Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)


Actus Secundus. Scoena Prima.
450
Enter Angelo, Escalus, and seruants, Iustice.
Ang. We must not make a scar-crow of the Law,
Setting it vp to feare the Birds of prey,
And let it keepe one shape, till custome make it
Their pearch, and not their terror.
455Esc. I, but yet
Let vs be keene, and rather cut a little
Then fall, and bruise to death: alas, this gentleman
Whom I would saue, had a most noble father,
Let but your honour know
460(Whom I beleeue to be most strait in vertue)
That in the working of your owne affections,
Had time coheard with Place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of our blood
Could haue attaind th' effect of your owne purpose,
465Whether you had not sometime in your life
Er'd in this point, which now you censure him,
And puld the Law vpon you.
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted ( Escalus)
Another thing to fall: I not deny
470The Iury passing on the Prisoners life
May in the sworne-twelue haue a thiefe, or two
Guiltier then him they try; what's open made to Iustice,
That Iustice ceizes; What knowes the Lawes
That theeues do passe on theeues? 'Tis very pregnant,
475The Iewell that we finde, we stoope, and take't,
Because we see it; but what we doe not see,
We tread vpon, and neuer thinke of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence,
For I haue had such faults; but rather tell me
480When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine owne Iudgement patterne out my death,
And nothing come in partiall. Sir, he must dye.
Enter Prouost.
Esc. Be it as your wisedome will.
485Ang. Where is the Prouost?
Pro. Here if it like your honour.
Ang. See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to morrow morning,
Bring him his Confessor, let him be prepar'd,
490For that's the vtmost of his pilgrimage.
Esc. Well: heauen forgiue him; and forgiue vs all :
Some rise by sinne, and some by vertue fall:
Some run from brakes of Ice, and answere none,
And some condemned for a fault alone.
495
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clowne, Officers.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good peo-
ple in a Common-weale, that doe nothing but vse their
abuses in common houses, I know no law : bring them
away.
500Ang. How now Sir, what's your name? And what's
the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poore Dukes
Constable, and my name is Elbow; I doe leane vpon Iu-
stice Sir, and doe bring in here before your good honor,
505two notorious Benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? Well: What Benefactors are they?
Are they not Malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what
they are: But precise villaines they are, that I am sure of,
510and void of all prophanation in the world, that good
Christians ought to haue.
Esc. This comes off well: here's a wise Officer.
Ang. Goe to: What quality are they of? Elbow is
your name?
515Why do'st thou not speake Elbow?
Clo. He cannot Sir: he's out at Elbow.
Ang. What are you Sir?
Elb. He Sir: a Tapster Sir: parcell Baud: one that
serues a bad woman: whose house Sir was (as they say)
520pluckt downe in the Suborbs: and now shee professes a
hot-house; which, I thinke is a very ill house too.
Esc. How know you that?
Elb. My wife Sir? whom I detest before heauen, and
your honour.
525Esc. How? thy wife?
Elb. I Sir: whom I thanke heauen is an honest wo-
man.
Esc. Do'st thou detest her therefore?
Elb. I say sir, I will detest my selfe also, as well as she,
530that this house, if it be not a Bauds house, it is pitty of her
life, for it is a naughty house.
Esc. How do'st thou know that, Constable?
Elb. Marry sir, by my wife, who, if she had bin a wo-
man Cardinally giuen, might haue bin accus'd in forni-
535cation, adultery, and all vncleanlinesse there.
Esc. By the womans meanes?
Elb. I sir, by Mistris Ouer-dons meanes: but as she spit
in his face, so she defide him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.
540Elb. Proue it before these varlets here, thou honora-
ble man, proue it.
Esc. Doe you heare how he misplaces?
Clo. Sir, she came in great with childe: and longing
(sauing your honors reuerence) for stewd prewyns; sir,
545we had but two in the house, which at that very distant
time stood, as it were in a fruit dish (a dish of some three
pence; your honours haue seene such dishes) they are not
China-dishes, but very good dishes.
