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CLAUD. Yes.-Has he affections in him,
ISAB. Which is the least?
Claud. If it were damnable, he, being so wise, Why, would be for the momentary trick Be perdurably fin’d? 8–0 Isabel!
s Has he affe&tions , &c.] Is he atiated by passions that impel kim to transgress the law, at the very moment that he is enforcing it against others? [1 find , he is. ] Surely then, since this is so general a propensity, since the judge is as criminal as he whom he condemos, it is no fin, or at least a venial one. So, in the next Ad:
A deflower'd maid ,
so The law against it."
If you will now unite in your complainis,
- And force them with a constancy. Again , in Coriolanus :
Why force you this?" MALONE. 6 Or of the deadly seven, &c.] It may be useful to know which they are ; the reader is therefore presented with the following catalogue of them, viz. Pride, Envy, Wrath , Sloth , Covetousness, Gluttony, and Lechery. To recapitulate the punishments hereafter for these fins , might liave too powerful an effe& upon the weak nerves of the present generation; but whoever is desirous of being particularly acquainted with them, may find information in some of the old monkish systems of divinity, and especially in a curious book entitled Le Kalendrier des Bergiers , 1500, folio, of which there is an English translation. ' Douce.
7 If it were damnable, &c.] Shakspeare shows his' knowledge of human nature in the condud of Claudio. When Isabella first tells him of Angelo's proposal, he answers, with honest indignation, agreeably to his fetiled principles ,
Thou Malt not do't. But the love of life being permitted to operate, foon furnishes him with sophistical arguments ; he believes it cannot be very dangerous to the soul, fince Angelo, who is so wise , will venture it.
JOHNSON. & De perdurably fin'd? ] Perdurably is lastingly. So, in Othello :
- cables of perdurable toughness. STEEVENS.
Isab. What says my brother?
Death is a fearful thing. Isab. And shamed life a hateful.
CLAUD. Ay, but to die,and go we know not where; To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot; This fenfible warm motion to become A kneaded clod; and the delighted fpirit? To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice; To be imprison'd in the viewless winds, And blown with restless violence round about The pendant world ; or to be worse than worst
- delighted Spirit -- ] i. c. the spirit accustomed here to ease and delights. This was properly urged as an aggravation to the sharpness of the torments spoken of. The Oxford editor not apprehending this, alters it to dilated. As if, because the spirit in the body is said to be imprisoned, it was crowded together like wise; and so by death not only set free, but expanded too; which, if true, would make it the less sensible of pain.
WARBURTON. This reading may perhaps ftand, but many attempts have been made to corred it. The most plausible is that which substitutes
- the benighted /pirit, alluding to the darkness always supposed in the place of future punishment. Perhaps we may read :
the delinquent spirit. a word easily changed to delighted by a bad copier , or unskilful reader. Delinquent is proposed by Thirlby in his manuscript.
JOHNSON. I think with Dr. Warburton, that by the delighted spirit is meant, the soul once accustomed to delight, which of course must render the sufferings, afterwards described, less tolerable. Thus our author calls youth, blessed, in a former scene, before he proceeds to show its wants and its inconveniencies.
Mr. Ritson has furnished me with a passage which I leave to those who can use it for the illustration of the foregoing epithet. " Sir Thomas Herbert, speaking of the death of Mirza, fon to Shah Abbas, says that he gave a period to his miseries in this world, by supping a delighted cup of extreame poyson.” Travels, 1634, p. 104. STEL YENS.
Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts a
3 and imprisonment
- lawless and incertain thoughts-], Conjc&ure sent out to wander without any certain dire&ion, and ranging through postaci bilities of pain. Johnson.
-penury,] The old copy has -- perjury. Corre&ed by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.
' To what we fear of death. ] Most certainly the idea of the • fpirit bathing in fiery floods," or of residing w in thrilling regions of thick - ribbed ice, is not original to our poet; but I am pot sure that they came from the Platonick hell of Virgil. The monks also had their hot and their cold hell ; o the fyrste is fyre that ever brenneth , and never gyveth lighte,” says an old homily:--- The seconde is paflying cold, that yf a greate hylle of fyre were cast therin, it shold torne to yce." One of their legends, well remembered in the time of Shakspeare, gives us a dialogue between a bishop and a foul tormented in a piece of ice which was brought to cure a brenning heate in his foot; take care, that you do not interpret this the gout, for I remember ge quo.es a upon us :
• Si quis dixerit epifcopum podagrâ laborare , anathema fit." Another tells us of the foul of a monk falteued to a rock, which the winds were to blow about for a twelvemonth, and purge of its enormities. Indeed this do&rine was before row introduced into poetick fidion, as you may see in a poem, " where the lover de. clareth his pains to exceed far the pains of hell,” among the many miscellaneous ones subjoined to the works of Surrey: of which you will soon have a beautiful edition from the able hand of my friend Dr. Percy. Nay, a very learned and inquisitive brother - antiquary hath observed to me, on the authority of Blefkenius, that this was the audient opinion of the inhabitants of Iceland, who were certainly very little read either in the poet or philosopher.
FARMER. Lazarus, in The Shepherd's Calendar , -is represented to have seen these particular modes of punishment in the infernal regions :
« Secondly, I have seen in hell à fioud frozen as ice, wherein the envious men and women were plunged uuto the navel, and then fuddainly came over them a right cold and great wind that grieved and pained them right fore, &c. STEEVENS.
ISAB. Alas! alas !
Sweet fifter, let me live :
O, you beaft!
think? Heaven shield, my mother play'd my father fair! For such a warped Nip of wildernessó Ne'er iffu'd from his blood. Take
O, fic, fie, fie!
s Is't not a kind of incest; } In Isabella's declamation there is something harsh , and something forced and far-fetched. But her indignation cannot be thought violent, when we consider her not only as a virgin, but as a nun. JOHNSON.
a warped flip of wilderness-] Wilderness is here used for wildness, the state of being disorderly. So, in The Maid's Tragedy:
« And throws an unknown wilderness about me. Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600 :
But I in wilderness totter'd out my youth.". The word, in this sense, is now obsolete , though employed by Milton :
• The paths, and bowers , doubt not, but our joint hands Will keep from wilderness with ease."
STEEVENS. Takt any defiance :) Defiance is refusal, so, in Romeo end Juliet :
« I do defy thy commiseration." STEEVENS. VOL. VI.
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade :: Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd: 'Tis best that thou diest quickly.
O hear me, Isabella. Re-enter DUKE. DUKE. Vouchsafe a word, young fifter, but one word.
ISAB. What is your will? ·
Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I. would by and by have some fpeech with you: satisfaction I would require, is likewise your own benefit.
ISAB. I have no superfluous leisure; my stay must be stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend
you a while.
DUKE. [TO CLAUDIO, aside.) Son, I have overheard what hath past between you and
fifter. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an assay of her virtue, to practise his judgement with the disposition of natures : fhe, having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive : I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to death : Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible: 'to-morrow you must die; go to your knees, and make ready
but a trade :) A custom; a pra&ice ; an established habit. So we say of a man much addi&ed to any thing, he makes a trade of it. JOHNSON.
9 Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible : ] A condemned man, whom his confessor had brought to bear death with decency and resolution, began anew to entertain hopes of life. This occasioned the advice in the words above. But how did