Measure for Measure

First folio
Modern text


Key line

Enter Angelo.Enter Angelo MM II.iv.1
When I would pray, & think, I thinke, and prayWhen I would pray and think, I think and pray MM II.iv.1
To seuerall subiects: heauen hath my empty words,To several subjects: heaven hath my empty words,several (adj.)

old form: seuerall
separate, different, distinct
MM II.iv.2
Whilst my Inuention, hearing not my Tongue,Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,invention (n.)

old form: Inuention
mind, thought, imagination
MM II.iv.3
Anchors on Isabell: heauen in my mouth,Anchors on Isabel: God in my mouth,anchor (v.)
concentrate, fix attention, home in
MM II.iv.4
As if I did but onely chew his name,As if I did but only chew His name,chew (v.)
keep repeating, mumble over
MM II.iv.5
And in my heart the strong and swelling euillAnd in my heart the strong and swelling evil MM II.iv.6
Of my conception: the state whereon I studiedOf my conception. The state, whereon I studied,study (v.)
deliberate, meditate, reflect [on]
MM II.iv.7
conception (n.)
design, plan, notion
Is like a good thing, being often readIs like a good thing, being often read, MM II.iv.8
Growne feard, and tedious: yea, my GrauitieGrown seared and tedious; yea, my gravity,seared (adj.)
withered, wilting, declining
MM II.iv.9
gravity (n.)

old form: Grauitie
respectability, authority, dignified position
Wherein (let no man heare me) I take pride,Wherein, let no man hear me, I take pride, MM II.iv.10
Could I, with boote, change for an idle plumeCould I, with boot, change for an idle plumeboot (n.)

old form: boote
good, advantage, profit
MM II.iv.11
Which the ayre beats for vaine: oh place, oh forme,Which the air beats for vain. O place, O form,place (n.)
position, post, office, rank
MM II.iv.12
form (n.)

old form: forme
position, rank, status
vain, for

old form: vaine
in vain, to no purpose
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habitHow often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,habit (n.)
covering, guise, adorning
MM II.iv.13
case (n.)
outer covering, surface appearance
Wrench awe from fooles, and tye the wiser soulesWrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls MM II.iv.14
To thy false seeming? Blood, thou art blood,To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood;seeming (n.)
deceptive appearance, two-faced behaviour, pretence
MM II.iv.15
false (adj.)
sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
blood (n.)
passion, feeling, strong emotion [especially sexual]
Let's write good Angell on the Deuills horneLet's write ‘ good Angel ’ on the devil's horn, MM II.iv.16
'Tis not the Deuills Crest: how now? who's there?'Tis not the devil's crest – How now? Who's there?crest (n.)
heraldic device placed above the shield and helmet in a coat-of-arms
MM II.iv.17
Enter Seruant.Enter Servant MM II.iv.18
One Isabell, a Sister, desires accesse to you.One Isabel, a sister, desires access to you. MM II.iv.18
Teach her the way:Teach her the way.teach (v.)
show, point out to
MM II.iv.19.1
Exit Servant MM II.iv.19
oh, heauensO heavens, MM II.iv.19.2
Why doe's my bloud thus muster to my heart,Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,muster (v.)
assemble, gather together [at], rush
MM II.iv.20
Making both it vnable for it selfe,Making both it unable for itself, MM II.iv.21
And dispossessing all my other partsAnd dispossessing all my other parts MM II.iv.22
Of necessary fitnesse?Of necessary fitness? MM II.iv.23
So play the foolish throngs with one that swounds,So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons,swoon (v.)

old form: swounds
MM II.iv.24
Come all to help him, and so stop the ayreCome all to help him, and so stop the air MM II.iv.25
By which hee should reuiue: and euen soBy which he should revive; and even so MM II.iv.26
The generall subiect to a wel-wisht KingThe general, subject to a well-wished king,subject (n.)

old form: subiect
subjects, people [of a state]
MM II.iv.27
general (n.)

