heaven. On whom it will, it will.
On whom it will not, so [be it]. Yet, still 't is just.

Re-enter LUCIO and two gentlemen

 

LUCIO

Why, how now, Claudio! Whence comes this restraint (handcuffs)?

 

CLAUDIO

From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty.
As surfeit (excessive indulgence) is the father of much fast,
So every scope (freedom) by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down (eat ravenously) their proper bane (specific poison),
A thirsty evil, and when we drink we die.
(pursue . . . a thirsty (causing a thirst) evil)

 

LUCIO

If could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would
send [to get myself arrested] for certain of my creditors, and, yet, to say
the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom
as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy
offence, Claudio?

 

CLAUDIO

What, but to speak of would offend again.

 

LUCIO

What, is 't murder?

 

CLAUDIO

No.

 

LUCIO

Lechery?

 

CLAUDIO

Call it so.

 

PROVOST

Away, sir! You must go.

 

CLAUDIO

One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.

 

LUCIO

A hundred, if they 'll do you any good.
Is lechery so look'd after (under surveillance)?

 

CLAUDIO

Thus stands it with me. Upon a true contract (betrothal)
I got possession of Julietta's bed.
You know the lady. She is fast (by virtue of the contract) my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation (public announcement) lack
Of outward order. This we came not to,
Only for propagation (producing) of a dower (dowry)
Remaining in the coffer (treasuries) of her friends,
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them [friends] for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
With character (letters) too gross (large) is writ on Juliet.

 

LUCIO

With child, perhaps?

 

CLAUDIO

Unhappily, even so,
And the new deputy now for the Duke--
Whether it be the fault and glimpse (faulty sudden brilliance) of newness
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it (the body public) 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 (am unable to say) --but this new governor
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
And none of them been worn (used), and, for a name (to enhance his reputation),
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me. 't is surely for a name.

 

LUCIO

I warrant it is, and thy head stands so tickle (insecurely) on
thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,
may sigh it off. Send after the Duke and appeal to
him.

 

CLAUDIO

I have done so, but he's not to be found.
I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter
And there receive her approbation (period as a novice).
Acquaint her with the danger of my state.
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy, bid herself assay (test) him.
I have great hope in that, for in her youth
There is a prone (submissive) and speechless dialect
Such as move men. Beside, she hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

 

LUCIO

I pray she may, as well for the encouragement of the
like (others like yourself), which else would stand under grievous
imposition (accusation), as for the enjoying of thy life, who I
would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a
game of tick-tack (a variety of backgammon=episode of fornication). I'll to her.

 

CLAUDIO

I thank you, good friend Lucio.

 

LUCIO

Within two hours.

 

CLAUDIO

Come, officer, away!

Exeunt


 

ACT I. SCENE 3. A monastery.

 

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO and FRIAR THOMAS

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

No, holy father, throw away that thought.
Believe not that the dribbling (weak) dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
To give me secret harbor hath a purpose
More grave and wrinkled (suitable for an old man) than the aims and ends
Of burning youth.

FRIAR THOMAS

May your grace speak of it?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever loved the life removed
And held in idle price (worthless) to haunt assemblies
Where youth and cost (extravagance) and witless bravery (ostentation) keeps.
I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,
A man of stricture (self-restraint) 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

We have strict statutes and most biting laws -
The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,
bits and curbs=devices to control horses
Which for this nineteen years we have let slip (unleashed),
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 (not enforced), to themselves are dead,
And liberty (license) 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I do fear, too dreadful,
Sith (since) 't was my fault to give the people scope,
'T would be my tyranny (tyranny in me) 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 (cover) of my name, strike home,
And, yet, my nature never in the fight
To do in slander, and, to behold his sway (rule),
I will, as 't were 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 (against malice), 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.

Exeunt


 

ACT I. SCENE 4. A nunnery.

 

Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA

 

ISABELLA

And have you nuns no farther privileges?

 

FRANCISCA

Are not these large enough?

 

ISABELLA

Yes, truly. I speak not as desiring more
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sisterhood, the votarists (nuns who have taken vows) of Saint Clare.

 

LUCIO

[Within] Ho! Peace be in this place!

 

ISABELLA

Who 's that which calls?

 

FRANCISCA

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 men
But in the presence of the prioress.
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face
Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.
He calls again. I pray you, answer him.

Exit

 

ISABELLA

Peace and prosperity! Who is 't that calls

Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead (assist) me
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother, Claudio?

 

ISABELLA

Why her unhappy brother? Let me ask,
The rather for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella and his sister.

 

LUCIO

Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you.
Not to be weary (long-winded) with you, he's in prison.

 

ISABELLA

Woe me! For what?

 

LUCIO

For that which, if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks.
He hath got his friend with child.

 

ISABELLA

Sir, make me not your story.
(don’t give me any of your stories)

 

LUCIO

It is true.
I would not--though 't is my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing and to jest,
(lapwings divert predators)
Tongue far from heart--play with all virgins so.
I hold you as a thing en-sky'd and sainted (set like a saint in heaven),
By your renouncement an immortal spirit
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint.

 

ISABELLA

You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.

 

LUCIO

Do not believe it. Fewness and truth (in a few truthful words), 't is thus:
Your brother and his lover have embraced.
As those that feed grow full, as [it is at] blossoming time
That from the seednesss (sowing) the bare fallow (ploughed field) brings [the seed]
To teeming foison (rich harvest), even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth (tilling) and husbandry (cultivation).

 

ISABELLA

Someone with child by him? My cousin Juliet?

 

LUCIO

Is she your cousin?

 

ISABELLA

Adoptedly, as school-maids change their names
By vain (imprudent), though apt (suitable for their age), affection.

 

LUCIO

She it is.

 

ISABELLA

O, let him marry her.

 

LUCIO

This is the point.
The Duke is very strangely gone from hence,
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand and hope of action, but we do learn,
(deceived in the hope of military action)
By those that know the very nerves of state (government),
His givings-out (public utterances) 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 (melted snow=cold), one who never feels
The wanton (capricious) stings and motions of the sense
But doth rebate (make dull) and blunt his natural edge (sharp desire)
With profits of the mind - study and fast (fasting).
He--to give fear to use and liberty (habitual license),
Which have for long run by (eluded) the hideous law,
As mice by lions--hath pick'd out an act
Under whose heavy sense (grievous interpretation) 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 (the essence of my errand)
'Twixt (betwixt=between) you and your poor brother.

 

ISABELLA

Doth he so seek his life?

 

LUCIO

Has censured (condemned) him
Already, and, as I hear, the Provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

 

ISABELLA

Alas! What poor ability 's in me
To do him good?

 

LUCIO

Assay the power you have.

 

ISABELLA

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,
Men give like gods, but, when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe (wish to have) them.

 

ISABELLA

I'll see what I can do.

 

LUCIO

But speedily.

 

ISABELLA

I will about it straight (at once),
No longer staying but to give the Mother (Mother Superior)
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you.
Commend me to my brother. Soon at night (in the early evening)
I'll send him certain word of [the extent of] my success.

 

LUCIO

I take my leave of you.

 

ISABELLA

Good sir, adieu.

Exeunt


 

ACT 2. SCENE 1. A hall in Angelo’s house.

 

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a justice, Provost, officers, and other attendants, behind

 

ANGELO

We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear (scare) the birds of prey
And let (but letting) it keep one shape till custom (familiarity) make it
Their perch and not their terror (object of terror).

 

ESCALUS

Ay, but, yet,
Let us be keen and rather cut (compromise) a little
Than [let] fall and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman
Whom I would save had a most noble father!
Let but your honor know,
Whom I believe to be most strait (strict) in virtue,
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time cohered with place or place with wishing
(had the time and place been right)
Or that the resolute acting of your blood
Could have attain'd the effect (achievement) of your own purpose,
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err'd in this point which now you censure him [with]
And pull'd the law upon you.

 

ANGELO

'T is one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I [do] not deny [that]
The jury, passing (passing judgment) on the prisoner's life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What 's open made to (laid before) justice,
That justice seizes. What know the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? 'T is very pregnant (obvious),
(the laws are ignorant of who passes judgment)
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take 't
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 (because) I have had such faults, but, rather, tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so [equally] offend,
Let mine own judgment (the judgment of my behavior) pattern out (serve as a precedent for) my death (condemn me to death)
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

 

ESCALUS

Be it as your wisdom will.

 

ANGELO

Where is the Provost (arresting officer)?

 

PROVOST

Here, if it like your honor.

 

ANGELO

See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning.
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared,
For that 's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

Exit Provost

 

ESCALUS

[Aside] Well, heaven forgive him! And forgive us all!
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall.
Some run from brakes (thickets) of ice and answer [to] none,
And some condemned for a fault (a simple lapse) alone.

Enter ELBOW and officers with FROTH and POMPEY

 

ELBOW

Come, bring them away. If these be good people in
a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses (carry on their improper behavior) in
common houses (brothels), I know no law. Bring them away.

 

ANGELO

How now, sir! What's your name? And what's the matter?

 

ELBOW

If it please your honor, I am the poor Duke's
constable (chief officer), and my name is Elbow. I do lean upon
justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good
honor two notorious benefactors.

 

ANGELO

Benefactors? Well, what benefactors are they? Are
they not malefactors?

 

ELBOW

If it? Please your honor, I know not well what they
are, but precise villains they are, that I am sure
of, and void of all profanation (Elbow’s mistake for “profession”?) in the world that
good Christians ought to have.

 

ESCALUS

This comes off well. Here's a wise officer.

 

ANGELO

Go to. What quality (occupation) are they of? Elbow is your
name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?

 

POMPEY

He cannot, sir. He's out at elbow (too stupid to reply).

 

ANGELO

What are you, sir?

 

ELBOW

He, sir! A tapster, sir; parcel-bawd (part-time pimp); 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 (bath house), which, I think, is a very ill house, too.

 

ESCALUS

How know you that?

 

ELBOW

My wife, sir, whom I detest (Elbow’s mistake for protest) before heaven and your honor,--

 

ESCALUS

How? Thy wife?

 

ELBOW

Ay, sir, whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman--

 

ESCALUS

Dost thou detest her, therefore?

 

ELBOW

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 (a very sad thing for her), for it is a naughty house.

 

ESCALUS

How dost thou know that, constable?

 

ELBOW

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), sir, by my wife, who, if she had been a woman
cardinally (carnally) given, might have been accused in
fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

 

ESCALUS

By the woman's “means”?

 

ELBOW

Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone's “means” (her pimp, Pompey), but, as she
spit in his face, so she defied him (Pompey).

 

POMPEY

Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.

 

ELBOW

Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable
man. Prove it.
(he mixes up “varlets” and “honorable”)

 

ESCALUS

Do you hear how he misplaces?

 

POMPEY

Sir, she came in, great with child, and longing,
saving your honor's reverence, for stewed prunes.
(stewed prunes were commonly eaten in brothels)
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 three-pence. Your honors have seen
such dishes. They are not China dishes but very
good dishes--

 

ESCALUS

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
(if you do remember)
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 (know) of (venereal disease), unless they kept very good diet, as I told you--

 

FROTH

All this is true.

 

POMPEY

Why, very well, then--

 

ESCALUS

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 (let’s get to) what was done to her.

