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And here comes Claudio’s pardon

Duke, as Friar
And here comes Claudio’s pardon.
Messenger, giving Provost a paper
My lord hath sent you this note, and by me
this further charge: that you swerve not from
the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter,
or other circumstance. Good morrow, for, as
I take it, it is almost day.
I shall obey him.  Provost reads message.
 Messenger exits.

He hath evermore had the liberty of the prison;
give him leave to escape hence, he would not.
Drunk many times a day, if not many days entirely drunk.

Duke, aside
This is his pardon, purchased by such sin
For which the pardoner himself is in.
Hence hath offense his quick celerity
When it is borne in high authority.
When vice makes mercy, mercy’s so extended
That for the fault’s love is th’ offender friended.
 As Friar. Now, sir, what news?
I told you: Lord Angelo, belike thinking me remiss
in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted
putting-on, methinks strangely; for he hath
not used it before.
Duke, as Friar
Pray you let’s hear.
Provost, reads the letter. 
Whatsoever you may hear to the contrary, let Claudio
be executed by four of the clock, and in the afternoon
Barnardine. For my better satisfaction, let me have
Claudio’s head sent me by five. Let this be duly
performed with a thought that more depends on it
than we must yet deliver. Thus fail not to do your
office, as you will answer it at your peril.
What say you to this, sir?
Duke, as Friar
What is that Barnardine who is to be
executed in th’ afternoon?
A Bohemian born, but here nursed up and
bred; one that is a prisoner nine years old.
Duke, as Friar
How came it that the absent duke had
not either delivered him to his liberty, or executed
him? I have heard it was ever his manner to do so.
His friends still wrought reprieves for him;
and indeed his fact, till now in the government of
Lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
Duke, as Friar
It is now apparent?
Most manifest, and not denied by himself.
Duke, as Friar
Hath he borne himself penitently in
prison? How seems he to be touched?
A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully
but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and
fearless of what’s past, present, or to come; insensible
of mortality and desperately mortal.
Duke, as Friar
He wants advice.
He will hear none. He hath evermore had the
liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape hence,
he would not. Drunk many times a day, if not many
days entirely drunk. We have very oft awaked him,
as if to carry him to execution, and showed him a
seeming warrant for it. It hath not moved him at all.
Duke, as Friar
More of him anon. There is written in
your brow, provost, honesty and constancy; if I read
it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me. But in the
boldness of my cunning, I will lay myself in hazard.
Claudio, whom here you have warrant to execute, is
no greater forfeit to the law than Angelo, who hath
sentenced him. To make you understand this in a
manifested effect, I crave but four days’ respite, for
the which you are to do me both a present and a
dangerous courtesy.
Pray, sir, in what?
Duke, as Friar
In the delaying death.
Alack, how may I do it, having the hour
limited, and an express command, under penalty,
to deliver his head in the view of Angelo? I may make
my case as Claudio’s, to cross this in the smallest.
Duke, as Friar
By the vow of mine order I warrant you, if my instructions
may be your guide. Let this Barnardine be this morning
executed and his head borne to Angelo.
Angelo hath seen them both and will discover the favor.
Duke, as Friar
O, death’s a great disguiser, and you may add to it.
Shave the head and tie the beard, and say it was the
desire of the penitent to be so bared before his death.
You know the course is common. If anything fall to
you upon this, more than thanks and good fortune, by
the saint whom I profess, I will plead against it with my life.
Pardon me, good father, it is against my oath.
Duke, as Friar
Were you sworn to the Duke or to the Deputy?
To him and to his substitutes.
Duke, as Friar
You will think you have made no offense if the Duke
avouch the justice of your dealing?
But what likelihood is in that?
Duke, as Friar
Not a resemblance, but a certainty; yet since I see you
fearful, that neither my coat, integrity, nor persuasion
can with ease attempt you, I will go further than I meant,
to pluck all fears out of you. Look you, sir, here is the
hand and seal of the Duke.  He shows the Provost a paper.
You know the character, I doubt not, and the signet is not
strange to you.
I know them both.
Duke, as Friar
The contents of this is the return of the
Duke; you shall anon overread it at your pleasure,
where you shall find within these two days he will
be here. This is a thing that Angelo knows not, for
he this very day receives letters of strange tenor,
perchance of the Duke’s death, perchance entering
into some monastery, but by chance nothing of
what is writ. Look, th’ unfolding star calls up the
shepherd. Put not yourself into amazement how
these things should be. All difficulties are but easy
when they are known. Call your executioner, and
off with Barnardine’s head. I will give him a present
shrift, and advise him for a better place. Yet you are
amazed, but this shall absolutely resolve you.
 He gives the Provost the paper.
Come away; it is almost clear dawn.
 They exit.

Act 4
Scene 2
Line 114

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