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Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself,
And not have cut him off: Some one hath set you on;
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Thou cam'st here to complain.


And is this all? Then, oh, you blessed ministers above, Keep me in patience; and with ripen'd time, Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up In countenance!-Heaven shield your grace from woe, As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone:-An officer! To prison with her :-Shall we thus permit A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall On him so near us? This needs must be a practice. -Who knew of your intent, and coming hither? Isab. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick. Duke. A ghostly father, belike: Who knows that Lodowick?

Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a meddling friar?
I do not like the man: had he been lay, my lord,
For certain words he spake against your grace
In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly.
Duke. Words against me? This is a good friar belike!

And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our substitute!-Let this friar be found.
Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar
I saw them at the prison: a saucy friar,
A very scurvy fellow.

F. Peter.

Blessed be your royal grace! I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard Your royal ear abus'd: First, hath this woman Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute; Who is as free from touch or soil with her, As she from one ungot.


We did believe no less. Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of? F. Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy; Not scurvy, nor a temporary meddler, As he's reported by this gentleman; And, on my trust, a man that never yet Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

Lucio. My lord, most villanously; believe it. F. Peter. Well, he in time may come to clear himself; But at this instant he is sick, my lord, Of a strange fever: Upon his mere request, (Being come to knowledge that there was complaint Intended 'gainst lord Angelo,) came I hither, To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know Is true, and false; and what he with his oath, And all probation, will make up full clear, Whensoever he's convented. First, for this woman; (To justify this worthy nobleman, So vulgarly and personally accus'd,) Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes, Tül she herself confess it. Duke.

Good friar, let's hear it.
[ISABELLA is carried off, guarded; and
MARIANA comes forward.

Do you not smile at this, lord Angelo?-
O heaven! the vanity of wretched fools!
Give us some seats.-Come, cousin Angelo;
In this I'll be impartial; be you judge

Of your own cause.-Is this the witness, friar?
First, let her shew her face; and, after, speak.
Mari. Pardon, my lord; I will not shew my face,
Until my husband bid me.
Mari. No, my lord.

What, are you married?


Are you a maid?


Duke. A widow then?

No, my lord.

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Mari. Not that I know. Duke.

No? you say, your husband. Mari. Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo, Who thinks, he knows, that he ne'er knew my body, But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel's.

Ang. This is a strange abuse:-Let's see thy face. Mari. My husband bids me; now I will unmask. This is that face, thou cruel Angelo, [Unveiling. Which, once thou swor'st, was worth the looking on: This is the hand, which, with a vow'd contract, Was fast belock'd in thine: this is the body That took away the match from Isabel, And did supply thee at thy garden-house, In her imagin'd person.


Know you this woman? Lucio. Carnally, she says. Duke.

Lucio. Enough, my lord.

Sirrah, no more.

Ang. My lord, I must confess, I know this woman; And, five years since, there was some speech of mar


Betwixt myself and her; which was broke off,
Partly, for that her promised proportions
Came short of composition; but, in chief,
For that her reputation was disvalued
In levity: since which time of five years,
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her,
Upon my faith and honour.

Noble prince,


As there comes light from heaven, and words from
As there is sense in truth, and truth in virtue,
I am affianc'd this man's wife, as strongly
As words could make up vows: and, my good lord,
But Tuesday night last gone, in his garden-house,
He knew me as a wife: As this is true

Let me in safety raise me from my knees;
Or else for ever be confixed here,
A marble monument !
I did but smile till now;
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice;
My patience here is touched: I do perceive,
These poor informal women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member,
That sets them on: Let me have way, my lord,
To find this practice out.

Ay, with all my heart;
And punish them unto your height of pleasure.-

Thou foolish friar; and thou pernicious woman,
Compact with her that's gone! think'st thou, thy oaths,
Though they would swear down each particular saint,
Were testimonies against his worth and credit,
That's seal'd in approbation?-You, lord Escalus,
Sit with my cousin; lend him your kind pains
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis deriv'd,-
There is another friar that set them on;
Let him be sent for.

F. Peter. Would he were here, my lord, for he, in-
Hath set the women on to this complaint: [deed,
Your provost knows the place where he abides,
And he may fetch him.

