1605 Measure For Measure
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Dost thou desire her foully for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
Thieves for their robbery have authority
When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,
That I desire to hear her speak again,
And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet,
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
Subdues me quite. Ever till now,
When men were fond, I smil'd and wond'red how. Exit
Enter, severally, DUKE, disguised as a FRIAR, and PROVOST
DUKE. Hail to you, Provost! so I think you are.
PROVOST. I am the Provost. What's your will, good friar?
DUKE. Bound by my charity and my blest order,
I come to visit the afflicted spirits
Here in the prison. Do me the common right
To let me see them, and to make me know
The nature of their crimes, that I may minister
To them accordingly.
PROVOST. I would do more than that, if more were needful.
Look, here comes one; a gentlewoman of mine,
Who, falling in the flaws of her own youth,
Hath blister'd her report. She is with child;
And he that got it, sentenc'd- a young man
More fit to do another such offence
Than die for this.
DUKE. When must he die?
PROVOST. As I do think, to-morrow.
[To JULIET] I have provided for you; stay awhile
And you shall be conducted.
DUKE. Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
JULIET. I do; and bear the shame most patiently.
DUKE. I'll teach you how you shall arraign your conscience,
And try your penitence, if it be sound
Or hollowly put on.
JULIET. I'll gladly learn.
DUKE. Love you the man that wrong'd you?
JULIET. Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd him.
DUKE. So then, it seems, your most offenceful act
Was mutually committed.
DUKE. Then was your sin of heavier kind than his.
JULIET. I do confess it, and repent it, father.
DUKE. 'Tis meet so, daughter; but lest you do repent
As that the sin hath brought you to this shame,
Which sorrow is always toward ourselves, not heaven,
Showing we would not spare heaven as we love it,
But as we stand in fear-
JULIET. I do repent me as it is an evil,
And take the shame with joy.
DUKE. There rest.
Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,
And I am going with instruction to him.
Grace go with you! Benedicite! Exit
JULIET. Must die to-morrow! O, injurious law,
That respites me a life whose very comfort
Is still a dying horror!
PROVOST. 'Tis pity of him. Exeunt
ANGELO. When I would pray and think, I think and pray
To several subjects. Heaven hath my empty words,
Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
Anchors on Isabel. Heaven in my mouth,
As if I did but only chew his name,
And in my heart the strong and swelling evil
Of my conception. The state whereon I studied
Is, like a good thing being often read,
Grown sere and tedious; yea, my gravity,
Wherein- let no man hear me- I take pride,
Could I with boot change for an idle plume
Which the air beats for vain. O place, O form,
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,
Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls
To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood.
Let's write 'good angel' on the devil's horn;
'Tis not the devil's crest.
How now, who's there?
SERVANT. One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you.
ANGELO. Teach her the way. [Exit SERVANT] O heavens!
Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,
Making both it unable for itself
And dispossessing all my other parts
Of necessary fitness?
So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons;
Come all to help him, and so stop the air
By which he should revive; and even so
The general subject to a well-wish'd king
Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
Must needs appear offence.
How now, fair maid?
ISABELLA. I am come to know your pleasure.
ANGELO. That you might know it would much better please me
Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live.
ISABELLA. Even so! Heaven keep your honour!
ANGELO. Yet may he live awhile, and, it may be,
As long as you or I; yet he must die.
ISABELLA. Under your sentence?
ISABELLA. When? I beseech you; that in his reprieve,
Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted
That his soul sicken not.
ANGELO. Ha! Fie, these filthy vices! It were as good
To pardon him that hath from nature stol'n
A man already made, as to remit
Their saucy sweetness that do coin heaven's image
In stamps that are forbid; 'tis all as easy
Falsely to take away a life true made
As to put metal in restrained means
To make a false one.
ISABELLA. 'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.
ANGELO. Say you so? Then I shall pose you quickly.
Which had you rather- that the most just law
Now took your brother's life; or, to redeem him,
Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness
As she that he hath stain'd?
ISABELLA. Sir, believe this:
I had rather give my body than my soul.
ANGELO. I talk not of your soul; our compell'd sins
Stand more for number than for accompt.
ISABELLA. How say you?
ANGELO. Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak
Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
I, now the voice of the recorded law,
Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life;
Might there not be a charity in sin
To save this brother's life?
ISABELLA. Please you to do't,
I'll take it as a peril to my soul
It is no sin at all, but charity.
ANGELO. Pleas'd you to do't at peril of your soul,
Were equal poise of sin and charity.
ISABELLA. That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Heaven let me bear it! You granting of my suit,
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayer
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your answer.
ANGELO. Nay, but hear me;
Your sense pursues not mine; either you are ignorant
Or seem so, craftily; and that's not good.
ISABELLA. Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good
But graciously to know I am no better.
ANGELO. Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright
When it doth tax itself; as these black masks
Proclaim an enshielded beauty ten times louder
Than beauty could, display'd. But mark me:
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross-
Your brother is to die.
ANGELO. And his offence is so, as it appears,
Accountant to the law upon that pain.
ANGELO. Admit no other way to save his life,
As I subscribe not that, nor any other,
But, in the loss of question, that you, his sister,
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-binding law; and that there were
No earthly mean to save him but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this supposed, or else to let him suffer-
What would you do?
ISABELLA. As much for my poor brother as myself;
That is, were I under the terms of death,
Th' impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death as to a bed
That longing have been sick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.
ANGELO. Then must your brother die.
ISABELLA. And 'twere the cheaper way: