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Ifab. Alas! what poor
Ability's in me, to do him good?
And made us lose the good, we oft might win,
As they themselves would owe them.
Ifab. I will about it ftrait;
No longer staying, but to give the mother 3
Enter Angelo, Efcalus, a Juftice, and Attendants.
E must not make a scare-crow of the law, Setting it up to fear the birds of prey, And let it keep one fhape, 'till custom make it Their perch, and not their terror.
Efcal. Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
the mother.] The abbefs, or priorefs.
Than fall, and bruise to death. 4 Alas! this gentleman, Whom I would fave, had a moft noble father
Let but your Honour know, 5
Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Efcalus,
The jury paffing on the prifoner's life,
That justice seizes on. What know the laws,
Because we fee it; but what we do not fee,
7 For I have had fuch faults; but rather tell me,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
Efcal. Be't, as your wisdom will.
4 Than FALL, and bruife to death.] I fhould rather read FELL, i. e. ftrike down. So in Timon of Athens,
All, fave thee, I FELL with curfes. WARBURTON. 5 Let your bonour know.] To know is here to examine, to take cognisance. So in MidfummerNight's Dream,
Therefore, fair Hermia, queftion your defires,
Know of your youth, examine
well your blood.
6-'tis very pregnant.] 'Tis plain that we must not act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages, that lie in our way, and what we do not fee we cannot note.
7 For I bave bad.] That is, because, by reafon that I have had faults.
Ang. Where is the Provoft?
Prov. Here, if it like your Honour.
Be executed by nine to morrow morning.
Some run through brakes of vice, and answer none;
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, and Officers. Elb. Come, bring them away; if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring them away.
Ang. How now, Sir, what's your name ? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your Honour, I am the poor Duke's conftable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon juftice, Sir, and do bring in here before your good Honour two notorious benefactors?
Ang. Benefactors? well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your Honour, I know not well what they are; but precife villains they are, that I am fure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good chriftians ought to have.
Efcal. This comes off well; here's a wife officer. Ang. Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? why doft thou not fpeak, Elbow? Clown. He cannot, Sir; he's out at elbow.
& Some rife, &c.] This line is in the first folio printed in Italicks as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line,
Some run from brakes of ice, and
* This comes off weli.] This is nimbly fpoken; this is volubly uttered, Ang.
Ang. What are you, Sir?
Elb. He, Sir? a tapfter, Sir; parcel-bawd; one that ferves a bad woman; whofe houfe, Sir, was, as they fay, pluckt down in the fuburbs; and now the profeffes a hot-houfe; 9 which, I think, is a very ill houfe too.
Efcal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, Sir, whom I deteft before heav'n and your Honour,
Efcal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, Sir; whom, I thank heav'n, is an honest
Efcal. Doft thou deteft her therefore?
Elb. I fay, Sir, I will deteft myself also, as well as fhe, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Efcal. How doft thou know that, conftable?
Elb. Marry, Sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accufed in fornication, adultery, and all uncleannefs there. Efcal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, Sir, by mistress Over-done's means, as fhe fpit in his face, fo fhe defy'd him.
Clown. Sir, if it please your Honour, this is not fo. Elb. Prove it before thefe varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it.
Efcal. Do you hear how he mifplaces?
Clown. Sir, he came in great with child; and longing (faving your Honour's reverence) for stew'd prunes;
9 - fhe profeffes a hot-bonfe] And still be a whore-house.
Where lately harbour'd many a
Here feems to have been fome mention made of Froth, who was to be accufed, and fome words therefore may have been loft, unless the irregularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the conitable.
Sir, we had but two in the houfe, which at that very diftant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a difh of fome three pence; your Honours have feen fuch difhes; they are not China difhes, but very good dishes.
Efcal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, Sir.
Clown. No, indeed, Sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right. But to the point, as I fay, this mistress Elbow, being, as I fay, with child, and being great belly'd, and longing, as I faid, for prunes; and having but two in the difh, as I faid; mafter Froth here, this very man, having eaten the reft, as I faid, and, as I fay, paying for them very honeftly; for, as you know, mafter Froth, I could not give you three pence again.
Froth. No, indeed.
Clown. Very well; you being then, if you be remembred, cracking the ftones of the forefaid prunes. Froth. Ay, fo I did, indeed.
Clown. Why, very well; I telling you then, if you be remembred, that fuch a one, and fuch a one, were paft cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
Clown. Why, very well then.
Efcal. Come, you are a tedious fool; to the purpofe. What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath caufe to complain of? come to what was done to her. Clown. Sir, your Honour cannot come to that yet. Efcal. No, Sir, nor I mean it not.
Clown. Sir, but you fhall come to it, by your Honour's leave: and, I befeech you, look into mafter Froth here, Sir, a man of fourfcore pound a year; whofe father dy'd at Hallowmas. Wast not at Hallowmas, mafter Froth?
Froth. All-holland eve.
Clown. Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, Sir, fitting, as I fay, in a lower chair, Sir; 'was