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Measure for Measure
Entire Play

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Characters in the Play

Entire Play

Human nature and the law often collide in Measure for Measure. As the play begins, the Duke of Vienna announces he…

Act 1, scene 1

The Duke of Vienna announces that he has been called away from the city, and that he is leaving Lord…

Act 1, scene 2

Angelo enforces Vienna’s law against fornication, ordering the brothels torn down and having Claudio arrested because his fiancée’s pregnancy exposes…

Act 1, scene 3

The duke obtains the clothing of a friar in order to disguise himself and secretly observe the conduct of Angelo…

Act 1, scene 4

Lucio persuades Isabella to intercede with Angelo.

Act 2, scene 1

Escalus tries to persuade Angelo to be less harsh to Claudio. Angelo instead gives orders that Claudio be executed the…

Act 2, scene 2

Isabella pleads with Angelo for Claudio’s life. Angelo refuses to relent but, overcome by desire for Isabella, tells her that…

Act 2, scene 3

The duke (in the role of a friar) visits the prison and there meets Juliet, who expresses both her love…

Act 2, scene 4

Angelo tells Isabella that only if she sleeps with him will he set Claudio free; if she refuses, Claudio will…

Act 3, scene 1

The duke, in his guise of “Friar,” persuades Claudio that death is preferable to life. When Isabella tells Claudio that…

Act 3, scene 2

Pompey is carried off to prison. Lucio refuses to provide bail money for him, and slanders the absent duke to…

Act 4, scene 1

Isabella reports to the “Friar” about the arrangements made with Angelo for that night’s assignation; Mariana agrees to sleep with…

Act 4, scene 2

At the prison, Pompey agrees to serve as the assistant to Abhorson, the public executioner. The duke, in his role…

Act 4, scene 3

Barnardine declares himself not ready to die. The provost and the “Friar” agree to spare him temporarily and to send…

Act 4, scene 4

Angelo learns of the duke’s return. Alone, he expresses his anguish that he has raped Isabella and had Claudio killed.

Act 4, scene 5

The duke makes plans with Friar Peter, whom he sends away on errands, and then greets Varrius.

Act 4, scene 6

Isabella and Mariana discuss the roles they are to play when they meet the duke, who is about to enter…

Act 5, scene 1

The duke, on his entry, is met by Isabella, who accuses Angelo of violating her chastity. She is arrested for…

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ACT 1
Scene 1
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, and Attendants.

DUKE Escalus.
ESCALUS My lord.
DUKE 
 Of government the properties to unfold
 Would seem in me t’ affect speech and discourse,
5 Since I am put to know that your own science
 Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
 My strength can give you. Then no more remains
 But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
 And let them work. The nature of our people,
10 Our city’s institutions, and the terms
 For common justice, you’re as pregnant in
 As art and practice hath enrichèd any
 That we remember. There is our commission,
He hands Escalus a paper.
 From which we would not have you warp.—Call
15 hither,
 I say, bid come before us Angelo.
An Attendant exits.
 What figure of us think you he will bear?
 For you must know, we have with special soul
 Elected him our absence to supply,
20 Lent him our terror, dressed him with our love,
7

9
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 1

 And given his deputation all the organs
 Of our own power. What think you of it?
ESCALUS 
 If any in Vienna be of worth
 To undergo such ample grace and honor,
25 It is Lord Angelo.

Enter Angelo.

DUKE  Look where he comes.
ANGELO 
 Always obedient to your Grace’s will,
 I come to know your pleasure.
DUKE  Angelo,
30 There is a kind of character in thy life
 That to th’ observer doth thy history
 Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
 Are not thine own so proper as to waste
 Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
35 Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
 Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
 Did not go forth of us, ’twere all alike
 As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched
 But to fine issues, nor nature never lends
40 The smallest scruple of her excellence
 But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
 Herself the glory of a creditor,
 Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
 To one that can my part in him advertise.
45 Hold, therefore, Angelo.
 In our remove be thou at full ourself.
 Mortality and mercy in Vienna
 Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
 Though first in question, is thy secondary.
50 Take thy commission.He hands Angelo a paper.
ANGELO  Now, good my lord,
 Let there be some more test made of my mettle

11
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 1

 Before so noble and so great a figure
 Be stamped upon it.
DUKE 55 No more evasion.
 We have with a leavened and preparèd choice
 Proceeded to you. Therefore, take your honors.
 Our haste from hence is of so quick condition
 That it prefers itself and leaves unquestioned
60 Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
 As time and our concernings shall importune,
 How it goes with us, and do look to know
 What doth befall you here. So fare you well.
 To th’ hopeful execution do I leave you
65 Of your commissions.
ANGELO  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 honor, have to do
70 With any scruple. Your scope is as mine own,
 So to enforce or qualify the laws
 As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand.
 I’ll privily away. I love the people,
 But do not like to stage me to their eyes.
75 Though it do well, I do not relish well
 Their loud applause and aves vehement,
 Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
 That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
ANGELO 
 The heavens give safety to your purposes.
ESCALUS 
80 Lead forth and bring you back in happiness.
DUKE I thank you. Fare you well.He exits.
ESCALUS, to Angelo 
 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.

13
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

85 A power I have, but of what strength and nature
 I am not yet instructed.
ANGELO 
 ’Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
 And we may soon our satisfaction have
 Touching that point.
ESCALUS 90 I’ll wait upon your Honor.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Lucio and two other Gentlemen.

LUCIO If the Duke, with the other dukes, come not to
 composition with the King of Hungary, why then all
 the dukes fall upon the King.
FIRST GENTLEMAN Heaven grant us its peace, but not
5 the King of Hungary’s!
SECOND GENTLEMAN Amen.
LUCIO Thou conclud’st like the sanctimonious pirate
 that went to sea with the ten commandments but
 scraped one out of the table.
SECOND GENTLEMAN 10“Thou shalt not steal”?
LUCIO Ay, that he razed.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 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
15 us all that in the thanksgiving before meat do relish
 the petition 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 20No? A dozen times at least.
FIRST GENTLEMAN What? In meter?
LUCIO In any proportion or in any language.
FIRST GENTLEMAN I think, or in any religion.

15
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

LUCIO Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all
25 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.
LUCIO I grant, as there may between the lists and the
30 velvet. Thou art the list.
FIRST GENTLEMAN And thou the velvet. Thou art good
 velvet; thou ’rt a three-piled piece, I warrant thee. I
 had as lief be a list of an English kersey as be piled,
 as thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak
35 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.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 40I think I have done myself wrong,
 have I not?
SECOND GENTLEMAN Yes, that thou hast, whether thou
 art tainted or free.

Enter Mistress Overdone, a Bawd.

LUCIO Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation
45 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 a year.
FIRST GENTLEMAN 50Ay, and more.
LUCIO A French crown 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
55 as things that are hollow. Thy bones are hollow.
 Impiety has made a feast of thee.

17
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

FIRST GENTLEMAN, to Bawd How now, which of your
 hips has the most profound sciatica?
BAWD Well, well. There’s one yonder arrested and
60 carried to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
SECOND GENTLEMAN Who’s that, I pray thee?
BAWD Marry, sir, that’s Claudio, Signior Claudio.
FIRST GENTLEMAN Claudio to prison? ’Tis not so.
BAWD Nay, but I know ’tis so. I saw him arrested, saw
65 him carried away; and, which is more, within these
 three days his head 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
70 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
75 near to the speech we had to such a purpose.
FIRST GENTLEMAN But most of all agreeing with the
 proclamation.
LUCIO Away. Let’s go learn the truth of it.
Lucio and Gentlemen exit.
BAWD Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat,
80 what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am
 custom-shrunk.

Enter Pompey.

 How now? What’s the news with you?
POMPEY Yonder man is carried to prison.
BAWD Well, what has he done?
POMPEY 85A woman.
BAWD But what’s his offense?
POMPEY Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
BAWD What? Is there a maid with child by him?

19
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

POMPEY No, but there’s a woman with maid by him.
90 You have not heard of the proclamation, have you?
BAWD What proclamation, man?
POMPEY All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be
 plucked down.
BAWD And what shall become of those in the city?
POMPEY 95They 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 pulled down?
POMPEY To the ground, mistress.
BAWD 100Why, here’s a change indeed in the commonwealth!
 What shall become of me?
POMPEY Come, fear not you. Good counselors lack no
 clients. Though you change your place, you need
 not change your trade. I’ll be your tapster still.
105 Courage. There will be pity taken on you. You that
 have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you
 will be considered.

Enter Provost, Claudio, Juliet, and Officers.

BAWD What’s to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let’s
 withdraw.
POMPEY 110Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the Provost
 to prison. And there’s Madam Juliet.
Bawd and Pompey exit.
CLAUDIO, to Provost 
 Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to th’ world?
 Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
PROVOST 
 I do it not in evil disposition,
115 But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
CLAUDIO 
 Thus can the demigod Authority
 Make us pay down for our offense, by weight,

21
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

 The words of heaven: on whom it will, it will;
 On whom it will not, so; yet still ’tis just.

Enter Lucio and Second Gentleman.

LUCIO 
120 Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this
 restraint?
CLAUDIO 
 From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty.
 As surfeit is the father of much fast,
 So every scope by the immoderate use
125 Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
 Like rats that raven 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
130 say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of
 freedom as the mortality of imprisonment. What’s
 thy offense, Claudio?
CLAUDIO 
 What but to speak of would offend again.
LUCIO What, is ’t murder?
CLAUDIO 135No.
LUCIO Lechery?
CLAUDIO Call it so.
PROVOST Away, sir. You must go.
CLAUDIO 
 One word, good friend.—Lucio, a word with you.
LUCIO 140A hundred, if they’ll do you any good. Is lechery
 so looked after?
CLAUDIO 
 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,
145 Save that we do the denunciation lack
 Of outward order. This we came not to

23
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 2

 Only for propagation of a dower
 Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
 From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
150 Till time had made them for us. But it chances
 The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
 With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
LUCIO 
 With child, perhaps?
CLAUDIO  Unhappily, even so.
155 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,
 Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
160 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—but this new governor
 Awakes me all the enrollèd penalties
165 Which have, like unscoured armor, hung by th’ wall
 So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round,
 And none of them been worn; and for a name
 Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
 Freshly on me. ’Tis surely for a name.
LUCIO 170I warrant it is. And thy head stands so tickle 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:
175 This day my sister should the cloister enter
 And there receive her approbation.
 Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
 Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
 To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him.
180 I have great hope in that, for in her youth

25
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 3

 There is a prone and speechless dialect
 Such as move men. Besides, she hath prosperous art
 When she will play with reason and discourse,
 And well she can persuade.
LUCIO 185I 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.
CLAUDIO 190I thank you, good friend Lucio.
LUCIO Within two hours.
CLAUDIO Come, officer, away.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Duke and Friar Thomas.

DUKE 
 No, holy father, throw away that thought.
 Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
 Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
 To give me secret harbor hath a purpose
5 More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
 Of burning youth.
FRIAR THOMAS  May your Grace speak of it?
DUKE 
 My holy sir, none better knows than you
 How I have ever loved the life removed,
10 And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
 Where youth and cost witless bravery keeps.
 I have delivered to Lord Angelo,
 A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
 My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
15 And he supposes me traveled to Poland,
 For so I have strewed it in the common ear,

27
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 3

 And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
 You will demand of me why I do this.
FRIAR THOMAS Gladly, my lord.
DUKE 
20 We have strict statutes and most biting laws,
 The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
 Which for this fourteen years we have let slip,
 Even like an o’ergrown lion in a cave
 That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
25 Having bound up the threat’ning twigs of birch
 Only to stick it in their children’s sight
 For terror, not to use—in time the rod
 More mocked than feared—so our decrees,
 Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,
30 And liberty plucks justice by the nose,
 The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
 Goes all decorum.
FRIAR THOMAS  It rested in your Grace
 To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased,
35 And it in you more dreadful would have seemed
 Than in Lord Angelo.
DUKE  I do fear, too dreadful.
 Sith ’twas my fault to give the people scope,
 ’Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
40 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,
45 Who may in th’ ambush of my name strike home,
 And yet my nature never in the fight
 To do in slander. And to behold his sway
 I will, as ’twere a brother of your order,
 Visit both prince and people. Therefore I prithee
50 Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
 How I may formally in person bear

29
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 4

 Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
 At our more leisure shall I render you.
 Only this one: Lord Angelo is precise,
55 Stands at a guard with envy, scarce confesses
 That his blood flows or that his appetite
 Is more to bread than stone. Hence shall we see,
 If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
They exit.


