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your wife ?
Derived from the ancient Capilet :
these women ? Ber. My lord, I neither can nor will deny But that I know them : do they charge me
further ? Dia. Why do you look so strange upon Ber. She's none of mine, my lord. Dia
If you shall marry, You give away this hand, and that is mine ; You give away heaven's vows, and those are mine;
171 You give away myself, which is known mine; For I by vow am so embodied yours, That she which marries you must marry me, Either both or none.
Lat. Your reputation comes too short for my daughter ; you are no husband for her. Ber. My lord, this is a fond and desperate
creature, Whom sometime I have laugh'd with : let your highness
179 Lay a inore noble thought upon mine honor Than for to think that I would sink it here, King. Sir, for my thoughts, you have them
ill to friend Till your deeds gain them: fairer prove your
honor Than in my thought it lies. Dia.
Good my lord,'
King. What say'st thou to her ?
She's impudent, my lord, And was a common gamester to the camp. Dia. He does me wrong, my lord ; if I were
So, He might have bought me at a common price: Do not believe him. O, behold this ring, Whose high respect and rich validity Did lack a parallel ; yet for all that He gave it to a commoner o' the camp, If I be one.
Count. He blushes, and 'tis it : Of six preceding ancestors, that gem, Conferr'd by testament to the sequent issue, Hath it been owed and worn. This is his
With all the spots o' the world tax'd and de.
bosh'd; Whose nature sickens but to speak a truth. Am I or that or this for what he'll utter, That will speak any thing? King.
She hath that ring of yours. Ber. I think she has : certain it is I liked her,
210 And boarded her i' the wanton way of youth : She knew her distance and did angle for me, Madding my eagerness with her restraint, As all impediments in fancy's course Are motives of more fancy; and, in fine, Her iofinite cunning, with her modern grace, Subdued mc to her rate : she got the ring ; And I had that which any inferior might At market-price have bought. Dia.
I must be patient : You, that have turn'd off a first so noble wife,
220 May justly diet me. I pray you yet; Since you lack virtue, I will lose a husband ; Send for your ring, I'will return it home, And give me mine again. Ber.
I have it not. King. What ring was yours, I pray you ? Dia.
Sir, much like The same upon your finger. King. Know you this ring ? this ring was his of late.
(abed. Dia. And this was it I gave him, being King. The story then goes false, you threw
it' him Out of a casement. Dia.
I have spoke the truth. 230
Enter PAROLLES. Ber. My lord, I do confess the ring was
hers. King. You boggle shrewdly, every feather Is this the inan you speak of ? Dia,
Ay, my lord. King. Tell me, sirrah, but tell me true, I
charge you, Not fearing the displeasure of your master, Which on your just proceeding I'll keep off, By him and by this woman here what know
Par. So please your majesty, my master hath been an honorable gentleman : tricks he hath had in him, which gentlemen have. 240
King. Come, come, to the purpose : did be love this woman ?
Par. Faith, sir, he did love her; but how? King. How, I pray you?
Par. He did love her, sir, as a gentleman loves a woman.
King. How is that ? Par. He loved her, sir, and loved her not King. As thou art a knave, and no knave, What an equivocal companion is this ! 250
Par. I am a poor man, and at your majesty's command.
Laf. He's a good drum, my lord, but . naughty orator.
That ring's a thousand proofs.
Methought you said You saw one here in court could witness it. Dia. I did, my lord, but loath am to produce
201 So bad an instrument : his name's Parolles.
Laf. I saw the man to-day, if man he be. King. Find him, and bring him hither.
[Exit an Attendant. Ber.
What of him ? He's quoted for a most perfidious slave,
Dia. Do you know he promised me mar.
riage ? Par. Faith, I know more than I'll speak. King. But wilt thou not speak all thou
knowest? Par. Yes, so please your majesty. I did go between them, as I said ; but more than that, he ioved her : for indeed he was mad for her, and talked of Satan and of Limbo and of Furies and I know not what: yet I was in that credit with them at that time that I knew of their going to bed, and of other motions, as promising her marriage, and things which would derive me ill will to speak of; therefore I will not speak what I know.
