Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

To find the faults, whose fine stands in record,
And let go by the actor!

Isab. O just, but severe law!
I had a brother, then. — Heaven keep your honor!

[Retiring.

Lucio [to Isabella.] Give't not o'er so; to him again, entreat him; Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown; You are too cold. If you should need a pin, You cTJuld not with more tame a tongue desire it: To him, I say!

Isab. Must he needs die?

Ang. Maiden, no remedy.

Isab. Yes ; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither Heaven nor man grieve at the mercy.

Ang. I will not do't.

Isab. But can you, if you would?

Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.

Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no wrong, If so your heart were touched with that remorse As mine is to him?

Ang. He's sentenced; 't is too late.

Lucio. You are too cold. [To Isab.

Isab. Too late! why, no; I, that do speak a word.
May call it back again. Well, believe this,
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as"he, you would have slipt like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stefh.

Ang. Pray yaa, begone.

Isab. I wouloto Heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel V should it then be thus? No; I would tell what't were to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. [Aside.] Ay, touch him; there's the vein!

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
And you but waste your words.

Isab. Alas! alas!
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
And He that might the vantage best have took
Found out the remedy. How would you be,

If He, which is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are? O, think on that;
And mercy then will breathe within your lips
Like man new made!

Ang. Be you content, fair maid; ,
It is'the law, not I, condemns your brother;
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,
It should be thus with him; — he must die to-morrow.

Isab. To-morrow! O, that's sudden! Spare him, spare him!

He's not prepared for death! Even for our kitchens

We kill the fowl of season; shall we serve Heaven

With less respect than we do minister

To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you ,

Who is it that hath died for this offence?

There's many have committed it.

Lucio. Ay, well said. '*

Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept, Those many had not dared to do that evil, If the first man that did the edict * infringe Had answered for his deed; now, 't is awake; Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet. Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils (Either now, or by remissness new-conceived, And so in progress to be hatched and born) Are now to have no successive degrees, But, where they live, to end.

Isab. Yet show some pity!

Ang. I show it most of all when I show justice;
For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismissed offense would after gall;
And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong,
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

Isab. So, you must be the first that gives the sentence;
And he, that suffers! O, it is excellent
To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous
To use it like a giant.

Lucio. That's well said.

Isab. Could great men thunder

* This word has in modern times assumed the penultimate accent; but in reading Shakspeare it is but a slight compliment to the greatest of poets to submit to his authority, and accordingly the Word should here be called tdid.

[ocr errors]

As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet;
For every pelting', petty officer,

Would use his heaven for thunder, — nothing but thunder.
Merciful Heaven!

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Splitt'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak,
Than the soft myrtle ; — O, but man, proud man!
Dresed in a little brief authority, —
Most ignorant of what he's most assured,
His glassy essence,—like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench! he will relent;
He's coming, I perceive't.

Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself; Great men may jest with saints: 't is wit in them; But, in the less, foul profanation.

Lucio. Thou 'rt in the right, girl! more o' that.

Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

Lucio. Art advised o' that? more on't!

Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me?

Isab. Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skims the vice o' the top: Go to your bosom;
Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault; if it confess
A natural guiltiness, such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

Ang. She speaks, and't is
Such sense, that my sense breeds with it. Fare you well.

Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back!

Ang. I will bethink me : — Come again to-morrow.

Isab. Hark, how I '11 bribe you : Good my lord, turn back!

Ang. How! bribe me?

Isab. Ay, with such gifts that heaven shall share with you.

Lucio. You had marred all else!

Isab. Not with fond shekels of the tested gold,
Or stones, whose rates are either rich or poor,
As fancy values them; but with true prayers,
That shall be up at heaven, and enter there,
Ere sunrise; prayers from preserved souls,

« AnteriorContinuar »