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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Measure for Measure.
    1240Thou hast neither heate, affection, limbe, nor beautie
    To make thy riches pleasant: what's yet in this
    That beares the name of life? Yet in this life
    Lie hid moe thousand deaths; yet death we feare
    That makes these oddes, all euen.
    1245Cla. I humblie thanke you.
    To sue to liue, I finde I seeke to die,
    And seeking death, finde life: Let it come on.
    Enter Isabella.
    Isab. What hoa? Peace heere; Grace, and good com-
    Pro. Who's there? Come in, the wish deserues a
    Duke. Deere sir, ere long Ile visit you againe.
    Cla. Most holie Sir, I thanke you.
    1255Isa. My businesse is a word or two with Claudio.
    Pro. And verie welcom: looke Signior, here's your
    Duke. Prouost, a word with you.
    Pro. As manie as you please.
    1260Duke. Bring them to heare me speak, where I may be
    Cla. Now sister, what's the comfort?
    Isa. Why,
    As all comforts are: most good, most good indeede,
    1265Lord Angelo hauing affaires to heauen
    Intends you for his swift Ambassador,
    Where you shall be an euerlasting Leiger;
    Therefore your best appointment make with speed,
    To Morrow you set on.
    1270Clau. Is there no remedie?
    Isa. None, but such remedie, as to saue a head
    To cleaue a heart in twaine:
    Clau. But is there anie?
    Isa. Yes brother, you may liue;
    1275There is a diuellish mercie in the Iudge,
    If you'l implore it, that will free your life,
    But fetter you till death.
    Cla. Perpetuall durance?
    Isa. I iust, perpetuall durance, a restraint
    1280Through all the worlds vastiditie you had
    To a determin'd scope.
    Clau. But in what nature?
    Isa. In such a one, as you consenting too't,
    Would barke your honor from that trunke you beare,
    1285And leaue you naked.
    Clau. Let me know the point.
    Isa. Oh, I do feare thee Claudio, and I quake,
    Least thou a feauorous life shouldst entertaine,
    And six or seuen winters more respect
    1290Then a perpetuall Honor. Dar'st thou die?
    The sence of death is most in apprehension,
    And the poore Beetle that we treade vpon
    In corporall sufferance, finds a pang as great,
    As when a Giant dies.
    1295Cla. Why giue you me this shame?
    Thinke you I can a resolution fetch
    From flowrie tendernesse? If I must die,
    I will encounter darknesse as a bride,
    And hugge it in mine armes.
    1300Isa. There spake my brother: there my fathers graue
    Did vtter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
    Thou art too noble, to conserue a life
    In base appliances. This outward sainted Deputie,
    Whose setled visage, and deliberate word
    1305Nips youth i'th head, and follies doth emmew
    As Falcon doth the Fowle, is yet a diuell:
    His filth within being cast, he would appeare
    A pond, as deepe as hell.
    Cla. The prenzie, Angelo?
    1310Isa. Oh 'tis the cunning Liuerie of hell,
    The damnest bodie to inuest, and couer
    In prenzie gardes; dost thou thinke Claudio,
    If I would yeeld him my virginitie
    Thou might'st be freed?
    1315Cla. Oh heauens, it cannot be.
    Isa. Yes, he would giu't thee; from this rank offence
    So to offend him still. This night's the time
    That I should do what I abhorre to name,
    Or else thou diest to morrow.
    1320Clau. Thou shalt not do't.
    Isa. O, were it but my life,
    I'de throw it downe for your deliuerance
    As frankely as a pin.
    Clau. Thankes deere Isabell.
    1325Isa. Be readie Claudio, for your death to morrow.
    Clau. Yes. Has he affections in him,
    That thus can make him bite the Law by th' nose,
    When he would force it? Sure it is no sinne,
    Or of the deadly seuen it is the least.
    1330Isa. Which is the least?
    Cla. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
    Why would he for the momentarie tricke
    Be perdurablie fin'de? Oh Isabell.
    Isa. What saies my brother?
    1335Cla. Death is a fearefull thing.
    Isa. And shamed life, a hatefull.
    Cla. I, but to die, and go we know not where,
    To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot,
    This sensible warme motion, to become
    1340A kneaded clod; And the delighted spirit
    To bath in fierie floods, or to recide
    In thrilling Region of thicke-ribbed Ice,
    To be imprison'd in the viewlesse windes
    And blowne with restlesse violence round about
    1345The pendant world: or to be worse then worst
    Of those, that lawlesse and incertaine thought,
    Imagine howling, 'tis too horrible.
    The weariest, and most loathed worldly life
    That Age, Ache, periury, and imprisonment
    1350Can lay on nature, is a Paradise
    To what we feare of death.
    Isa. Alas, alas.
    Cla. Sweet Sister, let me liue.
    What sinne you do, to saue a brothers life,
    1355Nature dispenses with the deede so farre,
    That it becomes a vertue.
    Isa. Oh you beast,
    Oh faithlesse Coward, oh dishonest wretch,
    Wilt thou be made a man, out of my vice?
    1360Is't not a kinde of Incest, to take life
    From thine owne sisters shame? What should I thinke,
    Heauen shield my Mother plaid my Father faire:
    For such a warped slip of wildernesse
    Nere issu'd from his blood. Take my defiance,
    1365Die, perish: Might but my bending downe
    Repreeue thee from thy fate, it should proceede.
    Ile pray a thousand praiers for thy death,
    No word to saue thee.
    Cla. Nay heare me Isabell.
    1370Isa. Oh fie, fie, fie:
    Thy sinn's not accidentall, but a Trade;