Measure for Measure - Act 2, scene 2
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Act 2, scene 2
Isabella pleads with Angelo for Claudio’s life. Angelo refuses to relent but, overcome by desire for Isabella, tells her that he will consider her plea and instructs her to return the following morning.Enter Provost ⌜and a⌝ Servant.
0736 He’s hearing of a cause. He will come straight.
0737 I’ll tell him of you.
PROVOST 0738 Pray you do.
0739 I’ll know
0740 5 His pleasure. Maybe he will relent. Alas,
0741 He hath but as offended in a dream.
0742 All sects, all ages smack of this vice, and he
0743 To die for ’t?
ANGELO 0744 Now, what’s the matter, provost?
0745 10 Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?
0746 Did not I tell thee yea? Hadst thou not order?
0747 Why dost thou ask again?
PROVOST 0748 Lest I might be too rash.
0749 Under your good correction, I have seen
0750 15 When, after execution, judgment hath
0751 Repented o’er his doom.
ANGELO 0752 Go to. Let that be mine.
0753 Do you your office, or give up your place
0754 And you shall well be spared.
PROVOST 0755 20I crave your Honor’s pardon.
0757 She’s very near her hour.
ANGELO 0758 Dispose of her
0759 To some more fitter place, and that with speed.
0760 25 Here is the sister of the man condemned
0761 Desires access to you.
ANGELO 0762 Hath he a sister?
0763 Ay, my good lord, a very virtuous maid,
0764 And to be shortly of a sisterhood,
0765 30 If not already.
ANGELO, ⌜to Servant⌝ 0766 Well, let her be admitted.
0767 See you the fornicatress be removed.
0768 Let her have needful but not lavish means.
0769 There shall be order for ’t.
Enter Lucio and Isabella.
PROVOST, ⌜beginning to exit⌝ 0770 35Save your Honor.
0771 Stay a little while. ⌜To Isabella.⌝ You’re welcome.
0772 What’s your will?
0773 I am a woeful suitor to your Honor,
0774 Please but your Honor hear me.
ANGELO 0775 40 Well, what’s your
0777 There is a vice that most I do abhor,
0778 And most desire should meet the blow of justice,
0779 For which I would not plead, but that I must;
0781 At war ’twixt will and will not.
ANGELO 0782 Well, the matter?
0783 I have a brother is condemned to die.
0784 I do beseech you let it be his fault
0785 50 And not my brother.
PROVOST, ⌜aside⌝ 0786 Heaven give thee moving
0788 Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it?
0789 Why, every fault’s condemned ere it be done.
0790 55 Mine were the very cipher of a function
0791 To fine the faults whose fine stands in record
0792 And let go by the actor.
ISABELLA 0793 O just but severe law!
0794 I had a brother, then. Heaven keep your Honor.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝
0795 60 Give ’t not o’er so. To him again, entreat him,
0796 Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown.
0797 You are too cold. If you should need a pin,
0798 You could not with more tame a tongue desire it.
0799 To him, I say.
ISABELLA, ⌜to Angelo⌝
0800 65 Must he needs die?
ANGELO 0801 Maiden, no remedy.
0802 Yes, I do think that you might pardon him,
0803 And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.
0804 I will not do ’t.
ISABELLA 0805 70 But can you if you would?
0806 Look what I will not, that I cannot do.
0807 But might you do ’t and do the world no wrong
0809 As mine is to him?
ANGELO 0810 75He’s sentenced. ’Tis too late.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝ 0811 You are too cold.
0812 Too late? Why, no. I that do speak a word
0813 May call it ⌜back⌝ again. Well believe this:
0814 No ceremony that to great ones longs,
0815 80 Not the king’s crown, nor the deputed sword,
0816 The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe
0817 Become them with one half so good a grace
0818 As mercy does.
0819 If he had been as you, and you as he,
0820 85 You would have slipped like him, but he like you
0821 Would not have been so stern.
ANGELO 0822 Pray you begone.
0823 I would to heaven I had your potency,
0824 And you were Isabel. Should it then be thus?
0825 90 No. I would tell what ’twere to be a judge
0826 And what a prisoner.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝ 0827 Ay, touch him; there’s the
0829 Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
0830 95 And you but waste your words.
ISABELLA 0831 Alas, alas!
0832 Why all the souls that were were forfeit once,
0833 And He that might the vantage best have took
0834 Found out the remedy. How would you be
0835 100 If He which is the top of judgment should
0836 But judge you as you are? O, think on that,
0837 And mercy then will breathe within your lips
0838 Like man new-made.
ANGELO 0839 Be you content, fair maid.
0840 105 It is the law, not I, condemn your brother.
