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Are stuck upon thee! volumes of report
Re-enter Mariana and Isabella.
It is not my consent,
Little have you to say,
Fear me not.
husband on a pre-contract : To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin ; Sith3 that the justice
of your title to him Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go; Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe'g5 to sow.
[Exeunt. SCENE II.-A room in the prison. Enter
Provost and Clown. Prov. Come hither, sirrah : can you cut off a man's head.
Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can : but if he be a married man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.
Prov. Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine: here is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office Jacks a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you from your gyves ;6 if not,
(1) Inquisitions, inquiries. (2) Sallies.
you shall have your full time of imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping; for you have been a notorious bawd.
Clo. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out of mind ; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow partner.
Prov. What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?
Enter Abhorson. Abhor. Do you call, sir?
Prov. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to morrow in your execution : if
think him meet, compound with him by the year, and let him abide here with you: if not, use him for the present, and dismiss him : he cannot plead his estimation with you; he hath been a bawd.
Abhor. A bawd, sir? Fie upon him, he will discredit our mystery."
Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale.
(Erit. Clo. Pray, sir, by your good favour (for, surely, sir, a good favour2 you have, but that you have a hanging look,) do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery ? Abhor. Ay, sir; a mystery.
Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery: but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine. Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery. Clo. Proof. Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough ; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough : so every true man's apparel fits
thief. (1) Trade. (2) Countenance. (3) Honest.
Re-enter Provost. Prov. Are you agreed?
Clo. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask forgiveness.
Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe, to-morrow four o'clock.
Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
Clo. I do desire to learn, sir; and, I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you shall find me yare : for, truly, sir, for your kindness, I owe you a good turn. Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio :
[Exeunt Clown and Abhorson. One has my pity; not a jot the other, Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
Who can do good on him? Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise ?
[Knocking within. Heaven give your spirits comfort! [Exit Claudio.
By and by :-
night Envelop you, good Provost! Who call'd here of late?
(1) Ready (2) Stiffly.
Prov. None, since the curfew rung.
Not Isabel ?
There's some in hope. Prov. It is a bitter deputy.
Duke. Not so, not so ; his life is parallel'd Even with the stroke and line of his great justice: He doth with holy abstinence subdue That in himself, which he spurs on his power To qualifyl in others : were he mealdı With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous; But this being so, he's just.-Now are they come.
(Knocking within—Provost goes out. This is a gentle provost : Seldom, when The steeled gaeler is the friend of men. How now? What noise ? That spirit's possess'd
with haste, That wounds the unsisting postern with these
strokes. Provost returns, speaking to one at the door.
Prov. There he must stay, until the officer Arise to let him in; he is call'd up.
Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet, But he must die to-morrow? Prov.
None, sir, none. Duke. As near the dawning, Provost, as it is, You shall hear more ere morning. Prov.
Happily,3 You something know; yet, I believe, there comes No countermand ; no such example have we: Besides, upon the very siege of justice, Lord Angelo hath to the public ear Profess'd the contrary.
Enter a Messenger. Duke. This is his lordship’s man. (1) Moderate. (2) Defiled. (3) Perhaps. (4) Seata
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.
Mess. My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this further charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, nor other circumstance. Good morrow ; for, as I take it, it is almost day.
Prov. I shall obey him. [Exit Messenger. Duke. This is his pardon ; purchased by such sin,
(Aside. For which the pardoner himself is in : Hence hath offence his quick celerity, When it is borne in high authority : When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended, That for the fault's love, is the offender friended.Now, sir, what news ?
Prov. I told you : Lord Angelo, belike, thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on :' methinks, strangely ; for he hath not used it before.
Duke. Pray you, let's hear.
Prov. [Reads.] Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio he executed by four of the clock; and, in the afternoon, Barnardine : for my better satisfaction, let me have Claudio's head sent me by five. Let this be duly perform'd; with a thought, that more depend on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril. What say you to this, sir?
Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be executed in the afternoon?
Prov. A Bohemian born ; but here nursed up and bred: one that is a prisoner nine years old.2
Duke. How came it, that the absent duke had not either deliver'd him to his liberty, or executed him? I have heard, it was ever his manner to do so.
Prov. His friends still wrought reprieves for him : and, indeed, his fact, till now in the govern.. (1) Spur, incitement. (2) Nine years in prison.