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Ang. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm : She hath been a suitor to me for her brother, Cut off by course of justice. Isa.

By course of justice ! Ang. And she will speak most bitterly and

strange. Isa. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I

speak :
That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange ?
That Angelo's a murderer ; is 't not strange ?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
A hypocrite, a virgin-violator;
Is it not strange, and strange ?

Nay, ten times strange.
Isa. It is not truer he is Angelo,
Than this is all as true as it is strange:
Nay, it is ten times true ; for truth is truth
To the end of reckoning.

Away with her.-Poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.

Isa. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believest There is another comfort than this world, That thou neglect me not, with that opinion That I am touch'd with madness : make not impos

sible That which but seems unlike : 'tis not impossible, But one, the wickedest caitiff on the ground, May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,1

| As complete in all the round of duty.

As Angelo; even so may Angelo,
In all his dressings, characts,1 titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain : believe it, royal prince,
If he be less, he's nothing ; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.

By mine honesty,
If she be mad, (as I believe no other)
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.

O, gracious duke,
Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason
For inequality : ? but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear, where it seems hid;
And hide the false, seems true.3

Many that are not mad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.-What would you

say? Isa. I am the sister of one Claudio, Condemn'd

upon the act of fornication To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo : 1, in probation of a sisterhood, Was sent to by my brother. One Lucio As then the messenger ;Lucio.

That's I, an 't like your grace : I came to her from Claudio, and desired her

1 Habiliments and characters of office. 3 Apparent inconsistency.

3 And for ever hide, i.e. plunge into eternal darkness, the false one, i.e. Angelo, who now seems honest.

To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo,
For her


brother's pardon. Isa.

That 's he, indeed.
Duke. You were not bid to speak.

No, my good lord ;
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.

I wish you now then;
Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray Heaven, you then
Be perfect.
Lucio. I warrant your

honor. Duke. The warrant 's for yourself; take heed

to it. Isa. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. Lucio. Right.

Duke. It may be right; but you are in the wrong To speak before your

time. Proceed. Isa.

I went
To this pernicious caitiff deputy.

Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken.

Pardon it ; The phrase is to the matter.

Duke. Mended again : the matter :-proceed.

Isa. In brief,—to set the needless process by, How I persuaded, how I pray'd and kneelid, How he refelld 1 me, and how I replied ; (For this was of much length) the vile conclusion I now begin with grief and shame to utter:

1 Refuted.

He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscible intemperate lust,
Release my brother; and, after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse ? confutes mine honor,
And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes,

purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.

This is most likely! Isa. O, that it were as like, as it is true ! Duke. By heaven, fond ? wretch, thou know'st

not what thou speak'st; Or else thou art suborn'd against his honor, In hateful practice. First, his integrity Stands without blemish :-next, it imports no

That with such vehemency he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended,
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself,
And not have cut him off. Some one hath set

you on ;
Confess the truth, and say by whose advice
Thou camest here to complain.

And is this all ?
Then, O, you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, with ripen'd time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrapp'd up
In countenance ! —Heaven shield your grace from


i Pity.

2 Foolish.

3 Conspiracy.

4 False appearance.

As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone !- An officer! To prison with her.-Shall we thus permit A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall On him so near us ? This needs must be a practice.? --Who knew of your intent, and coming hither?

Isa. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick. Duke. A ghostly father, belike.—Who knows

that Lodowick ? Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a medling

friar ;

I do not like the man : had he been lay, my lord,
For certain words he spake against your grace
In your retirement, I had swinged him soundly.
Duke. Words against me? This a good friar,

And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our substitute !—Let this friar be found.
Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that

I saw them at the prison : a saucy friar,
A very scurvy fellow.

F. Peter. Blessed be your royal grace !
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Your royal ear abused. First, hath this woman
Most wrongfully accused your substitute ;
Who is as free from touch or soil with her,
As she from one ungot.

1 Conspiracy.

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