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Hath he a sister?
Well, let her be admitted. [Exit Serv.
Enter Lucio and ISABELLA.
welcome: What 's your will?
Well; what 's your suit?
2 Save your honour!) Your bonour, which is so often repeated in this scene, was in our author's time the usual mode of address to a lord. It had become antiquated after the Restoration; for Sir William D'Avenant in his alteration of this play has substi. tuted your excellence in the room of it. Malone.
3 Stay a little while.] It is not clear why the Provost is bidden to stay, nor when he goes out. Johnson.
The entrance of Lucio and Isabella should not, perhaps, be made till after Angelo's speech to the Provost, who had only announced a lady, and seems to be detained as a witness to the purity of the deputy's conversation with her. His exit may be fixed with that of Lucio and Isabella. He cannot remain longer, and there is no reason to think he departs before. Ritson.
Stay a little while, is said by Angelo, in answer to the words, “ Save your bonour;" which denoted the Provost's intention to depart Isabella uses the same words to Angelo, when she goes out, near the conclusion of this scene. So also, when she offers to retire, on finding her suit ineffectual: “ Heaven keep your honour !” Malone. 4 For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] This is obscure ; perhaps it may be mended by reading:
Well; the matter? Isab. I have a brother is condemn'd to die : I do beseech you, let it be his fault, And not my brother.5 Prov.
Heaven give thee moving graces! Ang. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it! Why, every fault's condemn’d, ere it be done: Mine were the very cipher of a function, To find the faults, whose fine stands in record, And let go by the actor. Isab.
O just, but severe law! I had a brother then.Heaven keep your honour!
[Retiring. Lucio. [to IsaB.] Give 't not o'er so: to him again,
intreat him ;
Isab. Must he needs die ?
For which I must now plead; but yet I am
At war, 'twixt will, and will not. Yet and yt are almost undistinguishable in an ancient manuscript. Yet no alteration is necessary, since the speech is not unintelli. gible as it now stands. Johnson.
For which I must not plead, but that I am
At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] i. e. for which I must not plead, but that there is a conflict in my breast betwixt my affection for my brother, which induces me to plead for him, and my regard to virtue, which forbids me to intercede for one guilty of such a crime; and I find the former more powerful than the latter. Malone.
let it be his fault, And not in, brother.] i. e. let his fault be condemned, or extirpated, but let not my brother himself suffer. Malone. 6 To find the faults,] The old copy reads—To fine, &c.
Steevens. To fine means, I think, to pronounce the fine or sentence of the law, appointed for certain crimes. Mr. Theobald, without ne. cessity, reads find. The repetition is much in our author's man
“ All 's not offence that indiscretion finds,
Maiden, no remedy. Istib. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy.
Ang. I will not do 't.
But can you, if you would ? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do.
Isab. But might you do 't, and do the world no wrong, If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse? As mine is to him? Ang.
He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late. Lucio. You are too cold. Isab. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word, May call it back again :8 Well believe this,' No cereinony that to great ones ’longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, 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 slipt like him; But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
Ang. Pray you, begone.
Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency,
[Aside. Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.
touch'd with that remorse – ] Remorse, in this place, as in many others, signifies pity. So, in the 5th Act of this play:
“ My sisterly remorse confutes my honour,
" And I did vield to him.” Again, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:
“ The perfect image of a wretched creature,
“ His speeches beg remorse." See Othello, Act III. Steevens.
8 May call it back again:] The word back was inserted by the editor of the second folio, for the sake of the metre.
Malone. Surely, it is added for the sake of sense as well as metre.
Steevens. Well believe this,] Be thoroughly assured of this,
Be you content, fair maid;
spare him ; He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens We kill the fowl of season ;shall we serve heaven With less respect than we do minister To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you: Who is it that hath died for this offence?
1- all the souls that were,] This is false divinity. We should read-are. Warburton.
I fear, the player, in this instance, is a better divine than the prelate. The souls that were, evidently refer to Adam and Eve, whose transgression rendered them obnoxious to the penalty of annihilation, but for the remedy which the author of their being most graciously provided. The learned Bishop, however, is more successful in his next explanation. Henley. 2 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 a grace to your person, that you will appear as amiable as a man come fresh out of the hands of bis Creator. Warburton.
I rather think the meaning is, You would then change the severity of your present character. In familiar speech, You will be quite another man. Juhnson.
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made.] You will then appear as tender-hearted and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence, immediately after his creation. Malone.
I incline to a different interpretation :- And you, Angelo, will breathe new life into Claudio, as the Creator animated Adam, by “breathing into his nostrils the breath of life.” H. White.
of season ;] i. e. when it is in season. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor : " buck; and of the season too it shall appear."
There 's many have committed it.
Ay, well said.
4 The law hath not been dead, though it bath slept :] Dormiunt aliquando leges, moriuntur nunquam, is a maxim in our law.
H. White. 3 If the first man, &c.] The word man has been supplied by the modern editors. I would rather read
If be, the first, &c. Tyrwhitt.
like a prophet, Looks in a glass,] This alludes to the fopperies of the beril, much used at that time by cheats' and fortune-tellers to predict by. Warburton.
See Macbeth, Act IV, sc. i.
"How long have I beheld the devil in chrystal .?” Steevens. The beril, which is a kind of crystal, hath a weak tincture of red in it. Among other tricks of astrologers, the discovery of past or future events was supposed to be the consequence of looking into it. See Aubrey's Miscellanies, p. 165, edit. 1721.
Reed. 7 Either now,] Thus the old copy, Modern editors readOr new-.
Steevens. 8 But, where they live, to end.] The old copy reads-But, bere they live, to end. Sir Thoinas Hanmer substituted ere for bere; but where was, I am persuaded, the author's word, So, in Coriolanus, Act V, sc. v:
but there to end,
“The benefit of our levies,” &c. Again, in Juius Cæsar:
“ And w!ERE I lid begin, there shall I end." The prophecy is not, that firture evils should end, ere, or before they are born; or, in other words, that there should be no more evil in the world (as Sir T. Hanmer by his alteration seems to have understood it;) but, that they should end WHERE they