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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    Not Peer Reviewed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 Secunda.
    Enter Prouost, Seruant.
    Ser. Hee's hearing of a Cause; he will come straight,
    I'le tell him of you.
    735Pro. 'Pray you doe; Ile know
    His pleasure, may be he will relent; alas
    He hath but as offended in a dreame,
    All Sects, all Ages smack of this vice, and he
    To die for't?
    740Enter Angelo.
    Ang. Now, what's the matter Prouost?
    Pro. Is it your will Claudio shall die to morrow?
    Ang. Did not I tell thee yea? hadst thou not order?
    Why do'st thou aske againe?
    745Pro. Lest I might be too rash:
    Vnder your good correction I haue seene
    When after execution, Iudgement hath
    Repented ore his doome.
    Ang. Goe to; let that be mine,
    750Doe you your office, or giue vp your Place,
    And you shall well be spar'd.
    Pro. I craue your Honours pardon:
    What shall be done Sir, with the groaning Iuliet?
    Shee's very neere her howre.
    755Ang. Dispose of her
    To some more fitter place; and that with speed.
    Ser. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd,
    Desires accesse to you.
    Ang. Hath he a Sister?
    760Pro. I my good Lord, a very vertuous maid,
    And to be shortlie of a Sister-hood,
    If not alreadie.
    Ang. Well: let her be admitted,
    See you the Fornicatresse be remou'd,
    765Let her haue needfull, but not lauish meanes,
    There shall be order for't.
    Enter Lucio and Isabella.
    Pro. 'Saue your Honour.
    Ang. Stay a little while: y'are welcome: what's your (will?
    770Isab. I am a wofull Sutor to your Honour,
    'Please but your Honor heare me.
    Ang. Well: what's your suite.
    Isab. There is a vice that most I doe abhorre,
    And most desire should meet the blow of Iustice;
    775For which I would not plead, but that I must,
    For which I must not plead, but that I am
    At warre, twixt will, and will not.
    Ang. Well: the matter?
    Isab. I haue a brother is condemn'd to die,
    780I doe beseech you let it be his fault,
    And not my brother.
    Pro. Heauen giue thee mouing graces.
    Ang. Condemne the fault, and not the actor of it,
    Why euery fault's condemnd ere it be done:
    785Mine were the verie Cipher of a Function
    To fine the faults, whose fine stands in record,
    And let goe by the Actor :
    Isab. Oh iust, but seuere Law:
    I had a brother then; heauen keepe your honour.
    790Luc. Giue't not ore so: to him againe, entreat him,
    Kneele downe before him, hang vpon his gowne,
    You are too cold: if you should need a pin,
    You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
    To him, I say.
    795Isab. Must he needs die?
    Ang. Maiden, no remedie.
    Isab. Yes: I doe thinke that you might pardon him,
    And neither heauen, nor man grieue at the mercy.
    Ang. I will not doe't.
    800Isab. But can you if you would?
    Ang. Looke what I will not, that I cannot doe.
    Isab. But might you doe't & do the world no wrong
    If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse,
    As mine is to him?
    805Ang. Hee's sentenc'd, tis too late.
    Luc. You are too cold.
    Isab. Too late? why no: I that doe speak a word
    May call it againe: well, beleeue this
    No ceremony that to great ones longs,
    810Not the Kings Crowne; nor the deputed sword,
    The Marshalls Truncheon, nor the Iudges Robe
    Become them with one halfe so good a grace
    As mercie does: If he had bin as you, and you as he,
    You would haue slipt like him, but he like you
    815Would not haue beene so sterne.
    Ang. Pray you be gone.
    Isab. I would to heauen I had your potencie,
    And you were Isabell: should it then be thus?
    No: I would tell what 'twere to be a Iudge,
    820And what a prisoner.
    Luc. I, touch him: there's the veine.
    Ang. Your Brother is a forfeit of the Law,
    And you but waste your words.
    Isab. Alas, alas:
    825Why all the soules that were, were forfeit once,
    And he that might the vantage best haue tooke,
    Found out the remedie: how would you be,
    If he, which is the top of Iudgement, should
    But iudge you, as you are? Oh, thinke on that,
    830And mercie then will breathe within your lips
    Like man new made.
    Ang. Be you content, (faire Maid)
    It is the Law, not I, condemne your brother,
    Were he my kinsman, brother, or my sonne,
    835It should be thus with him: he must die to morrow.
    Isab. To morrow? oh, that's sodaine,
    Spare him, spare him:
    Hee's not prepar'd for death; euen for our kitchins
    We kill the fowle of season: shall we serue heauen
    840With lesse respect then we doe minister
    To our grosse-selues? good, good my Lord, bethink you;
    Who is it that hath di'd for this offence?
    There's many haue committed it.
    Luc. I, well said.
