Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

A nunnery.
A nunnery.
Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA
ISABELLA and FRANCISCA enter.

ISABELLA

And have you nuns no farther privileges?

ISABELLA

And so you nuns have no other privileges?

FRANCISCA

Are not these large enough?

FRANCISCA

Aren’t these enough?

ISABELLA

Yes, truly; I speak not as desiring more;
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
5Upon the sisterhood, the votarists of Saint Clare.

ISABELLA

Oh, yes. I didn’t mean I wanted more freedom. Actually, I wish there were even more restrictions on the Saint Claire sisterhood.

LUCIO

[Within] Ho! Peace be in this place!

LUCIO

(offstage) Hello! Peace to this place!

ISABELLA

Who’s that which calls?

ISABELLA

Who’s that?

FRANCISCA

It is a man’s voice. Gentle Isabella,
Turn you the key, and know his business of him;
10You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn.
When you have vow’d, you must not speak with men
But in the presence of the priore
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face,
Or, if you show your face, you must not speak.
15He calls again; I pray you, answer him.

FRANCISCA

It’s a man’s voice. Isabella, unlock the door and ask him what he wants. I can’t, but you can, since you haven’t taken your vows yet. Once you have, you’ll only be able to speak with men in the presence of the Mother Superior. Then, if you speak, you mustn’t show your face. Or if you show your face, you mustn’t speak. He’s calling again. Please answer him.
Exit
She exits.

ISABELLA

Peace and prosperity! Who is’t that calls

ISABELLA

Peace and prosperity! Who’s there?
Enter LUCIO
LUCIO enters.

LUCIO

Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me
As bring me to the sight of Isabella,
20A novice of this place and the fair sister
To her unhappy brother Claudio?

LUCIO

Well, hello, virgin—if you are one, as your rosy cheeks proclaim you to be. Can you help me to find Isabella, a novice here and the pretty sister to Claudio, her unlucky brother?