Measure for Measure
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|ACT I SCENE III ||A monastery.|| |
| ||Enter DUKE VINCENTIO and FRIAR THOMAS.|| |
|DUKE VINCENTIO ||No, holy father; throw away that thought;|| |
| ||Believe not that the dribbling dart of love|| |
| ||Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee|| |
| ||To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose|
| ||More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends|| 5|| |
| ||Of burning youth.|| |
|FRIAR THOMAS ||May your grace speak of it?|| |
|DUKE VINCENTIO ||My holy sir, none better knows than you|| |
| ||How I have ever loved the life removed|
| ||And held in idle price to haunt assemblies|| |
| ||Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.|| 10|| |
| ||I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,|| |
| ||A man of stricture and firm abstinence,|| |
| ||My absolute power and place here in Vienna,|
| ||And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;|| |
| ||For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,|| 15|| |
| ||And so it is received. Now, pious sir,|| |
| ||You will demand of me why I do this?|| |
|FRIAR THOMAS ||Gladly, my lord.|
|DUKE VINCENTIO ||We have strict statutes and most biting laws.|| |
| ||The needful bits and curbs to headstrong steeds,|| 20|| |
| ||Which for this nineteen years we have let slip;|| |
| ||Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,|| |
| ||That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,|
| ||Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,|| |
| ||Only to stick it in their children's sight|| |
| ||For terror, not to use, in time the rod|| |
| ||Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,|| 27|| |
| ||Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;|
| ||And liberty plucks justice by the nose;|| |
| ||The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart|| |
| ||Goes all decorum.|| |
|FRIAR THOMAS ||It rested in your grace|| |
| ||To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:|
| ||And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd|| |
| ||Than in Lord Angelo.|| |
|DUKE VINCENTIO ||I do fear, too dreadful:|| |
| ||Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,|| 35|| |
| ||'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them|
| ||For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,|| |
| ||When evil deeds have their permissive pass|| |
| ||And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,|| |
| ||I have on Angelo imposed the office;|| |
| ||Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,|
| ||And yet my nature never in the fight|| 42|| |
| ||To do in slander. And to behold his sway,|| |
| ||I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,|| |
| ||Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee,|| |
| ||Supply me with the habit and instruct me|
| ||How I may formally in person bear me|| 47|| |
| ||Like a true friar. More reasons for this action|| |
| ||At our more leisure shall I render you;|| |
| ||Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;|| |
| ||Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses|| 51|
| ||That his blood flows, or that his appetite|| |
| ||Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,|| |
| ||If power change purpose, what our seemers be.|| |
| ||Exeunt.|| |
Explanatory Notes for Act 1, Scene 3
From Measure for Measure. Ed. William J. Rolfe. New York: Harper & Brothers., 1899.
2. Dribbling. Weak, ineffectual. Possibly the word
should be dribbing as dribber, according to Steevens, was a term of
contempt in archery.
3. Complete. Accented on the first syllable because coming before the
noun. Cf. L. L. L. i. i. 137: "A maid of grace and complete majesty;"
Rich, III. iv.4. 189: "Than all the complete armour that thou wear'st,"
etc. See, on the other hand, T G. of V. ii. 4. 73: "He is complete in
feature and in mind;" K. John, ii. i. 433: "Is the young Dauphin every
way complete," etc. For many examples of this changeable accent of
dissyllabic adjectives and participles, see Schmidt, p. 14 13 fol. Cf. Cor. P. 255 (on Divine), and Cymb. p. 1 74 (on Supreme).
8. The life removed. "A life of retirement" (Steevens).
10. Bravery. Finery, showy dress; as in T. of S. iv. 3. 57: "With scarfs and fans and double change of bravery." See also A. Y. L. p. 165.
Keeps = dwells; as it is still used in some parts of this country.
12. Stricture. Strictness; the only instance of the word in S. Strictness, which Davenant substitutes, he does not use at all. Warb. would read "strict ure," ure being "an old word for use, practice." Steevens
notes that it occurs in Promos and Cassandra: "The crafty man oft puts these wrongs in ure."
20. Steeds. The folios have "weedes;" corrected by Theo. Walker conjectures "wills." In the next line, the folios have "slip" for sleep, which is Davenant's word. Cf. ii. 2. 90 below.
21. This fourteen. Changed by Theo. to "these nineteen." See on
i. 2. 158 above. For this with a plural, cf. Much Ado, iii. 3. 134; "this seven year," etc. Gr. 87.
27. Becomes. Not in the folio; inserted by Pope.
30. Quite athwart. Cf. i Hen. IV. i.I.36:
"when all athwart there came
A post from Wales loaden with heavy news."
35. Sith. Since; as in iv. i. 73 below. See Ham. pp. 201, 246, 253, or Gr. 132.
38. Permissive. The only instance of the word in S.
42. And yet my nature never in the fight. And yet I myself never appearing in the fight. Pope changed fight to "sight;" but strike home and ambush favour its retention as carrying out the metaphor of a contest or struggle.
43. To do me slander. The folios have "To do in slander." Hanmer reads "To do it slander;" and there is not much choice between that and the reading in the text, which is Halliwell's. Steevens, in support
of Hanmer's, cites 1 Hen. IV. iv. 3. 8: "Do me no slander, Douglas."
The Coll. MS. has "sight To draw on slander." Sr. conjectures "right
to do him slander;" D. "light To do it slander;" and St. "win the fight To die in slander."
The meaning of the whole passage is thus put by Clarke: "Angelo
may, under cover of my name, enforce the law, while I take no part in the
exertion that is opposed to my nature, and might bring me blame."
Clarke reads "do it slander," it referring of course to nature; and the
sense is obviously the same whether we read it or me.
47. Bear me. Bear or conduct myself. The folio omits me, which
Capell supplied. Pope reads "my person bear."
51. Stands at a guard with. Is on his guard against; or "stands cautiously on his defence" (Mason). Johnson makes it = "stands on terms of defiance."
Measure for Measure, Act 1, Scene 4
How to Pronounce the Names in Measure for Measure
Measure for Measure: Detailed Plot Summary
Shakespeare on Lawyers and the Law
Introduction to Isabella from Measure for Measure
Introduction to Angelo from Measure for Measure
Introduction to the Duke from Measure for Measure
Shakespeare's Sources for Measure for Measure
Famous Quotations from Measure for Measure
Shakespeare Quotations (by Play and Theme)
Quotations About William Shakespeare
Exploring the Nature of Shakespearean Comedy
Shakespeare's Boss: The Master of Revels