Enter Angelo, Maria, Peter, Prouost.

Isab. I doe my Lord

Duk. For this new-maried man, approaching here, Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd Your well defended honor: you must pardon For Mariana's sake: But as he adiudg'd your Brother, Being criminall, in double violation Of sacred Chastitie, and of promise-breach, Thereon dependant for your Brothers life, The very mercy of the Law cries out Most audible, euen from his proper tongue. An Angelo for Claudio, death for death: Haste still paies haste, and leasure, answers leasure; Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure: Then Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested; Which though thou would'st deny, denies thee vantage. We doe condemne thee to the very Blocke Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste. Away with him

Mar. Oh my most gracious Lord, I hope you will not mocke me with a husband? Duk. It is your husband mock't you with a husband, Consenting to the safe-guard of your honor, I thought your marriage fit: else Imputation, For that he knew you, might reproach your life, And choake your good to come: For his Possessions, Although by confutation they are ours; We doe en-state, and widow you with all, To buy you a better husband

Mar. Oh my deere Lord, I craue no other, nor no better man

Duke. Neuer craue him, we are definitiue

Mar. Gentle my Liege

Duke. You doe but loose your labour. Away with him to death: Now Sir, to you

Mar. Oh my good Lord, sweet Isabell, take my part, Lend me your knees, and all my life to come, I'll lend you all my life to doe you seruice

Duke. Against all sence you doe importune her, Should she kneele downe, in mercie of this fact, Her Brothers ghost, his paued bed would breake, And take her hence in horror

Mar. Isabell: Sweet Isabel, doe yet but kneele by me, Hold vp your hands, say nothing: I'll speake all. They say best men are moulded out of faults, And for the most, become much more the better For being a little bad: So may my husband. Oh Isabel: will you not lend a knee? Duke. He dies for Claudio's death

Isab. Most bounteous Sir. Looke if it please you, on this man condemn'd, As if my Brother liu'd: I partly thinke, A due sinceritie gouerned his deedes, Till he did looke on me: Since it is so, Let him not die: my Brother had but Iustice, In that he did the thing for which he dide. For Angelo, his Act did not ore-take his bad intent, And must be buried but as an intent That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subiects Intents, but meerely thoughts

Mar. Meerely my Lord

Duk. Your suite's vnprofitable: stand vp I say: I haue bethought me of another fault. Prouost, how came it Claudio was beheaded At an vnusuall howre? Pro. It was commanded so

Duke. Had you a speciall warrant for the deed? Pro. No my good Lord: it was by priuate message

Duk. For which I doe discharge you of your office, Giue vp your keyes

Pro. Pardon me, noble Lord, I thought it was a fault, but knew it not, Yet did repent me after more aduice, For testimony whereof, one in the prison That should by priuate order else haue dide, I haue reseru'd aliue

Duk. What's he? Pro. His name is Barnardine

Duke. I would thou hadst done so by Claudio: Goe fetch him hither, let me looke vpon him

Esc. I am sorry, one so learned, and so wise As you, Lord Angelo, haue stil appear'd, Should slip so grosselie, both in the heat of bloud And lacke of temper'd iudgement afterward

William Shakespeare
Classic Literature Library

All Pages of This Book