Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

by him in the duke's time, he promised her marriage; his child is a year and a quarter old, come Philip and Jacob: I have kept it myself; and see how he goes about to abuse me.

Escal. That fellow is a fellow of much license: let him be called before us.---Away with her to prison : Go to; no more words. [Exeunt Bawd and Officers.] Provost, my brother Angelo will not be alter'd, Claudio must die to-morrow: let him be furnished with divines, and have all charitable preparation : if my brother wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.

Prov. So please you, this friar hath been with him, and advised him for the entertainment of death,

Escal. Good even, good father.
Duke. Bliss and goodness on you!
Escal. Of whence are you?
Duke. Not of this country, though my chance is

now

To use it for my time: I am a brother
Of gracious order, late come from the see,3
In special business from his holiness.

Escal. What news abroad i' the world?

Duke. None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: novelty is only in request; and it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous to be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce truth enough alive, to make societies secure; but security enough, to make fellowships accurs’d:4 much upon this riddie

[ocr errors]

- from the see,] The folio reads:

- from the sea. Fohnson. The emendation, which is undoutedly right, was made by Mr. Theobald. In Hall's Chronicle, sea is often written for see.

Malone. 4 There is scarce truth enough alive, to make societies secure ; but security enough, to make fellowships accurs’d :] The speaker here alludes to those legal securities into which “ fellowship “ leads men to enter for each other.” So, in King, Henry IV, Part II: “ He would not take his bond and yours : he liked not the security.” Falstaff in the same scene, plays, like the Duke on the same word: “ I had as lief they should put ratsbane in my mouth, as offer to stop it with security. ic I look?d he should have sent me two and twenty yards of sattin, and he sends me security. Well, he may sleep in security,”' &c. Malonė.

runs the wisdom of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the duke?

Escal. One, that, above all other strifes, contended especially to know himself.

Duke. What pleasure was he given to?

Escal. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, than merry at any thing which profess'd to make him rejoice: a gentleman-of all temperance. But leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous; and let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared. I am made to understand, that you have lent him visitation.

Duke. He professes to have received no sinister measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself to the determination of justice: yet had he framed to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving promises of life; which I, by my good leisure, have discredited to him, and now is he resolveds to die. Escal.

you have paid the heavens your function, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have labour'd for the poor gentleman, to the extremest Shore of my modesty; but my brother justice have I found so severe, that he hath forced me to tell him, he is indeed-justice.

Duke. If his own life answer the straitness of his proceeding, it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself.

Escal. I am going to visit the prisoner: Fare you viell.

The sense is, " There scarcely exists sufficient honesty in the world to make social life secure ; but there are occasions enough where a man may be drawn in to become surety, which will make him pay dearly for his friendships.” In excuse of this quibble, Shakspeare may plead high authority.--"He that hateth suretiship is sure." Prov. xi, 15. Hol: White.

resolved -] i. e. satisfied. So, in Middleton's More Disseinblers besides Woman, Act I, sc. iii :

“ The blessing of perfection to your thoughts lady;
- For I'm resolveil they are good ones.” Reed.
be is indeed justice.] Summum jus, summa injuria.

Steevens,

5

[blocks in formation]

Duke. Peace be with you!

[Exeunt EscAL. and Prov. TIe, who the sword of heaven will bear, Should be as holy as severe; Pattern in himself to know, Grace to stand, and virtue go;7 More nor less to others paying, Than by self-offences weighing, Shame to him, whose cruel striking Kills for faults of his own liking!

7 Pattern in himself to knoci,

Grace to stand, and virtue go;] These lines I cannot understand, but believe that they should be read thus :

Patterning himself to know,

In grace to stand, in virtue go. To pattern is to work after a pattern, and, perhaps, in Shakspeare's licentious diction, simply to work. The sense is, be that bears the sword of heaven should be holy as well as severe ; one that after good examples labours to know himself, to live with innocence, and to act with virtue. Fohnson.

This passage is very obscure, nor can be cleared without a more licentious paraphrase than any reader may be willing to allow. He that bears the sword of beaven should be not less boly than severe : should be able to discover in himself a pattern of such grace as can avoid temptation, together with such virtue as dares venture abroad into the world without danger of seduction. Steevens.

Grace to stand, and virtue go;] This last line is not intelligible as it stands; but a very slight alteration, the addition of the word in, at the beginning of it, which may refer to virtue as well as to grace, will render the sense of it clear. “ Pattern in himself to know,” is to feel in his own breast that virtue which he makes others practise. M. Mason.

