Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

Original Text

Modern Text

ANGELO

185Well; come to me to-morrow.

ANGELO

Well, come see me tomorrow.

LUCIO

[Aside to ISABELLA] Go to; ’tis well; away!

LUCIO

(aside to ISABELLA) Great, that’s enough. Let’s go!

ISABELLA

Heaven keep your honour safe!

ISABELLA

Heaven keep your honor safe!

ANGELO

[Aside] Amen:
For I am that way going to temptation,
190Where prayers cross.

ANGELO

(to himself) Amen—for I’m falling into temptation, where desires and prayers work against each other.

ISABELLA

At what hour to-morrow
Shall I attend your lordship?

ISABELLA

What time tomorrow should I come to your lordship?

ANGELO

At any time ’fore noon.

ANGELO

Anytime before noon.

ISABELLA

’Save your honour!

ISABELLA

God save your honor!
Exeunt ISABELLA, LUCIO, and Provost
ISABELLA, LUCIO, and the Provost exit.

ANGELO

195From thee, even from thy virtue!
What’s this, what’s this? Is this her fault or mine?
The tempter or the tempted, who sins most?
Ha!
Not she: nor doth she tempt: but it is I
200That, lying by the violet in the sun,
Do as the carrion does, not as the flower,
Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be
That modesty may more betray our sense
Than woman’s lightness? Having waste ground enough,
205Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary
And pitch our evils there? O, fie, fie, fie!
What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo?
Dost thou desire her foully for those things
That make her good? O, let her brother live!
210Thieves for their robbery have authority
When judges steal themselves. What, do I love her,
That I desire to hear her speak again,
And feast upon her eyes? What is’t I dream on?
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint,
215With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous
Is that temptation that doth goad us on
To sin in loving virtue: never could the strumpet,
With all her double vigour, art and nature,
Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid
220Subdues me quite. Even till now,
When men were fond, I smiled and wonder’d how.

ANGELO

From you, and from your virtue, too! What’s happening? Is this her fault or mine? The tempter or the tempted, who sins the most? Ha! It’s not her, she’s not trying to be a tempter. It’s me. It’s like I’m lying in a field of violets, only instead of blossoming and smelling like a flower, I’m rotting and stinking like a corpse from the same sun that makes the flowers grow. Is it possible that a modest woman can arouse desire more than a seductive one? Having destroyed enough land already, should a person want to tear down a holy place and establish evil there as well? Oh, damn, damn, damn! Angelo, what are you doing, who are you? Do you sinfully desire her for the things that make her good? Oh, I should let her brother live! Thieves are justified in robbing when the judges themselves are thieves. Can it be I’m in love with her, when I want to hear her speak again, and gaze into her eyes? What am I dreaming of? Oh, the devil’s a cunning enemy—to catch a saint, he baits the hook with saints! The most dangerous temptation is the one that uses our love of goodness to draw us into sin. A prostitute could never attract me, even with her two powers: her seductive skills and her natural endowments. But this virtuous girl totally overwhelms me. Whenever I saw men who were infatuated like idiots, I smiled and didn’t understand—up until now.