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Duke. Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after.-
Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore! Your highness said even now I made you a duke: good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a cuckold.
Duke. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.
Duke. Slandering a prince deserves it.She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.— Joy to you, Mariana!-love her, Angelo:
I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue.Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much good
There's more behind that is more gratulate.
Had I been put to speak my mind.
-LISTS of all advice"-i. e. Bounds, or limits. "-then, no more remains, But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able," etc. This is the reading of the old copies, which most of the critics and editors have thought unintelligible and erroneous. I take it, that the "that" refers to the commission, which the Duke must have in his hand, or before him; for, at the end of the sentence, he says to Escalus, "There is our commission," as he shortly after says to Angelo, "Take thy commission." "That" authority is all that is wanted to his full "sufficiency" to duties which his "worth" and ability fit him for. Several editors, however, insist that a line has been accidentally lost, which Theobald thus supplies:
But that to your sufficiency you add Due diligence, as your worth is able.
Or thus, according to Tyrwhitt :
But that to your sufficiency you put A zeal as willing as your worth is able. Johnson, equally positive that the passage is corrupt, proposes to amend thus:
But that to your sufficiency, your worth is able.
Stevens-" Then," (says the Duke,)
no more remains to say. Your sufficiency as your worth is able, And let them work.
This last is probably the best conjecture, if there be any objection (which I do not perceive) to referring "that" to the commission directly afterwards tendered by the speaker.
"the TERMS"-Blackstone explains this to mean the technical language of the courts, and adds-" An old book, called 'Les Termes de la Ley,' (written in Henry the Eighth's time,) was, in Shakespeare's day, and is now, (i. e. seventy years ago,) the accidence of young students in the law."
"-fine ISSUES"-i. e. Excellent uses, or purposes. "-thanks and USE"-" Use," in that age, signified interest of money.
"-one that can my part in him advertise"-i. e "One (says Malone) who is already informed as to the duties of my office." It rather seems to me to imply one that can of himself declare the duty he owes to me. "Advertise" was accented on the second syllable, as we learn from many examples in the older poets.
"Hold, therefore, Angelo"-With Collier and Stevens, I understand the Duke as here tendering to ANgelo his commission, as he had previously given a simi
lar one to Escalos. Having stated its import, he places it in the hands of Angelo at the close of the speech"Take thy commission." This seems clear enough, yet Johnson explains it—“ Continue to be Angelo; hold as you are." Tyrwhitt supposes that the Duke
here checks himself, "Hold, therefore;" and that the word "Angelo" begins a new sentence. Knight says that "Hold" is addressed to Angelo, and used technically in the sense of to have or to hold. Hold, therefore," our power, "Angelo."
"MORTALITY and MERCY in Vienna"-i. e. "I delegate to thy tongue the power of pronouncing sentence of death, and to thy heart the privilege of exercising mercy."-DouCE.
"—a LEAVEN'D and prepared choice"-" Leaven'd choice' is one of Shakespeare's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this: I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened.' When bread is leavened, it is left to ferment: a 'leaven'd choice' is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate; not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind."-JOHNSON.
"What, IN METRE"-"There can be no doubt that ' in metre' can have no other reference than to the ancient metrical graces, to be said or sung-sometimes accompanied by some old monastic chant, such as we still hear in Non nobis, Domine.' Tieck (the German critic) nas, however, a singular crotchet upon this pas sage. He holds that the explanation unus given is nonsense; and that the allusion is to Johnson's favourite tavern, the Mitre, in a poor resemblance between the words 'metre' and mitre. We have seen a drawing of an ancient knife, upon the blade of which a Latin metrical grace is engraved, with the notes to which it was to be sung."-KNIGHT.
"the demi-god, Authority"'-"Authority,' being absolute in Angelo, is finely styled, by Claudio, the demi-god.' To this uncontrollable power, the Poet applies a passage from St. Paul to the Romans, (chap. ix. verse 15-18,) which he properly styles, the words of heaven: For he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,' etc. And again: Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy,'" etc. HENLEY.
"we do the DENUNCIATION lack"-" Denunciation" is here used in the sense of annunciation and legal sanction. It is a harsh and bold use of the word.
"PROPAGATION of a dower"-The phrase is harsh and obscure. Yet the word propagate was used, by the old writers, with great latitude, for to extend, to increase, to improve. Thus, Shakespeare speaks, in TIMON, of those who labour" to propagate their states"i. e. to improve them. Chapman, in his translation of Homer," has
propagate to ruling Our bold encounters.
