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Enter Angelo, Escalus, a Justice, and Attendants.
And let it keep one shape, 'till custom make it Their perch, and not their terror.
Escal. Ay, but yet Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas! this gentleman, Whom I would save, had a most noble father ; Let but your honour know, whom I believe To be most strait in virtue, 2/whether in The working of your own affections, Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of your blood Could have attain’d th' effect of your own purpose, Whether you had not sometime in your life Err’d in this point 3 'you cenfure now in him, And pull’d the law upon you.
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny The jury passing on the prisoner's life May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two, Guiltier than him they try; what's open made To justice, + 'that it feizes on.' What know The laws that thieves do pass on thieves ? 3''tis pregnant, The jewel that we find, we stoop and take't,
3 which now you censure him, that justice seizes on.
5 'tis very pregnant,
Because we see it; but what we do not fee,
. He must die.
Ang. See that Claudio
Escal. Well, heav'n forgive him! and forgive us all! Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall : Some run through brakes of vice, and answer none; And some condemned for one fault alone.
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, and Officers. Elb. Come, bring them away; if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
Ing. How now, Sir, what's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor Duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, Sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are; but precile villains they are, that I am sure of,
and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
Ang. Go to: what quality are you of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ?
Clown. He cannot, Sir ; he's out at elbow,
El). He, Sir? a tapster, Sir; parcel-bawd; one that ferves a bad woman; whose house, Sir, was, as they say, pluckt down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hothouse; which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, Sir; whom I thank heav'n is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou deteft her therefore ?
Elb. I say, Sir, I will detest my felf also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How doft thou know that, constable :
Elb. Marry, Sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanness there.
Escal. By ? 'that' woman's means ?
Elb. Ay, Sir, by mistress Over-don's means ; but as she spit in his face, so she defy’d him.
Clown. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not fo.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ?
Clown. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour’s reverence) for stew'd prunes; we had but iwo in the house, which at that very inftant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three pence; (your honours have seen such dishes, they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.) 7 the
Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, Sir.
Clown. No indeed, Sir, not of a pin ; you are therein in the right: but to the point ; as I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great belly’d, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having no more in the dish, as I said; master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly; for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three pence again.
Frotb. No indeed.
be remembred, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.
Frotb. Ay, so I did indeed.
Clown. Why, very well; I telling you then, if remembred, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool; to the purpose : what was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? come to what was done to her.
Clown, Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
Clown. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: and I beseech you, look into master Frotb here, Sir, a man of fourscore pound a year ; whose father dy'd at Hallowmas. Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth?
Froth, All-holland eve.
Clown. Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, Sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, Sir; 'twas in the bunch of grapes, where indeed you have a delight to sit, have you not?
Froth. I have so, because it is an open room, and good for winter.
Clown. Why, very well then; I hope here be truths.
Ang. This will last out a night in Rusia,
And leave you to the hearing of the cause,
S CE N E
Escal. I think no less. Good-morrow to your lordship. Now, Sir, come on: what was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
Clown. Once, Sir? there was nothing done to her once.
Clown. I beseech you, Sir, look in this gentleman's face; good master Froth, Icok upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose; doth your honour mark his face?
Escal. Ay, Sir, very well.
Clown. I'll be suppos'd upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm ? I would know that of your honour.
Escal. He's in the right; constable, what say you to it?
Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house ; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
Clown. By this hand, Sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou lieft; thou liest, wicked varlet ; the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Clown. Sir, she was respected with him before he marry'd with her.