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Chead?

SCENE changes to the Prison.

Enter Provoit and Clown. Prov. OME hither, firrah: can you cut off a man's

head ? Clown. If the man be a batchelor, Sir, I can: but if he be a marry'd man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.

Prov. Come, Sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine : here is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a helper ; if you will take it on you to aflitt him, it shall redeem you from your gyves: if not, you fall have your full time of imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied whipping ; for you have been a notorious bawd.

Clown. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out of mind, but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman: I would be glad to receive some instruction from my fellow-partner. Prov. What hoa, Abhorfon! where's Abhorfon, there?

Enter Abhorson. Abhor. Do you call, Sir?

Prov. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to-morrow in your execution ; if you think it meet, compound with him by the year, and let him abide here with you ; if not, use him for the present, and dismiss him. He cannot plead his estimation with you, he hath been a bawd.

Abhor. A bawd, Sir? fy upon him, he will discredit our myftery.

Prov. Go to, Sir, you weigh equally ; a feather will turn the scale.

[Exit. Clown. Pray, Sir, by your good favour; (for, furely, Sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a hanging look ;) do you call, Sir, your occupation a mystery

Abhor.

Abhor. Ay, Sir; a mystery.

Clown. Painting, Sir, I have heard say, is a mystery ; and your whores, Sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a myftery: but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang’d, I cannot imagine.

Abkor. Sir, it is a mystery. Cloze. Proof. Abhor. (23) Every true man's apparel fits your thief, Clown : if it be too little for your true man, your thief thinks it big enough. If it be too big for your true man, your thief thinks it litile enough ; fo every true man's apparel fits

your

thief.

Re-cuter Provost. Prov. Are you agreed ?

Clorun. Sir, I will serve him : for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftner ask forgiveness.

Prov. You, firrah, provide your block and your ax to-morrow, four o'clock.

Abhor. Come on, bawd, I will instruct thee in my trade ; follow.

Clown. I do desire to learn, Sir; and I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you (24)

shall

(23) Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thief. Clown, If it be too little for your ibief, your true man ibinks it

big enough. If it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little

erough: So every true man's apparel fits your thief. ] This is a very notable passage, as it stands in all the editions; but, i dare say, is notably corrupted ; and both the speeches, and the words, fhuffled and misplaced. What! does the Clown ask proof, how the hangman's irade is a mystery ; and, so soon as ever Abborson advances his Thesis to prove it, the Clown takes the argument out of his mouth, perverts the

very tenour of it? I am satisfied, the Poet intended a regular syllogism; and I submit it to judgment, whether my regte Jation has not refor'd that wit, and humour which was quite loft in the depravation.

(24) You fall find me yours ;] This reading, I believe, was first Mr. Rowe's; and consequently adopted by the last Editor. The old

books

and

R3

fall find me yare : for, truly, Sir, for your

kindness I owe you a good turn.

[Exit.
Prov. Call hither Barnardine, and Claudio :
One has my pity ; not a jot the other,
Being a murd'rer, tho'be were my brother.

Enter Claudio.
Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death;
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow
Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?

Claud. As fast lock'd up in fleep, as guiltless labour
When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones :
He'll not awake.

Prov. Who can do good on him?
Well, go, prepare yourself. [Exit Claud.) But, hark,
what noise ?

[Knock within
Heav'n give your spirits comfort !--by and by ;
I hope, it is some pardon, or reprieve,
For the moit gentle Claudio. Welcome, father.

Enter Duke.
Duke. The best and wholesom'ft fpirits of the night
Invellop you, good Provojt! who call'd here of late?

Prov. None, fince the curphew rung
Duke. Not Ifabel?
Prov. No.
Duke. They will then, ere't be long.
Prov. What comfort is for Claudio ??
Duke. There is some in hope.
Prov. It is a bitter Deputy.

Duke. Not fo, not fo ; his life is parallel'd
Év’n with the stroak and line of his great justice ;
He doth with holy abftinence subdue
That in himself, which he spurs on his pow'r
To qualify in others. Were he meal'd
books have it, you shall find me y'are. Very little fagacity might
have instructed them, that the corruption is only in the apoftropbe;
and that the Poet's word was yare; i. e. dextrous in the office; a
word very frequent in our Author's writings.

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With that, which he corrects, then were he tyrannous :
But this being fo, he's jutt. Now are they come.

[Knock again. Provost goes out.
This is a gentle Provost; seldom when
The steeled goaler is the friend of men,
How now? what noise ? that spirit's poffest with hafte,
That wounds th' unrefifting poltern with the Arokes.

[Provost returns
Prov. There he inuft stay, until the officer
Arise to let him in; he is callid up,

Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
But he must die to-morrow?

Prov. None, Sir, none.

Duke. As near the dawning, Provost, as it is,
You shall hear niore ere morning.

Prov. Happily,
You something know; yet, I believe, there comes
No countermand; no such example have we:
Befides, upon the very fiege of justice,
Lord Angelo hath to the publick ear
Profeft the contrary.

Enter a Messenger
Duke. This is his Lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.

Mel. My Lord hath sent you this note, and by me
this further charge, that you swerve not from the
fmallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or other
circumstance. Good morrow; for as I take it, it is.
almost day,
Prov. í fhall obey him,

[Exit Meffen.
Duke. This is his pardon, purchas'd by such fin,
For which the pardoner himself is in:
Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
When it is borne in high authority;
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended,
That, for the fault's love, is th' offender friended.
Now, Sir, what news?
Prov. I told you:. Lord Angelo, be-like, thinking me

rerniss.

1

B.4

remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on; methinks, ftrangely; for he hath not usd it before. Duke. Pray you, let's hear.

Provoit reads the letter, 1/ hatfuever you may hear in the contrary, dlet Claudio

be executed by four of the clock, and in the afternoon Barnardine; for my belter satisfaction; let me have Claudio's head sent me by five.. Let this be duly performed, with a thought that more depends on it than we muft yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril. What say you to this, Sir?

Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to le executed in the afternoon?

Prov. - A Bohemian born; but here nurst up and bred ; one, that is a prisoner nine years old.

Duke. How came it, that the absent Duke had not either deliver'd him to his liberty, or executed him! I bave heard, it was ever his manner to do so.

Prov. His friend's ftill wrought-reprieves for him, and, indeed, his fact, 'till now in the government of Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof,

Duke. Is it now apparent ?
Prov. Most manifeft, and not deny'd by himself.

Duke. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? how seems he to be touch'd ?

Prov. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken fleep; careiefs, reckless, and fearless of what’s past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.

D. ke. He wants advice.

Prov. He will hear none; he hath evermore had the liberty of the prison : give him leave to escape he!çe, he would not : drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk. We have very oft awak'd him, as if to carry him to execution, and thew'd him

a seeming

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