Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 4 Scene 3

page Act 4 Scene 3 Page 4

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DUKE VINCENTIO

A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;
And to transport him in the mind he is
65Were damnable.

DUKE VINCENTIO

A creature unprepared, unfit for death. To send him off in his current frame of mind would be damnable.

PROVOST

Here in the prison, father,
There died this morning of a cruel fever
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate,
A man of Claudio’s years; his beard and head
70Just of his colour. What if we do omit
This reprobate till he were well inclined;
And satisfy the deputy with the visage
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

PROVOST

Here in prison, father, a notorious pirate named Ragozine just died this morning of a terrible fever. He was Claudio’s age, with the same color beard and hair. What if we forget about this reprobate until he’s agreeable, and send the deputy Ragozine’s head, which is more like Claudio’s?

DUKE VINCENTIO

O, ’tis an accident that heaven provides!
75Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on
Prefix’d by Angelo: see this be done,
And sent according to command; whiles I
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Oh, this is a heaven-sent chance! Do it at once. It’s getting near the time Angelo set for the execution. See that it’s done, and the head sent, as ordered. Meanwhile, I’ll persuade this uncivilized wretch to die willingly.

PROVOST

This shall be done, good father, presently.
80But Barnardine must die this afternoon:
And how shall we continue Claudio,
To save me from the danger that might come
If he were known alive?

PROVOST

We’ll do it, good father, immediately. But Barnardine must die this afternoon. And what do we do with Claudio, to save me from the danger of word getting out that he’s alive?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Let this be done.
85Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio:
Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting
To the under generation, you shall find
Your safety manifested.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Let’s do this: put both Barnardine and Claudio in secret cells. Before two more days, it’ll be obvious you’re safe.

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