old form: generall
ordinary people, general public, populace
well-wished (adj.)

old form: wel-wisht
accompanied by good wishes, much loved
Quit their owne part, and in obsequious fondnesseQuit their own part, and in obsequious fondnessobsequious (adj.)
devoted, compliant, ready to please
MM II.iv.28
part (n.)
territory, region, province
fondness (n.)

old form: fondnesse
foolish affection, naive devotion
Crowd to his presence, where their vn-taught loueCrowd to his presence, where their untaught loveuntaught (adj.)

old form: vn-taught
natural, spontaneous
MM II.iv.29
Must needs appear offence:Must needs appear offence. MM II.iv.30.1
Enter Isabella.Enter Isabella MM II.iv.30
how now faire Maid.How now, fair maid? MM II.iv.30.2
I am come to know your pleasure.I am come to know your pleasure. MM II.iv.31
That you might know it, wold much better please me,That you might know it, would much better please me MM II.iv.32
Then to demand what 'tis: your Brother cannot liue.Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live. MM II.iv.33
Euen so: heauen keepe your Honor.Even so. Heaven keep your honour. MM II.iv.34
Yet may he liue a while: and it may beYet may he live a while; and it may be MM II.iv.35
As long as you, or I: yet he must die.As long as you or I, yet he must die. MM II.iv.36
Vnder your Sentence?Under your sentence? MM II.iv.37
Yea.Yea. MM II.iv.38
When, I beseech you: that in his ReprieueWhen, I beseech you? That in his reprieve, MM II.iv.39
(Longer, or shorter) he may be so fittedLonger or shorter, he may be so fitted MM II.iv.40
That his soule sicken not.That his soul sicken not. MM II.iv.41
Ha? fie, these filthy vices: It were as goodHa! fie, these filthy vices! It were as good MM II.iv.42
To pardon him, that hath from nature stolneTo pardon him that hath from nature stol'n MM II.iv.43
A man already made, as to remitA man already made as to remit MM II.iv.44
Their sawcie sweetnes, that do coyne heauens ImageTheir saucy sweetness that do coin God's imagesweetness (n.)

old form: sweetnes
delight, pleasure, charm
MM II.iv.45
saucy (adj.)

old form: sawcie
lecherous, lascivious, lustful
coin (v.)

old form: coyne
create, make [as in minting a coin]
In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easie,In stamps that are forbid: 'tis all as easystamp (n.)
coin, impression [of the monarch's head] made on a coin
MM II.iv.46
Falsely to take away a life true made,Falsely to take away a life true made MM II.iv.47
As to put mettle in restrained meanesAs to put metal in restrained meansmean (n.)

old form: meanes
(plural) manner, mode, method
MM II.iv.48
restrained (adj.)
forbidden, prohibited, banned
To make a false one.To make a false one.false (adj.)
sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
MM II.iv.49
'Tis set downe so in heauen, but not in earth.'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth. MM II.iv.50
Say you so: then I shall poze you quickly.Say you so? Then I shall pose you quickly.pose (v.)

old form: poze
baffle, confuse, confound
MM II.iv.51
Which had you rather, that the most iust LawWhich had you rather, that the most just law MM II.iv.52
Now tooke your brothers life, and to redeeme himNow took your brother's life, or to redeem him MM II.iv.53
Giue vp your body to such sweet vncleannesseGive up your body to such sweet uncleanness MM II.iv.54
As she that he hath staind?As she that he hath stained? MM II.iv.55.1
Sir, beleeue this.Sir, believe this, MM II.iv.55.2
I had rather giue my body, then my soule.I had rather give my body than my soul. MM II.iv.56
I talke not of your soule: our compel'd sinsI talk not of your soul. Our compelled sinscompelled (adj.)

old form: compel'd
constrained, forced, of necessity
MM II.iv.57
Stand more for number, then for accompt.Stand more for number than accompt.account, accompt (n.)

