תמונות בעמוד

Enter LUCIO.

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those cheek-roses Proclaim you are no less ! Can you so stead me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella, A novice of this place, and the fair sister To her unhappy brother Claudio ?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother ? let me ask; The rather, for I now must make you

know I am that Isabella, and his sister. Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets

you: Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.

Isab. Woe me! For what ?

Lucio. For that, which if I myself might be his judge,
He should receive his punishment in thanks :
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story..

It is true,
I would not—though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing', and to jest,
Tongue far from heart,-play with all virgins so:
I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted :
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint.

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me.


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make me not your story.) Perhaps, Do not divert yourself with me, as you would with a story; but Mr. Malone thinks we ought to read,—“Sir, mock me not :-your story. Luc. 'Tis true, &c."

'tis my familiar sin With maids to seem the lapwing,] The modern editors have not taken in the whole similitude here: they have taken notice of the lightness of a spark's behaviour to his mistress, and compared it to the lapwing's hovering and fluttering as it flies. But the chief, of which no notice is taken, is,—" — and to jest." See Ray's Proverbs. The lapwing cries, tongue far froin heart;" i. e. most farthest from the nest.

Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis

Your brother and his lover have embrac'd:
As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison?; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
Isab. Some one with child by him?- My cousin

Luoio. Is she your cousin ?

Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their names,
By vain though apt affection.

She it is.
Isab. O, let him marry her!

This is the point.
The duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action': but we do learn
By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line of his authority,
Governs lord Angelo : a man, whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense ;
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,


* To teeming foison ;] Foison is plenty.

tilth -] Tilth is tillage. 9 Bore many gentlemen,

In hand, and hope of action :] To bear in hand is a common phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance; but we should read :

with hope of action. Johnson.

to give fear to use —] To intimidate use, that is, practices long countenanced by custom.


As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example; all hope is gone,
Unless you have the grace by your fair prayer
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother.

Isab. Doth he so seek his life?

Has censured him '
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me
To do him good ?

Assay the power you have.
Isab. My power! Alas! I doubt,-

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt: Go to lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them.

Isab. I'll see what I can do.

But, speedily.
Isab. I will about it straight;
No longer staying but to give the mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you :
Commend me to my brother: soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.

Lucio. I take my leave of you.

Good sir, adieu.


? Has censured him – ] i.e. sentenced him.

would owe -] To owe, in this place, is to have.



SCENE I.-A Hall in Angelo's House.

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost *, Officers,

and other Attendants,

Ang. We must not make a scare-crow 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.

Ay, 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,
(Whom I believe to be most straight in virtue,)
That, in the working of your own affections,
Had time coher'd with place, or place with wishing,
Or that the resolute acting of your blood
Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose,
Whether you had not sometime in your life
Err’d in this point which now you censure him,
And pull’d the law upon you.

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, Another thing to fall. I not deny, The 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',

Provost,] The Provost here is not a military officer, but a kind of sheriff or gaoler.

That thieves do pass on thieves ?] Pass or decide.

« 'Tis very pregnant,] 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note.

The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
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,
When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.

Where is the provost ?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.

See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd ; For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

[Exit Provost. Escal. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all ! Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall: Some run from brakes of vice', and answer none; And some condemned for a fault alone.

Enter ELBOW, Froth, Clown, Officers, dc. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, 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 honour, 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 honour two notorious benefactors.

Ang. Benefactors ? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors ?

brakes of vice,] The cominentators have not decided the meaning of this word. By brakes of vice may be meant a collection, a thicket of vices. Brake was also the name of an engine of torture.

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