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The head of Ragozine for Claudio's;
certainly no reward or honours, in fore, - Besides, I cannot but regard the word requital as an interpolation, because it destroys the measure, without improvement of the sense. “ Fore-running more," therefore, would only signiíy - preceding further thanks. STEEVENS.
7 I cannot help taking notice with how much judgement Shakfpeare has given turns to this story from what he found it in Cynthio Giraldi's novel. In the first place, the brother is there ađually executed, and the governour sends his head in a bravado to the fifter, after he had debauched her on promise of marriage: a circumstance of too much horror and villainy for the stage. And, in the next place, the sister afterwards is, to folder up her disgrace, married to the governour, and begs his life of the emperour, though he had unjustly been the death of her brother. Both which absurdities the poet has avoided by the episode of Mariana, a creature ure of his own invention. The Duke's remaining incognito at home to supervise the conduđ of his deputy, is also entirely our author's fiâion.
This story was attempted for the scene before our author was fourteen years old, by one George Wheistone, in Two Cemical Discourses, as they are called, containing the right excellent and famous history of Promos and Cassandra, printed with the black letter, 1578. The author going that year with Sir Humphrey Gilbert to Norimbega, left them with his friends to publish.
THEOBALD. The novel of Cynthio Giraldi, from which Shakspeare is fuppored to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakespeare illustrated, elegantly translated, with remarks which will allist the enquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakspeare has admitted or avoided.
I cannot but suspeå that some other had new-modelled the novel of Cynthio, or written a story which in some particulars resembled it, and that Cynthio was not the author whom Shakspeare inmediately followed. The Emperor in Cynthio is named Maximine; the Duke, in Shakspeare's enumeration of the persons of the drama, is called Vinceniio. This appears a very light remark; but since
the Duke has no name in the play, nor is ever mentioned but by his title, why should he be called Vincentio among the persons, but because the name was copied from the story, and placed superfluoully at the head of the list by the mere habit of transcription? It is therefore likely that there was then a story of Vinçentio Duke of Vienna, different from that of Maximine Emperor of the Romans.
Of this play the light or comic part is very natural and pleasing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than artful. The time of the a&ion is indefinite; some time, we know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of the Duke and the imprisonment of Claudio ; for he must have learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his power to a man already , known to be corrupted. The unities of adion and place are fufficiently preserved. JOHNSON.
The duke probably had learnt the story of Mariana in some of his former retirements, having ever loved the life removed." (Page 29) " And he had a suspicion that Angelo was but a seemer, (page 33) and therefore he stay's to watch him, BLACKSTONE
The Fable of Whetfone's Promos and Cassandra, 1578.
The Argument of the whole History. :*
" In the cyttic of Julio (sometimes under the dominion of Corvinus kynge of Hungarie and Bohemia, ) there was a law, that what man so ever committed adultery should lose his head, and the woman offender should weare some disguised apparel, during her life, to make her infamousy noted. This severe lawe, by the favour of some mercifull magistrate, became little regarded, untill the time of lord Promos' au&ority; who convi&ing a young geuileman named Andrugio of incontinency, condemned both him and his minion to the execution of this statute Andrugio had a very virtuous and beautiful gentlewoman to his fifter, named Cassandra : Cassandra, to cularge her brother's life, submitted an humble petition to the lord Promos : Promos regarding 'her good beha, viours, and fantasying her great bcawlie, was much delighted with the sweete order of her talke; and doyng good, that evill' might come thereof, for a time he repryved her brother : but wicked man, tourning his liking into unlawfull luft, he set downe, the spoilc of her honor, raunsome for her brother's life: chafte Cassandra, abhorring both him and his fute, by no persuasion would ycald to this raunsome. But in fine, wonne by the importunitye of hir brother (pleading for life), upon these conditions she agreed to Promos. First, that he should pardon her brother,
and after marry her. Promos, as feareles in promisse, as carelesse in performance, with sollemne vowe sygned her conditions ; but worse then any infydell, his will satissfyed, he performed neither the one nor the other: for to keepe his audoritye unspotted with favour, and to prevent Cassandra's clamors, he commanded the gayler secretly, to present Cassandra with her brother's head. The gayler, ( touched) with the outcryes of Andrugio, (abhorryug Promos' lewdenes) by the providence of God provided thus for his safety. He presented Cassandra with a felon's head newlic executed; who knew it not, being mangled, from her brother's ( who was set at libertie by the gayler). [She] was so agreeved at this trecherye, that, at the point to kyl her self, the spared that stroke, to be avenged of Promos: and devyfing a way, the concluded, to make her fortunes knowne unto the kinge. She, executing this resolution, was so highly favoured of the king, that forthwith he hafted to do justice on Promos: whose judgment
to marry Cassandra, to repaire her crased honour; which donne, for his hainous offence, he should lose his head. This maryage solempnised, Cassandra tyed in the greatest bo'ndes of affe&ion to her husband, became an earnest futer for his life: the kinge, tendringe the generall benefit of the comon weale before her special case, although he favoured her much, would not graunt her sute.
Andrugio (disguised amonge the company) for. Towing the griefe of his fifter , bcwrayde his safety, and craved pardon. The kiage, to renowne the vertues of Cassandra , par. doned both him and Promos. The circumstances of this rare historye, in adion livelye foloweth."
Whetstone, however, has not afforded a very corre& analysis of his play, which contains a mixture of comick scenes, between a Bawd, a Pimp, Felons, &c. together with some serious situations which are not described. STEEVENS.
One paragraph of the foregoing narrative being strangely confused in the old copy, by some carelessness of the privier, I have endeavoured to reâify it, by transposing a few words, and adding two others, which are included within crotchets.