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Measure for Measure

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ACT III SCENE II The street before the prison. 
 Enter, on one side, DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before; on the other, ELBOW, and Officers with POMPEY. 
ELBOW 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO O heavens! what stuff is here
POMPEY '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 and lamb-skins too, to signify, that 
 craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing. 9
ELBOW Come your way, sir. 'Bless you, good father friar. 
DUKE VINCENTIO And you, good brother father. What offence hath 
 this man made you, sir? 
ELBOW 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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, 20 
 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. 
POMPEY Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir; but yet, 
 sir, I would prove-- 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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. 30 
ELBOW He must before the deputy, sir; he has given him 
 warning: the deputy cannot abide a whoremaster: if 

he be a whoremonger, and comes before him, he were

 as good go a mile on his errand. 
DUKE VINCENTIO That we were all, as some would seem to be, 
 From our faults, as faults from seeming, free! 
ELBOW His neck will come to your waist,--a cord, sir. 
POMPEY I spy comfort; I cry bail. Here's a gentleman and a
 friend of mine. 
 Enter LUCIO. 
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 clutch'd? What reply, ha? What 
 sayest thou to this tune, matter and method? Is't 
 not drowned i' the last rain, ha? What sayest 
 thou, Trot? Is the world as it was, man? Which is 
 the way? Is it sad, and few words? or how? The
 trick of it? 
DUKE VINCENTIO Still thus, and thus; still worse! 
LUCIO How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures she 
 still, ha? 50 
POMPEY Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she
 is herself in the tub. 
LUCIO 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?
POMPEY Yes, faith, sir. 
LUCIO Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell: go, say I 
 sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? or how? 
ELBOW For being a bawd, for being a bawd. 59 
LUCIO 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.
POMPEY I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail. 
LUCIO 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, friar.
LUCIO Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha? 
ELBOW Come your ways, sir; come. 
POMPEY You will not bail me, then, sir? 
LUCIO Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar?
 what news? 
ELBOW Come your ways, sir; come. 
LUCIO Go to kennel, Pompey; go. 
 Exeunt ELBOW, POMPEY and Officers. 
 What news, friar, of the duke? 
DUKE VINCENTIO I know none. Can you tell me of any?
LUCIO Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other 
 some, he is in Rome: but where is he, think you? 81 
DUKE VINCENTIO I know not where; but wheresoever, I wish him well. 
LUCIO 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO He does well in 't. 
LUCIO A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in 
 him: something too crabbed that way, friar. 90
DUKE VINCENTIO It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it. 
LUCIO 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? 
DUKE VINCENTIO How should he be made, then? 
LUCIO 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 generative; that's infallible. 
DUKE VINCENTIO You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace. 100 
LUCIO 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO I never heard the absent duke much detected for 
 women; he was not inclined that way. 
LUCIO O, sir, you are deceived. 110 
DUKE VINCENTIO 'Tis not possible.
LUCIO 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO You do him wrong, surely.
LUCIO Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the 
 duke: and I believe I know the cause of his 
DUKE VINCENTIO What, I prithee, might be the cause? 119 
LUCIO 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO Wise! why, no question but he was. 
LUCIO A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.
DUKE VINCENTIO Either this is the 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. 131 
LUCIO Sir, I know him, and I love him. 
DUKE VINCENTIO Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge with
 dearer love. 
LUCIO Come, sir, I know what I know. 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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? 141 
LUCIO Sir, my name is Lucio; well known to the duke. 
DUKE VINCENTIO He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to
 report you. 
LUCIO I fear you not. 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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.
LUCIO 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? 151 
DUKE VINCENTIO Why should he die, sir? 
LUCIO Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would
 the duke we talk of were returned again: the 
 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 prithee, 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. 
DUKE VINCENTIO No might nor greatness in mortality 165 
 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, and Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE. 
ESCALUS Go; away with her to prison! 
MISTRESS OVERDONE Good my lord, be good to me; your honour is accounted 
 a merciful man; good my lord.
ESCALUS Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in 
 the same kind! This would make mercy swear and play 
 the tyrant. 
Provost A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it please 
 your honour.
MISTRESS OVERDONE 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!
ESCALUS That fellow is a fellow of much licence: let him be 
 called before us. Away with her to prison! Go to; 170 
 no more words. 
 Exeunt Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE. 
 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. 
Provost So please you, this friar hath been with him, and 
 advised him for the entertainment of death. 191
ESCALUS Good even, good father. 
DUKE VINCENTIO Bliss and goodness on you! 
ESCALUS Of whence are you? 
DUKE VINCENTIO Not of this country, though my chance is now 
 To use it for my time: I am a brother 210
 Of gracious order, late come from the See 
 In special business from his holiness. 
ESCALUS What news abroad i' the world? 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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 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? 
ESCALUS One that, above all other strifes, contended 
 especially to know himself. 210
DUKE VINCENTIO What pleasure was he given to? 
ESCALUS Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at 
 any thing 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 visitation. 
DUKE VINCENTIO 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 is he 
 resolved to die. 223
ESCALUS 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 Justice. 
DUKE VINCENTIO If his own life answer the straitness of his 
 proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he 
 chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. 
ESCALUS I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.
DUKE VINCENTIO Peace be with you! 
 Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost. 
 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 240 
 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 wade in crimes, 
 Making practise on the times,
 To draw with idle spiders' strings 
 Most ponderous 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 disguised, 
 Pay with falsehood false exacting, 
 And perform an old contracting. 