old form: accompt
reckoning, judgement [especially by God]
MM II.iv.58.1
How say you?How say you? MM II.iv.58.2
Nay Ile not warrant that: for I can speakeNay, I'll not warrant that, for I can speakwarrant (v.)
authorize, sanction, license
MM II.iv.59
warrant (v.)
justify, defend, stand up for
Against the thing I say: Answere to this,Against the thing I say. Answer to this: MM II.iv.60
I (now the voyce of the recorded Law)I, now the voice of the recorded law, MM II.iv.61
Pronounce a sentence on your Brothers life,Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life; MM II.iv.62
Might there not be a charitie in sinne,Might there not be a charity in sin MM II.iv.63
To saue this Brothers life?To save this brother's life? MM II.iv.64.1
Please you to doo't,Please you to do't, MM II.iv.64.2
Ile take it as a perill to my soule,I'll take it as a peril to my soul; MM II.iv.65
It is no sinne at all, but charitie.It is no sin at all, but charity. MM II.iv.66
Pleas'd you to doo't, at perill of your soulePleased you to do't, at peril of your soul, MM II.iv.67
Were equall poize of sinne, and charitie.Were equal poise of sin and charity.poise (n.)

old form: poize
balance of weight, equipoise
MM II.iv.68
That I do beg his life, if it be sinneThat I do beg his life, if it be sin, MM II.iv.69
Heauen let me beare it: you granting of my suit,Heaven let me bear it; you granting of my suit,suit (n.)
formal request, entreaty, petition
MM II.iv.70
If that be sin, Ile make it my Morne-praier,If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayermorn (n.)

old form: Morne
morning, dawn
MM II.iv.71
To haue it added to the faults of mine,To have it added to the faults of mine MM II.iv.72
And nothing of your answere.And nothing of your answer.answer (n.)

old form: answere
accountability, responsibility, liability, penalty
MM II.iv.73.1
Nay, but heare me,Nay, but hear me; MM II.iv.73.2
Your sence pursues not mine: either you are ignorant,Your sense pursues not mine. Either you are ignorant, MM II.iv.74
Or seeme so crafty; and that's not good.Or seem so craftily; and that's not good. MM II.iv.75
Let be ignorant, and in nothing good,Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good MM II.iv.76
But graciously to know I am no better.But graciously to know I am no better.graciously (adv.)
through divine grace, in all holiness
MM II.iv.77
Thus wisdome wishes to appeare most bright,Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright MM II.iv.78
When it doth taxe it selfe: As these blacke MasquesWhen it doth tax itself, as these black maskstax (v.)

old form: taxe
censure, blame, take to task, disparage
MM II.iv.79
Proclaime an en-shield beauty ten times louderProclaim an enshield beauty ten times louderenshield (adj.)

old form: en-shield
shielded, defended
MM II.iv.80
Then beauty could displaied: But marke me,Than beauty could, displayed. But mark me;mark (v.)

old form: marke
note, pay attention [to], take notice [of]
MM II.iv.81
To be receiued plaine, Ile speake more grosse:To be received plain, I'll speak more gross:receive (v.)

old form: receiued
understand, take in, comprehend
MM II.iv.82
gross (adv.)

old form: grosse
plainly, obviously, explicitly
Your Brother is to dye.Your brother is to die. MM II.iv.83
So.So. MM II.iv.84
And his offence is so, as it appeares,And his offence is so, as it appears, MM II.iv.85
Accountant to the Law, vpon that paine.Accountant to the law upon that (adj.)
accountable, responsible, answerable
MM II.iv.86
True.True. MM II.iv.87
Admit no other way to saue his lifeAdmit no other way to save his life –  MM II.iv.88
(As I subscribe not that, nor any other,As I subscribe not that, nor any other,subscribe (v.)
concur, consent, give assent
MM II.iv.89
But in the losse of question) that you, his Sister,But in the loss of question – that you, his sister,question (n.)
argument, contention, dispute
MM II.iv.90
Finding your selfe desir'd of such a person,Finding yourself desired of such a person MM II.iv.91
Whose creadit with the Iudge, or owne great place,Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,place (n.)
position, post, office, rank
MM II.iv.92
Could fetch your Brother from the ManaclesCould fetch your brother from the manaclesfetch (v.)
rescue, save, deliver
MM II.iv.93
Of the all-building-Law: and that there wereOf the all-binding law; and that there were MM II.iv.94
No earthly meane to saue him, but that eitherNo earthly mean to save him, but that eithermean (n.)

