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Claudio is condemn'd for untrussing. Farewell, good
friar; I pr'ythee, pray for me. The duke, I say to
thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays. He's now
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.

Duke. 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?
But who comes here?

Enter ESCALUS, Provost, Bawd, and Officers.
Escal. Go: away with her to prison !
Bawd. Good my lord, be good to me; your honour
is accounted a merciful man: good my lord.

Escal. Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the same kind? This would make mercy swear, and play the tyrant.

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

Bawd. My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me. Mistress Kate Keep-down 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!

Escal. That fellow is a fellow of much licence :-let him be called before us.-Away with her to prison! Go to; no more words. [Exeunt Bawd and Officers.] Provost, my brother Angelo will not be alter'd; 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. Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for the entertainment of death. Escal. Good even, good father.

Duke. Bliss and goodness on you.

Escal. Of whence are you?

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

Duke. What pleasure was he given to?

Escal. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at any thing which profess'd to make him rejoice: a gentleman 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.

Duke. 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.

Escal. You have paid the heavens the due of your function, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have labour'd 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.

Duke. If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. Escal. I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you


Duke. 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, virtue to go;
More nor less to others paying,
Than by self offences weighing.
Shame to him, whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!

Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is now Twice treble shame on Angelo,

To use it for my time: I am a brother

Of gracious order, late come from the See,
In special business from his holiness.

Escal. What news abroad i' the world ?

Duke. 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 as 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 accurs'd. Much upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?


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,
Masking practice on the times,
Draw with idle spiders' strings
Most pond'rous 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.



SCENE I.-A Room at the moated Grange. MARIANA discovered sitting: a Boy singing.


Take, O! take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again,
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain.

Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice Hath often still'd my brawling discontent.—

Enter DUKE.

[Exit Boy.

I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish
You had not found me here so musical:
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
My mirth it much displeas'd, but pleas'd my woe.
Duke. 'Tis good: though music oft hath such a

Mari. Break off thy song, and haste thee quick To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.


I pray you, tell me, hath any body inquired for me

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Duke. I do constantly believe you. The time is come, even now. I shall crave your forbearance a little may be, I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.

Mari. I am always bound to you.
Duke. Very well met, and welcome.
What is the news from this good deputy?


Isab. He hath a garden circummur'd with brick, Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd; And to that vineyard is a planched gate, That makes his opening with this bigger key: This other doth command a little door, Which from the vineyard to the garden leads; There have I made my promise upon the heavy Middle of the night to call upon him.

Duke. But shall you on your knowledge find this way?

Isab. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't:
With whispering and most guilty diligence,

In action all of precept, he did show me
The way twice o'er.

Are there no other tokens
Between you 'greed, concerning her observance?
Isab. No, none, but only a repair i' the dark;
And that I have possess'd him my most stay
Can be but brief: for I have made him know,
I have a servant comes with me along,
That stays upon me; whose persuasion is,
I come about my brother.


'Tis well borne up.
I have not yet made known to Mariana
A word of this.-What, ho! within! come forth.
Re-enter MARIANA.

I pray you, be acquainted with this maid:
She comes to do you good.

I do desire the like.

Duke. Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?
Mari. Good friar, I know you do, and have found it.
Duke. Take then this your companion by the

Who hath a story ready for your ear.

I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;
The vaporous night approaches.

Will't please you walk aside?
Duke. O place and greatness! millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee. Volumes of report
Run with base, false and most contrarious quests
Upon thy doings: thousand escapes of wit

Make thee the father of their idle dreams,

And rack thee in their fancies!

Re-enter MARIANA and ISABElla.

Welcome! How agreed? Isab. She'll take the enterprize upon her, father,

If you advise it. Duke.

It is not my consent,

But my entreaty too. Isab.

Little have you to say, When you depart from him, but, soft and low, "Remember now my brother."

Fear me not.

Mari. Duke. Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all. He is your husband on a pre-contract: To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin,

Sith that the justice of your title to him

Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go:
Our corn's to reap, for yet our field's to sow. [Exeunt.
SCENE II.-A Room in the Prison.

Enter Provost and Clown.

Prov. Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's


Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can; but if he be a married man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.

Prov. Come, sir; leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine: here is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you from your gyves; if not, you shall have your full time of imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping, for you have been a notorious bawd.

Clo. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner. Prov. What ho, Abhorson! there?

Where's Abhorson,

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Abhor. A bawd, sir? Fie upon him! he will discredit our mystery.

Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally: a feather will turn the scale.

[Exit. Clo. Pray, sir, by your good favour, (for, surely, sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a hanging look,) do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery? Abhor. Ay, sir; a mystery.

Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery; but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine.

Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery. Clo. Proof?

Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thief. Clo. If it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough: so, every true man's apparel fits your thief.

Re-enter Provost. Prov. Are you agreed?

Clo. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd: he doth oftener ask forgiveness.

Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow, four o'clock.

Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade: follow.

Clo. I do desire to learn, sir; and, I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare; for, truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.

Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio : [Exeunt Clown and ABHORSON. Th' one has my pity; not a jot the other, Being a murderer, though he were my brother.


Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death :
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow
Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?
Claud. As fast lock'd up in sleep, as guiltless labour,
When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones :

He will not wake.
Who can do good on him?
Well, go; prepare yourself. But hark, what noise?
[Knocking within.
Heaven give your spirits comfort!-By and by
I hope it is some pardon, or reprieve,
For the most gentle Claudio.-Welcome, father.
Enter DUKE.

Duke. The best and wholesom'st spirits of the night
Envelop you, good provost! Who call'd here of late?
Prov. None, since the curfew rung.

Prov. No.

Not Isabel?

There will then, ere't be long.
Prov. What comfort is for Claudio?

Prov. It is a bitter deputy.

Prov. I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

Duke. Pray you, let's hear.

Prov. [Reads.] "Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and, in the afternoon, Barnardine. For my better satisfaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly perform'd; with a thought, that more depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril."— What say you to this, sir?

Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be executed in the afternoon?

Prov. A Bohemian born; but here nursed up and bred: one that is a prisoner nine years old.

Duke. How came it, that the absent Duke had not either deliver'd him to his liberty, or executed him? I have heard, it was ever his manner to do so.

Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him:
and, indeed, his fact, till now in the government of
There's some in hope. Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
Duke. It is now apparent?

Duke. Not so, not so: his life is parallel'd
Even with the stroke and line of his great justice.
He doth with holy abstinence subdue
That in himself, which he spurs on his power
To qualify in others were he meal'd with that
Which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
[Knocking within.
But this being so, he's just.-Now are they come.—
[Exit Provost.

This is a gentle provost: seldom, when
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men. [Knocking.
How now? What noise? That spirit's possessed with

That wounds the resisting postern with these strokes.
Re-enter Provost.

Prov. [Speaking to one at the door.] There he must
stay, until the officer

Arise to let him in: he is call'd up.

Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet, But he must die to-morrow?


None, sir, none. Duke. As near the dawning, provost, as it is, You shall hear more ere morning.


You something know; yet, I believe, there comes
No countermand: no such example have we.
Besides, upon the very siege of justice,

Lord Angelo hath to the public ear

Profess'd the contrary.

Enter a Messenger.

Duke. This is his lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.

Mes. My lord hath sent you this note; [giving a paper] and by me this further charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I take it, it is almost day.

Prov. I shall obey him.
[Exit Messenger.
Duke. This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin,

For which the pardoner himself is in:

Hence hath offence his quick celerity,

When it is born in high authority.

When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
That for the fault's love is th' offender friended.-
Now, sir, what news?

Prov. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? How seems he to be touch'd?

Prov. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come: insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.

Duke. He wants advice.

Prov. He will hear none. He hath evermore had the liberty of the prison: give him leave to escape hence, he would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and show'd him a seeming warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.

Duke. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning I will lay myself in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law, than Angelo who hath sentenced him. To make you understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four days' respite, for the which you are to do me both a present and a dangerous courtesy.

Prov. Pray, sir, in what?

Duke. In the delaying death.

Prov. Alack! how may I do it, having the hour limited, and an express command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.

Duke. By the vow of mine order, I warrant you: if my instructions may be your guide, let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo. Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.

Duke. O! death's a great disguiser, and you may add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard; and say, it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his death: you know, the course is common. If any thing fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life.

Prov. Pardon me, good father: it is against my oath. Duke. Were you sworn to the Duke, or to the deputy?

Prov. To him, and to his substitutes.

Duke. You will think you have made no offence, if the Duke avouch the justice of your dealing. Prov. But what likelihood is in that? Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor my persuasion, can with ease attempt you, I will go farther than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you. Look you, sir; here is the hand and seal of the Duke: you know the character, I doubt not, and the signet is not strange to you.

Prov. I know them both.

Duke. The contents of this is the return of the Duke: you shall anon over-read it at your pleasure, where you shall find, within these two days he will be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not, for he this very day receives letters of strange tenor; perchance, of the Duke's death; perchance, entering into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how these things should be all difficulties are but easy when they are known. Call your executioner, and off with Barnardine's head: I will give him a present shrift, and advise him for a better place. Yet you are amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you. Come away; it [Exeunt.

is almost clear dawn.

SCENE III.-Another Room in the Same.

Enter Clown.

Clo. I am as well acquainted here, as I was in our house of profession: one would think, it were mistress Over-done's own house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's young Mr. Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds, of which he made five marks, ready money: marry, then, ginger was not much in request, for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one Mr. Caper, at the suit of master Threepile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young Dicy, and young Mr. Deep-vow, and Mr. Copper-spur, and Mr. Starve-lackey, the rapier and dagger-man, and young Drop-heir that kill'd Lusty Pudding, and Mr. Forthright the tilter, and brave Mr. Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabb'd Pots, and, I think, forty more, all great doers in our trade, and are now in for the Lord's sake. Enter ABHORSON.

Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come. Barnar. You rogue, I have been drinking all night: I am not fitted for't.