    845Ang. The Law hath not bin dead, thogh it hath slept
    Those many had not dar'd to doe that euill
    If the first, that did th' Edict infringe
    Had answer'd for his deed. Now 'tis awake,
    Takes note of what is done, and like a Prophet
    850Lookes in a glasse that shewes what future euils
    Either now, or by remissenesse, new conceiu'd,
    And so in progresse to be hatch'd, and borne,
    Are now to haue no successiue degrees,
    But here they liue to end.
    855Isab. Yet shew some pittie.
    Ang. I shew it most of all, when I show Iustice;
    For then I pittie those I doe not know,
    Which a dismis'd offence, would after gaule
    68Measure for Measure.
    And doe him right, that answering one foule wrong
    860Liues not to act another. Be satisfied;
    Your Brother dies to morrow; be content.
    Isab. So you must be ye first that giues this sentence,
    And hee, that suffers: Oh, it is excellent
    To haue a Giants strength: but it is tyrannous
    865To vse it like a Giant.
    Luc. That's well said.
    Isab. Could great men thunder
    As Ioue himselfe do's, Ioue would neuer be quiet,
    For euery pelting petty Officer
    870Would vse his heauen for thunder;
    Nothing but thunder: Mercifull heauen,
    Thou rather with thy sharpe and sulpherous bolt
    Splits the vn-wedgable and gnarled Oke,
    Then the soft Mertill: But man, proud man,
    875Drest in a little briefe authoritie,
    Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
    (His glassie Essence) like an angry Ape
    Plaies such phantastique tricks before high heauen,
    As makes the Angels weepe: who with our spleenes,
    880Would all themselues laugh mortall.
    Luc. Oh, to him, to him wench: he will relent,
    Hee's comming: I perceiue't.
    Pro. Pray heauen she win him.
    Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with our selfe,
    885Great men may iest with Saints: tis wit in them,
    But in the lesse fowle prophanation.
    Luc. Thou'rt i'th right (Girle) more o'that.
    Isab. That in the Captaine's but a chollericke word,
    Which in the Souldier is flat blasphemie.
    890Luc. Art auis'd o'that? more on't.
    Ang. Why doe you put these sayings vpon me?
    Isab. Because Authoritie, though it erre like others,
    Hath yet a kinde of medicine in it selfe
    That skins the vice o'th top; goe to your bosome,
    895Knock there, and aske your heart what it doth know
    That's like my brothers fault: if it confesse
    A naturall guiltinesse, such as is his,
    Let it not sound a thought vpon your tongue
    Against my brothers life.
    900Ang. Shee speakes, and 'tis such sence
    That my Sence breeds with it; fare you well.
    Isab. Gentle my Lord, turne backe.
    Ang. I will bethinke me: come againe to morrow.
    Isa. Hark, how Ile bribe you: good my Lord turn back.
    905Ang. How? bribe me?
    Is. I, with such gifts that heauen shall share with you.
    Luc. You had mar'd all else.
    Isab. Not with fond Sickles of the tested-gold,
    Or Stones, whose rate are either rich, or poore
    910As fancie values them: but with true prayers,
    That shall be vp at heauen, and enter there
    Ere Sunne rise: prayers from preserued soules,
    From fasting Maides, whose mindes are dedicate
    To nothing temporall.
    915Ang. Well: come to me to morrow.
    Luc. Goe to: 'tis well; away.
    Isab. Heauen keepe your honour safe.
    Ang. Amen.
    For I am that way going to temptation,
    920Where prayers crosse.
    Isab. At what hower to morrow,
    Shall I attend your Lordship?
    Ang. At any time 'fore-noone.
    Isab. 'Saue your Honour.
    925Ang. From thee: euen from thy vertue.
    What's this? what's this? is this her fault, or mine?
    The Tempter, or the Tempted, who sins most? ha?
    Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I,
    That, lying by the Violet in the Sunne,
    930Doe as the Carrion do's, not as the flowre,
    Corrupt with vertuous season: Can it be,
    That Modesty may more betray our Sence
    Then womans lightnesse? hauing waste ground enough,
    Shall we desire to raze the Sanctuary
    935And pitch our euils there? oh fie, fie, fie:
    What dost thou? or what art thou Angelo?
    Dost thou desire her fowly, for those things
    That make her good? oh, let her brother liue :
    Theeues for their robbery haue authority,
    940When Iudges steale themselues: what, doe I loue her,
    That I desire to heare her speake againe?
    And feast vpon her eyes? what is't I dreame on?
    Oh cunning enemy, that to catch a Saint,
    With Saints dost bait thy hooke: most dangerous
    945Is that temptation, that doth goad vs on
    To sinne, in louing vertue: neuer could the Strumpet
    With all her double vigor, Art, and Nature
    Once stir my temper: but this vertuous Maid
    Subdues me quite: Euer till now
    950When men were fond, I smild, and wondred how. Exit.