old form: meane
means, way, method
MM II.iv.95
You must lay downe the treasures of your body,You must lay down the treasures of your body MM II.iv.96
To this supposed, or else to let him suffer:To this supposed, or else to let him suffer, MM II.iv.97
What would you doe?What would you do? MM II.iv.98
As much for my poore Brother, as my selfe;As much for my poor brother as myself: MM II.iv.99
That is: were I vnder the tearmes of death,That is, were I under the terms of death,term (n.)

old form: tearmes
state, condition, circumstance
MM II.iv.100
Th' impression of keene whips, I'ld weare as Rubies,Th' impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies, MM II.iv.101
And strip my selfe to death, as to a bed,And strip myself to death as to a bed MM II.iv.102
That longing haue bin sicke for, ere I'ld yeeldThat long I have been sick for, ere I'd yieldsick (adj.)

old form: sicke
longing, pining, avid
MM II.iv.103
My body vp to shame.My body up to shame. MM II.iv.104.1
Then must your brother die.Then must your brother die. MM II.iv.104.2
And 'twer the cheaper way:And 'twere the cheaper way. MM II.iv.105
Better it were a brother dide at once,Better it were a brother died at once MM II.iv.106
Then that a sister, by redeeming himThan that a sister, by redeeming him, MM II.iv.107
Should die for euer.Should die for ever. MM II.iv.108
Were not you then as cruell as the Sentence,Were not you then as cruel as the sentence MM II.iv.109
That you haue slander'd so?That you have slandered so? MM II.iv.110
Ignomie in ransome, and free pardonIgnomy in ransom and free pardonignomy (n.)

old form: Ignomie
ignominy, dishonour, shame
MM II.iv.111
Are of two houses: lawfull mercie,Are of two houses: lawful mercy ishouse (n.)
ancestry, lineage, family
MM II.iv.112
Is nothing kin to fowle redemption.Nothing kin to foul redemption. MM II.iv.113
You seem'd of late to make the Law a tirant,You seemed of late to make the law a tyrant,late, of
recently, a little while ago
MM II.iv.114
And rather prou'd the sliding of your brotherAnd rather proved the sliding of your brothersliding (n.)
sinfulness, lapse, moral fall
MM II.iv.115
A merriment, then a vice.A merriment than a vice. MM II.iv.116
Oh pardon me my Lord, it oft fals outO pardon me, my lord; it oft falls outoft (adv.)
MM II.iv.117
To haue, what we would haue, / We speake not what vve meane;To have what we would have, we speak not what we mean. MM II.iv.118
I something do excuse the thing I hate,I something do excuse the thing I hatesomething (adv.)
somewhat, rather
MM II.iv.119
For his aduantage that I dearely loue.For his advantage that I dearly love. MM II.iv.120
We are all fraile.We are all frail. MM II.iv.121.1
Else let my brother die,Else let my brother die, MM II.iv.121.2
If not a fedarie but onely heIf not a fedary, but only hefedary, federary, feodary (n.)

old form: fedarie
confederate, accomplice, accessory
MM II.iv.122
Owe, and succeed thy weaknesse.Owe and succeed thy weakness.owe (v.)
own, possess, have
MM II.iv.123
succeed (v.)
inherit, come into possession of, be heir to
Nay, women are fraile too.Nay, women are frail too. MM II.iv.124
I, as the glasses where they view themselues,Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves,glass (n.)
mirror, looking-glass
MM II.iv.125
Which are as easie broke as they make formes:Which are as easy broke as they make forms.form (n.)

