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That thieves do pass on thieves? 'Tis very pregnant,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
Where is the provost?
Prov. Here, if it like your honor.
See that Claudio
Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepared;
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage. [Exit Provost.
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none;
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, &c.
Elb. Come, bring them away; if these be good people in a commonweal, 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 honor, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honor two notorious benefactors.
Ang. Benefactors! Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors?
Elb. If it please your honor, I know not well what they are but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well; here's a wise officer. Ang. Go to: what quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?
Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
Ang. What are you, sir?
Elb. He, sir? A tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hothouse, which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elb. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honor,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, sir; whom, I thank Heaven, is an honest wo
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore?
Elb. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How dost thou know that, constable?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done's means: but as she spit in his face, so she defied him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honor, this is not so.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honorable man; prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces? Clo. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honor's reverence) for stewed prunes: sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three pence; your honors have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but very good dishes.
Escal. Go to, go to: no matter for the dish, sir.
Clo. No indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but to the point. As I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great bellied, and longing, as I said, for prunes; and having but two in a dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly;-for, as you know, master Froth, I could not give you three pence again.
Froth. No, indeed.
Clo. Very well: you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of the aforesaid prunes.
Froth. Ay, so I did, indeed.
Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remembered, that such a one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they kept very good diet, as I told you.
Froth. All this is true.
Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool: to the What was done to Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come we to what was done to her.
Clo. Sir, your honor cannot come to that yet.
Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honor's leave: and, I beseech you, look into master Froth here, sir; a man of fourscore pound a year; whose father died at Hallowmas: -was't not at Hallowmas, master Froth?
Froth. All-hallond eve.
Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths. He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, sir;-'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a delight to sit : have you not?
Froth. I have so; because it is an open room, and good for winter.
Clo. Why, very well then: -I hope here be truths. Ang. This will last out a night in Russia, When nights are longest there: I'll take my leave, And leave you to the hearing of the cause; Hoping you'll find good cause to whip them all. Escal. I think no less; good morrow to your lordship. [Exit ANGELO. Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
Clo. Once, sir? There was nothing done to her once. Elb. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man did to my wife.
Clo. I beseech your honor, ask me.
Escal. Well, sir: what did this gentleman to her?
Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face:good master Froth, look upon his honor; 'tis for a good purpose: doth your honor mark his face?
Escal. Ay, sir, very well.
Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well.
Escal. Well, I do so.
Clo. Doth your honor see any harm in his face?
Clo. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: good then; if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm? I would know that of your honor.
Escal. He's in the right: constable, what say you to it? Elb. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman.
Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all.
Elb. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet: the time is yet to come, that she was ever respected with man, woman, or child.
Clo. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her.
Escal. Which is the wiser here? Justice, or Iniquity? Is this true?
Elb. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected with her, before I was married to her? If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer:-prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action of battery on thee. Escal. If he took you a box o' th' ear, you might have your action of slander too.
Elb. Marry, I thank your good worship for it: what is't your worship's pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff?
Escal. Truly, officer, because he has some offences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou know'st what they are.
Elb. Marry, I thank your worship for it:-thou seest, thou wicked varlet now, what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to continue.
Escal. Where were you born, friend?
Escal. Are you of fourscore pounds a year?
Froth. Yes, and't please you, sir.
Escal. So.-What trade are you of, sir? [To the Clown.
Clo. A tapster; a poor widow's tapster.
Escal. Your mistress's name?
Clo. Mistress Over-done.
Escal. Hath she had any more than one husband? Clo. Nine, sir; Over-done by the last.
Escal. Nine!-Come hither to me, master Froth. Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted with tapsters; they will draw you, master Froth, and you will hang them: get you gone, and let me hear no more of you.
Froth. I thank your worship; for mine own part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, but I am drawn in.
Escal. Well; no more of it, master Froth: farewell. [Exit FROTH.]-Come you hither to me, master tapster; what's your name, master tapster?
Escal. What else?
Escal. 'Troth, and your bum is the greatest thing about you: so that, in the beastliest sense, you are Pompey the Great. Pompey, you are partly a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you color it in being a tapster. Are you not? come, tell me true; it shall be the better for you.
Clo. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow, that would live. Escal. How would you live, Pompey? By being a bawd? What do you think of the trade, Pompey? is it a lawful trade? Clo. If the law would allow it, sir.
Escal. But the law will not allow it, Pompey; nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna.
Clo. Does your worship mean to geld and spay all the youth in the city?
Escal. No, Pompey.
Clo. Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will to't then: if your worship will take order for the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear the bawds.
Escal. There are pretty orders beginning, I can tell you: it is but heading and hanging.
Clo. If you head and hang all that offend that way but for ten year together, you'll be glad to give out a commission for more heads. If this law hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house in it, after three pence a bay: if you live to see this come to pass, say, Pompey told you so.
Escal. Thank you, good Pompey; and, in requital of your prophecy, hark you,-I advise you, let me not find you before me again upon any complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where you do; if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your tent, and prove a shrewd Cæsar to you; in plain dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipped: so for this time, Pompey, fare you well.
Clo. I thank your worship for your good counsel: but I shall follow it as the flesh and fortune shall better determine. Whip me? no, no; let carman whip his jade; The valiant heart's not whipped out of his trade.
Escal. Come hither to me, master Elbow; come hither, master constable. How long have you been in this place of constable?
Elb. Seven year and a half, sir.
Escal. I thought by your readiness in the office, you had continued in it some time: you say, seven years together? Elb. And a half, sir.
Escal. Alas! it hath been great pains to you! They do you wrong to put you so oft upon't: are there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it?
Elb. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters: as they