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Claud. Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. Oh, were it but my life,
Claud. Thanks, deareft Isabel.
Isab. Which is the least ?
Claud. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Isab. What says my brother?
Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where :
(16) Thc weariift, and most loatbed worldly life.] This natural fear of Claudio, from the antipathy we have to death, seems very little varied from that infamous wish of Mecenas recorded in the soutt Epiftle of Seneca.
Debilem facito manu,
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
Ijab. Alas! alas!
Claud. Sweet fifter, let me live; What sin
you do to save a brother's life, Nature dispenfes with the deed so far, That it becomes a virtue.
Ijab. Oh you beaft! Oh faithlefs coward ! oh dishonest wretch! Wilt thou be made a man, out of my vice? Is't not a kind of incest, to take life From thine own fifter's shame? what should I think? Heav'n grant, my mother play'd my father fair ? For such a warped slip of wilderness Ne'er ifflu'd from his blood. Take my defiance, Dié, perish! might my only bending down Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed. I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death; No word to save thee.
Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Isab. Oh, fy, fy, fy!
To them, Enter Duke and Provost.
Duke. Might you difpenfe with your leisure, I would by and by have some speech with you: the fatisfaction I would require, is likewise your own benefit.
Isab. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs: but I will attend you a while.
Duke. Son, I have over-heard what hath paft between you and your fifter.
Angelo had never the purpose to corrapt her; only, he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practise his judgment with the difpofition of natures. She, having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial, which he is moft glad
to receive : I am Confeffor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to death. Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible ; to-morrow you must die; go to your knees, and make ready.
Claud. Let me ask my fifter pardon ; I am so out of love with life, that I will sue to be rid of it. [Exit Claud. Duke. Hold you there; farewel. Provost, a word Prov. What's
will father? Duke. That now you are come, you will be gone; leave me a while with the maid: my mind promises with my
habit, no loss shall touch her by my company. Prov. In good time.
[Exit. Prov. Duke. The hand, that hath made you fair, hath made you good; the goodness that is cheap in beauty, makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the foul of your complection, thall keep the body of it ever fair. The assault, that Angelo hath made to you, fortune hath convey'd to my understanding; and but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo : how will you do to content this substitute, and to save your brother?
Isab. I am now going to resolve him: I had rather my brother die by the law, than my fon should be unlawfully, born. But, oh, how much is the good Duke deceiv'd in Angelo? if ever he return, and I can speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his government.
Duke. That shall not be much amiss; yet as the matter now itands, he will avoid your accufation; he made trial of you only. Therefore fasten your ear on my advisings : to the love I have in doing good, a remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe, that you may most uprightly do a poor wronged Lady a inerited benefit; redeem your brother from the angry law; do no itain to your own gracious person; and much please the absent Duke, if, peradventure, he hall ever return to have hearing of this business.
Yab. Let me hear you speak father; I have spirit
to do any thing, that appears not foul in the truth of my fpirit.
Duke. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful: have you not heard speak of Mariana, the fifter of Frederick, the great foldier who miscarried at sea ?
Isab. I have heard of the Lady, and good words went with her name.
Duke. Her should this Angelo have marry'd; was affianc'd to her by oath, and the nuptial appointed : between which time of the contract, and limit of the solemnity, her brother Frederick was wreckt at sea, having in that perifh'd vefsel the dowry of his fifter. But mark, how heavily this befel to the poor gentlewoman; there she lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love toward her ever most kind and natural; with him the portion and finew of her fortune, her marriage-dowry; with both, her combinate husband, this well seeming Angelo.
Isab. Can this be so ? did Angelo so leave her?
Duke. Left her in her tears, and dry'd not one of them with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole, pretending, in her, discoveries of dishonour: in few, bestow'd her on her own lamentation, which she yet wears for his fake; and he, a marble to her tears, is washed with them, but relents not.
Isab. What a merit were it in death to take this poor maid from the world; what corruption in this life, that it will let this man live! but how out of this can the avail?
Duke. It is a rupture that you may easily heal; and the cure of it not only saves your brother, but keeps you from dishonour in doing it.
Isab. Shew me how, good father..
Duke. This fore-nam'd maid hath yet in her the continuance of her first affection; his unjust unkindness, (that in all reason should have quenched her love,) hath, like an impediment in the current, made it more violent and unruly. Go you to Angelo, answer his requiring with a plausible obedience; agree with his demands to the point; only refer yourself to this ad
vantage: first, that your stay with him may not be long; that the time may have all shadow and filence in it; and the place answer to convenience. This being granted, in course now follows all: we fhall advife this wronged maid to stead up your appointment, go in your place; if the encounter acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her recompence; and here by this is your brother saved, your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, and the corrupt Deputy scaled. The maid will I frame, and make fit for his attempt: if you think well to carry this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends the deceit from reproof. What think you of it?
Ijab. The image of it gives me content already, and, I trust, it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.
Duke. It lies much in your holding up; hafte you speedily to Angelo; it for this night he intreat you to his bed, give him promise of satisfaction. I will prefently to St. Luke's; there at the moated grange resides this dejected Mariana ; at that place call upon me, and dispatch with Angelo, that it may be quickly. Isab. I thank you for this comfort: fare you well,
[Exeunt severally. SCENE changes to the Street. Re-enter Duke as a Friar; Elbow, Clown, and Officers. Elb.
you will needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall have all the world drink brown and white bastard.
Duke. Oh, heav'ns! what stuff is here?
Clown. 'Twas never merry world since of two usuries the merriest was put down, and the worser allow'd by order of law. A furr’d gown to keep him warm, and furr’d with fox and lamb-lkins too, to signify, that craft, being richer than innocency, stands for the facing
Elb. Come your way, Sir: bless you, good father Friar.