Internet Shakespeare Editions

Author: William Shakespeare
Editors: Kristin Lucas, Herbert Weil
Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)

Measure for Measure.
Duke. More of him anon: There is written in your
2020brow Prouost, honesty and constancie; if I reade it not
truly, my ancient skill beguiles me: but in the boldnes
of my cunning, I will lay my selfe in hazard: Claudio,
whom heere you haue warrant to execute, is no greater
forfeit to the Law, then Angelo who hath sentenc'd him.
2025To make you vnderstand this in a manifested effect, I
craue but foure daies respit: for the which, you are to
do me both a present, and a dangerous courtesie.
Pro. Pray Sir, in what?
Duke. In the delaying death.
2030Pro. Alacke, how may I do it? Hauing the houre li-
mited, and an expresse command, vnder penaltie, to de-
liuer his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my
case as Claudio's, to crosse this in the smallest.
Duke. By the vow of mine Order, I warrant you,
2035If my instructions may be your guide,
Let this Barnardine be this morning executed,
And his head borne to Angelo.
Pro. Angelo hath seene them both,
And will discouer the fauour.
2040Duke. Oh, death's a great disguiser, and you may
adde to it; Shaue the head, and tie the beard, and say it
was the desire of the penitent to be so bar'de before his
death: you know the course is common. If any thing
fall to you vpon this, more then thankes and good for-
2045tune, by the Saint whom I professe, I will plead against
it with my life.
Pro. Pardon me, good Father, it is against my oath.
Duke. Were you sworne to the Duke, or to the De-
2050Pro. To him, and to his Substitutes.
Duke. You will thinke you haue made no offence, if
the Duke auouch the iustice of your dealing?
Pro. But what likelihood is in that?
Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty; yet since
2055I see you fearfull, that neither my coate, integrity, nor
perswasion, can with ease attempt you, I wil go further
then I meant, to plucke all feares out of you. Looke
you Sir, heere is the hand and Seale of the Duke: you
know the Charracter I doubt not, and the Signet is not
2060strange to you?
Pro. I know them both.
Duke. The Contents of this, is the returne of the
Duke; you shall anon ouer-reade it at your pleasure:
where you shall finde within these two daies, he wil be
2065heere. This is a thing that Angelo knowes not, for hee
this very day receiues letters of strange tenor, perchance
of the Dukes death, perchance entering into some Mo-
nasterie, but by chance nothing of what is writ. Looke,
th' vnfolding Starre calles vp the Shepheard; put not
2070your selfe into amazement, how these things should be;
all difficulties are but easie when they are knowne. Call
your executioner, and off with Barnardines head: I will
giue him a present shrift, and aduise him for a better
place. Yet you are amaz'd, but this shall absolutely re-
2075solue you: Come away, it is almost cleere dawne.

Scena Tertia.

Enter Clowne.
Clo. I am as well acquainted heere, as I was in our
house of profession: one would thinke it vvere Mistris
2080Ouer-dons owne house, for heere be manie of her olde
Customers. First, here's yong Mr Rash, hee's in for a
commoditie of browne paper, and olde Ginger, nine
score and seuenteene pounds, of which hee made fiue
Markes readie money: marrie then, Ginger was not
2085much in request, for the olde Women vvere all dead.
Then is there heere one Mr Caper, at the suite of Master
Three-Pile the Mercer, for some foure suites of Peach-
colour'd Satten, which now peaches him a beggar.
Then haue vve heere, yong Dizie, and yong M Deepe-
2090vow, and M Copperspurre, and M Starue-Lackey the Ra-
pier and dagger man, and yong Drop-heire that kild lu-
stie Pudding, and M Forthlight the Tilter, and braue M
Shootie the great Traueller, and wilde Halfe-Canne that
stabb'd Pots, and I thinke fortie more, all great doers in
2095our Trade, and are now for the Lords sake.
Enter Abhorson.
Abh. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hether.
Clo. M Barnardine, you must rise and be hang'd,
M Barnardine.
2100Abh. What hoa Barnardine.
Barnardine within.
Bar. A pox o'your throats: who makes that noyse
there? What are you?
Clo. Your friends Sir, the Hangman:
2105You must be so good Sir to rise, and be put to death.
Bar. Away you Rogue, away, I am sleepie.
Abh. Tell him he must awake,
And that quickly too.
Clo. Pray Master Barnardine, awake till you are ex-
2110ecuted, and sleepe afterwards.
Ab. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
Clo. He is comming Sir, he is comming: I heare his
Straw russle.
Enter Barnardine.
2115Abh. Is the Axe vpon the blocke, sirrah?
Clo. Verie readie Sir.
Bar. How now Abhorson?
What's the newes vvith you?
Abh. Truly Sir, I would desire you to clap into your
2120prayers: for looke you, the Warrants come.
Bar. You Rogue, I haue bin drinking all night,
I am not fitted for't.
Clo. Oh, the better Sir: for he that drinkes all night,
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleepe the
2125sounder all the next day.
Enter Duke.
Abh. Looke you Sir, heere comes your ghostly Fa-
ther: do we iest now thinke you?
Duke. Sir, induced by my charitie, and hearing how
2130hastily you are to depart, I am come to aduise you,
Comfort you, and pray with you.
Bar. Friar, not I: I haue bin drinking hard all night,
and I will haue more time to prepare mee, or they shall
beat out my braines with billets: I will not consent to
2135die this day, that's certaine.
Duke. Oh sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you
Looke forward on the iournie you shall go.
Bar. I sweare I will not die to day for anie mans per-
2140Duke. But heare you:
Bar. Not a word: if you haue anie thing to say to me,
come to my Ward: for thence will not I to day.
Enter Prouost.
2145Duke. Vnfit to liue, or die: oh grauell heart.