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Measure for Measure - Act 2, scene 1
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Navigate this workMeasure for Measure - Act 2, scene 1
Act 2, scene 1
Escalus tries to persuade Angelo to be less harsh to Claudio. Angelo instead gives orders that Claudio be executed the following morning. Elbow, a constable, brings two prisoners, Pompey and Froth, before Angelo and Escalus. Angelo leaves their trial to Escalus, who tells Froth to stay out of alehouses and tells Pompey that he will be whipped if he is ever brought before Escalus again.Enter Angelo, Escalus, Servants, ⌜and a⌝ Justice.
0441 We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
0442 Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
0443 And let it keep one shape till custom make it
0444 Their perch and not their terror.
ESCALUS 0445 5 Ay, but yet
0446 Let us be keen and rather cut a little
0447 Than fall and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman
0448 Whom I would save had a most noble father.
0449 Let but your Honor know,
0450 10 Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
0451 That, in the working of your own affections,
0452 Had time cohered with place, or place with wishing,
0453 Or that the resolute acting of ⌜your⌝ blood
0454 Could have attained th’ effect of your own purpose,
0455 15 Whether you had not sometime in your life
0456 Erred in this point which now you censure him,
0457 And pulled the law upon you.
0458 ’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
0459 Another thing to fall. I not deny
0460 20 The jury passing on the prisoner’s life
0461 May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
0462 Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to
p. 410464 That justice seizes. What knows the laws
0465 25 That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
0466 The jewel that we find, we stoop and take ’t
0467 Because we see it; but what we do not see,
0468 We tread upon and never think of it.
0469 You may not so extenuate his offense
0470 30 For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
0471 When I that censure him do so offend,
0472 Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
0473 And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
0474 Be it as your wisdom will.
ANGELO 0475 35 Where is the Provost?
0476 Here, if it like your Honor.
ANGELO 0477 See that Claudio
0478 Be executed by nine tomorrow morning.
0479 Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared,
0480 40 For that’s the utmost of his pilgrimage.
0481 Well, heaven forgive him and forgive us all.
0482 Some rise by sin and some by virtue fall.
0483 Some run from brakes of ice and answer none,
0484 And some condemnèd for a fault alone.
Enter Elbow ⌜and⌝ Officers, ⌜with⌝ Froth
ELBOW, ⌜to Officers⌝ 0485 45Come, bring them away. If these
0486 be good people in a commonweal that do nothing
0487 but use their abuses in common houses, I know no
0488 law. Bring them away.
ANGELO 0489 How now, sir, what’s your name? And what’s
0490 50 the matter?
p. 43ELBOW 0491 If it please your Honor, I am the poor duke’s
0492 constable, and my name is Elbow. I do lean upon
0493 justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good
0494 Honor two notorious benefactors.
ANGELO 0495 55Benefactors? Well, what benefactors are they?
0496 Are they not malefactors?
ELBOW 0497 If it please your Honor, I know not well what
0498 they are, but precise villains they are, that I am sure
0499 of, and void of all profanation in the world that
0500 60 good Christians ought to have.
ESCALUS, ⌜to Angelo⌝ 0501 This comes off well. Here’s a wise
ANGELO, ⌜to Elbow⌝ 0503 Go to. What quality are they of?
0504 Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak,
0505 65 Elbow?
POMPEY 0506 He cannot, sir. He’s out at elbow.
ANGELO 0507 What are you, sir?
ELBOW 0508 He, sir? A tapster, sir, parcel bawd; one that
0509 serves a bad woman, whose house, sir, was, as they
0510 70 say, plucked down in the suburbs, and now she
0511 professes a hothouse, which I think is a very ill
0512 house too.
ESCALUS 0513 How know you that?
ELBOW 0514 My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and
0515 75 your Honor—
ESCALUS 0516 How? Thy wife?
ELBOW 0517 Ay, sir, whom I thank heaven is an honest
ESCALUS 0519 Dost thou detest her therefore?
ELBOW 0520 80I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she,
0521 that this house, if it be not a bawd’s house, it is pity
0522 of her life, for it is a naughty house.
ESCALUS 0523 How dost thou know that, constable?
ELBOW 0524 Marry, sir, by my wife, who, if she had been a
0525 85 woman cardinally given, might have been accused
p. 450526 in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness
ESCALUS 0528 By the woman’s means?
ELBOW 0529 Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means; but as
0530 90 she spit in his face, so she defied him.
POMPEY, ⌜to Escalus⌝ 0531 Sir, if it please your Honor, this is
0532 not so.
ELBOW 0533 Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable
0534 man, prove it.
ESCALUS, ⌜to Angelo⌝ 0535 95Do you hear how he misplaces?
POMPEY 0536 Sir, she came in great with child, and longing,
0537 saving your Honor’s reverence, for stewed prunes.
