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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.

    Scena Quinta.

    Enter Isabell and Francisca a Nun.

    Isa. And haue you Nuns no farther priuiledges?
    350Nun. Are not these large enough?
    Isa. Yes truely; I speake not as desiring more,
    But rather wishing a more strict restraint
    Vpon the Sisterhood, the Votarists of Saint Clare.
    Lucio within.
    355Luc. Hoa? peace be in this place.
    Isa. Who's that which cals?
    Nun. It is a mans voice: gentle Isabella
    Turne you the key, and know his businesse of him;
    You may; I may not: you are yet vnsworne:
    360When you haue vowd, you must not speake with men,
    But in the presence of the Prioresse;
    Then if you speake, you must not show your face;
    Or if you show your face, you must not speake:
    He cals againe: I pray you answere him.
    365Isa. Peace and prosperitie: who is't that cals?
    Luc. Haile Virgin, (if you be) as those cheeke-Roses
    Proclaime you are no lesse: can you so steed me,
    As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
    A Nouice of this place, and the faire Sister
    370To her vnhappie brother Claudio?
    Isa. Why her vnhappy Brother? Let me aske,
    The rather for I now must make you know
    I am that Isabella, and his Sister.
    Luc. Gentle & faire: your Brother kindly greets you;
    375Not to be weary with you; he's in prison.
    Isa. Woe me; for what?
    Luc. For that, which if my selfe might be his Iudge,
    He should receiue his punishment, in thankes:
    He hath got his friend with childe.
    380Isa. Sir, make me not your storie.
    Luc. 'Tis true; I would not, though 'tis my familiar sin,
    With Maids to seeme the Lapwing, and to iest
    Tongue, far from heart: play with all Virgins so:
    I hold you as a thing en-skied, and sainted,
    385By your renouncement, an imortall spirit
    And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
    As with a Saint.
    Isa. You doe blaspheme the good, in mocking me.
    Luc. Doe not beleeue it: fewnes, and truth; tis thus,
    390Your brother, and his louer haue embrac'd;
    As those that feed, grow full: as blossoming Time
    That from the seednes, the bare fallow brings
    To teeming foyson: euen so her plenteous wombe
    Expresseth his full Tilth, and husbandry.
    395Isa. Some one with childe by him? my cosen Iuliet?
    Luc. Is she your cosen?
    Isa. Adoptedly, as schoole-maids change their names
    By vaine, though apt affection.
    Luc. She it is.
    400Isa. Oh, let him marry her.
    Luc. This is the point.
    The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
    Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one)
    In hand, and hope of action: but we doe learne,
    405By those that know the very Nerues of State,
    His giuing-out, were of an infinite distance
    From his true meant designe: vpon his place,
    (And with full line of his authority)
    Gouernes Lord Angelo; A man, whose blood
    410Is very snow-broth: one, who neuer feeles
    The wanton stings, and motions of the sence;
    But doth rebate, and blunt his naturall edge
    With profits of the minde: Studie, and fast
    He (to giue feare to vse, and libertie,
    415Which haue, for long, run-by the hideous law,
    As Myce, by Lyons) hath pickt out an act,
    Vnder whose heauy sence, your brothers life
    Fals into forfeit : he arrests him on it,
    And followes close the rigor of the Statute
    420To make him an example: all hope is gone,
    Vnlesse you haue the grace, by your faire praier
    To soften Angelo: And that's my pith of businesse
    'Twixt you, and your poore brother.
    Isa. Doth he so,
    425Seeke his life?
    Luc. Has censur'd him already,
    And as I heare, the Prouost hath a warrant
    For's execution.
    Isa. Alas: what poore
    430Abilitie's in me, to doe him good.
    Luc. Assay the powre you haue.
    Isa. My power? alas, I doubt.
    Luc. Our doubts are traitors
    And makes vs loose the good we oft might win,
    435By fearing to attempt: Goe to Lord Angelo
    And let him learne to know, when Maidens sue
    Men giue like gods: but when they weepe and kneele,
    All their petitions, are as freely theirs
    As they themselues would owe them.
    440Isa. Ile see what I can doe.
    Luc. But speedily.
    Isa. I will about it strait;
    No longer staying, but to giue the Mother
    Notice of my affaire: I humbly thanke you:
    445Commend me to my brother: soone at night
    Ile send him certaine word of my successe.
    Luc. I take my leaue of you.
    Isa. Good sir, adieu.

    Actus Secundus. Scoena Prima.

    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)