Measure for Measure
Act I, Scene 2
Vienna. A street.
- Enter Lucio and two other Gentlemen.
Lucio1 - 3
- If the Duke with the other dukes come not to composition
- with the King of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon
- the King.
- Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of Hungary’s!
Lucio6 - 8
- Thou conclud’st like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to
- sea with the Ten Commandments, but scrap’d one out of the
- “Thou shalt not steal”?
- Ay, that he raz’d.
First Gentleman11 - 14
- Why, ’twas a commandment to command the captain and all the
- rest from their functions; they put forth to steal. There’s
- not a soldier of us all, that in the thanksgiving before
- meat, do relish the petition well that prays for peace.
- I never heard any soldier dislike it.
Lucio16 - 17
- I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was
- No? A dozen times at least.
- What? In meter?
- In any proportion, or in any language.
- I think, or in any religion.
Lucio22 - 24
- Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy; as
- for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of
- all grace.
- Well; there went but a pair of shears between us.
Lucio26 - 27
- I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet. Thou
- art the list.
First Gentleman28 - 31
- And thou the velvet—thou art good velvet; thou’rt a
- three-pil’d piece, I warrant thee. I had as lief be a list
- of an English kersey as be pil’d, as thou art pil’d, for a
- French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?
Lucio32 - 35
- I think thou dost; and indeed with most painful feeling of
- thy speech. I will, out of thine own confession, learn to
- begin thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after
- I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?
- Yes, that thou hast; whether thou art tainted or free.
- Enter Bawd Mistress Overdone.
- Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes!
- I have purchas’d as many diseases under her roof as come to—
- To what, I pray?
- To three thousand dolors a year.
- Ay, and more.
- A French crown more.
First Gentleman45 - 46
- Thou art always figuring diseases in me; but thou art full
- of error, I am sound.
Lucio47 - 49
- Nay, not (as one would say) healthy; but so sound as things
- that are hollow.
- Thy bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast of thee.
- How now, which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?
Mistress Overdone51 - 52
- Well, well; there’s one yonder arrested and carried to
- prison was worth five thousand of you all.
- Who’s that, I pray thee?
- Marry, sir, that’s Claudio, Signior Claudio.
- Claudio to prison? ’Tis not so.
Mistress Overdone56 - 58
- Nay, but I know ’tis so. I saw him arrested; saw him carried
- away; and which is more, within these three days his head to
- be chopp’d off.
Lucio59 - 60
- But after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou
- sure of this?
Mistress Overdone61 - 62
- I am too sure of it; and it is for getting Madam Julietta
- with child.
Lucio63 - 64
- Believe me, this may be. He promis’d to meet me two hours
- since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
Second Gentleman65 - 66
- Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we
- had to such a purpose.
- But most of all agreeing with the proclamation.
- Away! Let’s go learn the truth of it.
- Exit with Gentlemen.
Mistress Overdone69 - 71
- Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the
- gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
- Enter Clown Pompey.
- How now? What’s the news with you?
- Yonder man is carried to prison.
- Well; what has he done?
- A woman.
- But what’s his offense?
- Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
- What? Is there a maid with child by him?
Pompey78 - 79
- No; but there’s a woman with maid by him. You have not heard
- of the proclamation, have you?
- What proclamation, man?
- All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be pluck’d down.
- And what shall become of those in the city?
Pompey83 - 84
- They shall stand for seed. They had gone down too, but that
- a wise burgher put in for them.
Mistress Overdone85 - 86
- But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull’d
- To the ground, mistress.
Mistress Overdone88 - 89
- Why, here’s a change indeed in the commonwealth! What shall
- become of me?
Pompey90 - 94
- Come; fear not you; good counsellors lack no clients. Though
- you change your place, you need not change your trade; I’ll
- be your tapster still. Courage! There will be pity taken on
- you. You that have worn your eyes almost out in the service,
- you will be consider’d.
- What’s to do here, Thomas tapster? Let’s withdraw.
Pompey96 - 97
- Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the Provost to prison;
- and there’s Madam Juliet.
- Enter Provost, Claudio, Juliet, Officers.
Claudio98 - 99
- Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to th’ world?
- Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Provost100 - 101
- I do it not in evil disposition,
- But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
Claudio102 - 105
- Thus can the demigod, Authority,
- Make us pay down for our offense by weight
- The words of heaven: on whom it will, it will;
- On whom it will not, so; yet still ’tis just.
- Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen.
- Why, how now, Claudio? Whence comes this restraint?
Claudio107 - 112
- 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.
Lucio113 - 116
- 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 mortality of
- imprisonment. What’s thy offense, Claudio?
- What but to speak of would offend again.
- What, is’t murder?
- Call it so.
- Away, sir, you must go.
- One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.
Lucio124 - 125
- A hundred! If they’ll do you any good.
- Is lechery so look’d after?
Claudio126 - 136
- 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 dow’r
- 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.
- With child, perhaps?
Claudio138 - 153
- 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 armor, hung by th’ 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.
Lucio154 - 156
- 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.
Claudio157 - 168
- I have done so, but he’s not to be found.
- I prithee, 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 move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
- When she will play with reason and discourse,
- And well she can persuade.
Lucio169 - 172
- 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.
- I thank you, good friend Lucio.
- Within two hours.
- Come, officer, away!