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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text

SECOND GENTLEMAN

Besides, you know, it draws something near to the
70speech we had to such a purpose.

SECOND GENTLEMAN

You know, this is exactly the sort of thing we were just talking about.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

But, most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.

FIRST GENTLEMAN

Most of all it fits with the public proclamation that was made.

LUCIO

Away! let’s go learn the truth of it.

LUCIO

Let’s go see if we can get to the bottom of this.
Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen
LUCIO and the Gentlemen exit.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

with the gallows and what with poverty, I am
75custom-shrunk.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What with the war, plague, executions, and general poverty, I’m losing business.
Enter POMPEY
POMPEY enters.
How now! what’s the news with you?
Hi! what’s new with you?

POMPEY

Yonder man is carried to prison.

POMPEY

That man over there is being hauled off to prison.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

Well; what has he done?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What did he do?

POMPEY

A woman.

POMPEY

A woman.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

80But what’s his offence?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

But what’s his crime?

POMPEY

Groping for trouts in a peculiar river.

POMPEY

Fishing in the “private part” of a river.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What, is there a maid with child by him?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What, a virgin is pregnant because of him?

POMPEY

No, but there’s a woman with maid by him. You have
not heard of the proclamation, have you?

POMPEY

No, but a woman’s having a child because of him. You haven’t heard about the proclamation, have you?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

85What proclamation, man?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

What proclamation, man?

POMPEY

All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be plucked down.

POMPEY

All the brothels in the suburbs of Vienna must be torn down.

MISTRESS OVERDONE

And what shall become of those in the city?

MISTRESS OVERDONE

And what about those in the city?

POMPEY

They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too,
but that a wise burgher put in for them.

POMPEY

They’ll be left standing. They would’ve been destroyed, too, but a savvy businessman bought them.

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