 

POMPEY

Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.

 

ESCALUS

No, sir, nor I mean it not.

 

POMPEY

Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor's
leave. And, I beseech you, look into (consider) Master Froth
here, sir, a man of four-score pound a year, whose
father died at Hallowmas. Was 't not at Hallowmas,
Master Froth?

 

FROTH

All-Hallond eve (Hallowe’en).

 

POMPEY

Why, very well. I hope here be truths. He, sir,
sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir, 't was in
the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you have a delight
to sit, have you not?

 

FROTH

I have so, because it is an open room and good for winter.

 

POMPEY

Why, very well, then, I hope here be truths.

 

ANGELO

This will last out a night in Russia,
When nights are longest there. I 'll take my leave
And leave you to the hearing of the cause (case),
Hoping you 'll find good cause to whip them all.

 

ESCALUS

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.

 

ELBOW

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

 

POMPEY

I beseech your honor, ask me.

 

ESCALUS

Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?

 

POMPEY

I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face.
Good Master Froth, look upon his honor. 't is for a
good purpose. Doth your honor mark his face?

 

ESCALUS

Ay, sir, very well.

 

POMPEY

Nay. I beseech you, mark it well.

 

ESCALUS

Well, I do so.

 

POMPEY

Doth your honor see any harm in his face?

 

ESCALUS

Why, no.

 

POMPEY

I'll be supposed (deposed) upon a book (sworn on the Bible), 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 honor.

 

ESCALUS

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

 

ELBOW

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 (he means suspected)
person than any of us all.

 

ELBOW

Varlet, thou liest. Thou liest, wicked varlet! The
time has yet to come that she was ever respected (suspected)
with man, woman, or child.

 

POMPEY

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

 

ESCALUS

Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity (morality play personifications)? Is this true?

 

ELBOW

O, thou caitiff (rogue)! O, thou varlet! O, thou wicked
Hannibal! I respected (suspected) with her before I was married
to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she
with me, let not your worship think me the poor
Duke's officer (the Duke’s poor officer). Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or
I'll have mine action (lawsuit) of battery on thee.

 

ESCALUS

If he took you a box o' the ear, you might have your
action of slander, too.

 

ELBOW

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), I thank your good worship for it. What is 't
your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?

 

ESCALUS

Truly, officer, because he hath some offences [against the law] in him
that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him
continue in his courses till thou knowest what they
are.

 

ELBOW

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.
(Elbow sees “continue” as a kind of punishment)

 

ESCALUS

Where were you born, friend?

 

 

FROTH

Here in Vienna, sir.

 

ESCALUS

Are you of fourscore pounds a year?

 

FROTH

Yes, an 't please you, sir.

 

ESCALUS

So. What trade are you of, sir?

 

POMPEY

Tapster, a poor widow's tapster.

 

ESCALUS

Your mistress' name?

 

POMPEY

Mistress Overdone.

 

ESCALUS

Hath she had any more than one husband?

 

POMPEY

Nine, sir. Overdone by the last.

 

ESCALUS

Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master
Froth, I would not have you acquainted with
tapsters. They will draw you (that is, draw froth from a tap), Master Froth, and you
will hang them (draw (drag) – and hang). Get you gone, and let me hear no
more of you.

 

FROTH

I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never
come into any room in a tap-house but I am drawn
in.

 

ESCALUS

Well, no more of it, Master Froth. Farewell.

Exit FROTH

Come you hither to me, Master tapster. What's your
name, Master tapster?

 

POMPEY

Pompey.

 

ESCALUS

What else?

 

POMPEY

Bum, sir.

 

ESCALUS

Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you,
so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the
Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey,
howsoever you color it in being a tapster, are you
not? Come, tell me true. It shall be the better for you.

 

POMPEY

Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live (earn a living).

 

ESCALUS

How would you live, Pompey? By being a bawd (pimp)? What
do you think of the trade, Pompey? Is it a lawful trade?

 

POMPEY

If the law would allow it, sir.

 

ESCALUS

But the law will not allow it, Pompey, nor it shall
not be allowed in Vienna.
(double negative, not uncommon in Shakespeare)

 

POMPEY

Does your worship mean to geld (male castration) and spay (female castration) all the youth of the city?

 

ESCALUS

No, Pompey.

 

POMPEY

Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to 't (fornicate), then.
If your worship will take order for the drabs and
the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.

 

ESCALUS

There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you.
It is but [be]heading and hanging.

 

POMPEY

If you [be]head and hang all that offend that way but
for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a
commission (authorization) for more heads. If this law hold in
Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it
after (for only) three-pence a bay (dirt cheap). If you live to see this
come to pass, say Pompey told you so.
(bay=part of a house under a gable)

 

ESCALUS

Thank you, good Pompey, and, in requital of your
prophecy, hark you: I advise you, let me not find
you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever,
no, not for dwelling where you do. If I do, Pompey,
I shall beat you to your tent and prove a shrewd (harsh)
Caesar to you. In plain dealing, Pompey, I shall
have you whipt. So, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
(Caesar defeated Pompey at the battle of Pharsalia)

 

POMPEY

I thank your worship for your good counsel,

Aside

but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall
better determine.
Whip me? No, no. Let carman (wagoner) whip his jade (horse).
The valiant heart is not whipt out of his trade.

Exit

 

ESCALUS

Come hither to me, Master Elbow, come hither, Master
Constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?

 

ELBOW

Seven year and a half, sir.

 

ESCALUS

I thought, by your readiness (proficiency) in the office, you had
continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?

 

ELBOW

And a half, sir.

 

ESCALUS

Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you
wrong to put you so oft upon 't (so frequently). Are there not men
in your ward sufficient (competent enough) to serve it [as deputies]?

 

ELBOW

Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters. As they
are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them. I
do it for some piece of money and go through with
all (get on with it).

 

ESCALUS

Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven,
the most sufficient of your parish.

 

ELBOW

To your worship's house, sir?

 

ESCALUS

To my house. Fare you well.

Exit ELBOW

What 's o'clock, think you?

 

JUSTICE

Eleven, sir.

 

ESCALUS

I pray you home to dinner with me.

 

JUSTICE

I humbly thank you.

 

ESCALUS

It grieves me for the death of Claudio,
But there's no remedy.

 

JUSTICE

Lord Angelo is severe.

 

ESCALUS

It is but needful.
Mercy is not itself that oft looks so.
(in time, what seems to be mercy often turns out not to be)
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe,
But yet--poor Claudio! There is no remedy.
Come, sir.

Exeunt


 

 

ACT 2. SCENE 2. Another room in Angelo’s house.

 

Enter Provost and a servant

 

SERVANT

He's hearing of a cause. He will come straight[away].
I'll tell him of you.

 

PROVOST

Pray you, do.

Exit servant

I'll know his pleasure. Maybe he will relent. Alas,
He hath but as offended in a dream!
(he has offended as in a dream – lightly)
All sects (classes), all ages smack of this vice, and he
To die for't!

Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

Now, what's the matter, Provost?

 

PROVOST

Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?

 

ANGELO

Did not I tell thee yea? Hadst thou not [my] order?
Why dost thou ask again?

 

PROVOST

Lest I might be too rash.
Under your good correction, I have seen,
When, after execution, judgment (the judge) hath
Repented o'er his doom (sentence).

 

ANGELO

Go to. Let that [concern] be mine.
Do you your office, or give up your place
And you shall well be spared (not missed).

 

PROVOST

I crave your honor's pardon.
What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet?
She's very near her hour.

 

ANGELO

Dispose of her
To some more fitter place, and that with speed.

Re-enter servant

 

SERVANT

Here is the sister of the man condemn'd
Desires access to you.

 

ANGELO

Hath he a sister?

 

PROVOST

Ay, my good lord, a very virtuous maid,
And to be shortly of a sisterhood (order of nuns),
If not already.

 

ANGELO

Well, let her be admitted.

Exit servant

See you the fornicatress be removed.
Let [her] have needful, but not lavish, means.
There shall be order for't.

Enter ISABELLA and LUCIO

 

PROVOST

God save your honor!

 

ANGELO

[to Provost] Stay a little while.

To ISABELLA

You're welcome. What's your will?

 

ISABELLA

I am a woeful suitor to your honor.
Please but your honor hear me.

 

ANGELO

Well, what's your suit?

 

ISABELLA

There is a vice that most I do abhor
And most desire should meet the blow of justice,
For which I would not plead but that I must,
For which I must not plead but that I am
At war 'twixt will and will not.

 

ANGELO

Well, the matter?

 

ISABELLA

I have a brother is condemn'd to die.
I do beseech you, let it be his fault
And not my brother.

 

PROVOST

[Aside] Heaven give thee moving graces!

 

ANGELO

Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?
Why, every fault's condemn'd ere (before) it be done.
Mine were the very cipher (a mere nothing) of a function
[if I were] To fine (apply a fine to) the faults whose fine [already] stands in record
And let go by the actor.

 

ISABELLA

O, just but severe law!
I had a brother, then. Heaven keep your honor!

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] Give 't not o'er so. To him
again, entreat him.
Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown.
You are too cold. If you should need a pin (mere trifle),
You could not with more tame a tongue desire (plead for) it.
To him, I say!

 

ISABELLA

Must he needs die?

 

ANGELO

Maiden, no remedy.

 

ISABELLA

Yes. I do think that you might pardon him
And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.

 

ANGELO

I will not do 't.

 

ISABELLA

But can you, if you would?

 

ANGELO

Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.

 

ISABELLA

But might you do 't and do the world no wrong,
If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse (pity)
As mine is to him?

 

ANGELO

He's sentenced. 't is too late.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] You are too cold.

 

ISABELLA

Too late? Why, no. I, that do speak a word,
May call it back again. Well, believe this,
No ceremony that to great ones [be]'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
deputed sword=sword carried in processions
The marshal's truncheon (baton), nor the judge's robe
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does.
If he had been as you and you as he,
You would have slipt like him, but he, like you,
Would not have been so stern.

 

ANGELO

Pray you, be gone.

 

ISABELLA

I would to heaven I had your potency (power)
And you were Isabel! Should it then be thus?
No. I would tell what 't were to be a judge
And what a prisoner.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA]
Ay, touch him. There 's the vein.

 

ANGELO

Your brother is a forfeit (guilty) of the law,
And you but waste your words.

 

ISABELLA

Alas, alas!
Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once,
(everyone has sinned)
And He, that might the vantage best have took,
(God could have punished everybody)
Found out the remedy. How would you be,
remedy=Christ died to reunite mankind with God
If He, which is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that,
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made.

 

ANGELO

Be you content, fair maid.
It is the law, not I, condemn your brother.
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,
It should be thus with him. He must die tomorrow.

 

ISABELLA

Tomorrow! O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him!
He's not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens
We kill the fowl of season. Shall we serve heaven
With less respect than we do minister
To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you.
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
There's many have committed it.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] Ay, well said.

 

ANGELO

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept.
Those many had not (would not have) dared to do that evil
If the first, that did the edict infringe (disobey),
Had answer'd for (paid the penalty for) his deed. Now 't (the law) is awake,
Takes note of what is done, and, like a prophet
Looks in a glass (crystal ball) that shows what future evils--
Either new or by remissness (neglect) new-conceived
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born--
Are now to have no successive degrees (develop no further),
But, ere they live (before the evils are hatched), to end.
(like eggs that die before chicks are born)

 

ISABELLA

Yet show some pity.

