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Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness
As she that he hath stain'd?
Sir, believe this:
I had rather give my body than my soul.
ANG. I talk not of your soul. Our compell'd sins
Stand more for number than accompt.
How say you?
ANG. Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak
Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
I, now the voice of the recorded Law,
Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life;
Might there not be a charity in sin
To save this brother's life?
I'll take it as a peril to my soul:
It is no sin at all, but charity.
ANG. Pleas'd you to do 't at peril of your soul,
"Twere equal poise of sin and charity.
ISAB. That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Heaven let me bear it!-You granting of my suit,
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn-prayer
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of you answer. ANG.
Nay, but hear me.
Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ignorant,
Or seem so-craftily; and that's not good.
ISAB. Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good
But graciously to know I am no better.
ANG. Thus Wisdom wishes to appear most bright,
When it doth tax itself: as these black masks
Proclaim an enshield1 beauty ten times louder
Than beauty could display'd!-But mark me.
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross :
Your brother is to die.
ANG. And his offence is so, as it appears,
Accountant to the Law upon that pain.
ANG. Admit no other way to save his life (As I subscribe not that, nor any other,
But in the loss of question1), that you, his sister,
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person,
Whose credit with the Judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-binding Law; and that there were
No earthly mean to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this suppos'd, or else to let him suffer-
What would you do?
ISAB. As much for my poor brother, as myself.
That is, were I under the terms of death,
If not a foedary, but only he
Owe, and succeed this weakness.
Nay, women are frail too.
ISAB. Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves,
Which are as easy broke as they make forms.
1 way of talk.
3 take after.
Women!-Help Heaven!-Men their creation mar
In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail;
For we are soft as our complexions are,
And credulous to false prints.1
I think it well,
And from this testimony of your own sex
(Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger
Than faults may shake our frames), let me be bold:
I do arrest your words. Be that you are,
That is, a woman: if you be more, you 're none;
If you be one (as you are well express'd
By all external warrants), shew it now
By putting on the destin❜d livery.
ISAB. I have no tongue but one: gentle my Lord,
Let me entreat you speak the former language.
ANG. Plainly conceive, I love you.
My brother did
Love Juliet, and you tell me he shall die for 't.
ANG. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
ISAB. I know, your virtue hath a licence in 't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is
To pluck on others.
Believe me, on mine honour,
My words express my purpose.
ISAB. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd,
Who will believe thee, Isabel?
My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i' the State.
Will so your accusation overweigh
That shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race3 the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
And most pernicious purpose!-Seeming, seeming !2—
I will proclaim thee, Angelo: look for 't!
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Or with an outstretch'd throat I'll tell the world aloud
What man thou art.
3 company (or herd) of lusts.
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance. Answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for
Say what you can; my false o'erweighs your true. [exit.
ISAB. To whom should I complain? Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!
Bidding the Law make court'sy to their will!
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:
Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour
That, had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, Brother, die:
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death for his soul's rest.
SCENE I. A Room in the Prison.
But only hope:
I have hope to live, and am prepar❜d to die.
DUKE. Be absolute for death: either death or life
Enter DUKE, CLAUDIO, and Provost.
DUKE. So, then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?
CLAUD. The miserable have no other medicine,
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with Life:
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art
(Servile to all the skyey influences),
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,1
Hourly afflict. Merely, thou art Death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble ;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nurs'd by baseness. Thou art by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast forgett'st. Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange affects,
After the Moon. If thou art rich, thou 'rt poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And Death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee Sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo,2 and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor
To sue to live, I find I seek to And, seeking death, find life. ISAB. [without.] What, ho!
But as it were an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths;
That makes these odds all even.
yet Death we fear, 40
Let it come on.
Peace here; Grace and
good company! PROV. Who's there? Come in: the wish deserves a