previous next


The street before the prison.
Enter, on one side, DUKE disguised as before;
on the other, ELBOW, and Officers
with POMPEY.

Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but
that you will needs buy and sell men and
women like beasts, we shall have all the world
drink brown and white bastard.

O heavens! what stuff is here?

'Twas never merry world since, of two
usuries, the merriest was put down, and the
worser allowed by order of law a furred gown
to keep him warm; and furred with fox and
lambskins too, to signify, that craft, being
richer than innocency, stands for the facing. (12)

Come your way, sir. 'Bless you, good
father friar.

And you, good brother father. What
offence hath this man made you, sir?

Marry, sir, he hath offended the law:
and, sir, we take him to be a thief too, sir; for
we have found upon him, sir, a strange picklock,
which we have sent to the deputy.

Fie, sirrah! a bawd, a wicked bawd! (21)

The evil that thou causest to be done,

That is thy means to live. Do thou but think

What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back

From such a filthy vice: say to thyself,

From their abominable and beastly touches

I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.

Canst thou believe thy living is a life,

So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend. (29)

Indeed, it does stink in some sort,
sir; but yet, sir, I would prove--

Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,

Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer:

Correction and instruction must both work

Ere this rude beast will profit.

He must before the deputy, sir; he
has given him warning: the deputy cannot
abide a whoremaster: if he be a whoremonger,
and comes before him, he were as good
go a mile on his errand. (40)

That we were all, as some would seem to be,

From our fault as faults from seeming, free!

His neck will come to your waist,--a cord, sir.

I spy comfort; I cry bail. Here's a
gentleman and a friend of mine.
Enter Lucio.

How now, noble Pompey! What,
at the wheels of Caesar? art thou led in triumph?
What, is there none of Pygmalion's
images, newly made woman, to be had now,
for putting the hand in the pocket and extracting
it clutched? What reply, ha? What
sayest thou to this tune, matter and method?
Is't not drowned i' the last rain, ha? What
sayest thou, Trot? Is the world as it was,
man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few
words? or how? The trick of it?

Still thus, and thus; still worse!

How doth my dear morsel, thy mis-
tress? Procures she still, ha? (58)

Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her
beef, and she is herself in the tub.

Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it;
it must be so: ever your fresh whore and your
powdered bawd: an unshunned consequence;
it must be so. Art going to prison, Pompey?

Yes, faith, sir.

Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey: Farewell:
go say I sent thee thither. For debt,
Pompey, or how?

For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

Well, then, imprison him: if imprisonment
be the due of a bawd, why, 'tis
his right: bawd is he doubtless, and of antiquity
too; bawd-born. Farewell, good Pompey.
Commend me to the prison, Pompey:
you will turn good husband now, Pompey;
you will keep the house.

I hope, sir, your good worship will
be my bail.

No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it
is not the wear. I will pray, Pompey, to
increase your bondage: if you take it not patiently,
why, your mettle is the more. Adieu,
trusty Pompey, 'Bless you, friar. (82)

And you.

Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?

Come your ways, sir; come.

You will not bail me, then, sir?

Then, Pompey, nor now. What
news abroad, friar? what news?

Come your ways, sir; come.

Go to kennel, Pompey; go.
[Exeunt Elbow, Pompey and Officers.]

What news, friar, of the duke?

I know none. Can you tell me of any?

Some say he is with the Emperor of
Russia; other some, he is in Rome: but where
is he, think you?

I know not where; but wheresoever,
I wish him well.

It was a mad fantastical trick of him
to steal from the state, and usurp the beggary he
was never born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well
in his absence; he puts transgression to't. (102)

He does well in't.

A little more lenity to lechery would
do no harm in him: something too crabbed
that way, friar.

It is too general a vice, and severity
must cure it.

Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a
great kindred; it is well allied: but it is impossible
to extirp it quite, friar, till eating and
drinking be put down. They say this Angelo
was not made by man and woman after this
downright way of creation: is it true, think you?

How should he be made, then?

Some report a sea-maid spawned
him; some, that he was begot between two
stock-fishes. But it is certain that when he
makes water his urine is congealed ice; that I
know to be true: and he is a motion generative;
that's infallible. (119)

You are pleasant, sir, and speak

Why, what a ruthless thing is this in
him, for the rebellion of a codpiece to take away
the life of a man! Would the duke that is absent
have done this? Ere he would have hanged
a man for the getting a hundred bastards, he
would have paid for the nursing a thousand:
he had some feeling of the sport; he knew the
service, and that instructed him to mercy.

I never heard the absent duke much
detected for women; he was not inclined that
way. (131)

O, sir, you are deceived.

'Tis not possible.

Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar
of fifty; and his use was to put a ducat in her
clack-dish: the duke had crotchets in him. He
would be drunk too; that let me inform

You do him wrong, surely. (138)

Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy
fellow was the duke: and I believe I know
the cause of his withdrawing.

What, I prithee, might be the cause?

No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be
locked within the teeth and the lips: but this I
can let you understand, the greater file of the
subject held the duke to be wise.

Wise! why, no question but he was.

