VINCENTIO, the Duke ANGELO,
the Deputy ESCALUS, an ancient Lord CLAUDIO,
a young gentleman LUCIO, a fantastic Two
other like Gentlemen VARRIUS, a gentleman, servant to
the Duke PROVOST THOMAS, friar PETER,
friar A JUSTICE ELBOW, a simple
constable FROTH, a foolish gentleman POMPEY,
a clown and servant to Mistress Overdone ABHORSON, an
executioner BARNARDINE, a dissolute prisoner
ISABELLA, sister to
Claudio MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo JULIET,
beloved of Claudio FRANCISCA, a nun MISTRESS
OVERDONE, a bawd
Lords, Officers, Citizens, Boy, and
An apartment in the DUKE'S palace.
Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, ESCALUS, Lords
Of government the properties to
unfold,Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;Since
I am put to know that your own scienceExceeds, in that, the lists
of all adviceMy strength can give you: then no more remains,But
that to your sufficiency as your Worth is able,And let them work.
The nature of our people,Our city's institutions, and the
termsFor common justice, you're as pregnant inAs art and
practise hath enriched anyThat we remember. There is our
commission,From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,I
say, bid come before us Angelo.
Exit an Attendant
What figure of us think you he will
bear?For you must know, we have with special soulElected him
our absence to supply,Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our
love,And given his deputation all the organsOf our own power:
what think you of it?
If any in Vienna be of worthTo
undergo such ample grace and honour,It is Lord Angelo.
Look where he comes.
Always obedient to your grace's
will,I come to know your pleasure.
Angelo,There is a kind of
character in thy life,That to the observer doth thy historyFully
unfold. Thyself and thy belongingsAre not thine own so proper as
to wasteThyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.Heaven doth
with us as we with torches do,Not light them for themselves; for
if our virtuesDid not go forth of us, 'twere all alikeAs if
we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'dBut to fine
issues, nor Nature never lendsThe smallest scruple of her
excellenceBut, like a thrifty goddess, she determinesHerself
the glory of a creditor,Both thanks and use. But I do bend my
speechTo one that can my part in him advertise;Hold
therefore, Angelo:--In our remove be thou at full
ourself;Mortality and mercy in ViennaLive in thy tongue and
heart: old Escalus,Though first in question, is thy
secondary.Take thy commission.
Now, good my lord,Let there be
some more test made of my metal,Before so noble and so great a
figureBe stamp'd upon it.
No more evasion:We have with a
leaven'd and prepared choiceProceeded to you; therefore take your
honours.Our haste from hence is of so quick conditionThat it
prefers itself and leaves unquestion'dMatters of needful value.
We shall write to you,As time and our concernings shall
importune,How it goes with us, and do look to knowWhat doth
befall you here. So, fare you well;To the hopeful execution do I
leave youOf your commissions.
Yet give leave, my lord,That we
may bring you something on the way.
My haste may not admit it;Nor
need you, on mine honour, have to doWith any scruple; your scope
is as mine ownSo to enforce or qualify the lawsAs to your
soul seems good. Give me your hand:I'll privily away. I love the
people,But do not like to stage me to their eyes:Through it
do well, I do not relish wellTheir loud applause and Aves
vehement;Nor do I think the man of safe discretionThat does
affect it. Once more, fare you well.
The heavens give safety to your
Lead forth and bring you back in
I thank you. Fare you well.
I shall desire you, sir, to give me
leaveTo have free speech with you; and it concerns meTo look
into the bottom of my place:A power I have, but of what strength
and natureI am not yet instructed.
'Tis so with me. Let us withdraw
together,And we may soon our satisfaction haveTouching that
I'll wait upon your honour.
Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen
If the duke with the other dukes
come not tocomposition with the King of Hungary, why then allthe
dukes fall upon the king.
Heaven grant us its peace, but not
the King ofHungary's!
Thou concludest like the
sanctimonious pirate, thatwent to sea with the Ten Commandments,
but scrapedone out of the table.
'Thou shalt not steal'?
Ay, that he razed.
Why, 'twas a commandment to command
the captain andall the rest from their functions: they put
forthto steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, inthe
thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petitionwell that prays
I never heard any soldier dislike
I believe thee; for I think thou
never wast wheregrace was said.
No? a dozen times at least.
What, in metre?
In any proportion or in any
I think, or in any religion.
Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite
of allcontroversy: as, for example, thou thyself art awicked
villain, despite of all grace.
Well, there went but a pair of
shears between us.
I grant; as there may between the
lists and thevelvet. Thou art the list.
And thou the velvet: thou art good
velvet; thou'rta three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as
liefbe a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thouart
piled, for a French velvet. Do I speakfeelingly now?
I think thou dost; and, indeed, with
most painfulfeeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine
ownconfession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst Ilive,
forget to drink after thee.
I think I have done myself wrong,
have I not?
Yes, that thou hast, whether thou
art tainted or free.
