Enter Duke, Varrius, Lords, Angelo, Escalus, Lucio,
Provost, Officers, and Citizens at several doors.
DUKE, to Angelo
My very worthy cousin, fairly met.
To Escalus. 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. 5
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.
ANGELO You make my bonds still greater. 10
O, your desert speaks loud, and I should wrong it
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom
When it deserves with characters of brass
A forted residence ’gainst the tooth of time
And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand 15
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favors that keep within.—Come, Escalus,
You must walk by us on our other hand.
And good supporters are you. 20
Enter Friar Peter and Isabella.
FRIAR PETER, to Isabella
Now is your time. Speak loud, and kneel before him.
Justice, O royal duke. Vail your regard
Upon a wronged—I would fain have said, a maid.
O worthy prince, dishonor not your eye
By throwing it on any other object 25
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. 30
ISABELLA 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, 35
My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm.
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother
Cut off by course of justice.
ISABELLA, standing By course of justice! 40
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?
That Angelo’s a murderer, is ’t not strange?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief, 45
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator,
Is it not strange, and strange?
DUKE Nay, it is ten times strange.
It is not truer he is Angelo
Than this is all as true as it is strange. 50
Nay, it is ten times true, for truth is truth
To th’ end of reck’ning.
DUKE Away with her. Poor soul,
She speaks this in th’ infirmity of sense.
O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest 55
There is another comfort than this world,
That thou neglect me not with that opinion
That I am touched with madness. Make not
That which but seems unlike. ’Tis not impossible 60
But one, the wicked’st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute
As Angelo. Even so may Angelo,
In all his dressings, caracts, titles, forms,
Be an archvillain. Believe it, royal prince, 65
If he be less, he’s nothing, but he’s more,
Had I more name for badness.
DUKE By mine honesty,
If she be mad—as I believe no other—
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense, 70
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e’er I heard in madness.
ISABELLA O gracious duke,
Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality, but let your reason serve 75
To make the truth appear where it seems hid,
And hide the false seems true.
DUKE Many that are not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you
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,
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio 85
As then the messenger—
LUCIO, to Duke That’s I, an ’t like your Grace.
I came to her from Claudio and desired her
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
For her poor brother’s pardon. 90
ISABELLA, to Duke That’s he indeed.
DUKE, to Lucio
You were not bid to speak.
LUCIO No, my good lord,
Nor wished to hold my peace.
DUKE I wish you now, then. 95
Pray you take note of it, and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heaven you then
LUCIO I warrant your Honor.
The warrant’s for yourself. Take heed to ’t. 100
This gentleman told somewhat of my tale.
It may be right, but you are i’ the wrong
To speak before your time.—Proceed.
ISABELLA I went 105
To this pernicious caitiff deputy—
That’s somewhat madly spoken.
ISABELLA Pardon it;
The phrase is to the matter.
Mended again. The matter; proceed. 110
ISABELLA In brief, to set the needless process by: How I persuaded, how I prayed and kneeled, How he refelled me, and how I replied— For this was of much length—the vile conclusion I now begin with grief and shame to utter. 115 He would not, but by gift of my chaste body To his concupiscible intemperate lust, Release my brother; and after much debatement, My sisterly remorse confutes mine honor, And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes, 120 His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant For my poor brother’s head.
DUKE This is most likely!
O, that it were as like as it is true!
By heaven, fond wretch, thou know’st not what 125
Or else thou art suborned against his honor
In hateful practice. First, his integrity
Stands without blemish; next, it imports no reason
That with such vehemency he should pursue 130
Faults proper to himself. If he had so offended,
He would have weighed thy brother by himself
And not have cut him off. Someone hath set you on.
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Thou cam’st here to complain. 135
ISABELLA And is this all?
Then, O you blessèd ministers above,
Keep me in patience, and with ripened time
Unfold the evil which is here wrapped up
In countenance. Heaven shield your Grace from 140
As I, thus wronged, hence unbelievèd go.
I know you’d fain be gone.—An officer!
An Officer comes forward.
To prison with her. Shall we thus permit
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall 145
On him so near us? This needs must be a practice.—
Who knew of your intent and coming hither?
One that I would were here, Friar Lodowick.
Officer exits with Isabella.
A ghostly father, belike. Who knows that Lodowick?
My lord, I know him. ’Tis a meddling friar. 150
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.
Words against me? This’ a good friar, belike.
And to set on this wretched woman here 155
Against our substitute! Let this friar be found.
But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
I saw them at the prison. A saucy friar,
A very scurvy fellow.
