Measure for Measure

Act I
Act II
Act IV
Act V
Enter Duke, Varrius, Lords, Angelo, Escalus, Lucio,

Provost, Officers, and Citizens at several doors


My very worthy cousin, fairly met.
several (adj.) 1 separate, different, distinct See Topics: Frequency count

Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.


Happy return be to your royal grace.


Many and hearty thankings to you both.
thanking (n.) word of thanks, expression of gratitude

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.
bond (n.) 2 duty, commitment, obligation
forerun (v.) forecast, foreshadow, be the precursor of
requital (n.) recompense, reward, repayment


                         You make my bonds still greater.


O, your desert speaks loud, and I should wrong it
desert, desart (n.) 1 deserving, due recompense, right

To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
bosom (n.) 1 heart, inner person
covert (adj.) 1 secret, hidden, concealed
ward (n.) 3 cell [in a prison]

When it deserves with characters of brass
character (n.) 4 letter, letter-shape, graphic symbol

A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time
forted (adj.) fortified, reinforced, strengthened

And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand,
razure (n.) erasure, effacement, obliteration

And let the subject see, to make them know
subject (n.) 1 subjects, people [of a state]

That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus,
keep (v.) 1 lodge, live, dwell

You must walk by us on our other hand,

And good supporters are you.

Enter Friar Peter and Isabella


Now is your time. Speak loud and kneel before him.


Justice, O royal Duke! Vail your regard
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count
regard (n.) 4 look, glance, gaze
vail (v.) 3 lower, direct downwards

Upon a wronged – 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!


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 believed,

Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear me, hear.


My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm.
wits, also five wits faculties of the mind (common wit, imagination, fantasy, estimation, memory) or body (the five senses)

She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,

Cut off by course of justice –
course (n.) 1 course of action, way of proceeding See Topics: Frequency count
cut off (v.) 3 put to death, bring to an untimely end


                         By course of justice!


And she will speak most bitterly and strange.


Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak.

That Angelo's forsworn, is it not strange?
forswear (v), past forms forsworn, forswore 1 swear falsely, perjure [oneself], break one's word See Topics: Frequency count

That Angelo's a murderer, is't not strange?

That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
thief (n.) villain, scoundrel, rogue, wretch

An hypocrite, a virgin-violator,

Is it not strange, and strange?


                         Nay, it is ten times strange.


It is not truer he is Angelo

Than this is all as true as it is strange.

Nay, it is ten times true, for truth is truth

To th' end of reck'ning.


                         Away with her. Poor soul,

She speaks this in th' infirmity of sense.


O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st
conjure (v.) 1 ask solemnly, entreat earnestly, beseech

There is another comfort than this world,

That thou neglect me not with that opinion

That I am touched with madness. Make not impossible
touch (v.) 9 stain, taint, infect

That which but seems unlike. 'Tis not impossible
unlike (adj.) 1 unlikely, incredible, unbelievable

But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
caitiff (n.) [sympathetic or contemptuous] miserable wretch, wretched creature

May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
absolute (adj.) 1 perfect, complete, incomparable
shy (adj.) wary, cautious, reserved

As Angelo. Even so may Angelo,

In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
charact, caract (n.) insignia, badge, distinctive emblem
dressing (n.) 1 official robes, finery
form (n.) 6 formal procedure, due process, formality

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,
frame (n.) 1 framework, structure, construction
sense (n.) 6 common sense, natural feeling, reasonableness

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
inequality (n.) [unclear meaning] difference of rank, social disparity; injustice, partiality

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?


I am the sister of one Claudio,

Condemned upon the act of fornication

To lose his head, condemned by Angelo.

I, in probation of a sisterhood,
probation (n.) 3 candidature for membership, process of becoming a novice

Was sent to by my brother. One Lucio

As then the messenger –


                         That's I, an't like your grace.
like (v.) 1 please, suit See Topics: Politeness

I came to her from Claudio, and desired her

To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo

For her poor brother's pardon.


                         That's he indeed.


You were not bid to speak.


                         No, my good lord,

Nor wished to hold my peace.


                         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.
perfect (adj.) 7 completely prepared, fully made ready
warrant (v.) 1 assure, promise, guarantee, confirm See Topics: Frequency count


                         I warrant your honour.


The warrant's for yourself: take heed to't.


