Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 1 Scene 4

page Act 1 Scene 4 Page 4

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ISABELLA

Doth he so seek his life?

ISABELLA

Does he really intend to kill him?

LUCIO

Has censured him
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

LUCIO

He’s already sentenced him to death, and I hear the provost has the warrant for his execution.

ISABELLA

80Alas! what poor ability’s in me
To do him good?

ISABELLA

Oh, dear! What can a poor girl like me do to help?

LUCIO

Assay the power you have.

LUCIO

Test the power you have.

ISABELLA

My power? Alas, I doubt—

ISABELLA

My power? I doubt—

LUCIO

Our doubts are traitors
85And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing to attempt. Go to Lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
90As they themselves would owe them.

LUCIO

Our doubts work against us and make us lose the good things we often could win by making us scared to try. Go to Lord Angelo, and show him that when girls plead, men give like gods. But when girls cry and kneel, their requests are granted even more freely, as if the girls were asking themselves for permission.

ISABELLA

I’ll see what I can do.

ISABELLA

I’ll see what I can do.

LUCIO

But speedily.

LUCIO

Make it fast.

ISABELLA

I will about it straight;
No longer staying but to give the mother
95Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you:
Commend me to my brother: soon at night
I’ll send him certain word of my success.

ISABELLA

I’ll go straightaway, as soon as I give notice of my business to the Mother Superior. Thank you so much. Give my brother my love. I’ll let him know how I made out early this evening.

LUCIO

I take my leave of you.

LUCIO

I’ll go now.

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