We still speak of propagating truth, propagation of the gospel. The word may therefore be here used, by a bold extension of its ordinary sense, for producingOnly for production of a dower. Yet, I think there is both ingenuity and probability in the conjecture of Z. Jackson, the Shakespearian printer-"for procuration of a dower."
PRONE and speechless dialect"-Johnson. Nares, and others, take "prone" in its sense of prompt. or ready; but I rather think it is to be taken here, as Stevens suggests, in the sense of humble. Shirley has the same thought, thus expressed:-"You have pros trate language." The timidity and silence of her youth alone would move men; but when she chooses to exercise reason and discourse, she can well persuade.
the DRIBBLING dart of love"-" Dribbling" used in a secondary sense, for "falling weakly, and without effect." 66 Complete bosom" refers to the usages of armour, and means "a breast completely armed." witless bravery KEEPS"-i. e. "Dwells, resides. In this sense it is still used at Cambridge, where st dents and fellows, referring to their collegiate apart ments, always say they keep'-i. e. reside there."REED.
This Shakespearian and collegiate term is common in many parts of the United States, in the sense here used: and has been considered as an Americanism, or at least a vulgarism.
explains as escaping "from a danger as imminent as when ice breaks under the passenger." Stevens adopts Rowe's correction of "brakes of vice," and explain it as the "brakes" used in the time of the Tudors, as an instrument of inquisitorial torture-a species of rack. It is mentioned and pictured in the old editions of Fox's Martyrs." The sense, on this supposition, is that some escape the judicial rack, due to vice, while others suffer for a single fault. Neither of these seem as probable as a third solution, which is still not fully satisfactory. "Brake" is taken, in its more usual sense, for a thicket; and it refers to the thorny paths of vice, from which, thick-set as they are, some escape without punishment, while others are condemned for a single error. Ben Jonson has a similar metaphorical application of the word
"-they are not CHINA DISHES"-The use of Chinaware, and its comparative value, mark the progress of commerce. In the days of classical profusion, a moderate China service, such as is now found in very unostentatious life, would have vied with a service of silver. It formed part of the splendour of Genoa and Venice, in the dawning of modern commerce. Here we find "China dishes" familiar to the popular luxury, but still something above vulgar use. The dramatists of the day speak of them in this estimate. In Massinger's "Renegado," the servant of the Venetian tells his master that his wares
Are safe unladen; not a crystal crack'd, Or China dish needs soldering.
"China dishes (says Knight) were not uncommon things in the days of Elizabeth and James. We captured them on board the Spanish carracks; and we purchased them from Venice. Cromwell imposed a duty on China dishes; so that they had in his time become a regular article of commerce."
"a LOWER CHAIR"-The comment of Stevens, sixty years ago, shows how fashions go their rounds, and will amuse the reader of the present day :
"Every house had formerly, among its other furniture, what was called a low chair, designed for the ease of sick people, and, occasionally, occupied by lazy ones. Of these conveniences I have seen many, though, perhaps, at present they are wholly disused.'
"― an open room, and good for winter"-i. e. Open to the sun, and thus pleasant in winter-a matter on which the English of that day, like the old Romans, (imperfectly supplied with the means of agreeable artificial heat,) laid great stress.
"three pence a BAY"-I should take this to mean, "three pence" for each large window; but "bay" is explained, in Coles's Dictionary, (1677,) as a front of twenty-four feet.
"I pray you home to dinner with me"-This passage amusingly marks the "early habits" of the period; for, although the scene is laid in Vienna, we find in this play, as in others, that Shakespeare often attributes the local manners and customs of his own country to his personages, wherever the scene may be laid.
"To fine the faulls, whose fine stands in record”i. e. To pronounce the penalty upon the crime which the law already records as its due, and let the criminal escape. In this same dialogue we have "the recorded law."
"-touch'd with that REMORSE"-Here, and in act v., ("My sisterly remorse confutes my honour.") "remorse' is used for pity; as in OTHELLO, (act iii. scene 3.)
