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A street.
Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.

If the duke with the other dukes come
not to composition with the King of Hungary,
why then all the dukes fall upon the king.

First Gent.
Heaven grant us its peace, but
not the King of Hungary's!

Sec. Gent.

Thou concludest like the sanctimonious
pirate, that went to sea with the Ten
Commandments, but scraped one out of the
table. (10)

Sec. Gent.
'Thou shalt not steal'?

Ay, that he razed.

First Gent.
Why, 'twas a commandment to
command the captain and all the rest from
their functions: they put forth to steal. There's
not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving
before meat, do relish the petition well
that prays for peace.

Sec. Gent.
I never heard any soldier dislike it. (19)

I believe thee; for I think thou
never wast where grace was said.

Sec. Gent.
No? a dozen times at least.

First Gent.
What, in metre?

In any proportion or in any language.

First Gent.
I think, or in any religion.

Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite
of all controversy: as for example, thou thyself
art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.

First Gent.
Well, there went but a pair of
shears between us. (30)

I grant; as there may between the
lists and the velvet. Thou art the list.

First Gent.
And thou the velvet: thou art
good velvet; thou'rt a three-piled piece, I
warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an
English kersey as be piled, as thou art piled,
for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?

I think thou dost; and, indeed, with
most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of
thine own confession, learn to begin thy health;
but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee. 40

First Gent.
I think I have done myself
wrong, have I not?

Sec. Gent.
Yes, that thou hast, whether
thou art tainted or free.

Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation
comes! I have purchased as many diseases
under her roof as come to--

Sec. Gent.
To what, I pray?


Sec. Gent.
To three thousand dolours a year. (51)

First Gent.
Ay, and more.

A French crown more.

First Gent.
Thou art always figuring diseases
in me; but thou art full of error; I am

Nay, not as one would say, healthy;
but so sound as things that are hollow: thy
bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast of

First Gent.
How now! which of your hips
has the most profound sciatica?

Mrs Ov.
Well, well; there's one yonder
arrested and carried to prison was worth five
thousand of you all.

Sec. Gent.
Who's that, I pray thee?

Mrs Ov.
Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior

First Gent.
Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.

Mrs Ov.
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw
him arrested, saw him carried away; and,
which is more, within these three days his
head to be chopped off. (71)

But, after all this fooling, I would
not have it so. Art thou sure of this?

Mrs Ov.
I am too sure of it: and it is for
getting Madam Julietta with child.

Believe me, this may be: he promised
to meet me two hour? since, and he was
ever precise in promise-keeping.

Sec. Gent.
Besides, you know, it draws
something near to the speech we had to such
a purpose. (80)

First Gent.
But, most of all, agreeing with
the proclamation.

Away! let's go learn the truth of it.
Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen.

Mrs Ov.
Thus, what with the war, what
with the sweat, what with the gallows and
what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
How now! what's the news with you?

Yonder man is carried to prison.

Mrs Ov.
Well; what has he done?

A woman. (90)

Mrs Ov.
But what's his offence?

Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

Mrs Ov.
What, is there a maid with child
by him?

No, but there's a woman with maid
by him. You have not heard of the proclamation,
have you?

Mrs Ov.
What proclamation, man?

All houses in the suburbs of Vienna
in the suburbs be pulled down? (100)

Mrs Ov.
And what shall become of those
in the city?

They shall stand for seed: they had
gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in
for them.

Mrs Ov.
But shall all our houses of resort
in the suburbs be pulled down?

To the ground, mistress.

Mrs Ov.
Why, here's a change indeed in the
commonwealth! What shall become of me?

Come; fear not you: good counsellors
lack no clients: though you change your place,
you need not change your trade; I'll be your
tapster still. Courage! there will be pity taken
on you: you that have worn your eyes almost
out in the service, you will be considered.

Mrs Ov.
What's to do here, Thomas tapster?
let's withdraw.

Here comes Signior Claudio, led by
the provost to prison; and there's Madam

Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?

Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

I do it not in evil disposition,

But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

Thus can the demigod Authority

Make us pay down for our offence by weight

The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will;

On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just. Re-enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.

Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint?

From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty: (130)

As surfeit is the father of much fast,

So every scope by the immoderate use

Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,

Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,

A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

If I could speak so wisely under an
arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors:
and yet, to say the truth, I had as lief
have the foppery of freedom as the morality of
imprisonment. What's thy offence, Claudio? (140)

What but to speak of would offend again.

What, is't murder?



Call it so.

Away sir! you must go.

One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.

A hundred, if they'll do you any good.

Is lechery so look'd after?

Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract (150)

I got possession of Julietta's bed:

You know the lady; she is fast my wife,

Save that we do the deunciation lack

Of outward order: this we came not to,

Only for propagation of a dower

Remaining in the coffer of her friends,

From whom we thought it meet to hide our love

Till time had made them for us. But it chances

The stealth of our most mutual entertainment

With character too gross is writ on Juliet.

With child, perhaps?

Unhappily, even so. (161)

And the new deputy now for the duke--

Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,

Or whether that the body public be

A horse whereon the governor doth ride,

Who, newly in the seat, that it may know

He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;

Whether the tyranny be in his place,

Or in his eminence that fills it up,

I stagger in:--but this new governor (170)

Awakes me all the enrolled penalties

Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall

So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round

And none of them been worn; and, for a name,

Now puts the drowsy and neglected act

Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.

I warrant it is: and thy head stands
so tickle on thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if
she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after
the duke and appeal to him. (180)

I have done so, but he's not to be found.

I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:

This day my sister should the cloister enter

And there receive her approbation:

Acquaint her with the danger of my state;

Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends

To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:

I have great hope in that; for in her youth

There is a prone and speechless dialect,

Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art

When she will play with reason and discourse, (191)

And well she can persuade.

I pray she may; as well for the encouragement
of the like, which else would stand
under grievous imposition, as for the enjoying
of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus
foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.

I thank you, good friend Lucio.

Within two hours.

Come, officer, away!

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