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Sc. II

Than the soft myrtle! O, but man, proud man,
Dress'd in a little brief authority,

Most ignorant of what he's most assur❜d—
His glassy essence-like an angry ape,

Plays such fantastic tricks before high Heaven

As make the Angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal!1

LUCIO. [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 yourself:
Great men may jest with Saints: 'tis wit in them,
But in the less foul profanation.

LUCIO. [to ISAB.] Thou'rt in the right, girl: more o' that!
ISAB. That in the captain's but a choleric word,
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.


LUCIO. [aside.] Art advis'd 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 bosom ;
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness, such as is his,

Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.


ANG. [aside.]

She speaks, and 'tis

Such sense, that my sense3 breeds with it.-Fare you [to ISABELLA.


LUCIO. [aside.] You had marr'd all else.
ISAB. Not with fond* sickles of the tested gold,
Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor
As fancy values them: but with true prayers,
That shall be up at Heaven, and enter there


ISAB. Gentle my Lord, turn back.

ANG. I will bethink me. Come again to-morrow.

ISAB. Hark how I'll bribe you! Good my Lord, turn back.
ANG. HOW! bribe me?

ISAB. Ay, with such gifts that Heaven shall share with


1 to death. 2 as with a wound. 8 amorous impulse. 4 foolish.


5 shekels.

Ere sunrise; prayers from preserved souls,
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate
To nothing temporal.


Well: come to me to-morrow.
LUCIO. [aside to ISABELLA.] Go to; it is well: away.
ISAB. Heaven keep your Honour safe!
ANG. [aside.]

Amen, for I

Am that way going to temptation,
Where prayers cross.1

Shall I attend your Lordship?

ISAB. God save your Honour!
[Exeunt LUCIO, ISABELLA, and Provost.
From thee; even from thy virtue!
What's this? what's this? Is this her fault, or mine?
The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most? Ha!
Not she; nor doth she tempt: but it is I,

That, lying by the violet in the Sun,
Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
That modesty may more betray our sense2

Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,
Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary,

At what hour to-morrow


any time 'fore noon.

And pitch our evils3 there? O, fie, fie, fie!
What dost thou? or what art thou, Angelo?
Dost thou desire her foully for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
Thieves for their robbery have authority,



When judges steal themselves. What! do I love her,
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,

With saints doth bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on

To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet,
With all her double vigour, Art and Nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. Ever, till now,

When men were fond, I smil'd, and wonder'd how. [exit.

1 bar the path.

2 appetite,

3 privies.


Sc. II


SCENE III. A Room in a Prison.

Enter DUKE and Provost.

DUKE. Hail to you, Provost! so I think you are?
PROV. I am the Provost. What's your will, good Friar?
DUKE. Bound by my charity and my bless'd Order,

I come to visit the afflicted spirits

Here in the Prison. Do me the common right

To let me see them, and to make me know

The nature of their crimes, that I may minister
To them accordingly.

PROV. I would do more than that, if more were needful.


Look, here comes one; a gentlewoman of mine,
Who, falling in the flaws1 of her own youth,
Hath blister'd her report. She is with child,
And he that got it, sentenc'd: a young man
More fit to do another such offence

Than die for this.

When must he die?
PROV. As I do think, to-morrow.

[to JULIET.] I have provided for you: stay awhile,
And you shall be conducted.

DUKE. Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
JUL. I do; and bear the shame most patiently.

DUKE. I'll teach you how you shall arraign your con


And try your penitence, if it be sound

Or hollowly put on.

I'll gladly learn.
DUKE. Love you the man that wrong'd you?
JUL. Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.
DUKE. So then, it seems, your most offenceful act
Was mutually committed?





DUKE. Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.
JUL. I do confess it, and repent it, Father.

DUKE. 'Tis meet so, Daughter. But lest you do repent, 30

As that the sin hath brought you to this shame—

1 A sudden gust. (Cf. The Tempest, 1. ii. 324-5.)

Which sorrow is always toward ourselves, not Heaven;
Shewing we'd not serve Heaven as we love it,
But as we stand in fear-

JUL. I do repent me, as it is an evil;

And take the shame with joy. DUKE.

There rest.1 Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow, And I am going with instruction to him.

JUL. God's grace go with you!


Benedicite! JUL. Must die to-morrow! O injurious Law, That respites me a life whose very comfort Is still a dying horror!


"Tis pity of him.

SCENE IV. A Room in ANGELO'S House.


ANG. When I would pray and think, I think and pray
To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words,
Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
Anchors on Isabel: Heaven in my mouth,
As if I did but only chew His name;

And in my heart the strong and swelling evil

Of my conception. The State, whereon I studied,
Is, like a good thing being often read,
Grown sear'd and tedious; yea, my gravity,
Wherein (let no man hear me) I take pride,
Could I with boot2 change for an idle plume,
Which the air beats for vane. O Place! O Form!
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,
Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls
To thy false seeming! Blood, thou still art blood!
Let's write Good Angel on the Devil's horn,
"Tis not the Devil's crest-

[blocks in formation]



One Isabel, a Sister,

2 profit.






Sc. IV


Teach her the way. [Exit Servant.

O, Heavens!

Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,

Both making it unable for itself,

And dispossessing all the other parts

Of necessary fitness?

So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons :
Come all to help him, and so stop the air

By which he should revive; and even so
The general,1 subject to a well-wish'd King,
Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
Must needs appear offence.


How now, fair maid?
I am come to know your pleasure.
ANG. That you might know it would much better please

ISAB. When, I beseech you? that in his reprieve,
Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted

That his soul sicken not.

ANG. Ha! Fie, these filthy vices! It were as good
To pardon him, that hath from Nature stolen
A man already made, as to remit

Their saucy sweetness, that do coin Heaven's image
In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easy

Falsely to take away a life true made


Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live. ISAB. Even so?-Heaven keep your Honour! [retiring. ANG. Yet may he live awhile; and, it may be,

As long as you, or I : yet he must die.

ISAB. Under your sentence?

ANG. Yea.

As to put mettle in restrained means
To make a false one.


ISAB. "Tis set down so in Heaven, but not in Earth.
ANG. Say you so? Then I shall pose you quickly.
Which had you rather: that the most just Law
Now took your brother's life? or, to redeem him,

I multitude.




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