« PreviousContinue »
My words express my purpose.
Isab. Ha ! little honour to be much believ'd, 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 vouch2 against you, and my place if 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 prolixious3 blushes, That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother By yielding up thy body to my will ; Or etse 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.
(Exit. 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 draxs! 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. (1) Hypocrisy. (2) Attestation
Then Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die :
ACT III. SCENÉ 1.A room in the prison. Enter Duke,
Claudio, and Provost. 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 prepar'd to die.
Duke. Be absolutel 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) That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st, Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fooli, For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, And yet run'st toward him still: Thou art not noble; For all the accommodations that thou bear'st, Are nurs'd by 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,?
nor age ;
I humbly thank you.
As many as you please.
(1) Affects, affections. (2) Leprous eruptions. (3) Old age.
Yet hear them. (Exeunt Duke and Prorost.
Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort ? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in
deed; Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven, Intends you for his swift ambassador, Where you shall be an everlasting leiger :! Therefore your best appointment2 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 vastidity3 you had, To a determin'd 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 should'st entertain, And six or seven winters more respect Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st 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. Clavd.
Why give you me this shame? Think you I can a resolution fetch From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
(1) Resident. (2) Preparation.
Vastness of extent.
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
The princely Angelo? Isab. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell, The damned'st body to invest and cover In princely guards !2 Dost thou think, Claudio, If I would yield him my virginity, Thou might'st be freed? Claud.
O, heavens! it cannot be. Isab. Yes, he would give it thee, from this rank
Thou shalt not do't.
Thanks, dear Isabel.
Claud. Yes. Has he affections in him,
Isab. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise, Why, would be for the momentary trick
(1) Shut up. (2) Laced robes. (3) Fre