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

Sir, bring Barnadine here.

POMPEY

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

POMPEY

Mr. Barnadine! You have to get up and be hanged! Mr. Barnadine!

ABHORSON

What, ho, Barnardine!

ABHORSON

Hello there, Barnadine!

BARNARDINE

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

BARNARDINE

[Offstage] A curse on both of you! Who's making noise out there? Who are you?

POMPEY

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

POMPEY

Your friends, sir, the executioners. Sir, you need to do us the favor of getting up and being put to death.

BARNARDINE

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

BARNARDINE

[Offstage] Go away, you rascal! I'm sleepy.

ABHORSON

Tell him he must awake, and that quickly too.

ABHORSON

Tell him he has to wake up—and quickly too.

POMPEY

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

POMPEY

Please, Mr. Barnadine, stay awake until you're executed; you can sleep afterward.

ABHORSON

Go in to him, and fetch him out.

ABHORSON

Go get him and bring him out.

POMPEY

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

POMPEY

He's coming sir, he's coming. I can hear his straw rustling.

ABHORSON

Is the axe upon the block, sirrah?

ABHORSON

Is the ax on the block, man?

POMPEY

Very ready, sir.

POMPEY

It's ready, sir.

Enter BARNARDINE

BARNARDINE

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

BARNARDINE

How are you, Abhorson? What's new with you?

ABHORSON

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

ABHORSON

Really, sir, I need you to say your prayers. Look: the warrant is here.

BARNARDINE

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

BARNARDINE

You rascal, I've been drinking all night. I'm not ready for it.

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

It's better that way, sir. If you drink all night and are executed in the morning, you sleep better the whole next day.

Enter DUKE VINCENTIO disguised as before

ABHORSON

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

ABHORSON

Look, sir. Here comes the friar, your confessor. Do you still think we're joking now?

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

Sir, because I'm a charitable man and I heard you're meant to die soon, I came to talk with you, comfort you, and pray with you.

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

Friar, I won't. I've been drinking hard all night and need more time to get ready. Otherwise they'll have to beat my brains out with clubs. I won't agree to die today, that's for sure.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

Oh, sir, you have to. I'm asking you to think about where you're headed.

BARNARDINE

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

BARNARDINE

I swear I won't die today, no matter what anyone says.

DUKE VINCENTIO

But hear you.

DUKE VINCENTIO

But listen—

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

Don't say another word. If you have anything to say to me, come into my cell. I'm not leaving there today.

Exit

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

He's doesn't deserve to live, and he refuses to die. What a hard heart! Go after him, men, and bring him to be executed.

Exeunt ABHORSON and POMPEY. Re-enter Provost.

PROVOST

Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner?

PROVOST

Now, sir, how's the prisoner doing?

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

The man's not prepared or suited for death. To kill him in his current mindset would be damnable.

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

Father, this morning in the prison a man named Ragozine—a notorious pirate—died of a terrible fever. He's about Claudio's age—his beard and complexion were about the same as his. What if we let this delinquent go until he's up for it, and send the deputy Ragazine's head—which is more like Claudio's anyway?

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

Oh, God has worked this detail out for us! Do it immediately. The time Angelo set is getting closer. Make sure this is done, and that the head is sent just as he commanded. Meanwhile, I'll try to convince this rude criminal to die willingly. 

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

It'll be done immediately, good father. But Barnadine has to die this afternoon. What should we do with Claudio, considering I could be in danger if anyone found out that he was still alive?

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

Do this: put both Barnadine and Claudio in secret cells. Before the sun has risen over the earth two times, you'll be completely safe. 

PROVOST

I am your free dependant.

PROVOST

I'm entirely at your service.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Quick, dispatch, and send the head to Angelo.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Go quickly, and send Ragozine's head to Angelo.

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.

Now I'll write a letter to Angelo, which the provost can bring him. I'll write to tell him that I'm close to home, and—because of the circumstances—I have to make a public entrance. I'll ask him to meet me at the holy spring a mile away from the city. From there I'll proceed coolly and carefully with Angelo.

Re-enter Provost

PROVOST

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

PROVOST

Here's the head. I'll carry it myself.

