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Measure for Measure


ACT IV SCENE IThe moated grange at St. Luke’s.
Enter MARIANA and a Boy.
Boy sings.
Take, O, take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes, the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the morn:
But my kisses bring again, bring again;
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.
MARIANABreak off thy song, and haste thee quick away:
Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice
Hath often still’d my brawling discontent.
Exit Boy.
Enter DUKE VINCENTIO, disguised as before.
I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish 10
You had not found me here so musical:
Let me excuse me, and believe me so,
My mirth it much displeased, but pleased my woe.
DUKE VINCENTIO‘Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm
To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.
I pray, you, tell me, hath any body inquired
for me here to-day? much upon this time have
I promised here to meet.
MARIANAYou have not been inquired after:
I have sat here all day. 20
DUKE VINCENTIOI do constantly believe you. The time is come even
now. I shall crave your forbearance a little: may
be I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.
MARIANAI am always bound to you.
DUKE VINCENTIOVery well met, and well come.
What is the news from this good deputy?
ISABELLAHe hath a garden circummured with brick,
Whose western side is with a vineyard back’d;
And to that vineyard is a planched gate,
That makes his opening with this bigger key: 30
This other doth command a little door
Which from the vineyard to the garden leads;
There have I made my promise
Upon the heavy middle of the night
To call upon him.
DUKE VINCENTIOBut shall you on your knowledge find this way?
ISABELLAI have ta’en a due and wary note upon’t:
With whispering and most guilty diligence,
In action all of precept, he did show me
The way twice o’er.
DUKE VINCENTIOAre there no other tokens 40
Between you ‘greed concerning her observance?
ISABELLANo, none, but only a repair i’ the dark;
And that I have possess’d him my most stay
Can be but brief; for I have made him know
I have a servant comes with me along,
That stays upon me, whose persuasion is
I come about my brother.
DUKE VINCENTIO‘Tis well borne up.
I have not yet made known to Mariana
A word of this. What, ho! within! come forth!
Re-enter MARIANA.
I pray you, be acquainted with this maid; 50
She comes to do you good.
ISABELLAI do desire the like.
DUKE VINCENTIODo you persuade yourself that I respect you?
MARIANAGood friar, I know you do, and have found it.
DUKE VINCENTIOTake, then, this your companion by the hand,
Who hath a story ready for your ear.
I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;
The vaporous night approaches.
MARIANAWill’t please you walk aside?
DUKE VINCENTIOO place and greatness! millions of false eyes
Are stuck upon thee: volumes of report 60
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?
ISABELLAShe’ll take the enterprise upon her, father,
If you advise it.
DUKE VINCENTIOIt is not my consent,
But my entreaty too.
ISABELLALittle have you to say
When you depart from him, but, soft and low,
‘Remember now my brother.’
MARIANAFear me not.
DUKE VINCENTIONor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all. 70
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 flourish the deceit. Come, let us go:
Our corn’s to reap, for yet our tilth’s to sow.


Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 1

From Measure for Measure. Ed. William J. Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers., 1899.

1. Take, O, take those lips away, etc. In The Bloody Brother, by B. and F., this stanza appears with the addition of the following:

“Hide, O hide those hills of snow
Which thy frozen bosom bears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow
Are of those that April wears;
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.”

Both were printed in the spurious edition of Shakespeare’s Poems, published in 1640; but probably the second is Fletcher’s. W. remarks: “The two stanzas in fact will not make one song, except at great violence to both the form and spirit of the first. For that is written so that the music shall repeat the last three syllables of each of the last two lines, which is impossible with the other: they can both be sung to the same music only by suppressing the beautiful and touching repetition in the first; and this was done when it was introduced in The Bloody Brother. Besides, the stanza added in that play is palpably addressed to a woman, while this is just as certainly and as clearly, though not just as palpably, addressed to a man. The command to the boy to break off his song is but a dramatic contrivance to procure the effect of an intrusion upon Mariana’s solitude.” It may be added that the second stanza is poetically inferior to the first; marred as it is by the conceit — quite in the taste of the time, to be sure — in the second couplet, and by “those icy chains,” which makes a confusion of metaphors, to say nothing of the awkward repetition of those. We suspect, however, that Fletcher wrote “these icy chains.”
6. Seals of love, etc. Steevens compares Sonnet. 142. 7;

