Internet Shakespeare Editions

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Not Peer Reviewed

Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)

Actus Quintus. Scoena Prima.
Enter Duke, Varrius, Lords, Angelo, Esculus, Lucio,
Citizens at seuerall doores.
Duk. My very worthy Cosen, fairely met,
Our old, and faithfull friend, we are glad to see you.
2350Ang. Esc. Happy returne be to your royall grace.
Duk. Many and harty thankings to you both:
We haue made enquiry of you, and we heare
Such goodnesse of your Iustice, that our soule
Cannot but yeeld you forth to publique thankes
2355Forerunning more requitall.
Ang. You make my bonds still greater.
Duk. Oh your desert speaks loud, & I should wrong it
To locke it in the wards of couert bosome
When it deserues with characters of brasse
2360A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of obliuion: Giue we your hand
And let the Subiect see, to make them know
That outward curtesies would faine proclaime
Fauours that keepe within: Come Escalus,
2365You must walke by vs, on our other hand:
And good supporters are you.
Enter Peter and Isabella.
Peter. Now is your time
Speake loud, and kneele before him.
2370Isab. Iustice, O royall Duke, vaile your regard
Vpon a wrong'd (I would faine haue said a Maid)
Oh worthy Prince, dishonor not your eye
By throwing it on any other obiect,
Till you haue heard me, in my true complaint,
2375And giuen me Iustice, Iustice, Iustice, Iustice.
Duk. Relate your wrongs;
In what, by whom? be briefe:
Here is Lord Angelo shall giue you Iustice,
Reueale your selfe to him.
2380Isab. Oh worthy Duke,
You bid me seeke redemption of the diuell,
Heare me your selfe: for that which I must speake
Must either punish me, not being beleeu'd,
Or wring redresse from you:
2385Heare me: oh heare me, heere.
Ang. My Lord, her wits I feare me are not firme:
She hath bin a suitor to me, for her Brother
Cut off by course of Iustice.
Isab. By course of Iustice.
2390Ang. And she will speake most bitterly, and strange.
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:
Of a strange Feauor: vpon his meere request
Being come to knowledge, that there was complaint
2525Intended 'gainst Lord Angelo, came I hether
To speake as from his mouth, what he doth know
Is true, and false: And what he with his oath
And all probation will make vp full cleare
Whensoeuer he's conuented: First for this woman,
2530To iustifie this worthy Noble man
So vulgarly and personally accus'd,
Her shall you heare disproued to her eyes,
Till she her selfe confesse it.
Duk. Good Frier, let's heare it:
2535Doe you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?
Oh heauen, the vanity of wretched fooles.
Giue vs some seates, Come cosen Angelo,
In this I'll be impartiall: be you Iudge
Of your owne Cause: Is this the Witnes Frier?
Enter Mariana.
First, let her shew your face, and after, speake.
Mar. Pardon my Lord, I will not shew my face
Vntill my husband bid me.
Duke. What, are you married?
2545Mar. No my Lord.
Duke. Are you a Maid?
Mar. No my Lord.
Duk. A Widow then?
Mar. Neither, my Lord.
2550Duk. Why you are nothing then: neither Maid, Wi-
dow, nor Wife?
Luc. My Lord, she may be a Puncke: for many of
them, are neither Maid, Widow, nor Wife.
Duk. Silence that fellow: I would he had some cause
2555to prattle for himselfe.
Luc. Well my Lord.
Mar. My Lord, I doe confesse I nere was married,
And I confesse besides, I am no Maid,
I haue known my husband, yet my husband
2560Knowes not, that euer he knew me.
Luc. He was drunk then, my Lord, it can be no better.
Duk. For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so to.
Luc. Well, my Lord.
Duk. This is no witnesse for Lord Angelo.
2565Mar. Now I come to't, my Lord.
Shee that accuses him of Fornication,
In selfe-same manner, doth accuse my husband,
And charges him, my Lord, with such a time,
When I'le depose I had him in mine Armes
2570With all th' effect of Loue.