This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.




It may be right, but you are i'the wrong

To speak before your time. Proceed.


                         I went

To this pernicious caitiff deputy –
caitiff (adj.) wretched, miserable, worthless


That's somewhat madly spoken.


                         Pardon it,

The phrase is to the matter.
matter, to the relevant, pertinent, apposite


Mended again. The matter. Proceed.
matter (n.) 4 affair(s), business, real issue
mend (v.) 1 amend, improve, make better, put right


In brief, to set the needless process by,

How I persuaded, how I prayed, and kneeled,

How he refelled me, and how I replied –
refel (v.) refuse, deny, reject

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 concup'scible intemperate lust,
concupiscible (adj.) hotly desiring, sensual, voluptuous
intemperate (adj.) excessive, immoderate, inordinate

Release my brother, and after much debatement
debatement (n.) consideration, deliberation, discussion

My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,
confute (v.) 1 overcome, confound, bring to nought
remorse (n.) 2 pity, compassion, tenderness

And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes,
betimes (adv.) 1 early in the morning, at an early hour
morn (n.) morning, dawn See Topics: Frequency count

His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count
surfeit (v.) 1 feed to excess, overindulge, glut

For my poor brother's head.


                         This is most likely!


O, that it were as like as it is true.
like (adv.) 1 likely, probable / probably See Topics: Frequency count


By heaven, fond wretch, thou know'st not what thou speak'st,
fond (adj.) 1 foolish, stupid, mad

Or else thou art suborned against his honour
suborn (v.) bribe, corrupt, persuade [someone] to commit perjury

In hateful practice. First, his integrity
practice (n.) 2 trickery, treachery

Stands without blemish. Next, it imports no reason
import (v.) 1 signify, mean, suggest

That with such vehemency he should pursue
pursue (v.) 2 persecute, castigate, hound
vehemency (n.) vehemence, forcefulness, fervour

Faults proper to himself. If he had so offended,
proper (adj.) 5 special, particular, specific

He would have weighed thy brother by himself,

And not have cut him off. Someone hath set you on.
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

Confess the truth, and say by whose advice

Thou cam'st here to complain.


                         And is this all?

Then, O you blessed ministers above,
minister (n.) messenger, agent, servant

Keep me in patience, and with ripened time

Unfold the evil which is here wrapped up

In countenance. Heaven shield your grace from woe,
countenance (n.) 6 favour, patronage, approval

As I thus wronged hence unbelieved go.


I know you'd fain be gone. An officer!
fain (adv.) gladly, willingly See Topics: Frequency count

To prison with her. Shall we thus permit

A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
blasting (adj.) 2 defaming, maligning, discrediting

On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.
practice (n.) 1 scheme, plot, stratagem, intrigue

Who knew of your intent and coming hither?
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count


One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.


A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count


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 swinged him soundly.
swinge (v.) beat, thrash, flog


Words against me? This' a good friar, belike,
belike (adv.) probably, presumably, perhaps, so it seems See Topics: Frequency count

And to set on this wretched woman here
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

Against our substitute! Let this friar be found.
substitute (n.) subordinate, deputy, underling


But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
yesternight (n.) last night

I saw them at the prison. A saucy friar,
saucy (adj.) 1 insolent, impudent, presumptuous, defiant

A very scurvy fellow.
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched


Blessed be your royal grace,

I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard

Your royal ear abused. First hath this woman

Most wrongfully accused your substitute,
substitute (n.) subordinate, deputy, underling

Who is as free from touch or soil with her

As she from one ungot.
ungot (adj.) unbegotten, unborn


                         We did believe no less.

Know you that Friar Lodowick that she speaks of?


I know him for a man divine and holy,

Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler,
scurvy (adj.) 1 contemptible, despicable, wretched
temporary (adj.) in temporal affairs, of this world's doings

As he's reported by this gentleman,

And, on my trust, a man that never yet

Did – as he vouches – misreport your grace.
misreport (v.) speak badly of, slander


My lord, most villainously, believe it.


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,
mere (adj.) 2 sole, personal, particular

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,
full (adv.) 2 very, exceedingly, extremely
probation (n.) 1 proof, demonstration

Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman,
convent (v.) 2 summon, call to appear, send for

To justify this worthy nobleman,
justify (v.) 3 excuse, exonerate, clear

So vulgarly and personally accused,
vulgarly (adv.) publicly, openly, in front of the world

Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,

Till she herself confess it.


