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Prov. Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath. 190
Duke. Were you sworn to the Duke, or to the

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?
Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since

I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity,
nor persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will
go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out 200

Look you, sir, here is the hand and
seal of the Duke: you know the character, I

doubt not; and the signet is not strange to you.
Prov. I know them both.
Duke. The contents of this is the return of the

Duke : you shall anon over-read it at your
pleasure, where you shall find, within these two

days he will be here. This is a thing that
Angelo knows not ; for he this very day receives
letters of strange tenour ; perchance of the 210
Duke's death ; perchance entering into some
monastery ; but, by chance, nothing of what is
writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the shep-
herd. Put not yourself into amazement how these
things should be: all difficulties are but easy when
they are known. Call your executioner, and off
with Barnardine's head: I will give him a present
shrift and advise him for a better place. Yet you
are amazed ; but this shall absolutely resolve you.
away ;

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it is almost clear dawn. [Exeunt. 220

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Scene III.

Another room in the same.

Enter Pompey.
Pom. I am as well acquainted here as I was in our

house of profession: one would think it were
Mistress Overdone's own house, for here be
many of her old customers. First, here's young
Master Rash; he's in for a commodity of

brown paper and old ginger, nine-score and
seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks,
ready money : marry, then ginger was not much
in request, for the old women were all dead.
Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit
of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four
suits of peach-coloured satin, which now peaches
him a beggar. Then have we here young Dizy,
and young Master Deep-vow, and Master Copper-
spur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier and
dagger man, and young Drop-heir that killed
lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight the tilter,
and brave Master Shooty the great traveller, and
wild Half-can that stabbed Pots, and, I think,
forty more; all great doers in our trade, and
are now for the Lord's sake.'



Enter Abhorson.

Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
Pom. Master Barnardine! you must rise and be

hanged, Master Barnardine! Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine!

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Bar. [Within] A pox o'your throats! Who makes

that noise there? What are you?
Pom. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be

so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
Bar. [Within) Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy. 30

Abhor. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
Pom. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are

executed, and sleep afterwards.
Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
Pom. He is coming, sir, he is coming ; I hear his

straw rustle.
Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah ?
Pom. Very ready, sir.

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Enter Barnardine.
Bar. How now, Abhorson ? what's the news with

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Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into

your prayers ; for, look you, the warrant 's come.
Bar. You rogue, I have been drinking all night ; I

am not fitted for 't.
Pom. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,

and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep

the sounder all the next day.
Abhor. Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly

father : do we jest now, think you?

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Enter Duke disguised as before.
Duke. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how 50

hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise

you, comfort you and pray with you.
Bar. Friar, not I: I have been drinking hard all

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night, and I will have more time to prepare me,
or they shall beat out my brains with billets :
I will not consent to die this day, that's

Duke. O, sir, you must : and therefore I beseech you

Look forward on the journey you shall go. Bar. I swear I will not die to-day for any man's 60

Duke. But hear you.
Bar. Not a word: if you have any thing to say to

me, come to my ward; for thence will not I

Duke. Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart !
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

[Exeunt Abhorson and Pompey.



Enter Provost.
Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
Duke. A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;

And to transport him in the mind he is

Were damnable.

Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined;
And satisfy the Deputy with the visage

Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio ?
Duke. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides !

Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo : see this be done,


And sent according to command; whiles I

Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently.

But Barnardine must die this afternoon :
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come

If he were known alive?

Let this be done.
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting 90
To the under generation, you shall find

Your safety manifested.
Prov. I am your free dependant.
Duke. Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

[Exit Provost.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,-
The provost, he shall bear them,-whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly : him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount,

A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter Provost.
Prov. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
Duke. Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
For I would commune with


of such things That want no ear but yours. Prov.

I'll make all speed. [Exit. Isab. [Within] Peace, ho, be here !

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