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Ang. I think it well :
And from this testimony of your own sex
(Since I suppose we are made to be no stronger
Than faults may shake our frames), let me be bold ;-
I do arrest your words; Be that you are,
That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none;
If you be one (as you are well express'd
By all external warrants), show it now,
By putting on the destined livery.
Isab. I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord,
Let me entreat you speak the former language.
Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.
Isab. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me,
That he shall die for it.
Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.
Isab. I know, your virtue hath a license in't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.
Ång. Believe me, on mine honour,
My words express my purpose.
Isab. Ha! little honour to be much believed,
And most pernicious purpose !-Seeming, seeming ! *
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look fort:
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Or, with an outstretch'd throat, I'll tell the world
Aloud, what man thou art.
Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel ?
My unsoild name, the austereness of my life,
My voucht against you, and my place i' the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun ;.
And now I give my sensual race the rein;
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite;
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious, blushes,
That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance: answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him: As for you,
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.
Isab. To whom shall I complain > Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will ;
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws ! I'll to my brother:
Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die :
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest.
SCENE I.-A Room in the Prison.
Enter DUKE, CLAUDIO, and PBOVOST.
Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord Angelo?
Claud. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope :
I have hope to live, and am prepared to die.
Duke. Be absolute* for death; either death or life,
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:-
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art
(Servile to all the skiey influences),
this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn’st toward him still : Thou art not noble :
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st,
Are nursed in baseness : Thou art by no means valiant,
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust: Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast, forget'st: Thou art not certain ;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,t
After the moon: If thou art rich, thou art poor :
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee: Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, I and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth, nor age;
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both: for all thy blessed youth
+ Affects, affections.
# Leprous eruptions.
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld ;* and when thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
Claud. I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die :
And, seeking death, find life: Let it come on.
Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good company!
Prov. Who's there? come in : the wish deserves a welcome.
Duke. Dear sir, ere long, I'll visit you again.
Claud. Most hóly sir, I thank you.
Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your sister.
Duke. Provost, a word with you.
Prov. As many as you please.
Duke. Bring them to speak, where I may be conceald, Yet hear them.
[Exeunt DUKE and PROVOST. Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort ? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good indeed : Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven, Intends you for a swift ambassador, Where you shall be an everlasting leiger : Therefore your best appointments make with speed; To-morrow you set on.
Claud. Is there no remedy ?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.
Claud. But is there any ?
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live;
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.
Claud. Perpetual durance ?
Isab. Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidity you had,
To a determined scope.
Claud. But in what nature ?
Isab. In such a one as (you consenting to’t)
Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,
And leave you naked.
Claud. Let me know the point.
Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,
And six or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Darst thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension;
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
Claud. Why give you me this shame ?
Think you I can a resolution fetch
From flowery tenderness ? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake my brother; there my father's graye
Did utter forth a voice! Yes, thou must die:
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward sainted deputy,-
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth enmew,*
As falcon doth the fowl,—is yet a devil ;
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Claud. The princely Angelo!
Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned'st body to invest and cover
In princely guards it Dost thou think, Claudio,
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou mightst be freed?
Claud. O heavens! it cannot be.
Isab. Yes, he would give it thee, for this rank offence
So to offend' him still: This night's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Claud. Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. O, were it but my life,
I'd throw it down for your deliverance
As franklyf as a pin.
Claud. Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow,
Claud. Yes.-Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it? Sure it is no sin;
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.
Isab. Which is the least ?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise,
Why, would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fined ?-O Isabel !
Isab. What says my brother ?
Claud. Death is a fearful thing.
Isab. And shamed life a hateful.
Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot:
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison'd in the viewless* winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling !-'tis too horrible !
The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
Isab. Alas! alas!
Claud. Sweet sister, let me live:
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue.
Isab. O, you beast!
O, faithless coward ! O, dishonest wretch!
Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice ?
Is't not a kind of incest, to take life
From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?
Heaven shield, my mother play'd my father fair !
For such a warped slip of wilderness †
Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance:
Die; perish! might but my bending down
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed :
I pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
No word to save thee.
Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Isab. O, fie, fie, fie!
Thy sin 's not accidental, but a trade :
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd:
'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
[Going. Claud. O, hear me, Isabella.
Duke. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.
Isab. What is your will.
Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by-andby have some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require, is likewise your own benefit.
Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you awhile.
Duke (to CLAUDIO, aside). Son, I have overheard what hath pass'd between you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practise his judgment with the disposition of natures: she, having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive: I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to death: Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are