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Prov. 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.
Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.
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. 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 looked 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,-
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
O r whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
\ 'ho, newly in the seat, that it may know
H e can command, lets it straight feel the spur ;
Vhether the tyranny be in his place,
O r in his eminence that fills it up,
1 stagger in :but this new governor
wakes me all the enrolled penalties,
I h ich have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
S o long, that nineteen zodiacks have gone round,
A nd none of them been worn ; and, for a name,
N ow puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me :-'tis surely, for a name. Lucio. I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders, that a milk-maid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke, and appeal to him. 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
W hen she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.
Lucio. I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the like,
ch else would stand under grievous imposition, as for the enjoying othy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
laud. I thank you, good friend Lucio.
Lucio. Within two hours.
Come, officer, away!
SCENE IV.-A Monastery.
Enter Duke and Friar THOMAS.
Uke. No, holy father; throw away that thought :
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete 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.
May your grace speak of it?
Duke. My holy Sir, none better knows than you,
How I have ever lor'd the life remov'd;
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 to 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 threatening twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight
For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
It rested in your grace
T' unloose this tied-up justice when you pleas'd :
And it in you more dreadful would have seemid,
Than in lord Angelo.
I do fear, too dreadful :
Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
”Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,
When evil deeds have their permissive pass,
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my father,
I have on Angelo impos'd the office;
Who may, in th' ambush of my name, strike home,
And yet my nature never in the fight,
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 prythee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
H ow I may formally in person bear me
L i ke a true friar. More reasons for this action
A t our more leisure shall I render you;
O n ly, this one :-Lord Angelo is precise ;
S tands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
T h at 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.
SCENE V.-A Nunnery.
Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.
Isab. And have you nuns no farther privileges ?
Fran. Are not these large enough ?
Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more ;
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
U p on the sisterhood, the votarists of saint Clare.
Lucio. [Within.] Ho! Peace be in this place!
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.
W hen 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. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is 't that calls ?
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;
he 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,
le should receive his punishment in thanks :
le hath got his friend with child.
Isab. Sir, make me not your story.
Lucio. 'Tis true. I would not—though 'tis my familiar sin With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest, Tongue far from heart-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.
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.
She it is.
Isab. O! let him marry her.
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 his 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,