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That thieves do pass on thieves ?5 'Tis very preg
Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Where is the provost?
See that Claudio
[Exit Provost. Escal. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive
us all! Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall: Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none; And some condemned for a fault alone.
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, Officers, &c.
Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
s That thieves do pass on thieves?] pass or decide.
6'Tis very pregnant,] 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note.
I brakes of vice,–] The commentators have not de. cided the meaning of this word. By brakes of vice may be meant a collection, a thicket of vices. Brake was also the name of an engine of torture.
Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they are they not malefactors ?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer.
Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
Elb. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,- .
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?
Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How dost thou know that, constable ?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been - whom I detest—] He designed to say protest.
accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's mcans ?
Eló. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means : but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it. Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ?
[TO ANGELO. Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes ; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir.
Clo. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the point: As I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great belly'd, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly ;-for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again.
Froth. No, indeed.
Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remember'd, cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes.
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
therein in the muced, sir, not of' for the dish, sir. Clo. Why, very well then.
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the purpose.—What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not.
Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir ; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas :-Was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth?
Froth. All-hollond eve.
Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths : He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir ;'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit: Have you not?
Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
Cl. Why, very well then ;-I hope here be truths.
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there : I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause ; Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think, no less : Good morrow to your lordship.
[Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
Clo. Once, sir? there was nothing done to her once.
Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me.
Escal. Well, sir: what did this gentleman to her?
Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's
face :-God master Froth, look upon his honour; 'tis for a good purpose: Doth your honour mark his face?
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
Clo. I'll be supposedo upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him : Good then ; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honour.
Escal. He's in the right: Constable, what say you to it?
Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife, is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected, with man, woman, or child.
Clo. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here i Justice, or Iniquity? Is this true ?
Elb. O thou caitiff ! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal!? I respected with her, before I was married to her? If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer :-Prove this, thou wicked
9 P'll be supposed-] He means deposed. .Justice, or Iniquity?] i. e. The Constable or the Fool. Escalus calls the latter, Iniquity, in allusion to the old Vice, a familiar character in the ancient moralities and dumb-shews,
2 __Hannibal!] Mistaken by the Constable for Cannibal.