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Not she; nor doth she tempt: but it is I,
it is 1, That lying, by tbe violet, in the sun, &c.] I am not corrupted by her, but by my own beart, which excites foul desires under the same benign influences that exalt her purity, as the carrion grows putrid by those beams which increase the fragrance of the violet. Fobnson.
Can it be,
Tban woman's lightness?] So, in Promos and Cassandra, 1578: * I do protest her modest wordes hath wrought in me a
maze, “ Though she be faire, she is not deackt with garish
shewes for gaze. " Hir bewtie lures, her lookes cut off fond suits with
chast disdain. "O God, I feele a sodaine change, that doth my free
dome chayne. “ What thou say? sie, Promos sie, &c. Steevens. Sense has in this passage the same signification as in that above
that my sense breeds with it.” Malone. 8 And pitch our evils there?] So, in King Henry VIII:
“ Nor build their evils on the graves of great men." Neither of these passages appear to contain a very elegant allusion.
Evils, in the present instance, undoubtedly stand for forice. Dr. Farmer assures me he has seen the word evil used in this sense by our ancient writers; and it appears from Harrington's Metamorphosis of Ajax; '&c. that privies were originally so illcontrived, even in royal palaces, as to deserve the title of evils, or nuisances. Steevens.
One of Sir John Berkenhead's queries confirms the foregoing observation:
" Whether, ever since the House of Commons has been locked up, the speaker's chair has not been a close-stool 3" Two CENTURIES OF PAUL'S CHURCH-YARD, 8vo. no date.
Malone, No language could more forcibly express the aggravated profligacy of Angelo's passion, which the purity of Isabella
What dost thou? or what art thou, Angelo?
A Room in a Prison. Enter DUKE, habited like a Friar, and Provost. Duke. Hail to you, provost! so, I think you are. Prov. I am the provost: What's your will, good friar?
Duke. Bound by my charity, and my bless'd order, I come to visit the afflicted spirits Here in the prison :1 do me the common right To let me see them; and to make me know The nature of their crimes, that I may minister To them accordingly.
served but the more to inflame.-The desecration of edifices de voted to religion, by converting them to the most abject purposes of nature, was an eastern method of expressing contempt. See 2 Kings, x, 27. Henley.
I smild, and wonderd bow.] As a day must now inter vene between this conference of Isabella with Angelo, and the next, the act might more properly end here: and here, in my opinion, it was ended by the poet. Fobnson.
1 I come to visit the afflicted spirits
Here in the prison :] This is a scriptural expression, very suitable to the grave character which the Duke assumes: which also he went and preached unto the spirits" in prison. 1 Pet. iii, 19, Whalley.
Prov. I would do more than that, if more were
When must he die?
2 Who falling in the flames of her own youth,
Steevens, Who doth not see that the integrity of the metaphor requires we should read:
dames of her own youth? Warburlon, Who does not see that, upon such principles, there is no end of correction? Fobiison.
* Dr. Johnson did not know, nor perhaps Dr. Warburton either, that Sir William D'Avenant reads flames instead of faws in his Law against Lovers, a play almost literally taken from Measure for Measure, and Much Ado About Nothing: Farmer.
Shakspeare has flaming youth in Hamlet; and Greene, in his Never too Late, 1616, says" he measured the flames of yourb by his own dead cinders." Blister'd ber report, is disfgurd ber fame. Blister seems to have reference to the flames mentioned in the preceding line. A similar use of this word occurs in Hamlet :
takes the rose
" And sets a blister there." Steevens. In support of this emendation, it should be remembered, that Pawes (for so it was anciently spelled) and flames differ only by a letter that is very frequently mistaken at the press. The same mistake is found in Macbeth, Act II, sc. i, edit. 1623:
my steps, which may they walk,”instead of—which way. Again, in this play of Measure for Measure, Act V, sc. i, edit. 1623:-“ give me your hand;" instead of me.-In a former scene of the play before us we meet with_-" burning youth.” Again, in All's Well that ends Well:
Yet, in his idle fire,
- almost spent with hunger,
I have provided for you; stay a while, [To JULIST: And you shall be conducted.
Duke. Repent you, fair one, of the sin you carry?
I'll gladly learn.
you the man that wrong'd you?
Mutually. Duke. Then was your sin of heavier kind than his. Juliet. I do confess it, and repent it, father. Duke. 'Tis meet so daughter: But lest you do
Juliet. I do repent me, as it is an evil;
But lest you do repent, ] Thus the old copy. The modern editors, led by Mr. Pope, read:
But repent you not.” But lest you do repent is only a kind of negative imperative.. Ne te pæniteat, -and means, repent not on this account. Steevens:
I think that a line at least is wanting after the first of the Duke's speech. It would be presumptuous to attempt to replace the words; but the sense, I am persuaded, is easily recoverable out of Juliet's answer. I suppose his advice, in substance, to have been nearly this : “Take care, lest you repent [not so much of your fault, as it is an evil] as thut the sin hath brought you to this shaine." Accordingly, Juliet's answer is expl plicit to this point:
I do repent me, as it is an evil,
And take the shame with joy. Tyrwbitt. 4 Showing, we'd not spare beaven,] The modern editors had changed this word into seek. Steevens. Showing, we'd not spare heaven,] i. e. spare to offend heaven.
Malone. 5 There rest.] Keep yourself in this temper. Johnson.
Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow,
'Tis pity of him. [Exeunt.
A Room in ANGELO's House.
Ang. When I would pray and think, I think and pray
6 Grace go with you! Benedicite!] The former part of this line evidently belongs to Juliet. Benedicite is the Duke's reply.
Ritson. This regulation is undoubtedly proper: but I suppose Shakspeare to have written,
Juliet. May grace go with you !
Benedicite! Steevens. O, injurious love,] Her execution was respited on account of her pregnancy, the effects of her love; therefore she calls it injurious; not that it brought her to shame, but that it hindered her freeing herself from it. Is not this all very na. tural? yet the Oxford editor changes it to injurious law. Johnson.
I know not what circumstance in this play can authorize a supposition that Juliet was respited on account of ber pregnancy; as her life was in no danger from the law, the severity of which was exerted only on the seducer. I suppose she means that a parent's love for the child she bears, is injurious, because it makes her careful of her life in her present shameful condi. tion
Mr. Tollet explains the passage thus: "0; love, that is injurious in expediting Claudio's death, and that respites me a life, v hich is a burthen to me worse than death!”. Steevens.
Both Jolinson's explanation of this passage, and Steevensos refutation of it, prove the necessity of Hanmer's amendment, which removes every difficulty, and can scarcely be considered as an alteration, the trace of the letters in the words law and love being so nearly alike.-The law affected the life of the man only, not that of the woman; and this is the injury that Juliet complains of, as she wished to die with him. M. Mason.
8 Enter Angelo.] Promos, in the play already quoted, has like. wise a soliloquy previous to the second appearance of Cassandrą. It begins thus,