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VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
Angelo, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence.
An ancient Lord, join'd with Angelo in the
Claudio, a young Gentleman.
Lucio, a Fantastic.
Varrius, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
Elbow, a simple Constable.
Froth, a foolish Gentleman.
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over-done.
Ahorson, an Executioner.
Barnardine, a diffolute Prisoner.
Isabella, Sifter to Claudio.
Mariana, betrothed to Angelo,
Juliet, beloved of Claudio.
Francisca, a Nun.
Mistress Over-done, a Bawd.
Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
1 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 lists of all advice 1 My strength can give you: then no more remains
Put that to your fufficiency, 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,
I say, bid come before us Angelo:
What figure of us, think you, he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special roll
Elected him our Absence to supply;
Lent him our Terror, dreft him with our Love;
* The story is taken from Cinthio's Novels, December 8. November 5.
And giv'n his Deputation all the organs
Of our own Power: say, what think you of it?
Ffcal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.
S CE N E II.
Enter Angelo Duke. Lak, 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 ; they 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 alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But to fine issues : nor 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 my part in him advertise ;
Hold therefore, Angelo:
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 fo noble and so great a figure
Be stampt upon it.
Duke. Come, no more evasion :
We have with a prepar'd and * level'd choice
Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition,
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes
and do look to know
What doth befal you here. So, fare you well.
To th’hopeful execution do I leave you
Áng. Yet give me 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 inforce, or qualify the Laws,
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
you well. Ang. The heav'ns give fafety to your purposes ! Escal. Lead forth and bring you back in happiness! Duke. I thank you, well.
Exit. Escal. I shall desire you, Sir, 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
instructed. Ang. 'Tis fo with me : let us withdraw together, And we may foon our satisfaction have Touching that point.
Escal. I'll wait upon your honour. [Exeunt. * Leaven'd choice) We should read level'd choice. The Allusion is to Archery, when a Manhas fix'd upon his Obje&, after taking Aim.