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Vincentio, duke of Vienna.

Angelo, lord deputy in the duke's absence.

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Escalus, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the de


Claudio, a young gentleman.

Lucio, a fantastick.

Two other like gentlemen.

Varrius, a gentleman, servant to the duke.

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Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other


SCENE, Vienna.



SCENE I. An Apartment in the Duke's Palace. Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.

Escal. My lord.


Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse;
Since I am put to know, that your own science,
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you: Then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,
Our city's institutions, and the terms


For common justice, you are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any

That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp.-Call hi-

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What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;

Lent him our terror, drest him with our love;
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power: What think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth

To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.



Look, where he comes.

Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure.


There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold: Thyself and thy belongings 3
Are not thine own so proper, 4 as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike

As if we had them not.

Spirits are not finely touch'd, But to fine issues: 5 nor nature never lends The smallest scruple of her excellence, But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines Herself the glory of a creditor,

use. But I do bend my speech

Both thanks and 6

To one that can my part in him advértise;

4 So much thy own property.
6 Interest.

3 Endowments.

5 For high purposes.

Hold therefore, Angelo;

In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna

Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary :
Take thy commission.


Now, good my lord,

Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure

Be stamp'd upon it.


No more evasion :

We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition,
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall impórtune,
How it goes with us; and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So, fare you well:
To the hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.


Yet, give leave, my lord,

That we may bring you something on the way. Duke. My haste may not admit it;

Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do


With any scruple: your scope is as mine own; So to enforce, or qualify the laws,

As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand; I'll privily away: I love the people,

But do not like to stage me to their eyes:

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