Scene 4
Enter Isabella and Francisca, a Nun.

ISABELLA 
 And have you nuns no farther privileges?
NUN Are not these large enough?
ISABELLA 
 Yes, truly. I speak not as desiring more,
 But rather wishing a more strict restraint
5 Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
LUCIO, within 
 Ho, peace be in this place!
ISABELLA  Who’s that which calls?
NUN 
 It is a man’s voice. Gentle Isabella,
 Turn you the key and know his business of him.
10 You may; I may not. You are yet unsworn.
 When you have vowed, 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.
15 He calls again. I pray you answer him.
ISABELLA 
 Peace and prosperity! Who is ’t that calls?

Enter Lucio.


31
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 4

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,
20 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 
25 Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you.
 Not to be weary 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:
30 He hath got his friend with child.
ISABELLA 
 Sir, make me not your story.
LUCIO  ’Tis true.
 I would not, though ’tis my familiar sin
 With maids to seem the lapwing and to jest,
35 Tongue far from heart, play with all virgins so.
 I hold you as a thing enskied and sainted,
 By your renouncement an immortal spirit,
 And to be talked with in sincerity
 As with a saint.
ISABELLA 
40 You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
LUCIO 
 Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, ’tis thus:
 Your brother and his lover have embraced;
 As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
 That from the seedness the bare fallow brings

33
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 4

45 To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
 Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
ISABELLA 
 Someone with child by him? My cousin Juliet?
LUCIO Is she your cousin?
ISABELLA 
 Adoptedly, as schoolmaids change their names
50 By vain though apt affection.
LUCIO  She it is.
ISABELLA 
 O, let him marry her!
LUCIO  This is the point.
 The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
55 Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
 In hand, and hope of action; but we do learn,
 By those that know the very nerves of state,
 His givings-out were of an infinite distance
 From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
60 And with full line of his authority,
 Governs Lord Angelo, a man whose blood
 Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
 The wanton stings and motions of the sense,
 But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
65 With profits of the mind: study and fast.
 He—to give fear to use and liberty,
 Which have for long run by the hideous law
 As mice by lions—hath picked out an act
 Under whose heavy sense your brother’s life
70 Falls into forfeit. He arrests him on it,
 And follows close the rigor 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
75 ’Twixt you and your poor brother.
ISABELLA  Doth he so
 Seek his life?

35
Measure for Measure
ACT 1. SC. 4

LUCIO  Has censured him already,
 And, as I hear, the Provost hath a warrant
80 For ’s 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 85 Our doubts are traitors
 And makes 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,
90 All their petitions are as freely theirs
 As they themselves would owe them.
ISABELLA I’ll see what I can do.
LUCIO But speedily!
ISABELLA I will about it straight,
95 No longer staying but to give the Mother
 Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you.
 Commend me to my brother. Soon at night
 I’ll send him certain word of my success.
LUCIO 
 I take my leave of you.
ISABELLA 100 Good sir, adieu.
They exit.


ACT 2
Scene 1
Enter Angelo, Escalus, Servants, and a Justice.

ANGELO 
 We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
 Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
 And let it keep one shape till custom make it
 Their perch and not their terror.
ESCALUS 5 Ay, but yet
 Let us be keen and rather cut a little
 Than fall and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman
 Whom I would save had a most noble father.
 Let but your Honor know,
10 Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
 That, in the working of your own affections,
 Had time cohered with place, or place with wishing,
 Or that the resolute acting of your blood
 Could have attained th’ effect of your own purpose,
15 Whether you had not sometime in your life
 Erred in this point which now you censure him,
 And pulled the law upon you.
ANGELO 
 ’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
 Another thing to fall. I not deny
20 The jury passing 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
 justice,
39

41
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

 That justice seizes. What knows the laws
25 That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
 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 offense
30 For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
 When I that censure him do so offend,
 Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
 And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

Enter Provost.

ESCALUS 
 Be it as your wisdom will.
ANGELO 35 Where is the Provost?
PROVOST 
 Here, if it like your Honor.
ANGELO  See that Claudio
 Be executed by nine tomorrow morning.
 Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared,
40 For that’s the utmost of his pilgrimage.
Provost exits.
ESCALUS 
 Well, heaven forgive him and forgive us all.
 Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall.
 Some run from brakes of ice and answer none,
 And some condemnèd for a fault alone.

Enter Elbow and Officers, with Froth
and Pompey.


ELBOW, to Officers 45Come, bring them away. If these
 be good people in a commonweal that do nothing
 but use their abuses in common houses, I know no
 law. Bring them away.
ANGELO How now, sir, what’s your name? And what’s
50 the matter?

43
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

ELBOW If it please your Honor, 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
 Honor two notorious benefactors.
ANGELO 55Benefactors? 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 in the world that
60 good Christians ought to have.
ESCALUS, to Angelo This comes off well. Here’s a wise
 officer.
ANGELO, to Elbow Go to. What quality are they of?
 Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak,
65 Elbow?
POMPEY He cannot, sir. He’s out at elbow.
ANGELO What are you, sir?
ELBOW He, sir? A tapster, sir, parcel bawd; one that
 serves a bad woman, whose house, sir, was, as they
70 say, plucked down in the suburbs, and now she
 professes a hothouse, which I think is a very ill
 house too.
ESCALUS How know you that?
ELBOW My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and
75 your Honor—
ESCALUS How? Thy wife?
ELBOW Ay, sir, whom I thank heaven is an honest
 woman—
ESCALUS Dost thou detest her therefore?
ELBOW 80I 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.
ESCALUS How dost thou know that, constable?
ELBOW Marry, sir, by my wife, who, if she had been a
85 woman cardinally given, might have been accused

45
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

 in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness
 there.
ESCALUS By the woman’s means?
ELBOW Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means; but as
90 she spit in his face, so she defied him.
POMPEY, to Escalus Sir, if it please your Honor, this is
 not so.
ELBOW Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable
 man, prove it.
ESCALUS, to Angelo 95Do you hear how he misplaces?
POMPEY Sir, she came in great with child, and longing,
 saving your Honor’s reverence, for stewed prunes.
 Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very
 distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit dish, a dish
100 of some threepence; 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
105 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,
110 and, as I say, paying for them very honestly—for, as
 you know, Master Froth, I could not give you threepence
 again—
FROTH No, indeed.
POMPEY Very well. You being then, if you be remembered,
115 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 of, unless they kept
120 very good diet, as I told you—
FROTH All this is true.

47
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

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
125 complain of? Come me 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 Master Froth
130 here, sir, a man of fourscore pound a year, whose
 father died at Hallowmas—was ’t not at Hallowmas,
 Master Froth?
FROTH All-hallond Eve.
POMPEY Why, very well. I hope here be truths.—He,
135 sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir—To Froth.
 ’Twas 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 140Why, very well then. I hope here be truths.
ANGELO, to Escalus 
 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,
 Hoping you’ll find good cause to whip them all.
ESCALUS 
145 I think no less. Good morrow to your Lordship
Angelo exits.
 Now, sir, come on. What was done to Elbow’s wife,
 once more?
POMPEY Once, sir? There was nothing done to her
 once.
ELBOW, to Escalus 150I beseech you, sir, ask him what
 this man did to my wife.
POMPEY, to Escalus 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

49
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

155 face.—Good Master Froth, look upon his Honor.
 ’Tis for a good purpose.—Doth your Honor mark
 his face?
ESCALUS Ay, sir, very well.
POMPEY Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
ESCALUS 160Well, I do so.
POMPEY Doth your Honor see any harm in his face?
ESCALUS Why, no.
POMPEY I’ll be supposed upon a book, his face is the
 worst thing about him. Good, then, if his face be the
165 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 170First, 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
 person than any of us all.
ELBOW 175Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet! The
 time is yet to come that she was ever respected with
 man, woman, or child.
POMPEY Sir, she was respected with him before he
 married with her.
ESCALUS 180Which is the wiser here, Justice or Iniquity?
 Is this true?
ELBOW, to Pompey O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O
 thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her before I
 was married to her?—If ever I was respected with
185 her, or she with me, let not your Worship think me
 the poor duke’s officer.—Prove this, thou wicked
 Hannibal, or I’ll have mine action of batt’ry on thee.
ESCALUS If he took you a box o’ th’ ear, you might have
 your action of slander too.
ELBOW 190Marry, I thank your good Worship for it. What

51
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

 is ’t your Worship’s pleasure I shall do with this
 wicked caitiff?
ESCALUS Truly, officer, because he hath some offenses
 in him that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst,
195 let him continue in his courses till thou know’st
 what they are.
ELBOW Marry, I thank your Worship for it. To Pompey.
 Thou seest, thou wicked varlet, now, what’s
 come upon thee. Thou art to continue now, thou
200 varlet, thou art to continue.
ESCALUS, to Froth 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 205So. To Pompey. What trade are you of, sir?
POMPEY A tapster, a poor widow’s tapster.
ESCALUS Your mistress’ name?
POMPEY Mistress Overdone.
ESCALUS Hath she had any more than one husband?
POMPEY 210Nine, 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, Master Froth, and you
 will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no
215 more of you.
FROTH I thank your Worship. For mine own part, I
 never come into any room in a taphouse but I am
 drawn in.
ESCALUS Well, no more of it, Master Froth. Farewell.
Froth exits.
220 Come you hither to me, Master Tapster. What’s your
 name, Master Tapster?
POMPEY Pompey.
ESCALUS What else?
POMPEY Bum, sir.

53
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

ESCALUS 225Troth, 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
230 better for you.
POMPEY Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
ESCALUS How would you live, Pompey? By being a
 bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? Is it
 a lawful trade?
POMPEY 235If the law would allow it, sir.
ESCALUS But the law will not allow it, Pompey, nor it
 shall not be allowed in Vienna.
POMPEY Does your Worship mean to geld and splay all
 the youth of the city?
ESCALUS 240No, Pompey.
POMPEY Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to ’t
 then. If your Worship will take order for the drabs
 and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
ESCALUS There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell
245 you. It is but heading and hanging.
POMPEY If you head and hang all that offend that way
 but for ten year together, you’ll be glad to give out a
 commission for more heads. If this law hold in
 Vienna ten year, I’ll rent the fairest house in it after
250 threepence a bay. If you live to see this come to
 pass, say Pompey told you so.
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
255 whatsoever; no, not for dwelling where you do. If I
 do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent and prove
 a shrewd Caesar to you. In plain dealing, Pompey, I
 shall have you whipped. So, for this time, Pompey,
 fare you well.
POMPEY 260I thank your Worship for your good counsel.

55
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 1

 Aside. But I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune
 shall better determine.
 Whip me? No, no, let carman whip his jade.
 The valiant heart’s not whipped out of his trade.
He exits.
ESCALUS 265Come 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 the readiness in the office, you
270 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. Are there not
275 men in your ward sufficient to serve it?
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.
ESCALUS 280Look 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.
Elbow and Officers exit.
 To Justice. What’s o’clock, think you?
JUSTICE 285Eleven, 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 
290 Lord Angelo is severe.
ESCALUS  It is but needful.
 Mercy is not itself that oft looks so.

57
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

 Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
 But yet, poor Claudio. There is no remedy.
295 Come, sir.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Provost and a Servant.

SERVANT 
 He’s hearing of a cause. He will come straight.
 I’ll tell him of you.
PROVOST  Pray you do.
Servant exits.
 I’ll know
5 His pleasure. Maybe he will relent. Alas,
 He hath but as offended in a dream.
 All sects, all ages smack of this vice, and he
 To die for ’t?

Enter Angelo.

ANGELO  Now, what’s the matter, provost?
PROVOST 
10 Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?
ANGELO 
 Did not I tell thee yea? Hadst thou not order?
 Why dost thou ask again?
PROVOST Lest I might be too rash.
 Under your good correction, I have seen
15 When, after execution, judgment hath
 Repented o’er his doom.
ANGELO Go to. Let that be mine.
 Do you your office, or give up your place
 And you shall well be spared.
PROVOST 20I crave your Honor’s pardon.

