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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 ravin3 down their proper bane) A thirsty evil; and when we drink, we die*. Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest,
ould 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.
[Takes him aside.
3 To ravin is to voraciously devour.
• Like poison'd rats, which, when they've swallowed
And can rest then much less, until they burst. 5 This speech is surely too indelicate to be spoken concerning Juliet before her face, Claudio may therefore be supposed to speak to Lucio apart.
Only for propagation of a dower
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; Or whether that the body public be A horse whereon the governor doth ride, Who, newly in the seat, that it may know He can command, lets it straight feel the spur: Whether the tyranny be in his place, Or in his eminence that fills it up, I stagger in :— But this new governor Awakes me all the enrolled penalties, Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall So long, that nineteen zodiacks have gone round, And none of them been worn; and, for a name, Now 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
6 This singular mode of expression has not been satisfactorily explained. The old sense of the word is 'promoting, inlarging, increasing, spreading.' It appears that Claudio would say: ‘for the sake of promoting such a dower as her friends might hereafter bestow on her, when time had reconciled them to her clandestine marriage. The verb is as obscurely used by Chapman in the Sixteenth book of the Odyssey :
to try if we Alone may propagate to victory
Our bold encounters.' Shakspeare uses • To propagate their states, for to improve or promote their conditions, in Timon of Athens, Act i. Sc. 1.
Zodiacs, yearly circles. 8 Tickle, for ticklish.
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 prythee, 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 10 and speechless dialect, Such as moves men; besides, she hath prosperous art When she will play with reason and discourse, And well she can persuade. Lucio. I
may: as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition; as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost
of tick-tack 11. I'll to her.
at a game
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 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. Fri.
May your grace speak of it?
9 i. e. enter on her noviciate or probation.
Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd”; And held in idle price to haunt assemblies, Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps 3. I have delivered to lord Angelo (A man of stricture 4 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 headstrong steeds), Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep; Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave, That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers, Having bound up the threatning 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. Fri.
It rested in your grace To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd : And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd, Than in Lord Angelo. Duke.
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,
2 i. e. retired.
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my
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 5 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.
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 sisterhood, 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,
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;
5 i. e. on his defence.