Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)


Scena Quarta.
Enter Duke and Frier Thomas.
290Duk. No: holy Father, throw away that thought,
Beleeue not that the dribling dart of Loue
Can pierce a compleat bosome: why, I desire thee
To giue me secret harbour, hath a purpose
More graue, and wrinkled, then the aimes, and ends
295Of burning youth.
Fri. May your Grace speake of it?
Duk. My holy Sir, none better knowes then you
How I haue euer lou'd the life remoued
And held in idle price, to haunt assemblies
300Where youth, and cost, witlesse brauery keepes.
I haue deliuerd to Lord Angelo
(A man of stricture and firme abstinence)
My absolute power, and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me trauaild to Poland,
305(For so I haue strewd it in the common eare)
And so it is receiu'd: Now (pious Sir)
You will demand of me, why I do this.
Fri. Gladly, my Lord.
Duk. We haue strict Statutes, and most biting Laws,
310(The needfull bits and curbes to headstrong weedes,)
Which for this foureteene yeares, we haue let slip,
Euen like an ore-growne Lyon in a Caue
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond Fathers,
Hauing bound vp the threatning twigs of birch,
315Onely to sticke it in their childrens sight,
For terror, not to vse: in time the rod
More mock'd, then fear'd: so our Decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselues are dead,
And libertie, plucks Iustice by the nose;
320The Baby beates the Nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
Fri. It rested in your Grace
To vnloose this tyde-vp Iustice, when you pleas'd:
And it in you more dreadfull would haue seem'd
325Then in Lord Angelo.
Duk. I doe feare: too dreadfull:
Sith 'twas my fault, to giue the people scope,
'Twould be my tirrany to strike and gall them,
For what I bid them doe: For, we bid this be done
330When euill deedes haue their permissiue passe,
And not the punishment: therefore indeede (my father)
I haue on Angelo impos'd the office,
Who may in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet, my nature neuer in the sight
335To do in slander: And to behold his sway
I will, as 'twere a brother of your Order,
Visit both Prince, and People: Therefore I pre'thee
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person beare
340Like a true Frier: Moe reasons for this action
At our more leysure, shall I render you;
Onely, this one: Lord Angelo is precise,
Stands at a guard with Enuie: scarce confesses
That his blood flowes: or that his appetite
345Is more to bread then stone: hence shall we see
If power change purpose: what our Seemers be.
Exit.