Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2
No Fear Act 1 Scene 2 Page 6

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Re-enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen
LUCIO and two gentlemen re-enter.

LUCIO

Why, how now, Claudio! Whence comes this restraint?

LUCIO

Claudio! Why are you being arrested?

CLAUDIO

From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
115So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint. Our natures do pursue,
Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,
A thirsty evil; and when we drink we die.

CLAUDIO

For being too promiscuous, Lucio, too promiscuous. The same way overeating leads to fasting, and overdoing anything leads to being restricted. Like rats gobbling up rat poison, we have a thirst for harmful things, and when we drink them we die.

LUCIO

If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would
120send for certain of my creditors: and yet, to say
the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom
as the morality of imprisonment. What’s thy
offence, Claudio?

LUCIO

If I could speak so well while under arrest, I’d ask a few creditors I know to come and lock me up. Though frankly, I’d rather be foolish and free than wise and a prisoner. What’s your crime, Claudio?

CLAUDIO

What but to speak of would offend again.

CLAUDIO

To speak of it would be another crime.

LUCIO

125What, is’t murder?

LUCIO

What, is it murder?

CLAUDIO

No.

CLAUDIO

No.

LUCIO

Lechery?

LUCIO

Lechery?

CLAUDIO

Call it so.

CLAUDIO

You could call it that.

PROVOST

Away, sir, you must go.

PROVOST

Sir, you have to go.

CLAUDIO

130One word, good friend. Lucio, a word with you.

CLAUDIO

(to the Provost) Just a minute, good friend. Lucio, let me have a word with you.

LUCIO

A hundred, if they’ll do you any good.
Is lechery so look’d after?

LUCIO

A hundred, if they’ll do you any good.
Is lechery regulated now?

CLAUDIO

Thus stands it with me: upon a true contract
I got possession of Julietta’s bed:
135You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order: this we came not to,
Only for propagation of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends,
140From whom we thought it meet to hide our love
Till time had made them for us. But it chances
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment
With character too gross is writ on Juliet.

CLAUDIO

Here’s what happened: I slept with Julietta after we got engaged. You know her—she’s practically my wife, except that we haven’t had an official ceremony. The only reason we didn’t was to increase the amount of the dowry she might receive from her friends and relatives. We thought we’d hide our love until we had a chance to win them over. But it turned out our secret intimacy had an all-too-obvious effect on Juliet.

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