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SCENE I. A publick place near the city gate.
Mariana (deild), Isabella, and Peter, at a distance.
Enter at opposite doors, Duke, Varrius, Lords; Angelo, Escalus, Lucio, Provost, Officers, and Citizens.
Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met: Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. 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 publick thanks, Forerunning more requital. Ang.
You make my bonds still greater. Duke. O, your desert speaks loud; and I should
Peter and Isabella come forward.
F. Peter. Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel
before him. Isab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail* your regard
Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid !
0, worthy duke,
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. Isab.
By course of justice ! Ang. And she will speak most bitterly, and
strange. Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I
Nay, ten times strange.
Away with her :-Poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
Isab. O prince, I conjure 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: makenot impossible That which but seems unlike: 'tis not impossible, But oue, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolate,
By mine honesty,
Duke. Mended again : the matter;-Proceed.
O, gracious duke,
Many that are not ma'), Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you
That's I, an't like your grace:
That's be indeed. Duke. You were not bid to speak. Lucio.
No, my good lord; Nor wish'd to hold my peace. Duke.
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.
* Habits and characters of office,
I warrant your honour. Duke. The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it. Isab. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. Lució. Right.
Duke. It may be right; but you are in the wrong To speak before your time-Proceed. Isab.
Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken,
-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 reply'd; (For this was of much length), the vile conclusion I now begin with grief and shame lo 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 remorset 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. Duke.
This is most likely! Isab. O, that it were as like, as it is true! Duke. By Heaven, fond 1 wretch, thou know'st
not what thou speak'st; Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour, In hateful practiceg: 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: Someone hath set you on : Confess the truth, and say by whose advice Thou cam'st here to complain. Isab.
And is this all ?
Then, oh, you blessed ministers above,
Duke. I know, you'd faip be gone:--An officer!
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 medling 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'de him soundly. Duke. Words against me? This' a good friar, be
like! 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 sawcy friar, A very scurvy fellow. F. Peter.
Blessed 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. Duke.
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 medler, · 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.