Duke. You are pleasant sir, and speake apace

Luc. Why, what a ruthlesse thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a Cod-peece, to take away the life of a man? Would the Duke that is absent haue done this? Ere he would haue hang'd a man for the getting a hundred Bastards, he would haue paide for the Nursing a thousand. He had some feeling of the sport, hee knew the seruice, and that instructed him to mercie

Duke. I neuer heard the absent Duke much detected for Women, he was not enclin'd that way

Luc. Oh Sir, you are deceiu'd

Duke. 'Tis not possible

Luc. Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty: and his vse was, to put a ducket in her Clack-dish; the Duke had Crochets in him. Hee would be drunke too, that let me informe you

Duke. You do him wrong, surely

Luc. Sir, I was an inward of his: a shie fellow was the Duke, and I beleeue I know the cause of his withdrawing

Duke. What (I prethee) might be the cause? Luc. No, pardon: 'Tis a secret must bee lockt within the teeth and the lippes: but this I can let you vnderstand, the greater file of the subiect held the Duke to be wise

Duke. Wise? Why no question but he was

Luc. A very superficiall, ignorant, vnweighing fellow Duke. Either this is Enuie in you, Folly, or mistaking: The very streame of his life, and the businesse he hath helmed, must vppon a warranted neede, giue him a better proclamation. Let him be but testimonied in his owne bringings forth, and hee shall appeare to the enuious, a Scholler, a Statesman, and a Soldier: therefore you speake vnskilfully: or, if your knowledge bee more, it is much darkned in your malice

Luc. Sir, I know him, and I loue him

Duke. Loue talkes with better knowledge, & knowledge with deare loue

Luc. Come Sir, I know what I know

Duke. I can hardly beleeue that, since you know not what you speake. But if euer the Duke returne (as our praiers are he may) let mee desire you to make your answer before him: if it bee honest you haue spoke, you haue courage to maintaine it; I am bound to call vppon you, and I pray you your name? Luc. Sir my name is Lucio, wel known to the Duke

Duke. He shall know you better Sir, if I may liue to report you

Luc. I feare you not

Duke. O, you hope the Duke will returne no more: or you imagine me to vnhurtfull an opposite: but indeed I can doe you little harme: You'll for-sweare this againe? Luc. Ile be hang'd first: Thou art deceiu'd in mee Friar. But no more of this: Canst thou tell if Claudio die to morrow, or no? Duke. Why should he die Sir? Luc. Why? For filling a bottle with a Tunne-dish: I would the Duke we talke of were return'd againe: this vngenitur'd Agent will vn-people the Prouince with Continencie. Sparrowes must not build in his house-eeues, because they are lecherous: The Duke yet would haue darke deeds darkelie answered, hee would neuer bring them to light: would hee were return'd. Marrie this Claudio is condemned for vntrussing. Farwell good Friar, I prethee pray for me: The Duke (I say to thee againe) would eate Mutton on Fridaies. He's now past it, yet (and I say to thee) hee would mouth with a beggar, though she smelt browne-bread and Garlicke: say that I said so: Farewell.


Duke. No might, nor greatnesse in mortality Can censure scape: Back-wounding calumnie The whitest vertue strikes. What King so strong, Can tie the gall vp in the slanderous tong? But who comes heere?

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

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