Home
log out +

Measure for Measure: Act 3, Scene 1

Measure for Measure
Act 3, Scene 1

Scene 1

A room in the prison.

  1. Enter Duke disguised as a friar, Claudio, and Provost.

Duke

2
  1. So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?

Claudio

3 - 5
  1. The miserable have no other medicine
  2. But only hope:
  3. I have hope to live, and am prepar’d to die.

Duke

6 - 42
  1. Be absolute for death: either death or life
  2. Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:
  3. If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
  4. That none but fools would keep. A breath thou art,
  5. Servile to all the skyey influences,
  6. That dost this habitation where thou keep’st
  7. Hourly afflict. Merely, thou art death’s fool,
  8. For him thou labor’st by thy flight to shun,
  9. And yet run’st toward him still. Thou art not noble,
  10. For all th’ accommodations that thou bear’st
  11. Are nurs’d by baseness. Thou’rt by no means valiant,
  12. For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
  13. Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
  14. And that thou oft provok’st, yet grossly fear’st
  15. Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself,
  16. For thou exists on many a thousand grains
  17. That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not,
  18. For what thou hast not, still thou striv’st to get,
  19. And what thou hast, forget’st. Thou art not certain,
  20. For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
  21. After the moon. If thou art rich, thou’rt poor,
  22. For like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
  23. Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
  24. And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none,
  25. For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
  26. The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
  27. Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum
  28. For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,
  29. But as it were an after-dinner’s sleep,
  30. Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth
  31. Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
  32. Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,
  33. Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
  34. To make thy riches pleasant. What’s yet in this
  35. That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
  36. Lie hid more thousand deaths; yet death we fear
  37. That makes these odds all even.

Claudio

43 - 45
  1.                                 I humbly thank you.
  2. To sue to live, I find I seek to die,
  3. And seeking death, find life. Let it come on.

Isabella

46 - 47
  1. Within.
  2. What ho! Peace here; grace and good company!

Provost

48
  1. Who’s there? Come in, the wish deserves a welcome.

Duke

49
  1. Dear sir, ere long I’ll visit you again.

Claudio

50
  1. Most holy sir, I thank you.
  1. Enter Isabella.

Isabella

52
  1. My business is a word or two with Claudio.

Provost

53
  1. And very welcome. Look, signior, here’s your sister.

Duke

54
  1. Provost, a word with you.

Provost

55
  1. As many as you please.

Duke

56
  1. Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be conceal’d.
  1. Exeunt Duke and Provost.

Claudio

58
  1. Now, sister, what’s the comfort?

Isabella

59 - 65
  1.                                  Why,
  2. As all comforts are: most good, most good indeed.
  3. Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
  4. Intends you for his swift ambassador,
  5. Where you shall be an everlasting leiger;
  6. Therefore your best appointment make with speed,
  7. Tomorrow you set on.

Claudio

66
  1.                      Is there no remedy?

Isabella

67 - 68
  1. None, but such remedy as, to save a head,
  2. To cleave a heart in twain.

Claudio

69
  1.                             But is there any?

Isabella

70 - 73
  1. Yes, brother, you may live;
  2. There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
  3. If you’ll implore it, that will free your life,
  4. But fetter you till death.

Claudio

74
  1.                            Perpetual durance?

Isabella

75 - 77
  1. Ay, just, perpetual durance, a restraint,
  2. Though all the world’s vastidity you had,
  3. To a determin’d scope.

Claudio

78
  1.                        But in what nature?

Isabella

79 - 81
  1. In such a one as, you consenting to’t,
  2. Would bark your honor from that trunk you bear,
  3. And leave you naked.

Claudio

82
  1.                      Let me know the point.

Isabella

83 - 90
  1. O, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake,
  2. Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
  3. And six or seven winters more respect
  4. Than a perpetual honor. Dar’st thou die?
  5. The sense of death is most in apprehension,
  6. And the poor beetle that we tread upon
  7. In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
  8. As when a giant dies.

Claudio

91 - 95
  1.                       Why give you me this shame?
  2. Think you I can a resolution fetch
  3. From flow’ry tenderness? If I must die,
  4. I will encounter darkness as a bride,
  5. And hug it in mine arms.