                         Good friar, let's hear it.

Isabella is led off, guarded

Enter Mariana

Do you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?

O heaven, the vanity of wretched fools!

Give us some seats. Come, cousin Angelo,

In this I'll be impartial. Be you judge

Of your own cause. Is this the witness, friar?

First, let her show her face, and after speak.


Pardon, my lord, I will not show my face

Until my husband bid me.


What, are you married?


No, my lord.


Are you a maid?


No, my lord.


A widow, then?


Neither, my lord.


Why, you are nothing then. Neither maid, widow,

nor wife?


My lord, she may be a punk. For many of them are
punk (n.) harlot, strumpet, whore

neither maid, widow, nor wife.


Silence that fellow. I would he had some cause

To prattle for himself.


Well, my lord.


My lord, I do confess I ne'er was married,

And I confess besides I am no maid;

I have known my husband, yet my husband
know (v.) 7 have sexual knowledge of, have intercourse with

Knows not that ever he knew me.


He was drunk, then, my lord. It can be no better.


For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so too.


Well, my lord.


This is no witness for Lord Angelo.


Now I come to't, my lord:

She that accuses him of fornication

In selfsame manner doth accuse my husband;

And charges him, my lord, with such a time

When, I'll depose, I had him in mine arms,
depose (v.) 2 testify, bear witness

With all th' effect of love.


Charges she more than me?


                         Not that I know.


No? You say your husband?


Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,
just (adv.) 2 quite so, correct

Who thinks he knows that he ne'er knew my body,

But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel's.


This is a strange abuse. Let's see thy face.
abuse (n.) 1 deception, hoax, fraud


My husband bids me. Now I will unmask.

She unveils

This is that face, thou cruel Angelo,

Which once thou swor'st was worth the looking on.

This is the hand which, with a vowed contract,

Was fast belocked in thine. This is the body
belock (v.) lock up, hold tight, intertwine
fast (adv.) 2 tightly, firmly, securely

That took away the match from Isabel,
match (n.) 2 appointment, assignation, rendezvous

And did supply thee at thy garden-house
garden-house (n.) small building in a garden [often used for lovers' assignations]
supply (v.) 5 satisfy, fulfil, gratify [sexually]

In her imagined person.


                         Know you this woman?


Carnally, she says.


                         Sirrah, no more!


Enough, my lord.


My lord, I must confess I know this woman,

And five years since there was some speech of marriage

Betwixt myself and her, which was broke off,

Partly for that her promised proportions
proportion (n.) 9 marriage portion, dowry

Came short of composition, but in chief
chief, in chiefly, principally
composition (n.) 5 agreed settlement, expected arrangement

For that her reputation was disvalued
disvalued (adj.) discredited, disparaged, degraded

In levity; since which time of five years
levity (n.) licentiousness, wantonness, immorality

I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,

Upon my faith and honour.


                         Noble prince,

As there comes light from heaven and words from breath,

As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,

I am affianced this man's wife as strongly
affiance (v.) betroth, engage, promise solemnly

As words could make up vows, and, my good lord,

But Tuesday night last gone in's garden-house

He knew me as a wife. As this is true,

Let me in safety raise me from my knees

Or else for ever be confixed here
confix (v.) fix firmly, fasten, bind

A marble monument.


                         I did but smile till now.

Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice.
scope (n.) 3 opportunity, liberty, free course of action

My patience here is touched. I do perceive
touch (v.) 8 wound, hurt, injure

These poor informal women are no more
informal (adj.) demented, mentally disturbed

But instruments of some more mightier member

That sets them on. Let me have way, my lord,
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite
way (n.) 7 opportunity, scope

To find this practice out.
practice (n.) 1 scheme, plot, stratagem, intrigue


                         Ay, with my heart,

And punish them to your height of pleasure.

Thou foolish friar, and thou pernicious woman,

Compact with her that's gone, think'st thou thy oaths,
compact (adj.) 1 allied, in league, in collusion

Though they would swear down each particular saint,

Were testimonies against his worth and credit

That's sealed in approbation? You, Lord Escalus,
approbation (n.) 2 proof, confirmation, attestation

Sit with my cousin, lend him your kind pains

To find out this abuse, whence 'tis derived.
abuse (n.) 1 deception, hoax, fraud

There is another friar that set them on;
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

Let him be sent for.


