網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them: I do it for some piece of money, and go through with all.

Escal. Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish.

El. To your worship's house, sir ?

Escal. To my house : fare you well. [Exit Elbow.] What's o'clock, think you?

Just. Eleven, sir.
Escal. I pray you home to dinner with me.
Just. I humbly thank you.

Escal. It grieves me for the death of Claudio;
But there's no remedy

Just. Lord Angelo is severe.
Escal.

It is but needful :
Mercy is not itself that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet, - Poor Claudio!- There's no remedy.
Come, sir.

[Exeunt.

SCENE II. Another Room in the same.

Enter Provost and a Servant.
Serv. He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight.
I'll tell him of you.

Prov. Pray you, do. [Exit Servant.] I'll know
His pleasure: may be, he will relent: alas,
He hath but as offended in a dream!
All sects, all ages smack of this vice; and he
To die for it!

Enter ANGELO.
Ang.

Now, what's the matter, provost. Prov. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-morrow? Ang. Did I not tell thee, yea ? Hadst thou not order? Why dost thou ask again? Prov.

Lest I might be too rash:
Under your good correction, I have seen,
When, after execution, judgment hath
Repented o'er his doom.
Ang.

Go to; let that be mine:
Do you your office, or give up your place,
And you shall well be spared.
Prov.

I crave your honor's pardon.-
What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet ?
She's very near her hour.

Ang.

Dispose of her
To some more fitter place; and that with speed.

Re-enter Servant.
Serv. Here is the sister of the man condemned,
Desires access to you.
Ang.

Hath he a sister?
Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid,
And to be shortly of a sisterhood,
If not already.

Ang. Well, let her be admitted. (Exit Servant.
See you the fornicatress be removed :
Let her have needful, but not lavish, means;
There shall be order for it.

Enter Lucio and ISABELLA. Prov. Save your honor.

[Offering to retire. Ang. Stay a little while.—[ To Isab.] You are welcome:

What's your will ?
Isab. I am a woful suitor to your honor;
Please but your honor hear me.

Ang. Well; what's your suit ?

Isab. There is a vice, that most I do abhor,
And most desire should meet the blow of justice;
For which I would not plead, but that I must;
For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war 'twixt will and will not.
Ang. -

Well; the matter?
Isab. I have a brother is condemned to die :
I do beseech you, let it be his fault,
And not my brother.
Prov.

Heaven give thee moving graces !
Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it!
Why, every fault's condemned, ere it be done :
Mine were the very cipher of a function,
To fine the faults, whose fine stands in record,
And let go by the actor.
Isab.

O just, but severe law! I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your honor!

[Retiring. Lucio. [To ISAB.] Give't not o'er so: to him again, en

treat him :
Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;
You are too cold; if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say.

Isab. Must he needs die?

Ang.

Maiden, no remedy. Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither Heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy. Ang. I will not do't. Isab. But can you, if you would? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no wrong, If so your heart were touched with that remorse As mine is to him?

Ang. He's sentenced; 'tis too late. Lucio. You are too cold. [To ISABELLA. Isab. Too late? why, no: I, that do speak a word, May call it back again: well, believe this, No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, Become them with one half so good a grace, As mercy does. If he had been as you, And you as he, you would have slipped like him; But he, like you, would not have been so stern. Ang. Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to Heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel! Should it then be thus? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.

Isab.
Alas! alas!
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
And He that might the vantage best have took,
Found out the remedy: how would you be,
If He, which is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that;
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made.

Ang.

Be you content, fair maid; It is the law, not I, condemns your brother: Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

[ocr errors]

[Aside.

It should be thus with him; he must die to-morrow.

Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare

him!

He's not prepared for death! Even for our kitchens
We kill the fowl of season: shall we serve Heaven
With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you:
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
There's many have committed it.
Lucio.

Ay, well said.
Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept:
Those many had not dared to do that evil,
If the first man that did the edict infringe,
Had answered for his deed: now, 'tis awake;
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceived,
And so in progress to be hatched and born,)
Are now to have no successive degrees,
But, where they live, to end.
Isab.

Yet show some pity.
Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice;
For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismissed offence would after gall;
And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong,
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied :
Your brother dies to-morrow: be content.

Isab. So you must be the first, that gives this sentence;
And he, that suffers. O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.
Lucio.

That's well said.
Isab. Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet;
For every pelting, petty officer,
Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder.-
Merciful Heaven!
Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak,
Than the soft myrtle :- But man, proud man!
Dressed in a little brief authority,
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
His glassy essence,

like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high Heaven,
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent;
He's coming ; I perceive't.
Prov.

Pray Heaven, she win him!
Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:
Great men may jest with saints : 'tis wit in them!
But, in the less, foul profanation.

Lucio. Thou'rt in the right, girl; more o' that.

Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

Lucio. Art advised o' that? More on't.
Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me?

Isab. Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the vice o' the top: go to your bosom;
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness, such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.
Ang.

She speaks, and 'tis
Such sense,

that
my sense

breeds with it. Fare you well.
Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back.
Ang. I will bethink me: Come again to-morrow.
Isab. Hark, how I'll bribe you: good my lord, turn back.
Ang. How! Bribe me?
Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that heaven shall share with

you.
Lucio. You had marred all else.

Isab. Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,
Or stones, whose rates are either rich, or poor,
As fancy values them; but with true prayers,
That shall be up at heaven, and enter there,
Ere sunrise; prayers from preserved souls,
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate
To nothing temporal.
Ang.

Well; come to me
To-morrow.

Lucio. Go to; it is well; away. [Aside to ISABEL.
Isab. Heaven keep your honor safe!
Ang.

Amen.
For I am that way going to temptation, [Aside.
Where prayers cross.
Isab.

At what hour to-morrow
Shall I attend your lordship?
Ang.

At any time 'fore noon. Isab. Save your honor!

[Exeunt LUCIO, ISABELLA, and Provost. Ang.

From thee; even from thy virtue.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 sun,

« 上一頁繼續 »