Act III - Act III, Scene 2

Scene II. The Street before the Prison.

[Enter DUKE, as a Friar; to him, ELBOW, CLOWN and Officers.]

Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will needs buy
and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the world
drink brown and white bastard.

O heavens! what stuff is here?

'Twas never merry world since, of two usuries, the merriest was
put down, and the worser allowed by order of law a furred gown
to keep him warm; and furred with fox on lamb-skins too, to
signify that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the

Come your way, sir.--Bless you, good father friar.

And you, good brother father. What offence hath this man made
you, sir?

Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir, we take him to be
a thief too, sir; for we have found upon him, sir, a strange
picklock, which we have sent to the deputy.

Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd;
The evil that thou causest to be done,
That is thy means to live. Do thou but think
What 'tis to cram a maw or clothe a back
From such a filthy vice: say to thyself--
From their abominable and beastly touches
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.
Canst thou believe thy living is a life,
So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, sir, I would

Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,
Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer;
Correction and instruction must both work
Ere this rude beast will profit.

He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him warning:
The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if he be a whoremaster,
and comes before him, he were as good go a mile on his errand.

That we were all, as some would seem to be,
Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free!

His neck will come to your waist, a cord, sir.

I spy comfort; I cry bail! Here's a gentleman, and a friend of

[Enter LUCIO.]

How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of Caesar! Art thou
led in triumph? What, is there none of Pygmalion's images, newly
made woman, to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket
and extracting it clutched? What reply, ha? What say'st thou to
this tune, matter, and method? Is't not drowned i' the last rain,
ha? What say'st thou to't? Is the world as it was, man? Which
is the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The trick of it?

Still thus, and thus! still worse!

How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she still, ha?

Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she is herself in
the tub.

Why, 'tis good: it is the right of it: it must be so: ever your
fresh whore and your powdered bawd--an unshunned consequence:;
it must be so. Art going to prison, Pompey?

Yes, faith, sir.

Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell; go, say I sent thee
thither. For debt, Pompey? or how?

For being a bawd, for being a bawd.

Well, then, imprison him: if imprisonment be the due of a bawd,
why, 'tis his right: bawd is he doubtless, and of antiquity,
too: bawd-born. Farewell, good Pompey. Commend me to the prison,
Pompey. You will turn good husband now, Pompey; you will keep
the house.

I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.

No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is not the wear. I will pray,
Pompey, to increase your bondage: if you take it not patiently,
why, your mettle is the more. Adieu, trusty Pompey.--Bless you,

And you.

Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?

Come your ways, sir; come.

You will not bail me then, sir?

Then, Pompey, nor now.--What news abroad, friar? what news?

Come your ways, sir; come.

Go,--to kennel, Pompey, go:

[Exeunt ELBOW, CLOWN, and Officers.]

What news, friar, of the duke?

I know none. Can you tell me of any?

Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other some, he is in
Rome: but where is he, think you?

I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well.

It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from the state and
usurp the beggary he was never born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well
in his absence; he puts transgression to't.

He does well in't.

A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in him:
something too crabbed that way, friar.

It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.

Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred; it is well
allied: but it is impossible to extirp it quite, friar, till
eating and drinking be put down. They say this Angelo was not
made by man and woman after this downright way of creation:
is it true, think you?

How should he be made, then?

Some report a sea-maid spawned him; some, that he was begot
between two stock-fishes.--But it is certain that when he makes
water, his urine is congealed ice; that I know to be true. And
he is a motion ungenerative; that's infallible.

You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.

Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the rebellion of a
codpiece to take away the life of a man! Would the duke that is
absent have done this? Ere he would have hanged a man for the
getting a hundred bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a
thousand. He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the service,
and that instructed him to mercy.

I never heard the absent duke much detected for women; he was not
inclined that way.

O, sir, you are deceived.

'Tis not possible.

