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Measure for Measure: Act 2, Scene 1

Measure for Measure
Act 2, Scene 1

Scene 1

A hall in Angelo’s house.

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

Angelo

2 - 5
  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

6 - 18
  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

19 - 33
  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

35
  1. Be it as your wisdom will.

Angelo

36
  1.                            Where is the Provost?

Provost

37
  1. Here, if it like your honor.

Angelo

38 - 41
  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

43 - 46
  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

48 - 50
  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

51
  1. How now, sir, what’s your name? And what’s the matter?

Elbow

52 - 54
  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

55 - 56
  1. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? Are they not
  2. malefactors?

Elbow

57 - 60
  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

61
  1. This comes off well. Here’s a wise officer.

Angelo

62 - 64
  1. Go to; what quality are they of? Elbow is your name?
  2. A pause.
  3. Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?

Pompey

65
  1. He cannot, sir; he’s out at elbow.

Angelo

66
  1. What are you, sir?

Elbow

67 - 70
  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

71
  1. How know you that?

Elbow

72
  1. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honor

Escalus

73
  1. How? Thy wife?

Elbow

74
  1. Ay, sir; whom I thank heaven is an honest woman.

Escalus

75
  1. Dost thou detest her therefore?

Elbow

76 - 78
  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

79
  1. How dost thou know that, constable?

Elbow

80 - 82
  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

83
  1. By the woman’s means?

Elbow

84 - 85
  1. Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means; but as she spit in
  2. his face, so she defied him.

Pompey

86
  1. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.

Elbow

87 - 88
  1. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man,
  2. prove it.

Escalus

89
  1. Do you hear how he misplaces?

Pompey

90 - 95
  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

96
  1. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.

Pompey

97 - 104
  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

105
  1. No indeed.

Pompey

106 - 107
  1. Very well; you being then (if you be rememb’red) cracking
  2. the stones of the foresaid prunes

Froth

108
  1. Ay, so I did indeed.

Pompey

109 - 111
  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

112
  1. All this is true.

Pompey

113
  1. Why, very well then

Escalus

114 - 116
  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

117
  1. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.

Escalus

118
  1. No, sir, nor I mean it not.

Pompey

119 - 122
  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

123
  1. All-hallond eve.

Pompey

124 - 126
  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

127
  1. I have so, because it is an open room and good for winter.

Pompey

128
  1. Why, very well then; I hope here be truths.

Angelo

129 - 132
  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

133 - 135
  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

136
  1. Once, sir? There was nothing done to her once.

Elbow

137
  1. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

Pompey

138
  1. I beseech your honor, ask me.

Escalus

139
  1. Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?

Pompey

140 - 142
  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

143
  1. Ay, sir, very well.

Pompey

144
  1. Nay, I beseech you mark it well.

Escalus

145
  1. Well, I do so.

Pompey

146
  1. Doth your honor see any harm in his face?

Escalus

147
  1. Why, no.

Pompey

148 - 151
  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

152
  1. He’s in the right, constable. What say you to it?

Elbow

153 - 155
  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

156 - 157
  1. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than
  2. any of us all.

Elbow

158 - 160
  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

161
  1. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.

Escalus

162
  1. Which is the wiser here: Justice or Iniquity? Is this true?

Elbow

163 - 167
  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

168 - 169
  1. If he took you a box o’ th’ ear, you might have your action
  2. of slander too.

Elbow

170 - 171
  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

172 - 174
  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

175 - 177
  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

178
  1. Where were you born, friend?

Froth

179
  1. Here in Vienna, sir.

Escalus

180
  1. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?

Froth

181
  1. Yes, and’t please you, sir.

Escalus

182 - 184
  1. So.
  2. To Pompey.
  3. What trade are you of, sir?

Pompey

185
  1. A tapster, a poor widow’s tapster.

Escalus

186
  1. Your mistress’ name?

Pompey

187
  1. Mistress Overdone.

Escalus

188
  1. Hath she had any more than one husband?

Pompey

189
  1. Nine, sir; Overdone by the last.

Escalus

190 - 193
  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

194 - 195
  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

196 - 199
  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

200
  1. Pompey.

Escalus

201
  1. What else?

Pompey

202
  1. Bum, sir.

Escalus

203 - 207
  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

208
  1. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.

Escalus

209 - 210
  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

211
  1. If the law would allow it, sir.

Escalus

212 - 213
  1. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be
  2. allow’d in Vienna.

Pompey

214 - 215
  1. Does your worship mean to geld and splay all the youth of
  2. the city?

Escalus

216
  1. No, Pompey.

Pompey

217 - 219
  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

220 - 221
  1. There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but
  2. heading and hanging.

Pompey

222 - 226
  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

227 - 233
  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

234 - 239
  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

241 - 243
  1. Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, Master
  2. Constable. How long have you been in this place of
  3. constable?

Elbow

244
  1. Seven year and a half, sir.

Escalus

245 - 246
  1. I thought, by the readiness in the office, you had continu’d
  2. in it some time. You say seven years together?

Elbow

247
  1. And a half, sir.

Escalus

248 - 250
  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

251 - 253
  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

254 - 255
  1. Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven, the
  2. most sufficient of your parish.

Elbow

256
  1. To your worship’s house, sir?

Escalus

257 - 259
  1. To my house. Fare you well.
  2. Exit Elbow.
  3. What’s a’ clock, think you?

Justice

260
  1. Eleven, sir.

Escalus

261
  1. I pray you home to dinner with me.

Justice

262
  1. I humbly thank you.

Escalus

263 - 264
  1. It grieves me for the death of Claudio,
  2. But there’s no remedy.

Justice

265
  1. Lord Angelo is severe.

Escalus

266 - 270
  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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