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MARI. Good Friar, I know you do; and I have found it.
DUKE. Take, then, this your companion by the hand,
Who hath a story ready for your ear:

I shall attend1 your leisure. But make haste:
The vaporous night approaches.

Will 't please you walk aside?
DUKE. O Place and Greatness, millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee! Volumes of report
Run with these false and most contrarious quests
Upon thy doings! Thousand escapes of wit
Make thee the father of their idle dreams,
And rack thee in their fancies !-

Welcome! How agreed?
ISAB. She'll take the enterprise upon her, Father,
If you advise it.

"Tis not my consent, But my entreaty too. ISAB. Little have you to to say, When you depart from him, but, soft and low, Remember now my brother.



Fear me not. DUKE. Nor, gentle Daughter, fear you not at all. He is your husband on a pre-contract:

To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin,

Sith that the justice of your title to him

Doth flourish3 the deceit. Come, let us go;

Our corn's to reap, for yet our tilth's to sow. [exeunt.

3 embellish.


SCENE II. A Room in the Prison.

Enter Provost and Clown.

PROV. Come hither, sirrah! Can you cut off a man's head?

CLO. If the man be a bachelor, Sir, I can: but if he be a married man, he's his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.

1 await.

2 wanton flights.

Sc. I

ACT IV PROV. Come, Sir, leave me your snatches, and yield Sc. II me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine. Here is in our Prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you from your gyves; if not, you shall have your full time of imprisonment and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping; for you have been a notorious bawd.


CLO. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangI would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner.

PROV. What, ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?


ABHOR. Do you call, Sir?

PROV. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in your execution: if you think it meet, compound with him by the year, 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, Sir? Fie upon him! He will discredit our mystery.


PROV. Go to, Sir: you weigh equally; a feather will
turn the scale.

CLO. Pray, Sir, by your good favour (for surely, Sir,

a good favour1 you have, but that you have, but that you have a hanging look), do you call, Sir, your occupation a mystery? ABHOR. Ay, Sir; a mystery.

CLO. Painting, Sir, I 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.

ABHOR. Sir, it is a mystery.

CLO. Proof.

ABHOR. Every true man's apparel fits your thief.
CLO. If it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks

1 countenance.


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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?

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


PROV. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow four o'clock.

ABHOR. Come on, Bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.

CLO. I do desire to learn, Sir; and, I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare.1 For, truly, Sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.

PROV. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio.

[Exeunt Clown and ABHORSON. The one has my pity; not a jot the other, Being a murderer, though he were my brother.



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 lies starkly in the traveller's bones:
He will not wake.
Who can do good on him?
Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise?
[Knocking within.
Heaven give your spirits comfort! [Exit CLAUDIO.]

I hope it is some pardon or reprieve

For the most gentle Claudio.-Welcome, Father.


Enter DUKE.

DUKE. The best and wholesomest Spirits of the night
Envelope you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?
PROV. None, since the curfew rung.

1 ready.

Sc. II

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1 temper.


PROV. It is a bitter Deputy.

DUKE. Not so, not so; his life is parallel'd

Even with the stroke and line of his great justice:

He doth with holy abstinence subdue

That in himself, which he spurs on his power

To qualify1 in others. Were he meal'd2

With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous;
But this being so, he's just.-Now are they come.
[Knocking within. Provost goes out.
This is a gentle Provost! Seldom-when3
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men.-

How now? What noise? That spirit's possess'd with

That wounds the unsisting1 postern with these strokes.

There's some in hope.

Enter Provost (speaking to one at the door).
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?




None, Sir, none.
DUKE. As near the dawning, Provost, as it is,
You shall hear more ere morning.
You something know; yet I believe there comes
No countermand; no such example have we.
Besides, upon the very siege of justice,
Lord Angelo hath to the public ear
Profess'd the contrary.

[Enter a Messenger.]


is his Lordship's man. DUKE. And here comes Claudio's pardon. MESS. 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, nor other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I take it, it is almost day. 5 haply.

6 seat.

2 dusted, defiled.

3 rarely.

4 (?).


PROV. I shall obey him.
[Exit Messenger. ACT IV
DUKE. This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin [aside. Sc. II
For which the pardoner himself is in.

Hence hath offence his quick celerity,

When it is borne in high authority:

When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended

That for the fault's love is the 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:1 methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

DUKE. Pray you, let's hear.

PROV. [reads.] Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and, in the afternoon, Barnardine: for my better satisfaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly perform'd; 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, Sir?

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. Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
DUKE. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? How
seems he to be touch'd?

2 heedless of death, howbeit hopeless of life.


PROV. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully but as a drunken sleep: careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.2

DUKE. He wants advice.

1 incentive.

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