Explanatory Notes for Act 3, Scene 2

From Measure for Measure. Ed. William J. Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers., 1899.

3. Bastard. A kind of sweet wine. Cf. i Hen. IV. ii. 4. 30: "a pint of bastard," etc.
5. Usuries. The Coll. MS. has "usances."
8. Fox and lamb skins. Capell reads simply "fox-skins," and Mason conjectures "fox on lamb-skins." Clarke remarks: "The passage seems to us to imply, furred (that is, lined with lamb-skin fur inside, and trimmed with fox-skin fur outside) with both kinds of fur, to show that craft (fox-skin), being richer than innocency (lamb-skin), is used for the decoration."
11. Brother father. As friar = frere or brother, the duke returns Elbow's blundering address with one in the same vein. Tyrwhitt remarks that the joke would be clearer in French: "Dieu vous benisse, mon pere frere. — Et vous aussi, mon frere pere."
22. Eat, array. The folios have "eat away;" corrected by Theo. (the conjecture of Bishop).
36. Free from our faults, etc. The 1st folio reads: "From our faults, as faults from seeming free." The 2nd folio has "Free from our faults," etc., and Hanmer corrects the latter part of the line as in the text. This restores both rhythm and sense to the line.
37. Will come to your waist, — a cord, sir. That is, will come to have a cord round it, as your waist has; alluding to the hempen cord which the Franciscan friars wore as a girdle.
41. Is there none of Pygmalion's images, etc. Have you no women for your customers as fresh and untouched as Pygmalion's statue was when It became a living woman?
46. Trot. A contemptuous epithet, applied in T. of S. i. 2. 80 to an old woman. D. and H. adopt Grey's conjecture of "to't," but as the word in the folio begins with a capital it is not likely to be a misprint for "to't." Besides, as W. remarks, there could be no more appropriate name for a bawd's assistant.
52. In the tub. Alluding to the "powdering-tub " or "sweating-tub," which was a part of the current treatment for the French disease. Cf. Nen. V. ii. i. 79: "the powdering-tub of infamy," etc.
54. Unshunned. "Unshunnable" (Oth. iii. 3. 275), inevitable; used by S. nowhere else.
63. Husband. Alluding to the received etymology of the word — house-band. Cf. Wb.
66. Not the wear. Not the fashion. Cf. A. Y. L. ii. 7. 34: "Motley's the only wear," etc.
72. Come your ways. Used some dozen times by S. Come your way occurs only in 10 above. So go your ways is more common than go your way.
93. Extirp. Used again in I Hen. VI. iii.3.24. Extirpate occurs only in Temp. i. 2. 125.
108. Detected. Capell reads "detracted." V. remarks: "The use of this word, in the various extracts from old authors collected by the commentators, shows that its old meaning was (not suspected, as some of them say, but) charged, arraigned, accused. Thus, in Greenway's Tacitus (1622), the Roman senators who informed against their kindred are said 'to have detected the dearest of their kindred.' "
113. Use. Habit; as in M. of V. iv. i. 268, Ham. iii. 4. 168, etc.
Clack-dish. A wooden dish used by beggars to collect alms in; so called because they clacked the hinged cover to attract attention. Steevens quotes The Family of Love, 1608: "Can you think I get my living by a bell and a clack-dish?" and a stage-direction in 2 Edw. IV. 1619: "Enter Mrs. Blague, very poorly, begging with her basket and a clap-dish."
117. An inward. An intimate friend, d. Kick. III. iii. 4.8: "Who is most inward with the royal duke?"
Shy. Demure. Hanmer reads "sly," which may be right; but cfl v. I. 54, the only other instance of the word in S.
122. File. Number, multitude; as in Cor. i. 6. 43: "the common file," etc. For subject, cf. v. i. 14 below. See also Ham. i. I. 72, i. 2. 77, etc.