Would he were here, my lord, for he indeed

Hath set the women on to this complaint.
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

Your provost knows the place where he abides
provost (n.) officer in charge of the arrest, custody, and punishment of prisoners

And he may fetch him.


                         Go do it instantly;

Exit Provost

And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,
well-warranted (adj.) highly approved, most justified

Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,

Do with your injuries as seems you best,
injury (n.) 2 insult, affront, slight

In any chastisement. I for a while
chastisement (n.) punishment, retribution, correction

Will leave, but stir not you till you have well

Determined upon these slanderers.
determine (v.) 1 make a decision [about], reach a conclusion [about]


My lord, we'll do it throughly.
throughly (adv.) thoroughly, fully, completely

Exit Duke

Signor Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar

Lodowick to be a dishonest person?
dishonest (adj.) 2 dishonourable, discreditable, shameful


Cucullus non facit monachum. Honest in nothing
cucullus... the hood does not make the monk See Topics: Latin

but in his clothes, and one that hath spoke most

villainous speeches of the Duke.


We shall entreat you to abide here till he come

and enforce them against him. We shall find this friar a
enforce (v.) 1 emphasize, urge, lay stress upon

notable fellow.
fellow (n.) 8 worthless individual, good-for-nothing
notable (adj.) 1 noted, notorious, conspicuous, infamous


As any in Vienna, on my word.


Call that same Isabel here once again. I would

speak with her.

Exit an Attendant

Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question. You shall

see how I'll handle her.


Not better than he, by her own report.


Say you?


Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately,

she would sooner confess. Perchance publicly she'll be
perchance (adv.) 1 perhaps, maybe See Topics: Frequency count


Enter Duke, as a friar, Provost, Isabella, and



I will go darkly to work with her.
darkly (adv.) 1 cunningly, subtly, secretly


That's the way, for women are light at midnight.
light (adj.) 1 promiscuous, licentious, immoral, wanton


Come on, mistress, here's a gentlewoman
gentlewoman (n.) woman of good breeding, well-born lady See Topics: Address forms

denies all that you have said.


My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of – here

with the provost.


In very good time. Speak not you to him, till we
time, in good 1 at the right moment

call upon you.


mum (adj.) silent, mute, saying nothing


Come, sir, did you set these women on to
set on (v.) 1 encourage, urge, incite

slander Lord Angelo? They have confessed you did.


'Tis false.
false (adj.) 4 wrong, mistaken


How? Know you where you are?


Respect to your great place, and let the devil
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Be sometime honoured for his burning throne.
sometime (adv.) 2 sometimes, now and then

Where is the Duke? 'Tis he should hear me speak.


The Duke's in us, and we will hear you speak.

Look you speak justly.


Boldly at least. But O, poor souls,

Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?

Good night to your redress. Is the Duke gone?

Then is your cause gone too. The Duke's unjust,

Thus to retort your manifest appeal
manifest (adj.) clear, evident, obvious
retort (v.) 3 reject, refuse, deny

And put your trial in the villain's mouth

Which here you come to accuse.


This is the rascal. This is he I spoke of.


Why, thou unreverend and unhallowed friar,
unreverend (adj.) irreverent, impertinent, impudent

Is't not enough thou hast suborned these women
suborn (v.) bribe, corrupt, persuade [someone] to commit perjury

To accuse this worthy man but, in foul mouth,

And in the witness of his proper ear,
proper (adj.) 2 very, own

To call him villain? And then to glance from him
glance (v.) 3 turn, move, pass

To th' Duke himself, to tax him with injustice?

Take him hence. To th' rack with him. We'll touse you
touse (v.) tear, rip, rend

Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

What? Unjust?
hot (adj.) 2 enthusiastic, ardent, eager, keen


                         Be not so hot. The Duke

Dare no more stretch this finger of mine than he

Dare rack his own. His subject am I not,
rack (v.) 6 stretch on the rack

Nor here provincial. My business in this state
provincial (adj.) subject to local church jurisdiction

Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,

Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble

Till it o'errun the stew. Laws for all faults,
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime
stew (n.) 2 cauldron, saucepan

But faults so countenanced that the strong statutes
statute (n.) 1 law, decree, regulation

Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
forfeit (n.) 2 [unclear meaning] list of penalties for bad behaviour

As much in mock as mark.
mark (n.) 4 notable sight, object of serious attention


Slander to th' state. Away with him to prison.