Esc. Go too: go too: no matter for the dish sir.
550Clo. No indeede sir not of a pin; you are therein in
the right: but, to the point: As I say, this Mistris Elbow,
being (as I say) with childe, and being great bellied, and
longing (as I said) for prewyns: and hauing but two in
the dish (as I said) Master Froth here, this very man, ha-
555uing eaten the rest (as I said) & (as I say) paying for them
very honestly: for, as you know Master Froth, I could not
giue you three pence againe.
Fro. No indeede.
Clo. Very well: you being then (if you be remem-
560bred) cracking the stones of the foresaid prewyns.
Fro. I, so I did indeede.
Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then (if you be
remembred) that such a one, and such a one, were past
cure of the thing you wot of, vnlesse they kept very good
565diet, as I told you.
Fro. All this is true.
Clo. Why very well then.
Esc. Come: you are a tedious foole: to the purpose:
what was done to Elbowes wife, that hee hath cause to
570complaine of? Come me to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.
Esc. No sir, nor I meane it not.
Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honours
leaue: And I beseech you, looke into Master Froth here
575sir, a man of foure-score pound a yeare; whose father
died at Hallowmas: Was't not at Hallowmas Master
Froth?
Fro. Allhallond-Eue.
Clo. Why very well: I hope here be truthes: he Sir,
580sitting (as I say) in a lower chaire, Sir, 'twas in the bunch
of Grapes, where indeede you haue a delight to sit, haue
you not?
Fro. I haue so, because it is an open roome, and good
for winter.
585Clo. Why very well then: I hope here be truthes.
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia
When nights are longest there: Ile take my leaue,
And leaue you to the hearing of the cause;
Hoping youle finde good cause to whip them all.
Exit.
590Esc. I thinke no lesse: good morrow to your Lord-
ship. Now Sir, come on: What was done to Elbowes
wife, once more?
Clo. Once Sir? there was nothing done to her once.
Elb. I beseech you Sir, aske him what this man did to
595my wife.
Clo. I beseech your honor, aske me.
Esc. Well sir, what did this Gentleman to her?
Clo. I beseech you sir, looke in this Gentlemans face:
good Master Froth looke vpon his honor; 'tis for a good
600purpose: doth your honor marke his face?
Esc. I sir, very well.
Clo. Nay, I beseech you marke it well.
Esc. Well, I doe so.
Clo. Doth your honor see any harme in his face?
605Esc. Why no.
Clo. Ile be supposd vpon a booke, his face is the worst
thing about him: good then: if his face be the worst
thing about him, how could Master Froth doe the Con-
stables wife any harme? I would know that of your
610honour.
Esc. He's in the right (Constable) what say you to it?
Elb. First, and it like you, the house is a respected
house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his Mistris is
a respected woman.
615Clo. By this hand Sir, his wife is a more respected per-
son then any of vs all.
Elb. Varlet, thou lyest; thou lyest wicked varlet: the
time is yet to come that shee was euer respected with
man, woman, or childe.
620Clo. Sir, she was respected with him, before he mar-
ried with her.
Esc. Which is the wiser here; Iustice or Iniquitie? Is
this true?
Elb. O thou caytiffe: O thou varlet: O thou wick-
625ed Hanniball; I respected with her, before I was married
to her? If euer I was respected with her, or she with me,
let not your worship thinke mee the poore Dukes Offi-
cer: proue this, thou wicked Hanniball, or ile haue
mine action of battry on thee.
630Esc. If he tooke you a box o'th' eare, you might haue
your action of slander too.
Elb. Marry I thanke your good worship for it: what
is't your Worships pleasure I shall doe with this wick-
ed Caitiffe?
635Esc. Truly Officer, because he hath some offences in
him, that thou wouldst discouer, if thou couldst, let him
continue in his courses, till thou knowst what they are.
