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Give notice to such men of sort and suit,
- fort and suit,] Figure and rank. Johnson. Not so , as I imagine, in this passage. In the feudal times all vafsals were bound to hold suit and service to their over-lord ; that is, to be ready at all times to attend and serve him, either when summoned to his courts, or to his standard in war. Such men of fort and suit as are to meet him , I presume, means the Duke's valsals or tenants in capite. — Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1.786.
STEEVENS. - makes me unpregnant , ] In the first scene the Duke says that Escalus is pregnant, i. ci ready in the forms of law. Unpregnant therefore, in the instance before us , is unready, unprepared.
STEEVENS. Yet reafon dares her ? no :] The old folio impreslions read:
Yet reason dares her No. And this is right. The meaning is, the circumftances of our case are such, that she will never venture to contradi& me; dares her to reply No to me, whatever I say. WARBURTON, Mr. Theobald reads :
Yet reason dares her note. Sir Thomas Hanmer :
Yet reafon dares her: No. Mr. Upton:
Yet reason dares her - No. which he explains thus : Wer: it not for her maiden modesty, how might the lady proclaim my guilt? Yet (you'll say) Mhe has reason on her fide, and that will make her dare to do it.
I think not; for any authority is of such weight, &c. I am afraid dare has no such fignification. I have nothing to offer worth insertion. JOHNSON.
For my authority bears a credent bulk,
To date has two significations ; to terrify, as in The Maid's Tragedy :
those mad mischiefs 6. Would dare a woman." In King Henry IV. Part I. it means, to challenge, or call forth:
1. Unless a brother should a brother dare
" To gentle exercise," &c. I would therefore read :
Yet reason dares her not,
get no reason dares her , &c. The meaning will then be, — Yet reason does not challenge, call fortk , or incite her to appear against me, for my authority is above the reach of her accufation. STEEVENS.
rel reason dares her No.) Dr. Warburton is evidently right with respeở to this reading, though wrong in his application. The expression is a provincial one, and very intelligible:
But that her tender shame
How might she tongue me? Yet reason dares her No. That is , reason dares her to do it, as by this means she would not only publish her " maiden loss, but also as she would certainly suffer from the impofing credit of his station and power, which would repel with disgrace any attack on his reputation :
For my authority bears a credent bulk,
But it confounds the breather: HENLEY. We think Mr. Henley rightly understands this passage, but has not sufficiently explained himself. Reason, or refleâion, we conceive, personified by Shakspeare, and represented as daring or overawing Isabella, and crying No to her, whenever she finds herself prompted to “ tongue" Àngelo. Dare is often met with in this fense in Shakspeare. Beaumont and Fletcher have used the word No in a similar way in The Chances, A& III. sc. iv:
" I wear a sword to satisfy the world no." Again, in A Wife for a Month, A& IV: " I'm sure he did not, for I charg'd him no.
MONTHLY REVIEW. Yet reafon dares her ? no:] Yet does not reason challenge or incite her to accuse me? – no, (answers the speaker) for my authority, &c. To dare, in this lensa, is yet a school- plirase :
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
liv'd! Alack, when once our grace we have forgot, Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not.
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 beats a credent bulk, That no particular scandal, &c. ) Credent is creditable, inforcing credit , not questionable. The old English writers often confound the ađive and paslive adje&ives. 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 meanbears off, i. c. carries with it. As this monosyllable, however, does not improve our author'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 liim. MALONE.
- we would , and we would not. ] Here undoubtedly the a& should end, and was ended by the poet ; for here is properly'a ceffation of a&ion, and a night intervenes, and the place is changed, between the passages of this scene, and those of the next. The next a& beginning with the following scene, proceeds without any interruption of time or change of place. JOHNSON.
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, 2 As cause doth minifter. 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 fend ine Flavius first. F. PETER.
It shall be speeded well.
[Exit Friar. Enter VARRIUS.
Duke, I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made
good haste :
9 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, refpe&ing the second, I wish our readers to recolleå that all the plays of Shakspeare , before they reached the press, had paffed through a dangerous mediuin, and probably experienced the injudicious curtailments to which too many dramatic pieces are Áill exposed, from the ignorance, caprice, and presumption of transcribers , players , and managers.
STEEVENS. - you do blench from this to that,] To blench is to fart off, to fly off. So, in Hamlet:
- if he but blench,
Come, we will walk : There's other of our friends Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius. [ Exeunt.
Street near the City Gate.
Enter ISABELLA and MARIANA.
Be rul'd by him. Isab. Besides, he tells me, that, if peradventure He speak against me on the adverse side,
3 He says, to veil full purpose. ] Mr. Theobald alters it to,
He says, t'availful 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 hide a beneficial purpose, that must not yet be revealed. WARBURTON,
To veil full purpofe, may, with very litile 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 citter lucky or ingenious. To interpret words with such laxity, as to niake full the same with beneficial, is to put an end, at once, to all neceility of emendation, for any word may then Itand in the place of another. JOHNSON.
I think Thcobala's. explanation right, but his amendment unnecellary. We need only read vailful as
Shakspeare, who so frequently uses cite for excite, bate for abate , force for enforce, and many other abbreviations of a similar nature, máy well be supposed to use vaiiful for availful. M. MASON.
If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, (as I think it is ) thie word Thould 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 beauly for which in the modern editions veiling has been rightly fubftia tuted. MALONE.