59
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

 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.

Enter Servant.

SERVANT 
25 Here is the sister of the man condemned
 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,
30 If not already.
ANGELO, to Servant  Well, let her be admitted.
Servant exits.
 See you the fornicatress be removed.
 Let her have needful but not lavish means.
 There shall be order for ’t.

Enter Lucio and Isabella.

PROVOST, beginning to exit 35Save your Honor.
ANGELO 
 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 40 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;

61
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

45 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 condemned to die.
 I do beseech you let it be his fault
50 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 condemned ere it be done.
55 Mine were the very cipher of a function
 To fine the faults whose fine 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 
60 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,
 You could not with more tame a tongue desire it.
 To him, I say.
ISABELLA, to Angelo 
65 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 70 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

63
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

 If so your heart were touched with that remorse
 As mine is to him?
ANGELO 75He’s sentenced. ’Tis 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 longs,
80 Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,
 The marshal’s truncheon, 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,
85 You would have slipped like him, but he like you
 Would not have been so stern.
ANGELO  Pray you begone.
ISABELLA 
 I would to heaven I had your potency,
 And you were Isabel. Should it then be thus?
90 No. I would tell what ’twere 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 of the law,
95 And you but waste your words.
ISABELLA  Alas, alas!
 Why all the souls that were were forfeit once,
 And He that might the vantage best have took
 Found out the remedy. How would you be
100 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.
105 It is the law, not I, condemn your brother.

65
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

 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
110 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 offense?
115 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 dared to do that evil
 If the first that did th’ edict infringe
120 Had answered for his deed. Now ’tis awake,
 Takes note of what is done, and, like a prophet,
 Looks in a glass that shows what future evils—
 Either now, or by remissness new-conceived,
 And so in progress to be hatched and born—
125 Are now to have no successive degrees
 But, ere they live, to end.
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,
130 Which a dismissed offense would after gall,
 And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,
 Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
 Your brother dies tomorrow; be content.
ISABELLA 
 So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
135 And he that suffers. O, it is excellent
 To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
 To use it like a giant.

67
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

LUCIO, aside to Isabella  That’s well said.
ISABELLA Could great men thunder
140 As Jove himself does, Jove would never be quiet,
 For every pelting, petty officer
 Would use his heaven for thunder,
 Nothing but thunder. Merciful heaven,
 Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
145 Splits the unwedgeable and gnarlèd oak,
 Than the soft myrtle. But man, proud man,
 Dressed in a little brief authority,
 Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
 His glassy essence, like an angry ape
150 Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
 As makes the angels weep, who with our spleens
 Would all themselves laugh mortal.
LUCIO, aside to Isabella 
 O, to him, to him, wench. He will relent.
 He’s coming. I perceive ’t.
PROVOST, aside 155 Pray heaven she win him.
ISABELLA 
 We cannot weigh our brother with ourself.
 Great men may jest with saints; ’tis wit in them,
 But in the less, foul profanation.
LUCIO, aside to Isabella 
 Thou ’rt i’ th’ right, girl. More o’ that.
ISABELLA 
160 That in the captain’s but a choleric word
 Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
LUCIO, aside to Isabella 
 Art avised o’ that? More on ’t.
ANGELO 
 Why do you put these sayings upon me?
ISABELLA 
 Because authority, though it err like others,
165 Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself

69
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

 That skins the vice o’ th’ 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,
170 Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
 Against my brother’s life.
ANGELO, aside She speaks, and ’tis such sense
 That my sense breeds with it.He begins to exit.
 Fare you well.
ISABELLA 175Gentle 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 180You had marred all else.
ISABELLA 
 Not with fond sicles of the tested gold,
 Or stones whose rate are either rich or poor
 As fancy values them, but with true prayers
 That shall be up at heaven and enter there
185 Ere sunrise, prayers from preservèd souls,
 From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
 To nothing temporal.
ANGELO  Well, come to me tomorrow.
LUCIO, aside to Isabella Go to, ’tis well; away.
ISABELLA 
190 Heaven keep your Honor safe.
ANGELO, aside  Amen.
 For I am that way going to temptation
 Where prayers cross.
ISABELLA  At what hour tomorrow
195 Shall I attend your Lordship?
ANGELO At any time ’fore noon.

71
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 2

ISABELLA Save your Honor.
She exits, with Lucio and Provost.
ANGELO From thee, even from thy virtue.
 What’s this? What’s this? Is this her fault or mine?
200 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
205 That modesty may more betray our sense
 Than woman’s lightness? Having waste ground
 enough,
 Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
 And pitch our evils there? O fie, fie, fie!
210 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
215 That I desire to hear her speak again
 And feast upon her eyes? What is ’t I dream on?
 O cunning enemy that, to catch a saint,
 With saints dost bait thy hook. Most dangerous
 Is that temptation that doth goad us on
220 To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet
 With all her double vigor, art and nature,
 Once stir my temper, but this virtuous maid
 Subdues me quite. Ever till now
 When men were fond, I smiled and wondered how.
He exits.




73
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 3

Scene 3
Enter Duke, disguised as a Friar, and Provost.

DUKE, as Friar 
 Hail to you, provost, so I think you are.
PROVOST 
 I am the Provost. What’s your will, good friar?
DUKE, as Friar 
 Bound by my charity and my blest order,
 I come to visit the afflicted spirits
5 Here in the prison. Do me the common right
 To let me see them, and to make me know
 The nature of their crimes, that I may minister
 To them accordingly.
PROVOST 
 I would do more than that if more were needful.

Enter Juliet.

10 Look, here comes one, a gentlewoman of mine,
 Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,
 Hath blistered her report. She is with child,
 And he that got it, sentenced—a young man,
 More fit to do another such offense
15 Than die for this.
DUKE, as Friar 
 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, as Friar, to Juliet 
20 Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
JULIET 
 I do; and bear the shame most patiently.
DUKE, as Friar 
 I’ll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,

75
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 3

 And try your penitence, if it be sound
 Or hollowly put on.
JULIET 25 I’ll gladly learn.
DUKE, as Friar Love you the man that wronged you?
JULIET 
 Yes, as I love the woman that wronged him.
DUKE, as Friar 
 So then it seems your most offenseful act
 Was mutually committed?
JULIET 30 Mutually.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.
JULIET 
 I do confess it and repent it, father.
DUKE, as Friar 
 ’Tis meet so, daughter; but lest you do repent
 As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,
35 Which sorrow is always toward ourselves, not
 heaven,
 Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,
 But as we stand in fear—
JULIET 
 I do repent me as it is an evil,
40 And take the shame with joy.
DUKE, as Friar  There rest.
 Your partner, as I hear, must die tomorrow,
 And I am going with instruction to him.
 Grace go with you. Benedicite.He exits.
JULIET 
45 Must die tomorrow? O injurious love
 That respites me a life, whose very comfort
 Is still a dying horror.
PROVOST  ’Tis pity of him.
They exit.




77
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

Scene 4
Enter Angelo.

ANGELO 
 When I would pray and think, I think and pray
 To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words,
 Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
 Anchors on Isabel. God in my mouth,
5 As if I did but only chew His name,
 And in my heart the strong and swelling evil
 Of my conception. The state whereon I studied
 Is, like a good thing being often read,
 Grown sere and tedious. Yea, my gravity,
10 Wherein—let no man hear me—I take pride,
 Could I with boot change for an idle plume
 Which the air beats for vain. O place, O form,
 How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,
 Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls
15 To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood.
 Let’s write “good angel” on the devil’s horn.
 ’Tis not the devil’s crest. Knock within. How now,
 who’s there?

Enter Servant.

SERVANT 
 One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.
ANGELO 
20 Teach her the way. Servant exits. O heavens,
 Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,
 Making both it unable for itself
 And dispossessing all my other parts
 Of necessary fitness?
25 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 subject to a well-wished king

79
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
30 Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
 Must needs appear offense.

Enter Isabella.

 How now, fair maid?
ISABELLA I am come to know your pleasure.
ANGELO 
 That you might know it would much better please me
35 Than to demand what ’tis. Your brother cannot live.
ISABELLA Even so. Heaven keep your Honor.
ANGELO 
 Yet may he live a while. And it may be
 As long as you or I. Yet he must die.
ISABELLA Under your sentence?
ANGELO 40Yea.
ISABELLA 
 When, I beseech you? That in his reprieve,
 Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted
 That his soul sicken not.
ANGELO 
 Ha! Fie, these filthy vices! It were as good
45 To pardon him that hath from nature stolen
 A man already made, as to remit
 Their saucy sweetness that do coin God’s image
 In stamps that are forbid. ’Tis all as easy
 Falsely to take away a life true made
50 As to put metal in restrainèd means
 To make a false one.
ISABELLA 
 ’Tis set down so in heaven, but not in Earth.
ANGELO 
 Say you so? Then I shall pose you quickly:
 Which had you rather, that the most just law
55 Now took your brother’s life, or, to redeem him,

81
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

 Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness
 As she that he hath stained?
ISABELLA  Sir, believe this:
 I had rather give my body than my soul.
ANGELO 
60 I talk not of your soul. Our compelled sins
 Stand more for number than for accompt.
ISABELLA How say you?
ANGELO 
 Nay, I’ll not warrant that, for I can speak
 Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
65 I, now the voice of the recorded law,
 Pronounce a sentence on your brother’s life.
 Might there not be a charity in sin
 To save this brother’s life?
ISABELLA  Please you to do ’t,
70 I’ll take it as a peril to my soul,
 It is no sin at all, but charity.
ANGELO 
 Pleased you to do ’t, at peril of your soul,
 Were equal poise of sin and charity.
ISABELLA 
 That I do beg his life, if it be sin
75 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.
ANGELO  Nay, but hear me.
80 Your sense pursues not mine. Either you are
 ignorant,
 Or seem so, crafty, and that’s not good.
ISABELLA 
 Let me be ignorant and in nothing good,
 But graciously to know I am no better.
ANGELO 
85 Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright

83
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

 When it doth tax itself, as these black masks
 Proclaim an enshield beauty ten times louder
 Than beauty could, displayed. But mark me.
 To be receivèd plain, I’ll speak more gross:
90 Your brother is to die.
ISABELLA So.
ANGELO 
 And his offense is so, as it appears,
 Accountant to the law upon that pain.
ISABELLA True.
ANGELO 
95 Admit no other way to save his life—
 As I subscribe not that, nor any other—
 But, in the loss of question, that you, his sister,
 Finding yourself desired of such a person
 Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
100 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, or else to let him suffer,
105 What would you do?
ISABELLA 
 As much for my poor brother as myself.
 That is, were I under the terms of death,
 Th’ impression of keen whips I’d wear as rubies
 And strip myself to death as to a bed
110 That longing have been sick for, ere I’d yield
 My body up to shame.
ANGELO Then must your brother die.
ISABELLA And ’twere the cheaper way.
 Better it were a brother died at once
115 Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
 Should die forever.
ANGELO 
 Were not you then as cruel as the sentence
 That you have slandered so?

85
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

ISABELLA 
 Ignomy in ransom and free pardon
120 Are of two houses. Lawful mercy
 Is nothing kin to foul redemption.
ANGELO 
 You seemed of late to make the law a tyrant,
 And rather proved the sliding of your brother
 A merriment than a vice.
ISABELLA 
125 O, pardon me, my lord. It oft falls out,
 To have what we would have, we speak not what we
 mean.
 I something do excuse the thing I hate
 For his advantage that I dearly love.
ANGELO 
130 We are all frail.
ISABELLA  Else let my brother die,
 If not a fedary but only he
 Owe and succeed thy weakness.
ANGELO Nay, women are frail too.
ISABELLA 
135 Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves,
 Which are as easy broke as they make forms.
 Women—help, heaven—men their creation mar
 In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail,
 For we are soft as our complexions are,
140 And credulous to false prints.
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.
145 I do arrest your words. Be that you are—
 That is, a woman. If you be more, you’re none.
 If you be one, as you are well expressed
 By all external warrants, show it now
 By putting on the destined livery.

