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ANG. My lord, her wits, I fear ine, are not firm: She hath been a suitor to me for her brother, Cut off by course of justice. ISAB.
By course of justice! Ang. And she will speak most bitterly, and strange.
Isab. Most strange, but yet most truly, will Ispeak: That Angelo's forsworn; is it not strange? That Angelo's a murderer; is’t not strange? That Angelo is an adulterous thief, An hypocrite, a virgin-violator; Is it not strange, and strange? DUKE.
Nay, it is ten times strange. ISAB. It is not truer he is Angelo, Than this is all as true as it is strange : Nay, it is ten times true; for truth is truth To the end of reckoning. DUKE.
Away with her:-Poor soul, She speaks this in the infirmity of sense.
ISAB. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st There is another comfort than this world, That thou neglec me not, with that opinion That I am touch'd with madness: make not impof
fible That which but seems unlike : 'tis not impossible, But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground, May seem as fhy, as grave, as just, as absolute,
truth is truth To the end of reckoning. ] That is, truth, has no gradations; nothing which admits of encrease can be so much what it is, as truth is truth. There may be a strange thing, and a thing more Atrange, but if a proposition be true, there can be none more true,
JOHNSON. as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute, ] As shy; as reserved, as abftra&ed: as just; as uice, as exact: as absolute; as complete in all the round of duty. JOHNSON.
As Angelo'; even so may Angelo,
By mine honesty,
O, gracious duke,
3 In all his dressings, &c.] In all his semblance of virtue, in all his habiliments of office. JOHNSON.
chara&ls,] i. e. charaders, See Dugdale, Orig. Jurid. -- That he use, ne hjde, no charme, ne care&te.
TYRWHITT. So, in Gower, De Confeffione Amantis, B. I:
16 With his carecte would him enchaunt." Again,' B. V. fol. 193:
66 And read his carcate in the wise. Again, B. VI. fol. 140:
Through his careeles and figures.". Again :
" And his care&te as he was taught,
" He rad," &c. STEEVENS. Chara&t fignifies an inscription. The stat. i Edward VI. c. %. dire&ed the seals of office of every bishop to have “ certain charačts under the king's arms, for the knowledge of the diocese. Characters are the letters in which the infcription is written, Chara&tery is the materials of which chara&ers are composed. " Fairies use flowers for their charaflery.
Merry Wives of Windsor.' BLACKSTONE. 4 As e'er I heard, &c.] I suppose Shakspeare wrote : As ne'er I heard in madness. MALONE.
do not banish reason For inequality :] Let not the high quality of my adversary prejudice you against me. JOHNSON.
To make the truth appear, where it seems hid;
Many that are not inad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.—What would you
That's I, an't like your grace:
That's he, indeed.
No, my good lord;
I wish you now then; Pray you, take note of it: and when you have
Inequality appears to me to mean, in this place, apparent inconfiften.cy; and to have no reference to the high rank of Angelo, as Johnson supposes. M. Mason.
I imagine the meaning rather is Do not suppose I am mad, because I speak passionately and unequally. MALONE.
6 And hide the falfe, seems true. ] And for ever hide, i. c. plunge into eternal darkness, the false one, i. e. Angelo, who now seems honeft. Many other words would have expressed our poct's meaning better than hide ; but he seems to have chosen it merely for the fake of opposition to the preceding line.
Mr. Theobald unneceffarily reads
- Not hide the false, which has been followed by the subsequent editors. MALONE.
I do not profess to understand these words; nor can I perceive how the meaning suggested by Mr. Malone is to be deduced from them, STEEVENS.
A business for yourself, pray heaven, you then
Duke. It may be right; but you are in the wrong
I went To this pernicious caitiff deputy.
Duke. That's somewhat madly spoken.
Pardon it; The phrase is to the matter.
Duke. Mended again: the matter; — Proceed.
Is AB. In brief,—to set the needless process by, How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneeld, How he refellid me,' and how I reply'd ; (For this was of much length,) the vile conclusion I now begin with grief and shame to utter: He would not, but by gift of my chaste body *To his concupiscible intemperate lust, Release my brother; and, after much debatement, My sisterly remorse' confutes mine honour,
7 How he refelld me, ] To refel is to refute.
" Refellere door coarguere mendacium." Cicero pro Ligario. Ben Jonson uses the word:
is Friends not to refel you,
16 Or any way quell you. Again, in The Second Part' of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
" Therefore go on, young Bruce, proceed, refell
". The allegation. The modern editors changed the word to repel. STEEVENS.
: To his concupiscible, &c.] Such is the old reading. The modern editors unauthoritatively substitute concupiscent. STEEVENS. 9 My Fifterly remorse — ] i. c. pity. So, in King Richard III:
si And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse. STELVENS.
And I did yield to him: But the next morn betimes,
This is most likely!
what thou speak'st; Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour, In hateful practice: ' First, his integrity Stands without blemish:--next, itimports noreason, That with such vehemency he should pursue Faults proper to himself; if he had so offended, He would have weigh'd thy brotlier by himself,
: His purpose surfeiting; ] Thus the old copy. We might read forfeiting, but the former word is too mucli in the manner of Shakspeare to be rejc&ed. So, in Othello :
my hopes not surfeited to death." STEEVENS. 30, that it were as like, as it is true! ] Like is not here used for probable, but for seemly She catches at the Duke's word, and iurns it into another sense; of which there are a great many examples in Shakspeare, and the writers of that time. WARBURTON.
I do not see why like may not stand here for probable, or why the lady should not wish, that since her tale is true, it belief. If Dr. Warburton's explication be right, we should read :
0! that it were as likely, as 'tis true! Likely I have never found for seemly. JOHNSON
Though I concur in Dr. Johnson's explanation, I cannot help observing that likely is used by Shakspeare himself for seemly. So, in King Henry IV. Part Il. Að III. sc. ii: " Sir John, they are your likelief men. STEEVENS.
The meaning, I think, is: 0 that it had as much of the appeare ance, as it has of the reality, of truth!
MALONE. fond wretch, } Fond wretch is foolish wretch. So, in Coriolanus. A& IV. sc. i:
" 'Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes." STEEVINS. s In hateful pradice: ] Practice was used by the old writers for any unlawful or insidious ftratagem. So again :
6. This must needs be practice. And again :
“Let me have way to find this pradlice out. JOHNSON.