For my authority bears a credent bulk,
That no particular scandal once can touch,
But it confounds the breather. He should have liv'd,
Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense,
Might, in the times to come, have ta'en revenge,
By so receiving a dishonour'd life,
With ransom of such shame. 'Would yet he had

Alack, when once our grace we have forgot,
Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not."


We think Mr. Henley rightly understands this passage, but has not sufficiently explained himself. Reason, or reflection, we conceive, personified by. Shakspeare, and represented as daring or overawing Isabella, and crying No to her, whenever she finds herself prompted to “ tongue” Angelo. Dare is often met with in this sense in Shakspeare. Beaumont and Fletcher have used the word Noin a similar way in The Chances, Act III, sc. iv:

“I wear a sword to satisfy the world no.” Again, in A Wife for a Month, Act IV ; I'm sure he did not, for I charged him no.'

Munthly Review. Yet reason dares her ? no:] Yet does not reason chalienge or incite ber to accuse me?-no, (answers the speaker) for my authority, &c. To dare, in this sense, is yet a school-phrase: Shakspeare probably learnt it there. He has again used the word in King Henry VI, Part II: “ What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare him ?

Malone. my authority bears a credent bulk, That no particular scandal, &c.] Credent is creditable, inforcing credit, not questionable. The old English writer.; often confound the active and passive adjectives. So Shakspeare, and Milton after him, use inexpressive for inexpressible.

Particular is private, a French sense. No scandal from any private mouth can reach a man in my authority. Johnson.

The old copy reads-“bears of a credent bulk.” If of be any thing more than a blunder, it must mean-bears off, i.e. car. ries with it. As this monosyllable, however, does not improve or's sense, and clogs his metre, I have omitted it.

Steevens. Perhaps Angelo means, that his authority will ward off or set aside the weightiest and most probable charge that can be brought against him. Malone.

we would, and we would not.] Here undoubtedly the act should end, and was ended by the poet; for here is properly a




Fields without the Town.
Enter Duke in his own habit, and Friar PETER.
Duke. These letters at fit time deliver me.

[Giving letters.
The provost knows our purpose, and our plot.
The matter being afoot, keep your instruction,
And hold you ever to our special drift;
'Though sometimes you do blench from this to that,3
As cause doth minister. Go, call at Flavius' house,
And tell him where I stay: give the like notice,
To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus,
And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate;
But send me Flavius first.
F. Peter.

It shall be speeded well.

[Exit Friar. Enter VARRIUS. Duke. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made good

haste: Come, we will walk: There 's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius. [Exeunt.

cessation of action, and a night intervenes, and the place is changed, between the passages of this scene, and those of the next. The next act beginning with the following scene, proceeds without any interruption of time or change of place. Fobnson.

2 These letters –] Peter never delivers the letters, but tells his story without any credentials. The poet forgot the plot which he had formed. Johnson.

The first clause of this remark is undoubtedly just ; but respecting the second I wish our readers to recollect that all the plays of Shakspeare, before they reached the press, had passed through a dangerous medium, and probably experienced the injudicious curtailments to which too many dramatic pieces are still exposed, from the ignorance, caprice, and presumption of transcribers, players, and managers. Steevens.

you do blench from this to that,] To blench is to start off, to fly off. So, in Hamlet :

if he but blench,
“I know my course.” Steevens.



Street near the City Gate.

Enter Isabella and MARIANA.
Isab. To speak so indirectly, I am loth;
I would say the truth; but to accuse him so,
That is your part: yet I 'm advis’d to do it;
He says, to veil full purpose.*

Be rul'd by him.
Isab. Besides, he tells me, that, if peradventure
He speak against me on the adverse side,
I should not think it strange; for 'tis a physic,
That 's bitter to sweet end.

Mari. I would, friar Peter —

O, peace; the fríar is come.

Enter Friar Peter.5 F. Peter. Come, I have found you out a stand

most fit,

* He says, to veil full purpose.] Mr. Theobald alters it to, He says,

ťavailful purpose; because he has no idea of the common reading. A good reason! Yet the common reading is right. Full is used for beneficial; and the meaning is, He says, it is to bide a beneficial purpose, that must not yet be revealed. Warburton.

