Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act II

CLOWN.
Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

ESCALUS.
Which is the wiser here, Justice or Iniquity? — is this true?

ELBOW.
O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I
respected with her before I was married to her? If ever I was
respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think
me the poor duke's officer. — Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal,
or I'll have mine action of battery on thee.

ESCALUS.
If he took you a box o' th' ear, you might have your action of
slander too.

ELBOW.
Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is't your worship's
pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff?

ESCALUS.
Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou
wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses
till thou knowest what they are.

ELBOW.
Marry, I thank your worship for it. — Thou seest, thou wicked
varlet, now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou
varlet; thou art to continue.

ESCALUS.
[To FROTH.] Where were you born, friend?

FROTH.
Here in Vienna, sir.

ESCALUS.
Are you of fourscore pounds a-year?

FROTH.
Yes, an't please you, sir.

ESCALUS.
So. — [To the CLOWN.] What trade are you of, sir?

CLOWN.
A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.

ESCALUS.
Your mistress' name?

CLOWN.
Mistress Overdone.

ESCALUS.
Hath she had any more than one husband?

CLOWN.
Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.

ESCALUS.
Nine! — Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master Froth, I would not
have you acquainted with tapsters: they will draw you, Master
Froth, and you will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no
more of you.

FROTH.
I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never come into any
room in a taphouse but I am drawn in.

ESCALUS.
Well, no more of it, Master Froth: farewell.

[Exit FROTH.]

— Come you hither to me, master tapster; what's your name, master
tapster?

CLOWN.
Pompey.

ESCALUS.
What else?

CLOWN.
Bum, sir.

ESCALUS.
'Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you; so that, in
the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you are
partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being a tapster.
Are you not? come, tell me true; it shall be the better for you.

CLOWN.
Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.

ESCALUS.
How would you live, Pompey? by being a bawd? What do you think of
the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade?

CLOWN.
If the law would allow it, sir.

ESCALUS.
But the law will not allow it, Pompey: nor it shall not be
allowed in Vienna.

CLOWN.
Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of the
city?

ESCALUS.
No, Pompey.

CLOWN.
Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then. If your
worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need
not to fear the bawds.

ESCALUS.
There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell you. It is but
heading and hanging.

CLOWN.
If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten year
together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more heads.
If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house
in it, after threepence a bay. If you live to see this come to
pass, say Pompey told you so.

ESCALUS.
Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your prophecy, hark
you, — I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon any
complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you do; if I do,
Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Caesar
to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt: so for
this time, Pompey, fare you well.

CLOWN.
I thank your worship for your good counsel; but I shall follow it
as the flesh and fortune shall better determine.
Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade;
The valiant heart's not whipt out of his trade.

[Exit.]

ESCALUS.
Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master Constable.
How long have you been in this place of constable?

ELBOW.
Seven year and a half, sir.

ESCALUS.
I thought, by the readiness in the office, you had continued in
it some time.
You say seven years together?

ELBOW.
And a half, sir.

ESCALUS.
Alas, it hath been great pains to you! — They do you wrong to put
you so oft upon't. Are there not men in your ward sufficient to
serve it?

ELBOW.
Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they are chosen,
they are glad to choose me for them; I do it for some piece of
money, and go through with all.

ESCALUS.
Look you, bring me in the names of some six or seven, the most
sufficient of your parish.

ELBOW.
To your worship's house, sir?

ESCALUS.
To my house. Fare you well.

[Exit ELBOW.]

What's o'clock, think you?

JUSTICE.
Eleven, sir.

ESCALUS.
I pray you home to dinner with me.

JUSTICE.
I humbly thank you.

ESCALUS.
It grieves me for the death of Claudio;
But there's no remedy.

JUSTICE.
Lord Angelo is severe.

ESCALUS.
It is but needful:
Mercy is not itself that oft looks so;
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet, — Poor Claudio! — There's no remedy.
Come, sir.

[Exeunt.]

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