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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 2

Original Text

Modern Text

LUCIO

In any proportion or in any language.

LUCIO

In any form or in any language.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think, or in any religion.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Or in any religion.

LUCIO

Ay, why not? Grace is grace, despite of all
25controversy: as, for example, thou thyself art a
wicked villain, despite of all grace.

LUCIO

Well, why not? Grace is grace, no matter what your religious beliefs are, just like you’re a scoundrel, no matter how much grace you have.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Hey, you and me are cut from the same cloth.

LUCIO

I grant; as there may between the lists and the
velvet. Thou art the list.

LUCIO

Right—the way a piece of velvet and the scrap ends are from the same cloth. You’re the scrap.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

30And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou’rt
a three-piled piece, I warrant thee: I had as lief
be a list of an English kersey as be piled, as thou
art piled, for a French velvet. Do I speak
feelingly now?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

And you’re the velvet: a nice, thick piece of piled velvet. I swear, I’d rather be a piece of plain, English cloth than be like you, a French velvet that’s full of

piles

Shakespeare plays on the word “piles” here. Piled velvet was plush, but “piles” refers also to the STD syphilis, commonly called the French disease. Syphilis leaves sores that at the time were often covered with velvet patches.

piles
and STDs. Got you there, didn’t I?

LUCIO

35I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful
feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own
confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I
live, forget to drink after thee.

LUCIO

I think you did, and from the painful way you talk, I think something’s got you down there. I’d be glad to toast your health; just remind me never to drink from your glass after you.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I think I have done myself wrong, have I not?

FIRST GENTLEMAN

I guess I set myself up, didn’t I?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

40Yes, that thou hast, whether thou art tainted or free.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Yeah, you did, whether you’ve got something or not.

LUCIO

Behold, behold, where Madam Mitigation comes! I
have purchased as many diseases under her roof as come to—

LUCIO

Oh, look, here comes Madam Satisfaction. The number of venereal diseases I’ve caught under her roof comes to—

SECOND GENTLEMAN

To what, I pray?

SECOND GENTLEMAN

To what?

LUCIO

Judge.

LUCIO

Guess.

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