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Aloud what man thou art.
Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel ? My unsoil'd name, th’austereness of
My vouch against you, and my place i'th'ftate,
Will so your accufation overweigh,
shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun,
And now I give my sensual race the rein.
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite,
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes
That banish what they sue for : save thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will.
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To ling’ring sufferance. Answer me to-morrow,
Or, by th’ affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.
Isab. To whom should I complain? did I tell this,
Who would believe me? o perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-fame tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will,
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother.
Though he hath fall’n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr’d pollution.
Then, Isabel, livé chaste, and, brother, die;
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death for his soul's rest.
· Approof here is to be taken in the sense of approbation.
Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.
O, then you hope for pardon from lord Angelo ?
Claud. The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope: I've hope to live, and am
Prepar'd to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death; or death or life
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus
With life: if I do lose thee, I do lose
A thing that none but fools would keep, a breath
Servile to all the skiey influences,
That do this habitation where thou keep'st
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool; ?
For him thou labour'ft by thy flight to shun,
And yet run'st tow'rd him still. Thou art not noble;
For all th' accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nurs’d by baseness: thou’rt by no means valiant;
For thou doft fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok’st; yet grofly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou’rt not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get,
And what thou hast, forgett'ft. Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
* In the fimplicity of the ancient shows upon our stage it was common to bring in two figures, ore representing a fool, the other death or fate: the turn and contrivance of the piece was to make the fool lay many stratagems to avoid death, which yet brought him more immediately into the jaws of it.
After the moon. Though thou art rich, thou'rt poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloadeth thee. Friend haft thou none;
For thine own bowels which do call thee fire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age;
But, as it were, an after-dinner's Neep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes an indigent, and doth beg the alms
Of palsy’d eld; and when thou’rt old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's in this
That bears the name of life? yet in this life
Lye hid a thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
Claud. I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die,
And, seeking death, find life: let it come on.
Isab. What, hol peace here, grace, and good company!
Prov. Who's there? come in : the wish deserves a welcome.
Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.
Claud. Most holy fır, I thank you.
Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome. Signior, here's your fifter.
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
Prov. As many as you please.
Duke. Bring them to speak where I may be conceald,
Yet hear them.
[Exeunt Duke and Provost.
Claud. Now, good fifter, what's the comfort ?
Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in speed:
T t 2
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heav’n,
for his swift ambassador; Where you
shall be an everlasting leger. Therefore your
best appointment make with speed; To-morrow
set out. Claud. Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as, to save a head, Must cleave a heart in twain.
Claud. But is there any ?
Ifab. Yes, brother, you may live:
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you
'till death. Claud. Perpetual durance?
Isab. Ay, just; perpetual durance; a restraint,
Though all the world's vaftidity you had,
To a determin’d scope.
Claud. But in what nature?
Isab. In such a one, as, you consenting to't, Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear, And leave
Claud. Let me know the point.
Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake,
Left thou a fev’rous life should'st entertain,
And fix or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'ff thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle that we tread upon,
In corp'ral sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
Claud. Why give you me this shame?
Think you. I want a resolution fetch'd
From flow'ry tenderness ? if I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There fpake my brother; there my father's grave
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliance. This outward-sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage, and delib’rate word,
Nips youth i' th' head, and follies doth emmew
As faulcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil:
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Claud. The priestly Angelo ?
Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'ft body to invest and cover
In priestly guards ! Dost thou think, Claudio ?
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou might'st be freed.
Claud. O heav'ns! it cannot be.
Isab. Yes, he would grant thee, for this rank offence,
So to offend him still. This night's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou dy'st to-morrow.
Claud. Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for deliverance
As frankly as a pin.
Claud. Thanks, dearest Isabel.
Ifab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.
Claud. Yes. Has he then affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by th’ nose,
When he would 'force it ? sure, it is no sin;
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.
Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wife,
Nhy, would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fin’d? o Isabel !
Isab. What says my brother ?
Claud. Death's a fearful thing.
Isab. And shamed life a hateful.