Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)


Measure for Measure.
67

Scena Secunda.



Enter Prouost, Seruant.
Ser. Hee's hearing of a Cause; he will come straight,
I'le tell him of you.
735Pro. 'Pray you doe; Ile know
His pleasure, may be he will relent; alas
He hath but as offended in a dreame,
All Sects, all Ages smack of this vice, and he
To die for't?

740
Enter Angelo.
Ang. Now, what's the matter Prouost?
Pro. Is it your will Claudio shall die to morrow?
Ang. Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order?
Why do'st thou aske againe?
745Pro. Lest I might be too rash:
Vnder your good correction I haue seene
When after execution, Iudgement hath
Repented ore his doome.
Ang. Goe to; let that be mine,
750Doe you your office, or giue vp your Place,
And you shall well be spar'd.
Pro. I craue your Honours pardon:
What shall be done Sir, with the groaning Iuliet?
Shee's very neere her howre.
755Ang. Dispose of her
To some more fitter place; and that with speed.
Ser. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd,
Desires accesse to you.
Ang. Hath he a Sister?
760Pro. I my good Lord, a very vertuous maid,
And to be shortlie of a Sister-hood,
If not alreadie.
Ang. Well: let her be admitted,
See you the Fornicatresse be remou'd,
765Let her haue needfull, but not lauish meanes,
There shall be order for't.
Enter Lucio and Isabella.
Pro. 'Saue your Honour.
Ang. Stay a little while: y'are welcome: what's your
770Isab. I am a wofull Sutor to your Honour,
'Please but your Honor heare me.
Ang. Well: what's your suite.
Isab. There is a vice that most I doe abhorre,
And most desire should meet the blow of Iustice;
775For which I would not plead, but that I must,
For which I must not plead, but that I am
At warre, twixt will, and will not.
Ang. Well: the matter?
Isab. I haue a brother is condemn'd to die,
780I doe beseech you let it be his fault,
And not my brother.
Pro. Heauen giue thee mouing graces.
Ang. Condemne the fault, and not the actor of it,
Why euery fault's condemnd ere it be done:
785Mine were the verie Cipher of a Function
To fine the faults, whose fine stands in record,
And let goe by the Actor :
Isab. Oh iust, but seuere Law:
I had a brother then; heauen keepe your honour.
790Luc. Giue't not ore so: to him againe, entreat him,
Kneele downe before him, hang vpon his gowne,
You are too cold: if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say.
795Isab. Must he needs die?
Ang. Maiden, no remedie.
Isab. Yes: I doe thinke that you might pardon him,
And neither heauen, nor man grieue at the mercy.
Ang. I will not doe't.
800Isab. But can you if you would?
Ang. Looke what I will not, that I cannot doe.
Isab. But might you doe't & do the world no wrong
If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse,
As mine is to him?
805Ang. Hee's sentenc'd, tis too late.
Luc. You are too cold.
Isab. Too late? why no: I that doe speak a word
May call it againe: well, beleeue this
No ceremony that to great ones longs,
810Not the Kings Crowne; nor the deputed sword,
The Marshalls Truncheon, nor the Iudges Robe
Become them with one halfe so good a grace
As mercie does: If he had bin as you, and you as he,
You would haue slipt like him, but he like you
815Would not haue beene so sterne.
Ang. Pray you be gone.
Isab. I would to heauen I had your potencie,
And you were Isabell: should it then be thus?
No: I would tell what 'twere to be a Iudge,
820And what a prisoner.
Luc. I, touch him: there's the veine.
Ang. Your Brother is a forfeit of the Law,
And you but waste your words.
Isab. Alas, alas:
825Why all the soules that were, were forfeit once,
And he that might the vantage best haue tooke,
Found out the remedie: how would you be,
If he, which is the top of Iudgement, should
But iudge you, as you are? Oh, thinke on that,
830And mercie then will breathe within your lips
Like man new made.
Ang. Be you content, (faire Maid)
It is the Law, not I, condemne your brother,
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my sonne,
835It should be thus with him: he must die to morrow.
Isab. To morrow? oh, that's sodaine,
Spare him, spare him:
Hee's not prepar'd for death; euen for our kitchins
We kill the fowle of season: shall we serue heauen
840With lesse respect then we doe minister
To our grosse-selues? good, good my Lord, bethink you;
Who is it that hath di'd for this offence?
There's many haue committed it.
Luc. I, well said.
845Ang. The Law hath not bin dead, thogh it hath slept
Those many had not dar'd to doe that euill
If the first, that did th' Edict infringe
Had answer'd for his deed. Now 'tis awake,
Takes note of what is done, and like a Prophet
850Lookes in a glasse that shewes what future euils
Either now, or by remissenesse, new conceiu'd,
And so in progresse to be hatch'd, and borne,
Are now to haue no successiue degrees,
But here they liue to end.
855Isab. Yet shew some pittie.
Ang. I shew it most of all, when I show Iustice;
For then I pittie those I doe not know,
Which a dismis'd offence, would after gaule
And