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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 180
On twenty bloody blocks, he'ld yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr’d pollution.
Then, Isabel, live 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. [Exit.
A room in the prison. Enter Duke disguised as before, Claudio, and Provost. Duke. So, then, you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo? Claud. The miserable have no other medicine
But only hope :
I've hope to live, and am prepared to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death; either 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 thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences,
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st, IO
Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death's fool ;
For him thou labour'st by thy Aight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nursed by baseness. Thou ’rt by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provokest; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains 20
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not ;
For what thou hast not, still thou strivest to get,
And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon.
If 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 unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youthnorage,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid moe thousand deaths : yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
I humbly thank you. To sue to live, I find I seek to die;
And, seeking death, find life: let it come on. Isab. [within] What, ho! Peace here; grace and good
Prov. Who's there? come in : the wish deserves a
welcome. Duke. Dear sir, ere long, I'll visit you again. Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you.
Enter Isabella. Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister. Duke. Provost, a word with you.
50 Prov. As many as you please. Duke. Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be concealed.
[Exeunt Duke and Provost. Claud. Now, sister, what 's the comfort ? Isab. Why,
As all comforts are; most good, most good indeed.
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Intends you for his swift ambassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger :
Therefore your best appointment make with speed;
To-morrow you set on.
Is there no remedy?
61 Isab. None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain. Claud.
But is there any ?
Isab. 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.
Perpetual durance ?
Isab. Ay, just; perpetual durance, a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidity you had,
To a determined scope.
But in what nature ?
70 Isab. In such a one as, you consenting to 't,
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
And leave you naked. Claud.
Let me know the point.
Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake,
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Darest thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension ;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
80 As when a giant dies. Claud.
Why give you me this shame? Think
I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake 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 appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth emmew
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil;
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
The prenzie Angelo!
Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'st body to invest and cover
In prenzie guards ? Dost thou think, Claudio ?-
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou mightst be freed.
O heavens! it cannot be.
Isab. Yes, he would give 't thee, from this rank offence,
So to offend him still. This night's the time IOI
That I should do what I abhor to name.
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
I'ld throw it down for
As frankly as a pin.
Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.
Claud. Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin; IIO
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.
Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fined ?-O Isabel !
Isab. What says my brother?
Death is a fearful thing.
Isab. And shamed life a hateful.
Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison'd in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst