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bondage : if you take it not patiently, why, your mettle. is the more: adieu, trusty Pompey.—'Bless
Duke. And you!
Lucio. Then, Pompey? nur now.-What news abroad, friar? what news?
Elb. Come your ways, sir; come.
[Exeunt Elbow, Pompey, and TIPSTAVES. What news, friar, of the duke? Duke. I know none: Can
of Lucio. Some say, he is with the emperor of Russia; other some, he is in Rome: but where is he, think
Duke. I know not where: but wheresoever, I wish him well.
Lucio. It was a mad fantastical trick of him, to steal from the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born to.
Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence; he puts transgression to't.
Duke. He does well in't.
Lucio. A little more lenity to wenching would do no harm in him : something too crabbed that way,
friar. Duke. It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.
Lucio. Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred ; it is well ally’d: but it is impossible to extirp it quite, till eating and drinking be put down.
Duke. You are pleasant, sir; and speak apace.
Lucio. Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, to take away the life of a man for—would the duke, that is absent, have done this? Ere he would have hang’d a man for the getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a thousand She knew the service, and that instructed him to mercy.
Duke. I never heard the absent duke much detected for women; he was not inclin'd that way.
Lucio. O, sir, you are deceiv’d.
Lucio. Who? not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty ; and his use was, to put a ducat in her clackdish :—the duke had crotchets in him :-he would be drunk, too; that let me inform, you.
Duke. You do him wrong, surely.
Lucio. Sir, I was an inward of his :-a shy fellow was the duke:-and, I believe, I know the cause of his withdrawing.
Duke. What, I pr’ythee, might be the cause?
Lucio. No,-pardon ;—’tis a' secret must be lock'd within the teeth and the lips : but this I can let you understand, -the greater file of the subject held the duke to be wise.
Duke. Wise? why, no question but he was.
Lucio. A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
Duhe. Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very stream of his life, and the business he hath helm’d, must, upon a warranted need, give him a better proclamation: therefore, you speak unskilfully; or, if your knowledge be more, it is much darken'd in your malice.
Lucio. Sir, I know what I know.
know not what you speak. But, if ever the duke return, (as our prayers are he may,) let me desire you to make your answer before him: if it be honest
have spoke, you have courage to maintain it: I am bound to call upon you; and, I pray you, your name?
Lucio. Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.
Duke. He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report you.
Lucio. I fear you not.
Duke. O, you hope the Duke will return no more; or you imagine me too unhurtful an opposite. But, indeed, I can do you little harm: you'll forswear this again.
Lucio. I'll be hanged first. Farewell, good friar; I prythee pray for me. The Duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays: and I say to thee, he would mouthe with the beggar, though she smelt brown bread and garlic: say, that I said so. Farewell.
[Exit Lucio, Duke. No might nor greatness in mortality Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny The whitest virtue strikes: What king so strong, Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue? But who comes here?
Enter EscALUS, Provost, and two APPARITORS.
Esca. Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered, Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnished with divines, and have all charitable preparation: if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.
Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for the entertainment of death.
[Exit Provost, Esca. Good even, good father. Duke. Bliss and goodness on you ! Esca. Of whence are you? Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Esca. What news abroad i' the world?
Duke. None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the Duke?
Esca. One, that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know himself.
Duke. What pleasure was he given to?
Esca. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at any thing which professed to make him rejoice : a gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to his events, with a prayer that they may prove prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared : I am made to understand, that you have lent him visitation.
Duke. He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolved to die.
Esca. You have paid the Heavens your function, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have laboured for the poor gentleman, to the extremest shore of my modesty ; but my brother justice have I found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him, he is indeed-justice.
Duke. If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. Esca. I am going to visit the prisoner : Fare you
well Duke. Peace be with you !
[Exeunt Escalus and APPARITORS. He, who the sword of Heaven will bear, Should be as holy, as severe : More nor less to others paying, Than by self offences weighing. Shame to him, whose cruel striking Kills for faults of his own liking ! Twice treble shame on Angelo, To weed my vice, and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
ACT THE FOURTH.
Enter Provost, with a warrant, and POMPEY.
Prov. Come hither, sirrah:-Can you cut off a man's head?
Pom. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can: but if he be a married man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.
Prov. Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow 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.
Pom. Sir, I will be content to be a hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my