Ang. Charges she moe then me?
Mar. Not that I know.
Duk. No? you say your husband.
Mar. Why iust, my Lord, and that is Angelo,
2575Who thinkes he knowes, that he nere knew my body,
But knows, he thinkes, that he knowes Isabels.
Ang. This is a strange abuse: Let's see thy face.
Mar. My husband bids me, now I will vnmaske.
This is that face, thou cruell Angelo
2580Which once thou sworst, was worth the looking on:
This is the hand, which with a vowd contract
Was fast belockt in thine: This is the body
That tooke away the match from Isabell,
And did supply thee at thy garden-house
2585In her Imagin'd person.
Duke. Know you this woman?
Luc. Carnallie she saies.
Duk. Sirha, no more.
Luc. Enoug my Lord.
2590Ang. My Lord, I must confesse, I know this woman,
And fiue yeres since there was some speech of marriage
Betwixt my selfe, and her: which was broke off,
Partly for that her promis'd proportions
Came short of Composition: But in chiefe
2595For that her reputation was dis-valued
In leuitie: Since which time of fiue yeres
I neuer spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her
Vpon my faith, and honor.
Mar. Noble Prince,
2600As there comes light from heauen, and words frō breath,
As there is sence in truth, and truth in vertue,
I am affianced this mans wife, as strongly
As words could make vp vowes: And my good Lord,
But Tuesday night last gon, in's garden house,
2605He knew me as a wife. As this is true,
Let me in safety raise me from my knees,
Or else for euer be confixed here
A Marble Monument.
Ang. I did but smile till now,
2610Now, good my Lord, giue me the scope of Iustice,
My patience here is touch'd: I doe perceiue
These poore informall women, are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member
That sets them on. Let me haue way, my Lord
2615To finde this practise out.
Duke. I, with my heart,
And punish them to your height of pleasure.
Thou foolish Frier, and thou pernicious woman
Compact with her that's gone: thinkst thou, thy oathes,
2620Though they would swear downe each particular Saint,
Were testimonies against his worth, and credit
That's seald in approbation? you, Lord Escalus
Sit with my Cozen, lend him your kinde paines
To finde out this abuse, whence 'tis deriu'd.
2625There is another Frier that set them on,
Let him be sent for.
Peter. Would he were here, my Lord, for he indeed
Hath set the women on to this Complaint;
Your Prouost knowes the place where he abides,
2630And he may fetch him.
Duke. Goe, doe it instantly:
And you, my noble and well-warranted Cosen
Whom it concernes to heare this matter forth,
Doe with your iniuries as seemes you best
2635In any chastisement; I for a while
Will leaue you; but stir not you till you haue
Well determin'd vpon these Slanderers.
Esc. My Lord, wee'll doe it throughly: Signior Lu-
cio, did not you say you knew that Frier Lodowick to be a
2640dishonest person?
Luc. Cucullus non facit Monachum, honest in nothing
but in his Clothes, and one that hath spoke most villa-
nous speeches of the Duke.
Esc. We shall intreat you to abide heere till he come,
2645and inforce them against him: we shall finde this Frier a
notable fellow.
Luc. As any in Vienna, on my word.
Esc. Call that same Isabell here once againe, I would
speake with her: pray you, my Lord, giue mee leaue to
2650question, you shall see how Ile handle her.
Luc. Not better then he, by her owne report.
Esc. Say you?
Luc. Marry sir, I thinke, if you handled her priuately
She would sooner confesse, perchance publikely she'll be
Enter Duke, Prouost, Isabella..
Esc. I will goe darkely to worke with her.
Luc. That's the way: for women are light at mid-
2660Esc. Come on Mistris, here's a Gentlewoman,
Denies all that you haue said.
Luc. My Lord, here comes the rascall I spoke of,
Here, with the Prouost.