[Exit Provost.

Duke. Go, do it instantly.And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin, Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth, Do with your injuries as seems you best, In any chastisement: I for a while Will leave you; but stir not you, till you have well Determined upon these slanderers.

Escal. My lord, we'll do it thoroughly.-[Exit DUKE.] Signior Lucio, did not you say, you knew that friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person?

Lucio. Cucullus non facit monachum: honest in nothing, but in his clothes; and one that hath spoke most villanous speeches of the duke.

Escal. We shall intreat you to abide here till he come, and enforce them against him: we shall find this friar a notable fellow.

Lucio. As any in Vienna, on my word. Escal. Call that same Isabel here once again; [To an Attendant.] would speak with her: Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question; you shall see how I'll handle her.

Lucio. Not better than he, by her own report.
Escal. Say you?

Lucio. Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately, she would sooner confess: perchance, publicly she'll be ashamed.

And in the witness of his proper ear,
To call him villain?

And then to glance from him to the duke himself;
To tax him with injustice? Take him hence;
To the rack with him :-We'll touze you joint by joint,
But we will know this purpose :-What! unjust?
Duke. Be not so hot; the duke

Dare no more stretch this finger of mine, than he
Dare rack his own; his subject am I not,
Nor here provincial: My business in this state
Made me a looker-on here in Vienna,
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble,
Till it o'er-run the stew: laws, for all faults;
But faults so countenanc'd, that the strong statutes
Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
As much in mock as mark.

[prison. Escal. Slander to the state! Away with him to Ang. What can you vouch against him, signior Is this the man that you did tell us of? [Lucio? Lucio. 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither good-man bald-pate: Do you know me?

Duke. I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice: I met you at the prison, in the absence of the duke.

Lucio. O did you so? And do you remember what you said of the duke?

Duke. Most notedly, sir.

Lucio. Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a fool, and a coward, as you then reported him to be?

Duke. You must, sir, change persons with me, ere you make that my report: you, indeed, spoke so of him; and much more, much worse.

Lucio. O thou damnable fellow! Did not I pluck thee by the nose, for thy speeches?

Duke. I protest, I love the duke, as I love myself. Ang. Hark! how the villain would close now, after his treasonable abuses.

Escul. Such a fellow is not to be talk'd withal :Away with him to prison :-Where is the provost ?

Re-enter Officers, with ISABELLA; the DUKE, in theAway with him to prison; lay bolts enough upon

Friar's habit, and Provost.

Escal. I will go darkly to work with her.

Lucio. That's the way; for women are light at midnight.

Escal. Come on, mistress: [To ISABELLA.] here's a gentlewoman denies all that you have said. Lucio. My lord, here come's the rascal I spoke of; here with the provost.

Escal. In very good time:-speak not you to him, till we call upon you.

Lucio. Mum.

Escal. Come, sir: Did you set these women on to slander lord Angelo? they have confess'd you did. Duke. 'Tis false.

Escal. How! know you where you are? Duke. Respect to your great place! and let the devil Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne :Where is the duke? 'tis he should hear me speak. Escal. The duke's in us; and we will hear you Look, you speak justly. [speak:

Duke. Boldly, at least: But, O, poor souls, Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox? Good night to your redress. Is the duke gone? Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust, Thus to retort your manifest appeal And put your trial in the villain's mouth, Which here you come to accuse.

Lucio. This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of. Escal. Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd friar! Is't not enough, thou hast suborn'd these women, To accuse this worthy man; but, in foul mouth,

him: let him speak no more:- -Away with those giglots too, and with the other confederate companion. [The Provost lays hands on the Duke. Duke. Stay, sir; stay awhile. Ang. What! resists he! Help him, Lucio. Lucio. Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir: Why, you bald-pated, lying rascal! you must be hooded, must you? Shew your knave's visage, with a pox to you! shew your sheep-biting face, and be hang'd an hour! Will 't not off?

[Pulls off the Friar's hood, and discovers the Duke. Duke. Thou art the first kifave, that e'er made a duke.

First, provost, let me bail these gentle three :-
Sneak not away, sir; [to Lucio.] for the friar and you
Must have a word anon :-lay hold on him.

