Page images
PDF
EPUB

Duke. No more evasion : We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours. Our haste from hence is of so quick condition, That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd Matters of needful value. We shall write to you, As time and our concernings shall impórtune, How it goes with us; and do look to know What doth befall you here. So, fare you well: To the hopeful execution do I leave you Of your commissions.

Ang.

Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way. Duke. My haste may not admit it;

Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own:
So to enforce, or qualify the laws
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
I'll privily away: I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes:
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause, and aves vehement:
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion,
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
Ang. The heavens give safety to your purposes !
Escal. Lead forth, and bring you back in happiness.
Duke. I thank you: Fare you well. [Exit.

Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave To have free speech with you; and it concerns me To look into the bottom of my place:

A power I have; but of what strength and nature I am not yet instructed.

Ang. 'Tis so with me:-Let us withdraw together, And we may soon our satisfaction have Touching that point.

Escal.

I'll wait upon your honour. [Exeunt.

SCENE II. - A Street.

Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen.

Lucio. 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.

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

2 Gent. Amen.

Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scraped one out of the table.

2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal?

Lucio. Ay, that he razed.

1 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, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.

2 Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it. Lucio. I believe thee; for, I think, thou never wast where grace was said.

2 Gent. No? a dozen times at least.

1 Gent. What? in metre?

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

1 Gent. How now? Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

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

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

Bawd. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 1 Gent. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.

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

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

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Clo. They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. Bawd. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down?

Clo. To the ground, mistress.

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

Clo. 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.

Bawd. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.

Clo. Here comes signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison: and there's madam Juliet.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.- The same. Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; LUCIO and two Gentlemen.

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

Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Pro. I do it not in evil disposition,
But from lord Angelo by special charge.

Claud. Thus can the demi-god, 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.

Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio? whence comes this restraint?

Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty: 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.

Lucio. 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?

Claud. What, but to speak of would offend again.

Lucio. What is it? murder?

Claud. No.

Lucio. Lechery?

Claud. Call it so.

Prov. Away, sir; you must go.

Claud. One word, good friend: - Lucio, a word with you. [Takes him aside. Lucio. A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Is lechery so look'd after?

Claud. Thus stands it with me:- · Upon a true contract, I got possession of Julietta's bed;

You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation 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.

Lucio. With child, perhaps?
Claud. Unhappily, even so.
And the new deputy now for the duke, —

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Claud. I have done so, but he's not to be found. I pr'ythee, 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 moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art When she will play with reason and discourse, And well she can persuade.

[blocks in formation]

SCENE IV.A Monastery.

Enter DUKE and Friar THOMAS.

Duke. No; holy father; throw away that thought; Believe not that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a cómplete bosom: why I desire thee To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends Of burning youth.

Fri.
May your grace speak of it?
Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever lov'd the life removed;
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.
I have deliver'd to lord Angelo

(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is receiv'd: Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me, why I do this?
Fri. Gladly, my lord.

Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,

(The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,}
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;
Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers
Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight,

[blocks in formation]

father,

I have on Angelo impos'd the office;

Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet my nature never in the sight,
To do it slander: And to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr'ythee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only, this one : — -Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone: Hence shall we see,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
[Exeunt.

SCENE V.- A Nunnery.

Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.

Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges? Fran. Are not these large enough?

Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more; But rather wishing a more strict restraint Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare. Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place! [Within. Isab. Who's that which calls? Fran. It is a man's voice: Gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him; You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn: When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men, But in the presence of the prioress : Then, if you speak, you must not show your face; Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. He calls again; I pray you answer him.

[Exit FRANCISCA. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls? Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek-roses
Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me,
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother Claudio?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask;
The rather, for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his sister.

Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you:

Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me? For what?

Lucio. For that, which if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story.
I.ucio.

I would not though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from beart, play with all virgins so :
I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted;
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,

As with a saint.

It is true.

[ocr errors]

--

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me. Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus:

Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:

As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.

Isab. Some one with child by him? - My cousin
Juliet?

Lucio. Is she your cousin?

Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their

names,

By vain though apt affection
Lucio.

She it is.
Isab. O, let him marry her!
Lucio.

This is the point.
The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action: but we do learn
By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line of his authority,
Governs lord Angelo: a man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense;
But doth rebate and blunt natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example; all hope is gone,
Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother.
Isab. Doth he so seek his life?
Lucio.
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

Has censur'd him

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

ACT II.

[blocks in formation]

man,

Whom I would save, had a most noble father.
Let but your honour know,

(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,)
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of your blood
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err'd in this point which now you censure him,
And pull'd the law upon you.

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try: What's open made to
justice,

That justice seizes. What know the laws,
That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very preg-

nant,

The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
Because we see it; but what we do not see,
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence,
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Ang.
Where is the provost?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.
Ang.

See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd; For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

[Exit Provost. Escal. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none;
And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.

Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?

Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.

Ang. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?

Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.

Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer. Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow? Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow. Ang. What are you, sir?

Elb. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.

Escal. How know you that?

Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,

Escal. How! thy wife?

Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,

[ocr errors]

Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?

Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. Escal. How dost thou know that, constable?

Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

Escal. By the woman's means?

Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.

Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so. Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.

Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces? [To ANGELO. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruitdish, a dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.

[ocr errors]

Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir. Clo. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point: As I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great belly'd, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again.

Froth. No, indeed.

Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes.

Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.

Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.

Froth. All this is true.

Clo. Why, very well then.

Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What was done to Elbow's wife, that

he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.

Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas : : - Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth?

Froth. All-hollond eve.

Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths: He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir ; — -'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit Have you not?

Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.

Clo. Why, very well then ;- I hope here be truths. Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less: Good morrow to your lordship. [Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

Clo. Once, sir? there was nothing done to her

once.

Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.

Escal. Well, sir: what did this gentleman to her? Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face: Good master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose: Doth your honour mark his face?

Escal. Ay, sir, very well.

Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.

Escal. Well, I do so.

Clo. Doth your honour see any harm in his face? Escal. Why, no.

Clo. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: Good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour.

Escal. He's in the right: Constable, what say you to it?

Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.

Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife, is a more respected person than any of us all.

Elb. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected, with man, woman, or child.

[blocks in formation]

Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou know'st what they are.

Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it: Thou seest, thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.

Escal. Where were you born, friend?

Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it : What is't your worship's pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff?

[TO FROTH

Froth. Here in Vienna, sir.
Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
Froth. Yes, and't please you, sir.
Escal. So. What trade are you of, sir?
[To the Clown.

Clo. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Escal. Your mistress's name?

[ocr errors]

Clo. Mistress Over-done.

Escal. Hath she had any more than one husband? Clo. Nine, sir; Over-done by the last.

Escal. Nine! Come hither to me, master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters: they will draw you, master Froth, and you will hang them: Get you gone, and let me hear no more of you.

Froth. I thank your worship: For mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I am drawn in.

Escal. Well; no more of it master Froth: farewell. [Exit FROTH.]· Come you hither to me, master tapster; what's your name, master tapster? Clo. Pompey.

Escal. What else?

[ocr errors]
[blocks in formation]

Clo. Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth in the city?

Escal. No, Pompey.

Clo. Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then: If your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.

Escal There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you It is but heading and hanging.

:

Clo. If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it, after three-pence a bay: If you live to see this come to pass, say, Pompey told you so.

Escal. Thank you, good Pompey and, in requital of your prophecy, hark you, I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you do; if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Cæsar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt: so for this time, Pompey, fare you well.

Clo. I thank your worship for your good counsel;

« PreviousContinue »