Actus Tertius. Scena Prima.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Prouost.

Du. So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo? Cla. The miserable haue no other medicine But onely hope: I'haue hope to liue, and am prepar'd to die

Duke. Be absolute for death: either death or life Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life: If I do loose thee, I do loose a thing That none but fooles would keepe: a breath thou art, Seruile to all the skyie-influences That dost this habitation where thou keepst Hourely afflict: Meerely, thou art deaths foole, For him thou labourst by thy flight to shun, And yet runst toward him still. Thou art not noble, For all th' accommodations that thou bearst, Are nurst by basenesse: Thou'rt by no meanes valiant, For thou dost feare the soft and tender forke Of a poore worme: thy best of rest is sleepe, And that thou oft prouoakst, yet grosselie fearst Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thy selfe, For thou exists on manie a thousand graines That issue out of dust. Happie thou art not, For what thou hast not, still thou striu'st to get, And what thou hast forgetst. Thou art not certaine, For thy complexion shifts to strange effects, After the Moone: If thou art rich, thou'rt poore, For like an Asse, whose backe with Ingots bowes; Thou bearst thy heauie riches but a iournie, And death vnloads thee; Friend hast thou none. For thine owne bowels which do call thee, fire The meere effusion of thy proper loines Do curse the Gowt, Sapego, and the Rheume For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age But as it were an after-dinners sleepe Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth Becomes as aged, and doth begge the almes Of palsied-Eld: and when thou art old, and rich Thou hast neither heate, affection, limbe, nor beautie To make thy riches pleasant: what's yet in this That beares the name of life? Yet in this life Lie hid moe thousand deaths; yet death we feare That makes these oddes, all euen

Cla. I humblie thanke you. To sue to liue, I finde I seeke to die, And seeking death, finde life: Let it come on.

Enter Isabella.

Isab. What hoa? Peace heere; Grace, and good companie

Pro. Who's there? Come in, the wish deserues a welcome

Duke. Deere sir, ere long Ile visit you againe

Cla. Most holie Sir, I thanke you

Isa. My businesse is a word or two with Claudio

Pro. And verie welcom: looke Signior, here's your sister

Duke. Prouost, a word with you

Pro. As manie as you please

Duke. Bring them to heare me speak, where I may be conceal'd

Cla. Now sister, what's the comfort? Isa. Why, As all comforts are: most good, most good indeede, Lord Angelo hauing affaires to heauen Intends you for his swift Ambassador, Where you shall be an euerlasting Leiger; Therefore your best appointment make with speed, To Morrow you set on

Clau. Is there no remedie? Isa. None, but such remedie, as to saue a head To cleaue a heart in twaine: Clau. But is there anie? Isa. Yes brother, you may liue; There is a diuellish mercie in the Iudge, If you'l implore it, that will free your life, But fetter you till death

Cla. Perpetuall durance? Isa. I iust, perpetuall durance, a restraint Through all the worlds vastiditie you had To a determin'd scope

Clau. But in what nature? Isa. In such a one, as you consenting too't, Would barke your honor from that trunke you beare, And leaue you naked

Clau. Let me know the point

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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