Who, not the duke? yes, your beggar of fifty;--and his use was to
put a ducat in her clack-dish: the duke had crotchets in him.
He would be drunk too: that let me inform you.

You do him wrong, surely.

Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the duke: and I
believe I know the cause of his withdrawing.

What, I pr'ythee, might be the cause?

No,--pardon;--'tis a secret must be locked within the teeth and
the lips: but this I can let you understand,--the greater file of
the subject held the duke to be wise.

Wise? why, no question but he was.

A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking; the very stream
of his life, and the business he hath helmed, must, upon a
warranted need, give him a better proclamation. Let him be but
testimonied in his own bringings forth, and he shall appear to
the envious a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier. Therefore you
speak unskilfully; or, if your knowledge be more, it is much
darkened in your malice.

Sir, I know him, and I love him.

Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with dearer love.

Come, sir, I know what I know.

I can hardly believe that, since you know not what you speak.
But, if ever the duke return,--as our prayers are he may,--
let me desire you to make your answer before him. If it be
honest you have spoke, you have courage to maintain it: I am
bound to call upon you; and, I pray you, your name?

Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke.

He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report you.

I fear you not.

O, you hope the duke will return no more; or you imagine me too
unhurtful an opposite. But, indeed, I can do you little harm:
you'll forswear this again.

I'll be hanged first! thou art deceived in me, friar. But no
more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio die to-morrow or no?

Why should he die, sir?

Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. I would the duke we
talk of were returned again: this ungenitured agent will
unpeople the province with continency; sparrows must not build
in his house-eaves because they are lecherous. The duke yet
would have dark deeds darkly answered; he would never bring them
to light: would he were returned! Marry, this Claudio is
condemned for untrussing. Farewell, good friar; I pr'ythee pray
for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would eat mutton on
Fridays. He's not past it; yet, and, I say to thee, he would
mouth with a beggar though she smelt brown bread and garlic.
Say that I said so.--Farewell.


No might nor greatness in mortality
Can censure 'scape; back-wounding calumny
The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong
Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?
But who comes here?

[Enter ESCALUS, PROVOST, BAWD, and Officers.]

Go, away with her to prison.

Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted a merciful
man; good my lord.

Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in the same kind?
This would make mercy swear and play the tyrant.

A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please your honour.

My lord, this is one Lucio's information against me: Mistress
Kate Keepdown was with child by him in the duke's time; he
promised her marriage: his child is a year and a quarter old
come Philip and Jacob; I have kept it myself; and see how he
goes about to abuse me.

That fellow is a fellow of much license:--let him be called
before us.--Away with her to prison. Go to; no more words.

[Exeunt BAWD and Officers.]

Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered, Claudio must die
to-morrow: let him be furnished with divines, and have all
charitable preparation: if my brother wrought by my pity it
should not be so with him.

So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for
the entertainment of death.

Good even, good father.

Bliss and goodness on you!

Of whence are you?

Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the see
In special business from his holiness.

What news abroad i' the world?

None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the
dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request; and
as it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course as it is
virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth
enough alive to make societies secure; but security enough to
make fellowships accurst: much upon this riddle runs the wisdom
of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every day's news.
I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

One that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know

What pleasure was he given to?

Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at anything
which professed to make him rejoice: a gentleman of all temperance.
But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove
prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio
prepared. I am made to understand that you have lent him

He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge,
but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of
justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his
frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good
leisure, have discredited to him, and now he is resolved to die.

You have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner the
very debt of your calling. I have laboured for the poor gentleman
to the extremest shore of my modesty; but my brother justice have
I found so severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is indeed

If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall
become him well: wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced

I am going to visit the prisoner.
Fare you well.

Peace be with you!


He who the sword of heaven will bear
Should be as holy as severe;
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less to others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame to him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
How may likeness, made in crimes,
Make a practice on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most pond'rous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply;
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despis'd;
So disguise shall, by the disguis'd,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting.