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Claud. I have done so, but he's not to be found. I pr’ythee, Lucio, do me this kind service: This day my sister should the cloister enter, And there receive her approbation : 8 Acquaint her with the danger of my state; Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends To the strict deputy ; bid herself assay

him ; I have great hope in that : for in her youth There is a prone 9 and speechless dialect, Such as moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art When she will play with reason and discourse, And well she can persuade.

Lucio. I pray, she may: as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition; as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at game

of tick-tack. I'll to her.
Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio.
Lucio. Within two hours,
Claud. Come, officer, away.




A Monastery.

Enter Duke and Friar Thomas,

Duke. No; holy father; throw away that thought; Believe not that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a complete bosom :' why I desire thee To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose

s Enter on her probation. 9 Prompt,

Completely arined.


More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
Of burning youth.

May your grace speak of it?
Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you
How I have ever lov’d the life remov'd; 2
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps 3
I have delivered to lord Angelo
(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travell’d to Poland;
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is receiv’d: Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me, why I do this?
Fri. Gladly, my lord.

Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
(The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds)
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;
Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers
Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight,
For terror, not to use; in time the rod
Becomes more mock’d, than fear’d: so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.

It rested in your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd:

? Retired.

3 Showy dress resides.

s Strictness.

And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd,
Than in lord Angelo.

I do fear, too dreadful :
Sith 6 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
'Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall them
For what I bid them do: For we bid this be done,
When evil deeds have their permissive pass,
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my fa-

ther, I have on Angelo impos'd the office; Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home, And

yet my nature never in the sight, To do it slander: And to behold his sway, I will, as 'twere a brother of your order, Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr’ythee, .. Supply me with the habit, and instruct me How I may formally in person bear me Like a true friar. More reasons for this action, At our more leisure shall I render you; Only, this one :-Lord Angelo is precise ; Stands at a guard 7 with envy; scarce confesses That his blood flows, or that his appetite Is more to bread than stone : Hence shall we see, If power change purpose, what our seemers be.


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A Nunnery.


Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges?
Fran. Are not these large enough?

Isab. Yes, truly : I speak not as desiring more ;
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare.

Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place? [Within. Isab.

Who's that which calls ? Fran. It is a man's voice : Gentle Isabella, Turn

you the key, and know his business of him ; You may, I may not ;. you are yet unsworn : When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men, But in the presence of the prioress': Then, if you speak, you must not show your Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. He calls again ; I pray you, answer him.

[Exit FranciSCA. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls ?


Enter Lucio. Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek-roses Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella, A novice of this place, and the fair sister To her unhappy brother Claudio ?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother ? let me ask; The rather, for I now must make you know

I am that Isabella, and his sister.
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets

Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me! For what?

Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story. 8

It is true.
I would not—though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart,-play with all virgins so:
I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted;
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint.

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me.
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 9 'tis

thus :
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd :
As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison ;' even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth2 and husbandry.
Isab. Some one with child by him?--My cousin

Lucio. Is she your cousin ?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their

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: Do not make a jest of me.

1 Breeding plenty.

9 In few and true words.

2 Tilling.

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