Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon: If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
'Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee : Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigot, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou last nor youth,

nor age;
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both : for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged and doth beg thee alms
Of palsied eldf; and when thou art 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
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even. H
Claud.

I humbly thank you. To sue to live, I find, I seek to die; Aud, seeking death, find life : Iet 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 I'll visit you again. Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you. Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's

your sister. Duke. Provost, a word with you. Proo.

As many as you please,

* Affects, affections. #Old age.

+ Leprous eruptions.

R2

Duke. Bring them to speak, where I may be con

ceal'd, Yet hear them. (Ereunt Duke and Provost. Claud.

Now, sister, what's the comfort? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in

deed;

Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Intends you for his swift embassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger* :
Therefore your best appointmenit make with speed;
To-morrow you set on.
Claud.

Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as, to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.
Claud.

But is there any?
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live;
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.
Claud.

Perpetual durance?
Isab. Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidityf you had,
To a determin'd scope.
Claud.

But in what nature ? Isab. In such a one as (you consenting to't) Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear, And leave

you

naked.
Claud.

Let me know the point.
Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake
Lest thou a feverous life should'st entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die?
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies,
Claud.

Why give you me this shame?

• Resident,

† Preparation. ^ Vastuess of extent.

Think you I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake my brother; there my father's

grave
Did utter forth a voice ! Yes, thou must die :
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i'th head, and follies doth eumew*,
As falcon doth the fowl,- is yet a devil;
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Claud.

The princely Angelo?
Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'st budy to invest and cover
In princely guardst ! Dost thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou might'st be freed?
Claud.

0, heavens! it cannot be. Isab. Yes, he would give it thee, from this rank

offence,
So to offend him still: This night's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Claud.

Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for your deliverance
As franklyf as a pin,
Claud.

Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.

Claud, Yes.-Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it? Sure it is no sin;
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.

Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise,

[ocr errors]

* Shut up

+ Laced robes.

| Freely.

Why, would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably* fin’d?-0, Isabel !

Isab. What says my brother?
Claud.

Death is a fearful thing. Isab. And shamed life a hateful.

Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded cold; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison'd in the viewlesst winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling 'tis too horrible !
The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
That age, ach, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death,

Isab. Alas! alas!
Claud.

Sweet sister, let me live:
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue,
Isab.

O, you beast!
O, faithless coward! O, dishonset wretch !
Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?
Is't not a kind of incest, to take life
From thine own sister's shame? What should I

think? Heaven shield, my mother play'd my father fair! For such a warped slip of wildernessi Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take my defiances : Die ; perish! might but my bending down Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed: I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death, No word to save thee.

• Lastiogly. + Invisible. Wildoess. Refusal.

Claud. Nay, Hear me, Isabel.
Isab.

O, fy, fy, fy!
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade* :
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:
"Tis best that thou diest quickly.

[Going. claud.

· O hear me, Isabella.

Re-enter Duke. Duke. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.

Isab. What is your will?

Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and by have some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require, is likewise your own benefit.

Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you a while.

Duke. (To Claudio, aside.] Son, I have overheard what hath passed between you and your sis. ter. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practise his judgement with the disposition of natures : she, having the trutli of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive: I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to death : do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible: to-morrow you must die; go to your knees, and make ready.

Claud. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so · out of love with life, that I will sue to be rid of it. Duke. Holdt you there: farewell.

(Exit Claudio. Re-enter Provost. Provost, a word with you.

* An established habit.
+ Continue in that resolution,

« ZurückWeiter »