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Isab. Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth. Ang. Say you so ? then I shall poze you quickly.
(in which our author having already illustrated the sentiment he has attributed to Angelo by an allusion to coining, would not give the same image a second time,) but by a similar expression in Timoni:
thy father, that poor rag,
Poor rogue hereditary.”
" As rank as any flax-wench, that puts to,
6. Before her troth-plight. The controverted word is found again in the same sense .io Macbeth:
thy undaunted mettle should compose
that bed, that womb,
6. Made him a man. Again, in Timon of Athens :
Coinmon mother, thou,
« Engenders the black toad, &c. Means is here used for medium, or obje£t, and the sense of the whole is this : 'Tis as easy wickedly to deprive a man born in wedlock of lise, as to have unlawful commerce with a maid, order to give life to an illegitimate child. The thought is simply, that murder is as easy as fornication; and the inference which Angelo would draw, is, that it is as improper to pardon the latter as the former. The words to make a false one -- evidently referring to life, thew that the preceding line is to be understood in a natural, and not in a metaphorical, sense. MALONE.
8 'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.] I would have it considered, whether the train of the discourse does not rather require Isabel to say:
'Tis so set down in earth, but not in heaven. When she has said this,' Then, says Angelo, I shall poze you quickly. Would you, who, for the prefent purpose, declare your brother's crime to be less in the fight of heaven, than the law has made it ; would you commit that crime, light as it is, to save your brother's life? To this, she answers, not very plainly in either reading, but more appofitely to that which I propose: I had rather give my body than my soul. JOHNSON.
Which had you rather, That the most just law
Sir, believe this,
Ang. I talk not of your soul ; Our compelld fins
How say you?
What you have stated is undoubtedly the divine law: murder and fornication are both forbid by the canon of scripture;
but on barth the latter olience is considered as less heinous than the former.
". Somé fins do bear their privilege on carti,
9 I had rather give my body than my soul. ) Isabel, I believe, uses the words, “ give my body, in a different sense from that in which tiey had been employed by Angelo. She means, I think, I had rather die, than forfeit my eternel happiness by the prostitution of iny perfon. MALONE.
She may mean I had rather give up my body to imprisonment, thanh my truito perdition. STEEVENS.
Our compellid fins
more for number than accompt. ) Adions to which we are compelled, however numerous, are not imputed to us by heaven
If you cannot save your brother but by the loss of your
Stand more for number than for accompt.
Might there not be a charity in fin,
you to do't, I'll take it as a peril to my soul, It is not fin at all, but charity,
Ang. Pleas'd you to do't, at peril of your soul, ' Were equal poize of fin and charity.
ISAB. That I do beg his life, if it be sin, Heaven , let me bear it! you granting of my suit, If that be fin , I'll make it my morn prayer To have it added to the faults of mine, And nothing of your,
Nay, but hear me: Your sense pursues not mine: either you are ignorant, Or seem so , craftily;' and that's not good.
ISAB. Let me be ignorant, 6 and in nothing good, But graciously to know I am no better.
3 Pleas'd you to do't, at peril, kc.] The reasoning is thus : Angelo asks, whether there might not be a charily in fin to save this brother. Isabella answers, that if Angelo will save him, the will
také her soul that it were charity, not sin. Angelo replies, that if Isabcila would save him at the hazard of her foul, it would be not indeed no fin, but a jin to which the charity would be equivalent. Johnson. 4 And nothing of your, answor, ] I think it should be read,
And nothing of yours, answer. You, and whatever is jours, be cxempt from penalty. JOHNSON.
And nothing of your answer, means, and make no part of those fins for which you shall be called to answer. STEEVENS. This passage would be clear, I think, if it were pointed thus :
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your, answer. So that the fubitantive answer may be understood to be joined in conftru&ion with mine as well as your. The faults of mine answer are the faults which I am to answer for. TYRWHITT,
craftily; ] The old copy reads crafty. Correded by Sir William D'Avenant, MALONE.
6 Let me be ignorant, ] Me is wanting in the original copy. The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. MALONE.
Ang. Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright, When it doth tax itself: as these black masks Proclaim an enshield beautyó ten times louder
6 Proclaim an enshield beauty -- 1 An enshield beauty is a shielded beauty, a' beauty covered or protected as with a shield. STLEVENS.
as thefo black malks Proclaim an enshield beauty, &c. This should be written en-fhell'd, or in-Shelld, as it is in Cariolanus, Ad IV. sc. vi:
“ Thrufts forth his horns again into the world
« That were in-fhell'd when Marcius stood for Rome." These Masks must mean, I think, the Masks of the audience; however improperly a compliment to them is put into the mouth of Angelo. As Shakspeare would hardly have been guilty of such an indecorum to flatter a common audience, I think this passage affords ground for supposing that the play was written to be acted
Some strokes of particular flattery to the King I have already pointed out; and there are several other general reflections, in the chara&er of the Duke especially, which seem calculated for the royal ear.
I do not think so well of the conje&ure in the latter part of this note, as I did some years ago; and therefore I should wish to withdraw it. Not that I am inclined 10 adopt the idea of Mr. Ritson, as I see no ground for supposing that Isabella had any mask in her hand. My notion at present is, that the phrase these black masks fignifies nothing more than black masks; according to an old idiom of our language, by which the demonstrative pronoun is put for the prepositive article. See the Glossary to Chaucer, edit. 1775; This, Thise. Shakspeare seems to have used the same idiom not only in the paslage quoted by Mr. Steevens from Romeo and Juliet, but also in King Henry IV. Part 1. Ac I. sc. iii :
- and, but for these vile guns, " He would himself have been a soldier. " With respe&t to the former part of this note, though Mr. Ritson has told us that enfield is CERTAINLY put by contra&ion for enftrielded," I have no objedion to leaving my conje&ure in its place, till some authority is produced for such an usage of enshield or enshielded. TYRWHITT.
There are instances of a similar contradion or elision, in our author's plays. Thus, bloat for bloatert, ballast for ballafted, and waft for wafted, with many others. Ritson. | Sir William D'Avenant reads as a black mak; but I am afraid
Than beauty could displayed. But mark me;
Ang. And his offence is so, as it appears Accountant to the law upon that pain.
Ang. Admit no other way to save his life,
Mr. Tyrwhitt is too well supported in his first fuppofition, by a passage at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet :
These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows,
Being black, put us in mind they hide the fair." STEEVENS. 6 Accountant to the law upon that pain. ] Pain is here for penalty, punishment. JOHNSON.
7 As I subscribe not that, ] To Subscribe means, to agree to. Milton uses the word in the same feuse. So also, in Marlowe's Luft's Dominion, 1661;
Subscribe to his desires. STEEVENS. $ But in the loss of question, ] The loss of question I do not well understand, and should rather read:
But in the toss of question. In the agitation, in the discussion of the question. To tofs an argu- ,' ment is a common phrase. JOHNSON.
This expression, I believe, means, but in idle supposition, or conversation that tends to nothing, which may therefore, in our auihor's language, be called the loss of queftion. Thus, in Coriolanus, Ad ill. sc. i. :
". The which shall turn you 'to no other harm,
“ Than so much loss of time. Question, in Shakspeare, often bears this meaning. So, in his Tarquin and Lucrece:
". And after supper, long he queflioned
6. With modest Lucrece, &c. STEEVENS,