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your soul,

Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness,
As she, that he hath stain’d ?

Isab. Sir, believe this,
I had rather give my body than my soul.

Ang. I talk not of your soul ; our compellid sins
Stand more for number than accompt.

Isab. How say you ?

Ang. Nay, I'll not warrant that ; for I can speak
Against the thing I say. Answer to this:
I, now the voice of the recorded law,
Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life :
Might there not be a charity in sin,
To save this brother's life?

Isab. Please you to do't,
I'll take it as a peril to my soul,
It is no sin at all, but charity.

Ang. Pleas’d you to do't at peril of
Were equal poize of sin and charity.

Isab. That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Heav'n, let me bear it! you, granting my suit,
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn-pray’r
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your answer.

Ang. Nay, but hear me :
Your sense pursues not mine : either, you're ignorant;
Or seem so, craftily; and that's not good.

Isab. Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good,
But graciously to know I am no better.

Ang. Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright,
When it doth tax itself: as these black masks,
Proclaim an en-shield beauty ten times louder,
Than beauty could display'd. But mark me,
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross;
Your brother is to die,

Isab. So.
Ang. And his offence is so, as it

appears
Accountant to the law
upon

Isab.

that pain,

7

fab. True.

Ang. Admit no other way to save his life.
(As I subscribe not that, nor any other,
But in the loss of question, that you his sister,
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person,
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-holding law; and that there were
No earthly mean to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this suppos’d, or else to let him suffer ;
What would you do?

Isab. As much for my poor brother, as myself:
That is, were I under the terms of death,
Th’impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
That longing I've been fick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.

Ang. Then must your brother die.

Ifåb. And 'twere the cheaper way; Better it were, a brother dy'd at once ; Than that a sister, by redeeming him, Should die for ever.

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence,
That you have slander'd fo?

Isab. As ignominious ransom, and free pardon,
Are of two houses; lawful mercy, sure,
Is nothing kin to foul redemption.

Ang. You seem’d of late to make the law a tyrant,
And rather prov'd the sliding of your

brother A merriment, than a vice.

Isab. Oh pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out,
To have what we would have, we speak not what we

mean :
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.

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[selves;

Ang. We are all frail.

Ifab. Elfe let my brother die, If not a feodary, but only he, Owe, and succeed by weakness !

Ang. Nay, women are frail too.

Isab. Ay, as the glaffes where they view themWhich are as easy broke, as they make forms. Women! 'help heav'n ; men their creation mar, In profiting by them: nay, call us ten times frail; For we are soft as our complexions are, 2 And credulous to false prints.

Ang. I think it well ; And from this testimony of your own sex, (Since I'suppose'we're made to be no stronger, Than faults may shake our frames) let me be bold; I do arrest your words: be That you are, That is, a woman ; 'if you're more, you're none. If

you be one, as you are well exprefs'd By'all external warrants, shew it now, By putting on the destin'd livery.

Ifab. I have no tongue but one ; gentle, 'my lord, Let me intreat you, * speak the formal language.

Ang. Plainly conceive, 'I love you.

Ijab. My brother did love Juliet ; And you' tell me, that he shall die for it. 1 Else let my brother die,

if not a feodary, but only be, &c.] This is so obscure, but the allufion fo fine, that it deserves to be explain'd. A feodary was one, that in the times of vassalage held lands of the chief lord, under the tenure of paying rent and service : which tenures were calld feuda amongst the Goths. Now, says Angelo, we are all frail ; yes, re.

plies Isabella ; if all mankind were not feodaries, who owe what • they are to this tenure of imbecillity, and who succeed each other “by the same tenure, as well as my brother, I would give him up." The comparing mankind, lying under the weight of original lin, to a feodary, who owes suit and service to his lord, is, I think, not ill imagined. 2 And credulous to false prints.] 1. 6. take any impression.

-Speak the FORMER language. ] We should read PORMAL, which he here uses for plain, direct.

VOL. I.

Ang.

my life,

Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

Isab. * I know, your virtue hath a licence in's, Which seems a little fouler than it is, To pluck on others.

Ang. Believe me, on mine honour, My words express my purpose.

Isab. Ha ! little honour to be much believ'd, And most pernicious purpose! seeming, seeming! I will proclaim thee, Angelo ; look for't : Sign me a present pardon for my brother, Or, with an out-stretch'd throat, I'll tell the world Aloud, what man thou art.

Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel ? My unfoild name, th' auftereness of 3 My vouch against you, and my place i'ch' state,

Will so your accusation over-weigh,
That you shall 4 stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race the rein.
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite,
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes,

That banish what they sue for ; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will :
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To ling'ring sufferance. Answer me to-morrow;
Or by th' affection that now guides me most,

I know your virtue hath a licence in't,] Alluding to the li, cences given by Ministers to their Spies, to go into all suspected companies and join in the language of Malecontents.

3 My vouch against you,] The calling his denial of her charge, his vouch, has something fine. Vouch is the testimony one man bears for another. So that, by this, he infinuates his authority was so great, that his denial would have the same credit that a vouch or testimony has in ordinary cases.

-Aifle in your own report,

And smell of calumny.) Metaphor taken from a lamp or caodle going out.

4

As for you,

I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for
Say what you can; my false o’erweighs your true.

[Exit.
Isab. To whom should I complain ? did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O most perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-fame tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof;
Bidding the law make curtsie to their will ;
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow, as it draws. I'll to my brother.
Tho' he hath fall’n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up ;
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live, chaste; and, brother, die ;
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request;
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's Rest.

[Exit.

ACT III.

SCENE I.

The PRISO N.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.

DU K E. then you hope of pardon from lord Angelo?

Claud. The miserable have no other medicine, But only Hope: I've hope to live, and am prepar'd

to die.

Duke. Be absolute for death; or death, or life,

Shall

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