Reference > William Shakespeare > The Oxford Shakespeare > Measure for Measure
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William Shakespeare (1564–1616).  The Oxford Shakespeare.  1914.
 
Measure for Measure
 
Act IV. Scene III.
 
Another Room in the Same.
 
Enter POMPEY.
  Pom.  I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of profession: one would think it were Mistress Overdone’s own house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here’s young Master Rash; he’s in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine-score and seventeen pounds, of which he made five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not much in request, for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-colour’d satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we young Dizy, and young Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young Drop-heir that kill’d lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight, the tilter, and brave Master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are now ‘for the Lord’s sake.’
 
Enter ABHORSON.
  Abhor.  Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.        5
  Pom.  Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged, Master Barnardine.
  Abhor.  What ho! Barnardine!
  Barnar.  [Within.]  A pox o’ your throats! Who makes that noise there? What are you?
  Pom.  Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.
  Barnar.  [Within.]  Away! you rogue, away! I am sleepy.        10
  Abhor.  Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
  Pom.  Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.
  Abhor.  Go in to him, and fetch him out.
  Pom.  He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.
  Abhor.  Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?        15
  Pom.  Very ready, sir.
 
Enter BARNARDINE.
  Barnar.  How now, Abhorson! what’s the news with you?
  Abhor.  Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant’s come.
  Barnar.  You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not fitted for ’t.        20
  Pom.  O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, and is hang’d betimes in the morning, may sleep the sounder all the next day.
  Abhor.  Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do we jest now, think you?
 
Enter DUKE, disguised as before.
  Duke.  Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.
  Barnar.  Friar, not I: I have been drinking hard all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains with billets. I will not consent to die this day, that’s certain.        25
  Duke.  O, sir, you must; and therefore, I beseech you look forward on the journey you shall go.
  Barnar.  I swear I will not die to-day for any man’s persuasion.
  Duke.  But hear you.
  Barnar.  Not a word: if you have anything to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to day.  [Exit.
 
Enter PROVOST.
        30
  Duke.  Unfit to live or die. O, gravel heart!
After him fellows: bring him to the block.  [Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY.
  Prov.  Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?
  Duke.  A creature unprepar’d, unmeet for death;
And, to transport him in the mind he is        35
Were damnable.
  Prov.        Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio’s years; his beard and head        40
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclin’d,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?
  Duke.  O, ’tis an accident that heaven provides!        45
Dispatch it presently: the hour draws on
Prefix’d by Angelo. See this be done,
And sent according to command, whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.
  Prov.  This shall be done, good father, presently.        50
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?
  Duke.        Let this be done:        55
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.
  Prov.  I am your free dependant.        60
  Duke.  Quick, dispatch,
And send the head to Angelo.  [Exit PROVOST.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,—
The provost, he shall bear them,—whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,        65
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly: him I’ll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanc’d form,        70
We shall proceed with Angelo.
 
Re-enter PROVOST.
  Prov.  Here is the head; I’ll carry it myself.
  Duke.  Convenient is it. Make a swift return,
For I would commune with you of such things        75
That want no ear but yours.
  Prov.        I’ll make all speed.  [Exit.
  Isab.  [Within.]  Peace, ho, be here!
  Duke.  The tongue of Isabel. She’s come to know
If yet her brother’s pardon be come hither;        80
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.
 
Enter ISABELLA.
  Isab.        Ho! by your leave.        85
  Duke.  Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.
  Isab.  The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother’s pardon?
  Duke.  He hath releas’d him, Isabel, from the world:
His head is off and sent to Angelo.        90
  Isab.  Nay, but it is not so.
  Duke.  It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close patience.
  Isab.  O! I will to him and pluck out his eyes!
  Duke.  You shall not be admitted to his sight.        95
  Isab.  Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!
  Duke.  This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Mark what I say, which you shall find        100
By every syllable a faithful verity.
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes:
One of our covent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance: already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,        105
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the Duke, revenges to your heart,        110
And general honour.
  Isab.        I am directed by you.
  Duke.  This letter then to Friar Peter give;
’Tis that he sent me of the duke’s return:
Say, by this token, I desire his company        115
At Mariana’s house to-night. Her cause and yours,
I’ll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
Before the duke; and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow        120
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart: trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course. Who’s here?
 
Enter LUCIO.
        125
  Lucio.  Good even. Friar, where is the provost?
  Duke.  Not within, sir.
  Lucio.  O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set me to ’t. But they say the duke will be here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother: if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived.  [Exit ISABELLA.
  Duke.  Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.
  Lucio.  Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do: he’s a better woodman than thou takest him for.        130
  Duke.  Well, you’ll answer this one day. Fare ye well.
  Lucio.  Nay, tarry; I’ll go along with thee: I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.
  Duke.  You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none were enough.
  Lucio.  I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
  Duke.  Did you such a thing?        135
  Lucio.  Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
  Duke.  Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.
  Lucio.  By my troth, I’ll go with thee to the lane’s end. If bawdy talk offend you, we’ll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.  [Exeunt.
 
 
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