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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
Isa. I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
To lose his head ; condemn’d by Angelo :
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother. One Lucio
As then the messenger ;-
That's I, an 't like your grace : I came to her from Claudio, and desired her
1 Habiliments and characters of office. 9 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 poor brother's pardon.
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
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.
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 refell’d 1 me, and how I replied ;
(For this was of much length) the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter :
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 1 confutes mine honor,
And I did yield to him. But the next morn betimes,
His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.
Duke. . This is most likely!
Isa. O, that it were as like, as it is true !
Duke. By heaven, fond 2 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
1 Pity. ? Foolish. - Conspiracy.
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.1
-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,
belike! 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.
We did believe no less. Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of?
F. Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy;
Not scurvy, nor a temporary medler,
As he's reported by this gentleman ;
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.
Lucio. My lord, most villanously ; believe it.
F. Peter. Well, he in time may come to clear
But at this instant he is sick, my lord,
Of a strange fever. Upon his mere request,
(Being come to knowlege that there was complaint
Intended 'gainst lord Angelo) came I hither,
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
Is true and false ; and what he with his oath,
And all probation, will make up full clear,
Whensoever he's convented.1 First, for this wo-
. man; (To justify this worthy nobleman, So vulgarly ? and personally accused) Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes, Till she herself confess it. Duke.
Good friar, let's hear it.
[Isabella is carried off, guarded ; and
Mariana comes forward.
Do you not smile at this, lord Angelo ?-
O heaven! the vanity of wretched fools !