King. Thou hast spoken all already, unless thou canst say they are married : but thou art too fine iu thy evidence ; therefore stand aside. This ring, you say, was yours ?
Ay, my good lord. King. Where did you buy it? or who gave
it you ? Dia. it was not given me, nor I did not buy
it. King. Who lent it you ? Dia.
It was not lent me neither. King. Where did you find it, then ? Dia.
I found it not. King. If it were yours by none of all these
ways, How could you give it him ? Dia,
I never gave it him. Laf. This woman's an easy glove, my lord; she goes off and on at pleasure. King. This ring was mine ; I gave it his first wife.
280 Dia. It might be yours or hers, for aught I
know. King. Take her away; I do not like her
now; To prison with her : and away with him. Unless thou tell’st me where thou hadst this
ring, Thou diest within this hour. Dia.
I'll never tell you. King. Take her away. Dia.
I'll put in bail, my liege. King. I think thee now some common cus
tomer. Dia. By Jove, if ever I knew man, 'twas
you. King. Wherefore hast thou accused him all
this while ? Dia. Because he's guilty, and he is not guilty:
290 He knows I am no maid, and he'll swear to't; I'll swear I am a maid, and he knows not. Great king, I am no strumpet, by my life; I am either maid, or else this old man's wife. King. She does abuse our ears : to prison
with her. Dia. Good mother, fetch my bail. Stay, royal sir :
[Exit Widow. The jeweller that owes the ring is sent for, And he shall surety me. But for this lord, Wbo bnth abused me, as he knows himself
Though yet he never harm'd me, here I quit him:
300 He knows himself my bed he hath defiled ; And at that time he got his wife with child : Dead though she be, she feels her young one
kick: So there's my riddle: one that's dead is quick: And now behold the meaning.
Re-enter Widow, with HELENA. King.
Is there no exorcist
No, my good lord ;
Both, both. O, pardon! Hel. O my good lord, when I was like this maid,
310 I found you wondrous kind. There is your And, look you, here's your letter; this it says:
When from my finger you can get this ring And are by me with child,' &c. This is done: Will you be mine, now you are doubly won ? Ber. If she, my liege, can make me know
this clearly, I'll love her dearly, ever, ever dearly. llel. If it appear not plain and prove un
true, Deadly divorce step between me and you ! O my dear mother, do I see you living ?
320 Laf. Mine eyes smell cnions ; I shall weep
anon : [To Parolles] Good Tom Drum, lend me a handkercher :
: 80, I tiank thee: wait on me home, I'll make sport
with thee : Let thy courtesies alone, they are scurvy ones. King. Let us from point to point this story
know, To make the eren truth in pleasure flow. [To Diana) If thou be'st yet a fresh uncropped
flower, Choose thou thy husband, and I'll pay thy
dower ; For I can guess that by thy honest aid Thon keep'st a wife herself, thyself a maid. Of that and all the progress, more or less, 331 Resolvedly more leisure shall express : All yet seems well ; and if it end so meet, The bitter past, more welcome is the sweet.
EPILOGUE. King. The king's a beggar, now the play is
done : All is well ended, if this suit be won, That you express content; which we will pay, With strife to please you, day exceeding day: Ours be your patience the and yours our
parts ; Your gentle hands lend us, and take our hearts.
(WRITTEN ABOUT 1603.)
