Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 4

Original Text

Modern Text

ELBOW

Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman
cardinally given, might have been accused in
fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.

ELBOW

From my wife, who, if she had been a woman given to sin, might have been accused of fornication, adultery, and all sorts of dirty things there.

ESCALUS

80By the woman’s means?

ESCALUS

Because of the actions of the madam of the whorehouse?

ELBOW

Ay, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s means: but as she
spit in his face, so she defied him.

ELBOW

Yes, sir, by Mistress Overdone’s doing. But my wife spit in this man’s face, defying him.

POMPEY

Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so.

POMPEY

Please, sir, this is not true.

ELBOW

Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable
85man; prove it.

ELBOW

Prove it before these rogues here, you honorable man. Prove it.

ESCALUS

Do you hear how he misplaces?

ESCALUS

(to Angelo) Do you hear how he mixes up his words?

POMPEY

Sir, she came in great with child; and longing,
saving your honour’s reverence, for stewed prunes;
sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very
90distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a
dish of some three-pence; your honours have seen
such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very
good dishes,—

POMPEY

Sir, this very pregnant woman came in, longing—I beg your honor’s pardon—for

stewed prunes

a dish commonly served as a cure for syphilis in brothels, which were also called “stews”

stewed prunes
. Sir, we had only two in the house, which at that very time were sitting, it so happened, in a fruit dish, a three-cent dish. Your honors have seen such dishes; they’re not fine china, but they’re very good dishes—

ESCALUS

Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.

ESCALUS

Get on with it. Never mind about the dish, sir.

POMPEY

95No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in
the right: but to the point. As I say, this
Mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and
being great-bellied, and longing, as I said, for
prunes; and having but two in the dish, as I said,
100Master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the
rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very
honestly; for, as you know, Master Froth, I could
not give you three-pence again.

POMPEY

No, sir, you’re right. It’s not worth a pin, but back to the point. As I was saying, this Mrs. Elbow, was, as I say, very pregnant, and longing, as I said, for prunes. We had only two left in the dish, as I said, and this very man, Mr. Froth here, having eaten the rest and paid for them very generously. Because as you know, Mr. Froth, I couldn’t give you three cents’ change.

Measure for Measure: Popular pages