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Claud. Thus stands it with me:-Upon a true contract,
I got possession of Julietta's bed;
And the new deputy now for the duke,-
So long, that nineteen zodiacks* have gone round,
Lucio. I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders, that a milk-maid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke, and appeal to him.
Claud. I have done so; but he's not to be found. I pr'ythee, Lucio, do me this kind service: This day my sister should the cloister enter, And there receive her approbation : Acquaint her with the danger of my state;
Enter on her probation.
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
Lucio. I pray she may: as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition; as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.
Claud. I thank thee, good friend Lucio.
Claud. Come, officer, away,
Enter Duke and Friar Thomas.
Duke. No, holy father; throw away that thought; Believe not that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a cómplete bosom +; why I desire thee To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends Of burning youth.
May your grace speak of it? Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd ; And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps §. I have deliver'd to lord Angelo
(A man of stricture ||, and firm abstinence), My absolute power and place here in Vienna, And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
Completely armed. § Showy dress resides.
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
(The needful bits and curbs for headstrong steeds), Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep; Even like an over-grown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey: now, as fond fathers
It rested in your grace To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd: And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd Than in lord Angelo.
Duke. I do fear, too dreadful: Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope, "Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall them For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done, When evil deeds have their permissive pass, And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my
I have on Angelo impos'd the office ;
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home, And yet my nature never in the sight,
To do it slander: and to behold his sway,
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
Only, this one:-Lord Angelo is precise;
Enter Isabella and Francisca.
Isab. And have you nuns no further privileges ? Fran. Are not these large enough?
Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more; But rather wishing a more strict restraint Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare. Lucio. Ho! peace be in this place! [Within. Isab. Who's that which calls? Fran. It is a man's voice: gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him ; You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn: When you have vow'd, you must not speak with
But in the presence of the prioress:
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face;
[Exit Francisca. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls? Enter Lucio.
Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek
Proclaim you are no less! can you so stead me,
Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask; The rather, for I now must make you know I am that Isabella, and his sister.
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me! For what?
Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks:
Isab. Sir, make me not your story*.
It is true.
I would not-though 'tis my familiar sin
As with a saint.
Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me.
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth†, 'tis thus:
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:
İsab. Some one with child by him?My cousin
Lucio. Is she your cousin?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their
By vain though apt affection.
* Do not make a jest of me. + Breeding plenty.
She it is.
This is the point.
In few and true words. § Tilling.