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Women! help heav'n; men their creation mar
In profiting by them: nay, call us ten times frail;
For we are foft as our complexions are,
And credulous to falfe prints.

Ang. I think it well;

And from this teftimony of your own fex,
(Since I fuppofe we're made to be no stronger
Than faults may fhake our frames) let me be bold;
I do arreft your words: be that you are,
That is, a woman; if you're more, you're none.
If you be one, as you are well exprefs'd
By all external warrants, fhew it now,
By putting on the destin❜d livery.

Ifab. I have no tongue but one; gentle my lord,
Let me intreat you fpeak the former language.
Ang. Plainly conceive I love you.

Ifab. My brother did love Juliet;
And you tell me that he fhall die for it.

Ang. He fhall not, Ifabel, if you give me love.
Ifab. I know your virtue hath a licence in't,
Which feems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.

Ang. Believe me on mine honour,
My words exprefs my purpose.

Ifab. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd,
And moft pernicious purpofe! feeming, feeming!
I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't:
Sign me a prefent pardon for my brother,

Or with an out-ftretch'd throat I'll tell the world
Aloud what man thou art.

Ang. Who will believe thee, Ifabel?

My unfoil'd name, th' auftereness of my life,
My vouch against you, and my place i' th' ftate,
Will fo your accufation over-weigh,
That you fhall ftifle in your own report,
And fmell of calumny. I have begun,
And now I give my fenfual race the rein.
Fit thy confent to my fharp appetite,

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Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes
That banish what they fue for: fave thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will.

Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness fhall his death draw out
To ling'ring fufferance. Anfwer me to-morrow,
Or by th' affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,
Say what you can, my falfe o'erweighs your true.

Ifab. To whom fhould I complain? did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the felf-fame tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bldding the law make curtfie to their will,
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow as it draws. I'll to my brother.
Tho' he hath fall'n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him fuch a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his fifter fhould her body stoop
To fuch abhorr❜d pollution.

Then, Ifabel, live chafte, and, brother, die;
More than our brother is our chastity.

I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,

And fit his mind to death for his foul's reft.


(a) Approof here is to be taken in the fenfe of Approbation.





Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.



S'Claud. The unferable have no other medicine then you hope for pardon from lord Angelo?

But only hope: I've hope to live, and am Prepar'd to die.

Duke. Be abfolute for death; or death or life Shall thereby be the fweeter. Reason thus

With life; if I do lofe thee, I do lofe

A thing that none but fools would keep, 3'a breath`
Servile to all the skiey influences,

That 'do this habitation where thou keep❜ft
Hourly afflict: meerly thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'ft by thy flight to fhun,

And yet runn'ft tow'rd him ftill. Thou art not noble
For all th' accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nurs❜d by baseness: thou'rt by no means valiant;
For thou doft fear the soft and tender fork

Of a poor worm. Thy beft of reft is fleep,
And that thou oft provok'ft; yet grofly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou'rt not thy felf;
For thou exift'ft on many a thousand grains
That iffue out of duft. Happy thou art not;
For what thou haft not, ftill thou ftriv'ft to get,



(a) In the fimplicity of the ancient fhews upon our flage it was com mon to bring in two figures, one representing a Fool, the other Death or Fate: The turn and contrivance of the piece was to make the Fool lay many fratagems to avoid Death which yet brought him more immediately into the jaws of it.

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And what thou haft, forgett'ft. Thou art not certain;
For thy complexion fhifts to ftrange effects,

After the moon. "Though thou art rich, thou'rt poor;
For like an ass, whofe back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloadeth thee. Friend haft thou none:
For thine own bowels which do call thee Sire,
The meer effufion of thy proper loins,

Do curfe the Gout, Serpigo, and the Rheum,

For ending thee no fooner. Thou haft nor youth, nor age; But as it were an after-dinner's fleep,

Dreaming on both; for all thy bleffed youth


Becomes an indigent, and doth beg the alms

Of palfied eld; and when thou'rt old and rich,
Thou haft neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty
To make thy riches pleasant. What's in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lye hid a thousand deaths; yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

Claud. I humbly thank you.

To fue to live, I find I feek to die,

And feeking death, find life: let it come on.

Enter Ifabella.

Ifab. What, ho? peace here, grace and good company!
Prov. Who's there? come in: the wifh deferves a welcome.
Duke. Dear Sir, ere long I'll vifit you again.

Claud. Moft holy Sir, I thank you.

Ifab. My bufinefs is a word or two with Claudio.
Prov. And very welcome. Signior, here's your fifter.
Duke. Provost, a word with you.

Prov. As many as you please.

Duke. Bring them to speak where I may be conceal'd, Yet hear them.

[Exeunt Duke and Provost.

5 If

6 as aged,

7 more


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Claud. Now, good fifter, what's the comfort? Ifab. Why, as all comforts are; moft good in 'fpeed: Lord Angelo having affairs to heav'n,

Intends you for his fwift ambaffador;

Where you fhall be an everlasting leiger.

Therefore your best appointment make with speed,
To-morrow you fet out.

Claud. Is there no remedy?

Ifab. None, but fuch remedy, as, to fave a head, 9'Muft cleave a heart in twain.

Claud. But is there any?

Ifab. Yes, brother, you may live :
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you 'till death.

Claud. Perpetual durance?

Ifab. Ay, juft; perpetual durance, a restraint, Tho' all the world's vaftidity you had,

To a determin'd scope.

Claud. But in what nature?

Ifab. In fuch a one, as, you confenting to't, Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear, And leave you naked.

Claud. Let me know the point.

Ifab. Oh, I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake,
Left thou a fev'rous life fhould'ft entertain,
And fix or seven winters more respect
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'ft thou die?
The fenfe of death is most in apprehenfion,
And the poor beetle that we tread upon,
In corp❜ral fufferance finds a pang as great,
As when a giant dies.

Claud. Why give you me this shame?
Think you 'I want a refolution fetch'd`


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