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SCENE I.-A Room in the Prison.
Enter DUKE, CLAUDIO, and Provost.
Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord
Claud. The miserable have no other medicine,
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death; either death, or life, Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life,— If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep a breath thou art,
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old, and rich,
The princely Angelo?
Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good If I would yield him my virginity,
Prov. Who's there? come in the wish deserves
Thou might'st be freed?
So to offend him still: This night's the time
Thou shalt not do't
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose;
Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise,
Isab. What says my brother?
Death is a fearful thing.
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
To what we fear of death.
O, you beast!
O, faithless coward! O, dishonest wretch!
Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take my defiance:
Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Duke. The hand that hath made you fair, hath made you good: the goodness, that is cheap in beauty, makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion, should keep the body of it ever fair. The assault, that Angelo hath made to you, fortune hath convey'd to my understanding; and, but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How would you do to content this substitute, and to save your brother.
Isab. I am now going to resolve him: I had rather my brother die by the law, than my son should be unlawfully born. But O, how much is the good duke deceived in Angelo! If ever he return, and I can speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his government.
Duke. That shall not be much amiss: Yet, as the matter now stands, he will avoid your accusation; he made trial of you only. Therefore, fasten your ear on my advisings; to the love I have in doing good, a remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe, that you may most uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit; redeem your brother from the angry law; do no stain to your own gracious person; and much please the absent duke, if, peradventure, he shall ever return to have hearing of this business.
Isab. Let me hear you speak further; I have spirit to do any thing that appears not foul in the O, fye, fye, fye! truth of my spirit.
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade: Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd: 'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
[Going. O hear me, Isabella.
Isab. What is your will?
Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and by have some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require, is likewise your own benefit.
Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you a while.
Duke. [To CLAUDIO, aside.] Son, I have overneard what hath past between you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practise his judgment with the disposition of natures; she, having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive: 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:
Duke. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you not heard speak of Mariana the sister of Frederick, the great soldier, who miscarried at sea?
Isab. I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.
Duke. Her should this Angelo have married; was affianced to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed : between which time of the contract, and limit of the solemnity, her brother Frederick was wrecked at sea, having in that perish'd vessel the dowry of his sister. But mark, how heavily this befel to the poor gentlewoman: there she lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love toward her ever most kind and natural; with him the portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her combinate husband, this well-seeming Angelo.
Isab. Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her? Duke. Left her in her tears, and dry'd not one of them with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole, pretending, in her, discoveries of dishonour; in Ifew, bestowed her on her own lamentation, which she yet wears for his sake; and he, a marble to her tears, is washed with them, but relents not.
Isab. What a merit were it in death, to take this
poor maid from the world! What corruption in this life, that it will let this man live! - But how out of this can she avail?
Duke. It is a rupture that you may easily heal; and the cure of it not only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonour in doing it.
Isab. Show me how, good father.
Duke. This fore-named maid hath yet in her the continuance of her first affection; his unjust unkindness, that in all reason should have quenched her love, hath, like an impediment in the current, made it more violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his requiring with a plausible obedience; agree with his demands to the point: only refer yourself to this advantage, — first, that your stay with him may not be long; that the time may have all shadow and silence in it; and the place answer to convenience this being granted in course, now follows all. We shall advise this wronged maid to stead up your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her recompense: and here, by this, is your brother saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid will I frame, and make fit for his attempt. If you think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof. What think you of it?
Isab. The image of it gives me content already; and, I trust, it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.
The Street before the Prison. Enter DUKE, as a Friar; to him ELBOW, Clown, and Officers.
Elb. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the world drink brown and white bastard.
Duke. O, heavens! what stuff is here?
Clo. 'Twas never merry world, since, of two usuries, the merriest was put down, and the worser allow'd by order of law a furr'd gown to keep him warm; and furr'd with fox and lamb-skins too, to signify, that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing. Elb. Come your way, sir: father friar. Duke. And you, good brother father: What offence hath this man made you, sir?
- Bless you, good
Elb. Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir, we take him to be a thief too, sir; for we have found upon him, sir, a strange pick-lock, which we have sent to the deputy.
Duke. Fye, sirrah; a bawd, a wicked bawd!
I drink, I eat, array myseif, and live. Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go, mend, go, mend. Clo. Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, sir, I would prove
Duke. Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer;
Elb. He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him warning: the deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if he be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were as good go a mile on his errand.
Duke. That we were all, as some would seem to be, Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free! Enter LUCIO.
Elb. His neck will come to your waist, a cord,
Clo. I spy comfort; cry, bail: Here's a gentleman, and a friend of mine.
Lucio. How now, noble Pompey? What, at the heels of Cæsar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there none of Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket and extracting it clutch'd? What reply? Ha? What say'st thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is't not drown'd i' the last rain? Ha?
What say'st thou, trot? Is the world as it was, man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words? Or how? The trick of it?
Duke. Still thus, and thus! still worse! Lucio. How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she still? Ha?
Clo. Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she is herself in the tub.
Lucio. Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it: it must be so: Ever your fresh whore, and your powder'd bawd: An unshunn'd consequence; it must be so: Art going to prison, Pompey ? Clo. Yes, faith, sir. Lucio. Why 'tis not amiss, Go; say, I sent thee thither. Or how?
Pompey: Farewell; For debt, Pompey?
Lucio. A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in him: something too crabbed that way, friar.
Duke. It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.
Lucio. Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred; it is well ally'd: but it is impossible to extirp it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be put down. They say, this Angelo was not made by man and woman, after the downright way of creation: Is it true, think you?
Duke. How should he be made then? Lucio. Some report, a sea-maid spawn'd him: Some, that he was begot between two stock-fishes: But it is certain, that when he makes water, his urine is congeal'd ice; that I know to be true: and he is a motion ungenerative, that's infallible.
Duke. You are pleasant, sir; and speak apace. Lucio. Why what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a cod-piece, to take away the life of a man? Would the duke, that is absent, have done this? Ere he would have hang'd a man for the getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand: He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the service, and that instructed him to mercy.
Duke. I never heard the absent duke much detected for women; he was not inclined that way. Lucio. O, sir, you are deceived.
Duke. 'Tis not possible.
Lucio. Who? not the duke yes, your beggar of fifty; and his use was, to put a ducat in her clack-dish: the duke had crotchets in him: He would be drunk too; that let me inform you. Duke. You do him wrong, surely.
Lucio. Sir, I was an inward of his : A shy fellow was the duke and, I believe, I know the cause of his withdrawing.
Duke. What, I pr'ythee, might be the cause? Lucio. No, pardon; ;- 'tis a secret must be lock'd within the teeth and the lips: but this I can let you understand, The greater file of the subject held the duke to be wise.
Duke. Wise? why, no question but he was. Lucio. A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
Duke. Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very stream of his life, and the business he hath helmed, must, upon a warranted need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in his own bringings forth, and he shall appear to the envious, a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier: Therefore, you speak unskilfully; or, if your knowledge be more, it is much darken'd in your malice.
Lucio. Sir, I know him, and I love him.
Duke. Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer love.
Lucio. Come, sir, I know what I know.
Duke. I can hardly believe that, since you know not what you speak. But, if ever the duke return, (as our prayers are he may,) let me desire you to make your answer before him: If it be honest you have spoke, you have courage to maintain it: I am bound to call upon you; and, I pray you, your name?
Lucio. Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.
Duke. He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report you.
Lucio. I fear you not.
Duke. O, you hope the duke will return no more : or you imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But, indeed, I can do you little harm: you'll forswear this again.
Lucio. I'll be hang'd first: thou art deceiv'd in me, friar. But no more of this: Canst thou tell, if Claudio die to-morrow, or no?
Duke. Why should he die, sir?
Lucio. Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would, the duke, we talk of, were return'd again : this ungenitur'd agent will unpeople the province with continency; sparrows must not build in his house-eaves, because they arc lecherous. The duke yet would have dark deeds darkly answer'd; he would never bring them to light: would he were return'd! Marry, this Claudio is condemn'd for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I pr'ythee, pray for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays. He's now past it; yet, and I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar, though she smelt brown bread and garlick: say, that I said Farewell. [Exit.
Duke. No might nor greatness in mortality Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny The whitest virtue strikes: What king so strong, Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue? But who comes here?
Enter ESCALUS, Provost, Bawd, and Officers. Escal. Go, away with her to prison. Bawd. Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted a merciful man: good my lord. Escal. Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the same kind? This would make mercy swear, and play the tyrant.
Prov. A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please your honour.
Bawd. My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me: mistress Kate Keep-down 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: I have kept it myself; and see how he goes about to abuse me.
Escal. That fellow is a fellow of much licence: — let him be called before us. - Away with her to prison: Go to; no more words. [Exeunt Bawd and Officers.] Provost, my brother Angelo will not be alter'd, Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnish'd with divines, and have all charitable preparation: if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.
Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for the entertainment of death. Escal. Good even, good father.
Duke. Bliss and goodness on you!
Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Escal. What news abroad i' the world? Duke. None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth enough alive, to make societies secure; but security enough, to make fellowships accurs'd: 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? Escal. One, that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know himself.
Duke. What pleasure was he given to?
Escal. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at any thing which profess'd to make him rejoice: a gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared. I am made to understand, that you have lent him visitation.
Duke. He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good leisure, have discredited to him, and now is he resolved to die.
Escal. You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I
have labour'd for the poor gentleman, to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my brother justice have I found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him, he is indeed justice.
Duke. If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein, if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. Escal. I am going to visit the prisoner: Fare you well.
Duke. Peace be with you!
[Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost. He, who the sword of heaven will bear, Should be as holy as severe; Pattern in himself to know, Grace to stand, and virtue go; More nor less to others paying, Than by self-offences weighing. Shame to him, whose cruel striking Kills for faults of his own liking! Twice treble shame on Angelo, To weed my vice, and let his grow! O, what may man within him hide, Though angel on the outward side! How may likeness, made in crimes, Making practice on the times, Draw with idle spiders' strings Most pond'rous and substantial things Craft against vice I must apply: With Angelo to-night shall lie His old, betrothed, but despis'd; So disguise shall, by the disguis'd, Pay with falshood false exacting, | And perform an old contracting.
SCENE I.—A Room in Mariana's House. MARIANA discovered sitting; a Boy singing.
Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn; And those eyes, the break of day, Lights that do mislead the morn :
But my kisses bring again,
Mart. You have not been inquired after I have sat here all day.
What is the news from this good deputy?
Isab. He hath a garden circummur'd with brick, Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd; And to that vineyard is a planched gate, That makes his opening with this bigger key: This other doth command a little door, Which from the vineyard to the garden leads; There have I made my promise to call on him, Upon the heavy middle of the night.
Duke. But shall you on your knowledge find this way?
Isab. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't;