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VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
ANGELO, Lord-deputy in the Duke's abfence.
ESCALUS, an ancient Lord, joint Deputy with Angelo,
CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
LUCIO, a Fantaftick.
VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
ELBOW, a fimple Conftable.
FROTH, a foolish Gentleman.
CLOWN, Servant to Mrs. Over-don.
ABHORSON, an Executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.
ISABELLA, Sifter to Claudio.
MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo.
JULIET, beloved of Claudio.
FRANCISCA, a Nun.
Miftrefs OVER-DON, a Bawd.
Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
The Story is taken from Cinthio's Novels, Dec. 8. Nov. 5.
ACT I. SCENE I.
Enter Duke, Efcalus, and Lords.
Efcal. My lord.
Duke. Of Government the properties
Would feem in me t' affect fpeech and difcourfe
Since I am not to know, that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lifts of all advice
My ftrength can give you: then no more remains,
But that to your fufficiency you join
A will to serve us as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,
Our city's inftitutions, and the terms
Of common justice, y'are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commiffion,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
[To the Attendants,
I fay, bid come before us Angelo:
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with fpecial foul
Elected him our abfence to fupply;
Lent him our terror, dreft him with our love;
And giv'n his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: fay, what think you of it?
Efeel. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo fuch ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.
Duke. Look where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure.
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to th' obferver, doth thy hiftory
Fully unfold: thyfelf and thy belongings
Are not thine own fo proper, as to waste
Thy felf upon thy virtues, them on thee:
Heav'n doth with us, as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all as if
We had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But to fine iffues; nature never lends
The smallest fcruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddefs, fhe determines
Herfelf the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks, and ufe. But I do bend my speech
To one that can in my part me advertise;
Hold therefore, Angelo. [Giving him his commission.
In our remove, be thou at full our self.
Mortality and mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart: old Efcalus,
Though firft in queftion, is thy fecondary.
Take thy commiffion.
Ang. Now, good my lord,
Let there be fome more teft made of my metal,
Before fo noble and fo great a figure
Be ftampt upon it.
Duke. Come, no more evafion :
We have with a prepar'd and leaven'd choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our hafte from hence is of fo quick condition,
That it prefers it felf, and leaves unqueftion'd'
Matters of needful value. We fhall write,
As time and our concernings thall importune,
How it goes with us, and do look to know