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The story is taken from Cinthio's Novels, Decad. 8. Novel 5. Pope.

We are sent to Cinthio for the plot of Measure for Measure, and Shakspeare's judgment hath been attacked for some deviations from him in the conduct of it, when probably all he knew of the matter was from Madam Isabella, in The Heptameron of Whetstone, Lond. 4to, 1582.—She reports, in the fourth dayes Exercise, the rare Historie of Promos and Cassandra. A marginal note informs ns, that Whetstone was the author of the Comedie on that subject; which likewise had probably fallen into the hands of Shakspeare. FARMER.

There is perhaps not one of Shakspeare's plays more darkened than this by the peculiarities of its author, and the unskilfulness of its editors, by distortions of phrase, or negligence of transcription. Johnson.

Dr. Johnson's remark is so just respecting the corruptions of this play, that I shall not attempt much reformation in its metre, which is too often rough, redundant, and irregular. Additions and omissions (however trifling) cannot be made without constant notice of them; and such notices, in the present instance, would so frequently occur, as to become equally tiresome to the commentator and the reader.

Shakspeare took the fable of this play from the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone, published in 1578.

A hint, like a seed, is more or less prolific, according to the qualities of the soil on which it is thrown. This story, which in the hands of Whetstone produced little more than barren insipidity, under the culture of Shakspeare became fertile of entertainment. The curious reader will find that the old play of Promos and Cassandra exhibits an almost complete embryo of Measure for Measure; yet the hints on which it is formed are so slight, that it is nearly as impossible to detect them, as it is to point out in the acorn the future ramifications of the oak.

Measure for Measure was, I believe, written in 1603. Malone.

PERSONS REPRESENTED.

Vincentio, Duke of Vienna.
ANGELO, Lord Deputy in the Duke's Absence.
Escalus, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the

Deputation.
CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
Lucio, a Fantastick.
Two other like Gentlemen.
VARRIUS *, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
Provost.

Thomas, } two Friars.

PETER, S
A Justice.
ELBOW, a simple Constable.
Froth, a foolish Gentleman.
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over-done.
ABHORSON, an Executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.

ISABELLA, Sister to Claudio.
MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo.
Juliet, beloved by Claudio.
FRANCISCA, a Nun.
Mistress OVER-DONE, a Bawd.

Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.

SCENE, VIENNA.

• Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and says nothing. Johnson.

MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

ACT I.

SCENE I.-An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.

Enter DUKE, Escalus, Lords, and Attendants.

Duke. ESCALUS,—

Escal. My lord.

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse ;
Since I am put to know', that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you: Then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work”. The nature of our people,
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember: There is our commission,

Since I am put to know,] may mean, I am compelled to acknowledge.

: - lists – ] Bounds, limits.
3 — Then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,

And let them work.] Something is wanting in this passage, which the commentators have not been able to supply. The meaning may be, your skill in government is, in ability to serve me, equal to the integrity of your heart, and let them co-operate in your future ministry.

From which we would not have you warp.—Call hither, I say, bid come before us Angelo.

[Exit an Attendant.
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, drest him with our love ;
And given his deputation all the organs
Of our own power : What think you of it ?

Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.

GELO.

. Enter AngelO. Duke.

Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.
Duke.

Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold: Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper", as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do ;
Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 't were all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But to fine issues?: nor nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,

with special soul

Elected him -] By these words the poet perhaps means, that he was the immediate choice of his heart.

5- thy belongings -] i. e. endowments.

6 Are not thine own so proper,] i. e. are not so much thy own property. STEEVENS.

7- to fine issues :) To great consequences.

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