ACT III
Scene II.
 

The street before the prison

Enter, on one side, DUKE disguised as before; on the other, ELBOW,
and OFFICERS with POMPEY

ELBOW
Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needs
buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the
world drink brown and white bastard.

DUKE
O heavens! what stuff is here?

POMPEY
'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the merriest
was put down, and the worser allow'd by order of law a furr'd
gown to keep him warm; and furr'd with fox on lamb-skins too, to
signify that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the
facing.

ELBOW
Come your way, sir. Bless you, good father friar.

DUKE
And you, good brother father. What offence hath this man made
you, sir?

ELBOW
Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir, we take him
to be a thief too, sir, for we have found upon him, sir, a
strange picklock, which we have sent to the deputy.

DUKE
Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!
The evil that thou causest to be done,
That is thy means to live. Do thou but think
What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
From such a filthy vice; say to thyself
'From their abominable and beastly touches
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.'
Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

POMPEY
Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, sir,
I would prove-

DUKE
Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer;
Correction and instruction must both work
Ere this rude beast will profit.

ELBOW
He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him warning.
The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster; if he be a whoremonger,
and comes before him, he were as good go a mile on his errand.

DUKE
That we were all, as some would seem to be,
From our faults, as his faults from seeming, free.

ELBOW
His neck will come to your waist- a cord, sir.

Enter LUCIO

POMPEY
I spy comfort; I cry bail. Here's a gentleman, and a friend
of mine.

LUCIO
How now, noble Pompey! What, at the wheels of Caesar? Art
thou led in triumph? What, is there none of Pygmalion's images,
newly made woman, to be had now for putting the hand in the
pocket and extracting it clutch'd? What reply, ha? What say'st
thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is't not drown'd i' th'
last rain, ha? What say'st thou, trot? Is the world as it was,
man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The
trick of it?

DUKE
Still thus, and thus; still worse!

LUCIO
How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she still,
ha?

POMPEY
Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she is
herself in the tub.

LUCIO
Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it must be so; ever
your fresh whore and your powder'd bawd- an unshunn'd
consequence; it must be so. Art going to prison, Pompey?

POMPEY
Yes, faith, sir.

LUCIO
Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell; go, say I sent thee
thither. For debt, Pompey- or how?

ELBOW
For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

LUCIO
Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be the due of a
bawd, why, 'tis his right. Bawd is he doubtless, and of
antiquity, too; bawd-born. Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to
the prison, Pompey. You will turn good husband now, Pompey; you
will keep the house.

POMPEY
I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.

LUCIO
No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear. I will
pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage. If you take it not
patiently, why, your mettle is the more. Adieu trusty Pompey.
Bless you, friar.

DUKE
And you.

LUCIO
Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?

ELBOW
Come your ways, sir; come.

POMPEY
You will not bail me then, sir?

LUCIO
Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar? what news?

ELBOW
Come your ways, sir; come.

LUCIO
Go to kennel, Pompey, go.

Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY and OFFICERS

What news, friar, of the Duke?

DUKE
I know none. Can you tell me of any?

LUCIO
Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other some, he is
in Rome; but where is he, think you?

DUKE
I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well.

LUCIO
It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from the
state and usurp the beggary he was never born to. Lord Angelo
dukes it well in his absence; he puts transgression to't.

DUKE
He does well in't.

LUCIO
A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in him;
something too crabbed that way, friar.

DUKE
It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.

LUCIO
Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred; it is
well allied; but it is impossible to extirp it quite, friar, till
eating and drinking be put down. They say this Angelo was not
made by man and woman after this downright way of creation. Is it
true, think you?

DUKE
How should he be made, then?

LUCIO
Some report a sea-maid spawn'd him; some, that he was begot
between two stock-fishes. But it is certain that when he makes
water his urine is congeal'd ice; that I know to be true. And he
is a motion generative; that's infallible.

DUKE
You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.

LUCIO
Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion
of a codpiece to take away the life of a man! Would the Duke that
is absent have done this? Ere he would have hang'd a man for the
getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a
thousand. He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the service,
and that instructed him to mercy.

DUKE
I never heard the absent Duke much detected for women; he was
not inclin'd that way.

LUCIO
O, sir, you are deceiv'd.

DUKE
'Tis not possible.

LUCIO
Who- not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty; and his use
was to put a ducat in her clack-dish. The Duke had crotchets in
him. He would be drunk too; that let me inform you.

