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Duke. Nay, ten times strange.

Isab. It is not truer he is Angelo,
Than this is all as true as it is strange:
Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth
To th’end of reckoning.

Duke. Away with her : poor soul,
She speaks this in th’ infirmity of sense,

Isab. O, I conjure thee, prince, as thou believ'st
There is another comfort than this world,
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion
That I am touch'd with madness. Make not impossible
That which but seems unlike; 'tis not impossible
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground,
May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,
As Angelo; ev'n so may Angelo,
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain: trust me, royal prince,
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.

Duke. By mine honour,
If she be mad, as I believe no other,
Her madness hath the oddeft frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.

Isab. Gracious duke,
Harp not on that; and do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your

Serve to make truth appear where it seems hid,
Not hide the false seems true.

Duke. Many not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you fay?

Isab. I am the fifter of one Claudio,
Condemn’d upon the act of fornication,
To lose his head; condemn’d by Angelo :
1, in probation of a sisterstood,
Was sent to by my brother; one Lucio being


As then the messenger,

Luoio. That's I, an't like your grace:
I came to her from Claudio, and defir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo,
For her poor brother's pardon.

Isab. That’s he, indeed.
Duke. You were not bid to speak.

[To Lucio Lucio. No, my good lord, nor wilh'd to hold my peace.

Duke. I wish you now then;
Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray heav’n you then
Be perfect.

Lucio. I warrant your honour, fir.
Duke. The warrant's for yourself; be sure, take heed to't.
Isab. This gentleman told something of my tale.
Lucio. Right.

Duke. It may be right, but you are in the wrong
To speak before your time. Proceed.

Isab. I went
To this pernicious caitiff deputy.

Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken.
Isab. Pardon it:
The phrase is to the matter.

Duke. Mended again : the matter then; proceed.

Isab. In brief; (to set the needless process by,
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneeld,
How he repelld me, and how I reply'd,
For this was of much length) the vile conclusion
I now begin with grief and shame to utter.
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body
To his concupiscent intemp’rate luft,
Release my brother; after much debatement,
My sisterly remorse confutes mine honour,
And I did yield to him: next morn betimes,
His purpose forfeiting, he sends a warrant
For my poor brother's head.


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Duke. This is most likely !
Isab. O that it were as like as it is true !
Duke. By heav'n; fond wretch, thou know'st not what thou

speak ft;
Or else thou art suborn’d against his honour
In hateful practice. His integrity
Stands without blemish; it imports no reason,
That with such vehemence he should pursue
Faults proper to himself: if he had so
Offended, he would have weigh'd thy brother by
Himself, and not have cut him off. Some one
Hath set you on; confess the truth, and say
By whose advice thou cam'ft here to complain.

Isab. And is this all ?
Then, o you blessed ministers above,
Keep me in patience; and, with ripen’d time,
Unfold the evil which is here wrap'd up
In countenance! Heav’n shield your gráce

from As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!

Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone. An officer !
To prison with her. Shall we thus permit
A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall
On him so near us? this must be a practice.
Who knew of our intent, and coming hither ?

Isab. One that I would were here, friar Lodowick.
Duke. A ghostly father, belike: who knows that Lodowick?

Lucio. My lord, I know him ; 'tis a medling friar;
I do not like the man; had he been lay, my lord,
For certain words he spake against your grace
In your retirement, I had swing’d him foundly.

Duke. Words against me ? this is a good friar, belike,
And to set on this wretched woman here
Against our substitute ! let this friar be found.

Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that friar,
I saw them at the prison : a fawcy friar,
A very scurvy fellow.



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Peter. Bless'd be your grace!
I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard
Your royal ear abus’d. First, hath this woman
Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute,
Who is as free from touch or soil with her,
As she from one ungot.

Duke. We did believe
No less. Know you that friar Lodowick?

Peter. I know him for a man divine and holy;
Not scurvy, nor a temporary medler,
As he's reported by this gentleman ;
And, on my trust, a man that never yet
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace.

Lucio. My lord, most villanously he did; believe it.

Peter. Well; he in time may come to clear himself;
But at this instant he is sick, my lord,
Of a strange fever. On his mere request,
(Being come to knowledge that there was complaint
Intended ’gainst lord Angelo) came I hither
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know
Is true or false; and he upon his oath
By all probation will make up full clear,
Whenever he's conven’d. First, for this woman;
To justify this worthy nobleman,
So vulgarly and personally accus’d,
Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes,
'Till she herself confefs it.

Duke. Good friar, let's hear it.
Do you not smile at this, lord Angelo ?
O heav'n! the vanity of wretched fools !
Give us some seats; come, cousin Angelo,
In this I will be partial: be you judge
Of your own cause. Is this the witness, friar?

[Ifabella is carried off, guarded.


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Enter Mariana veild.
First, let her show her face, and, after, speak.

Mari. Pardon, my lord, I will not show my face
Until my husband bid me.

Duke. What, are you marry'd ?
Mari. No, my lord.
Duke. Are you a maid ?
Mari. No, my lord.
Duke. A widow then?
Mari. Neither, my lord.

Duke. Why, are you nothing then ? neither maid, widow, nor wife?

Lucio. My lord, she may be a punk; for many of them are neither maid, widow, nor wife.

Duke. Silence that fellow : I would, he had some cause to prattle for himself.

Lucio. Well, my lord.

Mari. My lord, I do confess I ne'er was marry'd,
And I confess, besides, I am no maid;
I've known my husband, yet my husband knows not
That ever he knew me.

Lucio. He was drunk then, my lord; it can be no better.
Duke. For the benefit of filence, would, thou wert so too.
Lucio. Well, my lord.
Duke. This is no witness for lord Angelo.

Mari. Now I come to’t, my lord.
She that accuses him of fornication,
In self-fame manner doth accuse


husband, And charges him, my lord, with such a time, When I'll depose I had him in mine arms, With all th' effect of love.

Ang. Charges she more Than me?


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