Measure for Measure is a comedic and dramatic play framed around the false departure of a Vincentio, Duke of Vienna. Vincentio remains in his city disguised as a simple friar in order to assess the qualities of his stern judge, Angelo. The play also deals with a number of interwoven romances and the entanglements that result therefrom, as well as following the thread of the duplicitous and unjust Angelo's attempts to usurp Vincentio's authority.
Measure for Measure is a play, written in 1603, by William Shakespeare. It is known as one of Shakespeare's three problem plays because it cannot be easily classified as a tragedy or comedy.
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us as we with torches do,
Not light them for themselves; for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us,’t were all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch’d,
But to fine issues, nor Nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use.
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;
Even like an o'ergrown lion in a cave,
That goes not out to prey. Now, as fond fathers,
Having bound up the threat'ning 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.
The wanton stings and motions of the sense.
To make him an example.
By fearing to attempt.
The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try.
The marshal’s truncheon, nor the judge’s robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace
As mercy does.
Found out the remedy. How would you be,
If He, which is the top of judgment, should
But judge you as you are?
To use it like a giant.
Most ignorant of what he’s most assur'd;
His glassy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep.
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skyey influences,
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st
Hourly afflict; merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still. Thou art not noble;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st
Are nurs'd by baseness. Thou art by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not;
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast, forgett'st. Thou art not certain;
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects,
After the moon. If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth nor age,
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both: for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.
In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great
As when a giant dies.
In rev'rend guards!
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world.
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death.
Pattern in himself to know,
Grace to stand, and virtue go;
More nor less by others paying
Than by self-offences weighing.
Shame on him whose cruel striking
Kills for faults of his own liking!
Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice and let his grow!
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side!
Making practise on the times,
To draw with idle spiders' strings
Most ponderous and substantial things!
Craft against vice I must apply:
With Angelo to-night shall lie
His old betrothed but despised;
So disguise shall, by the disguised,
Pay with falsehood false exacting,
And perform an old contracting.
Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn;
And those eyes: the break of day,
Lights that do mislead the Morn;
But my kisses bring again,
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain,
seal'd in vain.
Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble,
Till it o'er-run the stew.
For being a little bad.