Lucio. This may prove worse than hanging. Duke. What you have spoke, I pardon; sit you down. [To ESCALUS. We'll borrow place of him-Sir, by your leave: [To ANGELO.

Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence,
That yet can do thee office? If thou hast,
Rely upon it till my tale be heard,
And hold no longer out.


O my dread lord, I should be guiltier than my guiltiness, To think I can be undiscernible, When I perceive, your grace, like power divine, Hath look'd upon my passes; Then, good prince, No longer session hold upon my shame,

But let my trial be mine own confession;
Immediate sentence then, and sequent death,
Is all the grace I beg.


Come hither, Mariana:-
Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman?
Ang. I was, my lord.

Duke. Go take her hence and marry her instantly.
Do you the office, friar; which consummate,
Return him here again :-Go with him, provost.
[Exeunt ANGELO, MARIANA, PETER, and Provost.
Escal. My lord, I am more amazed at his dishonour,
Than at the strangeness of it.

Come hither, Isabel :
Your friar is now your prince: As I was then
Advertising, and holy to your business,

Not changing heart with habit, I am still
Attorney'd at your service.


O give me pardon,

That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd
Your unknown sovereignty.


You are pardon'd, Isabel:
And now, dear maid, be you as free to us.
Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart;
And you may marvel, why I obscur'd myself,
Labouring to save his life; and would not rather
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power,
Than let him so be lost: O most kind maid,
It was the swift celerity of his death,
Which I did think with slower foot came on,
That brain'd my purpose: But, peace be with him!
That life is better life, past fearing death,
Than that which lives to fear; make it your comfort,
So happy is your brother.

Re-eater ANGELO, MARIANA, PETER, and Provost.

I do, my lord.

I'll lend you all my life to do you service.
Duke. Against all sense do you impórtune her:
Should she kneel down, in mercy of this fact,
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
And take her hence in horror.
Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me;
Hold up your hands, say nothing, I'll speak all.
They say, best men are moulded out of faults;
And, for the most, become much more the better
For being a little bad: so may my husband.
O, Isabel! will you not lend a knee?

Duke. He dies for Claudio's death.
Isab. Most bounteous sir,


Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd,
As if my brother liv'd: I partly think,
A due sincerity govern'd his deeds,
Till he did look on me; since it is so,
Let him not die: My brother had but justice,
In that he did the thing for which he died:
For Angelo,

His act did not o'ertake his bad intent;
And must be buried but as an intent
That perished by the way: thoughts are no subjects;
Intents but merely thoughts.

Merely, my lord.
Duke. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.—
I have bethought me of another fault :-
Provost, how came it, Claudio was beheaded
At an unusual hour?

It was commanded so.
Duke. Had you a special warrant for the deed?
Prov. No, my good lord; it was by private message.
Duke. For which I do discharge you of your office:
Give up your keys.

Pardon me, noble lord:

Yet did repent me after more advice:
For testimony whereof, one in the prison,
That should by private order else have died,
I have reserv'd alive.
His name is Barnardine.
Duke. I would thou had'st done so by Claudio,-
Go, fetch him hither; let me look upon him.

What's he?

Duke. For this new-married man, approaching here, I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd
Your well defended honour, you must pardon
For Mariana's sake: but as he adjudg'd your brother,
(Being criminal, in double violation
Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach,
Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,)
The very mercy of the law cries out
Most audible, even from his proper tongue,
An Angelo for Claudio, death for death.
Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure;
Lake doth quit like, and Measure still for Measure.
Then Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested:
Which though thou would'st deny, denies thee van.
We do condemn thee to the very block [tage:
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like haste;
Away with him.


O, my most gracious lord,
I hope you will not mock me with a husband!
Duke. It is your husband mock'd you with a hus-
Consenting to the safeguard of your honour, [band:
I thought your marriage fit; else imputation
For that he knew you, might reproach your life,
And choke your good to come: for his possessions,
Although by confiscation they are ours,
We do instate and widow you withal,
To buy you a better husband.
O, my dear lord,
I crave no other, nor no better man.
Duke. Never crave him; we are definitive.
Mari. Gentle, my liege,—
You do but lose your labour;
Away with him to death.-Now, sir, [to Lucio.]
to you.
Mari. O, my good lord!-Sweet Isabel, take my
Lend me your knees, and all my life to come


[Exit Provost.

