Measure for Measure. William Shakespeare. Act II.

measureformeasureMeasure for Measure. Act II. SCENE:  

A hall In ANGELO’s house. ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants.

ANGELO 

We must not make a scarecrow of the law, Setting it up to fear the birds of prey, And let it keep one shape, till custom make it Their perch and not their terror.

ESCALUS 

Ay, but yet Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman Whom I would save, had a most noble father! Let but your honour know, Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue, That, in the working of your own affections, Had time cohered with place or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of your blood Could have attain’d the effect of your own purpose, Whether you had not sometime in your life Err’d in this point which now you censure him, And pull’d the law upon you.

ANGELO

‘Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny, The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life, May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice, That justice seizes: what know the laws That thieves do pass on thieves? ‘Tis very pregnant, The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t Because we see it; but what we do not see We tread upon, and never think of it. You may not so extenuate his offence For I have had such faults; but rather tell me, When I, that censure him, do so offend, Let mine own judgment pattern out my death, And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

ESCALUS

Be it as your wisdom will. ANGELO Where is the provost? Provost Here, if it like your honour.

ANGELO

See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning: Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared; For that’s the utmost of his pilgrimage.

ESCALUS

Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all! Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall: Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none: And some condemned for a fault alone.

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