Actus Secundus. Scoena Prima.

Enter Angelo, Escalus, and seruants, Iustice.

Ang. We must not make a scar-crow of the Law, Setting it vp to feare the Birds of prey, And let it keepe one shape, till custome make it Their pearch, and not their terror

Esc. I, but yet Let vs be keene, and rather cut a little Then fall, and bruise to death: alas, this gentleman Whom I would saue, had a most noble father, Let but your honour know (Whom I beleeue to be most strait in vertue) That in the working of your owne affections, Had time coheard with Place, or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of our blood Could haue attaind th' effect of your owne purpose, Whether you had not sometime in your life Er'd in this point, which now you censure him, And puld the Law vpon you

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted (Escalus) Another thing to fall: I not deny The Iury passing on the Prisoners life May in the sworne-twelue haue a thiefe, or two Guiltier then him they try; what's open made to Iustice, That Iustice ceizes; What knowes the Lawes That theeues do passe on theeues? 'Tis very pregnant, The Iewell that we finde, we stoope, and take't, Because we see it; but what we doe not see, We tread vpon, and neuer thinke of it. You may not so extenuate his offence, For I haue had such faults; but rather tell me When I, that censure him, do so offend, Let mine owne Iudgement patterne out my death, And nothing come in partiall. Sir, he must dye.

Enter Prouost.

Esc. Be it as your wisedome will

Ang. Where is the Prouost? Pro. Here if it like your honour

Ang. See that Claudio Be executed by nine to morrow morning, Bring him his Confessor, let him be prepar'd, For that's the vtmost of his pilgrimage

Esc. Well: heauen forgiue him; and forgiue vs all: Some rise by sinne, and some by vertue fall: Some run from brakes of Ice, and answere none, And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter Elbow, Froth, Clowne, Officers.

Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a Common-weale, that doe nothing but vse their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away

Ang. How now Sir, what's your name? And what's the matter? Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poore Dukes Constable, and my name is Elbow; I doe leane vpon Iustice Sir, and doe bring in here before your good honor, two notorious Benefactors

Ang. Benefactors? Well: What Benefactors are they? Are they not Malefactors? Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: But precise villaines they are, that I am sure of, and void of all prophanation in the world, that good Christians ought to haue

Esc. This comes off well: here's a wise Officer

Ang. Goe to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why do'st thou not speake Elbow? Clo. He cannot Sir: he's out at Elbow

Ang. What are you Sir? Elb. He Sir: a Tapster Sir: parcell Baud: one that serues a bad woman: whose house Sir was (as they say) pluckt downe in the Suborbs: and now shee professes a hot-house; which, I thinke is a very ill house too

Esc. How know you that? Elb. My wife Sir? whom I detest before heauen, and your honour

Esc. How? thy wife? Elb. I Sir: whom I thanke heauen is an honest woman

Esc. Do'st thou detest her therefore? Elb. I say sir, I will detest my selfe also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a Bauds house, it is pitty of her life, for it is a naughty house

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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