Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

I am affianc'd this man's wife, as strongly
As words could make up vows: and, my good lord,
But Tuesday night last gone, in his garden-house,
He knew me as a wife: As this is true,
Let me in safety raise me from my knees;
Or else forever be confixed here,
A marble monument !
.Ang.

I did but smile till now;
Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice;
My patience here is touch'd: I do perceive,
These poor informal women are no more
But instruments of some more mightier member,
That sets them on: Let me have way, my lord,
To find this practice out.
Duke.

Ay, with my heart;
And punish them unto your height of pleasure.-
Thou foolish friar; and thou pernicious woman,
Compact with her that's gone! think'st thou, thy

oaths, Though they would swear down each particular saint, Were testimonies against his worth and credit, That 's sealed in approbation? _You, lord Escalus, Sit with my cousin ; lend him your kind pains

senses.

i These poor informal women-) Informal signifies out of their
In The Comedy of Errors, we meet with these lines:

I will not let him stir,
“ Till I have us’d the approved means I have,
“ With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,

“ To make of him a formal man again.” Formal, in this passage, evidently signifies in his senses. The lines are spoken of Antipholis of Syracuse, who is behaving like a madman. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra:

“ Thou shouldst come like a fury crown'd with snakes,

“ Not like a formal man.” Steevens. 9 Though they would swear down each particular saint,] So, in Antony and Cleopatra, Act I, sc. iii: “ Though you in swearing shake the throned gods."

Steevens. 1 That's seal'd in approbation!) When any thing subject to counterfeits is tried by the proper officers and approved, a stamp or seal is put upon it, as among us on plate, weights, and mea.

So the Duke says, that Angelo's faith has been tried, approved, and seald in testimony of that approbation, and, like other things so scaled, is no more to be called in question.

Fohnson.

sures.

To find out this abuse, whence 'tis deriv’d.-
There is another friar that set them on;
Let him be sent for.
F. Peter. Would he were here, my lord; for he,

indeed,
Hath set the omen on to this complaint:
Your provost knows the place where he abides,
And he may fetch him.
Duke. Go, do it instantly.

[Exit Prov.
And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin,
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth,2
Do with your injuries as seems you best,
In any chastisement: I for a while
Will leave you; but stir not you, till you have well
Determined upon these slanderers.

Escal. My lord, we'll do it thoroughly.- [Exit DUKE] Signior Lucio, did not you say, you knew that friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person?

Lucio. Cucullus non facit monachum: honest in nothing, but in his clothes: and one that hath spoke most villainous speeches of the duke.

Escal. We shall entreat you to abide here till he come, and enforce them against him: we shall find this friar a notable fellow.

Lucio. As any in Vienna, on my word.

Escal. Call that same Isabel here once again; [to an attendant,] I would speak with her: Pray you, my lord, give me leave to question; you shall see how I 'll handle her.

Lucio. Not better than he, by her own report.
Escal. Say you?

Lucio. Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her privately, she would sooner confess; perchance, publicly she 'll be ashamed. Re-enter Officers, with ISABELLA; the Duke, in the

Friar's habit, and Provost. Escal. I will go darkly to work with her.

Lucio. That's the way; for women are light at midnight.3

2

to bear this matter forth,] To hear it to the end; to search it to the bottom. Johnson.

Escal. Come on, mistress; [to IsaB.] here 's a gentlewoman denies all that you have said.

Lucio. My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke of; here with the provost.

Escal. In very good time :-speak not you to him, till we call upon you.

Lucio. Mum.

Escal. Come, sir: Did you set these women on to slander lord Angelo? they have confess'd you did.

Duke. 'Tis false.
Escal. How! know you where you are?
Duke. Respect to your great place! and let the

devil
Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne:4-
Where is the duke? 'tis he should hear me speak.
Escal. The duke's in us; and we will hear you

speak:
Look, you speak justly.

Duke. Boldly, at least :-But, O, poor souls,
Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox?
Good night to your redress. Is the duke gone?
Then is your cause gone too. The duke 's unjust,
Thus to retort your manifest appeal,
And put your trial in the villain's mouth,
Which here you come to accuse.

Lucio. This is the rascal; this is he I spoke of.

Escal. Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd friar! Is 't not enough, though hast suborn’d these women To accuse this worthy man; but, in foul mouth,

3

are light at midnight.] This is one of the words on which Shakspeare chiefly delights to quibble. Thus, Portia in The Merchant of Venice, Act V, se.i:

“Let me give light, but let me not be light. Steevens. 4 Respect to your great place! and let the devil, &c.] I suspect that a line preceding this has been lost. Malone.

I suspect no omission. Great place has reference to the preceding question—“know you where you are ?"

Shakspeare was a reader of Philemon Holland's translation of Pliny; and in the fifth book and eighth chapter, might have met with his next idea: “ The Augylæ do no worship to any but to the devils beneath.” Steevens.

to retort your manifest appeal,] To refer back to Angelo the cause in which you appealed from Angelo to the Duke.

Fobnson,

1

5

And in the witness of his proper ear,
To call him villain ?
And then to glance from him to the duke himself;
To tax him with injustice?- Take him hence;
To the rack with him:-We ’ll touze you joint by

joint,
But we will know this purpose:6–

-What! unjust? Duke. Be not so hot; the duke Dare no more stretch this finger of mine, than he Dare rack his own; his subject am I not, Nor here provincial:7 My business in this state Made me a looker-on here in Vienna, Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble, Till it o'er-run the stew:: laws, for all faults; But faults so countenanc’d, that the strong statutes Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,

[ocr errors]

6

this purpose :] The old copy has his purpose. The emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. I believe the passage has been corrected in the wrong place ; and would read :

We'll touze him joint by joint,
But we will know his purpose. Malone.

Nor bere provincial:] Nor here accountable. The meaning seems to be, I am not one of his natural subjects, nor of any dependent province. Fohnson.

The different orders of monks have a chief, who is called the General of the order; and they have also superiors, subordinate to the general, in the several provinces through which the order may be dispersed. The Friar therefore means to say, that the Duke dares not touch a finger of his, for he could not punish him by his own authority, as he was not his subject, nor through that of the superior, as he was not of that province. M. Mason.

boil and bubble, Till it o'er-run the stew:] I fear that, in the present instance, our author's metaphor is from the kitchen. So, in Macbeth:

“ Like a hell-brotb, boil and bubble.Steevens. 9 Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,] Barbers' shops were, at all times, the resort of idle people:

Tonstrina erat quaedam: bic solebamus ferè

Plerumque eam opperiri, which Donatus calls apta sedes otiosis. Formerly with us, the better sort of people went to the barber's shop to be trimmed: who then practised the under parts of surgery: so that he had occasion for numerous instruments, which lay there ready for use; and the idle people, with whom his shop was generally crowded, would be perpetually handling and misusing them. To

As much in mock as mark.
Escal. Slander to the state! Away with him to prie

son.
Ang. What can you vouch against him, signior

Lucio?
Is this the man, that you did tell us of?

Lucio. 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, good-man bald-pate: Do you know me?

Duke. I remember you, sir, by the sound of your voice: I met you at the prison, in the absence of the duke.

Lucio.. O, did you so? And do you remember what you said of the duke?

Duke. Most notedly, sir.

Lucio. Do you so, sir? And was the duke a fleshmonger, a fool, and a coward,' as you then reported him to be?

and ears.

remedy which, I suppose there was placed up against the wall a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this kind; which, it is not likely, would long preserve its authority. Warburton.

This explanation may serve till a better is discovered. But whoever has seen the instruments of a chirurgeon, knows that they may be very easily kept out of improper hands in a very small box or in his pocket. Johnson. It was formerly part of a barber's occupation to pick the teeth

So, in the old play of Herod and Antipater, 1622, Tryphon the barber, enters with a case of instruments, to each of which he addresses himself separately:

*Toothpick, dear toothpick: earpick, both of you

“ Have been her sweet companions !-" &c. I have conversed with several people who had repeatedly read the list of forfeits alluded to by Shakspeare, but have failed in my endeavours to procure a copy of it. The metrical one, published by the late Dr. Kenrick, was a forgery. Steevens.

I believe Dr. Warburton's explanation in the main to be right, only that instead of chirurgical instruments, the barber's proHibited implements were principally his razors ; his whole stock of which, from the number and impatience of his customers on a Saturday night or a market morning, being necessarily laid out for use, were exposed to the idle fingers of the by-standers, in waiting for succession to the chair.

These forfeits were as much in mock as mark, both because the barber had no authority of himself to enforce them, and also as they were of a ludicrous nature. I perfectly remember to have seen them in Devonshire (printed like King Charles's Rukes) though I cannot recollect their contents. Henley,

« AnteriorContinuar »