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CLO. If you head and hang all that offend that way but
for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a
commission for more heads. If this law hold in Vienna
ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it, after1 three-
pence a bay:2 if you live to see this come to pass, say
Pompey told you so.
ESCAL. Thank you, good Pompey, and, in requital of
your prophecy, hark you: I advise you, let me not find
you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever;
no, not for dwelling where you do. If I do, Pompey, I
shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Cæsar
to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you
whipp'd: so for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
CLO. I thank your Worship for your good counsel;
[aside.] but I shall follow it as the flesh and Fortune
shall better determine.

Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade;


The valiant heart's not whipp'd out of his trade. [exit. ESCAL. Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master Constable. How long have you been in this place of Constable?

ELB. Seven year and a half, Sir.

ESCAL. I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had continu'd in it some time. You say seven years together?

ELB. And a half, Sir.


ESCAL. Alas! it hath been great pains to you! They do you wrong to put you so oft upon 't. Are there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it?

ELB. Faith, Sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I do it for some piece of money, and go through with all. ESCAL. Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish.

ELB. To your Worship's house, Sir?

ESCAL. To my house. Fare you well. [Exit ELBOW.]

What's o'clock, think you?

JUST. Eleven, Sir.

ESCAL. I pray you, home to dinner with me.

JUST. I humbly thank you.

1 at the rate of.

2 twenty-four feet of brickwork.



Sc. I

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SERV. He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight.
I'll tell him of you.


Pray you, do. [Exit Servant.] I'll know

His pleasure. May be he will relent.—Alas,
He hath but as offended in a dream!

All sects, all ages smack of this vice; and he
To die for it!



Now, what's the matter, Provost ?

PROV. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-morrow?

ANG. Did I not tell thee yea? Hadst thou not order?

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What shall be done, Sir, with the groaning Juliet?
She's very near her hour.

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To some more fitter place; and that with speed.

Re-enter Servant.

SERV. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd

Desires access to you.

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PROV. Ay, my good Lord: a very virtuous maid,
And to be shortly of a Sisterhood,

If not already.


Well, let her be admitted. [Exit Servant.

See you the fornicatress be remov'd;

Let her have needful, but not lavish, means;

There shall be order for it.


PROV. God save your Honour!

[offering to retire.


Stay a little while.

[to ISABELLA.] You are welcome. What's your will? ISAB. I am a woeful suitor to your Honour,

Well: what's your suit?

Please but your Honour hear me.
ISAB. There is a vice that most I do abhor,
And most desire should meet the blow of justice,
For which I would not plead, but that I must;
For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war 'twixt Will and Will not.


Well: the matter?

ISAB. I have a brother is condemn'd to die:

I do beseech you, let it be his fault,1
And not my brother.

PROV. [aside.]


Heaven give thee moving graces!

ANG. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it?
Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done:
Mine were the very cipher of a function,
To fine the fault whose fine stands in record,'
And let go by the actor.


O, just but severe Law!

I had a brother, then.-Heaven keep your Honour!



LUCIO. [to ISABELLA.] Give 't not o'er so! To him again:

entreat him:

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown:

You are too cold: if you should need a pin,

You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:

To him, I say!

1 that dies.

2 sentence.

3 penalty.

4 the statute.

Maiden, no remedy.

ACT II ISAB. Must he needs die?

Sc. II


ISAB. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him,
And neither Heaven nor Man grieve at the mercy.
ANG. I will not do 't.


But can you, if you would?

ANG. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.

ISAB. But you might do 't, and do the world no


If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse1
As mine is to him.


He's sentenc'd: 'tis too late.

LUCIO. [to ISABELLA.] You are too cold.

ISAB. Too late? Why, no; I, that do speak a word,
May call it again. Well, believe this:

No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the King's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The Marshal's truncheon, nor the Judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As Mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipp'd like him ;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
ANG. Pray you, be gone.

ISAB. I would to Heaven I had your potency,
And you were Isabel! Should it then be thus?
No: I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
And what a prisoner.

LUCIO. [aside.]




Ay, touch him: there's the vein. ANG. Your brother is a forfeit of the Law,

And you but waste your words.

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Why, all the Souls that were, were forfeit once;
And He, that might the vantage best have took,
Found out the remedy. How would
you be,

If He, which is the top of Judgment, should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that,
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new-made!



you content, fair maid: It is the Law, not I, condemns your brother.


1 pity.

Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him: he must die to-morrow. ISAB. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him:

He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens

We kill the fowl of season:1 shall we serve Heaven

With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my Lord, bethink you :
Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.

LUCIO. [aside.]

Ay, well said.


ANG. The Law hath not been dead, though it hath slept:

Those many had not dar'd to do that evil,
If that the first that did the edict infringe
Had answer'd for his deed. Now 'tis awake;
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass, that shews what future evils
(Either new, or by remissness new-conceiv'd,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born),
Are now to have no successive degrees,
But, ere they live, to end.


Yet shew some pity!

ANG. I shew it most of all when I shew justice;

For then I pity those I do not know,

Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall,

And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,

Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;

Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

ISAB. So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
And he that suffers? O, it is excellent

To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous

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ISAB. Could great men thunder

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,

For every pelting, petty officer

Would use his Heaven for thunder

Nothing but thunder. Merciful Heaven,

Thou rather, with Thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,

Splitt'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak

1 at the right time of year.

2 paltry.

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Sc. II

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