Measure for Measure


Text
Act I
Act II
Act III
Act IV
Act V
Enter Provost, and a Servant
straight (adv.) straightaway, immediately, at once See Topics: Frequency count


SERVANT

He's hearing of a cause; he will come straight;

I'll tell him of you.


PROVOST

                         Pray you, do.

Exit Servant

                                                         I'll know

His pleasure; maybe he'll relent. Alas,

He hath but as offended in a dream.

All sects, all ages smack of this vice, and he
sect (n.) 2 class, kind, sort

To die for it!

Enter Angelo


ANGELO

                         Now, what's the matter, provost?


PROVOST

Is it your will Claudio shall die tomorrow?


ANGELO

Did not I tell thee, yea? Hadst thou not order?

Why dost thou ask again?


PROVOST

                         Lest I might be too rash.

Under your good correction, I have seen

When, after execution, judgement hath

Repented o'er his doom.
doom (n.) 1 judgement, sentence, decision


ANGELO

                         Go to; let that be mine.

Do you your office, or give up your place,
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

And you shall well be spared.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


PROVOST

                         I crave your honour's pardon.

What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet?
groaning (adj.) crying out in labour

She's very near her hour.


ANGELO

                         Dispose of her

To some more fitter place, and that with speed.

Enter Servant


SERVANT

Here is the sister of the man condemned

Desires access to you.


ANGELO

                         Hath he a sister?


PROVOST

Ay, my good lord, a very virtuous maid,

And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

If not already.


ANGELO

                         Well, let her be admitted.

Exit Servant

See you the fornicatress be removed;
fornicatress (n.) woman guilty of fornication

Let have needful, but not lavish, means.
mean (n.) 4 (plural) resources, wherewithal, wealth

There shall be order for't.

Enter Lucio and Isabella


PROVOST

                         God save your honour.


ANGELO

Stay a little while. (To Isabella) Y'are welcome. What's your will?


ISABELLA

I am a woeful suitor to your honour,

Please but your honour hear me.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count


ANGELO

                         Well, what's your suit?


ISABELLA

There is a vice that most I do abhor,

And most desire should meet the blow of justice,

For which I would not plead, but that I must,

For which I must not plead, but that I am

At war 'twixt will and will not.


ANGELO

                         Well: the matter?


ISABELLA

I have a brother is condemned to die.

I do beseech you, let it be his fault,

And not my brother.


PROVOST

(aside)

                         Heaven give thee moving graces.


ANGELO

Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it?

Why, every fault's condemned ere it be done.

Mine were the very cipher of a function,
cipher (n.) figure nought, nonentity, mere nothing

To fine the faults whose fine stands in record,
fine (n.) 3 punishment, penalty, retribution
fine (v.) 3 punish, impose a penalty [on]

And let go by the actor.
actor (n.) doer, performer


ISABELLA

                         O just, but severe law!

I had a brother then; heaven keep your honour.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

Give't not o'er so. To him again, entreat him,

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;

You are too cold. If you should need a pin,

You could not with more tame a tongue desire it.

To him, I say.


ISABELLA

Must he needs die?


ANGELO

                         Maiden, no remedy.


ISABELLA

Yes, I do think that you might pardon him,

And neither heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.


ANGELO

I will not do't.


ISABELLA

                         But can you if you would?


ANGELO

Look what I will not, that I cannot do.


ISABELLA

But might you do't, and do the world no wrong,

If so your heart were touched with that remorse
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness

As mine is to him?


ANGELO

He's sentenced; 'tis too late.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

                         You are too cold.


ISABELLA

Too late? Why, no. I that do speak a word

May call it back again. Well, believe this,

No ceremony that to great ones longs,
ceremony (n.) 2 symbol of state, external sign of pomp
long (v.) 1 belong, pertain, relate

Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
deputed (adj.) acting as a symbol of office

The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
truncheon (n.) 1 military baton, staff of office

Become them with one half so good a grace
become (v.) 2 grace, honour, dignify See Topics: Frequency count

As mercy does.