What can you vouch against him, Signor Lucio?

Is this the man that you did tell us of?


'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, goodman baldpate.

Do you know me?


I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice. I

met you at the prison in the absence of the Duke.


O, did you so? And do you remember what you

said of the Duke?


Most notedly, sir.
notedly (adv.) particularly, especially, definitely


Do you so, sir? And was the Duke a fleshmonger, a
fleshmonger (n.) fornicator, pander, pimp

fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?


You must, sir, change persons with me, ere you

make that my report. You, indeed, spoke so of him, and

much more, much worse.


O thou damnable fellow, did not I pluck thee by

the nose for thy speeches?


I protest I love the Duke as I love myself.


Hark how the villain would close now, after his
close (v.) 1 agree, come to terms, compromise

treasonable abuses.


Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away

with him to prison. Where is the provost? Away with

him to prison. Lay bolts enough upon him. Let him
bolt (n.) 2 fetter, shackle, iron fastening

speak no more. Away with those giglots too, and with
giglot (n.) harlot, strumpet, wanton

the other confederate companion.

The Provost lays hands on the Duke


Stay, sir, stay awhile.


What, resists he? Help him, Lucio.


Come, sir, come, sir, come, sir! Foh, sir! Why, you

bald-pated, lying rascal, you must be hooded, must you?

Show your knave's visage, with a pox to you. Show
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count
visage (n.) 1 face, countenance See Topics: Frequency count

your sheep-biting face, and be hanged an hour. Will't
sheep-biting (adj.) thieving, sneaking, shifty

not off?

He pulls off the friar's hood, and discovers the Duke
discover (v.) 1 reveal, show, make known See Topics: Frequency count
knave (n.) 1 scoundrel, rascal, rogue See Topics: Frequency count


Thou art the first knave that e'er mad'st a duke.

First, provost, let me bail these gentle three –
gentle (adj.) 2 courteous, friendly, kind

(to Lucio) Sneak not away, sir, for the friar and you

Must have a word anon. Lay hold on him.
anon (adv.) 1 soon, shortly, presently See Topics: Frequency count


This may prove worse than hanging.


(to Escalus)

What you have spoke I pardon. Sit you down.

We'll borrow place of him. (To Angelo) Sir, by your leave.

Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence
wit (n.) 1 intelligence, wisdom, good sense, mental ability See Topics: Frequency count

That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
office (n.) 5 service, sympathy, kindness

Rely upon it till my tale be heard,

And hold no longer out.
dread (adj.) 2 frightening, terrifying, fearful


                         O my dread lord,

I should be guiltier than my guiltiness

To think I can be undiscernible,
undiscernible (adj.) indiscernible, undiscoverable

When I perceive your grace, like power divine,

Hath looked upon my passes. Then, good prince,
pass (n.) 8 [unclear meaning] trespass; course of action; trickery

No longer session hold upon my shame,
session, sessions (n.) judicial assembly, trial, court

But let my trial be mine own confession.

Immediate sentence, then, and sequent death
sequent (adj.) 1 following, ensuing, consequent

Is all the grace I beg.


                         Come hither, Mariana.

Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?


I was, my lord.


Go take her hence, and marry her instantly.

Do you the office, friar, which consummate,
consummate (v.) accomplish, complete, bring to a conclusion
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Return him here again. Go with him, provost.

Exit Angelo, with Mariana, Friar Peter, and Provost


My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour
amaze (v.) 3 appal, overwhelm, terrify

Than at the strangeness of it.


                         Come hither, Isabel.

Your friar is now your prince. As I was then

Advertising and holy to your business,
advertising (adj.) attending, attentive, mindful

Not changing heart with habit, I am still
habit (n.) 1 dress, clothing, costume See Topics: Frequency count
still (adv.) 2 ever, now [as before]

Attorneyed at your service.
attorneyed (adj.) bound, acting as advocate


                         O, give me pardon,

That I, your vassal, have employed and pained

Your unknown sovereignty.


                         You are pardoned, Isabel.

