Measure for Measure

by: William Shakespeare

  Act 2 Scene 1

page Act 2 Scene 1 Page 11

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ESCALUS

I thought, by your readiness in the office, you had
continued in it some time. You say, seven years together?

ESCALUS

I thought you’d been at the job for a while, given your skill at it. You say seven years altogether?

ELBOW

And a half, sir.

ELBOW

And a half, sir.

ESCALUS

250Alas, it hath been great pains to you. They do you
wrong to put you so oft upon ’t: are there not men
in your ward sufficient to serve it?

ESCALUS

Oh, that’s so hard on you. It’s wrong that you have to work so much. Aren’t there enough capable men in your precinct?

ELBOW

Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they
are chosen, they are glad to choose me for them; I
255do it for some piece of money, and go through with
all.

ELBOW

Honestly, sir, few who are bright enough. They’re happy to have me substitute for them. They pay me a little money, and I handle all the duties.

ESCALUS

Look you bring me in the names of some six or seven,
the most sufficient of your parish.

ESCALUS

Please bring me some six or seven names, the most competent people in your parish.

ELBOW

To your worship’s house, sir?

ELBOW

To your worship’s house, sir?

ESCALUS

260To my house. Fare you well.

ESCALUS

To my house. Goodbye.
Exit ELBOW
ELBOW exits.
What’s o’clock, think you?
What time is it?

JUSTICE

Eleven, sir.

JUSTICE

Eleven, sir.

ESCALUS

I pray you home to dinner with me.

ESCALUS

Please, come home to lunch with me.

JUSTICE

I humbly thank you.

JUSTICE

I’m most grateful. Thank you.

ESCALUS

265It grieves me for the death of Claudio;
But there’s no remedy.

ESCALUS

Claudio’s death saddens me, but there’s no way to prevent it.

JUSTICE

Lord Angelo is severe.

JUSTICE

Lord Angelo is severe.

ESCALUS

It is but needful:
Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so;
270Pardon is still the nurse of second woe:
But yet,—poor Claudio! There is no remedy.
Come, sir.

ESCALUS

It’s unfortunately necessary. Mercy isn’t often what it seems, since pardoning a crime can lead to additional pain. Even so—poor Claudio! There’s no way to prevent it. Let’s go, sir.

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