William Shakespeare: Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene II
Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen
If the duke with the other dukes come not to composition with the King of Hungary, why then all the dukes fall upon the king.
Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scraped one out of the table.
Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions: they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, do relish the petition well that prays for peace.
Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.
And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou'rt a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?
I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.
Behold, behold. where Madam Mitigation comes! I have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to—
Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound as things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast of thee.
Enter Mistress Overdone
Well, well; there's one yonder arrested and carried to prison was worth five thousand of you all.
Nay, but I know 'tis so: I saw him arrested, saw him carried away; and, which is more, within these three days his head to be chopped off.
Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours since, and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen
Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows and what with poverty, I am custom-shrunk.
How now! what's the news with you?
Come; fear you not: good counsellors lack no clients: though you change your place, you need not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. Courage! there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.
Enter Provost, Claudio, Juliet, and Officers
Thus can the demigod Authority Make us pay down for our offence by weight The words of heaven; on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.
Re-enter Lucio and two Gentlemen
From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty: As surfeit is the father of much fast, So every scope by the immoderate use Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue, Like rats that ravin down their proper bane, A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.
If could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors: and yet, to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom as the morality of imprisonment. What's thy offence, Claudio?
Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract I got possession of Julietta's bed: You know the lady; she is fast my wife, Save that we do the denunciation lack Of outward order: this we came not to, Only for propagation of a dower Remaining in the coffer of her friends, From whom we thought it meet to hide our love Till time had made them for us. But it chances The stealth of our most mutual entertainment With character too gross is writ on Juliet.
Unhappily, even so. And the new deputy now for the duke— Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness, Or whether that the body public be A horse whereon the governor doth ride, Who, newly in the seat, that it may know He can command, lets it straight feel the spur; Whether the tyranny be in his place, Or in his emmence that fills it up, I stagger in:—but this new governor Awakes me all the enrolled penalties Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round And none of them been worn; and, for a name, Now puts the drowsy and neglected act Freshly on me: 'tis surely for a name.
I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to him.
I have done so, but he's not to be found. I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service: This day my sister should the cloister enter And there receive her approbation: Acquaint her with the danger of my state: Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him: I have great hope in that; for in her youth There is a prone and speechless dialect, Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art When she will play with reason and discourse, And well she can persuade.
I pray she may; as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition, as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of tick-tack. I'll to her.