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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Scena Quarta.
    Enter Duke and Frier Thomas.
    290Duk. No: holy Father, throw away that thought,
    Beleeue not that the dribling dart of Loue
    Can pierce a compleat bosome: why, I desire thee
    To giue me secret harbour, hath a purpose
    More graue, and wrinkled, then the aimes, and ends
    295Of burning youth.
    Fri. May your Grace speake of it?
    Duk. My holy Sir, none better knowes then you
    How I haue euer lou'd the life remoued
    And held in idle price, to haunt assemblies
    300Where youth, and cost, witlesse brauery keepes.
    I haue deliuerd to Lord Angelo
    (A man of stricture and firme abstinence)
    My absolute power, and place here in Vienna,
    And he supposes me trauaild to Poland,
    305(For so I haue strewd it in the common eare)
    And so it is receiu'd: Now (pious Sir)
    You will demand of me, why I do this.
    Fri. Gladly, my Lord.
    Duk. We haue strict Statutes, and most biting Laws,
    310(The needfull bits and curbes to headstrong weedes,)
    Which for this foureteene yeares, we haue let slip,
    Euen like an ore-growne Lyon in a Caue
    That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond Fathers,
    Hauing bound vp the threatning twigs of birch,
    315Onely to sticke it in their childrens sight,
    For terror, not to vse: in time the rod
    More mock'd, then fear'd: so our Decrees,
    Dead to infliction, to themselues are dead,
    And libertie, plucks Iustice by the nose;
    320The Baby beates the Nurse, and quite athwart
    Goes all decorum.
    Fri. It rested in your Grace
    To vnloose this tyde-vp Iustice, when you pleas'd:
    And it in you more dreadfull would haue seem'd
    325Then in Lord Angelo.
    Duk. I doe feare: too dreadfull:
    Sith 'twas my fault, to giue the people scope,
    'Twould be my tirrany to strike and gall them,
    For what I bid them doe: For, we bid this be done
    330When euill deedes haue their permissiue passe,
    And not the punishment: therefore indeede (my father)
    I haue on Angelo impos'd the office,
    Who may in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
    And yet, my nature neuer in the sight
    335To do in slander: And to behold his sway
    I will, as 'twere a brother of your Order,
    Visit both Prince, and People: Therefore I pre'thee
    Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
    How I may formally in person beare
    340Like a true Frier: Moe reasons for this action
    At our more leysure, shall I render you;
    Onely, this one: Lord Angelo is precise,
    Stands at a guard with Enuie: scarce confesses
    That his blood flowes: or that his appetite
    345Is more to bread then stone: hence shall we see
    If power change purpose: what our Seemers be.