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Home > Measure for Measure > ACT I - SCENE II. A Street.

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ACT I - SCENE II. A Street.
Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

LUCIO
1    If the duke with the other dukes come not to
2    composition with the King of Hungary, why then all
3    the dukes fall upon the king.
First Gentleman
4    Heaven grant us its peace, but not the King of
5    Hungary's!
Second Gentleman
6    Amen.
LUCIO
7    Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that
8    went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped
9    one out of the table.
Second Gentleman
10   'Thou shalt not steal'?
LUCIO
11   Ay, that he razed.
First Gentleman
12   Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and
13   all the rest from their functions: they put forth
14   to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in
15   the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition
16   well that prays for peace.
Second Gentleman
17   I never heard any soldier dislike it.
LUCIO
18   I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where
19   grace was said.
Second Gentleman
20   No? a dozen times at least.
First Gentleman
21   What, in metre?
LUCIO
22   In any proportion or in any language.
First Gentleman
23   I think, or in any religion.
LUCIO
24   Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all
25   controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a
26   wicked villain, despite of all grace.
First Gentleman
27   Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.
LUCIO
28   I grant; as there may between the lists and the
29   velvet. Thou art the list.
First Gentleman
30   And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt
31   a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief
32   be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou
33   art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak
34   feelingly now?
LUCIO
35   I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful
36   feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own
37   confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I
38   live, forget to drink after thee.
First Gentleman
39   I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?
Second Gentleman
40   Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.
LUCIO
41   Behold, behold. where Madam Mitigation comes! I
42   have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to--
Second Gentleman
43   To what, I pray?
LUCIO
44   Judge.
Second Gentleman
45   To three thousand dolours a year.
First Gentleman
46   Ay, and more.
LUCIO
47   A French crown more.
First Gentleman
48   Thou art always figuring diseases in me; but thou
49   art full of error; I am sound.
LUCIO
50   Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound as
51   things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow;
52   impiety has made a feast of thee.
Enter MISTRESS OVERDONE

First Gentleman
53   How now! which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?
MISTRESS OVERDONE
54   Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried
55   to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
Second Gentleman
56   Who's that, I pray thee?
MISTRESS OVERDONE
57   Marry, sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio.
First Gentleman
58   Claudio to prison? 'tis not so.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
59   Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw
60   him carried away; and, which is more, within these
61   three days his head to be chopped off.
LUCIO
62   But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so.
63   Art thou sure of this?
MISTRESS OVERDONE
64   I am too sure of it: and it is for getting Madam
65   Julietta with child.
LUCIO
66   Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two
67   hours since, and he was ever precise in
68   promise-keeping.
Second Gentleman
69   Besides, you know, it draws something near to the
70   speech we had to such a purpose.
First Gentleman
71   But, most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.
LUCIO
72   Away! let's go learn the truth of it.
Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen

MISTRESS OVERDONE
73   Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what
74   with the gallows and what with poverty, I am
75   custom-shrunk.
Enter POMPEY
76   How now! what's the news with you?
POMPEY
77   Yonder man is carried to prison.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
78   Well; what has he done?
POMPEY
79   A woman.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
80   But what's his offence?
POMPEY
81   Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
82   What, is there a maid with child by him?
POMPEY
83   No, but there's a woman with maid by him. You have
84   not heard of the proclamation, have you?
MISTRESS OVERDONE
85   What proclamation, man?
POMPEY
86   All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
87   And what shall become of those in the city?
POMPEY
88   They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too,
89   but that a wise burgher put in for them.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
90   But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be
91   pulled down?
POMPEY
92   To the ground, mistress.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
93   Why, here's a change indeed in the commonwealth!
94   What shall become of me?
POMPEY
95   Come; fear you not: good counsellors lack no
96   clients: though you change your place, you need not
97   change your trade; I'll be your tapster still.
98   Courage! there will be pity taken on you: you that
99   have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you
100  will be considered.
MISTRESS OVERDONE
101  What's to do here, Thomas tapster? let's withdraw.
POMPEY
102  Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to
103  prison; and there's Madam Juliet.
Exeunt

Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers

CLAUDIO
104  Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
105  Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Provost
106  I do it not in evil disposition,
107  But from Lord Angelo by special charge.
CLAUDIO
108  Thus can the demigod Authority
109  Make us pay down for our offence by weight
110  The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will;
111  On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen

LUCIO
112  Why, how now, Claudio! whence comes this restraint?
CLAUDIO
113  From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
114  As surfeit is the father of much fast,
115  So every scope by the immoderate use
116  Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
117  Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
118  A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
LUCIO
119  If could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would
120  send for certain of my creditors: and yet, to say
121  the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom
122  as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy
123  offence, Claudio?
CLAUDIO
124  What but to speak of would offend again.
LUCIO
125  What, is't murder?
CLAUDIO
126  No.
LUCIO
127  Lechery?
CLAUDIO
128  Call it so.
Provost
129  Away, sir! you must go.
CLAUDIO
130  One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.
LUCIO
131  A hundred, if they'll do you any good.
132  Is lechery so look'd after?
CLAUDIO
133  Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract
134  I got possession of Julietta's bed:
135  You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
136  Save that we do the denunciation lack
137  Of outward order: this we came not to,
138  Only for propagation of a dower
139  Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
140  From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
141  Till time had made them for us. But it chances
142  The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
143  With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
LUCIO
144  With child, perhaps?
CLAUDIO
145  Unhappily, even so.
146  And the new deputy now for the duke--
147  Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
148  Or whether that the body public be
149  A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
150  Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
151  He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
152  Whether the tyranny be in his place,
153  Or in his emmence that fills it up,
154  I stagger in:--but this new governor
155  Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
156  Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall
157  So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
158  And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
159  Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
160  Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.
LUCIO
161  I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on
162  thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,
163  may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to
164  him.
CLAUDIO
165  I have done so, but he's not to be found.
166  I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
167  This day my sister should the cloister enter
168  And there receive her approbation:
169  Acquaint her with the danger of my state:
170  Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
171  To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:
172  I have great hope in that; for in her youth
173  There is a prone and speechless dialect,
174  Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
175  When she will play with reason and discourse,
176  And well she can persuade.
LUCIO
177  I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the
178  like, which else would stand under grievous
179  imposition, as for the enjoying of thy life, who I
180  would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a
181  game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
CLAUDIO
182  I thank you, good friend Lucio.
LUCIO
183  Within two hours.
CLAUDIO
184  Come, officer, away!
Exeunt

< (Previous) ACT I, SCENE IACT I, SCENE III (Next) >
Scene Index
ACT I
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT II
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV


  • ACT III
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II


  • ACT IV
  • SCENE I
  • SCENE II
  • SCENE III
  • SCENE IV
  • SCENE V
  • SCENE VI


  • ACT V
  • SCENE I

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