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Cannot but yield you forth to publick thanks,
Forerunning more requital.

Ang. You make my bonds still greater.
Duke. O, your desert speaks loud; and I should

wrong it,
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
When it deserves with characters of brass
A forted residence, ’gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of oblivion : Give me your hand,
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within.--Come, Escalus;
You must walk by us on our other hand ;-
And good supporters are you.

Peter and ISABELLA come forward.
F. Peter. Now is your time; speak loud, and

kneel before him.
Isab. Justice, () royal duke! Vaild your regard
Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid!
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye
By throwing it on any other object,
Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me, justice, justice, justice, justice!
Duke. Relate your wrongs: In what? By whom?

Be brief:
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice!
Reveal yourself to him.

0, worthy duke,
You bid me seek redemption of the devil:
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak
Must either punish me, not being believ'd,
Or wring redress from you; hear me, 0,


me, here. Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:

1 To vail is to lower, to let fall, to cast down,


She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,
Cut off by course of justice.

By course of justice! Ang. And she will speak most bitterly, and strange.

Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak: That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange? That Angelo's a murderer; is't not strange? That Angelo is an adulterous thief, An hypocrite, a virgin-violator; Is it not strange, and strange? Duke.

Nay, ten times strange. Isab. It is not truer he is Angelo, Than this is all as true as it is strange: Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth To the end of reckoning. Duke.

Away with her:-Poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.

Isab. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world, That thou neglect me not, with that opinion That I am touch'd with madness: make not impos

sible That which but seems unlike: 'tis not impossible, But one, the wicked’st caitiff on the ground, May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute, As Angelo; even so may Angelo, In all his dressings?, characts", titles, forms, Be an arch-villain: believe it, royal prince, If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more, Had I more name for badness. Duke.

By mine honesty,

2 i. e. habiliments of office.

3 Characts are distinctive marks or characters. A statute of Edward VI. directs the seals of office of every bishop to have 'certain characts under the king's arms for the knowledge of the diocess.'

If she be mad (as I believe no other),
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.

0, gracious duke,
Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality 4: but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear, where it seems hid;
And hide the false, seems true 5.

Many that are not mad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.—What would you

say? Isab. I am the sister of one Claudio, Condemn'd


the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo:
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother: One Lucio
As then the messenger ;

That's I, an't like your grace:
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo,
For her poor brother's pardon.

That's he, indeed. Duke. You were not bid to speak. Lucio.

No, my good lord; Nor wish'd to hold my peace. Duke.

I wish you now then; Pray you, take note of it: and when you have A business for yourself, pray heaven you then Be perfect.

Lucio. I warrant your honour. 4 The meaning appears to be do not suppose me mad because I speak inconsistently or unequally.'

5 I must say with Mr. Steevens that 'I do not profess to understand these words. Mr. Phelps proposes to read · And hid, the false seems true. i. e. “The truth being hid, not discovered or made known, what is false seems true.'


you are in the

Duke. The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it.
Isab. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.
Lucio. Right.
Duke. It be right; but

wrong To speak before your time.- Proceed. Isab.

I went
To this pernicious caitiff deputy.

Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken.

Pardon it: The phrase is to the matter 6.

Duke. Mended again: the matter ;-Proceed.

Isab. In brief,—to set the needless process by, How I persuaded, how I pray’d, and kneeld, How he refelld? me, and how I reply'd; (For this was of much length), the vile conclusion I now begin with grief and shame to utter: He would not, but by gift of my chaste body To his concupiscible intemperate lust, Release

my brother; and, after much debatement, My sisterly remorse8 confutes mine honour, And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes, His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant For my poor brother's head. Duke.

This is most likely! Isab. O, that it were as like as it is true!! Duke. By heaven, fond 10 wretch, thou know'st

not what thou speak’st; Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour, In hateful practice 11: First, his integrity

6 i. e. suited to the matter; as in Hamlet: 'the phrase would be more german to the matter.' ? Refell’d is refuted.

8 Remorse is pity. 9 The meaning appears to be O, that it had as much of the likeness or appearance, as it has of the reality of truth.'

10 i. e. foolish.

11 Practice was used by the old writers for any insidious stratagem or treachery.

Stands without blemish:-next, it imports no reason,
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself,
And not have cut him off : Some one hath set you on;
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Thou cam'st here to complain.

And is this all ?
Then, oh, you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, with ripend time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up
In countenance 12!—Heaven shield your grace from

woe, As I, thus wrong’d, hence unbelieved go!

Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone:- An officer! To prison with her:-Shall we thus permit A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall On him so near us? This needs must be a practice. -Who knew of your intent, and coming hither?

Isab. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick. Duke. A ghostly father, belike :—Who knows

that Lodowick? Lucio. My lord, I know him ; 'tis a meddling friar; I do not like the man: bad he been lay, my lord, For certain words he spake against your grace In

your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly. Duke. Words against me? This a good friar be

like! And to set on this wretched woman here Against our substitute !—Let this friar be found.

Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar, A very scurvy

fellow. F, Peter.

Blessed be your royal grace! I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard 12 i. e. false appearance.



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