0538 Sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very
0539 distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit dish, a dish
0540 100 of some threepence; your Honors have seen such
0541 dishes; they are not china dishes, but very good
ESCALUS 0543 Go to, go to. No matter for the dish, sir.
POMPEY 0544 No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in
0545 105 the right. But to the point: as I say, this Mistress
0546 Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great-bellied,
0547 and longing, as I said, for prunes; and
0548 having but two in the dish, as I said, Master Froth
0549 here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said,
0550 110 and, as I say, paying for them very honestly—for, as
0551 you know, Master Froth, I could not give you threepence
FROTH 0553 No, indeed.
POMPEY 0554 Very well. You being then, if you be remembered,
0555 115 cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes—
FROTH 0556 Ay, so I did indeed.
POMPEY 0557 Why, very well. I telling you then, if you be
0558 remembered, that such a one and such a one were
0559 past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept
0560 120 very good diet, as I told you—
FROTH 0561 All this is true.
p. 47POMPEY 0562 Why, very well then—
ESCALUS 0563 Come, you are a tedious fool. To the purpose:
0564 what was done to Elbow’s wife that he hath cause to
0565 125 complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
POMPEY 0566 Sir, your Honor cannot come to that yet.
ESCALUS 0567 No, sir, nor I mean it not.
POMPEY 0568 Sir, but you shall come to it, by your Honor’s
0569 leave. And I beseech you, look into Master Froth
0570 130 here, sir, a man of fourscore pound a year, whose
0571 father died at Hallowmas—was ’t not at Hallowmas,
0572 Master Froth?
FROTH 0573 All-hallond Eve.
POMPEY 0574 Why, very well. I hope here be truths.—He,
0575 135 sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir—⌜To Froth.⌝
0576 ’Twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where indeed you
0577 have a delight to sit, have you not?
FROTH 0578 I have so, because it is an open room, and good
0579 for winter.
POMPEY 0580 140Why, very well then. I hope here be truths.
ANGELO, ⌜to Escalus⌝
0581 This will last out a night in Russia
0582 When nights are longest there. I’ll take my leave,
0583 And leave you to the hearing of the cause,
0584 Hoping you’ll find good cause to whip them all.
0585 145 I think no less. Good morrow to your Lordship
0586 Now, sir, come on. What was done to Elbow’s wife,
0587 once more?
POMPEY 0588 Once, sir? There was nothing done to her
ELBOW, ⌜to Escalus⌝ 0590 150I beseech you, sir, ask him what
0591 this man did to my wife.
POMPEY, ⌜to Escalus⌝ 0592 I beseech your Honor, ask me.
ESCALUS 0593 Well, sir, what did this gentleman to her?
POMPEY 0594 I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman’s
p. 490595 155 face.—Good Master Froth, look upon his Honor.
0596 ’Tis for a good purpose.—Doth your Honor mark
0597 his face?
ESCALUS 0598 Ay, sir, very well.
POMPEY 0599 Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
ESCALUS 0600 160Well, I do so.
POMPEY 0601 Doth your Honor see any harm in his face?
ESCALUS 0602 Why, no.
POMPEY 0603 I’ll be supposed upon a book, his face is the
0604 worst thing about him. Good, then, if his face be the
0605 165 worst thing about him, how could Master Froth do
0606 the Constable’s wife any harm? I would know that
0607 of your Honor.
ESCALUS 0608 He’s in the right, constable. What say you to
ELBOW 0610 170First, an it like you, the house is a respected
0611 house; next, this is a respected fellow, and his
0612 mistress is a respected woman.
POMPEY 0613 By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected
0614 person than any of us all.
ELBOW 0615 175Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet! The
0616 time is yet to come that she was ever respected with
0617 man, woman, or child.
POMPEY 0618 Sir, she was respected with him before he
0619 married with her.
ESCALUS 0620 180Which is the wiser here, Justice or Iniquity?
0621 Is this true?
ELBOW, ⌜to Pompey⌝ 0622 O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O
0623 thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her before I
0624 was married to her?—If ever I was respected with
0625 185 her, or she with me, let not your Worship think me
0626 the poor duke’s officer.—Prove this, thou wicked
0627 Hannibal, or I’ll have mine action of batt’ry on thee.
ESCALUS 0628 If he took you a box o’ th’ ear, you might have
0629 your action of slander too.
ELBOW 0630 190Marry, I thank your good Worship for it. What
p. 510631 is ’t your Worship’s pleasure I shall do with this
0632 wicked caitiff?
ESCALUS 0633 Truly, officer, because he hath some offenses
0634 in him that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst,
0635 195 let him continue in his courses till thou know’st
0636 what they are.