 

ANGELO

I show it most of all when I show justice,
For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismiss'd offence would after[wards] gall (injure),
(an offender dismissed would afterwards gall the survivors)
And do him right that, answering (paying the penalty for) one foul wrong
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied.
(dies without offending again)
Your brother dies to-morrow. Be content.

 

ISABELLA

So you must be the first that gives this sentence
And he [the first] that suffers. O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] That's well said.

 

ISABELLA

Could great men thunder
As Jove (king of the gods) himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting (paltry), petty officer
Would use his (Jove’s) heaven for thunder,
Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,
Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak (justice)
Than the soft myrtle (mercy), but man, proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured (his religion) -
His glassy (mirror-like, reflecting God) essence - like an angry ape

Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven

As make the angels weep, who, with our spleens (sources of laughter),
Would all themselves laugh mortal.
(if angels had spleens, they would laugh themselves to death)

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] O, to him, to him, wench! He
will relent.
He's coming [around]. I perceive 't.

 

PROVOST

[Aside] Pray heaven she win him!

 

ISABELLA

We cannot weigh our brother with ourself.
Great men may jest with saints. 't is wit in them
But, in the less, foul profanation.

 

LUCIO

Thou 'rt i' the right, girl. More o’ that.

 

ISABELLA

That in the captain 's but a choleric (angry) word
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] Art avised o' that (have you discovered that)? More on 't.

 

ANGELO

Why do you put these sayings upon me?

 

ISABELLA

Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself
That skins (coats over) the vice o' the top. Go to your bosom.
Knock there and ask your heart what it doth know
That 's like my brother's fault. If it confess
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Let it not sound (utter) a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

 

ANGELO

[Aside] She speaks, and 't is
Such sense that my sense breeds (goes along) with it. [To Isabella] Fare you well.

 

ISABELLA

Gentle my lord, turn back.

 

ANGELO

I will bethink me. Come again tomorrow.

 

ISABELLA

Hark how I'll bribe you. Good my lord, turn back.

 

ANGELO

How! Bribe me?

 

ISABELLA

Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] You had marr’d all else.

 

ISABELLA

Not with fond shekels (silly little coins) of the tested gold
Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor
As fancy values them but with true prayers
That shall be up at heaven and enter there
Ere sunrise, prayers from preserved souls (nuns safe in seclusion),
From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
To nothing temporal.

 

ANGELO

Well, come to me tomorrow.

 

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] Go to. 't is well. Away!

 

ISABELLA

Heaven keep your honor safe!

 

 

ANGELO

[Aside] Amen,
For I am that way going to temptation
Where prayers cross (are at cross purposes).

 

ISABELLA

At what hour tomorrow
Shall I attend your lordship?

 

ANGELO

At any time 'fore noon.

 

ISABELLA

'Save your honor!

Exeunt ISABELLA, LUCIO, and Provost

 

ANGELO

From thee, even from thy virtue!
What 's this, what 's this? Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
Ha!
Not she. Nor doth she tempt, but it is I
That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
That modesty may more betray our sense
Than woman's lightness (licentiousness)? Having “waste ground” enough,
Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
And pitch (establish) our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
What dost thou or what art thou, Angelo?
Dost thou desire her foully for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
Thieves for their robbery have authority
When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her
(judges, themselves, steal)
That I desire to hear her speak again
And feast upon her eyes? What is 't I dream on?
O, cunning enemy (the devil), that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet,
With all her double[dealing] vigor, art, and nature,
Once stir my temper, but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. Even till now,
When men were fond (infatuated), I smiled and wonder'd how[come].

Exit


 

ACT 2. SCENE 3. The prison.

 

Enter, severally, DUKE VINCENTIO, disguised as a friar, and Provost

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Hail to you, Provost - so I think you are.

 

PROVOST

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

 

DUKE 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
common right=right of friars
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 (sullied her reputation) - she is with child,
And he that [be]got it, sentenced, a young man
More fit to do another such offence
Than die for this.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

When must he die?

 

PROVOST

As I do think, tomorrow.

To JULIET

I have provided for you - stay awhile,


And you shall be conducted.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

JULIET

I do and bear the shame most patiently.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I'll teach you how you shall arraign (examine) your conscience
And [will] try your penitence if it be sound
Or hollowly put on.

 

JULIET

I'll gladly learn.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Love you the man that wrong'd you?

 

JULIET

Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.
(Juliet speaks of herself)

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

JULIET

Mutually.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Then, was your sin of heavier kind than his.

 

JULIET

I do confess it and repent it, Father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

'T is 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 (heaven),
But as we stand in fear--

 

JULIET

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

There rest.
Your partner, as I hear, must die tomorrow,
And I am going with [religious] instruction to him.
Grace go with you, Benedicite (Grace go with you)!

Exit

 

JULIET

Must die tomorrow! O, injurious love
That respites (grants) me a life [unborn], whose very comfort
Is still a dying horror (reminder of Claudio’s death)!

 

PROVOST

'T is pity of him (Claudio).

Exeunt


 

ACT 2. SCENE 4. A room in Angelo’s house.

 

Enter ANGELO

 

ANGELO

When I would pray and think, I think and pray
To several subjects (in opposite directions). Heaven hath my empty words,
Whilst my invention (imagination), hearing not my tongue,
Anchors on Isabel - heaven in my mouth,
As if I did but only chew (mumble) His name
And in my heart [experienced] the strong and swelling evil
Of my conception (thought). The state (statecraft), whereon I studied,
Is like a good thing being [too] often read [and]
Grown sere (withered) and tedious. Yea, my gravity,
Wherein--let no man hear me--I take pride,
Could I (I would) with boot (with advantage) change for an idle plume,
Which the air beats (blows against) for vain (vanity). O, place (official position), O, form (ceremony of office),
(as does the wind blow against a weathervane)
How often dost thou with thy case (outer appearance), thy habit (clothing)
Wrench awe from fools and tie the wiser souls
To thy false seeming (seeming - without being - excellent)! Blood (passion), thou art blood (passion).
(things are what they are)
Let 's write “good angel” (Angelo) on the devil's horn (?).
'T is not the devil's crest (badge of honor).
(a puzzling passage)

Enter a servant

How now! Who's there?

 

SERVANT

One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.
sister=nun

 

ANGELO

Teach her the way.

Exit servant

O, heavens!
Why does my blood thus muster (rush) to my heart,
Making both it unable for itself
And dispossessing all my other parts
Of necessary fitness?
So, play the foolish throngs with one that swoons.
Come all to help him, and so stop the air
By which he should revive, and even so
The general [population, who wish the king well], subject to a well-wish'd king,
Quit their own part and, in obsequious fondness,
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught (unmannerly) love
Must needs appear offence.

Enter ISABELLA

How now, fair maid?

 

ISABELLA

I am come to know your pleasure.

 

ANGELO

That you might know it [by intuition] would much better please me
Than to demand what 't is. Your brother cannot live.

 

ISABELLA

Even so (so be it). Heaven keep your honor!

 

ANGELO

Yet, may he live awhile, and, it may be,
As long as you or I.
Yet, he must die.

 

ISABELLA

Under your sentence?

 

ANGELO

Yea.

 

ISABELLA

When, I beseech you? That in his reprieve (time left to him),
Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted
That his soul sicken not.

 

ANGELO

Ha! Fie, these filthy vices! It were as good
To pardon him (a murderer) that hath from nature stolen
A man already made as to remit (pardon)
Their saucy sweetness (lustful pleasures) [of them] that do coin heaven's image (beget an illegitimate child)
In stamps that are forbid [counterfeit]. 't is all as easy
Falsely to take away a life true made
As to put metal in restrained (prohibited) means (a woman who can conceive)
To make a false one.

 

ISABELLA

'T is set down so in heaven but not in earth.

 

ANGELO

Say you so? Then, I shall pose you quickly (immediately puzzle you with a question).
Which had you rather - that the most just law
Now took your brother's life or, to redeem him,
Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness
As she that he hath stain'd?

 

ISABELLA

Sir, believe this:
I had rather give my body than my soul.

 

ANGELO

I talk not of your soul. Our compell'd sins (sins we are forced to commit)
Stand more for number (many sins=much blame) than for accompt (accounting - the bottom line of God’s judgment).

 

ISABELLA

How say you?

 

ANGELO

Nay, I'll not warrant (argue in favor of) that, for I can speak
Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
I, now the voice of the recorded law,
Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life.
Might there not be a charity in sin
sin=yielding to Angelo
To save this brother's life?

 

ISABELLA

Please you to do 't.
I 'll take it as a peril to my soul.
It is no sin at all but charity.

 

ANGELO

[if it] Pleased you to do 't at peril of your soul,
Were equal poise of sin and charity.
(sin and charity would be equally poised)

 

ISABELLA

That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
sin=sin of leniency
Heaven let me bear it! You granting of my suit,
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayer
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your answer (for which you must account in heaven).

 

ANGELO

Nay, but hear me.
Your sense pursues not mine. Either you are ignorant
Or seem so craftily, and that 's not good.

 

ISABELLA

Let me be ignorant and in nothing good
But graciously (by divine grace) to know I am no better.

 

ANGELO

Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright
When it doth tax (criticizes) itself, as these black masks
Proclaim an enshield (concealed, as with a shield) beauty ten times louder
Than beauty could, display'd. But mark me.
To be received (understood) plain, I'll speak more gross:
Your brother is to die.

 

ISABELLA

So [be it].

 

ANGELO

And his offence is so as it appears,
Accountant (accountable) to the law upon that pain (for that punishment).

 

ISABELLA

True.

 

ANGELO

Admit no other way to save his life--
As I subscribe not (do not assent) that, nor any other,
But in the loss of question (merely so that discussion can continue)--that you, his sister,
Finding yourself desired of such a person,
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-binding law and that there were
No earthly mean to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this supposed (hypothetical person) or else to let him suffer.
What would you do?

 

ISABELLA

As much for my poor brother as myself:
That is, were I under the terms (sentence) of death,
The impression of keen whips I 'ld wear as rubies
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
That, longing, [I’d] have been sick for, ere (before) I 'ld yield
My body up to shame.

 

ANGELO

Then must your brother die.

 

ISABELLA

And 't were the cheaper way.
Better it were a brother died at once
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Should die for ever (be damned for eternity).

 

ANGELO

Were not you then as cruel as the sentence
That you have slander'd so?

 

ISABELLA

Ignomy in ransom (release in exchange for an ignominious payment) and free pardon
Are of two houses. Lawful mercy
Is nothing kin to foul redemption.

 

ANGELO

You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant
And rather proved (established) the sliding (lapse) of your brother
A merriment than a vice.

 

ISABELLA

O, pardon me, my lord. It oft falls out,
To have what we would have, we speak not what we mean.
I something (to some extent) do excuse the thing I hate
For his advantage that I dearly love.

 

ANGELO

We are all frail.

 

ISABELLA

Else let my brother die
If not a feodary (confederate) but “only he
Own and succeed (inherit) thy weakness.
(if he is the only person with this weakness, let him die)

 

ANGELO

Nay, women are frail, too.

