Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

LUCIO

160[Aside to ISABELLA] Art avised o’ that? more on ’t.

LUCIO

(aside to ISABELLA) You know about that sort of stuff? Tell us more.

ANGELO

Why do you put these sayings upon me?

ANGELO

Why are you attacking me with these sayings?

ISABELLA

Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the vice o’ the top. Go to your bosom;
165Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That’s like my brother’s fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother’s life.

ISABELLA

Because people in authority, even though they sin like everyone else, apply a sort of bandage to cover—but not cure—their sinful sores. Look in your heart and ask yourself if you’ve ever experienced anything like my brother’s crime. If your heart admits to being guilty of the same natural impulses, don’t say a word to condemn my brother.

ANGELO

170[Aside] She speaks, and ’tis
Such sense, that my sense breeds with it. Fare you well.

ANGELO

(to himself) She speaks with such sense, she’s got my senses and desire stirred up. Goodbye.

ISABELLA

Gentle my lord, turn back.

ISABELLA

My gracious lord, come back.

ANGELO

I will bethink me: come again tomorrow.

ANGELO

I’ll consider the matter. Come again tomorrow.

ISABELLA

Hark how I’ll bribe you: good my lord, turn back.

ISABELLA

I’ll bribe you—come back, my good lord.

ANGELO

175How! bribe me?

ANGELO

What? Bribe me?

ISABELLA

Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.

ISABELLA

Yes, with gifts from heaven.

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] You had marr’d all else.

LUCIO

(aside to ISABELLA) You nearly blew it.

ISABELLA

Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,
Or stones whose rates are either rich or poor
180As fancy values them; but with true prayers
That shall be up at heaven and enter there
Ere sun-rise, prayers from preserved souls,
From fasting maids whose minds are dedicate
To nothing temporal.

ISABELLA

Not with silly coins of real gold, or jewels whose value rises and falls, depending on fashion; but with constant prayers that will rise up and enter heaven before dawn—the prayers of protected souls, nuns whose minds are dedicated only to spiritual things.