Behold, behold. where Madam
Mitigation comes! Ihave purchased as many diseases under her roof
as come to--
To what, I pray?
To three thousand dolours a year.
Ay, and more.
A French crown more.
Thou art always figuring diseases in
me; but thouart full of error; I am sound.
Nay, not as one would say, healthy;
but so sound asthings that are hollow: thy bones are
hollow;impiety has made a feast of thee.
Enter MISTRESS OVERDONE
How now! which of your hips has the
most profound sciatica?
Well, well; there's one yonder
arrested and carriedto prison was worth five thousand of you all.
Who's that, I pray thee?
Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior
Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him
arrested, sawhim carried away; and, which is more, within
thesethree days his head to be chopped off.
But, after all this fooling, I would
not have it so.Art thou sure of this?
I am too sure of it: and it is for
getting MadamJulietta with child.
Believe me, this may be: he promised
to meet me twohours since, and he was ever precise
Besides, you know, it draws
something near to thespeech we had to such a purpose.
But, most of all, agreeing with the
Away! let's go learn the truth of
Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen
Thus, what with the war, what with
the sweat, whatwith the gallows and what with poverty, I
How now! what's the news with you?
Yonder man is carried to prison.
Well; what has he done?
But what's his offence?
Groping for trouts in a peculiar
What, is there a maid with child by
No, but there's a woman with maid by
him. You havenot heard of the proclamation, have you?
What proclamation, man?
All houses in the suburbs of Vienna
must be plucked down.
And what shall become of those in
They shall stand for seed: they had
gone down too,but that a wise burgher put in for them.
But shall all our houses of resort
in the suburbs bepulled down?
To the ground, mistress.
Why, here's a change indeed in the
commonwealth!What shall become of me?
Come; fear you not: good counsellors
lack noclients: though you change your place, you need notchange
your trade; I'll be your tapster still.Courage! there will be
pity taken on you: you thathave worn your eyes almost out in the
service, youwill be considered.
What's to do here, Thomas tapster?
Here comes Signior Claudio, led by
the provost toprison; and there's Madam Juliet.
Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and
Fellow, why dost thou show me thus
to the world?Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
I do it not in evil disposition,But
from Lord Angelo by special charge.
Thus can the demigod AuthorityMake
us pay down for our offence by weightThe words of heaven; on whom
it will, it will;On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen
Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes
From too much liberty, my Lucio,
liberty:As surfeit is the father of much fast,So every scope
by the immoderate useTurns to restraint. Our natures do
pursue,Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,A thirsty
evil; and when we drink we die.
If could speak so wisely under an
arrest, I wouldsend for certain of my creditors: and yet, to
saythe truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedomas the
morality of imprisonment. What's thyoffence, Claudio?
What but to speak of would offend
What, is't murder?
Call it so.
Away, sir! you must go.
One word, good friend. Lucio, a word
A hundred, if they'll do you any
good.Is lechery so look'd after?
Thus stands it with me: upon a true
contractI got possession of Julietta's bed:You know the lady;
she is fast my wife,Save that we do the denunciation lackOf
outward order: this we came not to,Only for propagation of a
dowerRemaining in the coffer of her friends,From whom we
thought it meet to hide our loveTill time had made them for us.
But it chancesThe stealth of our most mutual entertainmentWith
character too gross is writ on Juliet.
With child, perhaps?
Unhappily, even so.And the new
deputy now for the duke--Whether it be the fault and glimpse of
newness,Or whether that the body public beA horse whereon the
governor doth ride,Who, newly in the seat, that it may knowHe
can command, lets it straight feel the spur;Whether the tyranny
be in his place,Or in his emmence that fills it up,I stagger
in:--but this new governorAwakes me all the enrolled
penaltiesWhich have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wallSo
long that nineteen zodiacs have gone roundAnd none of them been
worn; and, for a name,Now puts the drowsy and neglected
actFreshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.
I warrant it is: and thy head stands
so tickle onthy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,may
sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal tohim.
I have done so, but he's not to be
found.I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:This day my
sister should the cloister enterAnd there receive her
approbation:Acquaint her with the danger of my state:Implore
her, in my voice, that she make friendsTo the strict deputy; bid
herself assay him:I have great hope in that; for in her
youthThere is a prone and speechless dialect,Such as move
men; beside, she hath prosperous artWhen she will play with
reason and discourse,And well she can persuade.
I pray she may; as well for the
encouragement of thelike, which else would stand under
grievousimposition, as for the enjoying of thy life, who Iwould
be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at agame of tick-tack.
I'll to her.
I thank you, good friend Lucio.
Within two hours.
Come, officer, away!
Enter DUKE VINCENTIO and FRIAR
No, holy father; throw away that
thought;Believe not that the dribbling dart of loveCan pierce
a complete bosom. Why I desire theeTo give me secret harbour,
hath a purposeMore grave and wrinkled than the aims and endsOf
May your grace speak of it?
My holy sir, none better knows than