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Measure for Measure

William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 2

page Act 1 Scene 2 Page 7

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LUCIO

With child, perhaps?

LUCIO

Pregnant, huh?

CLAUDIO

145Unhappily, even so.
And the new deputy now for the duke—
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness,
Or whether that the body public be
A horse whereon the governor doth ride,
150Who, newly in the seat, that it may know
He can command, lets it straight feel the spur;
Whether the tyranny be in his place,
Or in his emmence that fills it up,
I stagger in:—but this new governor
155Awakes me all the enrolled penalties
Which have, like unscour’d armour, hung by the wall
So long that nineteen zodiacs have gone round
And none of them been worn; and, for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act
160Freshly on me: ’tis surely for a name.

CLAUDIO

Unfortunately, yes. And this new deputy of the duke’s—I can’t say whether he’s been blinded by his new power or if he sees the public like a horse to be broken in, so he digs his spurs in right away to show it who’s boss; or if he’s just a bully; or if being a bully is part of the job. But this new governor is taking all these old penalties that, like rusty armor hanging on the wall, haven’t been used in years and is applying them to me. He’s imposing all these unenforced, long-ignored laws on me to make a name for himself. That has to be it, to make his name.

LUCIO

I warrant it is: and thy head stands so tickle on
thy shoulders that a milkmaid, if she be in love,
may sigh it off. Send after the duke and appeal to
him.

LUCIO

I bet it is; and your head sits so precariously on your shoulders right now that the sigh of a lovesick milkmaid could knock it off. Get in touch with the duke and appeal to him.

CLAUDIO

165I have done so, but he’s not to be found.
I prithee, Lucio, do me this kind service:
This day my sister should the cloister enter
And there receive her approbation:
Acquaint her with the danger of my state:
170Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends
To the strict deputy; bid herself assay him:
I have great hope in that; for in her youth
There is a prone and speechless dialect,
Such as move men; beside, she hath prosperous art
175When she will play with reason and discourse,
And well she can persuade.

CLAUDIO

I tried, but he can’t be found. Please, Lucio, do this favor for me: My sister’s entering a nunnery and starting her training period today. Tell her the danger I’m in, and implore her, in my name, to befriend this strict deputy and try to change his mind. I’ve got a lot of hope in her. Her youthful sweetness alone would move a man. Besides, she has a gift for rhetoric, and she can really persuade people.

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