Pattern in himself to know,” is, to experience in his own bosom an original principle of action, which, instead of being borrowed or copied from others, might serve as a pattern to them. Our author, in The Winter's Tale, has again used the same kind of imagery:

“ By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out

“The purity of his." In The Comety of Errors he uses an expression equally hardy and licentious:

“ And will have no attorney but myself;" which is an absolute catachuresis ; an attorney importing precisely a person appointed to act for another. In Every Woman in her Humour, 1609, we find the same expression :

he hath but shown
" A pattern in himself, what thou shall find
" In others." Malone.

Twice treble shame on Angelo,
To weed my vice, and let his grow!3
O, what may man within him hide,
Though angel on the outward side !9
How may likeness, made in crimes,
Making practice on the times,
Draw with idle spiders’ strings
Most pond'rous and substantial things !1

[ocr errors]

8 To weed my vice, and let his groc .' } i. e. to weed faults out of my dukedom, and yet indulge himself in his own private vices. So, in The Contention betwixte Churchyard and Camell, &c. 1560 :

“ For Cato doth affyrme

" Ther is no greater shame,
“ Than to reprove a vyce
“ And your selves do the same.”

Steevens. My, does not, I apprehend, relate to the Duke in particular, who had not been guilty of any vice, but to any indefinite person. The meaning seems to be-To destroy by extirpation (as it is expressed in another place) a fault that I have committed, and to suffer his own vices to grow to a rank and luxuriant height. The speaker, for the sake of argument, puts himself in the case of an offending person. Malone.

The Duke is plainly speaking in his own person. What he here terms “my vice," may be explained from his conversation in Act I, sc. iv, with Friar Thomas, and especially the following line : 'twas my fault to give the people scope.” The vice of Angelo requires no explanation. Henley.

9 Though angel on the outward side !] Here we see what induced our author to give the outward-sainted deputy, the name of Angelo. Malone.

1 How may likeness, made in crimes, Making practice on the times, Draw cuith idle spiders' strings,

Most pond'rous and substantial things.'] The old copy reads--“ To draw with,&c. Steevens.

Thus all the editions read corruptly : and so have made an obscure passage in itself, quite unintelligible. Shakspeare wrote it thus:

How may that likeness, made in crimes,
Making practice on the times,

Draw The sense is this. How much wickedness may a man hide within, though he appear angel without. How may that likeness made in crimes, i.e. by hypocrisy:: [a pretty paradoxical expression, an angel made in crimes] by imposing upon the world (thus emphatically expressed, making practice on the times] draw with its false and feeble pretences (finely called spiders' strings] the most ponderous and substantial matters of the world, as riches, honour, power, reputation, &c. Warburton.

Craft against vice I must apply:
With Angelo to-night shall lie

Likeness may mean seemliness, fair appearance, as we say, a likely man. The Revisal reads thus:

How may such likeness trade in crimes,
Making practice on the times,
To draw with idle spider's strings

Most pond'rous and substantial things.
Meaning by pond'rous anui substantial things, pleasure and wealtk.

Stecvens. The old copy reads-Making practice, &c. which renders the passage imgrammatical, and unintelligible. For the emendation now made, (mocking] I am answerable. A line in Macbeth may add some support to it:

Away, and mock the time with fairest show." There is no one more convinced of the general propriety of adhering to old readings. I have strenuously followed the course which was pointed out and successfully pursued by Dr. Farmer and Mr. Steevens, that of elucidating and supporting our author's genuine text by illustrations drawn from the writings of his con. temporaries. But in some cases alteration is a matter not of choice, but nécessity; and surely the present is one of them. Dr. Warburton, to obtain some sense, omitted the word To in the third fine; in which he was followed by all the subsequent editors. But omission, in my apprehension, is, of all the modes of emendation, the most exceptionable. In the passage before 113, it is clear from the context, that some verb must have stood in either the firsť or second of these lines. Some years ago I eonjectured that, instead of made, we ought to read wade, which was used in our author's time in the sense of to proceed. But having since had occasion to observe how often the words mock and make have been confounded in these plays, I am now persuaded that the single error in the present passage is, the word Making having been printed instead of Mocking, a word of which our author has made very frequent use, and which exactly suits the context. In this very play we have had make instead of mock. [Sce my note on p. 336.] In the hand-writing of that time, the small c was merely a straight line; so that if it happened to be subjoined and written very close to an o, the two letters might easily be taken for an a. Hence I suppose it was, that these words have been so often confounded. The aukwardness of the expression—" Making practice," of which I have met with no example, may be likewise urged in support of this emendation.

Likeness is here used for specious or seeming virtue. So, before : O seeming, seeming!” The sense then of the passge is,How may persons assuming the likeness or semblance of virtue, mobile they are in fact guilty of the grossest crimes, impose with this conterfeit sanctity upon the world, in order to draw to themselves by the flimsiest pretensions the most solid advantages; i. e. pleasure, honour, reputation, &c.

« VorigeDoorgaan »