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Ang. Maiden, no remedy.
Isab. Yes; I do thịnk that you might pardon
Ang. I will not do’t.
Ang. He's fentenc'd ; 'tis too late.
Isab. Too late? why, no ; I, that do speak a word,
Not the King's crown, nor the deputed sword, “ The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, o Become them with one half so good a grace, " As mercy does : if he had been as you, And you as he, you would have flipt like him ; But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Ang. Pray you, be gone.
Isab. I wou'd to heav'n I had your potency,
I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
Lucio. Ay, touch him ; there's the vein.
Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
Isab. Alas! alas!
Why, 3 all the souls that are, were forfeit once : “ And he, that might the 'vantage best have took, “ Found out the remedy. How would you be,
3 - all the fouls that WERB,) This is falfe divinity. We Thould read ARE,
“ If he, which is the top of judgment, should
Ang. Be you content, fair maid ;
spare him. He's not prepar'd for death: Even for our kitchins We kill the fowl, of season; shall we serve heav'n With less respect, than we do minister [you: To our gross selves? good, good my lord, bethink Who is it, that hath dy'd for this offence? There's many have committed it.
Lucio. Ay, well said.
Ang. The law hath not been dead, tho’ it hath Nept: Those many had not dar'd to do that evil, If the first man that did th' edict infringe, Had answer'd for his deed. Now, 'tis awake; Takes note of what is done ; and, s like a prophet, Looks in a glass that shews what future evils, Or new, or by remissness new-conceiv'd, And so in progress to be hatch'd and born, Are now to have no successive degrees; (a) But ere they live, to end.
4 And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made.] This is a fine thought, and finely expressed: The meaning is, that mercy will add such grace is your person, that you will appear as amiable as man come fresla out of the hands of his creator. 5
like a prophet, Looks in a glass ] This alludes to the fopperies of the Berril, much used at that time by cheats and fortune tellers to predict by.
[(a) But ere they live, - Oxford Edit. Vulg. But bere they live. ]
Isab. Yet shew some pity.
• Ang. I shew it most of all, when I shew justice; " For then I pity those, I do not know ; " Which a dismiss'd offence would after gaul ; And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong, Lives not to act another. Be satisfy’d; Your brother dies to-morrow; be content. Isab. So you must be the first, that gives this sen
Lucio. That's well said.
Isab. Could great men thunder
Nothing but thunder : merciful heav'n!
Split’st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak, « Than the soft myrtle : 0, but man! proud man,
Drest in a little brief authority, · Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd, · His glaffy essence, like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastick tricks before high heav'n, "O As makes the angels weep; ? who, with our spleens, " Would all themselves laugh mortal.
6 As makes the angels weep; ] The notion of angels weeping for the fins of men is rabbinical. Ob peccatum flentes angelos inducunt Hebræorum magiftri.
Grotius ad Lucam. 7
who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal.] Mr. Theobald says the meaning of this is, that if they were endowed with our spleens and perishable organs, they would laugh themselves out of immortality: Which amounts to this, that if they were mortal they would not be immortal. Shakespear meant no such nonsense. By Spleens, he meant that peculiar turn of the human mind, that always violently inclines it to a spiteful, un seasonable mirth. Had VOL. I.
Lucio. Oh, to him, to him, Wench; he will relent ; He's coming : I perceive't.
Prov. Pray heav'n, she win him!
Isab. : We cannot weigh our brother with yourself: Great men may jest with Saints; 'tis wit in them ; But, in the less, foul prophanation.
Lucio. Thou’rt right, girl ; more o' that.
Isab. That in the captain's but a cholerick word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
Lucio. Art avis'do that? more on't.
Isab. Because authority, tho' it err like others,
Ang. She speaks, and 'tis such sense,
Isab. Gentle, my lord, turn back.
turn back. the angels that, says Shakespear, they would laugh themselves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion which does not de. ferve that prerogative. The ancients thought, that immoderate laughter was caused by the bigness of the spleen.
8 We cannot weigh our brother with our self :] Why could The not ? She could not weigh her brother with the Duke indeed, their qualities being so disproportioned as to aggravate her brother's crimes, and extenuate the Duke's. So that it is plain we should read
with your self. 9 That my sense bleeds with it.] The first Folio reads breeds. which tho' it' have no meaning, yet Mr. Theobald adopts, and discards a very sensible word, to make room for it.
Ang. How ? bribe me?
Lucio. You had marr'd all else.
Isab. Not with fond shekles of the ' tested gold,
Ang. Well ; come to-morrow.
Ang. Amen :
Isab. At what hour to-morrow
time 'fore noon. Isab. Save your Honour !
[Exeunt Lucio and Isabella.
S C Ε Ν Ε VIII. Ang. From thee ; even from thy virtue. What's this? what's this ? is this her fault, or mine? “ The tempter, or the tempted, who sins moft ? « Not she; nor doth she tempt; but it is I, “ That, lying by the violet in the sun, " Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower, Corrupt with 3 virtuous season. Can it be,
-tested gold,] i. e, attested, or marked with the standard stamp.
2 preserved fouls,] i, e. preserved from the corruption of the world. The metaphor is taken from fruits preserved in sugar.
3 virtuous season.] i, e. kindly season. But the subject here gives the figure a peculiar elegance.