FRIAR PETER, to Duke Blessed be your royal Grace. 160
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Your royal ear abused. First hath this woman
Most wrongfully accused your substitute,
Who is as free from touch or soil with her
As she from one ungot. 165
DUKE 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,
As he’s reported by this gentleman; 170
And on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your Grace.
My lord, most villainously, believe it.
Well, he in time may come to clear himself;
But at this instant he is sick, my lord, 175
Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,
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 180
And all probation will make up full clear
Whensoever he’s convented. First, for this woman,
To justify this worthy nobleman,
So vulgarly and personally accused,
Her shall you hear disprovèd to her eyes 185
Till she herself confess it.
DUKE Good friar, let’s hear it.—
Do you not smile at this, Lord Angelo?
O heaven, the vanity of wretched fools!—
Give us some seats.—Come, cousin Angelo, 190
In this I’ll be impartial. Be you judge
Of your own cause. Duke and Angelo are seated.
Enter Mariana, veiled.
Is this the witness, friar?
First, let her show her face, and after speak.
Pardon, my lord, I will not show my face 195
Until my husband bid me.
DUKE What, are you married?
MARIANA No, my lord.
DUKE Are you a maid?
MARIANA No, my lord. 200
DUKE A widow, then?
MARIANA Neither, my lord.
DUKE Why you are nothing, then, neither maid, widow,
LUCIO My lord, she may be a punk, for many of them 205
are neither maid, widow, nor wife.
DUKE Silence that fellow. I would he had some cause
to prattle for himself.
LUCIO Well, my lord.
My lord, I do confess I ne’er was married, 210
And I confess besides I am no maid.
I have known my husband, yet my husband
Knows not that ever he knew me.
LUCIO He was drunk, then, my lord; it can be no better.
DUKE For the benefit of silence, would thou wert so 215
LUCIO Well, my lord.
This is no witness for Lord Angelo.
MARIANA Now I come to ’t, my lord.
She that accuses him of fornication 220
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
With all th’ effect of love.
ANGELO Charges she more than me? 225
MARIANA Not that I know.
DUKE No? You say your husband.
Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo,
Who thinks he knows that he ne’er knew my body,
But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel’s. 230
This is a strange abuse. Let’s see thy face.
My husband bids me. Now I will unmask.
She removes her veil.
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, 235
Was fast belocked in thine. This is the body
That took away the match from Isabel
And did supply thee at thy garden house
In her imagined person.
DUKE, to Angelo Know you this woman? 240
LUCIO Carnally, she says.
DUKE Sirrah, no more.
LUCIO Enough, my lord.
ANGELO My lord, I must confess I know this woman, And five years since there was some speech of 245 marriage Betwixt myself and her, which was broke off, Partly for that her promisèd proportions Came short of composition, but in chief For that her reputation was disvalued 250 In levity. Since which time of five years I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her, Upon my faith and honor.
MARIANA, kneeling, to Duke Noble prince,
As there comes light from heaven and words from 255
As there is sense in truth and truth in virtue,
I am affianced this man’s wife as strongly
As words could make up vows. And, my good lord,
But Tuesday night last gone in ’s garden house 260
He knew me as a wife. As this is true,
Let me in safety raise me from my knees,
Or else forever be confixèd here
A marble monument.
ANGELO I did but smile till now. 265
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice.
My patience here is touched. I do perceive
These poor informal women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member
That sets them on. Let me have way, my lord, 270
To find this practice out.
DUKE 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 275
Though they would swear down each particular
Were testimonies against his worth and credit
That’s sealed in approbation?—You, Lord Escalus, 280
Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
To find out this abuse, whence ’tis derived.
The Duke rises. Escalus is seated.
There is another friar that set them on.
Let him be sent for.
Would he were here, my lord, for he indeed 285
Hath set the women on to this complaint;
Your provost knows the place where he abides,
And he may fetch him.
DUKE, to Provost Go, do it instantly.
To Angelo. And you, my noble and well-warranted 290
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,
Do with your injuries as seems you best
In any chastisement. I for a while
Will leave you; but stir not you till you have 295
Well determined upon these slanderers.
ESCALUS My lord, we’ll do it throughly. Duke exits.
Signior Lucio, did not you say you knew that Friar
Lodowick to be a dishonest person?
LUCIO Cucullus non facit monachum, honest in nothing 300
but in his clothes, and one that hath spoke most
villainous speeches of the Duke.
ESCALUS We shall entreat you to abide here till he
come, and enforce them against him. We shall find
this friar a notable fellow. 305
LUCIO As any in Vienna, on my word.
ESCALUS Call that same Isabel here once again. I would
speak with her. An Attendant exits.
To Angelo. Pray you, my lord, give me leave to
question. You shall see how I’ll handle her. 310
LUCIO Not better than he, by her own report.