87
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

ISABELLA 
150 I have no tongue but one. Gentle my lord,
 Let me entreat you speak the former language.
ANGELO Plainly conceive I love you.
ISABELLA My brother did love Juliet,
 And you tell me that he shall die for ’t.
ANGELO 
155 He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
ISABELLA 
 I know your virtue hath a license in ’t
 Which seems a little fouler than it is
 To pluck on others.
ANGELO  Believe me, on mine honor,
160 My words express my purpose.
ISABELLA 
 Ha! Little honor to be much believed,
 And most pernicious purpose. Seeming, seeming!
 I will proclaim thee, Angelo, look for ’t.
 Sign me a present pardon for my brother
165 Or with an outstretched throat I’ll tell the world
 aloud
 What man thou art.
ANGELO  Who will believe thee, Isabel?
 My unsoiled name, th’ austereness of my life,
170 My vouch against you, and my place i’ th’ state
 Will so your accusation overweigh
 That you shall stifle in your own report
 And smell of calumny. I have begun,
 And now I give my sensual race the rein.
175 Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
 Lay by all nicety and prolixious blushes
 That banish what they sue for. Redeem thy brother
 By yielding up thy body to my will,
 Or else he must not only die the death,
180 But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
 To ling’ring sufferance. Answer me tomorrow,

89
Measure for Measure
ACT 2. SC. 4

 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.
He exits.
ISABELLA 
185 To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,
 Who would believe me? O, perilous mouths,
 That bear in them one and the selfsame tongue,
 Either of condemnation or approof,
 Bidding the law make curtsy to their will,
190 Hooking both right and wrong to th’ appetite,
 To follow as it draws. I’ll to my brother.
 Though he hath fall’n by prompture of the blood,
 Yet hath he in him such a mind of honor
 That, had he twenty heads to tender down
195 On twenty bloody blocks, he’d yield them up
 Before his sister should her body stoop
 To such abhorred pollution.
 Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die.
 More than our brother is our chastity.
200 I’ll tell him yet of Angelo’s request,
 And fit his mind to death, for his soul’s rest.
She exits.


ACT 3
Scene 1
Enter Duke as a Friar, Claudio, and Provost.

DUKE, as Friar 
 So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?
CLAUDIO 
 The miserable have no other medicine
 But only hope.
 I have hope to live and am prepared to die.
DUKE, as Friar 
5 Be absolute for death. Either death or life
 Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
 If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
 That none but fools would keep. A breath thou art,
 Servile to all the skyey influences
10 That doth this habitation where thou keep’st
 Hourly afflict. Merely, 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 th’ accommodations that thou bear’st
15 Are nursed by baseness. Thou ’rt by no means
 valiant,
 For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
 Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
 And that thou oft provok’st, yet grossly fear’st
20 Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself,
 For thou exists on many a thousand grains
93

95
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

 That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not,
 For what thou hast not, still thou striv’st to get,
 And what thou hast, forget’st. Thou art not certain,
25 For thy complexion shifts to strange effects
 After the moon. If thou art rich, thou ’rt poor,
 For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
 Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
 And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none,
30 For thine own bowels which do call thee sire,
 The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
 Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum
 For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor
 age,
35 But as it were an after-dinner’s sleep
 Dreaming on both, for all thy blessèd youth
 Becomes as agèd and doth beg the alms
 Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
 Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
40 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 we fear,
 That makes these odds all even.
CLAUDIO  I humbly thank you.
45 To sue to live, I find I seek to die,
 And seeking death, find life. Let it come on.
ISABELLA, within 
 What ho! Peace here, grace, and good company.
PROVOST 
 Who’s there? Come in. The wish deserves a welcome.
DUKE, as Friar, to Claudio 
 Dear sir, ere long I’ll visit you again.
CLAUDIO 50Most holy sir, I thank you.

Enter Isabella.

ISABELLA, to Provost 
 My business is a word or two with Claudio.

97
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

PROVOST 
 And very welcome.—Look, signior, here’s your
 sister.
DUKE, as Friar Provost, a word with you.
PROVOST 55As many as you please.
DUKE, as Friar, aside to Provost 
 Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be
 concealed.
Duke and Provost exit.
CLAUDIO Now, sister, what’s the comfort?
ISABELLA Why,
60 As all comforts are, most good, most good indeed.
 Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
 Intends you for his swift ambassador,
 Where you shall be an everlasting leiger;
 Therefore your best appointment make with speed.
65 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 70Yes, 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?
ISABELLA 
75 Ay, just; perpetual durance, a restraint,
 Though all the world’s vastidity you had,
 To a determined scope.
CLAUDIO  But in what nature?
ISABELLA 
 In such a one as, you consenting to ’t,
80 Would bark your honor from that trunk you bear
 And leave you naked.

99
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

CLAUDIO  Let me know the point.
ISABELLA 
 O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake
 Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
85 And six or seven winters more respect
 Than a perpetual honor. Dar’st thou die?
 The sense of death is most in apprehension,
 And the poor beetle that we tread upon
 In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
90 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,
95 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. This outward-sainted deputy—
100 Whose settled visage and deliberate word
 Nips youth i’ th’ head, and follies doth enew
 As falcon doth the fowl—is yet a devil.
 His filth within being cast, he would appear
 A pond as deep as hell.
CLAUDIO 105 The prenzie Angelo?
ISABELLA 
 O, ’tis the cunning livery of hell
 The damned’st body to invest and cover
 In prenzie guards. Dost thou think, Claudio,
 If I would yield him my virginity
110 Thou mightst be freed?
CLAUDIO  O heavens, it cannot be!
ISABELLA 
 Yes, he would give ’t thee; from this rank offense,
 So to offend him still. This night’s the time

101
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

 That I should do what I abhor to name,
115 Or else thou diest tomorrow.
CLAUDIO Thou shalt not do ’t.
ISABELLA O, were it but my life,
 I’d throw it down for your deliverance
 As frankly as a pin.
CLAUDIO 120 Thanks, dear Isabel.
ISABELLA 
 Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.
CLAUDIO Yes. Has he affections in him
 That thus can make him bite the law by th’ nose,
 When he would force it? Sure it is no sin,
125 Or of the deadly seven it is the least.
ISABELLA Which is the least?
CLAUDIO 
 If it were damnable, he being so wise,
 Why would he for the momentary trick
 Be perdurably fined? O, Isabel—
ISABELLA 
130 What says my brother?
CLAUDIO  Death is a fearful thing.
ISABELLA And shamèd life a hateful.
CLAUDIO 
 Ay, but to die, and go we know not where,
 To lie in cold obstruction and to rot,
135 This sensible warm motion to become
 A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
 To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
 In thrilling region of thick-ribbèd ice,
 To be imprisoned in the viewless winds
140 And blown with restless violence round about
 The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
 Of those that lawless and incertain thought
 Imagine howling—’tis too horrible.
 The weariest and most loathèd worldly life
145 That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment

103
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

 Can lay on nature is a paradise
 To what we fear of death.
ISABELLA Alas, alas!
CLAUDIO Sweet sister, let me live.
150 What sin you do to save a brother’s life,
 Nature dispenses with the deed so far
 That it becomes a virtue.
ISABELLA  O, you beast!
 O faithless coward, O dishonest wretch,
155 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 played my father fair,
 For such a warpèd slip of wilderness
160 Ne’er issued from his blood. Take my defiance;
 Die, perish. Might but my bending down
 Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.
 I’ll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
 No word to save thee.
CLAUDIO 165 Nay, hear me, Isabel—
ISABELLA O, fie, fie, fie!
 Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.
 Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd.
 ’Tis best that thou diest quickly.
CLAUDIO 170O, hear me, Isabella—

Enter Duke as a Friar.

DUKE, as Friar, to Isabella 
 Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.
ISABELLA What is your will?
DUKE, as Friar Might you dispense with your leisure, I
 would by and by have some speech with you. The
175 satisfaction I would require is likewise your own
 benefit.
ISABELLA I have no superfluous leisure. My stay must

105
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

 be stolen out of other affairs, but I will attend you
 awhile.
DUKE, as Friar, taking Claudio aside 180Son, I have overheard
 what hath passed between you and your
 sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her;
 only he hath made an assay of her virtue, to practice
 his judgment with the disposition of natures. She,
185 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
190 fallible. Tomorrow you must die. Go to your knees
 and make ready.
CLAUDIO Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of
 love with life that I will sue to be rid of it.
DUKE, as Friar Hold you there. Farewell.—Provost, a
195 word with you.

Enter Provost.

PROVOST What’s your will, father?
DUKE, as Friar That now you are come, you will be
 gone. Leave me awhile with the maid. My mind
 promises with my habit no loss shall touch her by
200 my company.
PROVOST In good time.He exits, with Claudio.
DUKE, as Friar, to Isabella The hand that hath made
 you fair hath made you good. The goodness that is
 cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in goodness,
205 but grace, being the soul of your complexion, shall
 keep the body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo
 hath made to you, fortune hath conveyed to my
 understanding; and but that frailty hath examples
 for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How will
210 you do to content this substitute and to save your
 brother?

107
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

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
215 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, as Friar That shall not be much amiss. Yet, as
 the matter now stands, he will avoid your accusation:
220 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
225 from the angry law, do no stain to your own
 gracious person, and much please the absent duke,
 if peradventure he shall ever return to have hearing
 of this business.
ISABELLA Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to
230 do anything that appears not foul in the truth of my
 spirit.
DUKE, as Friar Virtue is bold, and goodness never
 fearful. Have you not heard speak of Mariana, the
 sister of Frederick, the great soldier who miscarried
235 at sea?
ISABELLA I have heard of the lady, and good words
 went with her name.
DUKE, as Friar She should this Angelo have married,
 was affianced to her oath, and the nuptial appointed.
240 Between which time of the contract and
 limit of the solemnity, her brother Frederick was
 wracked 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
245 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

109
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 1

 both, her combinate husband, this well-seeming
 Angelo.
ISABELLA 250Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?
DUKE, as Friar Left her in her tears and dried not one
 of them with his comfort, swallowed his vows
 whole, pretending in her discoveries of dishonor; in
 few, bestowed her on her own lamentation, which
255 she yet wears for his sake; and he, a marble to her
 tears, is washed with them but relents not.
ISABELLA What a merit were it in death to take this
 poor maid from the world! What corruption in this
 life, that it will let this man live! But how out of this
260 can she avail?
DUKE, as Friar 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, as Friar 265This 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
270 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
275 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
280 your brother saved, your honor 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,

111
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

 the doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit
285 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, as Friar It lies much in your holding up. Haste
 you speedily to Angelo. If for this night he entreat
290 you to his bed, give him promise of satisfaction. I
 will presently to Saint Luke’s. There at the moated
 grange resides this dejected Mariana. At that place
 call upon me, and dispatch with Angelo that it may
 be quickly.
ISABELLA 295I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well,
 good father.
She exits. The Duke remains.


Scene 2
Enter Elbow, Pompey, and Officers.

ELBOW, to Pompey 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, as Friar, aside 5O heavens, what stuff is here?
POMPEY ’Twas never merry world since, of two usuries,
 the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed
 by order of law a furred gown to keep him warm,
 and furred with fox and lambskins too, to signify
10 that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for
 the facing.
ELBOW Come your way, sir.—Bless you, good father
 friar.
DUKE, as Friar And you, good brother father. What
15 offense hath this man made you, sir?
ELBOW Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir,
 we take him to be a thief too, sir, for we have found

113
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

 upon him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have
 sent to the Deputy.
DUKE, as Friar, to Pompey 
20 Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!
 The evil that thou causest to be done,
 That is thy means to live. Do thou but think
 What ’tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
 From such a filthy vice; say to thyself,
25 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,
30 sir, I would prove—
DUKE, as Friar 
 Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
 Thou wilt prove his.—Take him to prison, officer.
 Correction and instruction must both work
 Ere this rude beast will profit.
ELBOW 35He 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, as Friar 
 That we were all, as some would seem to be,
40 From our faults, as faults from seeming, free.
ELBOW His neck will come to your waist—a cord, sir.

Enter Lucio.

