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William Shakespeare (1564–1616). The Oxford Shakespeare. 1914.

Act IV. Scene I.

Measure for Measure

The moated Grange at St. Luke’s.

Enter MARIANA and a Boy: Boy sings
  • Take, O take those lips away,
  • That so sweetly were forsworn;
  • And those eyes, the break of day,
  • Lights that do mislead the morn:
  • But my kisses bring again,
  • bring again,
  • Seals of love, but seal’d in vain,
  • seal’d in vain.
  • Mari.Break off thy song, and haste thee quick away:

    Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice

    Hath often still’d my brawling discontent.[Exit Boy.

    Enter DUKE, disguised as before.

    I cry you mercy, sir; and well could wish

    You had not found me here so musical:

    Let me excuse me, and believe me so,

    My mirth it much displeas’d, but pleas’d my woe.

    Duke.’Tis good; though music oft hath such a charm

    To make bad good, and good provoke to harm.

    I pray you tell me, hath anybody inquired for me here to-day? much upon this time have I promised here to meet.

    Mari.You have not been inquired after: I have sat here all day.

    Duke.I do constantly believe you. The time is come even now. I shall crave your forbearance a little; may be I will call upon you anon, for some advantage to yourself.

    Mari.I am always bound to you.[Exit.

    Enter ISABELLA.

    Duke.Very well met, and well come.

    What is the news from this good deputy?

    Isab.He hath a garden circummur’d with brick,

    Whose western side is with a vineyard back’d;

    And to that vineyard is a planched gate,

    That makes his opening with this bigger key;

    This other doth command a little door

    Which from the vineyard to the garden leads;

    There have I made my promise

    Upon the heavy middle of the night

    To call upon him.

    Duke.But shall you on your knowledge find this way?

    Isab.I have ta’en a due and wary note upon ’t:

    With whispering and most guilty diligence,

    In action all of precept, he did show me

    The way twice o’er.

    Duke.Are there no other tokens

    Between you ’greed concerning her observance?

    Isab.No, none, but only a repair i’ the dark;

    And that I have possess’d him my most stay

    Can be but brief; for I have made him know

    I have a servant comes with me along,

    That stays upon me, whose persuasion is

    I come about my brother.

    Duke.’Tis well borne up.

    I have not yet made known to Mariana

    A word of this. What ho! within! come forth.

    Re-enter MARIANA.

    I pray you, be acquainted with this maid;

    She comes to do you good.

    Isab.I do desire the like.

    Duke.Do you persuade yourself that I respect you?

    Mari.Good friar, I know you do, and oft have found it.

    Duke.Take then this your companion by the hand,

    Who hath a story ready for your ear.

    I shall attend your leisure: but make haste;

    The vaporous night approaches.

    Mari.Will ’t please you walk aside?[Exeunt MARIANA and ISABELLA.

    Duke.O place and greatness! millions of false eyes

    Are stuck upon thee: volumes of report

    Run with these false and most contrarious quests

    Upon thy doings: thousand escapes of wit

    Make thee the father of their idle dream,

    And rack thee in their fancies!

    Re-enter MARIANA and ISABELLA.

    Welcome! How agreed?

    Isab.She’ll take the enterprise upon her, father,

    If you advise it.

    Duke.It is not my consent,

    But my entreaty too.

    Isab.Little have you to say

    When you depart from him, but, soft and low,

    ‘Remember now my brother.’

    Mari.Fear me not.

    Duke.Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all.

    He is your husband on a pre-contract:

    To bring you thus together, ’tis no sin,

    Sith that the justice of your title to him

    Doth flourish the deceit. Come, let us go:

    Our corn’s to reap, for yet our tithe’s to sow.[Exeunt.