Clo. O! the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning, may sleep the sounder all the next day.

Enter DUKE.

Abhor. Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father. Do we jest now, think you?

Duke. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.

Barnar. Friar, not I: I have been drinking hard all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains with billets. I will not consent to die this day, that's certain.

Duke. O, sir, you must; and therefore, I beseech


Look forward on the journey you shall go.
Barnar. I swear, I will not die to-day for any man's

Duke. But hear you,

Barnar. Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day. [Exit.

Enter Provost.
Duke. Unfit to live, or die. O, grovelling beast!—
After him, fellows: bring him to the block.

[Exeunt ABHORSON and Clown.
Prov. Now, sir; how do you find the prisoner?
Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And, to transport him in the mind he is,
Were damnable.


Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard, and head,
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate, till he were well inclin'd,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

Duke. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!
Despatch it presently: the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo. See, this be done,
And sent according to command, whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon;

Clo. Mr. Barnardine! you must rise and be hang'd, | And how shall we continue Claudio,
Mr. Barnardine.

Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine!

Barnar. [Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there? What are you?

Clo. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.

Barnar. [Within.] Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.

Abhor. Tell him, he must awake, and that quickly


Clo. Pray, master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.

Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.

To save me from the danger that might come,
If he were known alive?

Duke. Let this be done.-Put them in secret

Both Barnardine and Claudio:

Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To yonder generation, you shall find
Your safety manifest.

Prov. I am your free dependant.

Duke. Quick, despatch, and send the head to Angelo.
[Exit Provost.

Now will I write letters to Angelo,
(The provost, he shall bear them) whose contents

Clo. He is coming, sir, he is coming: I hear his Shall witness to him, I am near at home, straw rustle.


Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

Clo. Very ready, sir.

And that by great injunctions I am bound
To enter publicly: him I'll desire

To meet me at the consecrated fount,
A league below the city; and from thence,

Barnar. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with By cold gradation and well-balanc'd form,


We shall proceed with Angelo.

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Isab. Ho! by your leave.

Duke. Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
Duke. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the world.
His head is off, and sent to Angelo.
Isab. Nay, but it is not so.
It is no other. [Catching her.
Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.
Isab. O! I will to him, and pluck out his eyes.
Duke. You shall not be admitted to his sight.
Isab. Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Perjurious world! Most damned Angelo!

Ďuke. This nor hurts him, nor profits you a jot:
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Mark what I say to you, which you shall find
By every syllable a faithful verity.

The duke comes home to-morrow;-nay, dry your eyes:
One of our convent, and his confessor,

Gives me this instance. Already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,

Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,

There to give up their power. If you can, pace your


In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour.


I am directed by you.
Duke. This letter, then, to friar Peter give;
'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return:
Say, by this token, I desire his company

At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause, and yours
I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
Before the duke; and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self,
I am confined by a sacred vow,

And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart: trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course.- -Who's here?
Enter Lucio.


Friar, where is the provost?

Good even. Duke. Not within, sir. Lucio. O, pretty Isabella! I am pale at mine heart, to see thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly: one fruitful meal would set me to't. But, they say, the duke will be here tomorrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother: if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived. [Exit ISABELLA. Duke. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports; but the best is, he lives not in them. Lucio. Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as

I do: he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.

Duke. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well. [Going. Lucio. Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee. I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.

Duke. You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none were enough. Lucio. I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

Duke. Did you such a thing?

Lucio. Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.

Duke. Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well. [Going. Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick. [Exeunt.

SCENE IV.-A Room in ANGELO's House.

Escal. Every letter he hath writ hath disvouch'd other.

Ang. In most uneven and distracted manner.
His actions show much like to madness: pray heaven,
His wisdom be not tainted!

And why meet him at the gates, and re-deliver
Our authorities there?

Escal. I guess not.

Ang. And why should we

Proclaim it an hour before his entering,
That if any crave redress of injustice,
They should exhibit their petitions
In the street?

Escal. He shows his reason for that: to have a despatch of complaints, and to deliver us from devices hereafter,

Which shall then have no power to stand against us.
Ang. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd:
Betimes i' the morn, I'll call you at your house.
Give notice to such men of sort and suit,
As are to meet him.


I shall, sir fare you well. [Exit.
Ang. Good night.—
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpregnant,
And dull to all proceedings. A deflowered maid,
And by an eminent body, that enforc'd

The law against it!—But that her tender shame
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss,

How might she tongue me! Yet reason dares her:


For my authority bears such a credent bulk
That no particular scandal once can touch,
But it confounds the breather. He should have liv'd,
Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense,
Might in the times to come have ta'en revenge,
For so receiving a dishonour'd life
With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had liv'd!
Alack! when once our grace we have forgot,
Nothing goes right: we would, and we would not. [Exit.
SCENE V.-Fields without the Town.
Enter DUKE, in his own habit, and Friar PETER.
Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me.

[Giving them.
The provost knows our purpose, and our plot.
The matter being afoot, keep your instruction,
And hold you ever to our special drift,

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