Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act III

I am now going to resolve him; I had rather my brother die by the
law than my son should be unlawfully born. But, O, how much is the
good duke deceived in Angelo! If ever he return, and I can speak
to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his government.

That shall not be much amiss: yet, as the matter now stands, he
will avoid your accusation; he made trial of you only. — Therefore
fasten your ear on my advisings; to the love I have in doing good
a remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe that you may
most uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit;
redeem your brother from the angry law; do no stain to your own
gracious person; and much please the absent duke, if peradventure
he shall ever return to have hearing of this business.

Let me hear you speak further; I have spirit to do anything that
appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you not heard
speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the great soldier who
miscarried at sea?

I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.

She should this Angelo have married; was affianced to her by
oath, and the nuptial appointed: between which time of the
contract and limit of the solemnity her brother Frederick was
wrecked at sea, having in that perished vessel the dowry of his
sister. But mark how heavily this befell to the poor gentlewoman:
there she lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love toward
her ever most kind and natural; with him the portion and sinew of
her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her combinate husband,
this well-seeming Angelo.

Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?

Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them with his
comfort; swallowed his vows whole, pretending, in her,
discoveries of dishonour; in few, bestow'd her on her own
lamentation, which she yet wears for his sake; and he, a
marble to her tears, is washed with them, but relents not.

What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid from the
world! What corruption in this life that it will let this man
live! — But how out of this can she avail?

It is a rupture that you may easily heal; and the cure of it not
only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonour in doing it.

Show me how, good father.

This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continuance of her first
affection; his unjust unkindness, that in all reason should have
quenched her love, hath, like an impediment in the current, made
it more violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo; answer his requiring
with a plausible obedience; agree with his demands to the point:
only refer yourself to this advantage, — first, that your stay with
him may not be long; that the time may have all shadow and silence
in it; and the place answer to convenience: this being granted in
course, and now follows all. We shall advise this wronged maid to
stead up your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter
acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her recompense:
and here, by this, is your brother saved, your honour untainted,
the poor Mariana advantaged, and the corrupt deputy scaled. The
maid will I frame and make fit for his attempt. If you think well
to carry this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends
the deceit from reproof. What think you of it?

The image of it gives me content already; and I trust it will
grow to a most prosperous perfection.

It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily to Angelo; if
for this night he entreat you to his bed, give him promise of
satisfaction. I will presently to Saint Luke's; there, at the
moated grange, resides this dejected Mariana. At that place call
upon me; and despatch with Angelo, that it may be quickly.

I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.

[Exeunt severally.]

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Angelo reneges on his promise to Isabella that he would free her brother, because he