Act IV - Act IV, Scene 3

SCENE III. Another Room in the same.

[Enter CLOWN.]

I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of profession:
one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own house, for here
be many of her old customers. First, here's young Master Rash;
he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, nine score
and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks ready money:
marry, then ginger was not much in request, for the old women
were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit
of Master Threepile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-
coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here
young Dizy, and young Master Deepvow, and Master Copperspur, and
Master Starvelackey, the rapier and dagger man, and young
Dropheir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight the
tilter, and brave Master Shoetie the great traveller, and wild
Halfcan that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great
doers in our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'


Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

Master Barnardine! You must rise and be hanged, Master

What ho, Barnardine!

[Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there? What
are you?

Your friend, sir; the hangman. You must be so good, sir, to rise
and be put to death.

[Within.] Away, you rogue, away; I am sleepy.

Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep

Go in to him, and fetch him out.

He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.


Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

Very ready, sir.

How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for,
look you, the warrant's come.

You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not fitted for't.

O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night and is hanged
betimes in the morning may sleep the sounder all the next day.

[Enter DUKE.]

Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father. Do we jest now,
think you?

Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to
depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.

Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and I will
have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains
with billets: I will not consent to die this day, that's certain.

O, Sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you,
Look forward on the journey you shall go.

I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

But hear you,--

Not a word; if you have anything to say to me, come to my ward;
for thence will not I to-day.


Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart!--
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

[Exeunt ABHORSON and CLOWN.]

[Enter PROVOST.]

Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.

Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

O, 'tis an accident that Heaven provides!
Despatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?

Let this be done;--
Put them in secret holds; both Barnardine and Claudio.
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.

I am your free dependant.

Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.


Now will I write letters to Angelo,--
The provost, he shall bear them,--whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly: him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount,
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form.
We shall proceed with Angelo.

[Re-enter PROVOST.]

Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

Convenient is it. Make a swift return;
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.

I'll make all speed.


[Within.] Peace, ho, be here!

The tongue of Isabel.--She's come to know
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair
When it is least expected.


Ho, by your leave!

Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
His head is off and sent to Angelo.

Nay, but it is not so.

It is no other:
Show your wisdom, daughter, in your close patience.

O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

You shall not be admitted to his sight.

Unhappy Claudio! Wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! Most damned Angelo!

This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot:
Forbear it, therefore; give your cause to Heaven.
Mark what I say; which you shall find
By every syllable a faithful verity:
The duke comes home to-morrow;--nay, dry your eyes;
One of our convent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance. Already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,
And general honour.

I am directed by you.

This letter, then, to Friar Peter give;
'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return.
Say, by this token, I desire his company
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours
I'll perfect him withal; and he shall bring you
Before the duke; and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow,
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter:
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course.--Who's here?

[Enter LUCIO.]

Good even. Friar, where is the provost?

Not within, sir.

O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes so
red; thou must be patient: I am fain to dine and sup with water
and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal
would set me to't. But they say the duke will be here to-morrow.
By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother. If the old fantastical
duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived.


Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports; but
the best is, he lives not in them.

Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do: he's a better
woodman than thou takest him for.

Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.

Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee; I can tell thee pretty tales
of the duke.

You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be true:
if not true, none were enough.

I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

Did you such a thing?

Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it: they would else
have married me to the rotten medlar.

Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.

By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end. If bawdy talk
offend you, we'll have very little of it. Nay, friar, I am a kind
of burr; I shall stick.