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Measure for Measure

Act IV, Scene 2

A room in the prison.
 
[Enter Provost and POMPEY]
 
PROVOST
Come hither, sirrah. Can you cut off a man's head?
 
POMPEY
        2     ,      2   ,    2    ,       ,
      If the man | be a ba|chelor sir,| I can:
      <-     ,        ,      ,        ,                 ,      ,
        But if || he be | a mar|ried man,| he's his / wife's head,
          ,        ,      ,       2   ,         ,
      And I | can ne|ver cut | off a wo|man's head.
 
PROVOST
Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. Tomorrow 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.
 
POMPEY
Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner.
 
PROVOST
What ho, Abhorson: Where's Abhorson there?
 
ABHORSON
Do you call sir?
 
PROVOST
Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you tomorrow 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.
 
ABHORSON
A bawd sir? Fie upon him, he will discredit our mystery.
 
PROVOST
Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale.
 
[Exit]
 
POMPEY
Pray, sir, by your good favour: for surely sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a hanging look: do you call sir, your occupation a mystery?
 
ABHORSON
Aye sir, a mystery.
 
POMPEY
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 hanged, I cannot imagine.
 
ABHORSON
Sir, it is a mystery.
 
POMPEY
Proof?
 
ABHORSON
Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks 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]
 
PROVOST
Are you agreed?
 
POMPEY
Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask forgiveness.
 
PROVOST
You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe tomorrow four o'clock.
 
ABHORSON
Come on (bawd) I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
 
POMPEY
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; for truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.
 
[Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON]
 
PROVOST
            ,       ,       ,          ,    ,
      Call hi|ther Bar|nardine | and Clau|dio:
           ,       2     x      ,       ,        ,     
5     The one | has my pity; | not a | jot the | other,
       ,   2     ,   2        ,          ,        ,
      Being a | murderer,| though he | were my | brother.
 
[Enter CLAUDIO]
        ,                 ,         ,   2    ,          ,
      Look, here's | the war|rant Clau|dio, for | thy death,
            ,      ,   ,                    ,        ,      2->
      'Tis now | dead mid/night, and | by eight | tomor||row
             ,         ,         x              ,       ,
      Thou must | be made | immortal.| Where's^Bar|nardine?
 
CLAUDIO
           ,            ,        ,          ,         ,     ->
10    As fast | locked^up | in sleep,| as guilt|less la||bor,
        ,      2       ,       ,        ,     2       ,
      When | it lies stark|ly in | the tra|veller's bones,
           ,          ,
      He will | not wake.
 
PROVOST
                               ,         ,        ,
                          Who can | do good | on him?
       __    __        ,          ,          ,           ,
      Well,| go,| prepare | yourself.| But hark,| what noise?
       ,         ,          ,         ,         ,        __
15    Heaven | give your | spirits | comfort:| by, and | by.   (hex with prev)
          ,        ,         ,        ,        ,
      I hope | it is | some par|don, or | reprieve
         2      ,     ,         ,  2     ,         ,
      For the most | gentle | Claudio.| Welcome | father.
 
[Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
            ,          ,      2    ,      3  3      ,
      The best,| and whole|somest spi|rits of the night,
      <-   ,       ,           ,    ,            ,               ,
        Enve||lop you,| good* Pro|vost: Who | called here | of late?
 
PROVOST
        ,               ,        ,
20    None since | the cur|few rung.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
                                        ,    ,
                                    Not I|sabel?
 
PROVOST
       ,
      No.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
                  ,          ,            ,    oo
         They | will then | ere it | be long.|
 
PROVOST
            ,        ,         ,    ,
      What com|fort is | for Clau|dio?
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
      <-          ,         ,  ->
        There's some | in hope.
 
PROVOST
          ,      ,       ,    ,
25    It is | a bit|ter dep|uty.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
           ,        ,         ,        ,      ,
      Not so,| not so:| his life | is pa|ralleled
      ,          2       ,           ,      2      ,      ,
      Even | with the stroke | and line | of his great | justice:
           ,          ,     ,      ,         ,
      He doth | with ho|ly ab|stinence | subdue
            ,        ,         2     ,       2      x
      That in | himself,| which he spurs | on his power
      <-    ,      ,      ,          ,          ,            ,
30      To qua||lify | in o|thers: were | he mealed | with that
             ,        ,            ,        ,      ,
      Which he | corrects,| then were | he ty|rannous;
            ,      2    ,          ,         ,           ,
      But this | being so,| he's just.| Now are | they come.
 
[Exit Provost]
        ,    2     ,        T   T    T        ,
      This is a | gentle | provost, sel|dom when
            ,       ,       ,          ,         ,
      The stee|led jai|ler is | the friend | of men:
 
[Knocking within]
           ,           ,           ,       2      ,            ,
35    How now?| What noise?| That spi|rit's possessed | with haste,
              ,        2   ,        ,         ,             ,
      That wounds | the unsis|ting pos|tern with | these strokes.
 
