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Clo. When that I was and a little tiny boy,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
A foolish thing was but a toy,
For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came to man's estate,

With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
'Gainst knaves and thieves men shut
their gate,

For the rain it raineth every day.

But when I came, alas! to wire,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
By swaggering could I never thrive,
For the rain it raineth every day.

A great while ago the world begun,
With hey, ho, the wind and the rain,
But that's all one, our play is done,
And we'll strive to please you every


THE principal incident in this play, the infamous conduct of Angelo, has been related of a variety of persons in different ages; but the primary source of the plot adopted by Shakespeare, is found in the novels of Cinthio, Hecatommithi, 1565, v. 8. In the novel of that writer, Juriste, governor of Inspruck, a man renowned for wisdom and justice, sentenced a youth, named Lodovico, to death for violation. Epitia, sister of Lodovico, a virgin of exquisite beauty and highly accomplished, deeply loved her brother, and determined to attempt his deliverance. Kneeling in tears before the feet of Juriste, and pleading her brother's cause with pathetic eloquence, her graceful beauty, rendered still more attractive by her position, enraptured the stern judge, who had previously laughed to scorn the power of love. In the excess of tumultuous passion, he makes the same proposal to her which Angelo does to Isabella. It is rejected with indignation; but Epitia is not proof against the tears and entreaty of her brother, and reluctantly yields to the wishes of Juriste under the solemn promise of marriage. What was her agony, then, to find that his vows were forgotten, and that Lodovico was executed, notwithstanding the sacrifice she had made. She appeals to the Emperor of the Romans, before whom Juriste is convicted, compelled to marry her, and then sentenced to death. Epitia now sues for her husband's life; forgets her wrongs in her character as a wife; and, having obtained her prayer, continues the faithful partner of Juriste, who, on his part, is supposed to be reformed by her unexampled virtue and generosity.

It may readily be supposed, that a tale like this, though not well suited to a very refined age, would be likely to attract the attention of our early dramatists, as containing the material for much effective situation. We accordingly find that, as early as 1578, George Whetstone published a drama founded on Cinthio's tale, under the quaint title of, "The right excellent and famous Historye of Promos and Cassandra, divided into Commical Discourses: In the fyrste Parte is showne the unsufferable abuse of a lewde Magistrate, the vertuous behaviours of a chaste Ladye, the uncontrowled leawdeness of a favoured Curtisan, and the undeserved Estimation of a pernicious Parasyte: In the second Parte is discoursed the perfect Magnanimitye of a noble Kinge, in checking Vice and favouringe Vertue: Wherein is showne the Ruyne and Overthrowe of dishonest Practises, with the Advauncement of upright Dealing."

Whetstone gave a prose version of the story in his Heptameron, 1582; in a marginal note to which, he informs us, that the play above-mentioned had not then been "presented upon the stage." The drama of Promos and Cassandra is unquestionably the immediate source of

Shakespeare's play, the deviations of Whetstone from Cinthio's having been adopted by the great dramatist. The youth is not condemned for the greater crime, but for incontineney after solemn affiance; and the culprit is saved from execution by the substitution of another head. Shakespeare's grand improvement is the introduction of Mariana, whose part in the scene so infinitely purifies the tale. Some of the minor portions of the bye-play in Measure for Measure, and those the most distasteful to modern ears, were suggested by scenes in Promos and Cassandra.

We first hear of Measure for Measure as having been performed at Court, on December 26th, 1604. On the evening of that day, his Majesty's players acted it at Whitehall. The original account-book preserved at the Audit Office, Somerset House, edited by Mr. P. Cunningham, records that Mr. Shaxberd (O for another essay on the orthography of Shakespeare!) was" the poet which mayd the plaie." The entry is as follows :-" On St.Stivens night, in the hall, a play caled Mesur for Mesur." It was first printed in the folio of 1623, but with many errors. In the preparation of this text, the advantage has been had of comparing a copy with curious early MS. notes, in the library of E. R. Tunno Esq., purchased by him at the sale of Mr. Dent's library, ii. 1270, for £65 2s. This valuable volume has supplied several important corrections, which have every appearance of genuineness. Sir W. Davenant, who wrote an alteration of the play entitled Law against Lovers, 1673, also made some useful emendations. The alterations, however, in the present text are not numerous; and it will generally be found to be a faithful copy of the first edition.