A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing

Either this is envy in you, folly, or
mistaking: the very stream of his life and the
business he hath helmed must upon a warranted
need give him a better proclamation.
Let him be but testimonied in his own bringings-forth,
and he shall appear to the envious
a scholar, a statesman and a soldier. Therefore
you speak unskilfully; or if your knowledge
be more it is much darkened in your malice.

Sir, I know him, and I love him. (159)

Love talks with better knowledge,
and knowledge with dearer love.

Come, sir, I know what I know.

I can hardly believe that, since you
know not what you speak. But, if ever the
duke return, as our prayers are he may, let me
desire you to make your answer before him.
If it be honest you have spoke, you have courage
to maintain it: I am bound to call upon
you; and, I pray you, your name? (169)

Sir, my name is Lucio; well known
to the duke.

He shall know you better, sir, if I
may live to report you.

I fear you not.

O, you hope the duke will return no
more; or you imagine me too unhurtful an
opposite. But indeed I can do you little harm;
you'll forswear this again.

I'll be hanged first: thou art deceived
in me, friar. But no more of this. Canst thou
tell if Claudio die to-morrow or no? (181)

Why should he die, sir?

Why? For filling a bottle with a
tun-dish. I would the duke we talk of were
returned again: this ungenitured agent will
unpeople the province with continency; sparrows
must not build in his house-eaves, because
they are lecherous. The duke yet would have
dark deeds darkly answered; he would never
bring them to light: would he were returned!
Marry, this Claudio is condemned for untrussing.
Farewell, good friar: I prithee, pray
for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would
eat mutton on Fridays. He's not past it yet,
and I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar,
though she smelt brown bread and garlic:
say that I said so. Farewell.

No might nor greatness in mortality

Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny

The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue? (200)

But who comes here? Enter ESCALUS, PROVOST, and Officers with

Go; away with her to prison!

Mrs Ov.
Good my lord, be good to me;
your honour is accounted a merciful man;
good my lord.

Double and treble admonition, and
still forfeit in the same kind! This would
make mercy swear and play the tyrant. (208)

A bawd of eleven years' continuance,
may it please your honour.

Mrs Ov.
My lord, this is one Lucio's information
against me. Mistress Kate Keepdown
was with child by him in the duke's time; he
promised her marriage: his child is a year and
a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob: I have
kept it myself; and see how he goes about to
abuse me!

That fellow is a fellow of much
license: let him be called before us. Away
with her to prison! Go to; no more words.
[Exeunt Officers with Mistress Ov.
Provost, my brother
Angelo will not be altered; Claudio
must die to-morrow: let him be furnished
with divines, and have all charitable preparation.
If my brother wrought by my pity, it
should not be so with him.

So please you, this friar hath been
with him, and advised him for the entertainment
of death.

Good even, good father.

Bliss and goodness on you!

Of whence are you? (230)

Not of this country, though my chance is now

To use it for my time: I am a brother

Of gracious order, late come from the See

In special business from his holiness.

What news abroad i' the world?

None, but that there is so great a
fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it
must cure it: novelty is only in request; and
it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of
course, as it is virtuous to be constant in any
undertaking. There is scarce truth enough alive
to make societies secure; but security enough
to make fellowships accurst: much upon this
riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This news
is old enough, yet it is every day's news. I pray
you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

One that, above all other strifes,
contended especially to know himself.

What pleasure was he given to?

Rather rejoicing to see another merry,
than merry at any thing which professed to
make him rejoice: a gentlemen of all temperance.
But leave we him to his events, with a
prayer they may prove prosperous; and let
me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared.
I am made to understand that you
have lent him visitation.

He professes to have received no sinister
measure from his judge, but most willingly
humbles himself to the determination of
justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the
instruction of his frailty, many deceiving promises
of life; which I by my good leisure have
discredited to him, and now is he resolved to die.

You have paid the heavens your function,
and the prisoner the very debt of your
calling. I have laboured for the poor gentleman
to the extremest shore of my modesty: but my
brother justice have I found so severe, that he
hath forced me to tell him he is indeed Justice.

If his own life answer the straitness
of his proceeding, it shall become him well;
wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced

I am going to visit the prisoner.
Fare you well.

Peace be with you!
[Exeunt Escalus and Provost.

He who the sword of heaven will bear

Should be as holy as severe;

Pattern in himself to know,

Grace to stand, and virtue go;

More nor less to others paying (280)

Than by self-offences weighing.

Shame to him whose cruel striking

Kills for faults of his own liking!

Twice treble shame on Angelo,

To weed my vice and let his grow!

O, what may man within him hide,

Though angel on the outward side!

How may likeness made in crimes,

Making practice on the times,

To draw with idle spiders' strings (290)

Most ponderous and substantial things

Craft against vice I must apply:

With Angelo to-night shall lie

His old betrothed but despised;

So disguise shall, by the disguised,

Pay with falsehood false exacting,

And perform an old contracting.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License.

An XML version of this text is available for download, with the additional restriction that you offer Perseus any modifications you make. Perseus provides credit for all accepted changes, storing new additions in a versioning system.

hide Display Preferences
Greek Display:
Arabic Display:
View by Default:
Browse Bar: