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Measure for Measure

Act II, Scene 1

A hall In ANGELO's house.
 
[Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants, behind]
 
ANGELO
           ,          ,        ,     ,            ,
      We must | not make | a scare|crow of | the law,
       ,            ,        ,          ,          ,
      Setting | it up | to fear | the birds | of prey,
       ,     2       T   T    T           ,          x
      And let it | keep one shape,| till cus|tom make it
              ,          ,           ,
      Their perch,| and not | their ter|ror.
 
ESCALUS
                                              ,         ,
5                                            Aye,| but yet
       ,    2       ,          ,        ,       ,
      Let us be | keen, and | rather | cut a | little,
             ,           ,          ,       ,          ,       , ->
      Than fall,| and bruise | to death:| alas,| this gen||tleman
           ,           ,       2    ,     ,        ,    ->
      Whom I | would save,| had a most | noble || father,
       ,              ,       ,
      Let but | your ho|nor know
      <-      ,        ,       2     ,        ,          ,
10      (Whom I || believe | to be most | straight in | virtue)
      <-  ,    2        ,         ,         ,      ,
        That in the || working | of your | own af|fections,
      <-      ,         ,            ,          ,            ,      o
        Had time || cohered | with place,| or place | with wish|ing,
       ,             ,     ,     ,        ,           ,  ->
      Or that | the re|solute | acting | of your || blood
        ,                ,      2     ,             ,      ,     ->
      Could / have at|tained the ef|fect of | your own || purpose,
       ,                   ,    ,    ,               , ->
15    Whether | you had / not some|time in || your life
        ,               ,            ,         ,         , ->
      Erred in | this point,| which now | you cen||sure him,
             ,          ,      ,    ___
      And pulled | the law | upon | you.
 
ANGELO
            ,      ,             ,        ,    ,
      'Tis one | thing to | be temp|ted (Es|calus)
        ,        ,          ,       ,       ,
      Ano|ther thing | to fall:| I not | deny
           ,     ,        ,        ,    2       ,
20    The ju|ry pas|sing on | the pri|soner's life,
       ,             ,        ,              ,         ,
      May in | the sworn | twelve have | a thief,| or two
        ,  2           ,          ,           ,       ,         ,    ,  ->
      Guiltier | than him | they try;| what's o|pen made || to jus|tice,
              ,        ,              ,           , ->
      That | justice^|seizes;| what know || the laws
              ,           ,           ,       ,    2       ,     ->
      That thieves | do pass | on thieves?| 'tis very || pregnant,
            x         2     ,         ,             x
25    The jewel | that we find,| we stoop,| and take it,
          ,           x           ,        ,        ,
      Because | we see it;| but what | we do | not see,
           ,       ,         ,       ,         ,
      We tread | upon,| and ne|ver think | of it.
           ,         ,      ,    ,       2    ,
      You may | not so | exten|uate | his offense,
          ,         ,            ,          ,        ,       2->
      For I | have had | such faults;| but ra|ther tell || me
           ,         ,        ,        ,       ,
30    When I,| that cen|sure him,| do so | offend,
                  ,    ,        ,        ,         ,
      Let mine / own judg|ment pat|tern out | my death,
           ,         ,        ,         ,      2      ,
      And no|thing come | in par|tial. Sir,| he must die.
 
ESCALUS
       ,   2           ,        ,
      Be it as | your wis|dom will.
 
ANGELO
                                     ,     2       ,
                                   Where is the | provost?
 
PROVOST
        ,    2       ,          ,
35    Here if it | like your | honor.
 
ANGELO
                                      ,           ,  2
                                     See that | Claudio
          ,   ,    2     ,       ,       ,        ->
      Be ex|ecu|ted by nine | tomor|row mor||ning,
        ,        3   3    ,        ,         ,        ,
      Bring | him his confes|sor, let | him be | prepared,
             ,          ,   ,            ,       ,
      For that's | the ut|most of | his pil|grimage.
 
[Exit Provost]
 
ESCALUS
        ,    ,            ,           2     ,        ,
40    Well: hea/ven for|give him;| and forgive | us all:
             ,        ,          ,        ,        ,
      Some rise | by sin,| and some | by vir|tue fall:
            ,            ,         ,         ,        ,
      Some run | from brakes | of ice,| and an|swer none:
            ,         ,      ,        ,        ,
      And some | condemn|ed for | a fault | alone.
 
[Enter ELBOW, and Officers with FROTH and POMPEY]
 
ELBOW
Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away.
 
ANGELO
How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
 
ELBOW
If it please your honor, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honor two notorious benefactors.
 
ANGELO
Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
 
ELBOW
If it? please your honor, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world that good Christians ought to have.
 
ESCALUS
This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
 
ANGELO
Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
 
POMPEY
He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
 
ANGELO
What are you, sir?
 
ELBOW
He, sir! a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
 
ESCALUS
How know you that?
 
ELBOW
My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honor,--
 
ESCALUS
How? thy wife?
 
ELBOW
Aye, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,--
 
ESCALUS
Dost thou detest her therefore?
 
ELBOW
I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
 
ESCALUS
How dost thou know that, constable?
 
ELBOW
Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
 
ESCALUS
By the woman's means?
 
ELBOW
Aye, sir, by Mistress Overdone's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
 
POMPEY
Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.
 
ELBOW
Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man; prove it.
 
ESCALUS
Do you hear how he misplaces?
 
POMPEY
Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honor's reverence) for stewed prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were in a fruit-dish (a dish of some three-pence; your honors have seen such dishes) they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
 
ESCALUS
Go to, go to: no matter for the dish sir.
 
POMPEY
No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being (as I say) with child, and being great-bellied, and longing (as I said) for prunes; and having but two in the dish (as I said) Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest (as I said) and (as I say) paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again.
 
FROTH
No indeed.
 
POMPEY
Very well: you being then (if you be remembered) cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes,
 
FROTH
Aye, so I did indeed.
 
POMPEY
Why, very well; I telling you then (if you be remembered) that such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you,--
 
FROTH
All this is true.
 
POMPEY
Why, very well, then,--
 
ESCALUS
Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose. What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
 
POMPEY
Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.
 
ESCALUS
No, sir, nor I mean it not.
 
POMPEY
Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor's leave. And, I beseech you, look into Master Froth here, sir; a man of four-score pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas: was it not at Hallowmas, Master Froth?
 
FROTH
All-hallond eve.
 
POMPEY
Why very well; I hope here be truths. He sir, sitting (as I say) in a lower chair, sir; 'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you have a delight to sit, have you not?
 
FROTH
I have so; because it is an open room and good for winter.
 
POMPEY
Why, very well, then; I hope here be truths.
 
ANGELO
        T    T    T     ,        ,         ,
      This will last | out a | night in | Russia
              ,           ,        ,            ,         ,
45    When nights | are long|est there:| I'll take | my leave,
            ,          ,        ,        ,         ,
      And leave | you to | the hea|ring of | the cause;
       ,    2           T    T    T          ,          ,
      Hoping you'll | find good cause | to whip | them all.
 
ESCALUS
I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship. Now, sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
 
POMPEY
Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.
 
ELBOW
I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
 
POMPEY
I beseech your honor, ask me.
 
ESCALUS
Well, sir; what did this gentleman to her?
 
POMPEY
I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face. Good Master Froth, look upon his honor; 'tis for a good purpose. Doth your honor mark his face?
 
ESCALUS
Aye, sir, very well.
 
POMPEY
Nay; I beseech you, mark it well.
 
ESCALUS
Well, I do so.
 
POMPEY
Doth your honor see any harm in his face?
 
ESCALUS
Why, no.
 
POMPEY
I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him. Good, then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honor.
 
ESCALUS
He's in the right. Constable, what say you to it?
 
ELBOW
First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
 
POMPEY
By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
 
ELBOW
Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet! the time has yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
 
POMPEY
Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
 
ESCALUS
Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?
 
ELBOW
O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her before I was married to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer. Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.
 
ESCALUS
If he took you a box of the ear, you might have your action of slander too.
 
ELBOW
Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is it your worship's pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?
 
ESCALUS
Truly, officer, because he hath some offenses in him that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou knowest what they are.
 
ELBOW
Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou wicked varlet, now, what's come upon thee: thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.
 
ESCALUS
Where were you born, friend?
 
FROTH
Here in Vienna, sir.
 
ESCALUS
Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
 
FROTH
Yes, and it please you, sir.
 
ESCALUS
So. What trade are you of, sir?
 
POMPEY
Tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
 
ESCALUS
Your mistress' name?
 
POMPEY
Mistress Overdone.
 
ESCALUS
Hath she had any more than one husband?
 
POMPEY
Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.
 
ESCALUS
Nine! Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters: they will draw you, Master Froth, and you will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no more of you.
 
FROTH
I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never come into any room in a tap-house, but I am drawn in.
 
ESCALUS
Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell. Come you hither to me, Master tapster. What's your name, Master tapster?
 
POMPEY
Pompey.
 
ESCALUS
What else?
 
POMPEY
Bum, sir.
 
ESCALUS
Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you color it in being a tapster, are you not? come, tell me true: it shall be the better for you.
 
POMPEY
Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
 
ESCALUS
How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?
 
POMPEY
If the law would allow it, sir.
 
ESCALUS
But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna.
 
POMPEY
Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the city?
 
ESCALUS
No, Pompey.
 
POMPEY
Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to it then. If your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
 
ESCALUS
There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but heading and hanging.
 
POMPEY
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 after three-pence a bay: if you live to see this come to pass, say Pompey told you so.
 
ESCALUS
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 Caesar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipped: so, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
 
POMPEY
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 is not whipped out of his trade.
 
[Exit]
 
ESCALUS
Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?
 
ELBOW
Seven year and a half, sir.
 
ESCALUS
I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?
 
ELBOW
And a half, sir.
 
ESCALUS
Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you wrong to put you so oft upon it: are there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it?
 
ELBOW
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.
 
ESCALUS
Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most sufficient of your parish.
 
ELBOW
To your worship's house, sir?
 
ESCALUS
To my house. Fare you well. What's o'clock, think you?
 
JUSTICE
Eleven, sir.
 
ESCALUS
I pray you home to dinner with me.
 
JUSTICE
I humbly thank you.
 
ESCALUS
It grieves me for the death of Claudio but there's no remedy.
 
JUSTICE
Lord Angelo is severe.
 
ESCALUS
It is but needful.
       ,   2      ,       ,           T    T    T
      Mercy is | not it|self, that | oft looks so;
       ,            ,           ,         ,       ,
      Pardon | is still | the nurse | of se|cond woe:
 
But yet, poor Claudio; there is no remedy. Come sir.
 
[Exeunt]

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