This is one of the darkest and most painful of the comedies of Shakespeare, but its darkness is lit by the central figure of Isabella, with her white passion of purity and of indignation against sin, The play deals with deep things of our humanity-with righteousness and charity, with self-deceit, and moral weakness and strength, even with life and death themselves. All that is soft, melodious, romantic, has disappeared from the style; it shows a fearless viror, penetrating imagination, and much intellectual force and boldness. Its late is uncertain. Two passages (Aet I., Sc. I, L, 68-73, and Act II., Sc. IV., L. 21-2:9) have been conjectured to contain a courtly apology for King James 1.'s stately and ungracious demeanor on his entry into England;” and possibly the revival in 1601 of a statute which punished wiih death any divorced person who married again while his or her foriner husband or wife was living, may have added point to one chief incident in the play. Shakespeare took the story from Whetstone's play Promos and Cassandra (1578), and the prose telling of the tale by the same author in his lep'ameron or Civil Discourses (1782). Whetstone's original was a story in the Hecatomithi of Giraldi Cinthio. Shakespeare alters some of the incidents, making the Duke present in disguise througliout, preserving the honor of the heroine, and introducing the character of Mariana to take her wifely place by Angelo as a substitute for Isabella. Measure for Misure, like The Merchant of Venice, is remarkable for its great pleading scenes ; and to Portia's ardor and intellectual force Isabella adels a noble severity of character, a devotion to an ideal of rectitu«le and purity, and a religious enthusiasm. in Vienna, “ where corruption boils and bubbles," appears this figure of virginal strength and uprightness; at the last she is to preside over the sinful city and perhaps to save it. She is almost" a thing ensky'd and sainted,” yet she returns from the cloisier to the world, there to fill her place as wife and Duchess. Angelo, at the outset, though he must be conscious of the wrong he has done to his betrothed, is more self-deceived than a deceiver. He does not know his own heart, and is severe against others in his imagined superiority to every possible temptation, A terrible abyss is opened to him in the evil passion of his own nature. The umasking of the self-deceiver is not here, as in the happy comedies, a piece of the mirth of the play; it is painful and stern. The Duke acts throughout as a kind of overruling providence; he has the wiselom of the serpent, which he uses for good ends, and he looks through life with a steadly gaze, which results in a justice and even tenderness towards others. Claudio is maile chiefly to be saved by his sister, but he has a grace of youth and a clinging enjoyment of life anal love, which interest us in him suficiently for pity if not for admiration. The minor characters possess each leis characteris: ie feature, but are less important individually than as representatives of the wide-spread social corruption and degraılation which surround the chief characters, and form the soil on which they move and the air they breathe. “We never throughout the play get into the free open joyous atmosphere, so invigorating in other works of Shakespeare ; the oppressive gloom of the prison, the foul breath of the house of shane, are only exchanged for the chilly damp of conventual walls, or the oppressive retirement of the monastery."
VINCENTIO, the Duke.
POMPEY, servant to Mistress Overdone
SCENE : Vienna
mains, But that to your sufficiency.....
• as your worth is able,
[Exit an Attendant.
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
Look where he comes.
Enter ANGELO. Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure. Duke.
Angelo, There is a kind of character in thy life, That to the observer doth thy history Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings 30 Are not thine owu so proper as to waste Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee. Heaven doth with us as we with torches do, Not light them for themselves ; for if our vir
tues Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely
Now, good my lord, Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure Be stamp'd upon it.
No more evasion : We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honors. 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 importune, 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 60 Of your commissions. Ång.
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 honor, have to do With any scruple ; yourscope 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 70 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 pur
poses ! Escál. Lead forth and bring you back in
happiness! Duke. "I'thank you. Fare you well. [Erit. Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
[cerns me To have free speech with you ; and it conTo look into the bottom of my place : A power I have, but of what strength and nature
80 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 honor. [Ereunt.
SCENE II. A street. Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen. Luicio. 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.
First Gent. Heaven grant us its not the King of Hungary's !
Sec. Gent. Amen. Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
Sec. Gent. 'Thou shalt not steal'? 10
First 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, do relish the petition well that prays for peace.
Sec. Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike
Lucio. I believe thee ; for I think thou First Gent. But, most of all, agreeing with never wast where grace was said. 20 the proclamation.
81 Sec. Gent. No? a dozen times at least.
Lucio. Away! let's go learn the truth of it. First Gent. What, in metre ?
[Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen. Lucio. Inany proportion or in any language. Mrs. Ov. Thus, what with the war, what First Gent. I think, or in any religion. with the sweat, what with the gallows and
Lucio. Ay, why not? Grace is grace, de- what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk. spite of all controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.
Enter POMPEY. First Gent. Well, there went but a pair of How now! what's the news with you ? shears between us.
Pom. Yonder man is carried to prison. Lucio. I grant ; as there may between the Mrs. Ov. Well ; what has he done? lists and the velvet Thou art the list, 31 Pom. A woman.
First Gent. And thou the velvet : thou art Mrs. Ov. But what's his offence ? 90 good velvet ; thou’rt a three-piled piece, I war- Pom. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. rant thee : I had as lief be a list of an English Mrs. Ov. What, is there a maid with child kersey as be piled, as thou art piled, for a
by him? French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now? Pom. No, but there's a woman with maid
Lucio. I think thou dost ; and, indeed, with by him. You have not heard of the proclamamost painful feeling of thy speech : I will, out tion, have you ? of thine own confession, learn to begin thy Mrs. Ov. What proclamation, man ? health ; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after Pom. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna thee.
40 must be plucked down. First Gent. I think I have done myself Mrs. Ov. And what shall become of those wrong, have I not?
in the city ?
101 Sec. Gent. Yes, that thou hast, whether Pom. "They shall stand for seed : they had tholl art tainted or free,
gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in Lucro, Behold, behold, where Madam for them. Mitigation comes! I have purchased as many Mrs. Ov. But shall all our houses of resort diseases under her roof as come to
in the suburbs be pulled down? Sec. Gent. To what, I pray ?
Pom. To the ground, mistress. Lucro. Judge.
Mrs. Or. Why, here's a change indeed in the Sec. Gent. To three thousand dolors a year. commonwealth! What shall become of me? First Gent. Ay, and more.
51 Pom. Come ; fear you not : good counselLucio. A French crown more.
lors lack no clients : though you change your First Gent. Thou art always figuring place, you need not change your trade; I'll be diseases in me; but thou art full of error ; your tapster still. Courage! there will be pity am sound.
taken on you : you that have worn your eyes Lucio. Nay, not as one would say, healthy ; almost out in the service, you will be considbut so sound as things that are hollow : thy ered. bones are hollow ; impiety has made a feast of Mrs. Ov. What's to do here, Thomas tapthee.
ster ? let's withdraw. Enter MISTRESS OVERDONE.
Pom. Ilere comes Signior Claudio, led by First Gent. How now! which of your hips the provost to prison ; and there's Madam nas the most profound sciatica ?
[Eseunt. Mrs. Ov. Well, well ; there's one yonder ar- Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and rested and carried to prison was worth five
Officers. thousand of you all.
Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me Sec. Gent. Who's that, I pray thee?
thus to the world ?
120 Mrs. 01. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior
Bear me to prison, where I am committed. Claudio.
Prov. I do it not in evil disposition, Fust Gent. Claudio to prison ? 'tis not so.
But from Lord Angelo by special charge. Mrs. 01. Nay, but I know 'tis so : I saw him arrested, saw himn carried away ; and,
Claud. Thus can the demigod Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight which is more, within these three days his
The words of heaven ; on whom it will, it will; head to be chopped off.
On whom it will not, so ; yet still 'tis just. Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou sure of this ?
Re-enter Lucio and tro Gentlemen. Mrs. R. I am too sure of it: and it is for Lucio Why, how now, Claudio ! whence getting Madam Julietta with child.
comes this restraint ? Lucio. Believe me, this may be : he prom- Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, ised to meet me two hours since, and he was liberty: ever precise in promise-keeping.
As surfeit is the father of much fast, Sec. Gent. Besides, you know, it draws some- So every scope by the immoderate use thing near to the speech we had to such a pur- Turns to restraint. Our natures do parsue, pose.
(Like cats that ravin down their proper bane,