old form: formes
image, likeness, shape
MM II.iv.126
Women? Helpe heauen; men their creation marreWomen, help heaven! Men their creation mar MM II.iv.127
In profiting by them: Nay, call vs ten times fraile,In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail, MM II.iv.128
For we are soft, as our complexions are,For we are soft as our complexions are, MM II.iv.129
And credulous to false prints.And credulous to false prints.print (n.)
imprint, image, stamped impression
MM II.iv.130.1
false (adj.)
sham, spurious, not genuine, artificial
credulous (adj.)
highly receptive, readily accepting [of]
I thinke it well:I think it well. MM II.iv.130.2
And from this testimonie of your owne sexAnd from this testimony of your own sex –  MM II.iv.131
(Since I suppose we are made to be no strongerSince I suppose we are made to be no stronger MM II.iv.132
Then faults may shake our frames) let me be bold;Than faults may shake our frames – let me be bold. MM II.iv.133
I do arrest your words. Be that you are,I do arrest your words. Be that you are,arrest (v.)
seize, take hold of, lay hold upon
MM II.iv.134
That is a woman; if you be more, you'r none.That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none. MM II.iv.135
If you be one (as you are well exprestIf you be one, as you are well expressedexpress (v.)

old form: exprest
show, reveal, display
MM II.iv.136
By all externall warrants) shew it now,By all external warrants, show it now,warrant (n.)
token, sign, evidence, proof
MM II.iv.137
By putting on the destin'd Liuerie.By putting on the destined livery.livery (n.)

old form: Liuerie
uniform, costume, special clothing
MM II.iv.138
I haue no tongue but one; gentle my Lord,I have no tongue but one. Gentle my lord, MM II.iv.139
Let me entreate you speake the former language.Let me entreat you speak the former language. MM II.iv.140
Plainlie conceiue I loue you.Plainly conceive, I love you.conceive (v.)

old form: conceiue
understand, comprehend, follow
MM II.iv.141
My brother did loue Iuliet,My brother did love Juliet, MM II.iv.142
And you tell me that he shall die for't.And you tell me that he shall die for't. MM II.iv.143
He shall not Isabell if you giue me loue.He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love. MM II.iv.144
I know your vertue hath a licence in't,I know your virtue hath a licence in't,licence (n.)
authority to act, freedom of action
MM II.iv.145
Which seemes a little fouler then it is,Which seems a little fouler than it is, MM II.iv.146
To plucke on others.To pluck on others.pluck on (v.)

old form: plucke
test, make trial of
MM II.iv.147.1
Beleeue me on mine Honor,Believe me, on mine honour, MM II.iv.147.2
My words expresse my purpose.My words express my purpose.purpose (n.)
intention, aim, plan
MM II.iv.148
Ha? Little honor, to be much beleeu'd,Ha! Little honour to be much believed, MM II.iv.149
And most pernitious purpose: Seeming, seeming.And most pernicious purpose. Seeming, seeming!seeming (n.)
deceptive appearance, two-faced behaviour, pretence
MM II.iv.150
I will proclaime thee Angelo, looke for't.I will proclaim thee, Angelo, look for't!proclaim (v.)

old form: proclaime
denounce, make one's wickedness known
MM II.iv.151
Signe me a present pardon for my brother,Sign me a present pardon for my brother, MM II.iv.152
Or with an out-stretcht throate Ile tell the world aloudOr with an outstretched throat I'll tell the worldoutstretched (adj.)

old form: out-stretcht
opened wide, fully distended
MM II.iv.153
What man thou art.What man thou art. MM II.iv.154.1
Who will beleeue thee Isabell?Who will believe thee, Isabel? MM II.iv.154.2
My vnsoild name, th' austeerenesse of my life,My unsoiled name, th' austereness of my life, MM II.iv.155
My vouch against you, and my place i'th State,My vouch against you, and my place i'th' state,place (n.)
position, post, office, rank
MM II.iv.156
vouch (n.)
formal statement, attestation, express declaration
Will so your accusation ouer-weigh,Will so your accusation overweighoverweigh (v.)

