SCENE I. A public place near the city gate.
[MARIANA (veiled), ISABELLA, and PETER, at a distance. Enter at
opposite doors DUKE, VARRIUS, Lords; ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO,
PROVOST, Officers, and Citizens.]
My very worthy cousin, fairly met;--
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.
ANGELO and ESCALUS.
Happy return be to your royal grace!
Many and hearty thankings to you both.
We have made inquiry of you; and we hear
Such goodness of your justice that our soul
Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
Forerunning more requital.
You make my bonds still greater.
O, your desert speaks loud; and I should wrong it
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
When it deserves, with characters of brass,
A forted residence 'gainst the tooth of time
And rasure of oblivion. Give me your hand,
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within.--Come, Escalus;
You must walk by us on our other hand:
And good supporters are you.
[Enter PETER and ISABELLA come forward.]
Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel before him.
Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regard
Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid!
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye
By throwing it on any other object
Till you have heard me in my true complaint,
And given me justice, justice, justice, justice!
Relate your wrongs. In what? By whom? Be brief:
Here is Lord Angelo shall give you justice.
Reveal yourself to him.
O worthy duke,
You bid me seek redemption of the devil:
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak
Must either punish me, not being believ'd,
Or wring redress from you; hear me, O, hear me here!
My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not firm:
She hath been a suitor to me for her brother,
Cut off by course of justice.
By course of justice!
And she will speak most bitterly and strange.
Most strange, but yet most truly, will I speak:
That Angelo's forsworn, is it not strange?
That Angelo's a murderer, is't not strange?
That Angelo is an adulterous thief,
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator,
Is it not strange and strange?
Nay, it is ten times strange.
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 the end of reckoning.
Away with her!--Poor soul,
She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
O prince! I conjure thee, 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; even so may Angelo,
In all his dressings, characts, titles, forms,
Be an arch-villain; believe it, royal prince,
If he be less, he's nothing; but he's more,
Had I more name for badness.
By mine honesty,
If she be mad, as I believe no other,
Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense,
Such a dependency of thing on thing,
As e'er I heard in madness.
O gracious duke,
Harp not on that: nor do not banish reason
For inequality; but let your reason serve
To make the truth appear where it seems hid
And hide the false seems true.
Many that are not mad
Have, sure, more lack of reason.--What would you say?
I am the sister of one Claudio,
Condemn'd upon the act of fornication
To lose his head; condemn'd by Angelo:
I, in probation of a sisterhood,
Was sent to by my brother: one Lucio
As then the messenger;--
That's I, an't like your grace:
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
To try her gracious fortune with Lord Angelo
For her poor brother's pardon.
That's he, indeed.
You were not bid to speak.
No, my good lord;
Nor wish'd to hold my peace.
I wish you now, then;
Pray you take note of it: and when you have
A business for yourself, pray Heaven you then
I warrant your honour.
The warrant's for yourself; take heed to it.
(The entire section is 4,545 words.)