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ACT II.

SCENE I.-A Hall in Angelo's House.
Enter ANGELO, Escalus, a Justice, Provost," Officers,

and other Attendants.
Ang. We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear b the birds of prey,
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 saye, had a most noble father.
Let but your honour know,
(Whom I believe to be most straight in virtue,)
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of our blood d
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err'd in this point which now you censure him,
And pull'd the law upon you.

Ang. 'T is 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, a The Provost is here a kind of sheriff-a keeper of prisoners. 6 To fear—to affright.

. Fall. The is here used actively. We still say to fall a tree; and probably Shakspere had this image in his mind.

d Our blood may mean, our nature the nature of man. e We must understand for after censure him.

a

That justice seizes. What know the laws,
That thieves do pass on

thieves ? 'T is very pregnant,
The jewel that we find we stoop and take it,
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence,
Forb I have had such faults; but rather tell me
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Ang.

Where is the provost ? Prov. Here, if it like

your

honour. Ang.

See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : Bring him his confessor, let him be prepard; For that 's the utmost of his pilgrimage. [Exit Prov.

Escal. Well, Heaven forgive him! and forgive us all! Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall : Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none

e ; And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, Officers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a commonweal that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.

Ang. 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 a Pass on-condemn, adjudicate.

b For--because.

they are: but precise 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 they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ?

Clo. He cannot, sir; he 's out at elbow.
Ang. What are you, sir?

El. He, sir? a tapster, sir ; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.

Escal. How know you that?

Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before Heaven and your honour,

Escal. How! thy wife?

Elb. Ay, sir ; whom, I thank Heaven, is an honest woman,

Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?

Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself 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 dost 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 uncleanliness there.

Escal. By the woman's means ?

Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means : but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.

Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.

Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.

Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ? [To Ang. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child ;

and longing (saving your honour's reverence) for

prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant 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.

Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.

Clo. 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 bellied, and longing, as I said, for prunes ; and having but two 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.

Froth. No, indeed.

Clo. Very well : you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of the foresaid prunes.

Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.

Clo. Why, very well : I telling you then, if you be remembered, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.

Froth. All this is true. Clo. Why, very well then. 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 me to what was done to her.

Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet.
Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.

Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir; a man of fourscore pound a-year; whose father died at Hallowmas:—Was 't not at Hallowmas, master Froth ?

Froth. All-hallownd eve.

Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths : He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir;—'t was 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.

Clo. Why, very well then ;-I hope here be truths.

Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there : I 'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping you 'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less : Good morrow to your lordship.

[Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?

Clo. Once, sir ? there was nothing done to her once.

Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.

Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.
Escal. Well, sir: What did this gentleman to her?

Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face : -Good master Froth, look upon his honour; 't is for a good purpose: Doth your honour mark his face?

Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Escal. Well, I do so.
Clo. Doth your honour see any harm in his face?
Escal. Why, no.

Clo. I 'll be supposed 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

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.

Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.

Elb. Varlet, thou liest ; thou liest, wicked varlet : the time is yet to come that she was ever respected, with man, woman, or child.

your honour.

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