"Become them with one half so good a grace
No poet repeats himself so little as Shakespeare, but he is sometimes fond of reproducing the same train of thought, modified and coloured by a different passion in the speaker, or a difference of character. Thus, throughout this dialogue, the reader cannot but observe that the topics of the argument for mercy, and even the illustrations of it, are the same as those employed by Portia, in her appeal to Shylock. Yet, (as Mrs. Jameson says,) how like and how unlike! Portia's eulogy on mercy is a piece of heavenly rhetoric; it is the voice of a descended angel addressing an inferior nature. If not premeditated, it is at least a part of a preconcerted scheme; while Isabella's pleadings are forced from the abundance of her heart, in broken sentences, and with the artless vehemence of one who feels that life and death hang upon her appeal."
"Like man new made"-"This reduction of man to the first associations of his primitive creation, when his soul was all innocence, and expanding with the ardent fulness of anxious sympathy, is one of the most exquisite images in SHAKESPEARE. It tells us that man is all merciful when all innocent: how much more, then, should he be merciful towards his fellow-creatures when, as now, most guilty!"-Illust. Shak.
"WHERE they live to end"-The reading of the folios is "here they live." Hanmer altered the text to "ere they live, to end; and Malone to "where they live, to end." Collier maintains the old reading, as meaning that the law there had formerly slept, and criminals escaped; but now it is awake, and resolves to punish crimes-" but here they live to end." Here crimes live only that they may be brought to an end. The misprint of here for "where," in the old mode of writing, was very common; and the sense is thus clearer. The phrase, so amended, is Shakespearian; as in JULIUS CESAR
And where I did begin, there shall I end.
meant that peculiar turn of the human mind that inclines it to a spiteful and unseasonable mirth. Had the angels that, they would laugh themselves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion unworthy of that prerogative.
"FOND shekels"-" Fond" is foolish, and in this instance worthless, or only valued by the foolish.
"Where prayers CROSS"-" The meaning is not clear, but may thus be explained. Isabella prays, Heaven keep your honour safe:' Angelo answers, Amen; for, tempted as I am, I pray for one thing, you for another. You pray heaven to keep my honour safe, I the contrary; and thus our prayers cross.'"-COLLIER.
It rather means, I think, "where prayers cross" (not each other, but) our intended or wicked purpose. The concluding speech, "From thee," etc., supports this
"― as the carrion does, not as the flower”—i. e. “I am not corrupted by her, but by my own heart, which excites foul desires, under the same benign influences that exalt her purity; as the carrion grows putrid by those beams which increase the fragrance of the violet."
This image, as little agreeable as it may be, occurs again in the celebrated and much-contested passage in HAMLET "For if the sun breed maggots in a dead dog," etc.
- pitch our EVILS there"-"No language could more forcibly express the aggravated profligacy of Angelo's passion, which the purity of Isabella served but the more to inflame. The desecration of edifices devoted to religion, by converting them to the most abject purposes of nature, was an eastern method of expressing contempt." (See 2 Kings x. 27.)—HENLEY.
"the FLAMES of her own youth"-The old copies read flawes for "flames," which word Davenant, in his "Law against Lovers," (a play patched up from this and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING,) restored. The mis print of w for m was common in old works; and as the flames of youth is a natural expression, and the metaphor requires fire to produce the blistering in the next line, there is little doubt that Davenant, who flourished near the time of Shakespeare, was right. This reading has been adopted in all the editions since Warburton's, except those of Knight, who retains flaws, as merely a redundant confusion of metaphor.
"LEAST you do repent"-"The modern editors have printed lest instead of 'least,' as it stands in the old copies, and have thus confused the meaning; which is, You do repent least that the sin hath brought you to this shame,' instead of repenting most the sin itself. This true reading makes the sense of the Duke's obser vation complete at But as we stand in fear,' without supposing his unfinished sentence to be broken in upon by Juliet, as it has been commonly printed."-COLLIER.
The reply of Juliet supports Mr. Collier's return to the old reading, which I think certainly right.
"SEVERAL subjects"-" Several" is here used not merely numerically, as we now use it, (" to a number of subjects,") but in its stricter and older sense, for separate, distinct subjects. Here there are only two, but those wholly opposed.
"the air beats for VAIN"-The old copies have vaine, which is the ancient orthography for "vain""Which the air beats for being vain.' But several editors of authority follow Malone in reading it "for vane"i. e. which the air beats about as a weathercock.
"Wrench awe from fools"-" Here Shakespeare ju diciously distinguishes the different operations of high
"with our SPLEENS"-By "spleens" Shakespeareplace upon different minds Fools are frighted, and