ESCALUS Say you?
LUCIO Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately,
she would sooner confess; perchance publicly she’ll
be ashamed. 315
ESCALUS I will go darkly to work with her.
LUCIO That’s the way, for women are light at midnight.
Enter Duke as a Friar, Provost, and Isabella,
ESCALUS, to Isabella Come on, mistress. Here’s a gentlewoman
denies all that you have said.
LUCIO My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of, here 320
with the Provost.
ESCALUS In very good time. Speak not you to him till
we call upon you.
ESCALUS, to disguised Duke Come, sir, did you set 325
these women on to slander Lord Angelo? They have
confessed you did.
DUKE, as Friar
ESCALUS How? Know you where you are?
DUKE, as Friar
Respect to your great place, and let the devil 330
Be sometime honored for his burning throne.
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.
DUKE, as Friar
Boldly, at least.—But, O, poor souls, 335
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,
And put your trial in the villain’s mouth 340
Which here you come to accuse.
This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.
ESCALUS, to disguised Duke
Why, thou unreverend and unhallowed friar,
Is ’t not enough thou hast suborned these women
To accuse this worthy man, but, in foul mouth 345
And in the witness of his proper ear,
To call him villain? And then to glance from him
To th’ Duke himself, to tax him with injustice?—
Take him hence. To th’ rack with him. We’ll touse
Joint by joint, but we will know his purpose.
DUKE, as Friar 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, 355
Nor here provincial. My business in this state
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,
But faults so countenanced that the strong statutes 360
Stand like the forfeits in a barber’s shop,
As much in mock as mark.
ESCALUS Slander to th’ state!
Away with him to prison.
ANGELO, to Lucio
What can you vouch against him, Signior Lucio? 365
Is this the man that you did tell us of?
LUCIO ’Tis he, my lord.—Come hither, Goodman Baldpate.
Do you know me?
DUKE, as Friar I remember you, sir, by the sound of
your voice. I met you at the prison in the absence of 370
LUCIO O, did you so? And do you remember what you
said of the Duke?
DUKE, as Friar Most notedly, sir.
LUCIO Do you so, sir? And was the Duke a fleshmonger, 375
a fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to
DUKE, as Friar You must, sir, change persons with me
ere you make that my report. You indeed spoke so
of him, and much more, much worse. 380
LUCIO O, thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by
the nose for thy speeches?
DUKE, as Friar I protest I love the Duke as I love
ANGELO Hark how the villain would close now, after 385
his treasonable abuses!
ESCALUS Such a fellow is not to be talked withal. Away
with him to prison. Where is the Provost? Provost
comes forward. Away with him to prison. Lay bolts
enough upon him. Let him speak no more. Away 390
with those giglets too, and with the other confederate
Provost seizes the disguised Duke.
DUKE, as Friar Stay, sir, stay awhile.
ANGELO What, resists he?—Help him, Lucio.
LUCIO, to the disguised Duke Come, sir, come, sir, 395
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 your sheep-biting face, and be hanged an hour! Will ’t not off? He pulls off the friar’s hood, and reveals the Duke.
Angelo and Escalus stand.
Thou art the first knave that e’er mad’st a duke.— 400
First, provost, let me bail these gentle three.
To Lucio. Sneak not away, sir, for the friar and
Must have a word anon.—Lay hold on him.
LUCIO This may prove worse than hanging. 405
DUKE, to Escalus
What you have spoke I pardon. Sit you down.
We’ll borrow place of him. To Angelo. Sir, by your
Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence
That yet can do thee office? If thou hast, 410
Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
And hold no longer out.
ANGELO O my dread lord, I should be guiltier than my guiltiness To think I can be undiscernible, 415 When I perceive your Grace, like power divine, Hath looked upon my passes. Then, good prince, No longer session hold upon my shame, But let my trial be mine own confession. Immediate sentence then and sequent death 420 Is all the grace I beg.
DUKE Come hither, Mariana.
Mariana stands and comes forward.
To Angelo. Say, wast thou e’er contracted to this
ANGELO I was, my lord. 425
Go take her hence and marry her instantly.
To Friar Peter. Do you the office, friar, which
Return him here again.—Go with him, provost.
Angelo, Mariana, Friar Peter, and Provost exit.
My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonor 430
Than at the strangeness of it.
DUKE Come hither, Isabel.
Your friar is now your prince. As I was then
Advertising and holy to your business,
Not changing heart with habit, I am still 435
Attorneyed at your service.
ISABELLA O, give me pardon
That I, your vassal, have employed and pained
Your unknown sovereignty.