POMPEY I spy comfort, I cry bail. Here’s a gentleman
 and a friend of mine.
LUCIO How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of
45 Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there
 none of Pygmalion’s images, newly made woman,
 to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket
 and extracting it clutched? What reply, ha? What

115
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

 sayst thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is ’t not
50 drowned i’ th’ last rain, ha? What sayst 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, as Friar, aside Still thus, and thus; still worse.
LUCIO, to Pompey How doth my dear morsel, thy
55 mistress? Procures she still, ha?
POMPEY 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 powdered bawd, an
60 unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going to
 prison, Pompey?
POMPEY Yes, faith, sir.
LUCIO Why, ’tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go say I
 sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? Or how?
ELBOW 65For being a bawd, for being a bawd.
LUCIO Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be
 the due of a bawd, why, ’tis his right. Bawd is he,
 doubtless, and of antiquity too. Bawd born.—
 Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,
70 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. I will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage.
75 If you take it not patiently, why, your mettle is
 the more. Adieu, trusty Pompey.—Bless you, friar.
DUKE, as Friar And you.
LUCIO, to Pompey Does Bridget paint still, Pompey,
 ha?
ELBOW, to Pompey 80Come your ways, sir, come.
POMPEY, to Lucio You will not bail me, then, sir?
LUCIO Then, Pompey, nor now.—What news abroad,
 friar? What news?
ELBOW, to Pompey Come your ways, sir, come.

117
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

LUCIO 85Go to kennel, Pompey, go.
Elbow, Pompey, and Officers exit.
 What news, friar, of the Duke?
DUKE, as Friar 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
90 you?
DUKE, as Friar I know not where, but wheresoever, I
 wish him well.
LUCIO It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal
 from the state and usurp the beggary he was never
95 born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence.
 He puts transgression to ’t.
DUKE, as Friar He does well in ’t.
LUCIO A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm
 in him. Something too crabbed that way, friar.
DUKE, as Friar 100It is too general a vice, and severity
 must cure it.
LUCIO Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;
 it is well allied, but it is impossible to extirp it quite,
 friar, till eating and drinking be put down. They say
105 this Angelo was not made by man and woman after
 this downright way of creation. Is it true, think
 you?
DUKE, as Friar How should he be made, then?
LUCIO Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some,
110 that he was begot between two stockfishes. But it is
 certain that when he makes water, his urine is
 congealed ice; that I know to be true. And he is a
 motion generative, that’s infallible.
DUKE, as Friar You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.
LUCIO 115Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the
 rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a
 man! Would the duke that is absent have done this?
 Ere he would have hanged a man for the getting
 a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the

119
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

120 nursing a thousand. He had some feeling of the
 sport, he knew the service, and that instructed him
 to mercy.
DUKE, as Friar I never heard the absent duke much
 detected for women. He was not inclined that way.
LUCIO 125O, sir, you are deceived.
DUKE, as Friar ’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,
130 that let me inform you.
DUKE, as Friar 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, as Friar 135What, I prithee, might be the cause?
LUCIO No, pardon. ’Tis a secret must be locked within
 the teeth and the lips. But this I can let you
 understand: the greater file of the subject held the
 Duke to be wise.
DUKE, as Friar 140Wise? Why, no question but he was.
LUCIO A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
DUKE, as Friar 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
145 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 unskillfully. Or,
 if your knowledge be more, it is much darkened in
150 your malice.
LUCIO Sir, I know him, and I love him.
DUKE, as Friar Love talks with better knowledge, and
 knowledge with dearer love.
LUCIO Come, sir, I know what I know.
DUKE, as Friar 155I can hardly believe that, since you

121
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

 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
160 bound to call upon you, and, I pray you, your name?
LUCIO Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the Duke.
DUKE, as Friar He shall know you better, sir, if I may
 live to report you.
LUCIO I fear you not.
DUKE, as Friar 165O, you hope the Duke will return no
 more, or you imagine me too unhurtful an opposite.
 But indeed I can do you little harm; you’ll
 forswear this again.
LUCIO I’ll be hanged first. Thou art deceived in me,
170 friar. But no more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio
 die tomorrow or no?
DUKE, as Friar Why should he die, sir?
LUCIO Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would
 the Duke we talk of were returned again. This
175 ungenitured agent 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 darkly answered. He would
 never bring them to light Would he were returned.
180 Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing.
 Farewell, good friar. I prithee 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
185 brown bread and garlic. Say that I said so. Farewell.
He exits.
DUKE 
 No might nor greatness in mortality
 Can censure scape. Back-wounding calumny
 The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

123
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

 Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
190 But who comes here?

Enter Escalus, Provost, Officers, and Mistress
Overdone, a Bawd.


ESCALUS, to Officers Go, away with her to prison.
BAWD 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
195 in the same kind? This would make mercy
 swear and play the tyrant.
PROVOST A bawd of eleven years’ continuance, may it
 please your Honor.
BAWD, to Escalus My lord, this is one Lucio’s information
200 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. I have kept it myself, and see
 how he goes about to abuse me.
ESCALUS 205That fellow is a fellow of much license. Let
 him be called before us. Away with her to prison.—
 Go to, no more words.Officers exit with Bawd.
 Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered.
 Claudio must die tomorrow. Let him be furnished
210 with divines and have all charitable preparation. If
 my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be so
 with him.
PROVOST So please you, this friar hath been with him,
 and advised him for th’ entertainment of death.
ESCALUS 215Good even, good father.
DUKE, as Friar Bliss and goodness on you.
ESCALUS Of whence are you?
DUKE, as Friar 
 Not of this country, though my chance is now
 To use it for my time. I am a brother

125
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

220 Of gracious order, late come from the See
 In special business from his Holiness.
ESCALUS What news abroad i’ th’ world?
DUKE, as Friar None but that there is so great a fever
 on goodness that the dissolution of it must cure it.
225 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 accursed. Much upon
230 this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This news
 is old enough, yet it is every day’s news. I pray you,
 sir, of what disposition was the Duke?
ESCALUS One that, above all other strifes, contended
 especially to know himself.
DUKE, as Friar 235What pleasure was he given to?
ESCALUS Rather rejoicing to see another merry than
 merry at anything which professed to make him
 rejoice—a gentleman of all temperance. But leave
 we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove
240 prosperous, and let me desire to know how you find
 Claudio prepared. I am made to understand that
 you have lent him visitation.
DUKE, as Friar He professes to have received no
 sinister measure from his judge but most willingly
245 humbles himself to the determination of justice. Yet
 had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his
 frailty, many deceiving promises of life, which I, by
 my good leisure, have discredited to him, and now
 is he resolved to die.
ESCALUS 250You have paid the heavens your function and
 the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have
 labored 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
255 he is indeed Justice.

127
Measure for Measure
ACT 3. SC. 2

DUKE, as Friar If his own life answer the straitness of
 his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if
 he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.
ESCALUS I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.
DUKE, as Friar 260Peace be with you.
Escalus and Provost exit.

DUKE 
 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;
265 More nor less to others paying
 Than by self-offenses weighing.
 Shame to him whose cruel striking
 Kills for faults of his own liking.
 Twice treble shame on Angelo,
270 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,
275 To draw with idle spiders’ strings
 Most ponderous and substantial things.
 Craft against vice I must apply.
 With Angelo tonight shall lie
 His old betrothèd but despisèd.
280 So disguise shall, by th’ disguisèd,
 Pay with falsehood false exacting
 And perform an old contracting.
He exits.


ACT 4
Scene 1
Enter Mariana, and Boy singing.

Song.

 
 Take, O take those lips away,
  That so sweetly were forsworn,
 And those eyes, the break of day,
  Lights that do mislead the morn.
5 But my kisses bring again, bring again,
 Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.


Enter Duke as a Friar.

MARIANA, to Boy 
 Break off thy song and haste thee quick away.
 Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
 Hath often stilled my brawling discontent.
Boy exits.
10 I cry you mercy, sir, and well could wish
 You had not found me here so musical.
 Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
 My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.
DUKE, as Friar 
 ’Tis good, though music oft hath such a charm
15 To make bad good and good provoke to harm.
 I pray you tell me, hath anybody inquired for me
131

133
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 1

 here today? Much upon this time have I promised
 here to meet.
MARIANA You have not been inquired after. I have sat
20 here all day.

Enter Isabella.

DUKE, as Friar I do constantly 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 25I am always bound to you.She exits.
DUKE, as Friar Very well met, and welcome.
 What is the news from this good deputy?
ISABELLA 
 He hath a garden circummured with brick,
 Whose western side is with a vineyard backed;
30 And to that vineyard is a planchèd gate
 That makes his opening with this bigger key.
 This other doth command a little door
 Which from the vineyard to the garden leads.
 There have I made my promise, upon the
35 Heavy middle of the night, to call upon him.
DUKE, as Friar 
 But shall you on your knowledge find this way?
ISABELLA 
 I have ta’en a due and wary note upon ’t.
 With whispering and most guilty diligence,
 In action all of precept, he did show me
40 The way twice o’er.
DUKE, as Friar  Are there no other tokens
 Between you ’greed concerning her observance?
ISABELLA 
 No, none, but only a repair i’ th’ dark,
 And that I have possessed him my most stay
45 Can be but brief, for I have made him know
 I have a servant comes with me along

135
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 1

 That stays upon me, whose persuasion is
 I come about my brother.
DUKE, as Friar  ’Tis well borne up.
50 I have not yet made known to Mariana
 A word of this.—What ho, within; come forth.

Enter Mariana.

 To Mariana. I pray you be acquainted with this
 maid.
 She comes to do you good.
ISABELLA 55I do desire the like.
DUKE, as Friar, to Mariana 
 Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?
MARIANA 
 Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Take then this your companion by the hand,
 Who hath a story ready for your ear.
60 I shall attend your leisure. But make haste.
 The vaporous night approaches.
MARIANA, to Isabella Will ’t please you walk aside?
Isabella and Mariana exit.
DUKE 
 O place and greatness, millions of false eyes
 Are stuck upon thee; volumes of report
65 Run with these false, and, most contrarious, quest
 Upon thy doings; thousand escapes of wit
 Make thee the father of their idle dream
 And rack thee in their fancies.

Enter Mariana and Isabella.

DUKE, as Friar  Welcome. How agreed?
ISABELLA 
70 She’ll take the enterprise upon her, father,
 If you advise it.

137
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

DUKE, as Friar  It is not my consent
 But my entreaty too.
ISABELLA, to Mariana Little have you to say
75 When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
 “Remember now my brother.”
MARIANA  Fear me not.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all.
 He is your husband on a precontract.
80 To bring you thus together ’tis no sin,
 Sith that the justice of your title to him
 Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go.
 Our corn’s to reap, for yet our tithe’s to sow.
They exit.


Scene 2
Enter Provost, Pompey, and Officer.

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
5 cut off a woman’s head.
PROVOST Come, sir, leave me your snatches, 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
10 helper. If you will take it on you to assist him, it
 shall redeem you from your gyves; 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 15Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of
 mind, but yet I will be content to be a lawful

139
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

 hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction
 from my fellow partner.
PROVOST What ho, Abhorson!—Where’s Abhorson
20 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, compound
 with him by the year and let him abide here
25 with you; if not, use him for the present and dismiss
 him. He cannot plead his estimation with you; he
 hath been a bawd.
ABHORSON A bawd, sir? Fie upon him! He will discredit
 our mystery.
PROVOST 30Go to, sir; you weigh equally. A feather will
 turn the scale.He exits.
POMPEY Pray, sir, by your good favor—for surely, sir, a
 good favor you have, but that you have a hanging
 look—do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery?
ABHORSON 35Ay, sir, a mystery.
POMPEY Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery;
 and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation,
 using painting, do prove my occupation a
 mystery; but what mystery there should be in hanging,
40 if I should be hanged, I cannot imagine.
ABHORSON Sir, it is a mystery.
POMPEY Proof?
ABHORSON Every true man’s apparel fits your thief. If it
 be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it
45 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.

Enter Provost.

PROVOST Are you agreed?

141
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

POMPEY Sir, I will serve him, for I do find your hangman
50 is a more penitent trade than your bawd. He
 doth oftener ask forgiveness.
PROVOST, to Abhorson You, sirrah, provide your block
 and your axe tomorrow, four o’clock.
ABHORSON, to Pompey Come on, bawd. I will instruct
55 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, you shall find
 me yare. For truly, sir, for your kindness, I owe
 you a good turn.Pompey and Abhorson exit.
PROVOST, to Officer 
60 Call hither Barnardine and Claudio.
Officer exits.
 Th’ one has my pity; not a jot the other,
 Being a murderer, though he were my brother.