And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
free (adj.) 1 liberal, lavish, generous

Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart,

And you may marvel why I obscured myself,

Labouring to save his life, and would not rather

Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
rash (adj.) 1 sudden, quickly acting, operating immediately
remonstrance (n.) revelation, display, manifestation

Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,

It was the swift celerity of his death,
celerity (n.) alacrity, rapidity, swiftness

Which I did think with slower foot came on,

That brained my purpose; but peace be with him.
brain (v.) 2 murder, dash the brains out of
purpose (n.) 1 intention, aim, plan See Topics: Frequency count

That life is better life past fearing death

Than that which lives to fear. Make it your comfort,

So happy is your brother.

Enter Angelo, Mariana, Friar Peter, Provost


                         I do, my lord.


For this new-married man approaching here,

Whose salt imagination yet hath wronged
salt (adj.) 5 lascivious, lustful, lecherous

Your well-defended honour, you must pardon

For Mariana's sake, but as he adjudged your brother,
adjudge (v.) 1 sentence, condemn

Being criminal, in double violation

Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach,

Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,

The very mercy of the law cries out

Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
proper (adj.) 2 very, own

‘ An Angelo for Claudio, death for death!’

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Like doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.
quit (v.) 6 avenge, requite, take vengeance [on]

Then, Angelo, thy faults thus manifested,

Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee vantage,
vantage (n.) 3 advantage, benefit, advancement, profit

We do condemn thee to the very block

Where Claudio stooped to death, and with like haste.
like (adj.) 1 same, similar, alike, equal See Topics: Frequency count

Away with him.


                         O, my most gracious lord,

I hope you will not mock me with a husband.


It is your husband mocked you with a husband.

Consenting to the safeguard of your honour
safeguard (n.) safeguarding, defence, protection

I thought your marriage fit; else imputation,

For that he knew you, might reproach your life

And choke your good to come. For his possessions,

Although by confiscation they are ours,

We do instate and widow you with all,
instate, enstate (v.) endow, invest, bestow

To buy you a better husband.


                         O my dear lord,

I crave no other, nor no better man.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count


Never crave him. We are definitive.
definitive (adj.) decided, final, determined


Gentle my liege! –
gentle (adj.) 1 well-born, honourable, noble See Topics: Frequency count


                         You do but lose your labour.

Away with him to death. (To Lucio) Now, sir, to you.


O my good lord! Sweet Isabel, take my part,

Lend me your knees, and, all my life to come,

I'll lend you all my life to do you service.


Against all sense you do importune her.
importune (v.) 2 beg [for], ask persistently [for]
sense (n.) 6 common sense, natural feeling, reasonableness

Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
fact (n.) evil deed, wicked act, crime

Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
paved (adj.) with a paved base, pebbled

And take her hence in horror.



Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me.

Hold up your hands, say nothing, I'll speak all.

They say best men are moulded out of faults,

And, for the most, become much more the better

For being a little bad. So may my husband.

O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?


He dies for Claudio's death.


bounteous (adj.) open-hearted, full of warm feeling

                         Most bounteous sir,

Look, if it please you, on this man condemned

As if my brother lived. I partly think

A due sincerity governed his deeds,

Till he did look on me. Since it is so,

Let him not die. My brother had but justice,

In that he did the thing for which he died.

For Angelo,

His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count

And must be buried but as an intent

That perished by the way. Thoughts are no subjects,
subject (n.) 4 [unclear meaning] entity with a real-world existence

Intents but merely thoughts.
intent (n.) intention, purpose, aim See Topics: Frequency count
merely (adv.) 1 completely, totally, entirely See Topics: Frequency count
merely (adv.) 3 only, nothing more than


                         Merely, my lord.


Your suit's unprofitable. Stand up, I say.
suit (n.) 1 formal request, entreaty, petition See Topics: Frequency count

I have bethought me of another fault.
fault (n.) 1 sin, offence, crime

Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded

At an unusual hour?


                         It was commanded so.


Had you a special warrant for the deed?


No, my good lord, it was by private message.


For which I do discharge you of your office;
office (n.) 1 task, service, duty, responsibility See Topics: Frequency count

Give up your keys.


                         Pardon me, noble lord,

I thought it was a fault, but knew it not,
fault (n.) 2 mistake, error, blunder

Yet did repent me after more advice,
advice (n.) 1 consideration, reflection, deliberation

For testimony whereof, one in the prison

That should by private order else have died

I have reserved alive.


