ACT IV
Scene III.
 

The prison

Enter POMPEY

POMPEY
I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of
profession; one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own
house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's young
Master Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old
ginger, nine score and seventeen pounds, of which he made five
marks ready money. Marry, then ginger was not much in request,
for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one Master
Caper, at the suit of Master Threepile the mercer, for some four
suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches him a beggar.
Then have we here young Dizy, and young Master Deepvow, and
Master Copperspur, and Master Starvelackey, the rapier and dagger
man, and young Dropheir that kill'd lusty Pudding, and Master
Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shootie the great
traveller, and wild Halfcan that stabb'd Pots, and, I think,
forty more- all great doers in our trade, and are now 'for the
Lord's sake.'

Enter ABHORSON

ABHORSON
Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

POMPEY
Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hang'd, Master
Barnardine!

ABHORSON
What ho, Barnardine!

BARNARDINE
[Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise
there? What are you?

POMPEY
Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir,
to rise and be put to death.

BARNARDINE
[ Within ] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.

ABHORSON
Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

POMPEY
Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and
sleep afterwards.

ABHORSON
Go in to him, and fetch him out.

POMPEY
He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

Enter BARNARDINE

ABHORSON
Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

POMPEY
Very ready, sir.

BARNARDINE
How now, Abhorson, what's the news with you?

ABHORSON
Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers;
for, look you, the warrant's come.

BARNARDINE
You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
fitted for't.

POMPEY
O, the better, sir! For he that drinks all night and is
hanged betimes in the morning may sleep the sounder all the next
day.

Enter DUKE, disguised as before

ABHORSON
Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father.
Do we jest now, think you?

DUKE
Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are
to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with
you.

BARNARDINE
Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and
I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my
brains with billets. I will not consent to die this day, that's
certain.

DUKE
O, Sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you
Look forward on the journey you shall go.

BARNARDINE
I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

DUKE
But hear you-

BARNARDINE
Not a word; if you have anything to say to me, come to
my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

Exit

DUKE
Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY

Enter PROVOST

PROVOST
Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

DUKE
A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.

PROVOST
Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclin'd,
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

DUKE
O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo. See this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

PROVOST
This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon;
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?

DUKE
Let this be done:
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio.
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.

PROVOST
I am your free dependant.

DUKE
Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

Exit PROVOST

Now will I write letters to Angelo-
The Provost, he shall bear them- whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly. Him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount,
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanc'd form.
We shall proceed with Angelo.

Re-enter PROVOST

PROVOST
Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

DUKE
Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.

PROVOST
I'll make all speed.

Exit

ISABELLA
[ Within ] Peace, ho, be here!

DUKE
The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither;
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair
When it is least expected.

Enter ISABELLA

ISABELLA
Ho, by your leave!

DUKE
Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

ISABELLA
The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

DUKE
He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the world.
His head is off and sent to Angelo.

ISABELLA
Nay, but it is not so.

DUKE
It is no other.
Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience,

ISABELLA
O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

DUKE
You shall not be admitted to his sight.

ISABELLA
Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!

DUKE
This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;
Forbear it, therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Mark what I say, which you shall find
By every syllable a faithful verity.
The Duke comes home to-morrow. Nay, dry your eyes.
One of our covent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance. Already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
There to give up their pow'r. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the Duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour.

ISABELLA
I am directed by you.

DUKE
This letter, then, to Friar Peter give;
'Tis that he sent me of the Duke's return.
Say, by this token, I desire his company
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours
I'll perfect him withal; and he shall bring you
Before the Duke; and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow,
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter.
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course. Who's here?

Enter LUCIO

LUCIO
Good even. Friar, where's the Provost?

DUKE
Not within, sir.

LUCIO
O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes
so red. Thou must be patient. I am fain to dine and sup with
water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one
fruitful meal would set me to't. But they say the Duke will be
here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I lov'd thy brother. If the
old fantastical Duke of dark corners had been at home, he had
lived.

Exit ISABELLA

DUKE
Sir, the Duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports;
but the best is, he lives not in them.

LUCIO
Friar, thou knowest not the Duke so well as I do; he's a
better woodman than thou tak'st him for.

DUKE
Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.

LUCIO
Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I can tell thee pretty
tales of the Duke.

DUKE
You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be
true; if not true, none were enough.

LUCIO
I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

DUKE
Did you such a thing?

LUCIO
Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they would
else have married me to the rotten medlar.

DUKE
Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.

LUCIO
By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If bawdy
talk offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a
kind of burr; I shall stick.

Exeunt