Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

POMPEY

If you head and hang all that offend that way but
for ten year together, you’ll be glad to give out a
commission for more heads: if this law hold in
Vienna ten year, I’ll rent the fairest house in it
230after three-pence a bay: if you live to see this
come to pass, say Pompey told you so.

POMPEY

If you behead and hang everyone who breaks the law by having sex, in just ten years you’ll have to commission people to repopulate the city. If this law lasts a decade in Vienna, I’ll rent the best house in town at three cents a square foot. If you’re alive to see this, say Pompey told you so.

ESCALUS

Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your
prophecy, hark you: I advise you, let me not find
you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever;
235no, not for dwelling where you do: if I do, Pompey,
I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd
Caesar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall
have you whipt: so, for this time, Pompey, fare you well.

ESCALUS

Thank you, Pompey, and, in return for your prediction, listen carefully. I advise you, don’t let me find you appearing before me again upon any complaint whatsoever, not even for living where you do. If I do, I’ll beat you like Julius Caesar did to your namesake—

Pompey

In Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar, Caesar defeats a rival named Pompey

Pompey
—and send you scurrying to your tent in defeat. To put it plainly, Pompey, I will have you whipped. So, for now, Pompey, goodbye.

POMPEY

I thank your worship for your good counsel:

POMPEY

I thank your worship for your good advice.
Aside
(to himself)
240but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall
better determine.
Whip me? No, no; let carman whip his jade:
The valiant heart is not whipt out of his trade.
But I shall follow it only as my body and my opportunities dictate. Whip me? No, no; let a cart driver whip his old nag. A brave heart isn’t whipped out of his job.
Exit
He exits.

ESCALUS

Come hither to me, Master Elbow; come hither, master
245constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?

ESCALUS

Come here, Mr. Elbow; come here, Mr. Policeman.
How long have you been a policeman?

ELBOW

Seven year and a half, sir.

ELBOW

Seven and a half years, sir.