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Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good haste : Come, we will walk. There's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.


SCENE VI.-Street near the City Gate.


Isab. To speak so indirectly, I am loath: I would say the truth; but to accuse him so, That is your part: yet I'm advis'd to do it; He says, to veil full purpose.

Be rul'd by him.
Isab. Besides, he tells me, that if peradventure
He speak against me on the adverse side,
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic
That's bitter to sweet end.

Mari. I would, friar Peter-

O, peace! the friar is come.

Enter Friar PETER.

F. Peter. Come; I have found you out a stand most fit, Where you may have such vantage on the duke,

He shall not pass you. Twice have the trumpets sounded;

The generous and gravest citizens

Have hent the gates, and very near upon

The duke is ent'ring: therefore hence, away.

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met :-
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.



SCENE I-A public Place near the City Gate.

MARIANA, veiled, ISABELLA, and Friar PETER, at a distance.

Enter from one

side, Duke, in his own habit, VARRIUS, Lords; from the other, ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and Citizens.

Ang. and Escal. Happy return be to your royal grace!

Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you both.

We have made inquiry of you; and we hear
Such goodness of your justice, that our soul

Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
Forerunning more requital.


You make my bonds still greater. Duke. O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it, To lock it in the wards of covert bosom, When it deserves, with characters of brass, A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time, And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand, And let the subject see, to make them know That outward courtesies would fain proclaim Favours that keep within.-Come, Escalus; You must walk by us on our other hand d;— And good supporters are you.

Friar PETER and ISABELLA come forward.

F. Peter. Now is your time: speak loud, and kneel before


Isab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a maid!
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye
By throwing it on any other object,

Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!

Duke. Relate your wrongs: in what? by whom? Be brief. Here is lord Angelo shall give you justice:

Reveal yourself to him.

O worthy duke,
You bid me seek redemption of the devil:

Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak,

Must either punish me, not being believ'd,

Or wring redress from you: hear me, O, hear me, here!

Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm :
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,
Cut off by course of justice,-


By course of justice!
Ang. And she will speak most bitterly, and strange.
Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak :
That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange?

That Angelo's a murderer; is 't not strange?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
A hypocrite, a virgin-violator;
Is it not strange, and strange?
Isab. It is not truer he is Angelo,

Nay, it is ten times strange.

Than this is all as true as it is strange :
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
To th' end of reckoning.


Away with her!-poor soul,

She speaks this in th' infirmity of sense.

Isab. O prince, I cònjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world,

That thou neglect me not, with that opinion

That I am touch'd with madness! Make not impossible That which but seems unlike. 'Tis not impossible,

But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
As Angelo; even so may Angelo,

In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain: believe it, royal prince:
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.


By mine honesty,
If she be mad,-as I believe no other,-
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,

As e'er I heard in madness.

O gracious duke,
Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.


Many that are not mad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.-What would you say? Isab. I am the sister of one Claudio, Condemn'd upon the act of fornication To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo. I, in probation of a sisterhood,

Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio

As then the messenger,—


That's I, an 't like your grace :

I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo,
For her poor brother's pardon.


Duke. You were not bid to speak.


Nor wish'd to hold my peace.

That's he indeed.

No, my good lord,

I wish you now, then;

Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven, you then
Be perfect.

Lucio. I warrant your honour.

Duke. The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it.
Isab. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale,-
Lucio. Right.

Duke. It may be right; but you are in the wrong
To speak before your time.-Proceed.


To this pernicious caitiff deputy,—
Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken.

I went

Pardon it;

The phrase is to the matter.

Duke. Mended again. The matter;-proceed.
Isab. In brief,-to set the needless process by,
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd,
How he refell'd me, and how I replied,-
For this was of much length,—the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter :
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,

Release my brother; and, after much debatement,

My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,

And I did yield to him: but the next morn betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant

For my poor brother's head.

This is most likely!
Isab. O, that it were as like as it is true!

Duke. By heaven, fond wretch! thou know'st not what thou speak'st,

Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour
In hateful practice. First, his integrity

Stands without blemish : next, it imports no reason
That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself,
And not have cut him off. Some one hath set you on:
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice

Thou cam'st here to complain.

And is this all?
Then, O! you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, with ripen'd time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up

In countenance !-Heaven shield your grace from woe,
As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelievèd go!

Duke. I know you'd fain be gone.-An officer!

To prison with her!--Shall we thus permit

A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.—
Who knew of your intent, and coming hither?

Isab. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick.
Duke. A ghostly father, belike.-Who knows that Lodowick
Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar ;
I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord,
For certain words he spake against your grace
In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly.

Duke. Words against me! This' a good friar, belike!
And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our substitute!-Let this friar be found.

Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar
I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,

A very scurvy fellow.

F. Peter.
Bless'd be your royal grace!
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Your royal ear abus'd. First, hath this woman
Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute,
Who is as free from touch or soil with her,
As she from one ungot.

We did believe no less.
Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of?
F. Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy:
Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
As he's reported by this gentleman;
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

Lucio. My lord, most villainously; believe it.

F. Peter. Well, he in time may come to clear himself; But at this instant he is sick, my lord,

Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,—
Being come to knowledge that there was complaint
Intended 'gainst lord Angelo,-came I hither,
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
Is true, and false; and what he, with his oath

And all probation, will make up full clear,
Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman,-
To justify this worthy nobleman,

So vulgarly and personally accus'd,—

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