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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2
No Fear Act 3 Scene 2 Page 9

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Exeunt Officers with MISTRESS OVERDONE
Officers exit with MISTRESS OVERDONE.
Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered;
Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnished
with divines, and have all charitable preparation.
200if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be
so with him.
Provost, my colleague Angelo won’t change his mind—Claudio must die tomorrow. Furnish him with priests, to give him spiritual consolation. If my colleague possessed my sense of pity, this wouldn’t be happening.

PROVOST

So please you, this friar hath been with him, and
advised him for the entertainment of death.

PROVOST

This friar’s been with him, and helped him prepare for death.

ESCALUS

Good even, good father.

ESCALUS

Good evening, good father.

DUKE VINCENTIO

205Bliss and goodness on you!

DUKE VINCENTIO

Bliss and goodness to you!

ESCALUS

Of whence are you?

ESCALUS

Where are you from?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not of this country, though my chance is now
To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the See
210In special business from his holiness.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not from this country, though I happen to be here for the time being. I belong to a holy brotherhood, and have just come from Rome, on special business from the Vatican.

ESCALUS

What news abroad i’ the world?

ESCALUS

What’s the news from abroad?

DUKE VINCENTIO

None, but that there is so great a fever on
goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it:
novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous
215to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous
to be inconstant in any undertaking. There is scarce
truth enough alive to make societies secure; but
security enough to make fellowships accurst: much
upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the world. This
220news is old enough, yet it is every day’s news. I
pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

DUKE VINCENTIO

None, except that goodness is so sick that only death can cure it. People only want the latest thing, and it’s as dangerous to be faithful as it is virtuous to be promiscuous. There’s barely enough honesty left for it to be safe to get involved with people, but there’s enough blind trust to doom partnerships. The wisdom of the world runs on paradoxes like this. It’s old news, but everyday news. Tell me, sir, what sort of man was the duke?

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