Measure for Measure By William Shakespeare Act IV

SCENE III. Another Room in the same.

[Enter CLOWN.]

CLOWN.
I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of profession:
one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own house, for here
be many of her old customers. First, here's young Master Rash;
he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine score
and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks ready money:
marry, then ginger was not much in request, for the old women
were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit
of Master Threepile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-
coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here
young Dizy, and young Master Deepvow, and Master Copperspur, and
Master Starvelackey, the rapier and dagger man, and young
Dropheir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight the
tilter, and brave Master Shoetie the great traveller, and wild
Halfcan that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great
doers in our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'

[Enter ABHORSON.]

ABHORSON.
Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

CLOWN.
Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hanged, Master
Barnardine!

ABHORSON.
What ho, Barnardine!

BARNARDINE.
[Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there? What
are you?

CLOWN.
Your friend, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise
and be put to death.

BARNARDINE.
[Within.] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.

ABHORSON.
Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

CLOWN.
Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep
afterwards.

ABHORSON.
Go in to him, and fetch him out.

CLOWN.
He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

[Enter BARNARDINE.]

ABHORSON.
Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

CLOWN.
Very ready, sir.

BARNARDINE.
How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

ABHORSON.
Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for,
look you, the warrant's come.

BARNARDINE.
You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not fitted for't.

CLOWN.
O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night and is hanged
betimes in the morning may sleep the sounder all the next day.

[Enter DUKE.]

ABHORSON.
Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father. Do we jest now,
think you?

DUKE.
Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to
depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.

BARNARDINE.
Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and I will
have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains
with billets: I will not consent to die this day, that's certain.

DUKE.
O, Sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you,
Look forward on the journey you shall go.

BARNARDINE.
I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

DUKE.
But hear you, —

BARNARDINE.
Not a word; if you have anything to say to me, come to my ward;
for thence will not I to-day.

[Exit.]

DUKE.
Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart! —
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

[Exeunt ABHORSON and CLOWN.]

[Enter PROVOST.]

PROVOST.
Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

DUKE.
A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.

PROVOST.
Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

DUKE.
O, 'tis an accident that Heaven provides!
Despatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

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