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Lucio.
Assay the power you have.
Isab. My power? Alas, I doubt-
Lucio.
Our doubts are traitors
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and
kneel,

All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them.
Isab. I'll see what I can do.
Lucio.

But speedily.
Isab. I will about it straight;
No longer staying but to give the mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:
Commend me to my brother soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.
Lucio. I take my leave of you.
Isab.

ACT II.

Good sir, adieu. 90 [Exeunt.

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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 honor. Ang. See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning: Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared ; For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage. [Exit Provost.

Escal. [Aside] Well, heave forgive him! and forgive us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall: Some run from brakes of ice, and answer

none:

And some condemned for a fault alone. 40 Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and POMPEY.

Elb. Come, bring them away if these be good people in a commonweal 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 honor, 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 honor two notorious benefactors.

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

Elb. If it please your honor, 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 ? 60

Pom. 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, plucked 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 honor,70

Escal. How? thy wife?

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

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.

Pom. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.

Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man; prove it.

Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ? 90 Pom. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing, saving your honor's reverence, for stewed prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence; your honors have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes,[sir.

Escal. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, Pom. 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-bellied, 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 I say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again. Froth. No, indeed.

Pom. Very well; you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,—

Froth. Ay, so I did indeed.

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Pom. Why, very well; I telling you then, if you be remembered, 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.

Pom. 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.

Pom. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.

Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.

Pom. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor'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-hallond eve.

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Pom. 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.

Pom. 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,

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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?

Pom. Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.

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

Pom. I beseech your honor, ask me. 150 Escal. Well, sir; what did this gentleman to her ?

Pom. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face. Good Master Froth, look upon his honor; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth your honor mark his face?

Escal Ay, sir, very well.

Pom. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Escal. Well, I do so.

Pom. Doth your honor see any harm in his face ?

Escal. Why, no.

160

Pom. 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 honor.

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.

Pom. 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 has yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child. Pom. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is this true? 181

Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her before I was married to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer. Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.

Escal. If he took you a box o' the ear, you might have your action of slander too. 190 Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is't your worship's pleasure I shall

do with this wicked caitiff?

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 knowest 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. 201

Escal. Where were you born, friend?
Froth. Here in Vienna, sir.

Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?

Froth. Yes, an't please you, sir.

Escal. So. What trade are you of, sir?
Pom. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Your mistress' name?
Mistress Overdone.

Escal. Pom. Escal. Hath she had any more than one husband? 211

Pom. Nine, sir; Overdone 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 tap-house, but I am drawn in.

220 Escal. Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell. [Exit Froth.] Come you hither to me, Master tapster. What's your name, Master tapster? Pom. Pompey. Escal. What else? Pom. Bum, sir.

Escal. Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you color it in being a tapster, are you not? come, tell me true: it shall be the better for you.

Pom. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.

Escal. How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?

Pom. If the law would allow it, sir. Escal. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna. 241 Pom. Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the city?

Escal. No, Pompey.

Pom. 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. Pom. 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 Caesar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt: so, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.

Pom. I thank your worship for your good

counsel [Aside] but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better determine. Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade: The valiant heart is not whipt out of his trade. [Exit. 270 Escal. Come hither to me, Master Elbow ; come hither, Master constable. How long have you been in this place of constable ? Elb. Seven year and a half, sir.

Escal. I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?

Elb. And a half, sir.

Escal. Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you wrong to put you so oft upon 't: are there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it?

Elb. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters as they 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.

Elb. To your worship's house, sir? Escal. To my house. Fare you well. [Exit Elbow.

What's o'clock, think you?

Just. Eleven, sir.

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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 is no remedy. Come, sir. [Exeunt. 290

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[Exit Servant. See you the fornicatress be removed: Let her have needful, but not lavish, means; There shall be order for't.

Enter ISABELLA and LUCIO.

Prov. God save your honor! Ang. Stay a little while. [To Isab.] You're welcome what's your will? Isab. I am a woeful suitor to your honor, Please but your honor hear me.

Ang. Well; what's your suit? Isub. There is a vice that most I do abhor, And most desire should meet the blow of jus

tice;

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Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die: I do beseech you, let it be his fault, And not my brother.

Prov. [Aside] Heaven give thee moving graces!

Ang. Condemn the fault and not the actor of it?

Why, every fault's condemn'd 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.
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Isab.
O just but severe law!
I had a brother, then. Heaven keep your
honor!

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] Give't not o'er so: to him again, entreat 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 :

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And you were Isabel! should it then be thus ? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] Ay, touch him; there's the vein.

70 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 condemn your brother: só Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son, 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.

[Aside to Isab.] 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 that did the edict infringe
Had answer'd for his deed: now 'tis awake

90

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Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,
Drest 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,

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Would all themselves laugh mortal. Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] O, to him, to him, wench! he will relent;

He's coming; I perceive 't.

Prov. [Aside] 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 i the right, girl; more o' that.

Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word,

Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

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Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] Art avised 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

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Isab. Heaven keep your honor safe!
Ang.

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

Isab.

At what hour to-morrow

Shall I attend your lordship?
Ang.
At any time 'fore noon. 160
Isab. 'Save your honor!

[Exeunt Isabella, Lucio, and Provost. Ang. From thee, even from thy virtue! What's this, what's this? Is this her fault or

mine ?

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That I desire to hear her speak again, And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on ?

O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint, 180 With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dac

gerous

Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue: never could the

strumpet,

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