DUKE You are pardoned, 440
And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
Your brother’s death, I know, sits at your heart,
And you may marvel why I obscured myself,
Laboring to save his life, and would not rather 445
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power
Than let him so be lost. O most kind maid,
It was the swift celerity of his death,
Which I did think with slower foot came on,
That brained my purpose. But peace be with him. 450
That life is better life past fearing death
Than that which lives to fear. Make it your comfort,
So happy is your brother.
ISABELLA I do, my lord.
Enter Angelo, Mariana, Friar Peter, and Provost.
For this new-married man approaching here, 455
Whose salt imagination yet hath wronged
Your well-defended honor, you must pardon
For Mariana’s sake. But as he adjudged your
Being criminal in double violation 460
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,
“An Angelo for Claudio, death for death.” 465
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Like doth quit like, and measure still for
Then, Angelo, thy fault’s thus manifested,
Which, though thou wouldst deny, denies thee 470
We do condemn thee to the very block
Where Claudio stooped to death, and with like
Away with him. 475
MARIANA 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 honor,
I thought your marriage fit. Else imputation, 480
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
To buy you a better husband. 485
MARIANA O my dear lord,
I crave no other nor no better man.
Never crave him. We are definitive.
Gentle my liege—
DUKE You do but lose your labor.— 490
Away with him to death. To Lucio. Now, sir, to
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. 495
Against all sense you do importune her.
Should she kneel down in mercy of this fact,
Her brother’s ghost his pavèd bed would break
And take her hence in horror.
MARIANA Isabel, 500 Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me, Hold up your hands, say nothing. I’ll speak all. They say best men are molded out of faults, And, for the most, become much more the better For being a little bad. So may my husband. 505 O Isabel, will you not lend a knee?
He dies for Claudio’s death.
ISABELLA [kneeling] Most bountious sir,
Look, if it please you, on this man condemned
As if my brother lived. I partly think 510
A due sincerity governed his deeds,
Till he look on me. Since it is so,
Let him not die. My brother had but justice,
In that he did nothing the thing for which he died.
His act did not o'ertake his bad intent,
And must be burned but as an intent
That perished by the way. Thoughts are no subjects,
Intents but merely thoughts.
MARIANA Merely, my lord. 520
Your suit’s unprofitable. Stand up, I say.
I have bethought me of another fault.—
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
At an unusual hour?
PROVOST It was commanded so. 525
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.
Give up your keys.
PROVOST Pardon me, noble lord. 530
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not,
Yet did repent me after more advice,
For testimony whereof, one in the prison
That should by private order else have died,
I have reserved alive. 535
DUKE What’s he?
PROVOST His name is Barnardine.
I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.
Go fetch him hither. Let me look upon him.
ESCALUS, to Angelo
I am sorry one so learnèd and so wise 540
As you, Lord Angelo, have still appeared,
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood
And lack of tempered judgment afterward.
I am sorry that such sorrow I procure;
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart 545
That I crave death more willingly than mercy.
’Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.
Enter Barnardine and Provost, Claudio, muffled,
DUKE, to Provost
Which is that Barnardine?
PROVOST This, my lord.
There was a friar told me of this man.— 550
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul
That apprehends no further than this world,
And squar’st thy life according. Thou ’rt condemned.
But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all,
And pray thee take this mercy to provide 555
For better times to come.—Friar, advise him.
I leave him to your hand.—What muffled fellow’s
This is another prisoner that I saved
Who should have died when Claudio lost his head, 560
As like almost to Claudio as himself.
He unmuffles Claudio.
DUKE, 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. 565
By this Lord Angelo perceives he’s safe;
Methinks I see a quick’ning in his eye.—
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well.
Look that you love your wife, her worth worth
I find an apt remission in myself.
And yet here’s one in place I cannot pardon.
To Lucio. You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman. 575
Wherein have I so deserved of you
That you extol me thus?
LUCIO Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the
trick. If you will hang me for it, you may, but I had
rather it would please you I might be whipped. 580
DUKE Whipped first, sir, and hanged after.—
Proclaim it, provost, round about the city,
If 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, 585
And he shall marry her. The nuptial finished,
Let him be whipped and hanged.
LUCIO 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 590
making me a cuckold.
Upon mine honor, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive and therewithal
Remit thy other forfeits.—Take him to prison,
And see our pleasure herein executed. 595
LUCIO Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death,
whipping, and hanging.
DUKE Slandering a prince deserves it.
Officers take Lucio away.
She, Claudio, that you wronged, look you restore.—
Joy to you, Mariana.—Love her, Angelo. 600
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.—
Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy.
We shall employ thee in a worthier place.— 605
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio’s.
Th’ offense pardons itself.—Dear Isabel,
I have a motion much imports your good,
Whereto if you’ll a willing ear incline, 610
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.