[Re-enter Provost]
 
PROVOST
        ,               ,       ,         ,    ,
      There he | must^stay | until | the of|ficer
         ,        ,         ,              ,    ,
      Arise | to let | him in:| he is / called up.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
        ,             ,       ,          ,   2   ,
      Have you | no coun|termand | for Clau|dio yet?
           ,         ,       ,
40    But he | must die | tomor|row?
 
PROVOST
                                      ,           ,
                                    None | sir, none.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
           ,          ,       ,    ,            ,
      As near | the dawn|ing pro|vost, as | it is,
            ,      T     T   T     ,
      You shall | hear more ere | morning.
 
PROVOST
                                           ,   2
                                          Happily
            ,          ,     ,          ,             ,
45    You some|thing know:| yet I | believe | there comes
           ,       ,     ,     2    ,        ,
      No coun|termand:| no such ex|ample | have we:
          ,       ,         ,      ,         ,       ->
      Besides,| upon | the ve|ry siege | of jus||tice,
        ,     ,  2      ,            ,       ,
      Lord | Angelo | hath to | the pub|lic ear
            ,        2    ,
      Professed | the contr|ary.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
                                  ,                ,    ,
50                              This | is his / lord's man.
 
[Enter a Messenger]
 
PROVOST
            ,            ,    ,      ,
      And here | comes^Clau|dio's | pardon.
 
MESSENGER
      <-     ,            ,                 ,
        My lord || hath sent | you this / note,
      <- ,        ,          ,          ,
        And | by me || this fur|ther charge;
          2       ,      ,               ,         ,   2     x
      That you swerve | not from | the smal||lest ar|ticle of it,
       ,             ,     ,           ,       ,        ,   ->
55    Neither | in time,| matter,|| or o|ther cir|cumstance.
            ,        ,       2      x       2    ,       ,  ->
      Good mor|row: for || as I take it,| it is al|most day.
 
PROVOST
      ,      2   ,
      I shall o|bey him.
 
[Exit Messenger]
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
        ,            ,       ,          ,         ,
      This is | his par|don pur|chased by | such sin
            ,          ,     ,         ,        ,
      For which | the par|doner | himself | is in:
              ,        ,           ,        ,    ,
60    Hence^hath | offense | his quick | cele|rity,
            ,        ,         ,        ,    ,
      When^it | is born | in high | autho|rity.
             ,           ,       ,        ,      ,      o
      When vice | makes^me|rcy; mer|cy's^so | exten|ded,
            ,           ,        ,           2   ,        ,        o
      That for | the fault's | love, is | the offen|der frien|ded.
       T   T     T      ,
      Now sir, what | news?
 
PROVOST
                                  ,
                            I | told you:
      <-      ,     ,       ,     ,           2    ,
65      Lord^An||gelo |(belike)| thinking | me remiss
        2      ,        o     ,       ,
      In mine^of||fice,   | awa|kens me
      <-       ,       ,        ,        ,        ,         ,
        With this | unwon||ted put|ting-on,| methinks | strangely:
           ,          ,      ,           ,
      For he || hath not | used it | before.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
                                              ,                ,
                                            Pray you | let's^hear.
 
PROVOST [Reading]
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 performed; 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 VINCENTIO
What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the afternoon?
 
PROVOST
A Bohemian born, but here nursed up and bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
How came it that the absent duke had not either delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I have heard it was ever his manner to do so.
 
PROVOST
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 VINCENTIO
It is now apparent?
 
PROVOST
Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
Hath he born himself penitently in prison? how seems he to be touched?
 
PROVOST
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.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
He wants advice.
 
PROVOST
He will hear none: he hath evermore had the liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape hence, he would not: drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming warrant for it: it hath not moved him at all.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
More of him anon. There is written in your brow, provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but, in the boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo who hath sentenced him. To make you understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four days' respite; for the which you are to do me both a present and a dangerous courtesy.
 
PROVOST
Pray, sir, in what?
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
In the delaying death.
 
PROVOST
A lack, how may I do it, having the hour limited, and an express command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head born to Angelo.
 
PROVOST
Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
O, death's a great disguiser; and you may add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard; and say it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his death: you know the course is common. If any thing fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life.
 
PROVOST
Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?
 
PROVOST
To him, and to his substitutes.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
You will think you have made no offense, if the duke avouch the justice of your dealing?
 
PROVOST
But what likelihood is in that?
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
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 of you. 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.
 
PROVOST
I know them both.
 
DUKE VINCENTIO
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 tenor; perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the shepherd. 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. Come away; it is almost clear dawn.
 
[Exeunt]

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