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Measure for Measure - Act 1, scene 1
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Navigate this workMeasure for Measure - Act 1, scene 1
Act 1, scene 1
The Duke of Vienna announces that he has been called away from the city, and that he is leaving Lord Angelo to rule in his place, with full power over life-and-death decisions.Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, ⌜and Attendants.⌝
DUKE 0001 Escalus.
ESCALUS 0002 My lord.
0003 Of government the properties to unfold
0004 Would seem in me t’ affect speech and discourse,
0005 5 Since I am put to know that your own science
0006 Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
0007 My strength can give you. Then no more remains
0008 But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
0009 And let them work. The nature of our people,
0010 10 Our city’s institutions, and the terms
0011 For common justice, you’re as pregnant in
0012 As art and practice hath enrichèd any
0013 That we remember. There is our commission,
⌜He hands Escalus a paper.⌝
0014 From which we would not have you warp.—Call
0015 15 hither,
0016 I say, bid come before us Angelo.
⌜An Attendant exits.⌝
0017 What figure of us think you he will bear?
0018 For you must know, we have with special soul
0019 Elected him our absence to supply,
0020 20 Lent him our terror, dressed him with our love,
p. 90021 And given his deputation all the organs
0022 Of our own power. What think you of it?
0023 If any in Vienna be of worth
0024 To undergo such ample grace and honor,
0025 25 It is Lord Angelo.
DUKE 0026 Look where he comes.
0027 Always obedient to your Grace’s will,
0028 I come to know your pleasure.
DUKE 0029 Angelo,
0030 30 There is a kind of character in thy life
0031 That to th’ observer doth thy history
0032 Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
0033 Are not thine own so proper as to waste
0034 Thyself upon thy virtues, they on thee.
0035 35 Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
0036 Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
0037 Did not go forth of us, ’twere all alike
0038 As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touched
0039 But to fine issues, nor nature never lends
0040 40 The smallest scruple of her excellence
0041 But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
0042 Herself the glory of a creditor,
0043 Both thanks and use. But I do bend my speech
0044 To one that can my part in him advertise.
0045 45 Hold, therefore, Angelo.
0046 In our remove be thou at full ourself.
0047 Mortality and mercy in Vienna
0048 Live in thy tongue and heart. Old Escalus,
0049 Though first in question, is thy secondary.
0050 50 Take thy commission.⌜He hands Angelo a paper.⌝
ANGELO 0051 Now, good my lord,
0052 Let there be some more test made of my mettle
p. 110053 Before so noble and so great a figure
0054 Be stamped upon it.
DUKE 0055 55 No more evasion.
0056 We have with a leavened and preparèd choice
0057 Proceeded to you. Therefore, take your honors.
0058 Our haste from hence is of so quick condition
0059 That it prefers itself and leaves unquestioned
0060 60 Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
0061 As time and our concernings shall importune,
0062 How it goes with us, and do look to know
0063 What doth befall you here. So fare you well.
0064 To th’ hopeful execution do I leave you
0065 65 Of your commissions.
ANGELO 0066 Yet give leave, my lord,
0067 That we may bring you something on the way.
DUKE 0068 My haste may not admit it.
0069 Nor need you, on mine honor, have to do
0070 70 With any scruple. Your scope is as mine own,
0071 So to enforce or qualify the laws
0072 As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand.
0073 I’ll privily away. I love the people,
0074 But do not like to stage me to their eyes.
0075 75 Though it do well, I do not relish well
0076 Their loud applause and aves vehement,
0077 Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
0078 That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
0079 The heavens give safety to your purposes.
0080 80 Lead forth and bring you back in happiness.
DUKE 0081 I thank you. Fare you well.He exits.
ESCALUS, ⌜to Angelo⌝
0082 I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
0083 To have free speech with you; and it concerns me
0084 To look into the bottom of my place.
p. 130085 85 A power I have, but of what strength and nature
0086 I am not yet instructed.
0087 ’Tis so with me. Let us withdraw together,
0088 And we may soon our satisfaction have
0089 Touching that point.
ESCALUS 0090 90 I’ll wait upon your Honor.