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Measure for Measure: Act II, Scene 1

Measure for Measure
Act II, Scene 1

Scene 1

A hall in Angelo’s house.

  1. Enter Angelo, Escalus, and Servants, Justice.

Angelo

1 - 4
  1. We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
  2. Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
  3. And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
  4. Their perch and not their terror.

Escalus

5 - 17
  1.                                   Ay, but yet
  2. Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
  3. Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman,
  4. Whom I would save, had a most noble father!
  5. Let but your honor know
  6. (Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue)
  7. That in the working of your own affections,
  8. Had time coher’d with place, or place with wishing,
  9. Or that the resolute acting of your blood
  10. Could have attain’d th’ effect of your own purpose,
  11. Whether you had not sometime in your life
  12. Err’d in this point which now you censure him,
  13. And pull’d the law upon you.

Angelo

18 - 32
  1. ’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
  2. Another thing to fall. I not deny
  3. The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
  4. May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
  5. Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice,
  6. That justice seizes. What knows the laws
  7. That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
  8. The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t,
  9. Because we see it; but what we do not see
  10. We tread upon, and never think of it.
  11. You may not so extenuate his offense
  12. For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
  13. When I, that censure him, do so offend,
  14. Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
  15. And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
  1. Enter Provost.

Escalus

33
  1. Be it as your wisdom will.

Angelo

34
  1.                            Where is the Provost?

Provost

35
  1. Here, if it like your honor.

Angelo

36 - 39
  1.                              See that Claudio
  2. Be executed by nine tomorrow morning.
  3. Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar’d,
  4. For that’s the utmost of his pilgrimage.
  1. Exit Provost.

Escalus

40 - 43
  1. Well; heaven forgive him! And forgive us all!
  2. Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall;
  3. Some run from brakes of ice and answer none,
  4. And some condemned for a fault alone.
  1. Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown Pompey, Officers.

Elbow

44 - 46
  1. Come, bring them away. If these be good people in a
  2. commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common
  3. houses, I know no law. Bring them away.

Angelo

47
  1. How now, sir, what’s your name? And what’s the matter?

Elbow

48 - 50
  1. If it please your honor, I am the poor Duke’s constable, and
  2. my name is Elbow. I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring
  3. in here before your good honor two notorious benefactors.

Angelo

51 - 52
  1. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? Are they not
  2. malefactors?

Elbow

53 - 56
  1. If it please your honor, I know not well what they are; but
  2. precise villains they are, that I am sure of, and void of
  3. all profanation in the world that good Christians ought to
  4. have.

Escalus

57
  1. This comes off well. Here’s a wise officer.

Angelo

58 - 59
  1. Go to; what quality are they of? Elbow is your name?
  2. A pause.
  3. Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?

Pompey

60
  1. He cannot, sir; he’s out at elbow.

Angelo

61
  1. What are you, sir?

Elbow

62 - 65
  1. He, sir! A tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad
  2. woman; whose house, sir, was (as they say) pluck’d down in
  3. the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house; which, I
  4. think, is a very ill house too.

Escalus

66
  1. How know you that?

Elbow

67
  1. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honor

Escalus

68
  1. How? Thy wife?

Elbow

69
  1. Ay, sir; whom I thank heaven is an honest woman.

Escalus

70
  1. Dost thou detest her therefore?

Elbow

71 - 73
  1. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that
  2. this house, if it be not a bawd’s house, it is pity of her
  3. life, for it is a naughty house.

Escalus

74
  1. How dost thou know that, constable?

Elbow

75 - 77
  1. Marry, sir, by my wife, who, if she had been a woman
  2. cardinally given, might have been accus’d in fornication,
  3. adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

Escalus

78
  1. By the woman’s means?

Elbow

79 - 80
  1. Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means; but as she spit in
  2. his face, so she defied him.

Pompey

81
  1. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.

Elbow

82 - 83
  1. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man,
  2. prove it.

Escalus

84
  1. Do you hear how he misplaces?

Pompey

85 - 90
  1. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your
  2. honors’ reverence) for stew’d prunes. Sir, we had but two in
  3. the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it
  4. were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some threepenceyour honors
  5. have seen such dishes; they are not china dishes, but very
  6. good dishes.

