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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    Not Peer Reviewed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)

    Enter Elbow, Clowne, Officers.
    Elb. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you
    will needes buy and sell men and women like beasts, we
    shall haue all the world drinke browne & white bastard.
    Duk. Oh heauens, what stuffe is heere.
    1495Clow. Twas neuer merry world since of two vsuries
    the merriest was put downe, and the worser allow'd by
    order of Law; a fur'd gowne to keepe him warme; and
    furd with Foxe and Lamb-skins too, to signifie, that craft
    being richer then Innocency, stands for the facing.
    1500Elb. Come your way sir : 'blesse you good Father
    Duk. And you good Brother Father; what offence
    hath this man made you, Sir?
    Elb. Marry Sir, he hath offended the Law; and Sir,
    1505we take him to be a Theefe too Sir: for wee haue found
    vpon him Sir, a strange Pick-lock, which we haue sent
    to the Deputie.
    Duke. Fie, sirrah, a Bawd, a wicked bawd,
    The euill that thou causest to be done,
    1510That is thy meanes to liue. Do thou but thinke
    What 'tis to cram a maw, or cloath a backe
    From such a filthie vice: say to thy selfe,
    From their abhominable and beastly touches
    I drinke, I eate away my selfe, and liue:
    1515Canst thou beleeue thy liuing is a life,
    So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.
    Clo. Indeed, it do's stinke in some sort, Sir:
    But yet Sir I would proue.
    Duke. Nay, if the diuell haue giuen thee proofs for sin
    1520Thou wilt proue his. Take him to prison Officer:
    Correction, and Instruction must both worke
    Ere this rude beast will profit.
    Elb. He must before the Deputy Sir, he ha's giuen
    him warning: the Deputy cannot abide a Whore-ma-
    1525ster: if he be a Whore-monger, and comes before him,
    he were as good go a mile on his errand.
    Duke. That we were all, as some would seeme to bee
    From our faults, as faults from seeming free.
    Enter Lucio.
    1530Elb. His necke will come to your wast, a Cord sir.
    Clo. I spy comfort, I cry baile: Here's a Gentleman,
    and a friend of mine.
    Luc. How now noble Pompey? What, at the wheels
    of Casar? Art thou led in triumph? What is there none
    1535of Pigmalions Images newly made woman to bee had
    now, for putting the hand in the pocket, and extracting
    clutch'd? What reply? Ha? What saist thou to this
    Tune, Matter, and Method? Is't not drown'd i'th last
    raine? Ha? What saist thou Trot? Is the world as it was
    1540Man? Which is the vvay? Is it sad, and few words?
    Or how? The tricke of it?
    Duke. Still thus, and thus: still vvorse?
    Luc. How doth my deere Morsell, thy Mistris? Pro-
    cures she still? Ha?
    1545Clo. Troth sir, shee hath eaten vp all her beefe, and
    she is her selfe in the tub.
    Luc. Why 'tis good: It is the right of it: it must be
    so. Euer your fresh Whore, and your pouder'd Baud, an
    vnshun'd consequence, it must be so. Art going to pri-
    1550son Pompey?
    Clo. Yes faith sir.
    Luc. Why 'tis not amisse Pompey: farewell: goe say
    I sent thee thether: for debt Pompey? Or how?
    Elb. For being a baud, for being a baud.
    1555Luc. Well, then imprison him: If imprisonment be
    the due of a baud, why 'tis his right. Baud is he doubt-
    lesse, and of antiquity too: Baud borne. Farwell good
    Pompey: Commend me to the prison Pompey, you will
    turne good husband now Pompey, you vvill keepe the
    Clo. I hope Sir, your good Worship wil be my baile?
    Luc. No indeed vvil I not Pompey, it is not the wear:
    I will pray ( Pompey) to encrease your bondage if you
    take it not patiently: Why, your mettle is the more:
    1565Adieu trustie Pompey.
    Blesse you Friar.
    Duke. And you.
    Luc. Do's Bridget paint still, Pompey? Ha?
    Elb. Come your waies sir, come.
    1570Clo. You will not baile me then Sir?
    Luc. Then Pompey, nor now: what newes abroad Fri-
    er? What newes?
    Elb. Come your waies sir, come.
    Luc. Goe to kennell ( Pompey) goe:
    1575What newes Frier of the Duke?
    Duke. I know none: can you tell me of any?
    Luc. Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia: other
    some, he is in Rome: but where is he thinke you?
    Duke. I know not where: but wheresoeuer, I wish
    1580him well.