Elb. Marry I thanke your worship for it: Thou seest
thou wicked varlet now, what's come vpon thee. Thou
640art to continue now thou Varlet, thou art to continue.
Esc. Where were you borne, friend?
Froth. Here in Vienna, Sir.
Esc. Are you of fourescore pounds a yeere?
Froth. Yes, and't please you sir.
645Esc. So: what trade are you of, sir?
Clo. A Tapster, a poore widdowes Tapster.
Esc. Your Mistris name?
Clo. Mistris Ouer- don.
Esc. Hath she had any more then one husband?
650Clo. Nine, sir: Ouer-don by the last.
Esc. Nine? come hether to me, Master Froth; Master
Froth, I would not haue you acquainted with Tapsters;
they will draw you Master Froth, and you wil hang them:
get you gon, and let me heare no more of you.
655Fro. I thanke your worship: for mine owne part, I
neuer come into any roome in a Tap-house, but I am
drawne in.
Esc. Well: no more of it Master Froth: farewell:
Come you hether to me, M. Tapster: what's your name
660Mr. Tapster?
Clo. Pompey.
Esc. What else?
Clo. Bum, Sir.
Esc. Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about
665you, so that in the beastliest sence, you are Pompey the
great; Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey; howso-
euer you colour it in being a Tapster, are you not? come,
tell me true, it shall be the better for you.
Clo. Truly sir, I am a poore fellow that would liue.
670Esc. How would you liue Pompey? by being a bawd?
what doe you thinke of the trade Pompey? is it a lawfull
trade?
Clo. If the Law would allow it, sir.
Esc. But the Law will not allow it Pompey; nor it
675shall not be allowed in Vienna.
Clo. Do's your Worship meane to geld and splay all
the youth of the City?
Esc. No, Pompey.
Clo. Truely Sir, in my poore opinion they will too't
680then: if your worship will take order for the drabs and
the knaues, you need not to feare the bawds.
Esc. There is pretty orders beginning I can tell you:
It is but heading, and hanging.
Clo. If you head, and hang all that offend that way
685but for ten yeare together; you'll be glad to giue out a
Commission for more heads: if this law hold in Vienna
ten yeare, ile rent the fairest house in it after three pence
a Bay: if you liue to see this come to passe, say Pompey
told you so.
690Esc. Thanke you good Pompey; and in requitall of
your prophesie, harke you: I aduise you let me not finde
you before me againe vpon any complaint whatsoeuer;
no, not for dwelling where you doe: if I doe Pompey, I
shall beat you to your Tent, and proue a shrewd Casar
695to you: in plaine dealing Pompey, I shall haue you whipt;
so for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
Clo. I thanke your Worship for your good counsell;
but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better
determine. Whip me? no, no, let Carman whip his Iade,
700The valiant heart's not whipt out of his trade.
Exit.
Esc. Come hether to me, Master Elbow: come hither
Master Constable: how long haue you bin in this place
of Constable?
Elb. Seuen yeere, and a halfe sir.
705Esc. I thought by the readinesse in the office, you had
continued in it some time: you say seauen yeares toge-
ther.
Elb. And a halfe sir.
Esc. Alas, it hath beene great paines to you: they do
710you wrong to put you so oft vpon't. Are there not men
in your Ward sufficient to serue it?
Elb. 'Faith sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they
are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I do it
for some peece of money, and goe through with all.
715Esc. Looke you bring mee in the names of some sixe
or seuen, the most sufficient of your parish.
Elb. To your Worships house sir?
Esc. To my house: fare you well: what's a clocke,
thinke you?
720Iust. Eleuen, Sir.
Esc. I pray you home to dinner with me.
Iust. I humbly thanke you.
Esc. It grieues me for the death of Claudio
But there's no remedie:
725Iust. Lord Angelo is seuere.
Esc. It is but needfull.
Mercy is not it selfe, that oft lookes so,
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet, poore Claudio; there is no remedie.
730Come Sir.
Exeunt.