Page images

What would


ISAB. As much for my poor brother, as myself;
That is, were I under the terms of death,
Th’impreffion of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a będ
That longing I've been fick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to Thame.
Ang. Theo muft your brother die.
IsaB. And 'twere the cheaper way;
Better it were, a brother dy'd at once;
Than that a fifter, by redeeming him,
Should die for ever..
ANG. Were not you then as cruel as the fentence,

have flander'd fo?
Isab. Ignominy in ransom, and free pardon,
Are of two houses; lawful mercy, sure,
Is nothing kin to foul redemption.
ANG. You feem'd of late to make the law a tyrant,
And rather proy'd the hiding of your

A merriment, than a vice.
Isab. Oh pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out
To have what we would have, we speak not what we mean;
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.
ANG. We are all frail.
IsaB. Else let my brother die.
If not a feodary, but only he,
Owe, and succeed by weakness.
ANG. Nay, women are frail too.
ISAB. Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;
Which are as easy broke, as they make forms.
Women!-help heav'n! men their creation mar,

In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail;
For we are soft as our complexions are,
And credulous to false prints:
ANG. I think it well;
And from this testimony of your own sex,
Since, I suppose, we're made to be no stronger,
Than faults may shake our frames, let me be bold,
I do arrest your words : Be That you are,
That is, a woman, if you're more you're none ;
If you be one, as you are well expressid
By all external warrants, shew it now,
By putting on the destin'd livery.
ISAB. I have no tongue but one. Gentle my lord,
Let me intreat you, speak the former language.
Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.
IsaB. My brother did love Juliet;

me, that he shall die for it.
Ang. He fhall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
IsaB. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.
ANG. Believe me, on mine honourg
My words express my purpose.
IsaB. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd,
And most pernicious purpose !--seeming, seeming!
I will proclaim thee, Angelo ; look for'un
Sign me a present pardon for ту.

brother,'. Or, with an out-stretch'd throat, I'll tell the world Aloud, what man thou art. ANG. Who will believe thee, Isabel? My unfoil'd name, th' austereness of my life, My vouch against you, and my place i' th' stato


Will fo your accusation over weigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race the rein.
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite,
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes,
That banish what they fue for; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will:
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingøring sufferance. Answer me to-morrow ;
Or by th' affection that now guides me most,

prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Say what you can; my false oʻerweighs your true.
IsaB. To whom should I complain? did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O most perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bidding the law make curtsy to their will;
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow, as it draws. I'll to my brother.
Tho'he hath fall’n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up;
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Habel, live chaste; and, brother die;
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request;
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest.




The prison:

[ocr errors]

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.

So, then you've hope of pardon from lord Angelo?

CLAUD. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope : I've hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.
DUKE. Be absolute for deach: or death, or life,
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life;
If I do lose thee, I do lofe a thing,
That none but fools would keep; a breath thou arty
Servile to all the kiey influences
That do this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict; merely thorart death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st tow'rd him still. Thou art not noble;
For all th' accommodations, that thou bear'st,
Are nurs’d by baseness: thou’rt by no means valiant ;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'it; yet grofly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou'rt not thyfelf;
For thou exist'it on many a thousand grains,
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'rt to get;
And what thou haft forget'ft. Thou art not certain :
For thy complexion shifts to ftrange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou’rt poor ;
Fòr, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'ft thy heavy riches but a journey,

And death unloadeth chee. Friend hast thou none ;
For thy own bowels, which do call thee fire,
The meer effusion of thy proper lions,
Do curse the Gout, Serpigo, and the Rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, hor agè';
But as it were an after dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both ; for all thy bleffed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palfied eld; and when thou'rt old and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? yet in this life
Lye hid more thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
CLAUD, I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I feek to die;
And, seaking death, find life; let it come on.

Enter Isabella.
ISAB. What, ho? peace here, grace and good company !
Prov. Who's there? come in: the wish deserves a welcome.
Duke. Dear Sir, ere long l'll visit you again.
Claud. Most holy Sir, I thank you.
Isa B. My business is a word, or two, with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome. Look, Signior, here's your

Duke. Provost, a word with you.
Prov. As many as you please.
Duke. Bring them to speak where I may be conceald,
Yet hear them,

(Exeunt Duke and Provost.

SCENE II. CLAUD. Now, after, what's the comfort ?

[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »