תמונות בעמוד

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence
That you have slander'd so ?

Isab. Ignomy in ransom', and free pardon,
Are of two houses : lawful mercy is
Nothing akin to foul redemption.

Ang. You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant ;
And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother
A merriment than a vice,

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord ; it oft falls out,
To have what we'd have, we speak not what we mean:
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.

Ang. We are all frail.

Else let my brother die,
If not a feodary, but only he",
Owe, and succeed by weakness.

Nay, women are frail too.
Isab. Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves;
Which are as easy broke as they make forms.
Women !-Help heaven! men their creation mar
In profiting by them'. Nay, call us ten times frail ;
For we are soft as our complexions are,
And credulous to false prints'.

I think it well: And from this testimony of your own sex, (Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger Than faults may shake our frames,) let me be bold ;I do arrest your words : Be that you are, That is, a woman ; if you be more, you're none; If you be one, (as you are well express'd

7 Ignomy in ransom,] So ignominy was formerly written.

s If not a feodary, but only he, &c.] The meaning should seem to be this :-We are all frail, says Angelo. Yes, replies Isabella ; if he has not one associate in his crime, if no other person own and follow the same criminal courses which you are now pursuing, let my brother suffer death. Malone.

9 In profiling by them.] In taking advantage of them. 1- false prints.] i. e. take any impression.

By all external warrants,) show it now,
By putting on the destin'd livery.

Isab. I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord,
Let me intreat you speak the former language.

Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.

Isab. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me, That he shall die for it.

Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

Isab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't?,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.

Believe me, on mine honour,
My words express my purpose.

Isub. Ha! little honour to be much believ'd, And most pernicious purpose !-- seeming, seeming'!I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't: Sign me a present pardon for my brother, Or, with an outstretch'd throat, I'll tell the world Aloud, what man thou art. Ang.

Who will believe thee, Isabel ? My unsoild name, the austereness of my life, My vouch against you, and my place i'the state, Will so your accusation overweigh, That you shall stifle in your own report, And smell of calumny. I have begun; And now I give my sensual race the rein: Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite; Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes, That banish what they sue for; redeem thy brother By yielding up thy body to my will; Or else he must not only die the death, But thy unkindness shall his death draw out To lingering sufferance: answer me to-morrow, Or, by the affection that now guides me most,

? — 3 —

hath a licence in't, ] An appearance of licentiousness. seeming, seeming!] Hypocrisy, bypocrisy.

I'll prove a tyrant to him: As for you,
Say what you can, my false o’erweighs your true.

Isab. To whom shall I complain? Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will;
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws! I'll to my brother:
Though he hath fallen by prompture' of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That, had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die;
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. Exit.


SCENE I.- A Room in the Prison.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.
Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord An-

Claud. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope:
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.

Duke. Be absolute for death ; either death, or life,

1 -- prompture - ] Suggestion, temptation, instigation.

Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life,
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep': a breath thou art,
(Servile to all the skiey influences)
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet run'st toward him still: Thou art not noble ;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st,
Are nurs'd by baseness : Thou art by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork
Of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear’st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself;
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not:
For what thou hast not, still thou striv’st to get ;
And what thou hast, forget’st: Thou art not certain :
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects?,
After the moon : If thou art rich, thou art poor;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee: Friend hast thou none:
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,

s That none but fools would keep :) i. e. care for. 6 — Thy best of rest is sleep,

And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st

Thy death, which is no more.] I cannot without indignation find Shakspeare saying, that death is only sleep, lengthening out his exhortation by a sentence which in the Friar is impious, in the reasoner is foolish, and in the poet trite and vulgar. Johnson.

This was an oversight in Shakspeare; for, in the second scene of the fourth Act, the Provost speaks of the desperate Barnardine, as one who regards death only as a drunken sleep. STEEVENS.

I apprehend Shakspeare means to say no more, than that the passage from this life to another is as easy as sleep; a position in which there is surely neither folly nor impiety. Malone.

7- strange effects,] read affects or affections.

Do curse the gout, serpigo', and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth, nor

But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both: for all thy blessed youth
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld"; and when thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths: yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die;
And, seeking death, find life: Let it come on.

Enter ISABELLA. Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good com

pany! Prov. Who's there ? come in: the wish deserves a

welcome. Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again. Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you. Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's your


8 — serpigo,] The serpigo is a kind of tetter.

9- palsied eld;] Eld is here put for old people. Shakspeare declares that man has neither youth nor age; for in youth, which is the happiest time, or which might be the happiest, he commonly wants means to obtain what he could enjoy; he is dependent on palsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of hoary avarice; and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as aged, looks, like an old man, on happiness which is beyond his reach. And, when he is old and rich, when he has wealth enough for the purchase of all that formerly excited his desires, he has no longer the powers of enjoyment,

- has neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make his riches pleasant.-

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