“those lips of thine,
That have profan’d their scarlet ornaments,
And seal’d false bonds of love as oft as mine;”

and V. and A. 511: “Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted.”
10. I cry you mercy. I beg your pardon. Cf M. N. D. p. 159.
13. My mirth, etc. “Though the music soothed my sorrows, it had no tendency to produce light merriment” (Johnson).
18. Meet. Hanmer adds “one;” but cf. M. W. ii. 3. 5: “‘T is past the hour, sir, that Sir Hugh promised to meet;” and A. Y. L. v. 2. 129: ‘as you love Phebe, meet; and as I love no woman, I’ll meet.”
21. Constantly. Firmly.
27. Circummur’d. Walled round; used by S. only here.
29. Planched. Planked, made of boards. Steevens quotes Gorges, Lucan, 1614: “The planched floor,” etc. We find also plancher = plank; as in Lyly, Maid’s Metamorphosis, 1600: ” A hollow plancher,” etc
33-35. There . . . him. The folio reads:

“There haue I made my promise, vpon the
Heauy midle of the night, to call vpon him.”

Various re-arrangements have been proposed, that in the text being Walker’s conjecture, adopted by the Camb. editors, D., and H. D. says that it was recommended to him by Tennyson in 1844. Delius and St. print the passage as prose.
Heavy seems here to be = drowsy, sleepy; as in Temp. i. ii. 189, 194, 198, M. N. D. v.i. 380, etc In Oth. v. i. 42 “heavy night” probably means cloudy or gloomy night. See our ed. p. 205.
39. Action all of precept. “Shewing the several turnings of the way with his hand” (Warb.). Johnson would transpose action and precept.
41. Concerning her observance. Which it concerns her to observe. For greed (not ‘greed as often printed), see Wh.
43. Possess’d. Informed; as in Much Ado, v. i. 290, M. of V. i. iii. 65, etc On my most stay, cf. 2 Hen. IV. iv. i. 71: “our most quiet,” etc.
46. Stays upon. Waits for. Cf. Macb. i. iii. 148: “stay upon your leisure,” etc.
47. Borne up. Arranged, devised.
60. Are stuck upon thee. Cf. A. W. v. iii. 45: “I stuck my choice upon her,” etc.
61. Quests. Spyings. Contrarious here is = contradictory, or perhaps merely = diverse. S. uses the word elsewhere only in I Hen. IV. v. i. 52: “contrarious winds.”
62. Escapes. Sallies; changed by Pope to “‘scapes.”
63. Dreams. The folio has “dreame;” corrected by Pope.
64. Rack. Probably = strain, distort, misrepresent. Cf. racker in L. L. L. v. i. 21: “rackers of orthography.”
71. Pre-contract. Betrothal.
73. Sith. Since. See on i. iii. 35 above.
74. Flourish. “Colour, varnish” (Schmidt), or grace.
75. Tilth’s. The folios have “Tithes” or “Tythes,” and the Camb. ed. reads “tithe’s.” The emendation was suggested by Warb. and is generally adopted. See on i. iv. 44 above.

Measure for Measure, Act 4, Scene 2


Abbott (or Gr.), Abbott’s Shakespearian Grammar (third edition).
A. S., Anglo-Saxon.
A. v.. Authorized Version of the Bible (1611).
B. and F., Beaumont and Fletcher.
B. J., Ben Jonson.
Camb. ed., “Cambridge edition” of Shakespeare, edited by Clark and Wright.
Cf. confer\ compare.
Clarke, “Cassell’s Illustrated Shakespeare,” edited by Charles and Mary Cowden-Clarke (London, n. d.).
Coll., Collier (second edition).
Coll. MS., Manuscript Corrections of Second Folio, edited by Collier.
D., Dyce (second edition).
H., Hudson (“Harvard” edition).
Halliwell, J. O. Halliwell (folio ed. of Shakespeare).
Id. (idem), the same.
J. H., J. Hunter’s ed. M./or M. (London, 1873).
K., Knight (second edition).
Nares, Glossary, edited by Halliwell and Wright Lndon, 1859).
Prol., Prologue.
S., Shakespeare.
Schmidt, A. Schmidt’s Shakespeare-Lexicon (Berlin, 1874).
Sr., Singer.
St, Staunton.
Theo., Theobald.
v., Verplanck.
W., R. Grant White.
Walker, Wm. Sidney Walker’s Critical Examination of the Text of Shakespeare (London, i860).
Warb., Warburton.
Wb., Webster’s Dictionary (revised quarto edition of 1879).
Wore, Worcester’s Dictionary (quarto edition).


How to cite the explanatory notes:Shakespeare, William. Measure for Measure. Ed. William J. Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers., 1899.