    Luc. It was a mad fantasticall tricke of him to steale
    from the State, and vsurpe the beggerie hee was neuer
    borne to: Lord Angelo Dukes it well in his absence: he
    puts transgression too't.
    1585Duke. He do's well in't.
    Luc. A little more lenitie to Lecherie would doe no
    harme in him: Something too crabbed that way, Frier.
    Duk. It is too general a vice, and seueritie must cure it.
    Luc. Yes in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred;
    1590it is vvell allied, but it is impossible to extirpe it quite,
    Frier, till eating and drinking be put downe. They say
    this Angelo vvas not made by Man and Woman, after
    this downe-right vvay of Creation: is it true, thinke
    1595Duke. How should he be made then?
    Luc. Some report, a Sea-maid spawn'd him. Some,
    that he vvas begot betweene two Stock-fishes. But it
    is certaine, that when he makes water, his Vrine is con-
    geal'd ice, that I know to bee true: and he is a motion
    1600generatiue, that's infallible.
    Duke. You are pleasant sir, and speake apace.
    Luc. Why, what a ruthlesse thing is this in him, for
    the rebellion of a Cod-peece, to take away the life of a
    man? Would the Duke that is absent haue done this?
    1605Ere he vvould haue hang'd a man for the getting a hun-
    dred Bastards, he vvould haue paide for the Nursing a
    thousand. He had some feeling of the sport, hee knew
    the seruice, and that instructed him to mercie.
    Duke. I neuer heard the absent Duke much detected
    1610for Women, he was not enclin'd that vvay.
    Luc. Oh Sir, you are deceiu'd.
    Duke. 'Tis not possible.
    Luc. Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty:
    and his vse was, to put a ducket in her Clack-dish; the
    1615Duke had Crochets in him. Hee would be drunke too,
    that let me informe you.
    Duke. You do him wrong, surely.
    Luc. Sir, I vvas an inward of his: a shie fellow vvas
    the Duke, and I beleeue I know the cause of his vvith-
    Duke. What (I prethee) might be the cause?
    Luc. No, pardon: 'Tis a secret must bee lockt with-
    in the teeth and the lippes: but this I can let you vnder-
    stand, the greater file of the subiect held the Duke to be
    Duke. Wise? Why no question but he was.
    Luc. A very superficiall, ignorant, vnweighing fellow
    Duke. Either this is Enuie in you, Folly, or mista-
    king: The very streame of his life, and the businesse he
    1630hath helmed, must vppon a warranted neede, giue him
    a better proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in
    his owne bringings forth, and hee shall appeare to the
    enuious, a Scholler, a Statesman, and a Soldier: there-
    fore you speake vnskilfully: or, if your knowledge bee
    1635more, it is much darkned in your malice.
    Luc. Sir, I know him, and I loue him.
    Duke. Loue talkes with better knowledge, & know-
    ledge with deare loue.
    Luc. Come Sir, I know what I know.
    1640Duke. I can hardly beleeue that, since you know not
    what you speake. But if euer the Duke returne (as our
    praiers are he may) let mee desire you to make your an-
    swer before him: if it bee honest you haue spoke, you
    haue courage to maintaine it; I am bound to call vppon
    1645you, and I pray you your name?
    Luc. Sir my name is Lucio, wel known to the Duke.
    Duke. He shall know you better Sir, if I may liue to
    report you.
    Luc. I feare you not.
    1650Duke. O, you hope the Duke will returne no more:
    or you imagine me to vnhurtfull an opposite: but indeed
    I can doe you little harme: You'll for-sweare this a-
    Luc. Ile be hang'd first: Thou art deceiu'd in mee
    1655Friar. But no more of this: Canst thou tell if Claudio
    die to morrow, or no?
    Duke. Why should he die Sir?
    Luc. Why? For filling a bottle with a Tunne-dish:
    I would the Duke we talke of were return'd againe: this
    1660vngenitur'd Agent will vn-people the Prouince with
    Continencie. Sparrowes must not build in his house-
    eeues, because they are lecherous: The Duke yet would
    haue darke deeds darkelie answered, hee would neuer
    bring them to light: would hee were return'd. Marrie
    1665this Claudio is condemned for vntrussing. Farwell good
    Friar, I prethee pray for me: The Duke (I say to thee
    againe) would eate Mutton on Fridaies. He's now past
    it, yet (and I say to thee) hee would mouth with a beg-
    gar, though she smelt browne-bread and Garlicke: say
    1670that I said so: Farewell.
