Previous scene. | Next scene. | Table of contents

Act 4, Scene 3

[Enter POMPEY]

POMPEY: I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house
of profession: one would think it were Mistress
Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old
customers. First, here's young Master Rash; he's in
for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger,     [5]
ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made
five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not
much in request, for the old women were all dead.
Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of
Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of     [10]
peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a
beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young
Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master
Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young
Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master     [15]
Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the
great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed
Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in
our trade, and are now 'for the Lord's sake.'

[Enter ABHORSON]

ABHORSON: Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.     [20]

POMPEY: Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.
Master Barnardine!

ABHORSON: What, ho, Barnardine!

BARNARDINE: [Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that
noise there? What are you?     [25]

POMPEY: Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be so
good, sir, to rise and be put to death.

BARNARDINE: [Within] Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.

ABHORSON: Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

POMPEY: Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you are     [30]
executed, and sleep afterwards.

ABHORSON: Go in to him, and fetch him out.

POMPEY: He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

ABHORSON: Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

POMPEY: Very ready, sir.     [35]

[Enter BARNARDINE]

BARNARDINE: How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

ABHORSON: Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your
prayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.

BARNARDINE: You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am not
fitted for 't.     [40]

POMPEY: O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,
and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep the
sounder all the next day.

ABHORSON: Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: do
we jest now, think you?     [45]

[Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before]

DUKE VINCENTIO: Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily
you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort
you and pray with you.

BARNARDINE: Friar, not I: I have been drinking hard all night,
and I will have more time to prepare me, or they     [50]
shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not
consent to die this day, that's certain.

DUKE VINCENTIO: O, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech you
Look forward on the journey you shall go.

BARNARDINE: I swear I will not die to-day for any man's     [55]
persuasion.

DUKE VINCENTIO: But hear you.

BARNARDINE: Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me,
come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

[Exit]

DUKE VINCENTIO: Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart!     [60]
After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

[Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY]

[Re-enter Provost]

Provost: Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

DUKE VINCENTIO: A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
Were damnable.     [65]

Provost:                Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head
Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined;     [70]
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

DUKE VINCENTIO: O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides!
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done,     [75]
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

Provost: This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio,     [80]
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?

DUKE VINCENTIO: Let this be done.
Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting     [85]
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.

Provost: I am your free dependant.

DUKE VINCENTIO: Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

[Exit Provost]

Now will I write letters to Angelo,--     [90]
The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents
Shall witness to him I am near at home,
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publicly: him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount     [95]
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and well-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.

[Re-enter Provost]

Provost: Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

DUKE VINCENTIO: Convenient is it. Make a swift return;     [100]
For I would commune with you of such things
That want no ear but yours.

Provost: I'll make all speed.

[Exit]

ISABELLA: [Within] Peace, ho, be here!

DUKE VINCENTIO: The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know     [105]
If yet her brother's pardon be come hither:
But I will keep her ignorant of her good,
To make her heavenly comforts of despair,
When it is least expected.

[Enter ISABELLA]

ISABELLA: Ho, by your leave!     [110]

DUKE VINCENTIO: Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

ISABELLA: The better, given me by so holy a man.
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

DUKE VINCENTIO: He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:
His head is off and sent to Angelo.     [115]

ISABELLA: Nay, but it is not so.

DUKE VINCENTIO: It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,
In your close patience.

ISABELLA: O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

DUKE VINCENTIO: You shall not be admitted to his sight.     [120]

ISABELLA: Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel!
Injurious world! most damned Angelo!

DUKE VINCENTIO: This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot;
Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven.
Mark what I say, which you shall find     [125]
By every syllable a faithful verity:
The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes;
One of our convent, and his confessor,
Gives me this instance: already he hath carried
Notice to Escalus and Angelo,     [130]
Who do prepare to meet him at the gates,
There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom
In that good path that I would wish it go,
And you shall have your bosom on this wretch,
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart,     [135]
And general honour.

ISABELLA:                I am directed by you.

DUKE VINCENTIO: This letter, then, to Friar Peter give;
'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return:
Say, by this token, I desire his company
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours     [140]
I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you
Before the duke, and to the head of Angelo
Accuse him home and home. For my poor self,
I am combined by a sacred vow
And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter:     [145]
Command these fretting waters from your eyes
With a light heart; trust not my holy order,
If I pervert your course. Who's here?

[Enter LUCIO]

LUCIO: Good even. Friar, where's the provost?

DUKE VINCENTIO: Not within, sir.     [150]

LUCIO: O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see
thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain
to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for
my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set
me to 't. But they say the duke will be here     [155]
to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother:
if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been
at home, he had lived.

[Exit ISABELLA]

DUKE VINCENTIO: Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to your
reports; but the best is, he lives not in them.     [160]

LUCIO: Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do:
he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.

DUKE VINCENTIO: Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.

LUCIO: Nay, tarry; I'll go along with thee
I can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.     [165]

DUKE VINCENTIO: You have told me too many of him already, sir, if
they be true; if not true, none were enough.

LUCIO: I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

DUKE VINCENTIO: Did you such a thing?

LUCIO: Yes, marry, did I: but I was fain to forswear it;     [170]
they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.

DUKE VINCENTIO: Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.

LUCIO: By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end:
if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little of
it. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.     [175]

[Exeunt]


Previous scene. | Next scene. | Table of contents