Escalus

91
  1. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.

Pompey

92 - 99
  1. No indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right.
  2. But to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being (as I
  3. say) with child, and being great-bellied, and longing (as I
  4. said) for prunes; and having but two in the dish (as I
  5. said), Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the
  6. rest (as I said) and (as I say) paying for them very
  7. honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could not give
  8. you threepence again.

Froth

100
  1. No indeed.

Pompey

101 - 102
  1. Very well; you being then (if you be rememb’red) cracking
  2. the stones of the foresaid prunes

Froth

103
  1. Ay, so I did indeed.

Pompey

104 - 106
  1. Why, very well; I telling you then (if you be rememb’red)
  2. that such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing
  3. you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you

Froth

107
  1. All this is true.

Pompey

108
  1. Why, very well then

Escalus

109 - 111
  1. Come; you are a tedious fool. To the purpose: what was done
  2. to Elbow’s wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me
  3. to what was done to her.

Pompey

112
  1. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.

Escalus

113
  1. No, sir, nor I mean it not.

Pompey

114 - 117
  1. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor’s leave. And I
  2. beseech you, look into Master Froth here, sir; a man of
  3. fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas.
  4. Was’t not at Hallowmas, Master Froth?

Froth

118
  1. All-hallond eve.

Pompey

119 - 121
  1. Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir, sitting (as
  2. I say) in a lower chair, sir’twas in the Bunch of Grapes,
  3. where indeed you have a delight to sit, have you not?

Froth

122
  1. I have so, because it is an open room and good for winter.

Pompey

123
  1. Why, very well then; I hope here be truths.

Angelo

124 - 127
  1. This will last out a night in Russia
  2. When nights are longest there. I’ll take my leave,
  3. And leave you to the hearing of the cause,
  4. Hoping you’ll find good cause to whip them all.

Escalus

128 - 129
  1. I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.
  2. Exit Angelo.
  3. Now, sir, come on. What was done to Elbow’s wife, once more?

Pompey

130
  1. Once, sir? There was nothing done to her once.

Elbow

131
  1. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

Pompey

132
  1. I beseech your honor, ask me.

Escalus

133
  1. Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?

Pompey

134 - 136
  1. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman’s face. Good
  2. Master Froth, look upon his honor; ’tis for a good purpose.
  3. Doth your honor mark his face?

Escalus

137
  1. Ay, sir, very well.

Pompey

138
  1. Nay, I beseech you mark it well.

Escalus

139
  1. Well, I do so.

Pompey

140
  1. Doth your honor see any harm in his face?

Escalus

141
  1. Why, no.

Pompey

142 - 145
  1. I’ll be suppos’d upon a book, his face is the worst thing
  2. about him. Good then; if his face be the worst thing about
  3. him, how could Master Froth do the constable’s wife any
  4. harm? I would know that of your honor.

Escalus

146
  1. He’s in the right, constable. What say you to it?

Elbow

147 - 149
  1. First, and it like you, the house is a respected house;
  2. next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a
  3. respected woman.

Pompey

150 - 151
  1. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than
  2. any of us all.

Elbow

152 - 154
  1. Varlet, thou liest! Thou liest, wicked varlet! The time is
  2. yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or
  3. child.

Pompey

155
  1. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

Escalus

156
  1. Which is the wiser here: Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?

Elbow

157 - 161
  1. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I
  2. respected with her before I was married to her? If ever I
  3. was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship
  4. think me the poor Duke’s officer. Prove this, thou wicked
  5. Hannibal, or I’ll have mine action of batt’ry on thee.

Escalus

162 - 163
  1. If he took you a box o’ th’ ear, you might have your action
  2. of slander too.

Elbow

164 - 165
  1. Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is’t your
  2. worship’s pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?

Escalus

166 - 168
  1. Truly, officer, because he hath some offenses in him that
  2. thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in
  3. his courses till thou know’st what they are.

Elbow

169 - 171
  1. Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou wicked
  2. varlet, now, what’s come upon thee. Thou art to continue
  3. now, thou varlet, thou art to continue.

Escalus

172
  1. Where were you born, friend?

Froth

173
  1. Here in Vienna, sir.

Escalus

174
  1. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?

Froth

175
  1. Yes, and’t please you, sir.

Escalus

176 - 177
  1. So.
  2. To Pompey.
  3. What trade are you of, sir?

Pompey

178
  1. A tapster, a poor widow’s tapster.

Escalus

179
  1. Your mistress’ name?

Pompey

180
  1. Mistress Overdone.

Escalus

181
  1. Hath she had any more than one husband?

Pompey

182
  1. Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.

Escalus

183 - 186
  1. Nine? Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master Froth, I would
  2. not have you acquainted with tapsters; they will draw you.
  3. Master Froth, and you will hang them. Get you gone, and let
  4. me hear no more of you.

Froth

187 - 188
  1. I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never come into
  2. any room in a tap-house, but I am drawn in.

Escalus

189 - 191
  1. Well; no more of it, Master Froth. Farewell.
  2. Exit Froth.
  3. Come you hither to me, Master Tapster. What’s your name,
  4. Master Tapster?

Pompey

192
  1. Pompey.

Escalus

193
  1. What else?

Pompey

194
  1. Bum, sir.

Escalus

195 - 199
  1. Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you, so that
  2. in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the Great. Pompey,
  3. you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you color it in
  4. being a tapster, are you not? Come, tell me true, it shall
  5. be the better for you.

Pompey

200
  1. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.

Escalus

201 - 202
  1. How would you live, Pompey? By being a bawd? What do you
  2. think of the trade, Pompey? Is it a lawful trade?

Pompey

203
  1. If the law would allow it, sir.

Escalus

204 - 205
  1. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be
  2. allow’d in Vienna.

Pompey

206 - 207
  1. Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of
  2. the city?

Escalus

208
  1. No, Pompey.

Pompey

209 - 211
  1. Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to’t then. If your
  2. worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you
  3. need not to fear the bawds.

Escalus

212 - 213
  1. There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but
  2. heading and hanging.

Pompey

214 - 218
  1. If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten
  2. year together, you’ll be glad to give out a commission for
  3. more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I’ll rent
  4. the fairest house in it after threepence a bay. If you live
  5. to see this come to pass, say Pompey told you so.

Escalus

219 - 225
  1. Thank you, good Pompey; and in requital of your prophecy,
  2. hark you: I advise you let me not find you before me again
  3. upon any complaint whatsoever; no, not for dwelling where
  4. you do. If I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and
  5. prove a shrewd Caesar to you; in plain-dealing, Pompey, I
  6. shall have you whipt. So for this time, Pompey, fare you
  7. well.

Pompey

226 - 230
  1. I thank your worship for your good counsel;
  2. Aside.
  3. but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better
  4. determine.
  5. Whip me? No, no, let carman whip his jade,
  6. The valiant heart’s not whipt out of his trade.
  1. Exit.

Escalus

231 - 233
  1. Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master
  2. Constable. How long have you been in this place of
  3. constable?

Elbow

234
  1. Seven year and a half, sir.

Escalus

235 - 236
  1. I thought, by the readiness in the office, you had continu’d
  2. in it some time. You say seven years together?

Elbow

237
  1. And a half, sir.

Escalus

238 - 240
  1. Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you wrong to
  2. put you so oft upon’t. Are there not men in your ward
  3. sufficient to serve it?

Elbow

241 - 243
  1. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters. As they are
  2. chosen, they are glad to choose me for them. I do it for
  3. some piece of money, and go through with all.

Escalus

244 - 245
  1. Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven, the
  2. most sufficient of your parish.

Elbow

246
  1. To your worship’s house, sir?

Escalus

247 - 248
  1. To my house. Fare you well.
  2. Exit Elbow.
  3. What’s a’ clock, think you?

Justice

249
  1. Eleven, sir.

Escalus

250
  1. I pray you home to dinner with me.

Justice

251
  1. I humbly thank you.

Escalus

252 - 253
  1. It grieves me for the death of Claudio,
  2. But there’s no remedy.

Justice

254
  1. Lord Angelo is severe.

Escalus

255 - 259
  1.                        It is but needful.
  2. Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
  3. Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
  4. But yet, poor Claudio; there is no remedy.
  5. Come, sir.
  1. Exeunt.
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