Measure for Measure
Act II, Scene 1
A hall in Angelo’s house.
- Enter Angelo, Escalus, and Servants, Justice.
Angelo1 - 4
- We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
- Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
- And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
- Their perch and not their terror.
Escalus5 - 17
- Ay, but yet
- Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
- Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman,
- Whom I would save, had a most noble father!
- Let but your honor know
- (Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue)
- That in the working of your own affections,
- Had time coher’d with place, or place with wishing,
- Or that the resolute acting of your blood
- Could have attain’d th’ effect of your own purpose,
- Whether you had not sometime in your life
- Err’d in this point which now you censure him,
- And pull’d the law upon you.
Angelo18 - 32
- ’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
- Another thing to fall. I not deny
- The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
- May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
- Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice,
- That justice seizes. What knows the laws
- That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
- The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t,
- Because we see it; but what we do not see
- We tread upon, and never think of it.
- You may not so extenuate his offense
- For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
- When I, that censure him, do so offend,
- Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
- And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
- Enter Provost.
- Be it as your wisdom will.
- Where is the Provost?
- Here, if it like your honor.
Angelo36 - 39
- See that Claudio
- Be executed by nine tomorrow morning.
- Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar’d,
- For that’s the utmost of his pilgrimage.
- Exit Provost.
Escalus40 - 43
- Well; heaven forgive him! And forgive us all!
- Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall;
- Some run from brakes of ice and answer none,
- And some condemned for a fault alone.
- Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown Pompey, Officers.
Elbow44 - 46
- Come, bring them away. If these be good people in a
- commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common
- houses, I know no law. Bring them away.
- How now, sir, what’s your name? And what’s the matter?
Elbow48 - 50
- If it please your honor, I am the poor Duke’s constable, and
- my name is Elbow. I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring
- in here before your good honor two notorious benefactors.
Angelo51 - 52
- Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? Are they not
Elbow53 - 56
- If it please your honor, I know not well what they are; but
- precise villains they are, that I am sure of, and void of
- all profanation in the world that good Christians ought to
- This comes off well. Here’s a wise officer.
Angelo58 - 59
- Go to; what quality are they of? Elbow is your name?
- A pause.
- Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
- He cannot, sir; he’s out at elbow.
- What are you, sir?
Elbow62 - 65
- He, sir! A tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad
- woman; whose house, sir, was (as they say) pluck’d down in
- the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house; which, I
- think, is a very ill house too.
- How know you that?
- My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honor—
- How? Thy wife?
- Ay, sir; whom I thank heaven is an honest woman.
- Dost thou detest her therefore?
Elbow71 - 73
- I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that
- this house, if it be not a bawd’s house, it is pity of her
- life, for it is a naughty house.
- How dost thou know that, constable?
Elbow75 - 77
- Marry, sir, by my wife, who, if she had been a woman
- cardinally given, might have been accus’d in fornication,
- adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
- By the woman’s means?
Elbow79 - 80
- Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means; but as she spit in
- his face, so she defied him.
- Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.
Elbow82 - 83
- Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man,
- prove it.
- Do you hear how he misplaces?
Pompey85 - 90
- Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your
- honors’ reverence) for stew’d prunes. Sir, we had but two in
- the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it
- were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some threepence—your honors
- have seen such dishes; they are not china dishes, but very
- good dishes.
- Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.
Pompey92 - 99
- No indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right.
- But to the point. As I say, this Mistress Elbow, being (as I
- say) with child, and being great-bellied, and longing (as I
- said) for prunes; and having but two in the dish (as I
- said), Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the
- rest (as I said) and (as I say) paying for them very
- honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could not give
- you threepence again.
- No indeed.
Pompey101 - 102
- Very well; you being then (if you be rememb’red) cracking
- the stones of the foresaid prunes—
- Ay, so I did indeed.
Pompey104 - 106
- Why, very well; I telling you then (if you be rememb’red)
- that such a one and such a one were past cure of the thing
- you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you—
- All this is true.
- Why, very well then—
Escalus109 - 111
- Come; you are a tedious fool. To the purpose: what was done
- to Elbow’s wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me
- to what was done to her.
- Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.
- No, sir, nor I mean it not.
Pompey114 - 117
- Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor’s leave. And I
- beseech you, look into Master Froth here, sir; a man of
- fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas.
- Was’t not at Hallowmas, Master Froth?
- All-hallond eve.
Pompey119 - 121
- Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir, sitting (as
- I say) in a lower chair, sir—’twas in the Bunch of Grapes,
- where indeed you have a delight to sit, have you not?
- I have so, because it is an open room and good for winter.
- Why, very well then; I hope here be truths.
Angelo124 - 127
- This will last out a night in Russia
- When nights are longest there. I’ll take my leave,
- And leave you to the hearing of the cause,
- Hoping you’ll find good cause to whip them all.
Escalus128 - 129
- I think no less. Good morrow to your lordship.
- Exit Angelo.
- Now, sir, come on. What was done to Elbow’s wife, once more?
- Once, sir? There was nothing done to her once.
- I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
- I beseech your honor, ask me.
- Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?
Pompey134 - 136
- I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman’s face. Good
- Master Froth, look upon his honor; ’tis for a good purpose.
- Doth your honor mark his face?
- Ay, sir, very well.
- Nay, I beseech you mark it well.
- Well, I do so.
- Doth your honor see any harm in his face?
- Why, no.
Pompey142 - 145
- I’ll be suppos’d upon a book, his face is the worst thing
- about him. Good then; if his face be the worst thing about
- him, how could Master Froth do the constable’s wife any
- harm? I would know that of your honor.
- He’s in the right, constable. What say you to it?
Elbow147 - 149
- First, and it like you, the house is a respected house;
- next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a
- respected woman.
Pompey150 - 151
- By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than
- any of us all.
Elbow152 - 154
- Varlet, thou liest! Thou liest, wicked varlet! The time is
- yet to come that she was ever respected with man, woman, or
- Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
- Which is the wiser here: Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?
Elbow157 - 161
- O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I
- respected with her before I was married to her? If ever I
- was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship
- think me the poor Duke’s officer. Prove this, thou wicked
- Hannibal, or I’ll have mine action of batt’ry on thee.
Escalus162 - 163
- If he took you a box o’ th’ ear, you might have your action
- of slander too.
Elbow164 - 165
- Marry, I thank your good worship for it. What is’t your
- worship’s pleasure I shall do with this wicked caitiff?
Escalus166 - 168
- Truly, officer, because he hath some offenses in him that
- thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in
- his courses till thou know’st what they are.
Elbow169 - 171
- Marry, I thank your worship for it. Thou seest, thou wicked
- varlet, now, what’s come upon thee. Thou art to continue
- now, thou varlet, thou art to continue.
- Where were you born, friend?
- Here in Vienna, sir.
- Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
- Yes, and’t please you, sir.
Escalus176 - 177
- To Pompey.
- What trade are you of, sir?
- A tapster, a poor widow’s tapster.
- Your mistress’ name?
- Mistress Overdone.
- Hath she had any more than one husband?
- Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.
Escalus183 - 186
- Nine? Come hither to me, Master Froth. Master Froth, I would
- not have you acquainted with tapsters; they will draw you.
- Master Froth, and you will hang them. Get you gone, and let
- me hear no more of you.
Froth187 - 188
- I thank your worship. For mine own part, I never come into
- any room in a tap-house, but I am drawn in.
Escalus189 - 191
- Well; no more of it, Master Froth. Farewell.
- Exit Froth.
- Come you hither to me, Master Tapster. What’s your name,
- Master Tapster?
- What else?
- Bum, sir.
Escalus195 - 199
- Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you, so that
- in the beastliest sense you are Pompey the Great. Pompey,
- you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you color it in
- being a tapster, are you not? Come, tell me true, it shall
- be the better for you.
- Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
Escalus201 - 202
- How would you live, Pompey? By being a bawd? What do you
- think of the trade, Pompey? Is it a lawful trade?
- If the law would allow it, sir.
Escalus204 - 205
- But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be
- allow’d in Vienna.
Pompey206 - 207
- Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of
- the city?
- No, Pompey.
Pompey209 - 211
- Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to’t then. If your
- worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you
- need not to fear the bawds.
Escalus212 - 213
- There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but
- heading and hanging.
Pompey214 - 218
- If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten
- year together, you’ll be glad to give out a commission for
- more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I’ll rent
- the fairest house in it after threepence a bay. If you live
- to see this come to pass, say Pompey told you so.
Escalus219 - 225
- Thank you, good Pompey; and in requital of your prophecy,
- hark you: I advise you let me not find you before me again
- upon any complaint whatsoever; no, not for dwelling where
- you do. If I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and
- prove a shrewd Caesar to you; in plain-dealing, Pompey, I
- shall have you whipt. So for this time, Pompey, fare you
Pompey226 - 230
- I thank your worship for your good counsel;
- but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better
- Whip me? No, no, let carman whip his jade,
- The valiant heart’s not whipt out of his trade.
Escalus231 - 233
- Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master
- Constable. How long have you been in this place of
- Seven year and a half, sir.
Escalus235 - 236
- I thought, by the readiness in the office, you had continu’d
- in it some time. You say seven years together?
- And a half, sir.
Escalus238 - 240
- Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you wrong to
- put you so oft upon’t. Are there not men in your ward
- sufficient to serve it?
Elbow241 - 243
- Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters. As they are
- chosen, they are glad to choose me for them. I do it for
- some piece of money, and go through with all.
Escalus244 - 245
- Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven, the
- most sufficient of your parish.
- To your worship’s house, sir?
Escalus247 - 248
- To my house. Fare you well.
- Exit Elbow.
- What’s a’ clock, think you?
- Eleven, sir.
- I pray you home to dinner with me.
- I humbly thank you.
Escalus252 - 253
- It grieves me for the death of Claudio,
- But there’s no remedy.
- Lord Angelo is severe.
Escalus255 - 259
- It is but needful.
- Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
- Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
- But yet, poor Claudio; there is no remedy.
- Come, sir.