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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Abh. I Sir, a Misterie.
    Clo. Painting Sir, I haue heard say, is a Misterie; and
    1890your Whores sir, being members of my occupation, v-
    sing painting, do proue my Occupation, a Misterie: but
    what Misterie there should be in hanging, if I should
    be hang'd, I cannot imagine.
    Abh. Sir, it is a Misterie.
    1895Clo. Proofe.
    Abh. Euerie true mans apparrell fits your Theefe.
    Clo. If it be too little for your theefe, your true man
    thinkes it bigge enough. If it bee too bigge for your
    Theefe, your Theefe thinkes it little enough: So euerie
    1900true mans apparrell fits your Theefe.
    Enter Prouost.
    Pro. Are you agreed?
    Clo. Sir, I will serue him: For I do finde your Hang-
    man is a more penitent Trade then your Bawd: he doth
    1905oftner aske forgiuenesse.
    Pro. You sirrah, prouide your blocke and your Axe
    to morrow, foure a clocke.
    Abh. Come on (Bawd) I will instruct thee in my
    Trade: follow.
    1910Clo. I do desire to learne sir: and I hope, if you haue
    occasion to vse me for your owne turne, you shall finde
    me y'are. For truly sir, for your kindnesse, I owe you a
    good turne.
    Pro. Call hether Barnardine and Claudio:
    1915Th' one has my pitie; not a iot the other,
    Being a Murtherer, though he were my brother.
    Enter Claudio.
    Looke, here's the Warrant Claudio, for thy death,
    'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to morrow
    1920Thou must be made immortall. Where's Barnardine?
    Cla. As fast lock'd vp in sleepe, as guiltlesse labour,
    When it lies starkely in the Trauellers bones,
    He will not wake.
    Pro. Who can do good on him?
    1925Well, go, prepare your selfe. But harke, what noise?
    Heauen giue your spirits comfort: by, and by,
    I hope it is some pardon, or repreeue
    For the most gentle Claudio. Welcome Father.

    Enter Duke.
    1930Duke. The best, and wholsomst spirits of the night,
    Inuellop you, good Prouost: who call'd heere of late?
    Pro. None since the Curphew rung.
    Duke. Not Isabell?
    Pro. No.
    1935Duke. They will then er't be long.
    Pro. What comfort is for Claudio?
    Duke. There's some in hope.
    Pro. It is a bitter Deputie.
    Duke. Not so, not so: his life is paralel'd
    1940Euen with the stroke and line of his great Iustice:
    He doth with holie abstinence subdue
    That in himselfe, which he spurres on his powre
    To qualifie in others: were he meal'd with that
    Which he corrects, then were he tirrannous,
    1945But this being so, he's iust. Now are they come.
    This is a gentle Prouost, sildome when
    The steeled Gaoler is the friend of men:
    How now? what noise? That spirit's possest with hast,
    That wounds th' vnsisting Posterne with these strokes.
    1950Pro. There he must stay vntil the Officer
    Arise to let him in: he is call'd vp.
    Duke. Haue you no countermand for Claudio yet?
    But he must die to morrow?
    Pro. None Sir, none.
    1955Duke. As neere the dawning Prouost, as it is,
    You shall heare more ere Morning.
    Pro. Happely
    You something know: yet I beleeue there comes
    No countermand: no such example haue we:
    1960Besides, vpon the verie siege of Iustice,
    Lord Angelo hath to the publike eare
    Profest the contrarie.
    Enter a Messenger.
    Duke. This is his Lords man.
    1965Pro. And heere comes Claudio's pardon.
    Mess. My Lord hath sent you this note,
    And by mee this further charge;
    That you swerue not from the smallest Article of it,
    Neither in time, matter, or other circumstance.
    1970Good morrow: for as I take it, it is almost day.
    Pro. I shall obey him.
    Duke. This is his Pardon purchas'd by such sin,
    For which the Pardoner himselfe is in:
    Hence hath offence his quicke celeritie,
    1975When it is borne in high Authority.
    When Vice makes Mercie; Mercie's so extended,
    That for the faults loue, is th' offender friended.
    Now Sir, what newes?
    Pro. I told you:
    1980Lord Angelo (be-like) thinking me remisse
    In mine Office, awakens mee
    With this vnwonted putting on, methinks strangely:
    For he hath not vs'd it before.
    Duk. Pray you let's heare.
    The Letter.
    Whatsoeuer you may heare to the contrary, let Claudio be ex-
    ecuted by foure of the clocke, and in the afternoone Bernar-
    dine: For my better satisfaction, let mee haue Claudios
    head sent me by fiue. Let this be duely performed with a
    1990 thought that more depends on it, then we must yet deliuer.
    Thus faile not to doe your Office, as you will answere it at
    your perill.
    What say you to this Sir?
    Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be execu-
    1995ted in th' afternoone?
    Pro. A Bohemian borne: But here nurst vp & bred,
    One that is a prisoner nine yeeres old.
    Duke. How came it, that the absent Duke had not
    either deliuer'd him to his libertie, or executed him? I
    2000haue heard it was euer his manner to do so.
    Pro. His friends still wrought Repreeues for him:
    And indeed his fact till now in the gouernment of Lord
    Angelo, came not to an vndoubtfull proofe.
    Duke. It is now apparant?
    2005Pro. Most manifest, and not denied by himselfe.
    Duke. Hath he borne himselfe penitently in prison?
    How seemes he to be touch'd?
    Pro. A man that apprehends death no more dread-
    fully, but as a drunken sleepe, carelesse, wreaklesse, and
    2010fearelesse of what's past, present, or to come: insensible
    of mortality, and desperately mortall.
    Duke. He wants aduice.
    Pro. He wil heare none: he hath euermore had the li-
    berty of the prison: giue him leaue to escape hence, hee
    2015would not. Drunke many times a day, if not many daies
    entirely drunke. We haue verie oft awak'd him, as if to
    carrie him to execution, and shew'd him a seeming war-
    rant for it, it hath not moued him at all.