Measure for Measure
Act I, Scene 3
Vienna. A monastery.
- Enter Duke and Friar Peter.
Duke1 - 6
- No; holy father, throw away that thought;
- Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
- Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
- To give me secret harbor, hath a purpose
- More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
- Of burning youth.
- May your Grace speak of it?
Duke8 - 18
- My holy sir, none better knows than you
- How I have ever lov’d the life removed,
- And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
- Where youth, and cost, witless bravery keeps.
- I have deliver’d to Lord Angelo
- (A man of stricture and firm abstinence)
- My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
- And he supposes me travel’d to Poland
- (For so I have strew’d it in the common ear,
- And so it is receiv’d). Now, pious sir,
- You will demand of me why I do this.
- Gladly, my lord.
Duke20 - 32
- We have strict statutes and most biting laws
- (The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds),
- Which for this fourteen years we have let slip,
- Even like an o’ergrown lion in a cave,
- That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
- Having bound up the threat’ning twigs of birch,
- Only to stick it in their children’s sight
- For terror, not to use, in time the rod
- Becomes more mock’d than fear’d; so our decrees,
- Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead,
- And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
- The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
- Goes all decorum.
Friar Peter33 - 36
- It rested in your Grace
- To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleas’d:
- And it in you more dreadful would have seem’d
- Than in Lord Angelo.
Duke37 - 57
- I do fear—too dreadful;
- Sith ’twas my fault to give the people scope,
- ’Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
- For what I bid them do; for we bid this be done,
- When evil deeds have their permissive pass,
- And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,
- I have on Angelo impos’d the office,
- Who may, in th’ ambush of my name, strike home,
- And yet my nature never in the fight
- To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
- I will, as ’twere a brother of your order,
- Visit both prince and people; therefore I prithee
- Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
- How I may formally in person bear
- Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
- At our more leisure shall I render you;
- Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;
- Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
- That his blood flows; or that his appetite
- Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see
- If power change purpose: what our seemers be.