Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 2

page Act 4 Scene 2 Page 6

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DUKE VINCENTIO

And here comes Claudio’s pardon.

DUKE VINCENTIO

And here comes Claudio’s pardon.

MESSENGER

(Giving a paper)
My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this
110further charge, that you swerve not from the
smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, or
other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I take it,
it is almost day.

MESSENGER

(presenting a paper) My lord has sent you this note, and charged me to tell you not to swerve from the smallest item in it—not the time, details, or anything else. Good morning, since I gather it’s almost morning.

PROVOST

I shall obey him.

PROVOST

I will obey him.
Exit Messenger
The Messenger exits.

DUKE VINCENTIO

115(Aside) This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
For which the pardoner himself is in.
Hence hath offence his quick celerity,
When it is born in high authority:
When vice makes mercy, mercy’s so extended,
120That for the fault’s love is the offender friended.
Now, sir, what news?

DUKE VINCENTIO

(to himself) This is his pardon, bought by the same sin Angelo committed. Crimes spread quickly when those in power perpetrate them as well. When evildoers extend mercy, they widen mercy’s grasp, pardoning other sinners because they love the sin. Now, sir, what’s the news?

PROVOST

I told you. Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss
in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted
putting-on; methinks strangely, for he hath not used it before.

PROVOST

I told you. Lord Angelo, thinking me careless in my duties maybe, is putting unusual pressure on me. It’s strange—he’s never done this before.

DUKE VINCENTIO

125Pray you, let’s hear.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Please, let’s hear the letter.

PROVOST

(Reads)
‘Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let
Claudio be executed by four of the clock; and in the
afternoon Barnardine: for my better satisfaction,
130let me have Claudio’s head sent me by five. Let
this be duly performed; with a thought that more
depends on it than we must yet deliver. Thus fail
not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril.’
What say you to this, sir?

PROVOST

(reads) “Whatever you may hear to the contrary, have
Claudio executed by four o’clock, and Barnardine in the
afternoon. Reassure me by sending me Claudio’s head by five o’clock. Be sure you do it, and be aware that more depends on it than I can reveal at this time. Don’t fail to do your duty, or you will be held accountable.” What do you say to this, sir?

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