    Duke. No might, nor greatnesse in mortality
    Can censure scape: Back-wounding calumnie
    The whitest vertue strikes. What King so strong,
    Can tie the gall vp in the slanderous tong?
    1675But who comes heere?
    Enter Escalus, Prouost, and Bawd.
    Esc. Go, away with her to prison.
    Bawd. Good my Lord be good to mee, your Honor
    is accounted a mercifull man: good my Lord.
    1680Esc. Double, and trebble admonition, and still for-
    feite in the same kinde? This would make mercy sweare
    and play the Tirant.
    Pro. A Bawd of eleuen yeares continuance, may it
    please your Honor.
    1685Bawd. My Lord, this is one Lucio's information a-
    gainst me, Mistris Kate Keepe-downe was with childe by
    him in the Dukes time, he promis'd her marriage: his
    Childe is a yeere and a quarter olde come Philip and Ia-
    cob: I haue kept it my selfe; and see how hee goes about
    1690to abuse me.
    Esc. That fellow is a fellow of much License: Let
    him be call'd before vs, Away with her to prison: Goe
    too, no more words. Prouost, my Brother Angelo will
    not be alter'd, Claudio must die to morrow: Let him be
    1695furnish'd with Diuines, and haue all charitable prepara-
    tion. If my brother wrought by my pitie, it should not
    be so with him.
    Pro. So please you, this Friar hath beene with him,
    and aduis'd him for th' entertainment of death.
    1700Esc. Good' euen, good Father.
    Duke. Blisse, and goodnesse on you.
    Esc. Of whence are you?
    Duke. Not of this Countrie, though my chance is now
    To vse it for my time: I am a brother
    1705Of gracious Order, late come from the Sea,
    In speciall businesse from his Holinesse.
    Esc. What newes abroad i'th World?
    Duke. None, but that there is so great a Feauor on
    goodnesse, that the dissolution of it must cure it. No-
    1710ueltie is onely in request, and as it is as dangerous to be
    aged in any kinde of course, as it is vertuous to be con-
    stant in any vndertaking. There is scarse truth enough
    aliue to make Societies secure, but Securitie enough to
    make Fellowships accurst: Much vpon this riddle runs
    1715the wisedome of the world: This newes is old enough,
    yet it is euerie daies newes. I pray you Sir, of what dis-
    position was the Duke?
    Esc. One, that aboue all other strifes,
    Contended especially to know himselfe.
    1720Duke. What pleasure was he giuen to?
    Esc. Rather reioycing to see another merry, then
    merrie at anie thing which profest to make him reioice.
    A Gentleman of all temperance. But leaue wee him to
    his euents, with a praier they may proue prosperous, &
    1725let me desire to know, how you finde Claudio prepar'd?
    I am made to vnderstand, that you haue lent him visita-
    Duke. He professes to haue receiued no sinister mea-
    sure from his Iudge, but most willingly humbles him-
    1730selfe to the determination of Iustice: yet had he framed
    to himselfe (by the instruction of his frailty) manie de-
    ceyuing promises of life, which I (by my good leisure)
    haue discredited to him, and now is he resolu'd to die.
    Esc. You haue paid the heauens your Function, and
    1735the prisoner the verie debt of your Calling. I haue la-
    bour'd for the poore Gentleman, to the extremest shore
    of my modestie, but my brother-Iustice haue I found so
    seuere, that he hath forc'd me to tell him, hee is indeede
    1740Duke. If his owne life,
    Answere the straitnesse of his proceeding,
    It shall become him well: wherein if he chance to faile
    he hath sentenc'd himselfe.
    Esc I am going to visit the prisoner, Fare you well.
    1745Duke. Peace be with you.
    He who the sword of Heauen will beare,
    Should be as holy, as seueare:
    Patterne in himselfe to know,
    Grace to stand, and Vertue go:
    1750More, nor lesse to others paying,
    Then by selfe-offences weighing.
    Shame to him, whose cruell striking,
    Kils for faults of his owne liking:
    Twice trebble shame on Angelo,
    1755To vveede my vice, and let his grow.
    Oh, what may Man within him hide,
    Though Angel on the outward side?
    How may likenesse made in crimes,
    Making practise on the Times,
    1760To draw with ydle Spiders strings
    Most ponderous and substantiall things?
    Craft against vice, I must applie.
    With Angelo to night shall lye
    His old betroathed (but despised:)
    1765So disguise shall by th' disguised
    Pay with falshood, false exacting,
    And performe an olde contracting.