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and let him abide here with you ; if not, use him for the present, and dismiss him. He cannot plead his estimation with you;

he hath been a bawd.

Abhor. A bawd, fir; fie upon him, he will discredit our mystery.

Prov. Go to, fir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale.

[Exit. Clown. Pray, fır, by your good favour, (for, surely, sir, a good favour you have, but that

have, but that you have a hanging look) do you call, fir, your occupation a mystery?

Abhor. Ay, fir, a mystery.

Clown. Painting, sir, Í have heard say, is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery: but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang’d, I cannot imagine.

* Abbor. *

Sir, it is a mystery.

Abbor. Proof.

Clown. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough. If it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your

thief. ,

Re-enter Provost.
Prov. Are you agreed ?

Clown. Sir, I will serve him: for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftner ask forgiveness.

Prov. You, firrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow, four o'clock.

Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
Clown. Í do desire to learn, fir; and, I hope, if you

have * The text here is plainly maimed and deficient; the words by which Abhorson pould prove the bangman's trade a mystery are lof. But from what follows the argument may be conjectured to have been this, that every man's apparel fitted the hangman : to which we may suppose the Clown reply'd, that for the same reason the same thing might be said of the thief's trade. --- Yes, fir, It is a mystery. &c. and this connects the rest that follows.


occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare:
for, truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn. Exit.

Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio :
One has my pity; not a jot the other,
Being a murth’rer, though he were my brother.

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Enter Claudio.
Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death;
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow
Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?

Claud. As fast lock’d up in sleep, as guiltless labour
When it lyes starkly in the traveller's bones :
He'll not awake.

Prov. Who can do good on him?
Well, go, prepare yourself. [Ex. Claud.] But, hark! what noise?

[Knock within.
Heav’n give your spirits comfort ! - by and by,
I hope, it is some pardon, or reprieve
For the most gentle Claudio. Welcome, father.

Enter Duke.
Duke. The best and wholesom 'st spirits of the night
Envelop you, good Provost! who cail'd here of late?

Prov. None since the curfew rung.
Duke. Not Isabel ?
Prov. No.
Duke. They will then, ere't be long.
Prov. What comfort is for Claudio?
Duke. There's some in hope.
Prov. It is a bitter deputy.

Duke. Not so, not fo; his life is paralleld
Ev’n with the stroke and line of his great justice;
He doth with holy abstinence subdue
That in himself which he spurs on his pow'r



To qualify in others. Were he meal'd
With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
But this being so, he's just. Now are they come. [Knock again.

[Exit Provost.
This is a gentle provost; seldom, when
The steeled jailer is the friend of men.
How now? what noise ? that spirit's possess’d with hafte
That wounds th’unresting postern with these strokes.

[Provost returns. Prov. There he must stay until the officer Arise to let him in; he is call'd up.

Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet, But he must die to-morrow ?

Prov. None, sir, none.

Duke. As near the dawning, provost, as it is,
You shall hear more ere morning.

Prov. Happily
You something know; yet, I believe, there comes
No countermand; no such example have we:
Besides, upon


very fiege of justice, Lord Angelo hath to the publick ear Profess’d the contrary.


Enter a Messenger.
Duke. This is his lordship’s man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.

Mel. My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this further charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or other circumstance. Good-morrow; for, as I take it, it is almost day. Prov. I shall obey him.

[Exit Messen. Duke. This is his pardon, purchas'd by such fin For which the pardoner himself is in : Hence hath offence his quick celerity,


When it is born in high authority ;
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
That for the fault's love, is th' offender friended.
Now, sir, what news ?

Prov. I told you: lord Angelo, belike, thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on, methinks, strangely, for he hath not us'd it before.

Duke. Pray you, let's hear.

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Provost reads the letter.
Whatsoever you may bear to the contrary, let Claudio be executed

by four of the clock, and, in the afternoon, Barnardine: for my
better satisfa&tion, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five.
Let this be duly performed, with a thought that more depends on
it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as
you will answer it at your peril.
What say you to this, fir?

Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be executed in the afternoon?

Prov. A Bohemian born, but here nurs’d up and bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old.

Duke. How came it, that the absent duke had not either deliver’d him to his liberty, or executed him? I have heard, it was ever his manner to do so.

Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him; and, indeed, his fact, 'till now in the government of lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.

Duke. Is it now apparent ?
Prov. Moft manifest, and not deny’d by himself.

Duke. Hath he born himself penitently in prison ? how seems he to be touch'd ?

Prov. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's pass’d, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and mortally desperate.


Duke. He wants advice.

Prov. He will hear none: he hath evermore had the liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape hence, he would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awak'd him, as if to carry him to execution, and show'd him a seeming warrant for it; it hath not mov'd him at all.

Duke. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, provost, honesty and constancy; if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but, in the boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard. Claudio, whom here


have warrant to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo, who hath sentenc'd him. To make you understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four days respite, for the which you are to do me both a present and a dangerous courtesy.

Prov. Pray, sir, in what?
Duke. In the delaying death.

Prov. Alack ! how may I do it, having the hour limited, and an express command under penalty to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.

Duke. By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide : let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head born to Angelo.

Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.

Duke. 0, death’s a great disguiser, and you may add to it; shave the head, and tie the beard; and say, it was the desire of the penitent to be barb'd before his death; you know, the course is common. If any thing fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune; by the faint whom I profess, I will plead against

Prov. Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
Duke. Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?
Prov. To him, and to his substitutes.

Duke. You will think you have made no offence, if the duke
avouch the justice of your dealing ?
Prov. But what likelihood is in that?
Vol. I.

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it with my

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