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SCENE 1. A public Place near the City Gate. MARIANA, (veiled,) ISABELLA, and PETER, at a distance. Enter at opposite Doors, DUKE, VARRIUS, Lords; ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and Citizens.

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met:Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. Ang, and Escal. Happy return be to your royal grace! Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you both. We have made inquiry of you; and we hear Such goodness of your justice, that our soul Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks, Forerunning more requital.


You make my bonds still greater. Duke. O, your desert speaks loud; and I should To lock it in the wards of covert bosom, [wrong it, When it deserves with characters of brass

A forted residence, 'gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of oblivion: give me your hand,

And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within.-Come, Escalus;
You must walk by us on our other hand;-
And good supporters are you.

PETER and ISABELLA come forward.

F. Peter. Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel before him.

1sab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid!
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye
By throwing it on any other object,

Till you have heard me in my true complaint,

And give me, justice, justice, justice, justice!

Duke. Relate your wrongs: In what? By whom? Be


Here is lord Angelo shall give you justice;

Reveal yourself to him.


O worthy duke, You bid me seek redemption of the devil:

Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak

Must either punish me, not being believ'd,

Or wring redress from you: hear me, O, hear me, here.
Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,

Cut off by course of justice.


By course of justice!

Ang. And she will speak most bitterly and strange. Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak : That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange?

That Angelo's a murderer; is't not strange?

That Angelo is an adulterous thief,

An hypocrite, a virgin-violator;

Is it not strange, and strange?

Nay, ten times strange.

Isab. It is not truer he is Angelo,
Than this is all as true as it is strange:
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
To the end of reckoning.


Away with her :-Poor soul,

She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.

1sab. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world,

That thou neglect me not, with that opinion

That I am touch'd with madness: make not impossible
That which but seems unlike: 'tis not impossible
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,
As Angelo; even so may Angelo,

In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain: believe it, royal prince,
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.

By mine honesty,
If she be mad, (as I believe no other,)
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.

Isab. O, gracious duke,

Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality but let your reason serve

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To make the truth appear, where it seems hid;
And hide the false, seems true.


Many that are not mad,
Have, sure, more lack of reason.-What would you say
Isab. I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo:
I, in probation of a sisterhood,

Was sent to by my brother: One Lucio
As then the messenger;—


That's I, an't like your grace:

I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo,
For her poor brother's pardon.


That's he indeed.

No, my good lord;

Duke. You were not bid to speak.

Nor wish'd to hold my peace.


I wish you now then;

Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven, you then
Be perfect.

I warrant your honour.

Duke. The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it. Isab. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. Lucio. Right.

Duke. It may be right; but you are in the wrong To speak before your time.-Proceed.


To this pernicious caitiff deputy.

Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken. 1sab.

The phrase is to the matter.

I went

Pardon it;

Duke. Mended again: the matter:-proceed.
Isab. In brief,-to set the needless process by,
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,
How he refell'd me, and how I reply'd;

(For this was of much length,) the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter:
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,

Release my brother; and, after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,

And I did yield to him: But the next morn betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.


This is most likely!

Isab. O, that it were as like, as it is true!

Duke. By heaven, fond wretch, thou know'st not what thou speak'st;

Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour,
In hateful practice: First, his integrity

Stands without blemish :-next, it imports no reason,
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself,
And not have cut him off: Some one hath set you on;
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice

And is this all?

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Then, oh, you blessed ministers above,

Keep me in patience; and, with ripen'd time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up

In countenance!-Heaven shield your grace from woe,
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone:-An officer!
To prison with her :-Shall we thus permit
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall

On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.
-Who knew of your intent, and coming hither?

Isab. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick.
Duke. A ghostly father, belike:-Who knows that

Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a medling friar; I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord, For certain words he spake against your grace In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly. Duke. Words against me? This a good friar, belike! And to set on this wretched woman here

Against our substitute!-Let this friar be found. Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,

A very scurvy fellow.

F. Peter.

Blessed be your royal grace! I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard Your royal ear abus'd: First, hath this woman Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute; Who is as free from touch or soil with her, As she from one ungot.


We did believe no less.

Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of?
F. Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy;
Not scurvy, nor a temporary medler,

As he's reported by this gentleman;

And, on my trust, a man that never yet

Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

Lucio. My lord, most villanously; believe it.

F. Peter. Well, he in time may come to clear himself;

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