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  • Title: Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)
  • Editor: Kristin Lucas

  • Copyright Kristin Lucas. This text may be freely used for educational, non-profit purposes; for all other uses contact the Editor.
    Author: William Shakespeare
    Editor: Kristin Lucas
    Not Peer Reviewed

    Measure for Measure (Folio, 1623)

    For Measure.

    Actus primus, Scena prima.

    Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords.

    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 tonch'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-
    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.