Isabella

96 - 104
  1. There spake my brother; there my father’s grave
  2. Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
  3. Thou art too noble to conserve a life
  4. In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
  5. Whose settled visage and deliberate word
  6. Nips youth i’ th’ head, and follies doth enew
  7. As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil;
  8. His filth within being cast, he would appear
  9. A pond as deep as hell.

Claudio

105
  1.                         The precise Angelo?

Isabella

106 - 110
  1. O, ’tis the cunning livery of hell,
  2. The damned’st body to invest and cover
  3. In princely guards! Dost thou think, Claudio,
  4. If I would yield him my virginity,
  5. Thou mightst be freed!

Claudio

111
  1.                        O heavens, it cannot be.

Isabella

112 - 115
  1. Yes, he would give’t thee, from this rank offense,
  2. So to offend him still. This night’s the time
  3. That I should do what I abhor to name,
  4. Or else thou diest tomorrow.

Claudio

116
  1.                              Thou shalt not do’t.

Isabella

117 - 119
  1. O, were it but my life,
  2. I’d throw it down for your deliverance
  3. As frankly as a pin.

Claudio

120
  1.                      Thanks, dear Isabel.

Isabella

121
  1. Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

Claudio

122 - 125
  1. Yes. Has he affections in him,
  2. That thus can make him bite the law by th’ nose,
  3. When he would force it? Sure it is no sin,
  4. Or of the deadly seven it is the least.

Isabella

126
  1. Which is the least?

Claudio

127 - 129
  1. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
  2. Why would he for the momentary trick
  3. Be perdurably fin’d? O Isabel!

Isabella

130
  1. What says my brother?

Claudio

131
  1.                       Death is a fearful thing.

Isabella

132
  1. And shamed life a hateful.

Claudio

133 - 147
  1. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
  2. To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
  3. This sensible warm motion to become
  4. A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
  5. To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
  6. In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
  7. To be imprison’d in the viewless winds
  8. And blown with restless violence round about
  9. The pendant world; or to be worse than worst
  10. Of those that lawless and incertain thought
  11. Imagine howling’tis too horrible!
  12. The weariest and most loathed worldly life
  13. That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
  14. Can lay on nature is a paradise
  15. To what we fear of death.

Isabella

148
  1. Alas, alas!

Claudio

149 - 152
  1.             Sweet sister, let me live.
  2. What sin you do to save a brother’s life,
  3. Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
  4. That it becomes a virtue.

Isabella

153 - 164
  1.                           O you beast!
  2. O faithless coward! O dishonest wretch!
  3. Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?
  4. Is’t not a kind of incest, to take life
  5. From thine own sister’s shame? What should I think?
  6. Heaven shield my mother play’d my father fair!
  7. For such a warped slip of wilderness
  8. Ne’er issu’d from his blood. Take my defiance!
  9. Die, perish! Might but my bending down
  10. Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.
  11. I’ll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
  12. No word to save thee.

Claudio

165
  1. Nay, hear me, Isabel.

Isabella

166 - 169
  1.                       O fie, fie, fie!
  2. Thy sin’s not accidental, but a trade.
  3. Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd,
  4. ’Tis best that thou diest quickly.

Claudio

170
  1.                                    O, hear me, Isabella!
  1. Enter Duke disguised as a friar.

Duke

172
  1. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.

Isabella

173
  1. What is your will?

Duke

174 - 176
  1. Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and by have
  2. some speech with you. The satisfaction I would require is
  3. likewise your own benefit.

Isabella

177 - 178
  1. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of
  2. other affairs; but I will attend you a while.
  1. Walks apart.

Duke

180 - 188
  1. Son, I have overheard what hath pass’d between you and your
  2. sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he
  3. hath made an assay of her virtue to practice his judgment
  4. with the disposition of natures. She (having the truth of
  5. honor in her) hath made him that gracious denial which he is
  6. most glad to receive. I am confessor to Angelo, and I know
  7. this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to death. Do not
  8. satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible,
  9. tomorrow you must die; go to your knees, and make ready.

Claudio

189 - 190
  1. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love with life
  2. that I will sue to be rid of it.

Duke

191 - 193
  1. Hold you there! Farewell.
  2. Exit Claudio.
  3. Provost, a word with you.
  1. Enter Provost.

Provost

195
  1. What’s your will, father?

Duke

196 - 198
  1. That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave me a while
  2. with the maid. My mind promises with my habit, no loss shall
  3. touch her by my company.

Provost

199
  1. In good time.
  1. Exit.

Duke

201 - 209
  1. Turning to Isabella.
  2. The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good; the
  3. goodness that is cheap in beauty makes beauty brief in
  4. goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion,
  5. shall keep the body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo
  6. hath made to you, fortune hath convey’d to my understanding;
  7. and but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should
  8. wonder at Angelo. How will you do to content this
  9. substitute, and to save your brother?

Isabella

210 - 214
  1. I am now going to resolve him. I had rather my brother die
  2. by the law than my son should be unlawfully born. But O, how
  3. much is the good Duke deceiv’d in Angelo! If ever he return,
  4. and I can speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or
  5. discover his government.

Duke

215 - 223
  1. That shall not be much amiss; yet, as the matter now stands,
  2. he will avoid your accusation: he made trial of you only.
  3. Therefore fasten your ear on my advisings: to the love I
  4. have in doing good a remedy presents itself. I do make
  5. myself believe that you may most uprighteously do a poor
  6. wrong’d lady a merited benefit; redeem your brother from the
  7. angry law; do no stain to your own gracious person; and much
  8. please the absent Duke, if peradventure he shall ever return
  9. to have hearing of this business.

Isabella

224 - 225
  1. Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do any thing
  2. that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

Duke

226 - 228
  1. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you not
  2. heard speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the great
  3. soldier who miscarried at sea?

Isabella

229
  1. I have heard of the lady, and good words went with her name.

Duke

230 - 238
  1. She should this Angelo have married; was affianc’d to her by
  2. oath, and the nuptial appointed; between which time of the
  3. contract and limit of the solemnity, her brother Frederick
  4. was wrack’d at sea, having in that perish’d vessel the dowry
  5. of his sister. But mark how heavily this befell to the poor
  6. gentlewoman: there she lost a noble and renown’d brother, in
  7. his love toward her ever most kind and natural; with him,
  8. the portion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage-dowry;
  9. with both, her combinate-husband, this well-seeming Angelo.

Isabella

239
  1. Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?

Duke

240 - 244
  1. Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them with his
  2. comfort; swallow’d his vows whole, pretending in her
  3. discoveries of dishonor; in few, bestow’d her on her own
  4. lamentation, which she yet wears for his sake; and he, a
  5. marble to her tears, is wash’d with them, but relents not.

Isabella

245 - 247
  1. What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid from
  2. the world! What corruption in this life, that it will let
  3. this man live! But how out of this can she avail?

Duke

248 - 250
  1. It is a rupture that you may easily heal; and the cure of it
  2. not only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonor in
  3. doing it.

Isabella

251
  1. Show me how, good father.

Duke

252 - 269
  1. This forenam’d maid hath yet in her the continuance of her
  2. first affection; his unjust unkindness (that in all reason
  3. should have quench’d her love) hath (like an impediment in
  4. the current) made it more violent and unruly. Go you to
  5. Angelo, answer his requiring with a plausible obedience,
  6. agree with his demands to the point; only refer yourself to
  7. this advantage: first, that your stay with him may not be
  8. long; that the time may have all shadow and silence in it;
  9. and the place answer to convenience. This being granted in
  10. courseand now follows allwe shall advise this wrong’d maid
  11. to stead up your appointment, go in your place. If the
  12. encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to
  13. her recompense; and here, by this is your brother sav’d,
  14. your honor untainted, the poor Mariana advantag’d, and the
  15. corrupt deputy scal’d. The maid will I frame, and make fit
  16. for his attempt. If you think well to carry this as you may,
  17. the doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit from
  18. reproof. What think you of it?

Isabella

270 - 271
  1. The image of it gives me content already, and I trust it
  2. will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

Duke

272 - 277
  1. It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily to
  2. Angelo; if for this night he entreat you to his bed, give
  3. him promise of satisfaction. I will presently to Saint
  4. Luke’s; there, at the moated grange, resides this dejected
  5. Mariana. At that place call upon me, and dispatch with
  6. Angelo, that it may be quickly.

Isabella

278
  1. I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good father.
  1. Exit. Manet Duke.
© 2019 Unotate.comcontactprivacy policyCreative Commons text from PlayShakespeare.comAll illustrations are public domain or Creative CommonsHeader illustration by Byam Shaw