 

ISABELLA

Ay, as the glasses (mirrors) where they view themselves,
Which are as easy broke as they make forms (multiply images).
Women! Help Heaven! Men their creation (God’s image) mar
("God created man in his own image”)
In profiting by (taking advantage of) them. Nay, call us ten times frail,
For we are [as] soft as our complexions are
And credulous to false prints (counterfeits).

 

ANGELO

I think it well,
And from this testimony of your own sex,
Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger
Than faults may shake our frames, let me be bold -
I do arrest your words (take your words at face value). Be that (what) you are,
That is, a woman. If you be more [resistant than a woman should be], you're none (not a true woman).
If you be one, as you are well express'd (shown to be)
By all external warrants (signs), show it now
By putting on the destined livery (characteristics of a woman=frailty).

 

ISABELLA

I have no tongue but one. Gentle (gentlemanly) my lord,
Let me entreat you speak the former language.

 

ANGELO

Plainly conceive (understand) I love you.

 

ISABELLA

My brother did love Juliet,
And you tell me that he shall die for it.

 

ANGELO

He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

 

ISABELLA

I know your virtue hath a license (freedom to test others) in 't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on (tempt) others.

 

ANGELO

Believe me, on mine honor,
My words express my purpose.

 

ISABELLA

Ha! Little honor to be much believed
And most pernicious purpose! Seeming, seeming (false appearances)!
I will proclaim (denounce) thee, Angelo. Look for 't.
Sign me a present (immediate) pardon for my brother,
Or with an outstretch'd throat I'll tell the world aloud
What man thou art.

 

ANGELO

Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch (formal statement) against you, and my place i' the state
Will so your accusation overweigh
That you shall stifle (choke) in your own report
And smell of calumny (get a reputation for slander). I have begun,
And now I give my sensual race (natural disposition) the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite.
Lay by all nicety and prolixious (time wasting) blushes
That banish what they sue for (drive away what they actually want). Redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance (suffering). Answer me tomorrow
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.

Exit

 

ISABELLA

To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O, perilous mouths
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof (approval),
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will (lust),
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother.
Though he hath fallen by prompture (inciting) of the blood (passion),
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honor
That, had he twenty heads to tender (pay) down
On twenty bloody blocks, he 'ld yield them up
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die.
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request
And fit his mind to death for his soul's rest.

Exit


 

ACT 3. SCENE 1. A room in the prison.

 

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, disguised, as before, as a friar, CLAUDIO, and Provost

 

DUKE 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Be absolute (fully prepared) 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 (the slave of) all the skyey (astrological) influences
That dost this habitation (prison), where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict. Merely (quite simply), thou art death's fool.
For him thou labor'st by thy flight to shun
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble,
For all the accommodations (trappings) that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness (derived from ignoble sources). Thou'rt by no means valiant,
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork (forked tongue)
Of a poor worm (snake). Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provokes (pray for) yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself,
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains (seeds)
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not,
For what thou hast not still (always) thou strivest to get,
And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain (constant),
For thy complexion (constitution) shifts to strange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor,
after the moon – as in astrology
For, like an ass whose back with ingots (bars of gold and silver) bows (bends),
Thou bears thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none,
For thine own bowels (fruit of your loins=children), which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum (diseases)
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 (of even older people), and, when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat (sexual desire), 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 more thousand deaths yet, death[s] we fear
That make[s] these odds all even.
(death is a leveler of all things)

 

CLAUDIO

I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find I seek to die
And, seeking death, find life. Let it come on.
(“he that losest his life . . .”)

 

ISABELLA

[Within] What, ho! Peace here. Grace and good company!

 

PROVOST

Who's there? Come in. The wish deserves a welcome.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

CLAUDIO

Most holy sir, I thank you.

Enter ISABELLA

 

ISABELLA

My business is a word or two with Claudio.

 

PROVOST

And very welcome. Look, signor, here's your sister.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Provost, a word with you.

 

PROVOST

As many as you please.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

Exeunt DUKE VINCENTIO and Provost

 

CLAUDIO

Now, sister, what's the comfort?

 

ISABELLA

Why,
As all comforts are, most good, most good indeed.
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven (business with heaven),
Intends you for his swift ambassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger (lodger? liege?).
Therefore, your best appointment (preparation) make with speed.
Tomorrow you set on.

 

CLAUDIO

Is there no remedy?

 

ISABELLA

None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.

 

CLAUDIO

But is there any?

 

ISABELLA

Yes, brother, you may live.
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life
But fetter you till death.

 

CLAUDIO

Perpetual durance (imprisonment)?

 

ISABELLA

Ay, just. Perpetual durance, a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidity (vastness) you had,
To a determined scope (fixed limitation=certain damnation).

 

CLAUDIO

But in what nature?

 

ISABELLA

In such a one as, you consenting to 't,
Would bark (strip away) your honor from that trunk you bear
And leave you naked.

 

CLAUDIO

Let me know the point.

 

ISABELLA

O, I do fear [for] thee, Claudio, and I quake
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain (take into consideration)
(And six or seven winters more respect (regard more highly))
[rather] Than a perpetual honor. Darest thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension (contemplation of it),
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance (suffering) finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.

 

CLAUDIO

Why give you me this shame?
Think you I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride
And hug it in mine arms.

 

ISABELLA

There spake my brother. There my father's grave
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die.
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances (by lowly means). This outward-sainted deputy (a saint in appearance only=Angelo),
Whose settled visage (composed features) and deliberate word, [like a falcon]
Nips youth (youth as prey) i' the head and follies doth enew (drive into the water)
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil.
His filth within being cast (externalized), he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.

 

CLAUDIO

The prenzie Angelo!
(prenzie is a Shakespearean original word=Puritanical?)

 

ISABELLA

O, 't is the cunning livery (looks) of hell,
The damned'st body to invest (clothe) and cover
In prenzie guards (ornamental trimmings)! Dost thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou mightst be freed?

 

CLAUDIO

O heavens! It cannot be.

 

ISABELLA

Yes, he would give 't (your liberty) thee, from this (my) rank offence,
(he would give you your liberty in return for my rank (foul) sin)
So to offend him still (so that you could continue to sin/offend). This night 's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest tomorrow.

 

CLAUDIO

Thou shalt not do 't.

 

ISABELLA

O, were it but my life,
I 'ld throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly (freely) as a pin.

 

CLAUDIO

Thanks, dear Isabel.

 

ISABELLA

Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

 

CLAUDIO

Yes. Has he affections (feelings) in him
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose (scorn the law),
When he would (should) [en]force it? Sure, it is no sin,
(he scorns the law when he should be enforcing it)
Or, of the deadly seven, it is the least.
(seven deadly sins=pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony, wrath, sloth)

 

ISABELLA

Which is the least?

 

CLAUDIO

If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick (trifle)
[choose to] Be perdurably fined (eternally punished)? O, Isabel!

 

ISABELLA

What says my brother?

 

CLAUDIO

Death is a fearful (fearsome) thing.

 

ISABELLA

And shamed life a hateful.

 

CLAUDIO

Ay, but to die and go we know not where,
To lie in cold obstruction (cessation of vital functions) and to rot,
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod (compressed clump of earth) and the delighted (richly endowed?) spirit
To bathe in fiery floods or to reside
In thrilling (piercingly cold) region of thick-ribbed ice,
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds
And blown with restless violence round about
(common descriptions of Hell – wind, fire, and ice)
The pendent (hanging in space, according to Ptolemy) world or to be worse than worst
Of those [wildly imaginative people] that lawless and incertain thought
Imagine howling, 't is too horrible!
The weariest and most loathed worldly life
That age, ache, penury (poverty), and imprisonment
Can lay on nature is a paradise
[compared] To what we fear of death.

 

ISABELLA

Alas, alas!

 

CLAUDIO

Sweet sister, let me live.
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with (excuses) the deed so far
That it becomes a virtue.

 

ISABELLA

O, you beast!
O, 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 play'd my father fair,
(heaven protect my mother’s reputation)
For such a warped slip (deformed offshoot) of wilderness (wildness)
[can] Ne'er [have] issued from his blood. Take my defiance!
Die, perish! Might but my bending down (submitting)
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it (your fate) should (would) proceed (go on unchecked).
I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
No word to save thee.

 

CLAUDIO

Nay, hear me, Isabel.

 

ISABELLA

O, fie, fie, fie!
Thy sin 's not accidental (a one-time thing) but a trade (regular occupation).
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd (invitation to further sin).
'T is best thou diest quickly.

 

CLAUDIO

O, hear me, Isabella!

Re-enter DUKE VINCENTIO as a friar

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Vouchsafe (permit) a word, young sister, but one word.

 

ISABELLA

What is your will?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and
by (in a moment) have some speech with you. The satisfaction I
would require is likewise your own benefit.

 

ISABELLA

I have no superfluous leisure. My stay must be
stolen out of other affairs, but I will attend (wait for) you awhile.

Walks apart

 

DUKE VINCENTIO (to Claudio)

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 (test) of her
virtue to [actually] practice his judgment with the disposition
of [real] natures. She, having the truth of honor 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 (liable to err). 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Hold you there (steer straight ahead). Farewell.

Exit CLAUDIO

Provost, a word with you!

Re-enter Provost

 

PROVOST

What's your will, father

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

That now you are come, you will be gone (please leave). Leave me
awhile with the maid. My mind promises with my
habit [costume as a friar] no loss shall touch her by my company.

 

PROVOST

In good time.

Exit Provost. ISABELLA comes forward

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good.
The goodness that is cheap in beauty [skin deep] makes beauty
brief in goodness, but grace, being the soul of
your complexion (constitution), 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 (precedents) for his falling, I should
wonder at Angelo. How (what) will you do to content this
substitute (satisfy Angelo) 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 (make public) his government.

 

DUKE 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 (Mariana) 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 (by chance) 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.

 

DUKE 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

She should this Angelo have married, [who] 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 (essential portion) of
her fortune, her marriage-dowry, with both her
combinate (betrothed) husband, this well-seeming Angelo.

 

ISABELLA

Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Left her in her tears and dried not one of them
with his comfort, swallowed (retracted) his vows whole,
pretending, in her, discoveries (revelations) of dishonor, in few,
bestowed her on her own lamentation (left her to her own grief), which she yet
wears for his sake, and he, a marble (impervious) 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is a rupture that you may easily heal, and the
cure of it not only saves your brother but keeps
you from dishonor in doing it.

 

ISABELLA

Show me how, good father.

 

DUKE 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 (in all respects), only refer yourself to
this advantage, first, that your stay with him may
not be long, that the time may have all shadow (darkness) 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 honor untainted, the poor Mariana
advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled (brought down to size). The maid
will I frame (prepare) and make fit for his attempt. If you
think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness (to both Isabella and Mariana)
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.

 

DUKE 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 (farmhouse), resides this dejected Mariana. At that
place call upon me and dispatch (make haste) with Angelo, that
it may be quickly.

 

ISABELLA

I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.

Exeunt severally


ACT 3. SCENE 2. The street before the prison.

 

Enter, on one side, DUKE VINCENTIO, disguised as before, and on the other side ELBOW and officers with POMPEY

 

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 (a kind of wine).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, heavens! What stuff is here.

 

POMPEY

'T was never merry world since (things have never been right), of two usuries (prostitution and lending money), the
merriest (prostitution) was put down, and the worser (moneylending) allowed by
order of law a furred gown to keep him warm, and
furred with fox (representing craftiness) and lamb-skins (representing innocence), too, to signify that
craft (moneylending), being richer than innocency, stands for the facing (sanctions the deceit of innocence with decorative trimming of fox fur).

 

ELBOW

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

And you, good brother father. What offence hath
this man (Pompey) made you, sir?

 

ELBOW

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), 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 (skeleton key), which we have
sent to the deputy.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Fie, sirrah! A bawd (pimp), 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 (stuff a mouth) 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--

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for (arguments in defense of) sin,
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer.
Correction and instruction must both work
Ere this rude beast will profit (earn a living).

 

ELBOW

He must [go] 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 (he’d be better off elsewhere).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

That we were all, as some would seem to be,
From our faults, as faults from seeming, free!
(if only we were all free from faults, as some hypocrits pretend to be)

 

ELBOW

His neck will come to your waist—[hanged by] a cord, sir.
(a friar’s waist is surrounded by a cord)

 

POMPEY

I spy comfort. I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and a
friend of mine.

Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

How now, noble Pompey! What, at the wheels of
Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there
(Lucio suggests that, after the defeat of Pompey the Great (actually, his sons), Julius Caesar, in triumph, led him for display)
none of Pygmalion's (Pygmalion was a sculptor) images, newly made (sculpted) woman, to be
had now for putting the hand in the pocket and
extracting it clutch'd [with payment for a prostitute]? What reply, ha? What
sayest thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is 't
not drowned i' the last rain (ruined by legislation), ha? What sayest
thou, Trot (a common term for pimps)? Is the world as it was, man? Which is
the way? Is it sad and few words? Or how? The
trick (current style) of it (pimping)?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Still thus and thus. Still worse!

 

LUCIO

How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she
still, ha?

 

POMPEY

Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she
is herself in the tub.
(she has worn out all her prostitutes and is now being treated herself for venereal disease)

 

LUCIO

Why, 't is good. It is the right of it. It must be
so. Ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd,
an unshunned (unavoidable) consequence. It must be so. Art going
to prison, Pompey?

 

POMPEY

Yes, faith, sir.

 

LUCIO

Why, 't is not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go, say I
sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? Or how?

 

ELBOW

For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

 

LUCIO

Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be the
due of a bawd, why, 't is his right. Bawd is he
doubtless and of antiquity, too, bawd-born.
Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,
Pompey. You will turn good husband now, Pompey. You
will keep the house.

 

POMPEY

I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.

 

LUCIO

No, indeed, will I not, Pompey. It is not the wear (custom).
I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage. If
you take it not patiently, why, your mettle (spirit and, also, metal shackles) is the
more. Adieu, trusty Pompey. 'Bless you, friar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

And you.

 

LUCIO

Does Bridget paint [her face] still, Pompey, ha?

 

ELBOW

Come your ways, sir. Come.

 

POMPEY

You will not bail me, then, sir?

 

LUCIO

Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar?
What news?

 

ELBOW

Come your ways, sir. Come.

 

LUCIO

Go to kennel, Pompey. Go.

Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY, and officers

What news, friar, of the Duke?

 

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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I know not where, but, wheresoever, I wish him well.

 

LUCIO

It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal [away] from
the state and usurp the beggary he was never born
to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence. He
puts transgression (harasses evildoers) to 't.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

He does well in 't.

 

LUCIO

A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in
him, something (somewhat) too crabbed (harsh) that way, friar.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It (lechery) 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[ate]
it quite (entirely), friar, till eating and drinking be put
down. They say this Angelo was not made by man and
woman after this downright (commonplace) way of creation. Is it
true, think you?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

How should he be made, then?

 

LUCIO

Some report a sea-maid spawned him, some, that he
was begot between two stock-fishes (dried codfish), 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 (puppet that cannot reproduce). That 's infallible.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You are pleasant (jocular), sir, and speak apace (idly).

 

LUCIO

Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him (Angelo): 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 [be]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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I never heard the absent Duke much detected for
women. He was not inclined that way.

 

LUCIO

O, sir, you are deceived.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

'T is not possible.

 

LUCIO

Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty, and
his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish (dish carried by beggars and “clacked”). The
Duke had crotchets in him. He would be drunk, too,
that let me inform you.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You do him wrong, surely.

 

LUCIO

Sir, I was an inward (insider) of his. A shy fellow was the
Duke, and I believe I know the cause of his
withdrawing.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

What, I prithee, might be the cause?

 

LUCIO

No, pardon. 't is a secret must be locked within the
teeth and the lips, but this I can let you
understand, the greater file (majority) of the subject held the
Duke to be wise.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Wise! Why, no question but he was.

 

LUCIO

A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing (shallow) fellow.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Either this is the envy in you, folly, or mistaking.
The very stream of his life and the business (government) he hath
helmed (steered) must upon a warranted need (upon a need for assurance) give him a better
proclamation (reputation). Let him be but testimonied in his own
bringings-forth (judged by his own deeds), and he shall appear, to the
envious, a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier.
Therefore, you speak unskillfully, or, if your
knowledge be more, it is much darkened in your malice (envy).

 

LUCIO

Sir, I know him, and I love him.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Love talks with better knowledge and knowledge with
dearer love.

 

LUCIO

Come, sir, I know what I know.

 

DUKE 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 (defend yourself) before him. If it be honest (true), 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

LUCIO

I fear you not.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, you hope the Duke will return no more, or you
imagine me too unhurtful an opposite (opponent), but, indeed, I
can do you little harm. You'll forswear (renounce) 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Why should he die, sir?

 

LUCIO

Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish (funnel). I would
the Duke we talk of were returned again. The
ungenitured (non-reproducing) agent (deputy=Angelo) will unpeople the province with
continency. Sparrows must not build in his
house-eaves, because they are lecherous. The Duke
yet would have dark deeds (deeds performed in the dark) darkly answered (secretly accounted for). He would
never bring them to light. Would he were returned!
Marry (by the Virgin Mary), this Claudio is condemned for untrussing (pulling off his socks).
Farewell, good friar. I prithee, pray for me. The
Duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton (engage a prostitute) on
[meatless] Fridays. He 's not past it yet, and, I say to thee,
he would mouth[-to-mouth] with a beggar, though she smelt brown
bread and garlic. Say that I said so. Farewell.

Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

No (neither) might nor greatness in mortality (life)
Can censure 'scape (can escape from censure). Back-wounding calumny (slander)
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall (bitterness) up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?

Enter ESCALUS, Provost, and officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE

 

ESCALUS

Go. Away with her to prison!

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Good my lord, be good to me. Your honor is accounted
a merciful man, good my lord.

 

ESCALUS

Double and treble admonition and still forfeit (guilty) in
the same kind (condemned for the same offense)! This would make Mercy swear and play
the tyrant [as in a Morality Play].

 

PROVOST

A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please
your honor.

 

MISTRESS OVERDONE

My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me.
Mistress Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the
Duke's time. He promised her marriage. His child
is a year and a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob (James) (festival on May 1).
I have kept it myself and see how he goes about to abuse me!

 

ESCALUS

That fellow is a fellow of much license. Let him be
called before us. Away with her to prison! Go to.
No more words.

Exeunt officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE

Provost, my brother (fellow official) Angelo will not be altered.
Claudio must die tomorrow. Let him be furnished
with divines and have all charitable preparation (spiritual preparation for death).
If my brother (fellow officer) wrought by my pity (acted with the kind of pity that I have), it should not be
so with him.

 

PROVOST

So please you, this friar hath been with him and
advised him for the entertainment (acceptance) of death.

 

ESCALUS

Good even[ing], good father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Bliss and goodness on you!

 

ESCALUS

Of whence are you?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time (as I see fit). 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

None but that there is so great a fever on
Goodness that the dissolution of it must cure it.
(Goodness is so sick that it can be cured only by the death of the patient)
Novelty is only in request, and it is as dangerous
(only novelty is valued)
to be aged (constant) 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 (securities) enough to make fellowships (businesses) accurst [because of high interest rates for borrowing]. 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 (struggled)
especially to know himself.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

What pleasure was he given to?

 

ESCALUS

Rather rejoicing to see another merry than merry at
anything which professed (attempted) to make him rejoice, a
gentleman of all temperance, but leave we him to
his events (the outcomes of his affairs) 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

He professes to have received no sinister measure (unjust treatment)
from his judge but most willingly humbles himself
to the determination of justice. Yet, had he framed
to himself (figured out), by the instruction of his frailty (failings), 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 (fulfilled your duty to God) and [paid] the
prisoner the very debt of your calling (the requirements of your being a friar). I have
labored for the poor gentleman to the extremest
shore (limit) of my modesty (propriety), but my brother justice (Angelo) have I
found so severe that he hath forced me to tell him
he is indeed Justice.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

If his own life answer (is in accord with) 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Peace be with you!

Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost

He who the sword of heaven (power to execute justice) will bear
Should be as holy as severe,
Pattern in himself to know,
(serve as an example)
Grace to stand [firm] and virtue go (to guide his actions),
[no] More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
(judging others no harsher than himself)
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble (magnified) shame on Angelo
To weed my vice (vices of others) and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
How may likeness made in crimes,
Making practice on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most ponderous and substantial things!
(puzzling – maybe words or lines are lost)
Craft[iness] against vice I must apply.
With Angelo tonight shall lie
[with] His old betrothed but despised.
So disguise shall, by the disguised,
Pay with falsehood false exacting (Angelo’s)
And perform an old contracting (fulfill abandoned marriage vows).

Exit


 

ACT 4. SCENE 1. The moated grange.

 

Enter MARIANA and a boy

 

BOY (sings)

Take, O, take those lips away
That so sweetly were forsworn (told lies)
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn,
(mislead one into thinking that the morning is approaching)
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.
(in vain because the seal was broken)

 

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 (did not suit) but pleased (suited) my woe.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

'T is good, though music oft hath such a charm
To make bad good and good provoke to harm.
I pray, you, tell me, hath anybody inquired
for me here today? Much upon this time have
I promised here to meet.

 

MARIANA

You have not been inquired after.
I have sat here all day.

Enter ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I do constantly (assuredly) believe you. The time is come even
now. I shall crave your forbearance a little. Maybe I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.

 

MARIANA

I am always bound to you.

Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ISABELLA

He hath a garden circum-mured (walled around) with brick
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd,
And to that vineyard is a planched (made of planks) gate
That makes his (its) opening with this bigger key.
This other [key] 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.

 

DUKE 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 (gestures), he did show me
The way twice o'er.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Are there no other tokens
Between you 'greed concerning her observance (that Mariana should take note of)?

 

ISABELLA

No, none, but only a repair i' the dark,
And that I have possess'd (informed) 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 (waits for) me, whose persuasion is (whom I have persuaded)
I come about my brother.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

'T is well borne up (planned).
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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?

 

MARIANA

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Take, then, this, your companion, by the hand,
Who hath a story ready for your ear.
I shall attend your leisure (wait until you are ready), but make haste.
The vaporous night approaches.
(the night was thought to contain disease-causing vapors)

 

MARIANA

Will 't please you walk aside?

Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, place and greatness! Millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee. Volumes of report (rumors)
Run with these false and most contrarious quests (pursuits)
Upon thy doings. Thousand escapes (escapades) of wit
Make thee the father (source) of their idle dreams
And rack thee (pull thee apart) in their fancies.

Re-enter MARIANA and ISABELLA

Welcome, how agreed?

 

ISABELLA

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is not [only] my consent
But my entreaty, too.

 

ISABELLA

Little have you to say
When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
'Remember now my brother.'

 

MARIANA

Fear me not (do not fear for me).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Nor, gentle (noble) daughter, fear you not at all.
He is your husband on a pre-contract.
To bring you thus together, 't is no sin,
Sith that the justice of your title to him
Doth flourish (make beautiful) the deceit. Come, let us go.
Our corn 's to reap, for yet our tithe (contribution in this enterprise) 's to sow.

Exeunt


 

ACT 4. SCENE 2. The prison.

 

Enter Provost and POMPEY

 

PROVOST

Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?

 

POMPEY

If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can, but if he be a
married man, he 's his wife's head, and I can never
cut off a woman's head.

 

PROVOST

Come, sir, leave me your snatches (jokes), and yield me a
direct answer. Tomorrow morning are to die Claudio
and Barnardine. Here is in our prison a common
executioner, who in his office lacks a helper. If
you will take it on you to assist him, it shall
redeem you from your gyves (shackles). If not, you shall have
your full time of imprisonment and your deliverance
with an unpitied whipping, for you have been a
notorious bawd.

 

POMPEY

Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind,
but, yet, I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I
would be glad to receive some instruction from my
fellow partner.

 

PROVOST

What, ho, Abhorson (Shakespeare’s invention: abhor + whoreson)! Where's Abhorson, there?

Enter ABHORSON

 

ABHORSON

Do you call, sir?

 

PROVOST

Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you tomorrow in
your execution. If you think it meet (fitting), compound (come to terms) with
him by the year, and let him abide here with you. If
not, use him for the present and dismiss him. He
cannot plead his estimation (reputation) with you - he hath been a bawd.

 

ABHORSON

A bawd, sir? Fie upon him! He will discredit our mystery (specialty).

 

PROVOST

Go to, sir. You weigh equally - a feather will turn
the scale.

Exit

 

POMPEY

Pray, sir, by your good favor--for surely, sir, a
good favor (face) you have, but (except) that you have a hanging
look--do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?

 

ABHORSON

Ay, sir, a mystery

 

POMPEY

Painting (portrait painting), sir, I have heard say, is a mystery, and
your whores, sir, being members of my occupation,
using painting (cosmetics), do prove my occupation a mystery,
but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I
should be hanged, I cannot imagine.

 

ABHORSON

Sir, it is a mystery.

 

POMPEY

Proof?

 

ABHORSON

Every true (honest) man's apparel fits your thief. If it be
too little for your thief, your true man thinks it
big enough. If it be too big for your thief, your
thief thinks it little enough, so every true man's
apparel fits your thief.
(hangmen inherited the clothes, which might be stolen, of the hanged criminal)

Re-enter Provost

 

PROVOST

Are you agreed?

 

POMPEY

Sir, I will serve him, for I do find your hangman is
a more penitent trade than your bawd. He doth
oftener ask forgiveness.
(he always asks forgiveness of the criminal)

 

PROVOST

You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe
tomorrow four o'clock.

 

ABHORSON

Come on, bawd. I will instruct thee in my trade. Follow.

 

POMPEY

I do desire to learn, sir, and I hope, if you have
occasion to use me for your own turn (occupation), you shall find
me yare (nimble), for truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you
a good turn (playful toss OR kick of the gibbet’s ladder).

 

PROVOST

Call hither Barnardine and Claudio.

Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON

The one has my pity, not a jot the other,
Being a murderer, though he were my brother.

Enter CLAUDIO

Look, here 's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death.
'T is now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow
Thou must be made immortal. Where 's Barnardine?

 

CLAUDIO

As fast lock'd up in sleep as guiltless labor
When it lies starkly (stiffly) in the traveller's (same as travail-er’s) bones.
He will not wake.

 

PROVOST

Who can do good on (benefit) him?
Well, go, prepare yourself.

Knocking within

But, hark, what noise?
Heaven give your spirits comfort!

Exit CLAUDIO

By and by.
I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
For the most gentle (noble) Claudio.

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

Welcome, father.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

The best and wholesomest spirts of the night [to oppose the evil spirits]
Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?

 

PROVOST

None since the curfew (evening bell) rung.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not Isabel?

 

PROVOST

No.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

They will, then, ere 't be long.

 

PROVOST

What comfort is for Claudio?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

There 's some in hope.

 

PROVOST

It is a bitter deputy (Angelo).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not so, not so. His life is parallel'd
Even with the stroke and line (beheading and hanging OR written rule) of his great justice.
He doth with holy abstinence subdue
That in himself which he spurs on his power
To qualify (reduce) in others. Were he meal'd (mixed) with that
Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous,
But, this being so (as it is), he's just.

Knocking within

Now are they come.

Exit Provost

This is a gentle (noble) provost. Seldom when (it is seldom that)
The steeled (hardened) gaoler is the friend of men.

Knocking within

How now! What noise? That spirit 's possessed with haste
That wounds the unsisting (unresponsive?) postern (small back gate) with these strokes.

Re-enter Provost

 

PROVOST

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

PROVOST

None, sir, none.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

PROVOST

Happily (perhaps)
You something know. Yet, I believe there comes
No countermand. No such example have we.
Besides, upon the very siege (seat?) of justice
Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
Profess'd the contrary.

Enter a messenger

This is his lordship's man.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

And here comes Claudio's pardon.

 

MESSENGER

[Giving a paper]
My lord hath sent you this note, and, by me, this
further charge, that you swerve not from the
smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or
other circumstance. Good morrow, for, as I take it,
it is almost day.

 

PROVOST

I shall obey him.

Exit messenger

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

[Aside] This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
For which the pardoner himself is in.
(the pardoner is as guilty as the accused)
Hence hath offence his quick celerity
When it is born in high authority.
When vice makes mercy, mercy 's so extended (given such wide scope)
That for the fault's love is the offender friended.
(the offended is pardoned because his offense is loved)
Now, sir, what news?

 

PROVOST

I told you. Lord Angelo, belike (perhaps) thinking me remiss
in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted
putting-on (urging), methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

 

DUKE 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 (more firm assurance),
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 (make known). Thus, fail
not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril.'
What say you to this, sir?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Whats (who) is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the
afternoon?

 

PROVOST

A Bohemian born but here nursed un and bred, one
that is a prisoner nine years old (for nine years).

 

DUKE 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 (continuously) wrought reprieves for him and,
indeed, his fact (crime), till now in the government (term of office) of Lord
Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is now apparent?

 

PROVOST

Most manifest and not denied by himself.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Hath he born himself penitently in prison? How
seems he to be touched (affected)?

 

PROVOST

A man that apprehends (conceives of) death no more dreadfully but
as a drunken sleep - careless, reckless (unconcerned), and fearless
of what 's past, present, or to come, insensible of
mortality (incapable of understanding the meaning of death) and desperately mortal (without hope of immortality).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

He wants advice (needs spiritual counsel).

 

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 (order) for it. It hath not moved him at all.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

More of him anon. There is written in your brow,
Provost, honesty and constancy. If I read it not
truly, my ancient skill (knowledge) beguiles me, but, in the
boldness of my cunning (confidence in my knowledge of human character), I will lay myself in hazard (danger).
Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
no greater forfeit to the law (more guilty) than Angelo, who hath
sentenced him. To make you understand this in a
manifested effect (clear demonstration), I crave but four days' respite,
for the which you are to do me both a present (immediate) and a
dangerous courtesy (favor).

 

PROVOST

Pray, sir, in what?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

In the delaying death.

 

PROVOST

A lack, how may I do it, having the hour limited (fixed)
and an express command, under penalty, to deliver


his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case
as Claudio's to cross this in the smallest.

 

DUKE 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 favor (recognize the face).

 

DUKE 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 (practice) is common. If anything
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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Were you sworn to the Duke or to the deputy (Angelo)?

 

PROVOST

To him and to his substitutes.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You will think you have made no offence if the Duke
avouch (sanction) the justice of your dealing?

 

PROVOST

But what likelihood is in that?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not a resemblance but a certainty. Yet, since I see
you fearful, that neither my coat (friar’s clothing), integrity, nor
persuasion can with ease attempt (tempt) 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 (handwriting), I doubt not, and the
signet (small seal made by a signet ring) is not strange to you.

 

PROVOST

I know them both.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

The contents of this (document containing the Duke’s handwriting) 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 (containing extraordinary matter),
perchance of the Duke's death, perchance entering
into some monastery, but, by chance, nothing of what
is writ (nothing authoritative). Look, the unfolding star calls up the
shepherd . Put not yourself into amazement how these
(the morning star is telling the shepherd to release the sheep from the fold)
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 (Barnardine) a present
shrift (hear his confession) and advise him for a better place (heaven). Yet, you
are amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you (settle your doubts).
Come away. It is almost clear dawn.

Exeunt


 

ACT 4. SCENE 3. Another room in the prison.

 

Enter POMPEY

 

POMPEY

I am as well acquainted here (have as many acquaintances) as I was in our house
of profession (prostitution). 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 [invested] in
for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,
ninescore and seventeen pounds (=197 pounds), of which he made
five marks (=3 pounds) ready money. Marry (by the Virgin Mary), then ginger was not
much in request, for the old women were all dead.
Then is there here one Master Caper (dancer), at the suit of (sued by)
Master Three-pile, the mercer (dealer in velvet), for some four suits of
peach-colored satin, which now [im]peaches him (Master Caper) a
beggar (in prison for debt). Then have we here young Dizy (dicer) and young
Master Deepvow (loudmouth) and Master Copperspur (fake gold spurs) and Master
Starve-lackey (starves his servants), the rapier and dagger man, and young
Droop-heir that killed lusty Pudding (stupid) and Master
Forthright, the tilter (jouster), and brave Master Shoetie, the
great traveller, and wild Halfcan that stabbed
Pots (bartender), and, I think, forty more, all great doers in
our trade (customers of prostitution) and [who] are now 'for the Lord's sake’ (beggars for handouts).

Enter ABHORSON

 

ABHORSON

Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

 

POMPEY

Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hanged.
Master Barnardine!

 

ABHORSON

What, ho, 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.

 

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.

 

ABHORSON

Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

 

POMPEY

Very ready, sir.

Enter BARNARDINE

 

BARNARDINE

How now, Abhorson? What's the news with you?

 

ABHORSON

Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into (get a move on) your
prayers, for, look you, the warrant 's come.
(people clap together to join in the spirit of something)

 

BARNARDINE

You rogue, I have been drinking all night. I am not
fitted (spiritually prepared) for 't.

 

POMPEY

O, the better, sir, for he that drinks all night
and is hanged betimes (early) in the morning may sleep the
sounder all the next day.

 

ABHORSON

Look you, sir. Here comes your ghostly (spiritual) father. Do
we jest now, think you?

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

 

DUKE 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 (cudgels). I will not
consent to die this day, that's certain.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, sir, you must, and, therefore, I beseech you
Look forward on the journey [from life to death] you shall go.