                         What's he?


                                                         His name is Barnardine.


I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.

Go, fetch him hither. Let me look upon him.

Exit Provost


I am sorry one so learned and so wise

As you, Lord Angelo, have still appeared,
still (adv.) 1 constantly, always, continually See Topics: Frequency count

Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood
blood (n.) 1 passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
grossly (adv.) 4 stupidly, senselessly, foolishly
slip (v.) 3 err, sin, transgress

And lack of tempered judgement afterward.
afterward (adv.) afterwards
tempered (adj.) 1 temperate, controlled, brought to the right quality


I am sorry that such sorrow I procure,

And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart

That I crave death more willingly than mercy.
crave (v.) 1 beg, entreat, request See Topics: Frequency count

'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.
deserving (n.) 2 reward, recompense, desert

Enter Barnardine and Provost, Claudio blindfold,



Which is that Barnardine?


                         This, my lord.


There was a friar told me of this man.

Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul,
stubborn (adj.) 1 resistant, hostile, antagonistic

That apprehends no further than this world,

And squar'st thy life according. Thou'rt condemned,
according (adv.) accordingly
square (v.) 4 regulate, direct, adapt

But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all,
quit (v.) 2 remit, release from

And pray thee take this mercy to provide

For better times to come. Friar, advise him:

I leave him to your hand. What muffled fellow's that?
muffled (adj.) blindfolded, covered up


This is another prisoner that I saved,

Who should have died when Claudio lost his head,

As like almost to Claudio as himself.

He unmuffles Claudio


(to Isabella)

If he be like your brother, for his sake

Is he pardoned, and, for your lovely sake,

Give me your hand and say you will be mine.

He is my brother too. But fitter time for that.

By this Lord Angelo perceives he's safe;

Methinks I see a quickening in his eye.
methinks(t), methought(s) (v.) it seems /seemed to me See Topics: Frequency count
quickening (n.) fresh animation, reviving, return of life

Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well.
quit (v.) 5 pay back, repay, reward

Look that you love your wife, her worth worth yours.

I find an apt remission in myself,
apt (adj.) 1 fit, ready, prepared
remission (n.) 2 power to pardon, inclination to forgive

And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon.
place, in present, attending, at hand

(To Lucio) You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward,

One all of luxury, an ass, a madman,
luxury (n.) lust, lechery, lasciviousness

Wherein have I so deserved of you,

That you extol me thus?


'Faith, my lord. I spoke it but according to the

trick. If you will hang me for it, you may. But I had
trick (n.) 4 practice, custom, current fashion

rather it would please you I might be whipped.


Whipped first, sir, and hanged after.

Proclaim it, provost, round about the city,

Is any woman wronged by this lewd fellow –

As I have heard him swear himself there's one

Whom he begot with child – let her appear,

And he shall marry her. The nuptial finished,

Let him be whipped and hanged.


I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a

whore. Your highness said even now, I made you a

duke. Good my lord, do not recompense me in making

me a cuckold.
cuckold (n.) [mocking name] man with an unfaithful wife See Topics: Frequency count


Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.

Thy slanders I forgive, and therewithal

Remit thy other forfeits. Take him to prison,

And see our pleasure herein executed.


Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
punk (n.) harlot, strumpet, whore

whipping, and hanging.


Slandering a prince deserves it.

Exeunt Officers with Lucio

She, Claudio, that you wronged, look you restore.

Joy to you, Mariana. Love her, Angelo.

I have confessed her and I know her virtue.

Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness.

There's more behind that is more gratulate.
behind (adv.) 1 still to come, to follow
gratulate (adj.) gratifying, pleasing, to be rejoiced at

Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy.

We shall employ thee in a worthier place.
place (n.) 1 position, post, office, rank See Topics: Frequency count

Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home

The head of Ragozine for Claudio's.

Th' offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel,

I have a motion much imports your good,
motion (n.) 6 proposal, proposition, suggestion, offer

Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,

What's mine is yours and what is yours is mine.

So, bring us to our palace, where we'll show

What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.
behind (adv.) 1 still to come, to follow
meet (adj.) 1 fit, suitable, right, proper See Topics: Frequency count


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