A line-by-line translation

Measure for Measure

Measure for Measure Translation Act 4, Scene 3

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Enter POMPEY

POMPEY

I am as well acquainted here as I was in our house of profession: one would think it were Mistress Overdone's own house, for here be many of her old customers. First, here's young Master Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds; of which he made five marks, ready money: marry, then ginger was not much in request, for the old women were all dead. Then is there here one Master Caper, at the suit of Master Three-pile the mercer, for some four suits of peach-coloured satin, which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we here young Dizy, and young Master Deep-vow, and Master Copperspur, and Master Starve-lackey the rapier and dagger man, and young Drop-heir that killed lusty Pudding, and Master Forthlight the tilter, and brave Master Shooty the great traveller, and wild Half-can that stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more; all great doers in our trade, and are now "for the Lord's sake."

POMPEY

I feel just as much at home here as I felt at the brothel. You'd think it was Mistress Overdone's own place, considering so many of her customers are here. First, here's young Mr. Rash. He's in for lending money through the stock commodities of brown paper and old ginger—one hundred ninety-seven pounds--and he made five pounds of ready money. But by then no one wanted the ginger, since his borrowers were all dead! And here we have Mr. Caper who's here because of his debt to Mr. Three-Fold the cloth-maker for four peach-colored satin suits, which have caused him to go bankrupt. Then we have Dunce, and Mr. Swearsalot, and Mr. Fools-Gold, and Mr. Starving-Servant the swordsman, and young Mr. Son-Slayer who killed the vivacious Pudding, and Mr. Bullseye the jouster, and brave Mr. Shoe-Tie who travels a lot, and crazy Half-Pint who stabbed Pots, and, I think, forty more—all the best customers in our business, all here "for the Lord's sake."

Enter ABHORSON

ABHORSON

Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither.

ABHORSON

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POMPEY

Master Barnardine! you must rise and be hanged.Master Barnardine!

POMPEY

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ABHORSON

What, ho, Barnardine!

ABHORSON

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BARNARDINE

[Within] A pox o' your throats! Who makes thatnoise there? What are you?

BARNARDINE

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POMPEY

Your friends, sir; the hangman. You must be sogood, sir, to rise and be put to death.

POMPEY

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BARNARDINE

[Within] Away, you rogue, away! I am sleepy.

BARNARDINE

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ABHORSON

Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

ABHORSON

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POMPEY

Pray, Master Barnardine, awake till you areexecuted, and sleep afterwards.

POMPEY

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ABHORSON

Go in to him, and fetch him out.

ABHORSON

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POMPEY

He is coming, sir, he is coming; I hear his straw rustle.

POMPEY

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ABHORSON

Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

ABHORSON

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POMPEY

Very ready, sir.

POMPEY

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Enter BARNARDINE

BARNARDINE

How now, Abhorson? what's the news with you?

BARNARDINE

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ABHORSON

Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into yourprayers; for, look you, the warrant's come.

ABHORSON

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BARNARDINE

You rogue, I have been drinking all night; I am notfitted for 't.

BARNARDINE

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POMPEY

O, the better, sir; for he that drinks all night,and is hanged betimes in the morning, may sleep thesounder all the next day.

POMPEY

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Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

ABHORSON

Look you, sir; here comes your ghostly father: dowe jest now, think you?

ABHORSON

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing how hastilyyou are to depart, I am come to advise you, comfortyou and pray with you.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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BARNARDINE

Friar, not I. I have been drinking hard all night, and I will have more time to prepare me, or they shall beat out my brains with billets: I will not consent to die this day, that's certain.

BARNARDINE

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DUKE VINCENTIO

O, sir, you must: and therefore I beseech youLook forward on the journey you shall go.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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BARNARDINE

I swear I will not die to-day for any man'spersuasion.

BARNARDINE

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DUKE VINCENTIO

But hear you.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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BARNARDINE

Not a word: if you have any thing to say to me,come to my ward; for thence will not I to-day.

BARNARDINE

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Exit

DUKE VINCENTIO

Unfit to live or die: O gravel heart!After him, fellows; bring him to the block.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY. Re-enter Provost.

PROVOST

Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

PROVOST

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DUKE VINCENTIO

A creature unprepared, unmeet for death;And to transport him in the mind he isWere damnable.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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PROVOST

Here in the prison, father, There died this morning of a cruel fever One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate, A man of Claudio's years; his beard and head Just of his colour. What if we do omit This reprobate till he were well inclined; And satisfy the deputy with the visage Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio?

