Imagens das páginas
PDF

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.

II0w 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 your soul, Were equal poize of sin and charity.

Isab. That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Heaven, let me bear it! you granting of my suit,
If that be sin, t'll make it my morn prayer
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 are igno

rant, 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 enshield beauty ten times louder Than beauty could displayed. But mark me; To be receiv'd 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 that paint.

• Enshielded, covered.

Penalty.

[ocr errors]

Isab. True.

Ang. Admit no other way to save his life
(As I subscribe* not that, nor any other,
But in the loss of questiont), 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-binding law; and that there were
No earthly mcan to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of ydur body
To this supposed, or else 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,
The impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
That longing I have been sick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.
Ang.

Then must your brother die.
Isab. And 'twere the cheaper way:
Better it were, a brother died 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 so? ! Isab. Ignomy; in ransom, and free pardon, Are of two houses : lawful mercy is Nothing akin to foul redemption. - Ang. You seemid of late to make the law a ty.

rant, And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother A merriment than a vice.

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out, To have what we'd have, we speak not what wo

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

Ang. We are all frail.
Isab.

Else let my brother die,

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]

Ang.

If not a feodary*, but only he,
Owet, and succeed by weakness.

Nay, women are frail too. Isub. Ay, as the glasses where they view them

selves; Which are as easy broke as they make forms. Women !-Help heaven ! men their creation mar In profiting by them. Nay, call us ten times frail; For we are soft as our complexions are, And credulous to false printsi. Ang.

I think it well: And from this testimony of your own sex (Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger Thau faults may shake our frames), let me be bold; I do arrest your words; Be that you are, That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none; If you be one (as you are well express d By all external warrants), show it now, By putting on the destin'd livery.

Isab. I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord, Let me intreat you speak the former language,

Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.

Isab. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me, That he shall die for it.

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

Isab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.
Ang.

Believe me, ou mine honour, My words express my purpose.

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

Who will helieve thee. Isabel? My unsoild name, the austereness of my life,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

My vouch* against you, and my place i' the state,
Will so your accusation overweigh,
That you shall 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 prolixioust 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 lingering sufferance: answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him: As for you,
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true.

(Erit. " Isab. To whom shall I complain? Did I tell this,

Who would believe me? O perilous mouths.
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will;
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:
Though he hath fallen 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.

[blocks in formation]

ACT III.

SCENE 1. A Room in the prison.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.
Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord

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

Duke. Be absolute* for death ; either death, or . life, Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with

life, If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art (Servile to all the skiey influences), That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st, Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death's fool; For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, And yet run'st toward him still: Thou art not noble; For all the accommodations that thou bear'st, Are purs'd by baseness: Thou art by no means va

liant: For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep, And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thy

self; For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not: For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get; And what thou hast, forget'st; Thou art not cer.

tain;

Determined.

« AnteriorContinuar »