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Measure for Measure

ACT IV SCENE IIIAnother room in the same.
POMPEYI am as well acquainted here as I was in our house
of profession: one would think it were Mistress
Overdone’s own house, for here be many of her old
customers. First, here’s young Master Rash; he’s in 5
for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,
ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made
five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not
much in request, for the old women were all dead.
Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of 10
Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of
peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a
beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young
Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master
Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young 15
Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master
Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the
great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed
Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in
our trade, and are now ‘for the Lord’s sake.’ 20
ABHORSONSirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
POMPEYMaster Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.
Master Barnardine!
ABHORSONWhat, ho, Barnardine!
noise there? What are you? 25
POMPEYYour friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so
good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
ABHORSONTell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
POMPEYPray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are
executed, and sleep afterwards. 30
ABHORSONGo in to him, and fetch him out.
POMPEYHe is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.
ABHORSONIs the axe upon the block, sirrah?
POMPEYVery ready, sir.
BARNARDINEHow now, Abhorson? what’s the news with you? 35
ABHORSONTruly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your
prayers; for, look you, the warrant’s come.
BARNARDINEYou rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
fitted for ‘t.
POMPEYO, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, 40
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the
sounder all the next day.
ABHORSONLook you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do
we jest now, think you?
Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before.
DUKE VINCENTIOSir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily 45
you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort
you and pray with you.
BARNARDINEFriar, not I I have been drinking hard all night,
and I will have more time to prepare me, or they
shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not 50
consent to die this day, that’s certain.
DUKE VINCENTIOO, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you
Look forward on the journey you shall go.
BARNARDINEI swear I will not die to-day for any man’s
persuasion. 55
BARNARDINENot a word: if you have any thing to say to me,
come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.
DUKE VINCENTIOUnfit to live or die: O gravel heart!
After him, fellows; bring him to the block. 60
Re-enter Provost.
ProvostNow, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
DUKE VINCENTIOA creature unprepared, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.
ProvostHere in the prison, father, 65
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio’s years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined; 70
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
DUKE VINCENTIOO, ’tis an accident that heaven provides!
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix’d by Angelo: see this be done, 75
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
ProvostThis shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio, 80
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?
DUKE VINCENTIOLet this be done.
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting 85
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.
ProvostI am your free dependant.
DUKE VINCENTIOQuick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.
Exit Provost.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,– 90
The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly: him I’ll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount 95
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.
Re-enter Provost
ProvostHere is the head; I’ll carry it myself.
DUKE VINCENTIOConvenient is it. Make a swift return; 100
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.
ProvostI’ll make all speed.
DUKE VINCENTIOThe tongue of Isabel. She’s come to know
If yet her brother’s pardon be come hither: 105
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.
ISABELLAHo, by your leave!
DUKE VINCENTIOGood morning to you, fair and gracious daughter. 110
ISABELLAThe better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother’s pardon?
DUKE VINCENTIOHe hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
His head is off and sent to Angelo.
ISABELLANay, but it is not so. 115
DUKE VINCENTIOIt is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close patience.
ISABELLAO, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
DUKE VINCENTIOYou shall not be admitted to his sight.
ISABELLAUnhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel! 120
Injurious world! most damned Angelo!
DUKE VINCENTIOThis nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Mark what I say, which you shall find
By every syllable a faithful verity: 125
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes;
One of our convent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance: already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates, 130
There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour. 135
ISABELLAI am directed by you.
DUKE VINCENTIOThis letter, then, to Friar Peter give;
‘Tis that he sent me of the duke’s return:
Say, by this token, I desire his company
At Mariana’s house to-night. Her cause and yours 140
I’ll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
Before the duke, and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter: 145
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course. Who’s here?
Enter LUCIO.
LUCIOGood even. Friar, where’s the provost?
DUKE VINCENTIONot within, sir. 150
LUCIOO pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain
to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for
my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set
me to ‘t. But they say the duke will be here 155
to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother:
if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been
at home, he had lived.
DUKE VINCENTIOSir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your
reports; but the best is, he lives not in them. 160
LUCIOFriar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do:
he’s a better woodman than thou takest him for.
DUKE VINCENTIOWell, you’ll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
LUCIONay, tarry; I’ll go along with thee
I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke. 165
DUKE VINCENTIOYou have told me too many of him already, sir, if
they be true; if not true, none were enough.
LUCIOI was once before him for getting a wench with child.
DUKE VINCENTIODid you such a thing?
LUCIOYes, marry, did I but I was fain to forswear it; 170
they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
DUKE VINCENTIOSir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
LUCIOBy my troth, I’ll go with thee to the lane’s end:
if bawdy talk offend you, we’ll have very little of
it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick. 175

Measure for Measure, Act 4, Scene 4