« PreviousContinue »
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
VICENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
VANGELO, lord deputy in the Duke's absence.
FROTH, a foolish gentleman.
ESCALUS, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the ABHORSON, an executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute prisoner.
ISABELLA, sister to Claudio.
Mistress OVER-DONE, a bawd.
Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
Duke. Look, where he comes. Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure. Duke.
There is a kind of character in thy life,
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Both thanks and use.
[Exit an Attendant What figure of us think you he will bear? For you must know, we have with special soul Elected him our absence to supply; Lent him our terror, drest him with our love; And given his deputation all the organs Of our own power: What think you of it? Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth To undergo such ample grace and honour, It is lord Angelo.
But I do bend my speech
In our remove, be thou at full ourself:
Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
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.
No more evasion :
Duke. We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours. Our haste from hence is of so quick condition, That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd Matters of needful value. We shall write to you, As time and our concernings shall impórtune, 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.
Ang. Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way.
Duke. My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
Give me your hand;
I'll privily away: I love the people,
A power I have; but of what strength and nature
Ang. 'Tis so with me:-Let us withdraw together, And we may soon our satisfaction have Touching that point.
I'll wait upon your honour. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-A Street.
Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal? Lucio. Ay, that he razed.
1 Gent. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions; they put forth to steal: There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.
2 Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it. Lucio. I believe thee; for, I think, thou never wast where grace was said.
2 Gent. No? a dozen times at least.
1 Gent. What? in metre?
Lucio. In any proportion, or in any language. 1 Gent. I think, or in any religion. Lucio. Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy: As for example; Thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.
1 Gent. Well, there went but a pair of sheers between us.
1 Gent. And thou the velvet: thou art good vcivet; thou art a three-pil'd piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an English kersy, as he pil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?
Lucio. I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy health; but whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.
1 Gent. I think, I have done myself wrong; have I not?
2 Gent. Yes, that thou hast; whether thou art tainted, or free.
Lucio. Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation comes! I have purchased as many diseases under her roof, as come to
2 Gent. To what, I pray?
1 Gent. Judge.
2 Gent. To three thousand dollars a-year.
1 Gent. Ay, and more.
Lucio. A French crown more.
1 Gent. Thou art always figuring diseases in me: but thou art full of error; I am sound.
Lucio. Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound, as things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow: impiety has made a feast of thee.
1 Gent. How now? Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?
Bawd. Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of you all.
1 Gent. Who's that, I pray thee?
Bawd. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 1 Gent. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.
Bawd. Nay, but I know, 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him carried away; and, which is more, within these three days his head's to be chopped off.
Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so: Art thou sure of this?
Bawd. 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.
2 Gent. Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we had to such a purpose.
1 Gent. But most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.
Lucio. Away; let's go learn the truth of it. [Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen. Bawd. Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk. How now? what's the news with you?
Clo. Yonder man is carried to prison.
Bawd. But what's his offence?
Clo. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. Bawd. What, is there a maid with child by him? Clo. No; but there's a woman with maid by him: You have not heard of the proclamation, have you? Bawd. What proclamation, man?
Clo. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must he
Lucio. I grant; as there may between the lists pluck'd down. and the velvet: Thou art the list.
Bawd. And what shall become of those in the city?
Clo. They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. Bawd. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down?
Clo. To the ground, mistress.
Bawd. Why, here's a change, indeed, in the commonwealth! What shall become of me?
Clo. Come; fear not you : good counsellors lack no clients though you change your place, you need not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. Courage; there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.
Bawd. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.
Clo. Here comes signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison: and there's madam Juliet.
SCENE III.-The same.
Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; Lucio and two Gentlemen.
Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Claud. Thus can the demi-god, Authority, Make us pay down for our offence by weight. The words of heaven;-on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio? whence comes this restraint?
Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty: As surfeit is the father of much fast, So every scope by the immoderate use, Turns to restraint: Our natures do pursue, (Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,) A thirsty evil, and when we drink, we die.
Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors: And yet, to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom, as the morality of imprisonment.. What's thy offence, Claudio?
Claud. What, but to speak of would offend again.
Lucio. What is it? murder?
Claud. Call it so.
Prov. Away, sir; you must go.
Claud. One word, good friend: - Lucio, a word [Takes him aside. Lucio. A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Is lechery so look'd after?
Claud. Thus stands it with me:- - Upon a true contract,
I got possession of Julietta's bed;
You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Of outward order: this we came not to,
Remaining in the coffer of her friends;
Claud. Unhappily, even so.
And the new deputy now for the duke,—
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness; Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
So long, that nineteen zodiacks have gone round,
Lucio. I warrant, it is: and thy head stands so
Lucio. I pray, she may as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition; as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her. Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio. Lucio. Within two hours, Claud. Come, officer, away.
SCENE IV. - A Monastery.
Enter DUKE and Friar THOMAS.
Duke. No; holy father; throw away that thought; Believe not that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a cómplete bosom: why I desire thee To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends Of burning youth.
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
(The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,} Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep; Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch, Only to stick it in their children's sight,
I have on Angelo impos'd the office;
To do it slander: And to behold his sway,
Is more to bread than stone: Hence shall we see,
Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more; But rather wishing a more strict restraint Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare. Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place! Isab. Who's that which calls? Fran. It is a man's voice: Gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him; You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn: When you have vow'd, you must not speak with 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 FRANCISCA. Isab. 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 me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask;
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you :
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Lucio. For that, which if myself might be his judge,
Isab. Sir, make me not your story.
It is true.
The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me To do him good?
Isab. My power! Lucio.
Assay the power you have. Alas! I doubt,
Our doubts are traitors,
Whom I would save, had a most noble father.
(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,)
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
That justice seizes. What know the laws,
That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very preg
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
Where is the provost?
See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
[Exit Provost. Escal. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer. Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow? Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow. Ang. What are you, sir?
Elb. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?
Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. Escal. How dost thou know that, constable? Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means: but
as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so. Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces?
Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruitdish, a dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir. Clo. 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 belly'd, 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.
Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes. Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What was done to Elbow's wife, that