Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act I

SCENE III. The same.

[Enter PROVOST, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; LUCIO and two
Gentlemen.]

CLAUDIO.
Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.

PROVOST.
I do it not in evil disposition,
But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

CLAUDIO.
Thus can the demi-god Authority
Make us pay down for our offence by weight. —
The words of heaven; — on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.

LUCIO.
Why, how now, Claudio, whence comes this restraint?

CLAUDIO.
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue, —
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, —
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

LUCIO.
If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for
certain of my creditors; and yet, to say the truth, I had as
lief have the foppery of freedom as the morality of
imprisonment. — What's thy offence, Claudio?

CLAUDIO.
What but to speak of would offend again.

LUCIO.
What, is't murder?

CLAUDIO.
No.

LUCIO.
Lechery?

CLAUDIO.
Call it so.

PROVOST.
Away, sir; you must go.

CLAUDIO.
One word, good friend. — Lucio, a word with you.

[Takes him aside.]

LUCIO.
A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Is lechery so lookeed
after?

CLAUDIO.
Thus stands it with me: — Upon a true contract
I got possession of Julietta's bed:
You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order;: this we came not to
Only for propagation of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends;
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment,
With character too gross, is writ on Juliet.

LUCIO.
With child, perhaps?

CLAUDIO.
Unhappily, even so.
And the new deputy now for the duke, —
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur:
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his eminence that fills it up,
I stagger in. — But this new governor
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me; 'tis surely for a name.

LUCIO.
I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders
that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the
duke, and appeal to him.

CLAUDIO.
I have done so, but he's not to be found.
I pr'ythee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter,
And there receive her approbation:
Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him;
I have great hope in that: for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect
Such as moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

LUCIO.
I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the like, which
else would stand under grievous imposition, as for the enjoying
of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost
at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.

CLAUDIO.
I thank you, good friend Lucio.

LUCIO.
Within two hours, —

CLAUDIO.
Come, officer, away.

[Exeunt.]

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