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Ifab. My brother did love Juliet ;
And you tell me, that he shall die for it.
Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
Ifab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.
Ang. Believe me, on mine honour,
My words express my purpose.
Isab. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd,
And most pernicious purpose ! seeming, seeming !
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't :
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Or, with an out-ftretch'd throat, I'll tell the world
Aloud, what man thou art.
Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel ?
My unsoild name, th' auftereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i'th' state,
Will so your accusation over-weigh,
shall stille in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun ;
And now I give my sensual race the rein.
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite,
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes,
That banish what they fue for: redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will:
Or else he muit not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To ling’ring sufferance. Answer me to-morrow ;
Or by th' affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. A: you,
Say what you can ; my false o'erweighs your true.
Isab. To whom should I complain? did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O molt perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the felf-Same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bidding the law make curtly to their will;
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow, as it draws. I'll to my brother.
Tho' he hath fall’n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On tu'ent; bloody blocks, he'd yield them up :
Before his filler should her body loop
To fuch abhorrid pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste; and, brother, die ;
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's requeft;
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's reft.
0, then you hope of pardon from lord Angelo?
Claud. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only Hope : l've hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death : or death, or life,
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life; (10)
Reason thus with Life ;
If I do lose ibee, I do lose a Thing
That none but Fools would keep.] But this Reading is not only contrary to all Sense and Reason; but to the Drift of this moral Discourse. The Duke, in his affumed Character of a Friar, is endeavouring to inftil into the condemned Prisoner a Refignation of Mind to his Sentence; but the sense of the Lines, in this Reading, is a direct Persuasive to Suicide : I make no doubt, but the Poet wrote,
That none but Fools would reck, i. e. care for, be anxious about, regret the Loss of.
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing,
That none but fools would reck ; a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skiey influences;
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'it,
Hourly afflict; meerly thou art death's fool ;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet run'st tow'rd him ftill. Thou art not noble;
For all th' accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nurs'd by baseness: thou’rt by no means valiant ;
For thou doft fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'ft ; yet grolly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou’rt not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains,
That issue out of duft. Happy thou art not ;
For what thou hast not, ftill thou striv'st to get ;
And what thou haft forget'it. Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to ftrange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou’rt poor ;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'ft thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloadeth thee. Friend thou hast none;
For thy own bowels, which do call thee Sire,
The mere effufion of thy proper loin,
Do curse the Gout, Serpigo, and the Rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age;
But as it were an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both; for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palhed Eld ; and when thou’rt old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
Claud. I humbly thank you.
To fue to live, I find, I seek to die;
And, seeking death, find life: let it come on.
Ifab. What, ho ? peace here, grace and good company!
Prov. Who's there? come in : the wish deserves a
Duke. Dear Sir, ere long I'll visit you again,
Claud. Most holy Sir, I thank you.
Ijab. My business is a word, or two, with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome. Look, Signior, here's
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
Prov. As many as you please.
Duke. Bring them to speak where I may be concealid,
Yet hear them.
[Exeunt Duke and Provost. Claud. Now, filter, what's the comfort ?
Ijab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in deed :
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heav'n,
for his swift ambassador ;
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger, .
Therefore your beit appointment make with speed,
To-morrow you set on.
Claud. Is there no remedy?
Ijab. None, but such remedy, as, to save a head, To cleave a heart in twain.
Claud. But is there any
Ijab. Yes, brother, you may live :
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you 'till death.
Claud. Perpetual durance ?
Ijab. Ay, just ; perpetual durance; a refraint,
Tho' all the world's vaftidity you had,
To a determin'd scope.
Claud. But in what nature ?
Ijab. In such a one, as you, consenting to't,
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
And leave you naked.
Claud. Let me know the point.
Isab. Oh, I do fear thee, Claudio ; and I quake,
Left thou a fev'rous life should'It entertain,
And fix or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Darst thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension ;
And the poor Beetle, that we tread upon,
In corp'ral fifferance finds a pang as great,
As when a Giant dies.
Claud. Why give you me this shame?
Think you, I can a resolution fetch
From flow'ry tenderness ? if I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake my brother; there
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die :
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward-sainted Deputy,
Whose settled visage and delib'rate word
Nips youth i'th' head ; and follies doth emmew,
As faulcon doth the fowl ; is yet a devil :
His filth within being caft, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Claud. The princely Angelo ?
Isab. Oh, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'st body to invest and cover
In princely guards. Doft thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou might't be freed?
Claud. Oh, heav'ns! it cannot be.
Isab. Yes, he would give't thee; from this rank offence So to offend him ftill. This night's the time That I should do what I abhor to name, Or else thou dy'st to-morrow,
Claud. Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. Oh, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for your deliverance
As frankly as a pin.
Claud. Thanks, dearest Isabel.
Ijab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-n. orrow.