whicl, naturally suggests that there may have been more of pur. pose than of 11ath in his statement of them. A liberal, sagacious and merciful 1; ince, but with more of whim and caprice than suits the dignity of is place, humanity speaks richly from his lips; yet in his action tia philosopher and divine is better shown than the statesman; ajil he seems to take a very questionable delight in moving about its an unseen providence, by secret counsels leading the wicked de signs of others to safe and wholesome issues. Schlegel thinks “ he has more pleasure in overhearing his subjects than in governing them in the usual way of princes;” and sets him down as an exception to the old proverb, —“A cowl does not make a monk :” and perhaps his princely virtues are somewhat obscured by the disguise which so completely transforms him into a monk. Whether he acts upon the wicked principle with which that fraternity is so often reproached, or not, it is pretty certain that some of his means can be justified by nothing but the end : so that if he be not himself wrong in what he does, he has no shield from the charge but the settled custom of the order whose functions he undertakes. Schlegel justly remarks, that “ Shakespeare, amidst the rancour of religious parties, delights in painting monks, and always represents their influence as beneficial ; there being in his plays none of the black and knavish specimens, which an enthusi. asm for Protestantism, rather than poetical inspiration, has put some modern poets upon delineating. He merely gives his monks an inclination to be busy in the affairs of others, after renouncing the world for themselves ; though in respect of pious frauds he does not make them very scrupulous.” As to the Duke's pardon of Angelo, though Justice seems to cry out against the act, yet in the premises it were still more unjust in him to do otherwise ; the deception he has practised upon Angelo in the substituting of Mariana having plainly bound him to the course he takes. For the same power whereby he effects this could easily have prevented Angelo's crime ; and to punish the offence after thus withhold. ing the means of prevention were obviously wrong; not to men tion how his proceedings here involve an innocent person, so that he ought to spare Angelo for her sake, if not for his own. Nor does it strike us as very prudent to set bounds to the grace of repentance, or to say what amount of sin must render a man inca. pable of it. All which may in some measure explain the Duke's severity to the smaller crime of Lucio after his clemency to the greater one of Angelo.

Lucio is one of those mixed characters, such as are often gen. erated amidst the refinements of city life, in whom low and disgusting vices, and a frivolity still more offensive, are blended with engaging manners and some manly sentiments. Thus he appears a gentleman and a blackguard by turns, and, what is

more, really unite something of these seemingly incompatible qualities. With a true eye and a just sympathy for virtue in others, yet, so


Par as we can see, he cares not a jot to have it in hiinself And while his wanton, waggish levity seems too much for any generous feeling to consist with, still he shows a strong and hearty friendship for Claudio; as if on purpose to teach us how “ the web of our life is of a mingled yarn, good and ill together.”

Dr. Johnson rather oddly remarks, that “the comic scenes are natural and pleasing;” not indeed but that the remark is true enough, but that it seems rather out of character. And if these scenes please, it is not so much from any fund of mirthful exhilaration, or any genial gushes of wit and humour, as from the reck. less, unsympathizing freedom, not unmingled with touches of scorn, with, which the deformities of mankind are shown up.

The contrast between the right-thoughted, well-meaning Claudio, a generous spirit walled iv with overmuch infirmity, and Barnardine, a frightful petrifaction of humanity,“ careless, reckless, and fearless of what is past, present, or to come,” is in the Poet's boldest


Nevertheless, the general current of things is far from musicai, and the issues greatly disappoint the reader's feelings. The drowsy Justice, which we expect and wish to see awakened, and set in living harmony with Mercy, apparently relapses at last into a deeper sleep than ever. Our loyalty to Womanhood is not a little wounded by the humiliations to which poor Mariana stoops, at the ghostly counsels of her spiritual guide, that she may twine her life with that of the cursed hypocrite who has wronged her sex so deeply. That, amid the general impunity of so much crime, the mere telling of some ridiculous lies to the Duke about himself should draw down a disproportionate severity upon Lucio, the lively, unprincipled jester and wag, who might well be let pass as a privileged character, makes the whole look more as if done in mockery of justice than in honour of mercy. Except, indeed, the noble unfolding of Isabella, scarce any thing turns out as we would have it; nor are we much pleased at seeing her diverted from the quiet tasks and holy contemplations which she is so able and worthy to enjoy.

It will not be amiss to add, that the title of this play is apt to give a wrong impression of its scope and purpose. Measure for Measure is in itself equivocal; but the subject matter here fixes it to be taken in the sense, not of the old Jewish proverb, “ An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth,” but of the divine precept, 6 Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye evel so to them.” Thus the title falls in with that noble line by Coleridge, “ What nature makes us mourn, she bids us heal;” or with a similar passage in the Merchant of Venice, “We do pray for mercy, and that same prayer doth teach us all to render the dceds of rercy.”


VINCENTI0, Duke of Vienna.
ANGELO, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence.
Escalus, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the

CLAUDIO, a young Gentleman.
Lucio, a Fantastic.
Two other like Gentlemen.
VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.

Two Friars.
A Justice.
Elbow, a simple Constable.
Froth, a foolish Gentleman.
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over-done.
ABHORSON, an Executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.

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MARIANA, betrothed to ANGELO.
JULIET, beloved by CLAUDIO.

Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other


SCENE, Vienna.




An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.

My lord.

Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me t’affect speech and discourse;
Since I am put to know, that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists ? of all advice
My strength can give you : Then, no more remains,
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,


1 That is, informed ; much the same as our phrase, given to understand.

H. 2 Lists are bounds, or limits.

An instance of obscurity, such as often occurs in this play, resulting from an overcrowding of thought. It hath been generally supposed that some words must have dropped out in the hands of the transcriber or compositor. Of course no two editors can agree what those words were. Mr. Halliwell thinks to reliere the passage of darkness by printing task instead of that, a correction which he found written by some unknown hand in an old copy of the play belonging to Mr. Tunno. But if we understand that as referring to the commission, which the Duke holds in his land, as le afterwards says, " There is our commission, - the passage, though still obscure, will appear com rlete as it stands. The meaning will then be, - "Since, then, your worth is ample, nothing is wanting to qualify you, to make you sufficient for the office, but this our commission, and let them, that is, the ability, which is in you, and the authority, which I confer upon


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Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, y’are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. — Call

say, bid come before us Angelo. —

[Exit an Attendant. What figure of us think you he will bear ? For you must know we have with special soul Elected him our absence to supply ; Lent him our terror, dress’d him with our love; And given his deputation all the organs Of our own power : What think you of it? Escal. If


in Vienna be of worth To undergo such ample grace and honour, It is lord Angelo.


Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.

There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper, as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues

4 That is, ready, skilful in. Terms, in the line before, Black stone explains to mean the technical language of the courts; and he adds,

,-“ An old book, called Les Termes de la Ley, was in Shakespeare's day the accidence of young students in the law." The same book was used in Blackstone's time.

I. • So much thy own property.

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