Esc. In very good time: speake not you to him, till
2665we call vpon you.
Luc. Mum.
Esc. Come Sir, did you set these women on to slan-
der Lord Angelo? they haue confes'd you did.
Duk. 'Tis false.
2670Esc. How? Know you where you are?
Duk. Respect to your great place; and let the diuell
Be sometime honour'd, for his burning throne.
Where is the Duke? 'tis he should heare me speake.
Esc. The Duke's in vs: and we will heare you speake,
2675Looke you speake iustly.
Duk. Boldly, at least. But oh poore soules,
Come you to seeke the Lamb here of the Fox;
Good night to your redresse: Is the Duke gone?
Then is your cause gone too: The Duke's vniust,
2680Thus to retort your manifest Appeale,
And put your triall in the villaines mouth,
Which here you come to accuse.
Luc. This is the rascall: this is he I spoke of.
Esc. Why thou vnreuerend, and vnhallowed Fryer:
2685Is't not enough thou hast suborn'd these women,
To accuse this worthy man? but in foule mouth,
And in the witnesse of his proper eare,
To call him villaine; and then to glance from him,
To th' Duke himselfe, to taxe him with Iniustice?
2690Take him hence; to th' racke with him: we'll towze you
Ioynt by ioynt, but we will know his purpose:
What? vniust?
Duk. Be not so hot: the Duke dare
No more stretch this finger of mine, then he
2695Dare racke his owne : his Subiect am I not,
Nor here Prouinciall: My businesse in this State
Made me a looker on here in Vienna,
Where I haue seene corruption boyle and bubble,
Till it ore-run the Stew : Lawes, for all faults,
2700But faults so countenanc'd, that the strong Statutes
Stand like the forfeites in a Barbers shop,
As much in mocke, as marke.
Esc. Slander to th' State:
Away with him to prison.
2705Ang. What can you vouch against him Signior Lucio?
Is this the man you did tell vs of?
Luc. 'Tis he, my Lord: come hither goodman bald-pate,
doe you know me?
Duk. I remember you Sir, by the sound of your voice,
2710I met you at the Prison, in the absence of the Duke.
Luc. Oh, did you so? and do you remember what you
said of the Duke.
Duk. Most notedly Sir.
Luc. Do you so Sir: And was the Duke a flesh-mon-
2715ger, a foole, and a coward, as you then reported him
to be?
Duk. You must (Sir) change persons with me, ere you
make that my report: you indeede spoke so of him, and
much more, much worse.
2720Luc. Oh thou damnable fellow: did I not plucke thee
by the nose, for thy speeches?
Duk. I protest, I loue the Duke, as I loue my selfe.
Ang. Harke how the villaine would close now, after
his treasonable abuses.
2725Esc. Such a fellow is not to be talk'd withall: Away
with him to prison: Where is the Prouost? away with
him to prison: lay bolts enough vpon him: let him speak
no more: away with those Giglets too, and with the o-
ther confederate companion.
2730Duk. Stay Sir, stay a while.
Ang. What, resists he? helpe him Lucio.
Luc. Come sir, come sir, come sir: foh sir, why you
bald-pated lying rascall : you must be hooded must you?
show your knaues visage with a poxe to you: show your
2735sheepe-biting face, and be hang'd an houre: Will't
not off?
Duk. Thou art the first knaue, that ere mad'st a Duke.
First Prouost, let me bayle these gentle three:
Sneake not away Sir, for the Fryer, and you,
2740Must haue a word anon: lay hold on him.
Luc. This may proue worse then hanging.
Duk. What you haue spoke, I pardon: sit you downe,
We'll borrow place of him; Sir, by your leaue:
Ha'st thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
2745That yet can doe thee office? If thou ha'st
Rely vpon it, till my tale be heard,
And hold no longer out.
