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Sir, a good favour you have, but that you have a hanging look ;) do you call, Sir. youroccupation a mistery? Ahhor. Ay, Sir; a mistery.
Clown. Painting, Sir, I have heard say, is a mistery and your whores, Sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mistery: but what mistery there should be in hang
ing, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine. 26. Clown. Sir, it is a mistery.
Abhor. Proof. flonen Clown. Every true man's apparel fits your thief. If
it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough. If it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it litile enough; so every true man's ap
Clown. 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 shall find me yare : for, truly, Sir, for your kindness I owe you a good turn.
S CE N E VI.
When it lies starkly in the traveller's bones :
Prov. Who can do good on him?
Prov. None, since the curphew rung.
Duke. Not so, not so ; his life is parallel'd
(Knock again. Provost goes out.
Duke. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
Duke. As near the dawning, Provost
, as it is, You shall hear more ere morning.
Prov. Happily; You something know; yet, I believe, there comes No countermand; no such example have we: Besides, upon the very fiege of justice, Lord Angelo hath to the public ear Profest the contrary.
Enter a Messenger. Duke. THIS is his lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon. Mejl. My lord hath sent you this note, and by me the further charge, that you swerve not from the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or other circumstance. Good morrow; for as I take it, it is almost day. Prov. I shall obey him.
[Exit Messenger. Duke. This is his pardon, purchas'd by such sin, 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 remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on; methinks, strangely; for he hath not us'd it before. Duke. Pray you, let's hear.
Provost reads the letter. Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio be executed by four of the clock, and in the afternoon Barnardine: for my better satisfa&ion, let me have Claudio's
head sent me by five. Let this be duly perform’d, with a
Duke. What is that Barnardine, who is to be exe-
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 have heard, it was ever his manner to do so.
Prov. His friends still 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 ?
Duke. Hath he born himself penitent in prison ? how seems he to be touch'd ?
Prov. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past
, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.
Duke. He wants advice.
Prov. He will hear none; he hath evermore had the liberty of the prison: give him leave to escape hence, 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 fhew'd him a seeming warrant for it; it hath not mov'd him at all.
Duke. More of him anon. There is written in your brow, Provost, honesty and constancy; if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is no greater forfeit to
law than Angelo, ho hath sentenc'd him. To make you understand this in a
manifested effect, I crave but four days respite; for the which you are to do me both a present and a dangerous courtesy.
Prov. Pray, Sir, in what?
Prov. Alack ! how may I do it, having the hour limited, and an express command, under penalty, to deliver his head in the view of Angelo ? I
make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.
Duke. By the vow of mine Order, I warrant you, if my instructions may be your guide: let this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo.
Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
Duke. Oh, death's a great disguiser, and you may add to it; shave the head, and tie the beard, and say it was the desire of the penitent to be so barb'd before his death ; you know the course is common. If any thing fall to you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune; by the Saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life. .
Prov. Pardon me, good father; it is against my oath.
Duke. Were you sworn to the Duke, or to the deputy ?
Prov. To him, and to his substitutes.
Duke. You will think you have made no offence, if the Duke avouch the justice of your dealing?
Prov. But what likelihood is in that?
Duke. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet since I see
you fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor my persuasion, can with ease attempt you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck all fears out of you. Look
you, Sir, here is the hand and seal of the Duke; you
know the character, I doubt not; and the fignet is not strange to you. Prov. I know them both.