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Thanks, Provost, for thy care, and secrecy;
the denouement of the scene, and was, at that moment, as much addressed to Angelo as to Escalus; and for Angelo the Duke had certainly no reward or honours, in store.-Besides, I cannot but regard the word—requital as an interpolation, because it destroys the measure, without improvement of the sense. “ Fore. running more,” therefore, would only signify-preceding further tbanks. Steevens.
5. I cannot help taking notice with how much judgment Shakspeare has given turns to this story from what he found it in Cynthio Giraldi's novel. In the first place, the brother is there actually executed, and the governor sends his head in a bravado to the sister, after he had debauched her on promise of marri. age: a circumstance of too much horror and villainy for the stage. And, in the next place, the sister afterwards is, to solder up her disgrace, married to the governor, and begs his life of the empe. ror, though he had unjustly been the death of her brother. Both wbich absurdities the poet has avoided by the episode of Mariana, a creature purely of his own invention. The Duke's remaining incognito at home to supervise the conduct of his deputy, is also entirely our author's fiction.
This story was attempted for the scene before our author was fourteen years old, by one George Whetstone, in Two Comical Discourses, as they are called, containing the right excellent and famous history of Promos and Cassandra, printed with the black letter, 1578. The author going that year with Sir Humphrey Gilbert to Norimbega, left them with his friends to publish,
Theobald. The novel of Cynthio Giraldi, from which Shakspeare is
supposed to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakspeare illustrated, elegantly translated, with remarks which will assist the inquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakspeare has admitted or avoided.
I cannot but suspect that some other had new-modelled the novel of Cynthio, or written a story which in some particulars resembled it, and that Cynthio was not the author whom Shak. speare immediately followed. The Emperor in Cynthio is named
Masimine; the Duke, in Shakspeare's enumeration of the per. sons of the drama, is called Vincentio. This appears a very slight remark; but since the Duhe has no name in the play, nor is ever mentioned but by his title, why should he be called Vincentio among the persons, but because the name was copied from the story, and placed superfluously at the head of the list by the mere habit of transcription ? It is therefore likely that there was then a
a story of Vincentio Duke of Vienna, different from that of Maximine Emperor of the Romans.
Of this play the light or comie part is very natural and pleas. ing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than artful. The time of the action is indefinite; some time, we know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of the Duke and the imprisonment of Claudio; for he must have learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his pow. er to a man already known to be corrupted. The unities of action and place are sufficiently preserved. Johnson.
The duke probably had learnt the story of Mariana in some of his former retirements, “having ever loved the life removed." (page 331) “ And he had a suspicion that Angelo, was but a seemer, (page 334) and therefore he stays to watch him."
Blackstone. The Fable of Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578.
“The argument of the whole History.” “ In the cyttie of Fulio (sometimes under the dominion of Corvinus kynge of Hungarie and Bobemia) there was a law, that what man so ever committed adultery should lose his head, and the woman offender should weare some disguised apparel, during her life, to make her infamously noted. This severe lawe, by the favour of some mercifull magistrate, became little regarded, untill the time of lord Promos' auctority; who convicting a young gentleman named Andrugio of incontinency, condemned both him and his minion to the execution of this statute. Andrugio had a very virtuous and beautiful gentlewoman to his sister, named Cassandra: Cussandra, to enlarge her brother's life submitted an humble petition to the lord Promos. Promos regarding her good behaviours, and fantasying her great beawtie, was much delighted with the sweete order of her talke; and doying good, that evill might come thereof, for a time he repryved her brother : but wicked man, tourning his liking into unlawfull lust, he set downe the spoile of her honour, raunsome for her brother's life: chaste Cassandra, abhorring both him and his sute, by no persuasion would yeald to this raunsome. But in fine wonne, by the importunitye of hir brother (pleading for life) upon these conditions she agreed to Promos. First, that he should pardon her brother, and after marry ber. Promos, as feareles, in promisse, as carelesse in performance, with sollemne vowe sygned her conditions ; but worse then any infydell, his will satissfyed, he performed neither the one nor the other: for to keepe, his auctoritye unspotted with favour, and to prevent Gas
sandra's clamors, he commaunded the gayler secretly to present Cassandra with her brother's head. The gayler, [touched] with the outcryes of Andrugio, (abhorring Promos' lewdenes) by the providence of God provided thus for lis safety. He presented Cassandra with a felon's head newlie executed ; who knew it not, being mangled from her brother's (who was set at libertie by the gayler). [She] was so agreeved at this trecherye, that, at the point to kyl ber self, she spared that stroke, to be avenged of Promos : and devysing a way, she concluded to make her fortunes knowne into the kinge. She, executing this resolution, was so highly favoured of the king, that forth with he hasted to do justice on Promos : whose judgment was to marry Cassandra, to repaire her crased honour ; which donne, for his hainous offence, he should lose his head. This mariage solempnised, Cassandra tyed in the greatest bondes of affection to her husband, became an earnest suter for his life : the kinge, tendringe the generall benefit of the comon weale before her spe. cial case, although he favoured her much, would not graunt her sute. Andrugio (disguised amonge the company] sorrowing the griefe of his sister, bewrayde his safety, and craved pardon. The kinge to renowne the vertues of Cassandra, pardoned both him and Promos. The circumstances of this rare historye, in action livelye foloweth.”
Whetstone, however, has not afforded a very correct analysis of his play, which contains a mixture of comic scenes, between a Bawd, a Pimp, Felons, &c. together with some serious situations which are not described. Steevens.
One paragraph of the foregoing narrative being strangely confused in the old copy, by some carelessness of the printer, ! have endeavoured to rectify it, by transposing a few words, and adding two others, which are included within crotchets.
END OF VOL. III.
H. Maxwell, Printer, No. 25, N. Second-Street.