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

That's convenient. Come back soon, since I want to talk with you about things I can't tell anyone else.

PROVOST

I'll make all speed.

PROVOST

I'll go as quickly as possible.

Exit

ISABELLA

[Within] Peace, ho, be here!

ISABELLA

[Offstage] Hello! Peace be with you!

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

That's Isabella's voice. She wants to know if her brother's pardon has gotten here. I won't tell her the good news yet. I'll wait and tell her once she gets upset and she least expects it.

Enter ISABELLA

ISABELLA

Ho, by your leave!

ISABELLA

Hello, may I come in?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Good morning to you, fair and gracious daughter.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Good morning to you, my beautiful, gracious daughter. 

ISABELLA

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

ISABELLA

That's a high compliment coming from such a holy man. Has the deputy sent my brother's pardon yet?

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

He released him from the world, Isabella. They cut off his head and sent it to Angelo.

ISABELLA

Nay, but it is not so.

ISABELLA

No, say it isn't so!

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

It's true. Show your wisdom by being patient, daughter.

ISABELLA

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

ISABELLA

Oh, I'll go to Angelo and scratch his eyes out!

DUKE VINCENTIO

You shall not be admitted to his sight.

DUKE VINCENTIO

You won't be allowed to get near him.

ISABELLA

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

ISABELLA

Poor Claudio! Miserable Isabella! Unjust world! Most damned Angelo!

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

This isn't hurting him, and it's not helping you. So stop it, and pray instead. Listen to what I say, since every word of it is true, as you'll come to realize. The Duke is coming home tomorrow. Come on, dry your eyes. Someone from my monastery—who's his confessor—told me that the Duke already sent letters to Escalus and Angelo asking them to meet him at the gates, where they'll give up their power. If you can, follow the plan I've been laying out here. If you do, you'll be able to reveal what Angelo did to you. The Duke will look kindly on you, and you'll have your revenge and general acclaim.

ISABELLA

I am directed by you.

ISABELLA

I'll do what you say.

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

Then give this letter to Friar Peter; it's the one he sent me telling me about the Duke's return. Tell him in the reply that I want to see him at Mariana's house tonight. I'll tell him what's gone on with her and with you, and he'll bring you to the Duke. Then you can get right to the point and accuse Angelo. As for me, I have a holy obligation and won't be able to be there. Make your way with this letter. Stop your crying, and be happy. If I'm leading you astray, then don't trust the Church! Who's there?

Enter LUCIO

LUCIO

Good even. Friar, where's the provost?

LUCIO

Good evening. Friar, where's the provost?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Not within, sir.

DUKE VINCENTIO

He's not here, sir.

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

Oh, pretty Isabella, my heart hurts to see your eyes so red. You need to be patient. I want to sit and have a hearty dinner with water and bread, but I don't want to eat anything that might get me going. But they say the Duke will be here tomorrow. I swear that I loved your brother, Isabella. If our old, imaginative, womanizing Duke had been here, he would have lived. 

Exit ISABELLA

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, the Duke will have to thank you for those kind words. But, at the same time, they don't really describe him.

LUCIO

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

LUCIO

Friar, you don't know the Duke as well as I do. He's more of a ladies' man than you think he is.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

Well, you'll have to answer for that one day. Take care.

LUCIO

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

LUCIO

No, wait. I'll go with you so I can tell you funny stories about the Duke.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

You've told me too many about him already, if they're true, sir. If they're not true, I'd rather hear none at all.

LUCIO

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

LUCIO

Once he put me on trial for getting a girl pregnant.

DUKE VINCENTIO

Did you such a thing?

DUKE VINCENTIO

Did you do such a thing?

LUCIO

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

LUCIO

Well, yes, I did. But I was eager to deny it. Otherwise, they would have made me marry the slut.

DUKE VINCENTIO

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

DUKE VINCENTIO

Sir, you're better company in looks than you are when you talk. Take care. 

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

I think I'll go with you to the end of the road. If my raunchy talk offends you, I'll cut it out. No, friar, I'm like a burr—I'll stick to you.

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.