THE PLOT.-Vincentio, Duke of Vienna, deputed Lord Angelo to govern in his stead, pretending to travel; but, assisted by a friar, he remains incog. as father Lodowick, in order to observe the motions of the state. Soon after, a gentleman named Claudio, having been betrothed to a lady named Juliet (for particular reasons held secret), he is accused of seducing her, and Angelo takes advantage of an old neglected law, to condemn Claudio to death for the crime. the instance of Claudio, his sister Isabella entreats his pardon of Lord Angelo, which he grants on condition that her honour should be the price paid to his lust. She hastens to the prison of Claudio, and communicates the dishonourable condition; which after a time he entreats her to pay, and save him. She, disgusted with him, refuses to consent. The dialogue is overheard by the Duke, who has been with Claudio as confessor; and he proposes to Isabella, that Mariana, a noble lady to whom Angelo had been contracted, but had deserted her from interested motives, should be introduced to Angelo in her stead, and save the life of Claudio, and her

honour. This is done: notwithstanding, an order is issued for the immediate execution of Claudio, contrary to the pledge of Angelo; but he is saved by a stratagem of Lodowick, unknown to Isabella. The Duke, having addressed letters to Angelo to that effect, makes a public entry into Vienna; and, counselled so to do by him, as Lodowick, Isabella and Mariana accuse Angelo before the Duke of his crimes, which he denies; and the Duke, feigning to believe him innocent, leaves them to his mercy. Finally, the Duke enters the presence as Lodowick; and as they are about to lead him to prison, his hood falls off, and he is discovered. He then obliges Angelo to marry

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Mariana, and condemns him, but pardons him at her entreaty; and having, to the surprise of Isabella, presented Claudio to her, he rewards her constancy and virtue with the offer of his hand and heart.

MORAL. In the catastrophe of this play, we behold in Angelo an example of the length to which the mortal will go, to gratify a master passion; and in Claudio the littleness to which he will descend, to prolong an earthly existence Contrasted with these, we have two characters worthy of imitation: the Duke dispensing mercy and protecting the oppressed; and Isabella as a pattern of virtue.

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Duke. ESCALUS,-Escal. My lord.

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold, Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse; Since I am put to know that your own science Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice My strength can give you.

The nature of our people,

Our city's institutions, and the terms

For common justice, you 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

[ESCAL. kneels, and receives his commission.
I say, bid come before us Angelo. [Exit LEO.
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;

Lent him cur terror, dress'd him with our love;
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own pow'r: What think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is Lord Angelo.

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Fully unfold.

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.

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Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure
Be stamp'd upon it.
Duke. We have with a leaven'd and prepared
Proceeded to you: therefore take your honours.
[ANG. kneels, and receives his commission.
We shall write to you,

As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with us; and do look to know
What doth befal you here. So, fare you well:
To th' hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.
Yet, give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.
Duke. My haste may not admit it;
I'll privily away.- [Exeunt LEO. and FRED.
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own,
So to enforce or qualify the laws
As to your soul seems good.

Once more, fare you well. Ang. The heavens give safety to your purpose! Escal. Lead forth, and bring you back in hap



Duke. I thank you: Fare you well. 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 I am not yet instructed.


Ang. 'Tis so with me:-Let us withdraw toAnd we may soon our satisfaction have Touching that point.

Escal I'll wait upon your honour. [Excunt.

SCENE II.-The Garden of a Monastery.

Enter Friar PETER and the DUKE. Duke. No, holy father; throw away that thought;

Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete 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 loved the life removed ;
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery
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:
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is receiv'd. Now, pious sir,
You will demand of me why I do this?
Peter. Gladly, my lord.

[laws, Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting (The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,) Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep: Now, as (fond fathers

Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's sight,
For terror, not to use) in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose,
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.

