A hall in ANGELO’s house.
Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, and a Justice, Provost, Officers, and other Attendants, behind
We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch and not their terror.
5Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas, this gentleman
Whom I would save had a most noble father!
Let but your honour know,
10Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time cohered with place or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of your blood
Could have attain’d the effect of your own purpose,
15Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err’d in this point which now you censure him,
And pull’d the law upon you.
’Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
20The jury, passing on the prisoner’s life,
May in the sworn twelve have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try. What’s open made to justice,
That justice seizes: what know the laws
That thieves do pass on thieves? ’Tis very pregnant,
25The jewel that we find, we stoop and take’t
Because we see it; but what we do not see
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,
30When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.