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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 signet is not strange to you.

Prov. I know them both.

Duke. The contents of this is the return of the duke; you shall anon over-read it at your pleasure;' where you shall find, within these two days he will be here. This is a thing, that Angelo knows not: for he this very day receives letters of strange tenor ; perchance, of the duke's death ; perchance, entering into some monastery; but, by chance, nothing of what is writ. Look, the unfolding star calls up the shepherd : Put not yourself into amazement, how these things should be: all difficulties are but easy when they are known. Call your executioner, and off with Barnardine's head: I will give him a present shrift, and advise him for a better place. Yet you are amazed; but this shall absolutely resolve you. Come away; it is almost clear dawn.

[Exeunt.

SCENE III.

Another Room in the Same.

Enter Clown.

Clo. I am as well acquainted here, as I was in our house of profession: one would think, it were mistress Over-done's own house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's young master Rash 54; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger 55, ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks, ready money: marry, then, ginger was not much in request, for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one master Caper, at the suit of master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-colour'd satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young master Deep-vow, and master Copper-spur, and master Starve-lacky the rapier and dagger-man, and young Drop-heir that kill'd lusty Pudding, and master Forth-right the tilter, and brave master Shoe-tye the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabb'd Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are now for the Lord's sake 56.

Enter ABHORSON.

Abhor. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

Clo. Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hang'd, master Barnardine!

Abhor. What, ho, Barnardine!

Barnar. [Within.] A pox o' your throats! Who makes that noise there? What are you?

Clo. Your friends, sir; the hangman : You must be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death.

Barnar. [Within.] Away, you rogue, away ; I am sleepy.

Abhor. Tell him, he mustawake, and that quickly too.

Clo. Pray, master Barnardine, awake till you are executed, and sleep afterwards. · Abhor. Go in to him, and fetch him out.

Clo. He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

Enter BARNARDINE.

Abhor. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah ?
Clo. Very ready, sir.

Barnar. How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

Abhor. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into your prayers ; for, look you, the warrant's come.

Barnar. You rogue, I have been drinking all night, I am not fitted for't.

Clo. O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning, may sleep the sounder all the next day.

Enter Duke.

Abhor. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly father; Do we jest now, think you ?

shall go.

Duke. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfort you, and pray with you.

Barnar. Friar, not I; I have been drinking hard all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains with billets : I will not consent to die this day, that's certain. Duke. O, sir, you must : and therefore, I beseech

you, Look forward on the journey you

Barnar. I swear, I will not die to-day for any man's persuasion.

Duke. But hear you,

Barnar. Not a word; if you have any thing to say to me, come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

[Exit. Enter Provost. Duke. Unfit to live, or die: 0, gravel heart!After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

[Exeunt Abhorson and Clown. Prou. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

Duke. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for death;
And, to transport him in the mind he is,
Were damnable.
Prov.

Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio's years; his beard, and head,
Just of his colour: What if we do omit

This reprobate, till he were well inclin'd;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio ?

Duke. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides !
Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix'd by Angelo : See, this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

Prov. This shall be done, good father, presently.
But Barnardine must die this afternoon :
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come,
If he were known alive?

Duke. Let this be done ;-Put them in secret holds,
Both Barnardine and Claudio: Ere twice
The sun hath made his journal greeting to
The under generation 57, you shall find
You safety manifested.

Prov. I am your free dependant.
Duke.

Quick, despatch,
And send the head to Angelo. [Exit Provost,
Now will I write letters to Angelo,-
The provost, he shall bear them,—whose contents
Shall witness to him, I am near at home;
And that, by great injunctions, I am bound
To enter publickly : him I'll desire
To meet me at the consecrated fount,
A league below the city; and from thence,
By cold gradation and weal-balanced form,
We shall proceed with Angelo.

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