To veil full purpose, may, with very little force on the words, mean, to hide the whole extent of our design, and therefore the reading may stand ; yet I cannot but think Mr. Theobald's alteration either lucky or ingenious. To interpret words with such laxity, as to make full the same with beneficial, is to put an end at once, to all necessity of emendation, for any word may then stand in the place of another. Johnson.

I think Theobald's explanation right, but his amendment unnecessary. We need only read vailful as one word. Shakspeare, who so frequently uses cite for excite, bate for abate, force for en. force, and many other abbreviations of a similar nature, may well be supposed to use vailful for availful. M. Mason.

If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, (as I think it is) the word should be written-veil, as it is now printed in the text.

That vail was the old spelling of veil, appears from a line in The Merchant of Venice, folio, 1623:

Vailing an Indian beauty for which in the modern editions veiling has been rightly sub. stituted. Malone.

5. Enter Friar' Peter.] This play has two friars, either of whom

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Where you may have such vantage on the duke,
He shall not pass you: Twice have the trumpets

The generous and gravest citizens
Have hent the gates, and very near upon
The duke is ent'ring; therefore hence, away. [Exeunt.


A public Place near the City Gate. MARIANA (veild) Isabella, and PETER, at a distance.

Enter at opposite doors, Duke, VARRIUS, Lords;
ANGELO, ESCALUS, LUCIO, Provost, Officers, and

Duke. My very worthy cousin, fairly met:-
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you.

might singly have served. I should therefore imagine, that Friar Thomas, in the first act, might be changed, without any harm, to Friar Peter; for why should the Duke unnecessarily trust two in an affair which required only one ? The name of Friar Thomas is never mentioned in the dialogue, and therefore seems arbitrarily placed at the head of the scene. Fohnson.

6 The generous &c.] i. e. the most noble, &c. Generous is here used

in its Latin sense. Virgo generosa et nobilis.” Cicero. Shakspeare uses it again in Othello :

the generous islanders “By you invited

Steevens. ? Have hent the gates,] Have seized or taken possession of the gates. Johnson. So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of the 4th book of Lucan:

did prevent “ His foes, ere they the hills had bent.Again, in T. Heywood's Rape of Lucrece, 1630:

“ Lament thee, Roman land,

The king is from thee bent " Again, in the black-letter Romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, no date :

“ But with the childe homeward gan ryde

“ That fro the gryffon was bent." Again, in the ancient metrical Romance of Syr Guy of Warwick, b. 1. no date :

“ Some by the arms bent good Guy,” &c.

Ang. and Escal. Happy return be to your royal grace!

Duke Many and hearty thankings to you both.
We have made inquiry of you; and we hear
Such goodness of your justice, that our soul
Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks,
Fore-running more requital.

You make my bonds still greater. Duke, O, your desert speaks loud; and I shoulel

wrong it,
To lock it in the wards of covert bosom,
When it deserves with characters of brass
A forted residence, 'gainst the tooth of time,
And razure of oblivion : Give me your hand,
And let the subject see, to make them know
That outward courtesies would fain proclaim
Favours that keep within.-Come, Escalus;
You must walk by us on our other hand;-
And good supporters are you.

PETER and ISABELLA come forward.
F. Peter. Now is your time; speak loud, and kneel

before him. Isab. Justice, O royal duke! Vail your regarde Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a maid! () worthy prince, dishonour not your eye By throwing it on any other object,



“ And some by the bridle him bent.Spenser often uses the word bend for to seize or take and overbend for to overtake. Steevens.

Hent, benten, bende, (says Junius in his Etymologicon) Chaucero est, capere, assequi, prehendere arripere, ab A. S. bendan. Malone.

Vail your regard - ] That is, withdraw your thoughts from higher things, let your notice descend upon a wronged woman. To vail is to lower. Fohnson.

This is one of the few expressions which might have been borrowed from the old play of Promos and Cassandra, 1578:

vail thou thine ears." So, in Stanyhurst's translation of the 4th book of Virgil's Æneid:

Phrygio liceat servire marito.
“ Let Dido vail her heart to bed-fellow Trojan."

Steevens. Thus also, in Hamlet :

Do not for ever, with thy vailed lids,
" Seek for thy noble father in the dust.” Henley.

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