Escal. I am sorry, one so learned and so wise
As you, lord Angelo, have still appear'd,
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood,
And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.

Ang. I am sorry, that such sorrow I procure
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart,
That I crave death more willingly than mercy;
my deserving, and I do entreat it.
Re-enter Provost, BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO, and JULIET.


Duke. Which is that Barnardine?

This, my lord.
Duke. There was a friar told me of this man:-
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul,
That apprehends no further than this world,
And squar'st thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd;
But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all;
And pray thee, take this mercy to provide
For better times to come:- Friar, advise him;
I leave him to your hand.-What muffled fellow's
Prov. This is another prisoner, that I sav'd, [that?
That should have died when Claudio lost his head;
As like almost to Claudio, as himself.

[Unmuffles CLAUDIO. Duke. If he be like your brother, [to ISABELLA.] for his sake

Is he pardon'd; And, for your lovely sake,
Give me your hand, and say you will be mine,
He is my brother too: But fitter time for that.
By this, lord Angelo perceives he's safe;
Methinks, I see a quick'ning in his eye:-
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well:
Look that you love your wife; her worth, worth
I find an apt remission in myself:
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon:
You, sirrah, [to Lucio.] that knew me for a fool, a
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman; [coward,
Wherein have I so deserv'd of you,
That you extol me thus ?



Lucio. 'Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the trick: If you will hang me for it, you may, but I had rather it would please you, I might be whipp'd. Duke. Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after,— Proclaim it, provost, round about the city; If any woman's wrong'd by this lewd fellow, (As I have heard him swear himself, there's one Whom he begot with child,) let her appear, And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd, Let him be whipp'd and hang'd.

Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore! Your highness said even now, I made

you a duke; good my lord, do not recompense me
in making me a cuckold.

Duke. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Remit thy other forfeits :-Take him to prison:
And see our pleasure herein executed.

Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.

Duke. Slandering a prince deserves it.-
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.—
Joy to you, Mariana!-love her, Angelo;
I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue,-
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:
There's more behind, that is more gratulate.
Thanks, provost, for thy care and secrecy;
We shall employ thee in a worthier place:-
Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's;
The offence pardons itself.-Dear Isabel,
I have a motion much imports your good;
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
What's mine is your's and what is yours is mine:-
So, bring us to our palace; where we'll shew
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.

Of this play, the light or comic part is very natural and pleas- quent one with Claudio, exhibit, along with the most engaging ing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have feminine diffidence and modesty, an extraordinary display of more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than intellectual energy, of dexterous argument, and of indignant artful. The time of the action is indefinite; some time, we contempt. Her pleadings before the lord deputy, are directed know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of with a strong appeal both to his understanding and his heart, the duke and the imprisonment of Claudio; for he must have while her sagacity and address in the communication of the relearned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated sult of her appointment with him to her brother, of whose weakhis power to a man already known to be corrupted. The unities ness and irresolution she is justly apprehensive, are, if possible, of action and place are sufficiently preserved.-JOHNSON. still more skilfully marked, and add another to the multitude There are very few readers whose admiration for Shakspeare of instances which have established for Shakspeare an unri will not be outraged by reading the above harsh and tasteless valled intimacy with the finest feelings of our nature." There observations of Dr. Johnson. It may perhaps allay their irri- is one beauty in this play which I do not remember to have seen tation to find that all critics are not equally cold to the various observed; though the vice of Claudio is one which the world merits of this beautiful play." Of Measure for Measure," says is inclined to think too lightly of, and though there was offered Dr. Drake, independent of the comic characters, which afford so easy and popular a way of exciting an interest for him in the a rich fund of entertainment, the great charm springs from the minds of the audience, by diminishing the heinousness of his lovely example of female excellence exhibited in the person of offence, and representing the transgressor rather as a martyr than Isabella. Piety, spotless purity, tenderness combined with a culprit; Shakspeare has in no instance breathed a syllable that firmness, and an eloquence the most persuasive, unite to render might seem to extenuate his guilt. Throughout the play, the her singularly interesting and attractive. C'est un ange de lu- crime which is so much debated, is represented as an object of miere sous l'humble habit d' une novice. To save the life of her disgust, both in its own impurity and in the mean, the selfish, brother she hastens to quit the peaceful seclusion of her con- and the loathsome baseness of its ministers. The very passages vent, and moves amid the votaries of corruption and hypocrisy, of a gross and indecent nature that occur, only serve to heighten amid the sensual, the vulgar, and the profligate, as a being of a the general, moral effect of the whole, and raise the reader's higher order, as a ministering spirit from the throne of grace. admiration of the holy chastity of Isabel, by placing it in conHer first interview with Angelo, and the immediately subse-trast with the repulsive levity of the votaries of licentiousness.


