Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)


80
Measure for Measure.
Isab. Most strange: but yet most truely wil I speake,
That Angelo's forsworne, is it not strange?
That Angelo's a murtherer, is't not strange?
That Angelo is an adulterous thiefe,
2395An hypocrite, a virgin violator,
Is it not strange? and strange?
Duke. Nay it is ten times strange?
Isa. It is not truer he is Angelo,
Then this is all as true, as it is strange;
2400Nay, it is ten times true, for truth is truth
To th' end of reckning.
Duke. Away with her: poore soule
She speakes this, in th' infirmity of sence.
Isa. Oh Prince, I coniure thee, as thou beleeu'st
2405There is another comfort, then this world,
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion
That I am touch'd with madnesse: make not impossible
That which but seemes vnlike, 'tis not impossible
But one, the wickedst caitiffe on the ground
2410May seeme as shie, as graue, as iust, as absolute:
As Angelo, euen so may Angelo
In all his dressings, caracts, titles, formes,
Be an arch-villaine: Beleeue it, royall Prince
If he be lesse, he's nothing, but he's more,
2415Had I more name for badnesse.
Duke. By mine honesty
If she be mad, as I beleeue no other,
Her madnesse hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependancy of thing, on thing,
2420As ere I heard in madnesse.
Isab. Oh gracious Duke
Harpe not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality, but let your reason serue
To make the truth appeare, where it seemes hid,
2425And hide the false seemes true.
Duk. Many that are not mad
Haue sure more lacke of reason:
What would you say?
Isab. I am the Sister of one Claudio,
2430Condemnd vpon the Act of Fornication
To loose his head, condemn'd by Angelo,
I, (in probation of a Sisterhood)
Was sent to by my Brother; one Lucio
As then the Messenger.
2435Luc. That's I, and't like your Grace:
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her,
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo,
For her poore Brothers pardon.
Isab. That's he indeede.
2440Duk. You were not bid to speake.
Luc. No, my good Lord,
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.
Duk. I wish you now then,
Pray you take note of it: and when you haue
2445A businesse for your selfe: pray heauen you then
Be perfect.
Luc. I warrant your honor.
Duk. The warrant's for your selfe: take heede to't.
Isab. This Gentleman told somewhat of my Tale.
2450Luc. Right.
Duk. It may be right, but you are i'the wrong
To speake before your time: proceed,
Isab. I went
To this pernicious Caitiffe Deputie.
2455Duk. That's somewhat madly spoken.
Isab. Pardon it,
The phrase is to the matter.
Duke. Mended againe: the matter: proceed.
Isab. In briefe, to set the needlesse processe by:
2460How I perswaded, how I praid, and kneel'd,
How he refeld me, and how I replide
(For this was of much length) the vild conclusion
I now begin with griefe, and shame to vtter.
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
2465To his concupiscible intemperate lust
Release my brother; and after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse, confutes mine honour,
And I did yeeld to him: But the next morne betimes,
His purpose surfetting, he sends a warrant
2470For my poore brothers head.
Duke. This is most likely.
Isab. Oh that it were as like as it is true.
Duk. By heauen (fond wretch) y knowst not what thou
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honor
2475In hatefull practise: first his Integritie
Stands without blemish: next it imports no reason,
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himselfe: if he had so offended
He would haue waigh'd thy brother by himselfe,
2480And not haue cut him off: some one hath set you on:
Confesse the truth, and say by whose aduice
Thou cam'st heere to complaine.
Isab. And is this all?
Then oh you blessed Ministers aboue
2485Keepe me in patience, and with ripened time
Vnfold the euill, which is heere wrapt vp
In countenance: heauen shield your Grace from woe,
As I thus wrong'd, hence vnbeleeued goe.
Duke. I know you'ld faine be gone: An Officer:
2490To prison with her: Shall we thus permit
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall,
On him so neere vs? This needs must be a practise:
Who knew of your intent and comming hither?
Isa. One that I would were heere, Frier Lodowick.
2495Duk. A ghostly Father, belike:
Who knowes that Lodowicke?
Luc. My Lord, I know him, 'tis a medling Fryer,
I doe not like the man: had he been Lay my Lord,
For certaine words he spake against your Grace
2500In your retirment, I had swing'd him soundly.
Duke. Words against mee? this 'a good Fryer belike
And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our Substitute: Let this Fryer be found.
Luc. But yesternight my Lord, she and that Fryer
2505I saw them at the prison: a sawcy Fryar,
A very scuruy fellow.
Peter. Blessed be your Royall Grace:
I haue stood by my Lord, and I haue heard
Your royall eare abus'd: first hath this woman
2510Most wrongfully accus'd your Substitute,
Who is as free from touch, or soyle with her
As she from one vngot.
Duke. We did beleeue no lesse.
Know you that Frier Lodowick that she speakes of?
2515Peter. I know him for a man diuine and holy,
Not scuruy, nor a temporary medler
As he's reported by this Gentleman:
And on my trust, a man that neuer yet
Did (as he vouches) mis-report your Grace.
2520Luc. My Lord, most villanously, beleeue it.
Peter. Well: he in time may come to cleere himselfe;
But at this instant he is sicke, my Lord:
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