 

BARNARDINE

I swear I will not die today for any man's
persuasion.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

But hear you.

 

BARNARDINE

Not a word. If you have anything to say to me,
come to my ward (section of the prison), for thence will not I today.

Exit

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Unfit to live or die. O, gravel (hard) heart!
After him, fellows. Bring him to the block.

Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY

Re-enter Provost

 

PROVOST

Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

A creature unprepared, unmeet (unsuitable) for death,
And to transport him [to heaven] in the mind he is (unprepared)
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 color. What if we do omit (ignore)
This reprobate till he were well inclined
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, 't is an accident that heaven provides!
Dispatch it (carry it out) presently (immediately). The hour draws on
Pre-fix'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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

PROVOST

I am your free dependant (willing servant).

 

DUKE 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 (inform) 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 (reasoning),
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter Provost

 

PROVOST

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
For I would commune with you of such things
That want (need) no ear but yours.

 

PROVOST

I'll make all speed.

Exit

 

ISABELLA

[Within] Peace, ho, be here!

 

DUKE 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 [fortune],
To make her heavenly comforts of despair (to pray)
When it (comfort) is least expected.

Enter ISABELLA

 

ISABELLA

Ho, by your leave!

 

DUKE 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ISABELLA

Nay, but it is not so.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is no other. Show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close (secret) patience.

 

ISABELLA

O, I will [go] to him and pluck out his eyes!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You shall not be admitted to his sight.

 

ISABELLA

Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

This nor (neither) 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 tomorrow. 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 honor.

 

ISABELLA

I am directed by you.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

This letter, then, to Friar Peter give.
'T is that [which] he sent me of the Duke's return.
Say, by this token, I desire his company
At Mariana's house tonight. Her cause and yours
I'll perfect him (inform him fully) withal (about it), and he shall bring you
Before the Duke and, to the head of Angelo,
Accuse him home and home (thoroughly). For my poor self,
I am combined (bound) 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?

Enter LUCIO

 

LUCIO

Good even. Friar, where 's the Provost?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not within, sir.

 

LUCIO

O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
thine eyes so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain
to (I must) dine and sup with water and bran. I dare not for
my head (to keep my head on my shoulders) fill my belly. One fruitful meal would set
me to 't (lust). But they say the Duke will be here
tomorrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother.
If the old fantastical Duke of dark corners (meeting in secret with women) had been
at home, he had lived.

Exit ISABELLA

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, the Duke is marvelous 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 (woman chaser) than thou takest him for.

 

DUKE 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.

 

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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Did you such a thing?

 

LUCIO

Yes, marry (by the Virgin Mary), did I but I was fain to forswear it (had to deny it).
They would else have married me to the rotten medlar (overripe kind of apple and/or prostitute).

 

DUKE 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.

Exeunt


 

 

ACT 4. SCENE 4. A room in Angelo’s house.

 

Enter ANGELO and ESCALUS

 

ESCALUS

Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched (contradicted) other.

 

ANGELO

In most uneven and distracted manner. His actions
show much like to madness. Pray heaven his wisdom be
not tainted (impaired)! And why meet him at the gates and
redeliver our authorities (give back our powers) there.

 

ESCALUS

I guess not (I cannot guess).

 

ANGELO

And why should we proclaim it in an hour (a full hour) before his
entering, that, if any crave redress of injustice,
they should exhibit (formally present) their petitions in the street?

 

ESCALUS

He shows his reason for that - to have a dispatch (prompt settlement) of
complaints and to deliver us from devices (contrived complaints)
hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand
against us.

 

ANGELO

Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaimed betimes (early)
i' the morn. I'll call you at your house. Give
notice to such men of sort and suit (rank and following) as are to meet
him.

 

ESCALUS

I shall, sir. Fare you well.

 

ANGELO

Good night.

Exit ESCALUS

This deed (what he supposes to have been the rape of Isabella) unshapes (unsettles) me quite, makes me unpregnant (apathetic)
And dull to all proceedings. A deflower'd maid!
And by an eminent body (person of rank and power) that enforced
The law against it (fornication)! But that her tender shame
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss (virginity),
How might she tongue (denounce) me! Yet, reason dares her no (frightens her into saying nothing),
For my authority bears of a credent bulk (so massive a credibility)
That no particular (personal) scandal once can touch
But it confounds (destroys) the breather. He (Claudio) should have lived,
Save that (except that) riotous youth, with dangerous sense (awareness),
Might in the times to come have ta'en revenge
By so receiving a dishonor'd life (Angelo’s)
With ransom of such shame. Would yet (nevertheless) he had lived!
Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
Nothing goes right. We would and we would not.

Exit


 

ACT 4. SCENE 5. The Friary.
(some editions say fields without the town)

 

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO in his own habit and FRIAR PETER

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

These letters at fit time deliver [for] me.

Giving letters

The Provost knows our purpose and our plot.
The matter being afoot, keep (follow) your instruction
And hold you ever to our special drift (plan),
Though sometimes you do blench (deviate) from this to that,
As cause doth minister (opportunity provides). 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.

 

FRIAR PETER

It shall be speeded well.

Exit

Enter VARRIUS

 

DUKE 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 (soon), my gentle (noble) Varrius.

Exeunt

 

ACT 4. SCENE 6. The moated grange.
(some editions say a street near the city gate)

 

Enter ISABELLA and MARIANA

 

ISABELLA

To speak so indirectly I am loath.
I would say the truth, but, to accuse him so,
That is your part. Yet, I am advised to do it,
He says, to veil full purpose.

 

MARIANA

Be ruled by him.

 

ISABELLA

Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure (perhaps)
He speak against me on the adverse side,
I should not think it strange, for 't is a physic
That 's bitter to sweet end.

 

MARIANA

I would Friar Peter--

 

ISABELLA

O, peace! The friar is come.

Enter FRIAR PETER

 

FRIAR PETER

Come, I have found you out a [place to] stand most fit
Where you may have such vantage on the Duke.
He shall not pass you. Twice have the trumpets sounded.
The generous (highly born) and gravest citizens
Have hent (taken up their positions at) the gates, and very near upon
The Duke is entering. Therefore, hence, away!

Exeunt


 

ACT 5. SCENE 1. The city gates.

 

MARIANA veiled, ISABELLA, and FRIAR PETER at their stand. Enter DUKE VINCENTIO not disguised, VARRIUS, lords, ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, PROVOST, officers, and citizens at several doors

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ANGELO, ESCALUS

Happy return be to your royal grace!

 

DUKE 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 (reward) [from me].

 

ANGELO

You make my bonds still greater.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, your desert (deserving) speaks loud, and I should wrong it
To lock it in the wards (prison) of covert (hidden) bosom
When it deserves, with characters (letters) of brass,
A forted (fortified) residence 'gainst the tooth of time
And razure (erasure) of oblivion. Give me your hand,
And let the subject [citizens] see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favors [to them] that keep within. Come, Escalus,
You must walk by us on our other hand,
And good supporters are you.

FRIAR PETER and ISABELLA come forward

 

FRIAR PETER

Now is your time. Speak loud and kneel before him.

 

ISABELLA

Justice, O royal Duke! Vail your regard (look down)
Upon a wrong'd (I would fain have said a) maid!
O worthy prince, dishonor 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!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Relate your wrongs. In what? By whom? Be brief.
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice.
Reveal yourself (disclose your complaint) to him.

 

ISABELLA

O worthy duke,
You bid me seek redemption of the devil.
Hear me yourself, for that which I must speak
Must either punish me, not being believed,
Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear me, here!

 

ANGELO

My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm.
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,
Cut off (executed) by course of justice--

 

ISABELLA

By course of justice!

 

ANGELO

And she will speak most bitterly and strange.

 

ISABELLA

Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak,
That Angelo 's forsworn (a liar). 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?

 

DUKE 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 (the ultimate degee).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ISABELLA

O prince, I conjure (appeal to) thee, as thou believest
There is another comfort than this world,
That thou neglect me not with that opinion (the opinion)
That I am touch'd with madness! Make not impossible
That which but seems unlike[ly]. 't is not impossible
But (that) one, the wicked'st caitiff (villain) on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute (perfect)
As Angelo. Even so may Angelo,
In all his dressings (robes), characts (badges), titles, forms (ceremonies)
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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

By mine honesty,
If she be mad--as I believe no other--
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense (reasonableness),
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.

 

ISABELLA

O gracious Duke,
Harp (insist) not on that, nor do not banish reason
nor . . . not=nor (common double negative)
For inequality (injustice), but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false [that] seems true.
(and put aside the falseness that seems like truth)

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ISABELLA

I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
To lose his head, condemn'd by Angelo.
I, in probation (a novice) of a sisterhood,
Was sent to, by my brother, one Lucio,
As then the messenger--

 

LUCIO

That 's I, an 't like your grace.
I came to her from Claudio and desired her
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
For her poor brother's pardon.

 

ISABELLA

That 's he indeed.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You were not bid to speak.

 

LUCIO

No, my good lord,
Nor wish'd (ordered) to hold my peace.

 

DUKE 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 (know all your lines).

 

LUCIO

I warrant (assure) your honor.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

The warrant ‘s for yourself. Take heed to 't.

 

ISABELLA

This gentleman told somewhat of my tale--

 

LUCIO

Right.

 

DUKE 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--

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

That 's somewhat madly spoken.

 

ISABELLA

Pardon it.
The phrase is to the matter (fitting to the subject).

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Mended again. The matter. Proceed.

 

ISABELLA

In brief, to set the needless process by (not to dwell on details),
How I persuaded, how I pray'd and kneel'd,
How he refell'd (refuted) 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 (lecherous) intemperate lust,
Release my brother, and, after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse (compassion) confutes (negates) mine honor
And I did yield to him, but the next morn, betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant (order)
For my poor brother's head.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

This is most likely!
(sarcasm)

 

ISABELLA

O, that it were as like[ly] as it is true!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

By heaven, fond (foolish) wretch, thou knowist not what thou speak'st,
Or else thou art suborn'd (lying) against his honor
In hateful practice (trickery). First, his integrity
Stands without blemish. Next, it imports no reason
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself (prosecute crimes of which he himself is guilty). If he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd (judged) thy brother by himself
And not have cut him off (executed him). Someone 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 (concealed by the permission of authority)! Heaven shield your grace from woe,
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I know you 'ld fain be gone. An officer!
To prison with her! Shall we thus permit
A blasting (destructive) and a scandalous breath to fall
On him so near us (closely known)? This needs must be a practice (trick).
Who knew of your intent and coming hither?

 

ISABELLA

One that I would (wish) were here, Friar Lodowick.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

A ghostly (spiritual) father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?

 

LUCIO

My lord, I know him. 't is a meddling friar.
I do not like the man. Had he been lay (not a cleric), my lord,
For certain words he spake against your grace
In your retirement I had swinged (thrashed) him soundly.
swin-ged (soft g)

 

DUKE 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.

 

LUCIO

But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
I saw them at the prison. A saucy (impudent) friar,
A very scurvy fellow.

 

FRIAR PETER

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

FRIAR PETER

I know him for a man divine and holy,
Not scurvy nor a temporary meddler (meddler in temporal affairs),
As he 's reported by this gentleman,
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

 

LUCIO

My lord, most villainously. Believe it.