0842 It should be thus with him. He must die tomorrow.
0843 Tomorrow? O, that’s sudden! Spare him, spare him.
0844 He’s not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens
0845 110 We kill the fowl of season. Shall we serve heaven
0846 With less respect than we do minister
0847 To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink
0849 Who is it that hath died for this offense?
0850 115 There’s many have committed it.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝ 0851 Ay, well said.
0852 The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept.
0853 Those many had not dared to do that evil
0854 If the first that did th’ edict infringe
0855 120 Had answered for his deed. Now ’tis awake,
0856 Takes note of what is done, and, like a prophet,
0857 Looks in a glass that shows what future evils—
0858 Either now, or by remissness new-conceived,
0859 And so in progress to be hatched and born—
0860 125 Are now to have no successive degrees
0861 But, ⌜ere⌝ they live, to end.
ISABELLA 0862 Yet show some pity.
0863 I show it most of all when I show justice,
0864 For then I pity those I do not know,
0865 130 Which a dismissed offense would after gall,
0866 And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,
0867 Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
0868 Your brother dies tomorrow; be content.
0869 So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
0870 135 And he that suffers. O, it is excellent
0871 To have a giant’s strength, but it is tyrannous
0872 To use it like a giant.
ISABELLA 0874 Could great men thunder
0875 140 As Jove himself does, Jove would never be quiet,
0876 For every pelting, petty officer
0877 Would use his heaven for thunder,
0878 Nothing but thunder. Merciful heaven,
0879 Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
0880 145 Splits the unwedgeable and gnarlèd oak,
0881 Than the soft myrtle. But man, proud man,
0882 Dressed in a little brief authority,
0883 Most ignorant of what he’s most assured,
0884 His glassy essence, like an angry ape
0885 150 Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven
0886 As makes the angels weep, who with our spleens
0887 Would all themselves laugh mortal.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝
0888 O, to him, to him, wench. He will relent.
0889 He’s coming. I perceive ’t.
PROVOST, ⌜aside⌝ 0890 155 Pray heaven she win him.
0891 We cannot weigh our brother with ourself.
0892 Great men may jest with saints; ’tis wit in them,
0893 But in the less, foul profanation.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝
0894 Thou ’rt i’ th’ right, girl. More o’ that.
0895 160 That in the captain’s but a choleric word
0896 Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝
0897 Art avised o’ that? More on ’t.
0898 Why do you put these sayings upon me?
0899 Because authority, though it err like others,
0900 165 Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself
0902 Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
0903 That’s like my brother’s fault. If it confess
0904 A natural guiltiness such as is his,
0905 170 Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
0906 Against my brother’s life.
ANGELO, ⌜aside⌝ 0907 She speaks, and ’tis such sense
0908 That my sense breeds with it.⌜He begins to exit.⌝
0909 Fare you well.
ISABELLA 0910 175Gentle my lord, turn back.
0911 I will bethink me. Come again tomorrow.
0912 Hark how I’ll bribe you. Good my lord, turn back.
ANGELO 0913 How? Bribe me?
0914 Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝ 0915 180You had marred all else.
0916 Not with fond sicles of the tested gold,
0917 Or stones whose rate are either rich or poor
0918 As fancy values them, but with true prayers
0919 That shall be up at heaven and enter there
0920 185 Ere sunrise, prayers from preservèd souls,
0921 From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
0922 To nothing temporal.
ANGELO 0923 Well, come to me tomorrow.
LUCIO, ⌜aside to Isabella⌝ 0924 Go to, ’tis well; away.
0925 190 Heaven keep your Honor safe.
ANGELO, ⌜aside⌝ 0926 Amen.
0927 For I am that way going to temptation
0928 Where prayers cross.
ISABELLA 0929 At what hour tomorrow
0930 195 Shall I attend your Lordship?
ANGELO 0931 At any time ’fore noon.
⌜She exits, with Lucio and Provost.⌝
ANGELO 0933 From thee, even from thy virtue.
0934 What’s this? What’s this? Is this her fault or mine?
0935 200 The tempter or the tempted, who sins most, ha?
0936 Not she, nor doth she tempt; but it is I
0937 That, lying by the violet in the sun,
0938 Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
0939 Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
0940 205 That modesty may more betray our sense
0941 Than woman’s lightness? Having waste ground
0943 Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
0944 And pitch our evils there? O fie, fie, fie!
0945 210 What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?
0946 Dost thou desire her foully for those things
0947 That make her good? O, let her brother live.
0948 Thieves for their robbery have authority
0949 When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her
0950 215 That I desire to hear her speak again
0951 And feast upon her eyes? What is ’t I dream on?
0952 O cunning enemy that, to catch a saint,
0953 With saints dost bait thy hook. Most dangerous
0954 Is that temptation that doth goad us on
0955 220 To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet
0956 With all her double vigor, art and nature,
0957 Once stir my temper, but this virtuous maid
0958 Subdues me quite. Ever till now
0959 When men were fond, I smiled and wondered how.