Enter Claudio, with Officer.

 Look, here’s the warrant, Claudio, for thy death.
 ’Tis now dead midnight, and by eight tomorrow
65 Thou must be made immortal. Where’s Barnardine?
CLAUDIO 
 As fast locked up in sleep as guiltless labor
 When it lies starkly in the traveler’s bones.
 He will not wake.
PROVOST  Who can do good on him?
70 Well, go, prepare yourself. Knock within. But hark,
 what noise?—
 Heaven give your spirits comfort. Claudio exits,
 with Officer.
Knock within.  By and by!—
 I hope it is some pardon or reprieve
75 For the most gentle Claudio.

Enter Duke, as a Friar.

 Welcome, father.

143
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

DUKE, as Friar 
 The best and wholesom’st spirits of the night
 Envelop you, good provost. Who called here of late?
PROVOST 
 None since the curfew rung.
DUKE, as Friar 80 Not Isabel?
PROVOST  No.
DUKE, as Friar They will, then, ere ’t be long.
PROVOST What comfort is for Claudio?
DUKE, as Friar 
 There’s some in hope.
PROVOST 85 It is a bitter deputy.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Not so, not so. His life is paralleled
 Even with the stroke and line of his great justice.
 He doth with holy abstinence subdue
 That in himself which he spurs on his power
90 To qualify in others. Were he mealed with that
 Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous,
 But this being so, he’s just. Knock within. Now are
 they come.Provost exits.
 This is a gentle provost. Seldom when
95 The steelèd jailer is the friend of men.

Enter Provost. Knocking continues.

 How now, what noise? That spirit’s possessed with
 haste
 That wounds th’ unsisting postern with these strokes.
PROVOST 
 There he must stay until the officer
100 Arise to let him in. He is called up.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
 But he must die tomorrow?
PROVOST  None, sir, none.

145
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

DUKE, as Friar 
 As near the dawning, provost, as it is,
105 You shall hear more ere morning.
PROVOST  Happily
 You something know, yet I believe there comes
 No countermand. No such example have we.
 Besides, upon the very siege of justice
110 Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
 Professed the contrary.

Enter a Messenger.

 This is his Lordship’s man.
DUKE, as Friar And here comes Claudio’s pardon.
MESSENGER, giving Provost a paper My lord hath sent
115 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.Provost reads message.
Messenger exits.
DUKE, aside 
120 This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
 For which the pardoner himself is in.
 Hence hath offense his quick celerity
 When it is borne in high authority.
 When vice makes mercy, mercy’s so extended
125 That for the fault’s love is th’ offender friended.
 As Friar. Now, sir, what news?
PROVOST I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me
 remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted
 putting-on, methinks strangely; for he hath
130 not used it before.
DUKE, as Friar Pray you let’s hear.
PROVOST, reads the letter. 
 Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio
 be executed by four of the clock, and in the afternoon

147
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

 Barnardine. For my better satisfaction, let me have
135 Claudio’s head sent me by five. Let this be duly
 performed with a thought that more depends on it
 than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your
 office, as you will answer it at your peril.

 What say you to this, sir?
DUKE, as Friar 140What is that Barnardine who is to be
 executed in th’ afternoon?
PROVOST A Bohemian born, but here nursed up and
 bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old.
DUKE, as Friar How came it that the absent duke had
145 not either delivered him to his liberty, or executed
 him? I have heard it was ever his manner to do so.
PROVOST His friends still wrought reprieves for him;
 and indeed his fact, till now in the government of
 Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
DUKE, as Friar 150It is now apparent?
PROVOST Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
DUKE, as Friar Hath he borne himself penitently in
 prison? How seems he to be touched?
PROVOST A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully
155 but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and
 fearless of what’s past, present, or to come; insensible
 of mortality and desperately mortal.
DUKE, as Friar He wants advice.
PROVOST He will hear none. He hath evermore had the
160 liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape
 hence, he would not. Drunk many times a day, if not
 many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked
 him, as if to carry him to execution, and showed
 him a seeming warrant for it. It hath not moved him
165 at all.
DUKE, as Friar More of him anon. There is written in
 your brow, provost, honesty and constancy; if I read
 it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me. But in the
 boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard.

149
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 2

170 Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
 no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo, who hath
 sentenced him. To make you understand this in a
 manifested effect, I crave but four days’ respite, for
 the which you are to do me both a present and a
175 dangerous courtesy.
PROVOST Pray, sir, in what?
DUKE, as Friar In the delaying death.
PROVOST Alack, how may I do it, having the hour
 limited, and an express command, under penalty,
180 to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may
 make my case as Claudio’s, to cross this in the
 smallest.
DUKE, as Friar By the vow of mine order I warrant
 you, if my instructions may be your guide. Let this
185 Barnardine be this morning executed and his head
 borne to Angelo.
PROVOST Angelo hath seen them both and will discover
 the favor.
DUKE, as Friar O, death’s a great disguiser, and you
190 may add to it. Shave the head and tie the beard, and
 say it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared
 before his death. You know the course is common.
 If anything fall to you upon this, more than thanks
 and good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I
195 will plead against it with my life.
PROVOST Pardon me, good father, it is against my oath.
DUKE, as Friar Were you sworn to the Duke or to the
 Deputy?
PROVOST To him and to his substitutes.
DUKE, as Friar 200You will think you have made no
 offense if the Duke avouch the justice of your
 dealing?
PROVOST But what likelihood is in that?
DUKE, as Friar Not a resemblance, but a certainty; yet
205 since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity,

151
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

 nor persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will
 go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of
 you. Look you, sir, here is the hand and seal of the
 Duke. He shows the Provost a paper. You know the
210 character, I doubt not, and the signet is not strange
 to you.
PROVOST I know them both.
DUKE, as Friar The contents of this is the return of the
 Duke; you shall anon overread it at your pleasure,
215 where you shall find within these two days he will
 be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not, for
 he this very day receives letters of strange tenor,
 perchance of the Duke’s death, perchance entering
 into some monastery, but by chance nothing of
220 what is writ. Look, th’ unfolding star calls up the
 shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how
 these things should be. All difficulties are but easy
 when they are known. Call your executioner, and
 off with Barnardine’s head. I will give him a present
225 shrift, and advise him for a better place. Yet you are
 amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you.
He gives the Provost the paper.
 Come away; it is almost clear dawn.
They exit.


Scene 3
Enter Pompey.

POMPEY I am as well acquainted here as I was in our
 house of profession. One would think it were Mistress
 Overdone’s own house, for here be many of
 her old customers. First, here’s young Master Rash.
5 He’s in for a commodity of brown paper and old
 ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds, of which
 he made five marks ready money. Marry, then

153
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

 ginger was not much in request, for the old women
 were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper,
10 at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some
 four suits of peach-colored satin, which now
 peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young
 Dizzy and young Master Deep-vow, and Master
 Copper-spur and Master Starve-lackey the rapier-and-dagger
15 man, and young Drop-heir that killed
 lusty Pudding, and Master Forth-light the tilter, and
 brave Master Shoe-tie the great traveler, and wild
 Half-can that stabbed Pots, and I think forty more,
 all great doers in our trade, and are now “for the
20 Lord’s sake.”

Enter Abhorson.

ABHORSON Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
POMPEY, calling Master Barnardine, you must rise
 and be hanged, Master Barnardine.
ABHORSON, calling What ho, Barnardine!
BARNARDINE, within 25A pox o’ your throats! Who makes
 that noise there? What are you?
POMPEY, calling to Barnardine offstage Your friends,
 sir, the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise
 and be put to death.
BARNARDINE, within 30Away, you rogue, away! I am
 sleepy.
ABHORSON, to Pompey Tell him he must awake, and
 that quickly too.
POMPEY, calling Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till
35 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 40Very ready, sir.

Enter Barnardine.


155
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

BARNARDINE How now, Abhorson? What’s the news
 with you?
ABHORSON Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into
 your prayers, for, look you, the warrant’s come.
BARNARDINE 45You rogue, I have been drinking all night.
 I am not fitted for ’t.
POMPEY O, the better, sir, for he that drinks all night
 and is hanged betimes in the morning may sleep the
 sounder all the next day.

Enter Duke, as a Friar.

ABHORSON, to Barnardine 50Look you, sir, here comes
 your ghostly father. Do we jest now, think you?
DUKE, as Friar, to Barnardine Sir, induced by my
 charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I
 am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with
55 you.
BARNARDINE Friar, not I. I have been drinking hard all
 night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or
 they shall beat out my brains with billets. I will not
 consent to die this day, that’s certain.
DUKE, as Friar 60O, sir, you must. And therefore I
 beseech you look forward on the journey you shall
 go.
BARNARDINE I swear I will not die today for any man’s
 persuasion.
DUKE, as Friar 65But hear you—
BARNARDINE Not a word. If you have anything to say to
 me, come to my ward, for thence will not I today.
He exits.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!
 After him, fellows; bring him to the block.
Abhorson and Pompey exit.

Enter Provost.


157
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

PROVOST 
70 Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
DUKE, as Friar 
 A creature unprepared, unmeet for death,
 And to transport him in the mind he is
 Were damnable.
PROVOST  Here in the prison, father,
75 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
 This reprobate till he were well inclined,
80 And satisfy the Deputy with the visage
 Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
DUKE, as Friar 
 O, ’tis an accident that heaven provides!
 Dispatch it presently. The hour draws on
 Prefixed by Angelo. See this be done
85 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,
90 To save me from the danger that might come
 If he were known alive?
DUKE, as Friar  Let this be done:
 Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and
 Claudio.
95 Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
 To yonder generation, you shall find
 Your safety manifested.
PROVOST I am your free dependent.
DUKE, as Friar 
 Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
Provost exits.

159
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

DUKE 
100 Now will I write letters to Angelo—
 The Provost he shall bear them—whose contents
 Shall witness to him I am near at home
 And that by great injunctions I am bound
 To enter publicly. Him I’ll desire
105 To meet me at the consecrated fount
 A league below the city; and from thence,
 By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
 We shall proceed with Angelo.

Enter Provost, carrying a head.

PROVOST 
 Here is the head. I’ll carry it myself.
DUKE, as Friar 
110 Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
 For I would commune with you of such things
 That want no ear but yours.
PROVOST  I’ll make all speed.
He exits.
ISABELLA, within Peace, ho, be here.
DUKE 
115 The tongue of Isabel. She’s come to know
 If yet her brother’s pardon be come hither.
 But I will keep her ignorant of her good
 To make her heavenly comforts of despair
 When it is least expected.

Enter Isabella.

ISABELLA 120 Ho, by your leave.
DUKE, as Friar 
 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?

161
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

DUKE, as Friar 
 He hath released him, Isabel, from the world.
125 His head is off, and sent to Angelo.
ISABELLA 
 Nay, but it is not so.
DUKE, as Friar  It is no other.
 Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
ISABELLA 
 O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
DUKE, as Friar 
130 You shall not be admitted to his sight.
ISABELLA 
 Unhappy Claudio, wretched Isabel,
 Injurious world, most damnèd Angelo!
DUKE, as Friar 
 This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot.
 Forbear it, therefore; give your cause to heaven.
135 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,
140 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
145 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, as Friar, showing her a paper 
150 This letter, then, to Friar Peter give.
 ’Tis that he sent me of the Duke’s return.
 Say, by this token, I desire his company

163
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 3

 At Mariana’s house tonight. Her cause and yours
 I’ll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
155 Before the Duke, and to the head of Angelo
 Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
 I am combinèd by a sacred vow
 And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
He hands her the paper.
 Command these fretting waters from your eyes
160 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, as Friar Not within, sir.
LUCIO O, pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
165 thine eyes so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain to
 dine and sup with water and bran. I dare not for my
 head fill my belly. One fruitful meal would set me to
 ’t. But they say the Duke will be here tomorrow. By
 my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother. If the old
170 fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home,
 he had lived.Isabella exits.
DUKE, as Friar Sir, the Duke is marvelous little beholding
 to your reports, but the best is, he lives not
 in them.
LUCIO 175Friar, thou knowest not the Duke so well as I do.
 He’s a better woodman than thou tak’st him for.
DUKE, as Friar Well, you’ll answer this one day. Fare
 you well.
LUCIO Nay, tarry, I’ll go along with thee. I can tell thee
180 pretty tales of the Duke.
DUKE, as Friar 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
185 child.

