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Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense,
Might in the times to come have ta’en revenge,
By so receiving a dishonour'd life
With ransom of such shame. Would yet he had liv'd !
Alack ! when once our grace we have forgot,
Nothing goes right : we would, and we would not.




Fields without the Town.

Enter Duke, in his own habit, and Friar PETER. Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me.

[Giring letters. The provost knows our purpose, and our plot. The matter being afoot, keep your instruction, And hold you ever to our special drift, Though sometimes you do blench from this to that “, As cause doth minister. Go, call at Flavius' house 5, And tell him where I stay: give the like notice To Valentius, Rowland, and to Crassus, And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate ; But send me Flavius first. F. Peter.

It shall be speeded well.

[Exit Friar. Enter VARRIUS. Duke. I thank thee, Varrius ; thou hast made good

haste. Come, we will walk: there's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius.



- you do BLENCH,] To blench, says Steevens, is to start off, to fly off. 5 Go, call at Flavius' house,] Misprinted “Flavia's house" in the old copies : two lines lower Valentius has been called Valentinus by the modern editors.


Street near the City Gate.

Isab. To speak so indirectly, I am loath :
I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,
That is your part; yet I'm advis’d to do it,
He says, to veil full purpose.

Be ruld by him.
Isab. Besides, he tells me, that if peradventure
He speak against me on the adverse side,
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic,
That's bitter to sweet end.

Mari. I would, friar Peter-

O, peace! the friar is come.

Enter Friar PETER.

F. Peter. Come; I have found you out a stand most

fit, Where you may have such vantage on the duke, He shall not pass you.

Twice have the trumpets sounded : The generous and gravest citizens Have hent the gates', and very near upon The duke is ent’ring : therefore hence, away.


• Have went the gates,) i. e. Have taken possession of the gates. The word "hent” is derived from the Saxon hentan, to catch or lay hold of. Shakespeare has it again in “ The Winter's Tale,”—

,"_" And merrily hent the stile-a.” Hint has the same etymology, as Horne Tooke has justly observed. “ Hent” was in use down to the time of Spenser and Shakespeare, but not much afterwards, excepting by writers who had been their contemporaries.


A public Place near the City Gate.

MARIANA, (veild,) ISABELLA, and PETER, at a distance.

Enter at several doors, DUKE, VARRIUS, Lords ; ANGELO, ESCALUS, Lucio, Provost, Officers, and Citizens.

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met:Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you. Ang. and Escal. Happy return be to your royal

Duke. Many and hearty thankings to you

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.

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,
When it deserves with characters of brass
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of oblivion. Give me your hand ?,
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within.—Come, Escalus;
You must walk by us on our other hand,
And good supporters are you.

Friar Peter and ISABELLA come forward'.
F. Peter. Now is your time. Speak loud, and kneel

before him.

i Give me your hand,] “ Give we your hand,” first folio.

8 Friar Peter and Isabella come forward.] The old copies say, “Enter Peter and Isabella ;” but they have been standing behind with Mariana, whose time for coming forward has not yet arrived.


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
By throwing it on any other object,
Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice !
Duke. Relate your wrongs : in what? by whom?

Be brief.
Here is lord Angelo shall give you justice :
Reveal yourself to him.

0, 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 me,

Ang. 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.

By course of justice !
Ang. And she will speak most bitterly, and strange.

Isab. 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, An hypocrite, a virgin-violator, Is it not strange, and strange ? Duke.

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 th' end of reckoning. Duke.

Away with her.-Poor soul ! She speaks this in th’ infirmity of sense.


9 - Vail your regard – ] To rail is to lower.

10 Nay, it is ten times strange.) So the folios. Malone and Steevens omit " it is" without warrant, and without notice.

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
That I am touch'd with madness : make not impossible
That which but seems unlike. 'Tis not impossible,
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, characts', titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain. Believe it, royal prince:
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.

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?.

Many that are not mad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.—What would you say?

Isab. I am the sister of one Claudio, Condemn'd


the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn’d by Angelo.
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio
As then the messenger ;

That's I, an't like your grace.
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo,
For her poor brother's pardon.


characts,] i.e. Characters, or inscriptions. 2 And hide the false seems true.] Theobald and Monck Mason would read “ Not hide the false seems true," but no change is required.

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