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, my father,
I have on Angelo imposed the office;
Who may, in th' ambush of my name, strike
And to behold his sway,

I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr'ythee
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only this one:-Lord Angelo is precise;
Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
That his blood flows, or that his appetite [see,
Is more to bread than stone. Hence shall we
If power change purpose, what our seemers be.
[Exeunt the DUKE and Friar PETER.
SCENE III.-The Street.

Enter LEOPOLD, LUCIO, and FREDERICK. Lucio. If the duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, then, all the dukes fall upon the king. Fred. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the king of Hungary's!

Leo. Amen.

Lucio. Thou conclud'st like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scrap'd one out of the table.

Leo. "Thou shalt not steal?"
Lucio. Ay, that he raz'd.

Fred. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their

functions; they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.

Leo. I never heard any soldier dislike it. Lucio. I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was said.

Enter Mistress OVER-DONE.

Fred. How now? Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

Over. Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of Lucio. Who's that, I pray thee? [you all. Over. Marry,sir, that's Claudio, Signior Claudio. Fred. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.

Over. Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him carried away; and which is more, within these three days his head's to be chopp'd off.

Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so. Art thou sure of this?

Over. I am too sure of it; and, they say, it is for getting Madam Julietta with child. Lucio. Believe me, this may be: he promis'd to meet me two hours since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping. Away; let's go learn the truth of it.

[Exeunt Lucio, LEO., and FRED. Over. Thus, what with the war, what with the gallows, and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.


How now? what's the news with you?
Pom. Yonder man is carried to prison.
Over. What, is there a maid with child by him?
Pom. No; but there's a woman with maid by
him. You have not heard of the proclamation,
Over. What proclamation, man? [have you?
Pom. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna
must be pluck'd down.

Over. Why, here's a change, indeed, in the common wealth! what's to do here?

Pom. Here comes Signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison.

Over. Let's withdraw.


Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, and two Apparitors.

Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?

Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Prov. I do it not in evil disposition,
But from Lord Angelo by special charge.

Claud. Thus can the demi-god, Authority, Make us pay down for our offence by weight.The words of heaven-on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.

Enter LUCIO, FREDERICK, and LEOPOLD. Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio? whence comes this restraint? [liberty: Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, As surfeit is the father of much fast, So every scope, by the immoderate use, Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue (Like rats that ravin down their proper bane) A thirsty evil, and when we drink, we die.

Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors. And yet, to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom, as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy offence, Claudio? [again.

Claud. What, but to speak of, would offend
Lucio. What is it? murder?
Claud. No.

Prov. Away, sir; you must go.

Claud. One word, good friend :-Lucio, a word | with you.

Lucio. A hundred, if they'll do you any good. Claud. Thus stands it with me :-Upon a true I got possession of Julietta's bed; [contract, You know the lady; she is fast my wife, Save that we do the denunciation lack Of outward order: this we came not to, Only for preservation of a dow'r

Remaining in the coffer of her friends;

From whom we thought it meet to hide our love, Till time had made them for us. But it chances, The stealth of our most mutual entertainment, With character too gross, is writ on Juliet. Lucio. With child, perhaps?


Unhappily, even so.


And the new deputy now for the duke
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties,
Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by th'
So long, that fourteen zodiacs have gone round,
And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
Freshly on me :-'tis surely for a name.
Lucio. I warrant, it is: and thy head stands
so tickle on thy shoulders, that a milkmaid, if
she be in love, may sigh it off.

Claud. 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;
Implore her in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy: bid herself assay him;
I have great hope in that: for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect, [art
Such as moves men: beside, she has a prosperous
When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

Lucio. I pray she may as well for the encouragement of the like, as for the enjoying of thy life, which I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio. Lucio. Within two hours. Claud. Come, officer, away!


SCENE IV.-A Nunnery. 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 sisterhood.

Lucio. [Ringing without.] Ho! Peace be in this place!

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. [men,

Lucio. [Ringing without.] Peace be in this place! Ho!

Fran. He calls again; I pray you, answer him. [Exit FRAN. Isab. Who is 't that calls? [Opens the door. Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek


Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me,
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A novice of this place, and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother Claudio?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother? let me ask;


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The rather, for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his sister. [greets you:
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe, me! for what?