THIS play was printed in quarto in the year 1600; and entered at Stationers' Hall, August 23, of that year: and as it is not mectioned by Meres, in his list of our Author's works pubhahed in 1599, the date of its production is ascertained with more than usual accuracy.

Mr. Pope says that the plot was taken from the fifth book of the Urlande Furioso.-Mr. Steevens conceives that not Ariosto but spenser afforded the subject of the play, and that it was taken from the Fairy Queen, b. 2. c. 4. But as both these


Don PEDEO, Prince of Arragon.
Don Jonx, his bastard brother.

CLAUDIO, a young lord of Florence, favourite to Don

BENEDICE, a young lord of Padua, favourite likewise of Don Pedro.

LEONATO, governor of Messina.

ANTONIO, his brother.

BALTHAZAR, servant to Don Pedro.

BORACHIO, CONRADE, followers of Don John.
DOGEERRY, VERGES, two foolish officers.

A Sexton, A Friar, A Boy.

HERO, daughter to Leonato.
BEATRICE, niece to Leonato.

originals are most justly acknowledged to be remote, it nas been suggested that the story might have been copied from the 18th history of the third volume of Belleforest. 't never appears to have entered into the minds of the critics that Shakspeare might occasionally have dramatized a story of his own invention.- Much ado about Nothing, is reported in Mr. Vertue's MSS. to have passed formerly under the name of Benedick and Beatrice.

much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy at weeping?

Beat. I pray you, is signior Montanto returned from the wars, or no?

Mess. I know none of that name, lady; there was none such in the army of any sort.

Leon. What is he that you ask for, niece?

Hero. My cousin means signior Benedick of Padua.

Mess. O, he is returned, and as pleasant as ever he was.

Beat. He set up his bills here in Messina, and challenged Cupid at the flight: and my uncle's fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, and challenged him at the bird-bolt.-I pray you, how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars? But how many hath he killed? for, indeed, I promised

MARGARET, URSULA, gentlewomen attending on Hero. to eat all of his killing.

Messengers, Watch, and Attendants.



SCENE I-Before Leonato's House.

Enter LEONATO, HERO, BEATRICE, and others, with a Messenger.

Leon. I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of Arragon comes this night to Messina.

Mess. He is very near by this; he was not three leagues off when I left him.

Lean. How many gentlemen have you lost in this


Mess. But few of any sort, and none of name. Leon. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young Florentine, called Claudio.

Mess. Much deserved on his part, and equally remembered by Don Pedro: He hath borne himself beyond the promise of his age; doing, in the figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion: he hath, indeed, better bettered expectation, than you must expect of me to tell you how.

Leon. He hath an uncle here in Messina will be very much glad of it.

Mess. I have already delivered him letters, and there appears much joy in him; even so much, that joy could not shew itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness.

Leon. Did he break out into tears?
Mess. In great measure.

Leon. A kind overflow of kindness: There are no faces truer than those that are so washed. How

Leon. Faith, niece, you tax signior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you, I doubt it not. Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these

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Beat. It is so, indeed: he is no less than a stuffed man: but for the stuffing,-Well, we are all mortal.

Leon. You must not, sir, mistake my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Benedick and her: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits went halting off, and now is the old man governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to be known a reasonable creature.-Who is his companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother. Mess. Is it possible?

Beat. Very easily possible: he wears his faith but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block.

Mess. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your books.

Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?

Mess. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio. Beat. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a dis

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