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Such as moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art
Lucio. I pray, she may: as well for the encouragement of the like, which else would stand under grievous imposition ;s as for the enjoying of thy life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly lost at a game of ticktack.6 I'll to her.
Claud. I thank you, good friend Lucio.
Enter DUKE, and Friar Thomas. Duke. No; holy father; throw away that thought; Believe not that the dribbling dart of love Can pierce a complete bosom:7 why I desire thee
Sir W. D'Avenant, in his alteration of the play, changes prone to sweet. I mention some of his variations, to shew that what. appear difficulties to us, were difficulties to him, who, living nearer the time of Shakspeare, might be supposed to have un. derstood his language more intimately. Steevens.
Prone, I believe, is used here for prompt, significant, expressive (though speechless), as in our author's Rape of Lucrece it means ardent, bead-strong, rushing forward to its object:
“ O that prone lust should stain so pure a bed!" Again, in Cymbeline: “Unless a man would marry a gallows, and beget young gibbets, I never saw any one so prone.” Malone,
5 Under grievous imposition ;] I once thought it should be in. quisition, but the present reading is probably right. The crime would be under grievous penalties imposed. Johnson.
- lost at a game of tick-tack.) Tick-tack is a game at tables. Jouer au tric-trac,” is used in French, in a wanton
Malone. The same phrase, in Lucio's sportive sense, occurs in Lusty Juventus. Steevens. 7 Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom:] Think not that a breast com. pletely armed can be pierced by the dart of love, that comes futtering without force. Yobnson,
To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose
May your grace speak of it?
the life remov'd:] i. e. a life of retirement, a life remote, or removed, from the bustle of the world.
So, in the Prologue to Milton's Masque at Ludlow Castle: I mean the MS. copy in the Library of Trinity College, Cambridge:
- I was not sent to court your wonder
Steevens. - witless bravery -] Bravery, in the present instance, signifies showy dress. So, in The Taming of a Sbrew: “ With scarfs, and fans, and double change of bravery."
Steevens. keeps.] i. e. dwells, resides. In this sense it is still used at Cambridge, where the students and fellows, referring to their collegiate apartments, always say they keep, i. e. reside there. Reed.
2 (A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)] Stricture makes no sense in this place. We should read:
A man of strict ure and firm abstinence. i.e a man of the exactest conduct, and practised in the subdual of his passions. Ure is an old word for use, practice : so enur’d, habituated to. Warburton.
Stricture may easily be used for strictness; ure is indeed an old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to persons.
Fohnson. Sir W. D'Avenant, in his alteration of this play, reads, strict.
Ure is sometimes applied to persons, as well as to things. So, in the Old Interlude of Tom Tyler and his Wife, 1661:
“ So shall I be sure
“ To keep him in ure." The same word occurs in Promos and Cassandra, 1578:
“The crafty man oft puts these wrongs in ure.” Steevens,
And so it is receiv'd: Now, pious sir,
Fri. Gladly, my lord.
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws. (The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds) 3 Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;*
3 (The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,)] In the copies.
The needful bits and curbs for head-strong weeds. There is no manner of analogy or consonance in the metaphors here: and, though the copies agree, I do not think the author would have talked of bits and curbs for weeds. On the other hand, nothing can be more proper, than to compare persons of unbridled licentiousness to head-strong steeds : and, in this view, bridling the passions has been a phrase adopted by our best poets. Theobald
* Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep;] Thus the old copy; which also reads, –
we have let slip.” Steevens. For fourteen I have made no scruple to replace nineteen. The reason will be obvious to him who recollects what the Duke (Claudio] has said in a foregoing scene. I have altered the odd phrase of “ letting the laws slip:” for how does it sort with the comparison that follows, of a lion in his cave that went not out to prey?. But letting the laws sleep, adds a particular propriety to the thing represented, and accords exactly too with the simile. It is the metaphor too, that our author seems fond of using upon this occasion, in several other passages of this play:
The law bath not been dead, though it hath slept ;
'Tis now awake. And, so again:
but this new governor
and for a name,
Freshly on me. Theobald.
How stand I then,
“ And let all sleep.?" If slip be the true reading, (which, however, I do not believe) the sense may be,-which for these fourteen years we have suffered to pass unnoticed, unobserved; for so the same phrase is used in Twelfth Night:-" — Let him let this matter slip, and I'll give him my horse, grey Capulet."
Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
It rested in your grace
I do fear, too dreadful:
Mr. Theobald altered fourteen to nineteen, to make the Duke's account correspond with a speech of Claudio's in a former scene, but without necessity. Claudio would naturally represent the period, during which the law had not been put in practice, greater than it really was.
Malone. Theobald's correction is misplaced. If any correction is really necessary, it should have been made where Claudio, in a foregoing scene, says nineteen years. I am disposed to take the Duke's words. Whalley.
5 Becomes more mock’d, than fear'd:] Becomes was added by Mr. Pope, to restore sense to the passage, some such word having been left out. Steevens.
6 The baby beats the nurse,] This allusion was borrowed from an ancient print, entitled The World turn'd upside down, where an infant is thus employed. Steevens.
7 Sith - ] i. e. siņce. Steevens.
So do in slander :-
To do it slander :
I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Yet perhaps less alteration might have produced the true reading:
And yet my nature never, in the sight,
So doing slandered:-
in the fight
“ Do me no slander, Douglas, I dare fight.” Steevens. Fight seems to be countenanced by the words ambush and strike. Sight was introduced by Mr. Pope. Malone.
-*in person bear -] Mr. Pope reads, Perhaps the word which I have inserted in the text, had dropped out while the sheet was at press. A similar phrase occurs in Tht Tempest:
some good instruction give
I mæy in person a true friar seei.
1 Stands at a guard —] Stands on terms of defiance. Johnson. This rather means, to stand cautiously on his defence, than on terms of defiance. M. Mason,
my person bear.