124. Unweighing. Inconsiderate, thoughtless. Cf. unweighed in M. W. ii. I. 23; like this, the one instance of the word in S.
126. Helmed. Conducted, managed; used by S. only here. The same is true of testimonied just below.
134. Dearer. The folios have "deare" or "dear;" corrected by Hanmer.
147. Unhurtful. Another word used by the poet only once. For opposite = opponent, cf. T. N. iii. 2. 68: "his opposite, the youth;" and see Id. iii. 4. 253, 293, etc.
153. Tun-dish. Tunnel, or funnel.
154. Ungenitured. Schmidt makes the word = impotent; but perhaps it is explained by 95 above.
159. Untrussing. Explained by Schmidt as "unpacking;" but more correctly, we think, by D. as "untying the points or tagged laces which attached the hose or breeches to tne doublet."
161. Not past it. The folios have "now past it;" corrected by Hanmer.
166. Scape. Not a contraction of escape, being used in prose by Bacon and others. See Macb. p. 214, or Wb. s. v.
173. Forfeit. Explained by Steevens as a verb ( = transgress, offend), but perhaps an adjective (= liable to penalty), as Schmidt makes it. Cf. ii. 2. 73 above.
174. Swear. Hanmer reads "swerve."
181. Come Philip and Jacob. That is, the feast of St. Philip and St. James (Latin, Jacobus), or May 1st.
197. From the See. That is, from Rome. The folios have "Sea;" corrected by Theo.
201. The dissolution of it. The death of goodness. The meaning: "Virtue has become so extreme that it must have a speedy end. The reference is to the overstrained sanctity and zeal of Angelo" (V.). .
202. And it is as dangerous. The 1st and 2d folios have a superfluous as before it.
205. Security enough, etc. Alluding to the trouble that a man often gets into by becoming security for a friend.
223. Is he resolved to die. He has made up his mind for death.
224. Your function. Your priestly duty.
228. Indeed justice. That is, the very embodiment of justice pure and simple, with no mingling of mercy. Steevens sees a reference to the maxim "Summum jus, summa injuria."
229. Straitness. Strictness; the only instance of the word in S.
234. He who the sword, etc. We unhesitatingly agree with W. that these poor rhymes are not Shakespeare's, but the "tag" of some one connected with the theatre. "They are entirely superfluous, having no dramatic purpose, and uttering no moral truth that has not had infinitely better utterance before. Their rhythmical expression is entirely inconsistent with their sentiment and with the diction of the serious parts of this play; it was not in Shakespeare to stop the Duke and set him off in this octosyllabic canter upon the same road over which he had paced before with such severe and stately dignity. The lines are a mere succession of couplets, each containing a perfect if not an isolated thought, which is not Shakespeare's manner under any circumstances, and, above all, in such a soliloquy as the Duke's; 'non color, non vultus.' If we will, we must believe that this soliloquy was written by Shakespeare after those in Hamlet. Let who will believe it!"
236, 237. Pattern . . . go. The meaning seems to be: to be in himself a pattern; to have grace to stand firm, and virtue to go forward. The Coll. MS. reads "virtue to go." Clarke paraphrases the couplet thus: "Should be in himself a pattern whereby to know how grace ought to bear itself, and how virtue ought to proceed."
246. Wade. The folios have "made," which, as Malone suggested, is probably a misprint for wade. Hanmer reads "that likeness shading crimes," and Heath conjectures "such likeness trade in crimes." The Coll. M S. has "Masking practice" for Making practice. The Var. of 1821 reads "Mocking, practise."
252. Despis'd. W. follows the folio in reading "despised" and "th' disguised."

Measure for Measure, Act 4, Scene 1


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