DUKE
You do him wrong, surely.

LUCIO
Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the Duke; and
I believe I know the cause of his withdrawing.

DUKE
What, I prithee, might be the cause?

LUCIO
No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be lock'd within the teeth
and the lips; but this I can let you understand: the greater file
of the subject held the Duke to be wise.

DUKE
Wise? Why, no question but he was.

LUCIO
A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

DUKE
Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very
stream of his life, and the business he hath helmed, must, upon a
warranted need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be but
testimonied in his own bringings-forth, and he shall appear to
the envious a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier. Therefore you
speak unskilfully; or, if your knowledge be more, it is much
dark'ned in your malice.

LUCIO
Sir, I know him, and I love him.

DUKE
Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer
love.

LUCIO
Come, sir, I know what I know.

DUKE
I can hardly believe that, since you know not what you speak.
But, if ever the Duke return, as our prayers are he may, let me
desire you to make your answer before him. If it be honest you
have spoke, you have courage to maintain it; I am bound to call
upon you; and I pray you your name?

LUCIO
Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the Duke.

DUKE
He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report you.

LUCIO
I fear you not.

DUKE
O, you hope the Duke will return no more; or you imagine me
too unhurtful an opposite. But, indeed, I can do you little harm:
you'll forswear this again.

LUCIO
I'll be hang'd first. Thou art deceiv'd in me, friar. But no
more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio die to-morrow or no?

DUKE
Why should he die, sir?

LUCIO
Why? For filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would the Duke
we talk of were return'd again. This ungenitur'd agent will
unpeople the province with continency; sparrows must not build in
his house-eaves because they are lecherous. The Duke yet would
have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring them to
light. Would he were return'd! Marry, this Claudio is condemned
for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I prithee pray for me. The
Duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on Fridays. He's not
past it yet; and, I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar
though she smelt brown bread and garlic. Say that I said so.
Farewell.

Exit

DUKE
No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?

Enter ESCALUS, PROVOST, and OFFICERS with MISTRESS OVERDONE

ESCALUS
Go, away with her to prison.

MRS. OVERDONE
Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is
accounted a merciful man; good my lord.

ESCALUS
Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the
same kind! This would make mercy swear and play the tyrant.

PROVOST
A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please your
honour.

MRS. OVERDONE
My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me.
Mistress Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the Duke's time;
he promis'd her marriage. His child is a year and a quarter old
come Philip and Jacob; I have kept it myself; and see how he goes
about to abuse me.

ESCALUS
That fellow is a fellow of much license. Let him be call'd
before us. Away with her to prison. Go to; no more words. [Exeunt
OFFICERS with MISTRESS OVERDONE]
Provost, my brother Angelo will
not be alter'd: Claudio must die to-morrow. Let him be furnish'd
with divines, and have all charitable preparation. If my brother
wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.

PROVOST
So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advis'd
him for th' entertainment of death.

ESCALUS
Good even, good father.

DUKE
Bliss and goodness on you!

ESCALUS
Of whence are you?

DUKE
Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time. I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See
In special business from his Holiness.

ESCALUS
What news abroad i' th' world?

DUKE
None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness that the
dissolution of it must cure it. Novelty is only in request; and,
as it is, as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course as it is
virtuous to be constant in any undertakeing. There is scarce
truth enough alive to make societies secure; but security enough
to make fellowships accurst. Much upon this riddle runs the
wisdom of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every
day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the Duke?

ESCALUS
One that, above all other strifes, contended especially to
know himself.

DUKE
What pleasure was he given to?

ESCALUS
Rather rejoicing to see another merry than merry at
anything which profess'd to make him rejoice; a gentleman of all
temperance. But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they
may prove prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find
Claudio prepar'd. I am made to understand that you have lent him
visitation.

DUKE
He professes to have received no sinister measure from his
judge, but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of
justice. Yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his
frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good
leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolv'd to die.

ESCALUS
You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner
the very debt of your calling. I have labour'd for the poor
gentleman to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my brother
justice have I found so severe that he hath forc'd me to tell him
he is indeed Justice.

DUKE
If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it
shall become him well; wherein if he chance to fail, he hath
sentenc'd himself.

ESCALUS
I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.

DUKE
Peace be with you!

Exeunt ESCALUS and PROVOST

He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
How may likeness, made in crimes,
Make a practice on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most ponderous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply.
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despised;
So disguise shall, by th' disguised,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting.

Exit