Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act III

LUCIO.
Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would the duke we
talk of were returned again: this ungenitured agent will
unpeople the province with continency; sparrows must not build
in his house-eaves because they are lecherous. The duke yet
would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring them
to light: would he were returned! Marry, this Claudio is
condemned for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I pr'ythee pray
for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on
Fridays. He's not past it; yet, and, I say to thee, he would
mouth with a beggar though she smelt brown bread and garlic.
Say that I said so. — Farewell.

[Exit.]

DUKE.
No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?

[Enter ESCALUS, PROVOST, BAWD, and Officers.]

ESCALUS.
Go, away with her to prison.

BAWD.
Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted a merciful
man; good my lord.

ESCALUS.
Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the same kind?
This would make mercy swear and play the tyrant.

PROVOST.
A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please your honour.

BAWD.
My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me: Mistress
Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the duke's time; he
promised her marriage: his child is a year and a quarter old
come Philip and Jacob; I have kept it myself; and see how he
goes about to abuse me.

ESCALUS.
That fellow is a fellow of much license: — let him be called
before us. — Away with her to prison. Go to; no more words.

[Exeunt BAWD and Officers.]

Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered, Claudio must die
to-morrow: let him be furnished with divines, and have all
charitable preparation: if my brother wrought by my pity it
should not be so with him.

PROVOST.
So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for
the entertainment of death.

ESCALUS.
Good even, good father.

DUKE.
Bliss and goodness on you!

ESCALUS.
Of whence are you?

DUKE.
Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the see
In special business from his holiness.

ESCALUS.
What news abroad i' the world?

DUKE.
None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the
dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request; and
as it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course as it is
virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth
enough alive to make societies secure; but security enough to
make fellowships accurst: much upon this riddle runs the wisdom
of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every day's news.
I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

ESCALUS.
One that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know
himself.

DUKE.
What pleasure was he given to?

ESCALUS.
Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at anything
which professed to make him rejoice: a gentleman of all temperance.
But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove
prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio
prepared. I am made to understand that you have lent him
visitation.

DUKE.
He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge,
but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of
justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his
frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good
leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolved to die.

ESCALUS.
You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner the
very debt of your calling. I have laboured for the poor gentleman
to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my brother justice have
I found so severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is indeed
— justice.

DUKE.
If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall
become him well: wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced
himself.

ESCALUS.
I am going to visit the prisoner.
Fare you well.

DUKE.
Peace be with you!

[Exeunt ESCALUS and PROVOST.]

He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
How may likeness, made in crimes,
Make a practice on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most pond'rous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply;
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despis'd;
So disguise shall, by the disguis'd,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting.

[Exit.]

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