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Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe to-morrow four o'clock.
Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade: follow.
Pompey. I do desire to learn, sir; and I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare; for, truly, sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.
Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio: Exeunt POMPEY and ABHORSON. The one has my pity; not a jot the other,
Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
Prov. Are you agreed?
Pompey. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask forgiveness.
Enter DUKE, disguised as before. Welcome, father. Duke. The best and wholesom'st spirits of the Envelop you, good provost! Who call'd here night
Prov. None, since the curfew rung.
That in himself which he spurs on his power
This is a gentle provost : seldom when
Knocking. How now! What noise? That spirit 's possess'd with haste
That wounds the unsisting postern with these
For which the pardoner himself is in;
Prov. I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting-on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.
Duke. Pray you, let's hear.
Prov. Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, Let Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and in the afternoon Barnardine. For my better satisjaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly performed; with a thought that more depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril. What say you to this, sir?
Duke. What is that Barnardine who is to be executed in the afternoon?
Prov. A Bohemian born, but here nursed up and bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old. Duke. How came it that the absent duke had not either delivered him to his liberty or executed him? I have heard it was ever his manner to do so.
Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him and, indeed, his fact, till now in the government of Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
Duke. It is now apparent ?
Prov. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? how seems he to be touched?
Duke. By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo.
Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
Duke. O! death's a great disguiser, and you may add to it. Shave the head and tie the beard; and say it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared before his death: you know the course is common. If anything fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life.
Prov. Pardon me, good father: it is against my oath.
Duke. Were you sworn to the duke, or to the deputy?
Prov. To him, and to his substitutes.
Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor persuasion can with ease attempt you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you. Look you, sir; here is the hand and seal of the duke: you know the character, I doubt not, and the signet is not strange to you.
Prov. I know them both.
Duke. The contents of this is the return of the duke: you shall anon over-read it at your pleasure, where you shall find within these two days he will be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not, for he this very day receives letters of strange tenour; perchance of the duke's death; perchance entering into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the Prov. A man that apprehends death no more unfolding star calls up the shepherd. dreadfully but as a drunken sleep; careless, reck- not yourself into amazement how these things less, and fearless of what's past, present, or to should be: all difficulties are but easy when they come; insensible of mortality, and desperately are known. Call your executioner, and off with 153 Barnardine's head: I will give him a present shrift and advise him for a better place. Yet you are amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you. Come away; it is almost clear dawn. Exeunt.
Duke. He wants advice.
Prov. He will hear none. He hath evermore had the liberty of the prison: give him leave to escape hence, he would not drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and showed him a seeming warrant for it it hath not moved him at all.
Duke. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, provost, honesty and constancy: if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning I will
SCENE III.-Another Room in the Same.
Pompey. 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 Three-pile 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 Deep-yow, and Master Copper-spur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier-and-dagger man, and young Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthright the tilter, and brave Master Shoe-tie the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are How for the Lord's sake.'
Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine!
Bar. Within. A pox o' your throats! makes that noise there? What are you? Pompey. Your friends, sir; the hangman. must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death. Bar. Within. Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.
Abhor. Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.
Pompey. Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards.
There died this morning of a cruel fever
Duke. O! 'tis an accident that heaven provides.
Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.
Pompey. Master Barnardine! you must rise Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die. and be hanged, Master Bardardine!
Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently.
Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?
Bar. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?
Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers; for, look you, the warrant 's
Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.
hear his straw rustle.
Duke. Unfit to live or die. O gravel heart! After him, fellows: bring him to the block. Excunt ABHORSON and POMPEY. Prov. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner? Duke. A creature unprepar 'd, unmeet for death; And to transport him in the mind he is
Enter DUKE disguised as before.
Duke. 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.
Bar. 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.
Duke. O,sir, you must; and therefore I beseech you look forward on the journey you shall go. 61 Bar. I swear I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.
Duke. But hear you.
To save me from the danger that might come
Bar. Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.
Now will I write letters to Angelo,The provost, he shall bear them,-whose contents 40 Shall witness to him I am near at home,
Let this be done: 90 Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
Proc. I am your free dependant.
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound 100
Prov. Here is the head; I'll carry it myself. Duke. Convenient is it. Make a swift return, For I would commune with you of such things That want no ear but yours.
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither;
Isab. The better, given me by so holy a man.
His head is off and sent to Angelo
Duke. It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close patience.
Isab. O! I will to him and pluck out his eyes. Duke. You shall not be admitted to his sight. Isab. Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel! Injurious world! most damned Angelo!
Duke. 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 130 By every syllable a faithful verity.
Ang. In most uneven and distracted manner.
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry His actions show much like to madness: pray heaven his wisdom be not tainted! and why meet him at the gates, and redeliver our authorities there?
One of our covent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance: already he hath carried
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
In that good path that I would wish it go,
I am directed by you.
Lucio. Good even. Friar, where is the provost?
Lucio. 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. Exit ISABELLA. Duke. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.
Lucio. 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. Exeunt.
Duke. You have told me too many of him already, sir, if they be true; if not true, none were enough.
Lucio. I was once before him for getting a wench with child.
Duke. Did you such a thing?
180 Lucio. Yes, marry, did I; but I was fain to forswear it they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.
Duke. Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well,
SCENE IV. A Room in ANGELO's House.
Escal. Every letter he hath writ hath dis-
Escal. I guess not.
Ang. And why should we proclaim it in an hour before his entering, that if any crave redress of injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in the street?
Escal. He shows his reason for that: to have
Ang. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaim'd:
And dull to all proceedings. A deflower'd maid,
SCENE V.-Fields without the Town.
Go call at Flavius'
And tell him where I stay: give the like notice
It shall be speeded well. 10
By throwing it on any other object,
Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
Come, we will walk there's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.
Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met! Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. Ang., Escal. Happy return be to your royal grace!
Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you both. 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.
Ang. You make my bonds still greater. Duke. O your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
Friar PETER and ISABELLA come forward. Fri. Pet. Now is your time: speak loud and kneel before him.
Isab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard Upon a wrong'd, I would fain have said, a maid O worthy prince! dishonour not your eye
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice:
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 believ'd, Or wring redress from you. Hear me, O hear here! me,
Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:
Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will
That Angelo's forsworn, is it not strange?
Nay, it is ten times strange. Isab. 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 the end of reckoning.
Duke. Away with her! poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense. Isab. O prince! I conjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world, That thou neglect me not, with that opinion 50 That I am touch'd with madness. Make not impossible
That which but seems unlike. 'Tis not impossible
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Duke. By mine honesty, If she be mad, as I believe no other, Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense, 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 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