Lucio. For that, which if myself might be his
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
He hath got his friend with child.
My cousin Juliet?
Lucio. Is she your cousin?
Isab. Adoptedly; as schoolmaids change their
By vain though apt affection.


She it is.

Isab. O, let him marry her!

This is the point.
The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Upon his place,

And with full line of his authority,
Governs Lord Angelo: a man whose blood
Is very snow-broth:

He hath pick'd out an act,

Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it,
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example : all hope is gone,
Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo; and that's my pith of business
"Twixt you and your poor brother.
Seek his life?

Doth he so

Lucio. Has censur'd him already; And, as I hear, the provost hath a warrant For his execution.


Alas! what poor Ability's in me to do him good? Lucio. Assay the pow'r you have. Isab.

My power! Alas! I doubtLucio. Our doubts are traitors, And make us lose the good we oft might win, By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo, And let him learn to know, when maidens sue, Men give like gods; but when they weep and All their petitions are as freely theirs As they themselves would owe + them. Isab. I'll see what I can do. Lucio.


But speedily.
Isab. I will about it straight;
No longer staying but to give the mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:
Commend me to my brother; soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.
Lucio. I take my leave of you.
Good sir, adieu


Act Second.

SCENE I.-A Hall in ANGELO's House.

Enter ESCALUS, ANGELO, and Provost. Ang. We must not make a scarecrow of the law Setting it up to fear the birds of prey, And let it keep one shape, till custom make it Their perch, and not their terror. Escal. Ay, but yet Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, [man, Than fall and bruise to death. Alas! this gentleWhom I would save, had a most noble father: Let but your honour know,

(Whom I believe to be most straight in virtue,) Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishWhether you had not some time in your life [ing, Err'd in this point which now you censure him, And pull'd the law upon you.

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Isab. Must he needs die? Ang.

Maiden, no remedy.

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,Another thing to fall.

You may not so extenuate his offence,

For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.

Where is the provost ?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.
See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd;
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.
Escal. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive
us all!
[Exit ESCALUs.
Prov. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-

Ang. Did not I tell thee, yea? hadst thou not order?

Why dost thou ask again?


Lest I might be too rash: Under your good correction, I have seen, When, after execution, judgment hath Repented o'er his doom.


Go to; let that be mine:

Do you your office, or give up your place,
you shall well be spar'd.

I crave your honour's pardon.
What shall be done, sir, with the groaning
She's very near her hour.


Dispose of her

To some more fitter place; and that with speed.


Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon
And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the
Ang. I will not do 't.
But can you, if you would?
Ang. Look; what I will not, that I cannot do.
Isab. But might you do 't, and do the world
no wrong,

If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse
As mine is to him?
He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.
Isab. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a


May call it back again. Well, believe this;
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipp'd like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel! should it then be thus! No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
And you but waste your words.
Alas! alas!


Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once And he, that might the vantage best have took, Found out the remedy. How would you be, If he, which is the top of judgment, should But judge you as you are? O, think on that; Tho. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd, And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Desires access to you. Like man new made.



Hath he a sister?


Be you content, fair maid;

Prov. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid, It is the law, not I, condemns your brother: And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

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Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die : I do beseech you, let it be his fault, And not my brother!

Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it? Why, every fault's condemn'd ere it be done : Mine were the very cipher of a function, To fine the faults, whose fine stands in record, And let go by the actor.

Isab. O just, but severe law! I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your honour! [Retiring. Lucio. [To ISAB.] Give 't not o'er so: to him again, entreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown; You are too cold.

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Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice; For then I pity those I do not know, Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall; And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong, Lives not to act another. Be satisfied; Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

Isab. So you must be the first that gives this And he that suffers. O, it is excellent [sentence, To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant.

Lucio. That's well said. Isab. Could great men thunder As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet; For every pelting, petty officer [thunder. Would use his heaven for thunder: nothing but Merciful heaven!

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Splitt'st the unwedgeable and gnarled + oak,
Than the soft myrtle: But man, proud man!
Dress'd in a little brief authority,-

Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence,-like an angry ape,

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