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VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
Angelo, Lord-deputy in the Duke's absence.
ESCALUS, an ancient Lord, joint Deputy with Angelo.
CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
Lucio, a Fantastick.
VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
Elbow, a simple Constable.
Froth, a foolish Gentleman.
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over-DON.
ABHORSON, an Executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.
IS ABELLA, Sister to CLAUDIO,
MARIANA, betrothed to ANGELO.
Juliet, beloved of CLAUDIO.
FRANCISCA, a Nun.
Mistress OVER-DON, a Bawd.
Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
The Story is taken from Cinthio's Novels. Dec. 8. Nov. 5.
Enter Duke, Escalus, and Lords.
Escal. My lord.
Duke. Of government the properties t' unfold
Would seem in me t' affect speech and discourse;
Since I am not to know, that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the list of all advice
My stength 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 institutions, and the terms
Of common justice, y’are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call hither,
[To the attendants.
I say, bid come before us Angelo:
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, dress’d him with our love;
And giv’n his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: say, what think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.
Enter 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' observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold: thyself and thy belongings
Are 'not thine own so proper, as to waste
Thyself 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 issues; nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks, and use. But I do bend my speech
To one that can in my part me adertise;
Hold therefore, Angelo :
[Giving him his commission.
In our remove, be thou at full ourself.
Mortality and mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart: old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary.
Take thy commission.
Ang. Now, good my lord,
Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure
Be stamp'd upon it.
Duke. Come, no more evasion :
We have with a prepar'd and leaven'd choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our hafte from hence is of so quick condition,
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write,
As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with us, and do look to know
What doth befal you here. So, fare you
To th' hopeful execution do I leave you
Of our commission.
Ang. Yet, give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.
Duke. My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple; your scope is as mine own,
So to enforce, or qualify the law,
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
I'll privily away. I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes :
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause, and ave's vehement:
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion
That does affect it. Once more, you
Ang. The heav'ns give safety to your purposes !
Escal. Lead forth, and bring you back in happiness !
Duke. I thank
Escal. I shall desire you, fir, to give me leave
To have free speech with you; and it concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place:
A pow'r I have; but of what strength and nature
I am not yet instructed.
Ang. 'Tis so with me: let us withdraw together,
And we may soon our satisfaction have
Touching that point.
Escal. I'll wait upon your honour.
[Exeunt. Vol. I.
Enter Lucio, and two Gentlemen.
F the duke, with the other dukes, come not to com-
dukes fall upon the king.
1 Gent. Heav’n grant us its peace, but not the king of Hungary's!
2 Gent. Amen!
Lucio. Thou concludst like the fanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scrap'd one out of the table.
2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal ? Lucio. Ay, that he raz’d.
1 Gent. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions; they put forth to steal: there's not a soldier of us all, that in the thanksgiving after meat doth relish the petition well that prays
peace. 2 Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it. Lucio. I believe thee: for, I think, thou never wast where
2 Gent. No? a dozen times at least. I Gent. What ? in metre?
Lucio. Not in any profession, or in any language, I think, or in any religion.
2 Gent. And why not? grace is grace, despite of all controversy.
Lucio. As for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.
2 Gent. Well; there went but a pair of sheers between us. Lucio. I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet. Thou art the list.