165
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 4

DUKE, as Friar Did you such a thing?
LUCIO Yes, marry, did I, but I was fain to forswear it.
 They would else have married me to the rotten
 medlar.
DUKE, as Friar 190Sir, 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.
They exit.


Scene 4
Enter Angelo and Escalus.

ESCALUS Every letter he hath writ hath disvouched
 other.
ANGELO In most uneven and distracted manner. His
 actions show much like to madness. Pray heaven his
5 wisdom be not tainted. And why meet him at the
 gates and deliver our authorities there?
ESCALUS I guess not.
ANGELO And why should we proclaim it in an hour
 before his entering, that if any crave redress of
10 injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in the
 street?
ESCALUS He shows his reason for that: to have a dispatch
 of complaints, and to deliver us from devices
 hereafter, which shall then have no power to stand
15 against us.
ANGELO Well, I beseech you let it be proclaimed.
 Betimes i’ th’ morn, I’ll call you at your house. Give
 notice to such men of sort and suit as are to meet
 him.
ESCALUS 20I shall, sir. Fare you well.

167
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 5

ANGELO Good night.Escalus exits.
 This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant
 And dull to all proceedings. A deflowered maid,
 And by an eminent body that enforced
25 The law against it. But that her tender shame
 Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,
 How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her no,
 For my authority bears of a credent bulk
 That no particular scandal once can touch
30 But it confounds the breather. He should have lived,
 Save that his riotous youth with dangerous sense
 Might in the times to come have ta’en revenge
 By so receiving a dishonored life
 With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had lived.
35 Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
 Nothing goes right. We would, and we would not.
He exits.


Scene 5
Enter Duke and Friar Peter.

DUKE, giving the Friar papers. 
 These letters at fit time deliver me.
 The Provost knows our purpose and our plot.
 The matter being afoot, keep your instruction
 And hold you ever to our special drift,
5 Though sometimes you do blench from this to that
 As cause doth minister. Go call at Flavius’ house
 And tell him where I stay. Give the like notice
 To Valencius, Rowland, and to Crassus,
 And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate.
10 But send me Flavius first.
FRIAR PETER It shall be speeded well.He exits.

Enter Varrius.


169
Measure for Measure
ACT 4. SC. 6

DUKE 
 I thank thee, Varrius. Thou hast made good haste.
 Come, we will walk. There’s other of our friends
 Will greet us here anon. My gentle Varrius.
They exit.


Scene 6
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 5 Be ruled by him.
ISABELLA 
 Besides, he tells me that, if peradventure
 He speak against me on the adverse side,
 I should not think it strange, for ’tis a physic
 That’s bitter to sweet end.
MARIANA 
10 I would Friar Peter—

Enter Friar Peter.

ISABELLA  O peace, the Friar is come.
FRIAR PETER 
 Come, I have found you out a stand most fit,
 Where you may have such vantage on the Duke
 He shall not pass you. Twice have the trumpets
15 sounded.
 The generous and gravest citizens
 Have hent the gates, and very near upon
 The Duke is entering. Therefore hence, away.
They exit.


ACT 5
Scene 1
Enter Duke, Varrius, Lords, Angelo, Escalus, Lucio,
Provost, Officers, and Citizens at several doors.


DUKE, to Angelo 
 My very worthy cousin, fairly met.
 To Escalus. Our old and faithful friend, we are
 glad to see you.
ANGELO, ESCALUS 
 Happy return be to your royal Grace.
DUKE 
5 Many and hearty thankings to you both.
 We have made inquiry of you, and we hear
 Such goodness of your justice that our soul
 Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
 Forerunning more requital.
ANGELO 10You make my bonds still greater.
DUKE 
 O, your desert speaks loud, and I should wrong it
 To lock it in the wards of covert bosom
 When it deserves with characters of brass
 A forted residence ’gainst the tooth of time
15 And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand
 And let the subject see, to make them know
 That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
 Favors that keep within.—Come, Escalus,
173

175
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 You must walk by us on our other hand.
20 And good supporters are you.

Enter Friar Peter and Isabella.

FRIAR PETER, to Isabella 
 Now is your time. Speak loud, and kneel before him.
ISABELLA, kneeling 
 Justice, O royal duke. Vail your regard
 Upon a wronged—I would fain have said, a maid.
 O worthy prince, dishonor not your eye
25 By throwing it on any other object
 Till you have heard me in my true complaint
 And given me justice, justice, justice, justice.
DUKE 
 Relate your wrongs. In what, by whom? Be brief.
 Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice.
30 Reveal yourself 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,
35 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 by course of justice.
ISABELLA, standing 40 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, is it not strange?
 That Angelo’s a murderer, is ’t not strange?
45 That Angelo is an adulterous thief,

177
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 An hypocrite, a virgin-violator,
 Is it not strange, and strange?
DUKE Nay, it is ten times strange.
ISABELLA 
 It is not truer he is Angelo
50 Than this is all as true as it is strange.
 Nay, it is ten times true, for truth is truth
 To th’ end of reck’ning.
DUKE  Away with her. Poor soul,
 She speaks this in th’ infirmity of sense.
ISABELLA 
55 O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest
 There is another comfort than this world,
 That thou neglect me not with that opinion
 That I am touched with madness. Make not
 impossible
60 That which but seems unlike. ’Tis not impossible
 But one, the wicked’st caitiff on the ground,
 May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
 As Angelo. Even so may Angelo,
 In all his dressings, caracts, titles, forms,
65 Be an archvillain. Believe it, royal prince,
 If he be less, he’s nothing, but he’s more,
 Had I more name for badness.
DUKE  By mine honesty,
 If she be mad—as I believe no other—
70 Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
 Such a dependency of thing on thing,
 As e’er I heard in madness.
ISABELLA  O gracious duke,
 Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
75 For inequality, but let your reason serve
 To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
 And hide the false seems true.
DUKE Many that are not mad
 Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you
80 say?

179
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

ISABELLA 
 I am the sister of one Claudio,
 Condemned upon the act of fornication
 To lose his head, condemned by Angelo.
 I, in probation of a sisterhood,
85 Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio
 As then the messenger—
LUCIO, to Duke 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
90 For her poor brother’s pardon.
ISABELLA, to Duke  That’s he indeed.
DUKE, to Lucio 
 You were not bid to speak.
LUCIO  No, my good lord,
 Nor wished to hold my peace.
DUKE 95 I wish you now, then.
 Pray you take note of it, and when you have
 A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
 Be perfect.
LUCIO I warrant your Honor.
DUKE 
100 The warrant’s for yourself. Take heed to ’t.
ISABELLA 
 This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.
LUCIO Right.
DUKE 
 It may be right, but you are i’ the wrong
 To speak before your time.—Proceed.
ISABELLA 105 I went
 To this pernicious caitiff deputy—
DUKE 
 That’s somewhat madly spoken.
ISABELLA  Pardon it;
 The phrase is to the matter.

181
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

DUKE 
110 Mended again. The matter; proceed.
ISABELLA 
 In brief, to set the needless process by:
 How I persuaded, how I prayed and kneeled,
 How he refelled me, and how I replied—
 For this was of much length—the vile conclusion
115 I now begin with grief and shame to utter.
 He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
 To his concupiscible intemperate lust,
 Release my brother; and after much debatement,
 My sisterly remorse confutes mine honor,
120 And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes,
 His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
 For my poor brother’s head.
DUKE  This is most likely!
ISABELLA 
 O, that it were as like as it is true!
DUKE 
125 By heaven, fond wretch, thou know’st not what
 thou speak’st,
 Or else thou art suborned against his honor
 In hateful practice. First, his integrity
 Stands without blemish; next, it imports no reason
130 That with such vehemency he should pursue
 Faults proper to himself. If he had so offended,
 He would have weighed thy brother by himself
 And not have cut him off. Someone hath set you on.
 Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
135 Thou cam’st here to complain.
ISABELLA  And is this all?
 Then, O you blessèd ministers above,
 Keep me in patience, and with ripened time
 Unfold the evil which is here wrapped up
140 In countenance. Heaven shield your Grace from
 woe,

183
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 As I, thus wronged, hence unbelievèd go.
DUKE 
 I know you’d fain be gone.—An officer!
An Officer comes forward.
 To prison with her. Shall we thus permit
145 A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
 On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.—
 Who knew of your intent and coming hither?
ISABELLA 
 One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.
Officer exits with Isabella.
DUKE 
 A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
LUCIO 
150 My lord, I know him. ’Tis a meddling friar.
 I do not like the man. Had he been lay, my lord,
 For certain words he spake against your Grace
 In your retirement, I had swinged him soundly.
DUKE 
 Words against me? This’ a good friar, belike.
155 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 friar,
 A very scurvy fellow.
FRIAR PETER, to Duke 160Blessed be your royal Grace.
 I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
 Your royal ear abused. First hath this woman
 Most wrongfully accused your substitute,
 Who is as free from touch or soil with her
165 As she from one ungot.
DUKE 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,

185
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
170 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;
175 But at this instant he is sick, my lord,
 Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,
 Being come to knowledge that there was complaint
 Intended ’gainst Lord Angelo, came I hither
 To speak as from his mouth, what he doth know
180 Is true and false, and what he with his oath
 And all probation will make up full clear
 Whensoever he’s convented. First, for this woman,
 To justify this worthy nobleman,
 So vulgarly and personally accused,
185 Her shall you hear disprovèd to her eyes
 Till she herself confess it.
DUKE Good friar, let’s hear it.—
 Do you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?
 O heaven, the vanity of wretched fools!—
190 Give us some seats.—Come, cousin Angelo,
 In this I’ll be impartial. Be you judge
 Of your own cause.Duke and Angelo are seated.

Enter Mariana, veiled.

 Is this the witness, friar?
 First, let her show her face, and after speak.
MARIANA 
195 Pardon, my lord, I will not show my face
 Until my husband bid me.
DUKE  What, are you married?
MARIANA No, my lord.
DUKE Are you a maid?

187
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

MARIANA 200No, my lord.
DUKE A widow, then?
MARIANA Neither, my lord.
DUKE Why you are nothing, then, neither maid, widow,
 nor wife?
LUCIO 205My lord, she may be a punk, for many of them
 are neither maid, widow, nor wife.
DUKE Silence that fellow. I would he had some cause
 to prattle for himself.
LUCIO Well, my lord.
MARIANA 
210 My lord, I do confess I ne’er was married,
 And I confess besides I am no maid.
 I have known 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 215For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so
 too.
LUCIO Well, my lord.
DUKE 
 This is no witness for Lord Angelo.
MARIANA Now I come to ’t, my lord.
220 She that accuses him of fornication
 In selfsame 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 th’ effect of love.
ANGELO 225Charges she more than me?
MARIANA Not that I know.
DUKE 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,
230 But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel’s.
ANGELO 
 This is a strange abuse. Let’s see thy face.

189
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

MARIANA 
 My husband bids me. Now I will unmask.
She removes her veil.
 This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,
 Which once thou swor’st was worth the looking on.
235 This is the hand which, with a vowed contract,
 Was fast belocked 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, to Angelo 240Know you this woman?
LUCIO Carnally, she says.
DUKE Sirrah, no more.
LUCIO Enough, my lord.
ANGELO 
 My lord, I must confess I know this woman,
245 And five years since there was some speech of
 marriage
 Betwixt myself and her, which was broke off,
 Partly for that her promisèd proportions
 Came short of composition, but in chief
250 For that her reputation was disvalued
 In levity. Since which time of five years
 I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
 Upon my faith and honor.
MARIANA, kneeling, to Duke  Noble prince,
255 As there comes light from heaven and words from
 breath,
 As there is 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,
260 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 forever be confixèd here
 A marble monument.