If he had been as you, and you as he,

You would have slipped like him; but he, like you,
slip (v.) 3 err, sin, transgress

Would not have been so stern.


ANGELO

                         Pray you, be gone.


ISABELLA

I would to heaven I had your potency,
potency (n.) power, authority, command

And you were Isabel; should it then be thus?

No, I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,

And what a prisoner.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)
touch (v.) 3 affect, move, stir
vein (n.) 3 right line, proper course to follow

                         Ay, touch him; there's the vein.


ANGELO

Your brother is a forfeit of the law,

And you but waste your words.


ISABELLA

                         Alas, alas;

Why, all the souls that were were forfeit once,

And He that might the vantage best have took
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit

Found out the remedy. How would you be,

If He, which is the top of judgement, should
top (n.) 1 summit, peak, epitome, perfect example

But judge you as you are? O think on that,

And mercy then will breathe within your lips,

Like man new made.
content (adj.) 2 contented, patient, accepting, undisturbed


ANGELO

                         Be you content, fair maid,

It is the law, not I, condemns your brother;

Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him. He must die tomorrow.


ISABELLA

Tomorrow? O, that's sudden; spare him, spare him.

He's not prepared for death. Even for our kitchens

We kill the fowl of season. Shall we serve heaven
season, of in season, at the appropriate time

With less respect than we do minister
respect (n.) 2 attention, heed, deliberation

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you:
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count
gross (adj.) 10 earthly, lowly

Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

                         Ay, well said.


ANGELO

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept.

Those many had not dared to do that evil

If that the first that did th' edict infringe

Had answered for his deed. Now 'tis awake,

Takes note of what is done, and like a prophet

Looks in a glass that shows what future evils,
glass (n.) 2 magic mirror, crystal ball

Either now, or by remissness new, conceived,
remissness (n.) negligence, laxity, carelessness

And so in progress to be hatched and born,

Are now to have no successive degrees,

But, ere they live, to end.


ISABELLA

                         Yet show some pity.


ANGELO

I show it most of all when I show justice,

For then I pity those I do not know,

Which a dismissed offence would after gall,
gall (v.) 1 vex, annoy, irritate

And do him right that, answering one foul wrong,

Lives not to act another. Be satisfied

Your brother dies tomorrow. Be content.
content (adj.) 2 contented, patient, accepting, undisturbed


ISABELLA

So you must be the first that gives this sentence,
suffer (v.) 6 perish, be destroyed, collapse

And he, that suffers. O, 'tis excellent

To have a giant's strength, but it is tyrannous

To use it like a giant.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

                         That's well said.


ISABELLA

Could great men thunder

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,

For every pelting, petty officer
pelting (adj.) paltry, petty, worthless, insignificant

Would use his heaven for thunder,

Nothing but thunder. Merciful heaven,

Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt
bolt (n.) 3 thunderbolt

Splits the unwedgeable and gnarled oak
unwedgeable (adj.) unsplittable, incapable of being cleft

Than the soft myrtle; but man, proud man,

Dressed in a little brief authority,

Most ignorant of what he's most assured,

His glassy essence, like an angry ape
glassy (adj.) 2 [unclear meaning] frail as glass, brittle; or: mirroring, reflecting [divinity]

Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven

As makes the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
spleen (n.) 1 temper, spirit, passion [part of the body seen as the source of both gloomy and mirthful emotions]

Would all themselves laugh mortal.
mortal (adv.) fatally, lethally, destructively


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)
wench (n.) girl, lass See Topics: Frequency count

O, to him, to him, wench; he will relent.

He's coming, I perceive't.


PROVOST (aside)

(aside)

                         Pray heaven she win him.


ISABELLA

We cannot weigh our brother with ourself.
weigh (v.) 3 judge, rate, assess the value of

Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in them,
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

But in the less, foul profanation.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

Thou'rt i'th' right, girl, more o' that.


