Document:  All > Shakespeare > Comedies > Measure Fore Measure > Act I, scene III


DUKE VINCENTIO: No, holy father; throw away that thought;
	Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
	Can pierce a complete bosom. Why I desire thee
	To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose
	More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
	Of burning youth.

FRIAR THOMAS:                   May your grace speak of it?

DUKE VINCENTIO: My holy sir, none better knows than you
	How I have ever loved the life removed
	And held in idle price to haunt assemblies
	Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery keeps.
	I have deliver'd to Lord Angelo,
	A man of stricture and firm abstinence,
	My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
	And he supposes me travell'd to Poland;
	For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
	And so it is received. Now, pious sir,
	You will demand of me why I do this?

FRIAR THOMAS: Gladly, my lord.

DUKE VINCENTIO: We have strict statutes and most biting laws.
	The needful bits and curbs to headstrong weeds,
	Which for this nineteen years we have let slip;
	Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
	That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
	Having bound up the threatening twigs of birch,
	Only to stick it in their children's sight
	For terror, not to use, in time the rod
	Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
	Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
	And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
	The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
	Goes all decorum.

FRIAR THOMAS:                   It rested in your grace
	To unloose this tied-up justice when you pleased:
	And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd
	Than in Lord Angelo.

DUKE VINCENTIO: I do fear, too dreadful:
	Sith 'twas my fault to give the people scope,
	'Twould be my tyranny to strike and gall them
	For what I bid them do: for we bid this be done,
	When evil deeds have their permissive pass
	And not the punishment. Therefore indeed, my father,
	I have on Angelo imposed the office;
	Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home,
	And yet my nature never in the fight
	To do in slander. And to behold his sway,
	I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
	Visit both prince and people: therefore, I prithee,
	Supply me with the habit and instruct me
	How I may formally in person bear me
	Like a true friar. More reasons for this action
	At our more leisure shall I render you;
	Only, this one: Lord Angelo is precise;
	Stands at a guard with envy; scarce confesses
	That his blood flows, or that his appetite
	Is more to bread than stone: hence shall we see,
	If power change purpose, what our seemers be.



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