191
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

ANGELO 265I did but smile till now.
 Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice.
 My patience here is touched. I do perceive
 These poor informal women are no more
 But instruments of some more mightier member
270 That sets them on. Let me have way, my lord,
 To find this practice out.
DUKE  Ay, with my heart,
 And punish them to your height of pleasure.—
 Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,
275 Compact with her that’s gone, think’st thou thy
 oaths,
 Though they would swear down each particular
 saint,
 Were testimonies against his worth and credit
280 That’s sealed in approbation?—You, Lord Escalus,
 Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
 To find out this abuse, whence ’tis derived.
The Duke rises. Escalus is seated.
 There is another friar that set them on.
 Let him be sent for.
FRIAR PETER 
285 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, to Provost  Go, do it instantly.
Provost exits.
290 To Angelo. And you, my noble and well-warranted
 cousin,
 Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,
 Do with your injuries as seems you best
 In any chastisement. I for a while
295 Will leave you; but stir not you till you have
 Well determined upon these slanderers.
ESCALUS My lord, we’ll do it throughly.Duke exits.

193
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar
 Lodowick to be a dishonest person?
LUCIO 300Cucullus non facit monachum, honest in nothing
 but in his clothes, and one that hath spoke most
 villainous speeches of the Duke.
ESCALUS We shall entreat you to abide here till he
 come, and enforce them against him. We shall find
305 this friar a notable fellow.
LUCIO As any in Vienna, on my word.
ESCALUS Call that same Isabel here once again. I would
 speak with her.An Attendant exits.
 To Angelo. Pray you, my lord, give me leave to
310 question. You shall see how I’ll handle her.
LUCIO Not better than he, by her own report.
ESCALUS Say you?
LUCIO Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately,
 she would sooner confess; perchance publicly she’ll
315 be ashamed.
ESCALUS I will go darkly to work with her.
LUCIO That’s the way, for women are light at midnight.

Enter Duke as a Friar, Provost, and Isabella,
with Officers.


ESCALUS, to Isabella Come on, mistress. Here’s a gentlewoman
 denies all that you have said.
LUCIO 320My 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, to disguised Duke 325Come, sir, did you set
 these women on to slander Lord Angelo? They have
 confessed you did.
DUKE, as Friar 
 ’Tis false.
ESCALUS  How? Know you where you are?

195
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

DUKE, as Friar 
330 Respect to your great place, and let the devil
 Be sometime honored for his burning throne.
 Where is the Duke? ’Tis he should hear me speak.
ESCALUS 
 The Duke’s in us, and we will hear you speak.
 Look you speak justly.
DUKE, as Friar 
335 Boldly, at least.—But, O, poor souls,
 Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?
 Good night to your redress. Is the Duke gone?
 Then is your cause gone too. The Duke’s unjust
 Thus to retort your manifest appeal,
340 And put your trial in the villain’s mouth
 Which here you come to accuse.
LUCIO 
 This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.
ESCALUS, to disguised Duke 
 Why, thou unreverend and unhallowed friar,
 Is ’t not enough thou hast suborned these women
345 To accuse this worthy man, but, in foul mouth
 And in the witness of his proper ear,
 To call him villain? And then to glance from him
 To th’ Duke himself, to tax him with injustice?—
 Take him hence. To th’ rack with him. We’ll touse
350 him
 Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
 What? “Unjust”?
DUKE, as Friar  Be not so hot. The Duke
 Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he
355 Dare rack his own. His subject am I not,
 Nor here provincial. My business in this state
 Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,
 Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble
 Till it o’errun the stew. Laws for all faults,
360 But faults so countenanced that the strong statutes

197
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Stand like the forfeits in a barber’s shop,
 As much in mock as mark.
ESCALUS  Slander to th’ state!
 Away with him to prison.
ANGELO, to Lucio 
365 What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio?
 Is this the man that you did tell us of?
LUCIO ’Tis he, my lord.—Come hither, Goodman Baldpate.
 Do you know me?
DUKE, as Friar I remember you, sir, by the sound of
370 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, as Friar Most notedly, sir.
LUCIO 375Do you so, sir? And was the Duke a fleshmonger,
 a fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to
 be?
DUKE, as Friar You must, sir, change persons with me
 ere you make that my report. You indeed spoke so
380 of him, and much more, much worse.
LUCIO O, thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by
 the nose for thy speeches?
DUKE, as Friar I protest I love the Duke as I love
 myself.
ANGELO 385Hark how the villain would close now, after
 his treasonable abuses!
ESCALUS Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away
 with him to prison. Where is the Provost? Provost
 comes forward. 
Away with him to prison. Lay bolts
390 enough upon him. Let him speak no more. Away
 with those giglets too, and with the other confederate
 companion.
Provost seizes the disguised Duke.
DUKE, as Friar Stay, sir, stay awhile.
ANGELO What, resists he?—Help him, Lucio.
LUCIO, to the disguised Duke 395Come, sir, come, sir,

199
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 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! Show your sheep-biting
 face, and be hanged an hour! Will ’t not off?
He pulls off the friar’s hood, and reveals the Duke.
Angelo and Escalus stand.
DUKE 
400 Thou art the first knave that e’er mad’st a duke.—
 First, provost, let me bail these gentle three.
 To Lucio. Sneak not away, sir, for the friar and
 you
 Must have a word anon.—Lay hold on him.
LUCIO 405This may prove worse than hanging.
DUKE, to Escalus 
 What you have spoke I pardon. Sit you down.
 We’ll borrow place of him. To Angelo. Sir, by your
 leave.
 Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence
410 That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
 Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
 And hold no longer out.
ANGELO  O my dread lord,
 I should be guiltier than my guiltiness
415 To think I can be undiscernible,
 When I perceive your Grace, like power divine,
 Hath looked upon my passes. Then, good prince,
 No longer session hold upon my shame,
 But let my trial be mine own confession.
420 Immediate sentence then and sequent death
 Is all the grace I beg.
DUKE  Come hither, Mariana.
Mariana stands and comes forward.
 To Angelo. Say, wast thou e’er contracted to this
 woman?
ANGELO 425I was, my lord.
DUKE 
 Go take her hence and marry her instantly.

201
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 To Friar Peter. Do you the office, friar, which
 consummate,
 Return him here again.—Go with him, provost.
Angelo, Mariana, Friar Peter, and Provost exit.
ESCALUS 
430 My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonor
 Than at the strangeness of it.
DUKE  Come hither, Isabel.
 Your friar is now your prince. As I was then
 Advertising and holy to your business,
435 Not changing heart with habit, I am still
 Attorneyed at your service.
ISABELLA  O, give me pardon
 That I, your vassal, have employed and pained
 Your unknown sovereignty.
DUKE 440 You are pardoned,
 Isabel.
 And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
 Your brother’s death, I know, sits at your heart,
 And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
445 Laboring to save his life, and would not rather
 Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
 Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,
 It was the swift celerity of his death,
 Which I did think with slower foot came on,
450 That brained 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.

Enter Angelo, Mariana, Friar Peter, and Provost.

DUKE 
455 For this new-married man approaching here,
 Whose salt imagination yet hath wronged
 Your well-defended honor, you must pardon

203
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 For Mariana’s sake. But as he adjudged your
 brother—
460 Being criminal in double violation
 Of sacred chastity and of promise-breach
 Thereon dependent for your brother’s life—
 The very mercy of the law cries out
 Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
465 “An Angelo for Claudio, death for death.”
 Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
 Like doth quit like, and measure still for
 measure.—
 Then, Angelo, thy fault’s thus manifested,
470 Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee
 vantage.
 We do condemn thee to the very block
 Where Claudio stooped to death, and with like
 haste.—
475 Away with him.
MARIANA  O my most gracious lord,
 I hope you will not mock me with a husband.
DUKE 
 It is your husband mocked you with a husband.
 Consenting to the safeguard of your honor,
480 I thought your marriage fit. Else imputation,
 For that he knew you, might reproach your life
 And choke your good to come. For his possessions,
 Although by confiscation they are ours,
 We do instate and widow you with all
485 To buy you a better husband.
MARIANA  O my dear lord,
 I crave no other nor no better man.
DUKE 
 Never crave him. We are definitive.
MARIANA, kneeling 
 Gentle my liege—
DUKE 490 You do but lose your labor.—

205
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 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
495 I’ll lend you all my life to do you service.
DUKE 
 Against all sense you do importune her.
 Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
 Her brother’s ghost his pavèd bed would break
 And take her hence in horror.
MARIANA 500 Isabel,
 Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me,
 Hold up your hands, say nothing. I’ll speak all.
 They say best men are molded out of faults,
 And, for the most, become much more the better
505 For being a little bad. So may my husband.
 O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?
DUKE 
 He dies for Claudio’s death.
ISABELLA, kneeling  Most bounteous sir,
 Look, if it please you, on this man condemned
510 As if my brother lived. I partly think
 A due sincerity governed 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.
515 For Angelo,
 His act did not o’ertake his bad intent,
 And must be buried but as an intent
 That perished by the way. Thoughts are no subjects,
 Intents but merely thoughts.
MARIANA 520 Merely, my lord.
DUKE 
 Your suit’s unprofitable. Stand up, I say.
They stand.
 I have bethought me of another fault.—

207
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

 Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
 At an unusual hour?
PROVOST 525 It was commanded so.
DUKE 
 Had you a special warrant for the deed?
PROVOST 
 No, my good lord, it was by private message.
DUKE 
 For which I do discharge you of your office.
 Give up your keys.
PROVOST 530 Pardon me, noble lord.
 I thought it was a fault, but knew it not,
 Yet did repent me after more advice,
 For testimony whereof, one in the prison
 That should by private order else have died,
535 I have reserved alive.
DUKE What’s he?
PROVOST His name is Barnardine.
DUKE 
 I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.
 Go fetch him hither. Let me look upon him.
Provost exits.
ESCALUS, to Angelo 
540 I am sorry one so learnèd and so wise
 As you, Lord Angelo, have still appeared,
 Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood
 And lack of tempered judgment afterward.
ANGELO 
 I am sorry that such sorrow I procure;
545 And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart
 That I crave death more willingly than mercy.
 ’Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.

Enter Barnardine and Provost, Claudio, muffled,
and Juliet.


DUKE, to Provost 
 Which is that Barnardine?

209
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

PROVOST  This, my lord.
DUKE 
550 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 squar’st thy life according. Thou ’rt condemned.
 But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all,
555 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
560 Who should have died when Claudio lost his head,
 As like almost to Claudio as himself.
He unmuffles Claudio.
DUKE, to Isabella 
 If he be like your brother, for his sake
 Is he pardoned; and for your lovely sake,
 Give me your hand and say you will be mine,
565 He is my brother too. But fitter time for that.
 By this Lord Angelo perceives he’s safe;
 Methinks I see a quick’ning in his eye.—
 Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well.
 Look that you love your wife, her worth worth
570 yours.
 I find an apt remission in myself.
 And yet here’s one in place I cannot pardon.
 To Lucio. You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a
 coward,
575 One all of luxury, an ass, a madman.
 Wherein have I so deserved of you
 That you extol me thus?
LUCIO Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the
 trick. If you will hang me for it, you may, but I had
580 rather it would please you I might be whipped.

211
Measure for Measure
ACT 5. SC. 1

DUKE Whipped first, sir, and hanged after.—
 Proclaim it, provost, round about the city,
 If any woman wronged by this lewd fellow—
 As I have heard him swear himself there’s one
585 Whom he begot with child—let her appear,
 And he shall marry her. The nuptial finished,
 Let him be whipped and hanged.
LUCIO I beseech your Highness do not marry me to a
 whore. Your Highness said even now I made you a
590 duke. Good my lord, do not recompense me in
 making me a cuckold.
DUKE 
 Upon mine honor, thou shalt marry her.
 Thy slanders I forgive and therewithal
 Remit thy other forfeits.—Take him to prison,
595 And see our pleasure herein executed.
LUCIO Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
 whipping, and hanging.
DUKE Slandering a prince deserves it.
Officers take Lucio away.
 She, Claudio, that you wronged, look you restore.—
600 Joy to you, Mariana.—Love her, Angelo.
 I have confessed her, and I know her virtue.—
 Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness.
 There’s more behind that is more gratulate.—
 Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy.
605 We shall employ thee in a worthier place.—
 Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
 The head of Ragozine for Claudio’s.
 Th’ offense pardons itself.—Dear Isabel,
 I have a motion much imports your good,
610 Whereto if you’ll a willing ear incline,
 What’s mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.—
 So, bring us to our palace, where we’ll show
 What’s yet behind that’s meet you all should know.
They exit.