Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act I

SCENE II. A street.

[Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.]

LUCIO.
If the duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition
with the King of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon
the king.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of Hungary's!

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Amen.

LUCIO.
Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate that went to sea
with the ten
commandments, but scraped one out of the table.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Thou shalt not steal?

LUCIO.
Ay, that he razed.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest
from their
functions; they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of us
all that, in
the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition well that
prays for
peace.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
I never heard any soldier dislike it.

LUCIO.
I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was said.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
No? A dozen times at least.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
What? in metre?

LUCIO.
In any proportion or in any language.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
I think, or in any religion.

LUCIO.
Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy. As, for
example; — thou
thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.

LUCIO.
I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet. Thou art
the list.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt a three-piled
piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an English
kersey as be piled, as thou art piled, for a French velvet.
Do I speak feelingly now?

LUCIO.
I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy
speech. I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy
health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
I think I have done myself wrong; have I not?

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.

LUCIO.
Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes! I have purchased as
many diseases under her roof as come to —

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
To what, I pray?

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Judge.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
To three thousand dollars a year.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Ay, and more.

LUCIO.
A French crown more.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Thou art always figuring diseases in me, but thou art full of
error; I am sound.

LUCIO.
Nay, not, as one would say, healthy; but so sound as things that
are hollow: thy bones are hollow: impiety has made a feast of thee.

[Enter BAWD.]

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
How now! which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

BAWD.
Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison was
worth five thousand of you all.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Who's that, I pray thee?

BAWD.
Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.

BAWD.
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him carried
away; and, which is more, within these three days his head to
be chopped off.

LUCIO.
But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou
sure of this?

BAWD.
I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam Julietta with
child.

LUCIO.
Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours since,
and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.

SECOND GENTLEMAN.
Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we had
to such a purpose.

FIRST GENTLEMAN.
But most of all agreeing with the proclamation.

LUCIO.
Away; let's go learn the truth of it.

[Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen.]

BAWD.
Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the
gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
How now! what's the news with you?

[Enter CLOWN.]

CLOWN.
Yonder man is carried to prison.

BAWD.
Well: what has he done?

CLOWN.
A woman.

BAWD.
But what's his offence?

CLOWN.
Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

BAWD.
What! is there a maid with child by him?

CLOWN.
No; but there's a woman with maid by him. You have not heard of
the proclamation, have you?

BAWD.
What proclamation, man?

CLOWN.
All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.

BAWD.
And what shall become of those in the city?

CLOWN.
They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a
wise burgher put in for them.

BAWD.
But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled down?

CLOWN.
To the ground, mistress.

BAWD.
Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth! What shall
become of me?

CLOWN.
Come, fear not you; good counsellors lack no clients: though you
change your place you need not change your trade; I'll be your
tapster still.
Courage; there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn your
eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.

BAWD.
What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.

CLOWN.
Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison: and
there's Madam Juliet.

[Exeunt.]

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