William Shakespeare's Measure for Measure in the complete original text.
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Measure for Measure

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Act IV. Scene III.

Scene III.—Another Room in the Same.


Pom. I 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 for a commodity of brown
paper and old ginger, nine-score 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
Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four
suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches
him a beggar. Then have we young Dizy, and
young Master Deep-vow, and Master Copper-
spur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier and
dagger man, and young Drop-heir that kill'd
lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight, the tilter,
and brave Master Shoe-tie 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.'

Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
Pom. Master Barnardine! you must rise and
be hanged. Master Barnardine.
Abhor. What ho! Barnardine!
Barnar. [Within.] A pox o' your throats!
Who makes that noise there? What are you?
Pom. Your friends, sir; the hangman. You
roust be so good, sir, to rise and be put to
Barnar. [Within.] Away! you rogue, away!
I am sleepy.
Abhor. Tell him he must awake, and that
quickly too.
Pom. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till
you are executed, and sleep afterwards.
Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
Pom. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear
his straw rustle.
Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
Pom. Very ready, sir.

Barnar. How now, Abhorson? what's the
news with you?
Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap
into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant's
Barnar. You rogue, I have been drinking all
night; I am not fitted for't.
Pom. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks
all night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning,
may sleep the sounder all the next day.
Abhor. Look you, sir; here comes your
ghostly father: do we jest now, think you?

Enter DUKE, disguised as before.
Duke. Sir, induced by my charity, and hear-
ing how hastily you are to depart, I am come to
advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.
Barnar. Friar, not I: I have been drinking
hard all night, and I will have more time to pre-
pare me, or they shall beat out my brains with
billets. I will not consent to die this day, that's
Duke. O, sir, you must; and therefore, I
beseech you look forward on the journey you
shall go.
Barnar. I swear I will not die to-day for any
man's persuasion.
Duke. But hear you.
Barnar. Not a word: if you have anything
to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will
not I to day. [Exit.

Duke, Unfit to live or die. O, gravel heart!
After him fellows: bring him to the block.
Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for
And, to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.
Prov. Here in the prison, father,
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 inclin'd,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
Duke. O, 'tis an accident that heaven pro-
Dispatch it presently: the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo. See this be done,
And sent according to command, whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
Prov. This shall be done, good father, pre-
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?
Duke. Let this be done:
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.
Prov. I am your free dependant.
Duke. Quick, dispatch,
And send the head to Angelo. [Exit PROVOST.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,—
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
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter PROVOST.
Prov. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.
Duke. Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.
Prov. I'll make all speed. [Exit.
Isab. [Within.] Peace, ho, be here!
Duke. The tongue of Isabel. She's come to
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither;
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.

Isab. Ho! by your leave.
Duke. Good morning to you, fair and gracious
Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?
Duke. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the
His head is off and sent to Angelo.
Isab. Nay, but it is not so.
Duke. It is no other: show your wisdom,
In your close patience.
Isab. O! I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
Duke. You shall not be admitted to his sight.
Isab. Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!
Duke. This 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.
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your
One of our covent, 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,
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.
Isab. I am directed by you.
Duke. This 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
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
I am combined by a sacred vow
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
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.
Lucio. Good even. Friar, where is the pro-
Duke. Not within, sir?
Lucio. O 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 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. [Exit ISABELLA.
Duke. Sir, the duke is marvellous little be-
holding to your reports; but the best is, he lives
not in them.
Lucio. Friar, thou knowest not the duke so
well as I do: he's a better woodman than then
takest him for.
Duke. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare
ye well.
Lucio. Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee: I
can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.
Duke. You have told me too many of him
already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none
were enough.
Lucio. I was once before him for getting a
wench with child.
Duke. Did you such a thing?
Lucio. Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to
forswear it: they would else have married me to
the rotten medlar.
Duke. Sir, your company is fairer than honest.
Rest you well.
Lucio. By 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. Exeunt.
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