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For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war, 'twixt will, and will not.


Well; the matter?

Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die:

I do beseech you, let it be his fault,

And not my brother.


Heaven give thee moving graces!

Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it! Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done : Mine were the very cypher of a function, To find the faults, whose fine stands in record, And let go by the actor.


O just, but severe law! I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your honour!


Lucio. [To Isab.] Give't not o'er so: to him again,

intreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;

You are too cold: if you should need a pin,

You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say.

Isab. Must he needs die?


Maiden, no remedy.

Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy.

Ang. I will not do't.


But can you, if you would?

Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.
Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no


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Isab. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word, May call it back again: Well believe this, No ceremony that to great ones longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, Become them with one half so good a grace, As mercy does. If he had been as you, And you as he, you would have slipt like him; But he, like you, would not have been so stern. Ang. Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel! should it then be thus ? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.

Alas! alas!

Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
And He that might the vantage best have took,
Found out the remedy: How would you be,
If he, which is the top of judgement, should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that;
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made 20.



Be you content, fair maid;

It is the law, not I, condemns your brother:
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him;- he must die to-morrow.
Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him,

spare him;

He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens We kill the fowl of season; shall we serve heaven With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink


Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.


Ay, well said.

Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath

slept :

Those many had not dar'd to do that evil,

If the first man that did the edict infringe,
Had answer'd for his deed: now, 'tis awake;
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils,
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,)
Are now to have no súccessive degrees,
But, where they live, to end.


Yet show some pity.

Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice;

For then I pity those I do not know,

Which a dismiss'd offerce would after gall;

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