Enter Isabell and Francisca a Nun.
And haue you Nuns no farther priuiledges?
Are not these large enough?
Yes truely; I speake not as desiring more,
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Vpon the Sisterhood, the Votarists of Saint Clare.
Good sir, adieu.
Hoa? peace be in this place
Who's that which cals?
Nun. It is a mans voice: gentle Isabella
Turne you the key, and know his businesse of him;
You may; I may not: you are yet vnsworne:
When you haue vowd, you must not speake with men,
But in the presence of the Prioresse;
Then if you speake, you must not show your face;
Or if you show your face, you must not speake.
He cals againe: I pray you answere him
Peace and prosperitie: who is't that cals?
Haile Virgin, (if you be) as those cheeke-Roses
Proclaime you are no lesse: can you so steed me,
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
A Nouice of this place, and the faire Sister
To her vnhappie brother Claudio?
Why her vnhappy Brother? Let me aske,
The rather for I now must make you know
I am that Isabella, and his Sister
Gentle & faire: your Brother kindly greets you;
Not to be weary with you; he's in prison
Woe me; for what?
For that, which if my selfe might be his Iudge,
He should receiue his punishment, in thankes:
He hath got his friend with childe
Sir, make me not your storie
'Tis true; I would not, though 'tis my familiar sin,
With Maids to seeme the Lapwing, and to iest
Tongue, far from heart: play with all Virgins so:
I hold you as a thing en-skied, and sainted,
By your renouncement, an imortall spirit
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a Saint
You doe blaspheme the good, in mocking me
Doe not beleeue it: fewnes, and truth; tis thus,
Your brother, and his louer haue embrac'd;
As those that feed, grow full: as blossoming Time
That from the seednes, the bare fallow brings
To teeming foyson: euen so her plenteous wombe
Expresseth his full Tilth, and husbandry
Some one with childe by him? my cosen Iuliet?
Is she your cosen?
Adoptedly, as schoole-maids change their names
By vaine, though apt affection
She it is
Oh, let him marry her
This is the point.
The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen (my selfe being one)
In hand, and hope of action: but we doe learne,
By those that know the very Nerues of State,
His giuing-out, were of an infinite distance
From his true meant designe: vpon his place,
(And with full line of his authority)
Gouernes Lord Angelo; A man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth: one, who neuer feeles
The wanton stings, and motions of the sence;
But doth rebate, and blunt his naturall edge
With profits of the minde: Studie, and fast
He (to giue feare to vse, and libertie,
Which haue, for long, run-by the hideous law,
As Myce, by Lyons) hath pickt out an act,
Vnder whose heauy sence, your brothers life
Fals into forfeit: he arrests him on it,
And followes close the rigor of the Statute
To make him an example: all hope is gone,
Vnlesse you haue the grace, by your faire praier
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith of businesse
'Twixt you, and your poore brother
Doth he so,
Seeke his life?
Has censur'd him already,
And as I heare, the Prouost hath a warrant
Alas: what poore
Abilitie's in me, to doe him good
Assay the powre you haue
My power? alas, I doubt
Our doubts are traitors
And makes vs loose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt: Goe to Lord Angelo
And let him learne to know, when Maidens sue
Men giue like gods: but when they weepe and kneele,
All their petitions, are as freely theirs
As they themselues would owe them
Ile see what I can doe
I will about it strait;
No longer staying, but to giue the Mother
Notice of my affaire: I humbly thanke you:
Commend me to my brother: soone at night
Ile send him certaine word of my successe
I take my leaue of you
Actus Secundus. Scæna Prima.
Enter Angelo, Escalus, and seruants, Iustice.
We must not make a scar-crow of the Law,
Setting it vp to feare the Birds of prey,
And let it keepe one shape, till custome make it
Their pearch, and not their terror
I, but yet
Let vs be keene, and rather cut a little
Then fall, and bruise to death: alas, this gentleman
Whom I would saue, had a most noble father,
Let but your honour know
(Whom I beleeue to be most strait in vertue)
That in the working of your owne affections,
Had time coheard with Place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of our blood
Could haue attaind th' effect of your owne purpose,
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Er'd in this point, which now you censure him,
And puld the Law vpon you
'Tis one thing to be tempted (Escalus)