Ang. Oh, my dread Lord,
I should be guiltier then my guiltinesse,
2750To thinke I can be vndiscerneable,
When I perceiue your grace, like powre diuine,
Hath look'd vpon my passes. Then good Prince,
No longer Session hold vpon my shame,
But let my Triall, be mine owne Confession:
2755Immediate sentence then, and sequent death,
Is all the grace I beg.
Duk. Come hither Mariana,
Say: was't thou ere contracted to this woman?
Ang. I was my Lord.
2760Duk. Goe take her hence, and marry her instantly.
Doe you the office ( Fryer) which consummate,
Returne him here againe: goe with him Prouost.
Esc. My Lord, I am more amaz'd at his dishonor,
Then at the strangenesse of it.
2765Duk. Come hither Isabell,
Your Frier is now your Prince: As I was then
Aduertysing, and holy to your businesse,
(Not changing heart with habit) I am still,
Atturnied at your seruice.
2770Isab. Oh giue me pardon
That I, your vassaile, haue imploid, and pain'd
Your vnknowne Soueraigntie.
Duk. You are pardon'd Isabell:
And now, deere Maide, be you as free to vs.
2775Your Brothers death I know sits at your heart:
And you may maruaile, why I obscur'd my selfe,
Labouring to saue his life: and would not rather
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden powre,
Then let him so be lost: oh most kinde Maid,
2780It was the swift celeritie of his death,
Which I did thinke, with slower foot came on,
That brain'd my purpose: but peace be with him,
That life is better life past fearing death,
Then that which liues to feare: make it your comfort,
2785So happy is your Brother.
Enter Angelo, Maria, Peter, Prouost.
Isab. I doe my Lord.
Duk. For this new-maried man, approaching here,
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd
2790Your well defended honor: you must pardon
For Mariana's sake: But as he adiudg'd your Brother,
Being criminall, in double violation
Of sacred Chastitie, and of promise-breach,
Thereon dependant for your Brothers life,
2795The very mercy of the Law cries out
Most audible, euen from his proper tongue.
An Angelo for Claudio, death for death :
Haste still paies haste, and leasure, answers leasure;
Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure:
2800Then Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested;
Which though thou would'st deny, denies thee vantage.
We doe condemne thee to the very Blocke
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste.
Away with him.
2805Mar. Oh my most gracious Lord,
I hope you will not mocke me with a husband?
Duk. It is your husband mock't you with a husband,
Consenting to the safe-guard of your honor,
I thought your marriage fit: else Imputation,
2810For that he knew you, might reproach your life,
And choake your good to come: For his Possessions,
Although by confutation they are ours;
We doe en-state, and widow you with all,
To buy you a better husband.
2815Mar. Oh my deere Lord,
I craue no other, nor no better man.
Duke. Neuer craue him, we are definitiue.
Mar. Gentle my Liege.
Duke. You doe but loose your labour.
2820Away with him to death: Now Sir, to you.
Mar. Oh my good Lord, sweet Isabell, take my part,
Lend me your knees, and all my life to come,
I'll lend you all my life to doe you seruice.
Duke. Against all sence you doe importune her,
2825Should she kneele downe, in mercie of this fact,
Her Brothers ghost, his paued bed would breake,
And take her hence in horror.
Mar. Isabell:
Sweet Isabel, doe yet but kneele by me,
2830Hold vp your hands, say nothing: I'll speake all.
They say best men are moulded out of faults,
And for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad: So may my husband.
Oh Isabel: will you not lend a knee?
2835Duke. He dies for Claudio's death.
Isab. Most bounteous Sir.
Looke if it please you, on this man condemn'd,
As if my Brother liu'd: I partly thinke,
A due sinceritie gouerned his deedes,
2840Till he did looke on me: Since it is so,
Let him not die: my Brother had but Iustice,
In that he did the thing for which he dide.
For Angelo, his Act did not ore-take his bad intent,
And must be buried but as an intent
2845That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subiects
Intents, but meerely thoughts.
Mar. Meerely my Lord.