PROVOST

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DUKE VINCENTIO

O , 'tis an accident that heaven provides! Dispatch it presently; the hour draws on Prefix'd by Angelo: see this be done, And sent according to command; whiles I Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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PROVOST

This shall be done, good father, presently. But Barnardine must die this afternoon: And how shall we continue Claudio, To save me from the danger that might come If he were known alive?

PROVOST

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Let this be done. Put them in secret holds, both Barnardine and Claudio: Ere twice the sun hath made his journal greeting To the under generation, you shall find Your safety manifested.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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PROVOST

I am your free dependant.

PROVOST

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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Exit PROVOST


Now will I write letters to Angelo,— The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents Shall witness to him I am near at home, And that, by great injunctions, I am bound To enter publicly: him I'll desire To meet me at the consecrated fount A league below the city; and from thence, By cold gradation and well-balanced form, We shall proceed with Angelo.

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Re-enter Provost

PROVOST

Here is the head; I'll carry it myself.

PROVOST

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Convenient is it. Make a swift return;For I would commune with you of such thingsThat want no ear but yours.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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PROVOST

I'll make all speed.

PROVOST

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Exit

ISABELLA

[Within] Peace, ho, be here!

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

The tongue of Isabel. She's come to know If yet her brother's pardon be come hither: But I will keep her ignorant of her good, To make her heavenly comforts of despair, When it is least expected.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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Enter ISABELLA

ISABELLA

Ho, by your leave!

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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ISABELLA

The better, given me by so holy a man.Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon?

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

He hath released him, Isabel, from the world:His head is off and sent to Angelo.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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ISABELLA

Nay, but it is not so.

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

It is no other: show your wisdom, daughter,In your close patience.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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ISABELLA

O, I will to him and pluck out his eyes!

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

You shall not be admitted to his sight.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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ISABELLA

Unhappy Claudio! wretched Isabel!Injurious world! most damned Angelo!

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

This nor hurts him nor profits you a jot; Forbear it therefore; give your cause to heaven. Mark what I say, which you shall find By every syllable a faithful verity: The duke comes home to-morrow; nay, dry your eyes; One of our convent, and his confessor, Gives me this instance: already he hath carried Notice to Escalus and Angelo, Who do prepare to meet him at the gates, There to give up their power. If you can, pace your wisdom In that good path that I would wish it go, And you shall have your bosom on this wretch, Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart, And general honour.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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ISABELLA

I am directed by you.

ISABELLA

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DUKE VINCENTIO

This letter, then, to Friar Peter give; 'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return: Say, by this token, I desire his company At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause and yours I'll perfect him withal, and he shall bring you Before the duke, and to the head of Angelo Accuse him home and home. For my poor self, I am combined by a sacred vow And shall be absent. Wend you with this letter: Command these fretting waters from your eyes With a light heart; trust not my holy order, If I pervert your course. Who's here?

DUKE VINCENTIO

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Enter LUCIO

LUCIO

Good even. Friar, where's the provost?

LUCIO

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Not within, sir.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

O pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine heart to see thine eyes so red: thou must be patient. I am fain to dine and sup with water and bran; I dare not for my head fill my belly; one fruitful meal would set me to 't. But they say the duke will be here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, I loved thy brother: if the old fantastical duke of dark corners had been at home, he had lived.

LUCIO

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Exit ISABELLA

DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholding to yourreports; but the best is, he lives not in them.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well as I do:he's a better woodman than thou takest him for.

LUCIO

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare ye well.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

Nay, tarry; I'll go along with theeI can tell thee pretty tales of the duke.

LUCIO

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DUKE VINCENTIO

You have told me too many of him already, sir, ifthey be true; if not true, none were enough.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

I was once before him for getting a wench with child.

LUCIO

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Did you such a thing?

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

Yes, marry, did I but I was fain to forswear it;they would else have married me to the rotten medlar.

LUCIO

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DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, your company is fairer than honest. Rest you well.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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LUCIO

By my troth, I'll go with thee to the lane's end:if bawdy talk offend you, we'll have very little ofit. Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr; I shall stick.

LUCIO

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Exeunt

Measure for measure
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Bailey sincox
About the Translator: Bailey Sincox

Bailey Sincox is a PhD student in English at Harvard University, where she researches the theatre of Shakespeare and his contemporaries. Her teaching experience includes accessible online courses with edX on Hamlet and The Merchant of Venice. She holds a Master's from the University of Oxford and a Bachelor's from Duke University.