Measure for Measure
Act I, Scene 4
Vienna. A nunnery.
- Enter Isabel and Francisca, a nun.
- And have you nuns no farther privileges?
- Are not these large enough?
Isabella3 - 5
- Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more,
- But rather wishing a more strict restraint
- Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.
- Ho! Peace be in this place!
- Who’s that which calls?
Francisca8 - 15
- It is a man’s voice. Gentle Isabella,
- Turn you the key, and know his business of him;
- You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn.
- When you have vow’d, you must not speak with men
- But in the presence of the prioress;
- Then if you speak, you must not show your face,
- Or if you show your face, you must not speak.
- He calls again; I pray you answer him.
- Peace and prosperity! Who is’t that calls?
- Enter Lucio.
Lucio17 - 21
- Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
- Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me
- As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
- A novice of this place, and the fair sister
- To her unhappy brother Claudio?
Isabella22 - 24
- Why “her unhappy brother”? Let me ask,
- The rather for I now must make you know
- I am that Isabella, and his sister.
Lucio25 - 26
- Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you.
- Not to be weary with you, he’s in prison.
- Woe me! For what?
Lucio28 - 30
- For that which, if myself might be his judge,
- He should receive his punishment in thanks:
- He hath got his friend with child.
- Sir, make me not your story.
Lucio32 - 39
- ’Tis true.
- I would not—though ’tis my familiar sin
- With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
- Tongue far from heart—play with all virgins so.
- I hold you as a thing enskied, and sainted,
- By your renouncement an immortal spirit,
- And to be talk’d with in sincerity,
- As with a saint.
- You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
Lucio41 - 46
- Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, ’tis thus:
- Your brother and his lover have embrac’d.
- As those that feed grow full, as blossoming time
- That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
- To teeming foison, even so her plenteous womb
- Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
- Some one with child by him? My cousin Juliet?
- Is she your cousin?
Isabella49 - 50
- Adoptedly, as school-maids change their names
- By vain though apt affection.
- She it is.
- O, let him marry her.
Lucio53 - 75
- This is the point.
- The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
- Bore many gentlemen (myself being one)
- In hand, and hope of action; but we do learn
- By those that know the very nerves of state,
- His givings-out were of an infinite distance
- From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
- And with full line of his authority,
- Governs Lord Angelo, a man whose blood
- Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
- The wanton stings and motions of the sense;
- But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
- With profits of the mind: study and fast.
- He (to give fear to use and liberty,
- Which have for long run by the hideous law,
- As mice by lions) hath pick’d out an act,
- Under whose heavy sense your brother’s life
- Falls into forfeit; he arrests him on it,
- And follows close the rigor of the statute,
- To make him an example. All hope is gone,
- Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
- To soften Angelo. And that’s my pith
- Of business ’twixt you and your poor brother.
- Doth he so seek his life?
Lucio77 - 79
- H’as censur’d him
- Already, and as I hear, the Provost hath
- A warrant for ’s execution.
Isabella80 - 81
- Alas, what poor ability’s in me
- To do him good!
- Assay the pow’r you have.
- My power? Alas, I doubt—
Lucio84 - 90
- Our doubts are traitors,
- And makes us lose the good we oft might win,
- By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,
- And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
- Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
- All their petitions are as freely theirs
- As they themselves would owe them.
- I’ll see what I can do.
- But speedily.
Isabella93 - 97
- I will about it straight;
- No longer staying but to give the Mother
- Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you.
- Commend me to my brother. Soon at night
- I’ll send him certain word of my success.
- I take my leave of you.
- Good sir, adieu.
- Exeunt severally.