Duk. Your suite's vnprofitable: stand vp I say:
I haue bethought me of another fault.
2850Prouost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
At an vnusuall howre?
Pro. It was commanded so.
Duke. Had you a speciall warrant for the deed?
Pro. No my good Lord: it was by priuate message.
2855Duk. For which I doe discharge you of your office,
Giue vp your keyes.
Pro. Pardon me, noble Lord,
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not,
Yet did repent me after more aduice,
2860For testimony whereof, one in the prison
That should by priuate order else haue dide,
I haue reseru'd aliue.
Duk. What's he?
Pro. His name is Barnardine.
2865Duke. I would thou hadst done so by Claudio:
Goe fetch him hither, let me looke vpon him.
Esc. I am sorry, one so learned, and so wise
As you, Lord Angelo, haue stil appear'd,
Should slip so grosselie, both in the heat of bloud
2870And lacke of temper'd iudgement afterward.
Ang. I am sorrie, that such sorrow I procure,
And so deepe sticks it in my penitent heart,
That I craue death more willingly then mercy,
'Tis my deseruing, and I doe entreat it.
Enter Barnardine and Prouost, Claudio, Iulietta.
Duke. Which is that Barnardine?
Pro. This my Lord.
Duke. There was a Friar told me of this man.
Sirha, thou art said to haue a stubborne soule
2880That apprehends no further then this world,
And squar'st thy life according: Thou'rt condemn'd,
But for those earthly faults, I quit them all,
And pray thee take this mercie to prouide
For better times to come: Frier aduise him,
2885I leaue him to your hand. What muffeld fellow's that?
Pro. This is another prisoner that I sau'd,
Who should haue di'd when Claudio lost his head,
As like almost to Claudio, as himselfe.
Duke. If he be like your brother, for his sake
2890Is he pardon'd, and for your louelie sake
Giue me your hand, and say you will be mine,
He is my brother too: But fitter time for that:
By this Lord Angelo perceiues he's safe,
Methinkes I see a quickning in his eye:
2895Well Angelo, your euill quits you well.
Looke that you loue your wife: her worth, worth yours
I finde an apt remission in my selfe:
And yet heere's one in place I cannot pardon,
You sirha, that knew me for a foole, a Coward,
2900One all of Luxurie, an asse, a mad man:
Wherein haue I so deseru'd of you
That you extoll me thus?
Luc. 'Faith my Lord, I spoke it but according to the
trick: if you will hang me for it you may: but I had ra-
2905ther it would please you, I might be whipt.
Duke. Whipt first, sir, and hang'd after.
Proclaime it Prouost round about the Citie,
If any woman wrong'd by this lewd fellow
(As I haue heard him sweare himselfe there's one
2910whom he begot with childe) let her appeare,
And he shall marry her: the nuptiall finish'd,
Let him be whipt and hang'd.
Luc. I beseech your Highnesse doe not marry me to
a Whore: your Highnesse said euen now I made you a
2915Duke, good my Lord do not recompence me, in making
me a Cuckold.
Duke. Vpon mine honor thou shalt marrie her.
Thy slanders I forgiue, and therewithall
Remit thy other forfeits: take him to prison,
2920And see our pleasure herein executed.
Luc. Marrying a punke my Lord, is pressing to death,
Whipping and hanging.
Duke. Slandering a Prince deserues it.
She Claudio that you wrong'd, looke you restore.
2925Ioy to you Mariana, loue her Angelo:
I haue confes'd her, and I know her vertue.
Thanks good friend, Escalus, for thy much goodnesse,
There's more behinde that is more gratulate.
Thanks Prouost for thy care, and secrecie,
2930We shall imploy thee in a worthier place.
Forgiue him Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's,
Th' offence pardons it selfe. Deere Isabell,
I haue a motion much imports your good,
2935Whereto if you'll a willing eare incline;
What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.
So bring vs to our Pallace, where wee'll show
What's yet behinde, that meete you all should know.