Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)


1
Actus primus, Scena prima.
Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords.
Duke.
EScalus.
5Esc. My Lord.
Duk. Of Gouernment, the properties to vn-
Would seeme in me t' affect speech & discourse,
Since I am put to know, that your owne Science
Exceedes (in that) the lists of all aduice
10My strength can giue you: Then no more remaines
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them worke: The nature of our People,
Our Cities Institutions, and the Termes
For Common Iustice, y'are as pregnant in
15As Art, and practise, hath inriched any
That we remember: There is our Commission,
From which, we would not haue you warpe; call hither,
I say, bid come before vs Angelo:
What figure of vs thinke you, he will beare.
20For you must know, we haue with speciall soule
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, drest him with our loue,
And giuen his Deputation all the Organs
Of our owne powre: What thinke you of it?
25Esc.If any in Vienna be of worth
To vndergoe such ample grace, and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.
Enter Angelo.
Duk.Looke where he comes.
30Ang. Alwayes obedient to your Graces will,
I come to know your pleasure.
Duke. Angelo:
There is a kinde of Character in thy life,
That to th' obseruer, doth thy history
35Fully vnfold: Thy selfe, and thy belongings
Are not thine owne so proper, as to waste
Thy selfe vpon thy vertues; they on thee :
Heauen doth with vs, as we, with Torches doe,
Not light them for themselues: For if our vertues
40Did not goe forth of vs, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not: Spirits are not finely tonuch'd,
But to fine issues: nor nature neuer lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But like a thrifty goddesse, she determines
45Her selfe the glory of a creditour,
Both thanks, and vse; but I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him aduertise;
Hold therefore Angelo:
In our remoue, be thou at full, our selfe:
50Mortallitie and Mercie in Vienna
Liue in thy tongue, and heart: Old Escalus
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy Commission.
Ang.Now good my Lord
55Let there be some more test, made of my mettle,
Before so noble, and so great a figure
Be stamp't vpon it.
Duk.No more euasion:
We haue with a leauen'd, and prepared choice
60Proceeded to you; therefore take your honors:
Our haste from hence is of so quicke condition,
That it prefers it selfe, and leaues vnquestion'd
Matters of needfull value: We shall write to you
As time, and our concernings shall importune,
65How it goes with vs, and doe looke to know
What doth befall you here. So fare you well:
To th' hopefull execution doe I leaue you,
Of your Commissions
Ang.Yet giue leaue (my Lord,)
70That we may bring you something on the way
Duk.My haste may not admit it,
Nor neede you (on mine honor) haue to doe
With any scruple: your scope is as mine owne,
So to inforce, or qualifie the Lawes
75As to your soule seemes good: Giue me your hand,
Ile priuily away: I loue the people,
But doe not like to stage me to their eyes:
Though it doe well, I doe not rellish well
Their lowd applause, and Aues vehement:
80Nor doe I thinke the man of safe discretion
That do's affect it. Once more fare you well.
Ang.The heauens giue safety to your purposes.
Esc.Lead forth, and bring you backe in happi-
nesse.
Exit.
85Duk. I thanke you, fare you well.
Esc.I shall desire you, Sir, to giue me leaue
To haue free speech with you; and it concernes me
To looke into the bottome of my place :
A powre I haue, but of what strength and nature,
90I am not yet instructed.
Ang.'Tis so with me: Let vs with-draw together,
And we may soone our satisfaction haue
Touching that point.
Esc.Ile wait vpon your honor.
Exeunt
.