Immagini della pagina

Measure for Measure.


Scene I.

An apartment in the Duke's palace.

Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords and Attendants. Duke. Escalus.

Escal. My lord.

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,

Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
Since I am put to know that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice

My strength can give you: then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency [you add
Due diligency] as your worth is able,

And let them work. The nature of our people,


Our city's institutions, and the terms

For common justice, you're as pregnant in

As art and practice hath enriched any

That we remember. There is our commission,

From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,



bid come before us Angelo. [Exit an Attendant.

What figure of us think you he will bear?

For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;

Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love,
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: what think you of it?


Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth

To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.


Look where he comes.

Enter Angelo.

Ang. Always obedient to your Grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.



There is a kind of character in thy life,
That to th' observer doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own 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 virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike


As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd

But to fine issues; nor Nature never lends

The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,

Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech

To one that can my part in him advertise;

Hold therefore, Angelo :

In our remove be thou at full ourself;

Mortality and mercy in Vienna

Live in thy tongue and heart: old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.

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 honours.
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
Of your commissions.

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 honour, have to do

With any scruple; your scope 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
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 purposes!
Escal. Lead forth and bring you back in happiness!
Duke. I thank you. Fare you well.

Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave





To have free speech with you; and it concerns me

To look into the bottom of my place:

A power I have, but of what strength and nature 80
I am not yet instructed.

[blocks in formation]

Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.

Lucio. 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 peace, but 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.

[blocks in formation]

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

Sec. Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it.
Lucio. I believe thee; for I think thou never wast

where grace was said.



Sec. Gent. No? a dozen times at least.
First Gent. What, in metre?

Lucio. In any proportion or in any language.
First Gent. I think, or in any religion.

Lucio. Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.

First Gent. Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.

Lucio. I grant; as there may between the lists and the 30 velvet. Thou art the list.

First Gent. And thou the velvet: thou art good

velvet; thou 'rt a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an English kersey, as be piled, as thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now? Lucio. I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee. First Gent. I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?

Sec. Gent. Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.

Lucio. Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes ! I have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to

Sec. Gent. To what, I pray?

Lucio. Judge.

Sec. Gent. To three thousand dolours a year.

First Gent. Ay, and more.

Lucio. A French crown more.



« IndietroContinua »