ELBOW 0637 Marry, I thank your Worship for it. ⌜To Pompey.⌝
0638 Thou seest, thou wicked varlet, now, what’s
0639 come upon thee. Thou art to continue now, thou
0640 200 varlet, thou art to continue.
ESCALUS, ⌜to Froth⌝ 0641 Where were you born, friend?
FROTH 0642 Here in Vienna, sir.
ESCALUS 0643 Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
FROTH 0644 Yes, an ’t please you, sir.
ESCALUS 0645 205So. ⌜To Pompey.⌝ What trade are you of, sir?
POMPEY 0646 A tapster, a poor widow’s tapster.
ESCALUS 0647 Your mistress’ name?
POMPEY 0648 Mistress Overdone.
ESCALUS 0649 Hath she had any more than one husband?
POMPEY 0650 210Nine, sir. Overdone by the last.
ESCALUS 0651 Nine?—Come hither to me, Master Froth.
0652 Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with
0653 tapsters; they will draw you, Master Froth, and you
0654 will hang them. Get you gone, and let me hear no
0655 215 more of you.
FROTH 0656 I thank your Worship. For mine own part, I
0657 never come into any room in a taphouse but I am
0658 drawn in.
ESCALUS 0659 Well, no more of it, Master Froth. Farewell.
0660 220 Come you hither to me, Master Tapster. What’s your
0661 name, Master Tapster?
POMPEY 0662 Pompey.
ESCALUS 0663 What else?
POMPEY 0664 Bum, sir.
p. 53ESCALUS 0665 225Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing
0666 about you, so that in the beastliest sense you are
0667 Pompey the Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd,
0668 Pompey, howsoever you color it in being a tapster,
0669 are you not? Come, tell me true. It shall be the
0670 230 better for you.
POMPEY 0671 Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow that would live.
ESCALUS 0672 How would you live, Pompey? By being a
0673 bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? Is it
0674 a lawful trade?
POMPEY 0675 235If the law would allow it, sir.
ESCALUS 0676 But the law will not allow it, Pompey, nor it
0677 shall not be allowed in Vienna.
POMPEY 0678 Does your Worship mean to geld and splay all
0679 the youth of the city?
ESCALUS 0680 240No, Pompey.
POMPEY 0681 Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to ’t
0682 then. If your Worship will take order for the drabs
0683 and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
ESCALUS 0684 There is pretty orders beginning, I can tell
0685 245 you. It is but heading and hanging.
POMPEY 0686 If you head and hang all that offend that way
0687 but for ten year together, you’ll be glad to give out a
0688 commission for more heads. If this law hold in
0689 Vienna ten year, I’ll rent the fairest house in it after
0690 250 threepence a bay. If you live to see this come to
0691 pass, say Pompey told you so.
ESCALUS 0692 Thank you, good Pompey. And in requital of
0693 your prophecy, hark you: I advise you let me not
0694 find you before me again upon any complaint
0695 255 whatsoever; no, not for dwelling where you do. If I
0696 do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent and prove
0697 a shrewd Caesar to you. In plain dealing, Pompey, I
0698 shall have you whipped. So, for this time, Pompey,
0699 fare you well.
POMPEY 0700 260I thank your Worship for your good counsel.
p. 550701 ⌜Aside.⌝ But I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune
0702 shall better determine.
0703 Whip me? No, no, let carman whip his jade.
0704 The valiant heart’s not whipped out of his trade.
ESCALUS 0705 265Come hither to me, Master Elbow. Come
0706 hither, Master Constable. How long have you been
0707 in this place of constable?
ELBOW 0708 Seven year and a half, sir.
ESCALUS 0709 I thought, by the readiness in the office, you
0710 270 had continued in it some time. You say seven years
ELBOW 0712 And a half, sir.
ESCALUS 0713 Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do
0714 you wrong to put you so oft upon ’t. Are there not
0715 275 men in your ward sufficient to serve it?
ELBOW 0716 Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters. As
0717 they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for
0718 them. I do it for some piece of money and go
0719 through with all.
ESCALUS 0720 280Look you bring me in the names of some six
0721 or seven, the most sufficient of your parish.
ELBOW 0722 To your Worship’s house, sir?
ESCALUS 0723 To my house. Fare you well.
⌜Elbow and Officers exit.⌝
0724 ⌜To Justice.⌝ What’s o’clock, think you?
JUSTICE 0725 285Eleven, sir.
ESCALUS 0726 I pray you home to dinner with me.
JUSTICE 0727 I humbly thank you.
0728 It grieves me for the death of Claudio,
0729 But there’s no remedy.
0730 290 Lord Angelo is severe.
ESCALUS 0731 It is but needful.
0732 Mercy is not itself that oft looks so.
p. 570733 Pardon is still the nurse of second woe.
0734 But yet, poor Claudio. There is no remedy.
0735 295 Come, sir.