 

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 (personal) 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 (proofs) will make up full clear,
Whensoever he 's convented (summoned). First, for this woman--.
To justify (clear) this worthy nobleman,
So vulgarly (publicly) and personally accused,
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes (to her face)
Till she herself confess it.

 

DUKE 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 veiled

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

What, are you married?

 

MARIANA

No, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Are you a maid?

 

MARIANA

No, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

A widow, then?

 

MARIANA

Neither, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

LUCIO

My lord, she may be a punk (prostitute), for many of them are
neither maid, widow, nor wife.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

LUCIO

Well, my lord.

 

MARIANA

My lord, I do confess I ne'er was married,
And I confess besides I am no maid.
I have known [sexually] my husband, yet my husband
Knows not that ever he knew me.

 

LUCIO

He was drunk then, my lord. It can be no better.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

LUCIO

Well, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

This is no witness for Lord Angelo.

 

MARIANA

Now I come to 't my lord,
She that accuses him of fornication
In self-same manner doth accuse my husband
And charges him, my lord, with such a time
When I 'll depose I had him in mine arms
With all the effect of love.

 

ANGELO

Charges she more than me?

 

MARIANA

Not that I know.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

No? You say your husband.

 

MARIANA

Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,
Who thinks he knows that he ne'er knew my body
But knows he thinks that he knows Isabel's.

 

ANGELO

This is a strange abuse. Let 's see thy face.

 

MARIANA

My husband bids me. Now I will unmask.

Unveiling

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 (marriage vow),
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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Know you this woman?

 

LUCIO

Carnally, she says.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Sirrah, no more!

 

LUCIO

Enough, my lord.

 

ANGELO

My lord, I must confess I know this woman,
And five years since there was some speech of marriage
Betwixt myself and her, which was broke off,
Partly for that her promised proportions (dowry)
Came short of composition, but in chief
For that her reputation was disvalued
In levity (immorality), since which time of five years
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
Upon my faith and honor.

 

MARIANA

Noble prince,
As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,
As there is [good] sense in truth and truth in virtue,
I am affianced this man's wife as strongly
As words could make up vows, and, my good lord,
But Tuesday night last gone in 's garden-house
He knew me as a wife. As this is true,
Let me in safety raise me from my knees
Or else for ever be confixed (firmly fixed) here,
A marble monument!

 

ANGELO

I did but smile till now.
Now, good my lord, give me the scope (full extent) of justice,
My patience here is touch'd (injured). I do perceive
These poor informal (mentally deranged) women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member [of a conspiracy]
That sets them on. Let me have way, my lord,
To find this practice (plot) out.

 

DUKE 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 (individual) 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 't is 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Go, do it instantly.

Exit Provost

And you, my noble and well-warranted (approved for truthfulness) 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 (finally decided the case of) these slanderers.

 

ESCALUS

My lord, we 'll do it thoroughly (thoroughly).

Exit DUKE

Signor Lucio, did not you say you knew that
Friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person?

 

LUCIO

'Cucullus non facit monachum.' Honest in nothing
but in his clothes and one that hath spoke most
villanous speeches of the Duke.
the cowl does not make the monk

 

ESCALUS

We shall entreat you to abide here till he come and
enforce them against him. We shall find this friar a
notable (notorious) fellow.

 

LUCIO

As any in Vienna, on my word.

 

ESCALUS

Call that same Isabel here once again. I would speak with her.

Exit an attendant

Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question. You
shall see how I'll handle her.

 

LUCIO

Not better than he, by her own report.

 

ESCALUS

Say you?

 

LUCIO

Marry (by the Virgin Mary), sir, I think, if you handled her privately,
she would sooner confess. Perchance publicly
she 'll be ashamed.

 

ESCALUS

I will go darkly (secretly) to work with her.

 

LUCIO

That 's the way, for women are light at midnight.

Re-enter officers with ISABELLA and PROVOST with the DUKE VINCENTIO in his friar's habit

 

ESCALUS

Come on, mistress. Here's a gentlewoman denies all
that you have said.

 

LUCIO

My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of, here with
the Provost.

 

ESCALUS

In very good time. Speak not you to him till we
call upon you.

 

LUCIO

Mum.

 

ESCALUS

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

'T is false.

 

ESCALUS

How! Know you where you are?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Respect to your great place (high position), and let the devil
Be sometime honor'd for his burning throne!
(give the devil his due)
Where is the Duke? 't is he should hear me speak.

 

ESCALUS

The Duke 's [represented] in us, and we will hear you speak.
Look you speak justly.

 

DUKE 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 (reject) your manifest (obvious=just) appeal
And put your trial (power to pronounce judgment) in the villain's mouth,
Which here you come to accuse.

 

LUCIO

This is the rascal. This is he I spoke of.

 

ESCALUS

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

 

DUKE 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 (nor subject of church jurisdiction). 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 (extracted teeth) in a barber's shop,
(teeth were pulled in a barber shop)
As much in mock as mark (note).

 

ESCALUS

Slander to the state! Away with him to prison!

 

ANGELO

What can you vouch against him, Signor Lucio?
Is this the man that you did tell us of?

 

LUCIO

'T is he, my lord. Come hither, goodman baldpate (referring to friars’ tonsure).
Do you know me?

 

DUKE 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Most notedly, sir.

 

LUCIO

Do you so, sir? And was the Duke a fleshmonger (fornicator), a
fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?

 

DUKE 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

I protest I love the Duke as I love myself.

 

ANGELO

Hark, how the villain would close (come to terms) now after his
treasonable abuses!

 

ESCALUS

Such a fellow is not to be talked withal (with). Away with
him to prison! Where is the Provost? Away with him
to prison! Lay bolts (fetters) enough upon him. Let him
speak no more. Away with those giglots (giddy girls), too, and
with the other confederate companion!

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

[To Provost] Stay, sir. Stay awhile.

 

ANGELO

What, resists he? Help him, Lucio.

 

LUCIO

Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir! Why, you
bald-pated, lying rascal, you must be hooded, must
you? Show your knave's visage, with a pox to you (may your skin be pocked)!
Show your sheep-biting (dogs who attacked sheep) face and be hanged [as a stealer of sheep] an hour!
Will 't not off?
(

Pulls off the friar's hood and discovers (reveals) DUKE VINCENTIO

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Thou art the first knave that e'er madest a Duke.
First, Provost, let me bail (release) these gentle (noble) three.

To LUCIO

Sneak not away, sir, for the friar and you
Must have a word anon (right away). Lay hold on him.

 

LUCIO

This may prove worse than hanging.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

[To ESCALUS] What you have spoke I pardon. Sit you down.
We 'll borrow place of him.
(I ’ll take Angelo’s place)

To ANGELO

Sir, by your leave.
Hast thou or word or wit or impudence
That yet can do thee office (serve thee)? 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

 

ANGELO

I was, my lord.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Go take her hence and marry her instantly.
Do you the office, friar, which, consummate (performed),
Return him here again. Go with him, Provost.

Exeunt ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and PROVOST

 

ESCALUS

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Come hither, Isabel.
Your friar is now your prince. As I was then
Advertising (paying attention) and wholly to your business,
Not changing heart with habit (clothing), I am still
(same heart, different clothes)
Attorney'd (your agent) at your service.

 

ISABELLA

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You are pardon'd, Isabel,
And now, dear maid, be you as free to us (pardon me in turn).
Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart,
And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
Laboring to save his life, and would not rather
Make rash remonstrance (demonstration) 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 (dashed out the brains for) 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.

 

ISABELLA

I do, my lord.

Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and PROVOST

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

For this new-married man approaching here,
Whose salt (lecherous) imagination yet hath wrong'd
Your well defended honor, you must pardon
For Mariana's sake, but, as he adjudged (condemned) your brother--
Being criminal, in double violation
Of [Isabella’s] sacred chastity and of promise-breach (breach of promise)
Thereon dependent, for your brother's life--
The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper (Angelo’s own) tongue,
'An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!'
Haste still (always) pays haste, and leisure answers leisure.
Like doth quit like and MEASURE still (always) FOR MEASURE.
Then, Angelo, thy fault 's thus manifested,
Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage (better treatment).
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 [by taking away the one I just got].

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

It is your husband mock'd you with a husband.
Consenting to the safeguard of your honor,
I thought your marriage fit, else imputation (slander),
For that he knew you [carnally], 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 (with)
To buy you a better husband.

 

MARIANA

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

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Never crave him. We are definitive (decisive).

 

MARIANA

Gentle (noble) my liege--

Kneeling

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

You do but lose your labor.
Away with him to death!

To LUCIO

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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Against all sense you do importune her.
Should she kneel down in [a posture of] mercy of this fact (Angelo’s evil deed),
Her brother's ghost his paved bed (church flooring) 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?

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

He dies for Claudio's death.

 

ISABELLA

Most bounteous sir,

Kneeling

Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd
As if my brother lived. I partly think
A due sincerity govern'd his deeds
Till he did look on me. Since it is so,
Let him not die. My brother had but justice
In that he did the thing for which he died.
For Angelo,
His act did not o'ertake his bad intent
(he did not commit the crime that he intended to commit)
And must be buried but as an intent
That perish'd by the way. Thoughts are no subjects,
Intents but merely thoughts.

 

MARIANA

Merely, my lord.

 

DUKE 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Had you a special warrant (order) for the deed?

 

PROVOST

No, my good lord. It was by private message.

 

DUKE 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 (consideration),
For testimony whereof, one in the prison
That should by private order else have died
I have reserved alive.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

What 's he?

 

PROVOST

His name is Barnardine.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

Exit Provost

 

ESCALUS

I am sorry one so learned and so wise
As you, Lord Angelo, have still (always) appear'd,
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood
And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.

 

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.
'T is my deserving, and I do entreat it.

Re-enter Provost with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO muffled, and JULIET

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Which is that Barnardine?

 

PROVOST

This, my lord.

 

DUKE 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?

 

PROVOST

This is another prisoner that I saved
Who should have died when Claudio lost his head,
As like almost to Claudio as himself.

Unmuffles CLAUDIO

 

DUKE 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 (coming to life) in his eye.
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you (pays you back) well.
Look that you love your wife, her worth worth yours.
I find an apt remission (readiness to be merciful) in myself,
And, yet, here's one in place I cannot pardon.

To LUCIO

You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,
One all of luxury (lust), 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.

 

DUKE 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.

 

DUKE VINCENTIO

Upon mine honor, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive, and therewithal (moreover)
Remit thy other forfeits (pardon your other crimes). Take him to prison
And see our pleasure herein executed.

 

LUCIO

Marrying a punk (prostitute), my lord, is pressing to death (torturing),
whipping, and hanging.

 

DUKE 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 (heard her confession) and I know her virtue.
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness.
There 's more behind (in store) that is more gratulate (pleasing).
Thanks, Provost, for thy care and secrecy.
We shall employ thee in a worthier place (higher office).
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's.
The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,
I have a motion (proposal) much imports (implies) your good,
Whereto, if you 'll a willing ear incline,
What 's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.
So, bring (escort) us to our palace, where we 'll show
What 's yet behind (still to come) that 's meet (fitting) you all should know.

Exeunt