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Re-enter Servant.

Serv. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd

Desires access to you.


Hath he a sister?

Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid, And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

If not already.


Well, let her be admitted.

[Exit Servant.

See you the fornicatress be removed :

Let her have needful, but not lavish, means;
There shall be order for 't.




God save your honour!

Ang. Stay a little while.

[To Isab.] You're

welcome: what's your will?

Isab. I am a woeful suitor to your honour,

Please but your honour hear me.


Well; what's your suit?

Isab. There is a vice that most I do abhor,

And most desire should meet the blow of justice; 30

For which I would not plead, but that I must;

For which I must not plead, but that I am

At war 'twixt will and will not.


Well; the matter?

Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die: I do beseech you, let it be his fault,

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Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor

of it?

Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done :
Mine were the very cipher of a function,

To fine the faults whose fine stands in record,

And let go by the actor.


O just but severe law ! Heaven keep your honour! Give 't not o'er so: to

I had a brother, then.
Lucio. [Aside to Isab.]

him again, entreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown :
You are too cold; if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say!

Isab. Must he needs die?


Maiden, no remedy.

Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon


And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.
Ang. I will not do 't.


But can you, if you would? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. Isab. But might you do 't, and do the world no


If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse
As mine is to him?


He's sentenced; 'tis too late.

no; I, that do speak a

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] You are too cold.
Isab. Too late? why,

May call it back again. Well, believe this,
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does.

If he had been as you and you as he,

You would have slipt like him; but he, like you,
Would not have been so stern.


Pray you, be gone.




Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel! should it then be thus ? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] Ay, touch him; there's

the vein.

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.


Alas, alas! Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once; And He that might the vantage best have took Found out the remedy. How would you be, If He, which is the top of judgement, should But judge you as you are? O, think on that; And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Like man new made.


Be you content, fair maid;
It is the law, not I condemn your brother:
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him: he must die to


Isab. To-morrow! O, that's sudden! Spare

him, spare him!

He's not prepared for death.


Even for our

We kill the fowl of season: shall we serve heaven
With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, be

think you;

Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.


[Aside to Isab.] Ay, well said.

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ceived as suddenly starting into existence in Angelo like the child's first breath.

85. of season, when it is fit for killing.

Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it

hath slept :

Those many had not dared to do that evil,

If the first that did the edict infringe

Had answer'd for his deed: now 'tis awake,
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,
Either new, or by remissness new-conceived,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,
Are now to have no súccessive degrees,

But, ere they live, to end.


Yet show some pity.

Ang. I show it most of all when I show justice; For then I pity those I do not know,

Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;

And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,
Lives not to act another.

Be satisfied;

Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

Isab. So you must be the first that gives this sentence,

And he, that suffers. O, it is excellent

To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] That's well said.

Isab. Could great men thunder

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting, petty officer

Would use his heaven for thunder;

Nothing but thunder! Merciful Heaven,

Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt

Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
Than the soft myrtle: but man, proud man,

Drest in a little brief authority,

90. Alluding to the legal 96. Either (monosyllabic). maxim: Dormiunt aliquando

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leges, moriuntur nunquam.

112. pelting, insignificant.

Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
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.

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] O, to him, to him,
wench! he will relent;

He's coming; I perceive 't.


[Aside] Pray heaven she win him! Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself: Great men may jest with saints; 'tis wit in them, But in the less foul profanation.


Lucio. Thou 'rt i' the right, girl; more o' that. Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word, 130 Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] Art avised o' that? more


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

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.


[Aside] She speaks, and 'tis Such sense, that my sense breeds with it.-Fare you well.

Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back.

120. glassy, resembling a mirror both in reflecting power and in frailty.

122. spleens. The spleen was regarded as the organ of

mirth as well as of ill-humour. 132. avised, assured.


136. skins, covers with a skin. 142. my sense breeds with it, it begets new thoughts in me.

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