old form: ouer-weigh
outweigh, exceed, prevail over
MM II.iv.157
That you shall stifle in your owne reporr,That you shall stifle in your own report MM II.iv.158
And smell of calumnie. I haue begun,And smell of calumny. I have begun, MM II.iv.159
And now I giue my sensuall race, the reine,And now I give my sensual race the rein.race (n.)
inherited nature, natural disposition
MM II.iv.160
Fit thy consent to my sharpe appetite,Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite,sharp (adj.)

old form: sharpe
ardent, keen, fervent
MM II.iv.161
Lay by all nicetie, and prolixious blushesLay by all nicety and prolixious blushes,nicety (n.)

old form: nicetie
coyness, shyness, reserve
MM II.iv.162
prolixious (adj.)
time-wasting, tedious, protracted
That banish what they sue for: Redeeme thy brother,That banish what they sue for. Redeem thy brother MM II.iv.163
By yeelding vp thy bodie to my will,By yielding up thy body to my will,will (n.)
lust, sexual desire, passion
MM II.iv.164
Or else he must not onelie die the death,Or else he must not only die the death, MM II.iv.165
But thy vnkindnesse shall his death draw outBut thy unkindness shall his death draw outunkindness (n.)

old form: vnkindnesse
unnatural behaviour, abnormal conduct
MM II.iv.166
To lingring sufferance: Answer me to morrow,To lingering sufferance. Answer me tomorrow,sufferance (n.)
distress, suffering, hardship
MM II.iv.167
Or by the affection that now guides me most,Or, by the affection that now guides me most,affection (n.)
desire, passion, lustful feeling
MM II.iv.168
Ile proue a Tirant to him. As for you,I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you, MM II.iv.169
Say what you can; my false, ore-weighs your true. Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.overweigh (v.)

old form: ore-weighs
outweigh, exceed, prevail over
MM II.iv.170
ExitExit MM II.iv.170
To whom should I complaine? Did I tell this,To whom should I complain? Did I tell this, MM II.iv.171
Who would beleeue me? O perilous mouthesWho would believe me? O perilous mouths, MM II.iv.172
That beare in them, one and the selfesame tongue,That bear in them one and the selfsame tongue, MM II.iv.173
Either of condemnation, or approofe,Either of condemnation or approof,approof (n.)

old form: approofe
approval, approbation, sanction
MM II.iv.174
Bidding the Law make curtsie to their will,Bidding the law make curtsy to their will, MM II.iv.175
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite, MM II.iv.176
To follow as it drawes. Ile to my brother,To follow as it draws. I'll to my brother. MM II.iv.177
Though he hath falne by prompture of the blood,Though he hath fall'n by prompture of the blood,prompture (n.)
prompting, instigation, urging
MM II.iv.178
Yet hath he in him such a minde of Honor,Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour MM II.iv.179
That had he twentie heads to tender downeThat, had he twenty heads to tender downtender down (v.)

old form: tender downe
offer, proffer, present
MM II.iv.180
On twentie bloodie blockes, hee'ld yeeld them vp,On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up, MM II.iv.181
Before his sister should her bodie stoopeBefore his sister should her body stoopstoop (v.)

old form: stoope
kneel, submit, bow down
MM II.iv.182
To such abhord pollution.To such abhorred pollution. MM II.iv.183
Then Isabell liue chaste, and brother die;Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die. MM II.iv.184
"More then our Brother, is our Chastitie.More than our brother is our chastity. MM II.iv.185
Ile tell him yet of Angelo's request,I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request, MM II.iv.186
And fit his minde to death, for his soules rest.And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. MM II.iv.187
Exit.Exit MM II.iv.187
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