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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.
See you the fornicatress be removed :
Let her have needful, but not lavish, means;
Enter ISABELLA and LUCIO..
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,
Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor
Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done :
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.
him again, entreat him;
Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown :
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.
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
He's sentenced; 'tis too late.
no; I, that do speak a
Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] You are too cold.
If he had been as you and you as he,
You would have slipt like him; but he, like you,
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
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 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
To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, be
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
There's many have committed it.
[Aside to Isab.] Ay, well said.
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,
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,
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
Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] That's well said.
Isab. Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
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
Drest in a little brief authority,
90. Alluding to the legal 96. Either (monosyllabic). maxim: Dormiunt aliquando
leges, moriuntur nunquam.
112. pelting, insignificant.
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
Lucio. [Aside to Isab.] O, to him, to him,
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 ;
heart what it doth
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
[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.