ISABELLA

That in the captain's but a choleric word
choleric (adj.) 2 irritable, angry, enraged

Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)
advise, avise (v.) 3 inform, be aware, apprise

Art avised o' that? More on't.


ANGELO

Why do you put these sayings upon me?
put (v.) 2 force, press, thrust


ISABELLA

Because authority, though it err like others,

Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself

That skins the vice o'th' top. Go to your bosom,
skin (v.) cover up, cover with skin

Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know

That's like my brother's fault; if it confess

A natural guiltiness such as is his,

Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue

Against my brother's life.


ANGELO

(aside)

                         She speaks, and 'tis

Such sense that my sense breeds with it. Fare you well.
sense (n.) 6 common sense, natural feeling, reasonableness
sense (n.) 3 feeling, sensibility, capacity to feel


ISABELLA

Gentle my lord, turn back.
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


ANGELO

I will bethink me. Come again tomorrow.
bethink (v.), past form bethought 1 call to mind, think about, consider, reflect See Topics: Frequency count


ISABELLA

Hark how I'll bribe you. Good my lord, turn back.


ANGELO

How? Bribe me?


ISABELLA

Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

You had marred all else.


ISABELLA

Not with fond sicles of the tested gold,
fond (adj.) 2 foolish, trifling, frivolous

Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor
stone (n.) 2 precious stone, gem

As fancy values them; but with true prayers
fancy (n.) 7 whim, inclination, caprice

That shall be up at heaven and enter there

Ere sunrise: prayers from preserved souls,
preserved (adj.) kept safe from evil, protected

From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
dedicate (adj.) dedicated, devoted, committed

To nothing temporal.
temporal (adj.) secular, civil, worldly


ANGELO

                         Well, come to me tomorrow.


LUCIO

(aside to Isabella)

Go to, 'tis well; away.


ISABELLA

Heaven keep your honour safe.


ANGELO

(aside)

                         Amen.

For I am that way going to temptation,

Where prayers cross.
cross (v.) 3 afflict, plague, go against


ISABELLA

                         At what hour tomorrow

Shall I attend your lordship?
attend (v.) 2 serve, follow, wait [on/upon]
forenoon (n.) part of the day before noon


ANGELO

                         At any time 'forenoon.


ISABELLA

God save your honour.

Exeunt Isabella, Lucio, and Provost


ANGELO

                         From thee: even from thy virtue.

What's this? What's this? Is this her fault or mine?

The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most?

Ha?

Not she, nor doth she tempt; but it is I

That, lying by the violet in the sun,

Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
carrion (n.) 1 carcass, wretch, worthless beast

Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
season (n.) 4 time of year, weather conditions
virtuous (adj.) 3 capable of producing great growth, beneficial

That modesty may more betray our sense
sense (n.) 1 senses, sensation, organs of sense

Than woman's lightness? Having waste ground enough,
lightness (n.) 2 lewdness, wantonness, licentiousness

Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
raze, raze out erase, obliterate, wipe out

And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
evil (n.) 3 [unclear meaning] hovel; privy; brothel

What dost thou? Or what art thou, Angelo?

Dost thou desire her foully for those things

That make her good? O, let her brother live:

Thieves for their robbery have authority

When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,

That I desire to hear her speak again,

And feast upon her eyes? What is't I dream on?

O cunning enemy that, to catch a saint,

With saints dost bait thy hook. Most dangerous

Is that temptation that doth goad us on

To sin in loving virtue. Never could the strumpet
strumpet (n.) harlot, prostitute, whore

With all her double vigour, art and nature,
vigour (n.) power, efficacy, effect

Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
temper (n.) 3 self-control, self-restraint, moderation

Subdues me quite. Ever till now,

When men were fond, I smiled and wondered how.
fond (adj.) 4 infatuated, doting, passionate

Exit

 
  Previous scene     Next scene
--%>