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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    Not Peer Reviewed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.
    Duk. 'Tis meet so (daughter) but least you do repent
    As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,
    Which sorrow is alwaies toward our selues, not heauen,
    Showing we would not spare heauen, as we loue it,
    990But as we stand in feare.
    Iul. I doe repent me, as it is an euill,
    And take the shame with ioy.
    Duke. There rest:
    Your partner (as I heare) must die to morrow,
    995And I am going with instruction to him:
    Grace goe with you, Benedicite.
    Iul. Must die to morrow? oh iniurious Loue
    That respits me a life, whose very comfort
    Is still a dying horror.
    1000Pro. 'Tis pitty of him.

    Scena Quarta.

    Enter Angelo.
    An. When I would pray, & think, I thinke, and pray
    To seuerall subiects: heauen hath my empty words,
    1005Whilst my Inuention, hearing not my Tongue,
    Anchors on Isabell: heauen in my mouth,
    As if I did but onely chew his name,
    And in my heart the strong and swelling euill
    Of my conception: the state whereon I studied
    1010Is like a good thing, being often read
    Growne feard, and tedious: yea, my Grauitie
    Wherein (let no man heare me) I take pride,
    Could I, with boote, change for an idle plume
    Which the ayre beats for vaine: oh place, oh forme,
    1015How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit
    Wrench awe from fooles, and tye the wiser soules
    To thy false seeming? Blood, thou art blood,
    Let's write good Angell on the Deuills horne
    'Tis not the Deuills Crest: how now? who's there?
    Enter Seruant.
    Ser. One Isabell, a Sister, desires accesse to you.
    Ang. Teach her the way: oh, heauens
    Why doe's my bloud thus muster to my heart,
    Making both it vnable for it selfe,
    1025And dispossessing all my other parts
    Of necessary fitnesse?
    So play the foolish throngs with one that swounds,
    Come all to help him, and so stop the ayre
    By which hee should reuiue: and euen so
    1030The generall subiect to a wel-wisht King
    Quit their owne part, and in obsequious fondnesse
    Crowd to his presence, where their vn-taught loue
    Must needs appear offence: how now faire Maid.
    Enter Isabella.
    1035Isab. I am come to know your pleasure.
    An. That you might know it, wold much better please
    Then to demand what 'tis: your Brother cannot liue.
    Isab. Euen so: heauen keepe your Honor.
    Ang. Yet may he liue a while : and it may be
    1040As long as you, or I: yet he must die.
    Isab. Vnder your Sentence?
    Ang. Yea.
    Isab. When, I beseech you: that in his Reprieue
    (Longer, or shorter) he may be so fitted
    1045That his soule sicken not.
    Ang. Ha? fie, these filthy vices: It were as good
    To pardon him, that hath from nature stolne
    A man already made, as to remit
    Their sawcie sweetnes, that do coyne heauens Image
    1050In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easie,
    Falsely to take away a life true made,
    As to put mettle in restrained meanes
    To make a false one.
    Isab. 'Tis set downe so in heauen, but not in earth.
    1055Ang. Say you so: then I shall poze you quickly.
    Which had you rather, that the most iust Law
    Now tooke your brothers life, and to redeeme him
    Giue vp your body to such sweet vncleannesse
    As she that he hath staind?
    1060Isab. Sir, beleeue this.
    I had rather giue my body, then my soule.
    Ang. I talke not of your soule: our compel'd sins
    Stand more for number, then for accompt.
    Isab. How say you?
    1065Ang. Nay Ile not warrant that : for I can speake
    Against the thing I say: Answere to this,
    I (now the voyce of the recorded Law)
    Pronounce a sentence on your Brothers life,
    Might there not be a charitie in sinne,
    1070To saue this Brothers life?
    Isab. Please you to doo't,
    Ile take it as a perill to my soule,
    It is no sinne at all, but charitie.
    Ang. Pleas'd you to doo't, at perill of your soule
    1075Were equall poize of sinne, and charitie.
    Isab. That I do beg his life, if it be sinne
    Heauen let me beare it: you granting of my suit,
    If that be sin, Ile make it my Morne-praier,
    To haue it added to the faults of mine,
    1080And nothing of your answere.
    Ang. Nay, but heare me,
    Your sence pursues not mine: either you are ignorant,
    Or seeme so crafty; and that's not good.
    Isab. Let be ignorant, and in nothing good,
    1085But graciously to know I am no better.
    Ang. Thus wisdome wishes to appeare most bright,
    When it doth taxe it selfe: As these blacke Masques
    Proclaime an en-shield beauty ten times louder
    Then beauty could displaied: But marke me,
    1090To be receiued plaine, Ile speake more grosse:
    Your Brother is to dye.
    Isab. So.
    Ang. And his offence is so, as it appeares,
    Accountant to the Law, vpon that paine.
    1095Isab. True.
    Ang. Admit no other way to saue his life
    (As I subscribe not that, nor any other,
    But in the losse of question) that you, his Sister,
    Finding your selfe desir'd of such a person,
    1100Whose creadit with the Iudge, or owne great place,
    Could fetch your Brother from the Manacles
    Of the all-building-Law: and that there were
    No earthly meane to saue him, but that either
    You must lay downe the treasures of your body,
    1105To this supposed, or else to let him suffer:
    What would you doe?
    Isab. As much for my poore Brother, as my selfe;
    That is: were I vnder the tearmes of death,
    Th' impression of keene whips, I'ld weare as Rubies,
    1110And strip my selfe to death, as to a bed,
    That longing haue bin sicke for, ere I'ld yeeld
    My body vp to shame.
    Ang. That