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lrabella

My brother did love Juliet ; and you tell me he shall die for it.

Better it were, a brother died at once,
Than that a sister, by redeeming him,
Shold die forever.

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence
That you have slander'd so?

Isab. Ignomy in ransom, 4 and free pardon,
Are of two houses : lawful mercy is
Nothing akin to foul redemption.

Ang. You seem'd of late to make the law a tyrant ;
And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother
A merriment than a vice.

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord ; it oft falls out,
To have what we'd have, we speak not what we mean:
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.

Ang. We are all frail.

Isab. Else let my brother die, If not a feodary, 5 but only he, Owe, and succeed by weakness, 6

Ang. Nay, women are frail too.

Isab. Ay, as the glasses where they view themselves; Which are as easy broke as they make forms. Women !-Help heaven ! men their creation mar In profiting by them.7 Nay, call us ten times frail ; For we are as soft as our complexions are, And credulous to false prints.

Ang. I think it well : And from this testimony of your own sex, (Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger Than faults may shake our frames) let me be bold ;I do arrest your words ; Be that you are, That is, a woman; if you be more, you're none : If you be one, (as you are well expressid By all external warrants,) show it now,

[4] Ignomy-So the word ignominy was formerly written. REED.

(5) This is so obscure, but the allusion so fine, that it deserves to be ex. plained. A feodary was one that in the times of vassalage held lands of the chief lord, under the tenure of paying rent and service : which tenures were called feuda amongst the Goths. Now,' says Angelo, we are all frail ;'

Yes,' replies Isabella, if all mankind were not feodaries, who owe what they are to this tenure of imbecility, and who succeed each other by the same tenure, as well as my brother, I would give him up.' The comparing mankind, lying under the weight of original sin, to a feodary, who owes suit and service to his lord, is, I think, not ill imagined. JOHNSON [6] To owe is, in this place, to own, to hold, to have possession. JOHNS.

Her meaning is, that “ men debase their nature by taking advantage of such weak pitiful creatures." -Edin. Mag. Nov. 1806. STEEV.

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19.

By putting on the destin'd livery.

Isab. I have no tongue but one : gentle my lord, Let me intreat you speak the former language.

Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.

Isab. My brother did love Juliet ; and you tell me, That he shall die for it.

Ang. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love.

Isab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't, 8
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
To pluck on others.

Ang. Believe me, on mine honour,
My words express my purpose.

Isab. Ha ! little honour to be much believ'd,
And most pernicious purpose !-Seeming, seeming !
I will proclaim thee, Angelo ; look fort :
Sign me a present pardon for my brother,
Or, with an outstretch'd throat, I'll tell the world
Aloud, what man thou art.

Ang. Who will believe thee, Isabel ;
My unsoil'd name, the austereness of

my
My vouch against you, and my place i’ the state,
Will so your accusation over-weigh,
That you shall stifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race the rein:
Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite ;
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes,
That banish what they sue for ; redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy bocy to my will;
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness shall his death draw out
To lingering sufferance : Answer me to-morrow,
Or, by the affection that now guides me most,
I'll prove a tyrant to him : As for you,
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true. [Exit.

Isab. To whom shall I complain? Did I tell this,
Who would believe me? O perilous mouths,
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue,
Either of condemnation or approof!

life,

[8] Alluding to the licences given by ministers to their spies, to go into ali susp-eted companies, and join in the language of malcontents. WARB.

I suspect Warburton's interpretation to be more ingenious than just. The obvious meaning is-“ I know your virtue assumes an air of licentiousness which is not natural to you, on purpose to try mo."-Ed. Mag. 1806 STEE.

[9] Seeming, seeming-Hypocrisy, bypocrisy; counterfeit virtue. JOHNS.

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Bidding the law make court'sy to their will ;
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite,
To follow as it draws ! I'll to my brother :
Though he hath fallen by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then, Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die :
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. [Erit.

ACT III.

SCENE I.-A Room in the Prison. Enter Duke,

CLAUDIO, and Provost.

Duke.
SO, then you hope of pardon from lord Angelo ?

Clau. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope :
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.

Duke. Be absolute for death ; either death, or life,
Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life,-
If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing
That none but fools would keep : a breath thou art,
(Servile to all the skiey influences)
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,
Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death's fool ;
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,
And yet runn'st toward him still : Thou art not noble ;
For all the accommodations that thou bear'st,
Are nurs’d by baseness :' Thou art by no means valiant;
For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork

[1] Dr. Warburton is undoubtedly mistaken in supposing that by ba seness is meant self-love, here assigned as the notive of all human actions. Shakspeare only meant to observe, that a minute analysis of life at once destroys that splendour which dazzles the imagination. Whatever grandeur can display, or luxury enjoy, is procured by baseness, by offices of which the mind shrinks from the contemplation. All the delicacies of the table may be tra. ced back to the shambles and the dunghill, all magnificence of building was hewn from the quarry, and all the pomp of ornament dug from among the damps and darkness of the mine. JOHNSON

30 VOL. I.

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Of a poor worm :2 Thy best of rest is sleep,
And that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself ;3
For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not:
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get ;
And what thou hast, forgett'st : Thou art not certain ?
For thy complexion shifts to strange effects
After the moon :4 If thou art rich, thou art poor ;
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,
And death unloads thee : Friend hast thou none ;
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire,
The mere effusion of thy proper loins,
Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum,
For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth,nor age;
But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep, 5

Dreaming on both : for all thy blessed youth
Become as aged, and doth beg the alms
Of palsied eld :6 and when thou art old, and rich,
Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths : yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

Clau. I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die ;
And, seeking death, find life : Let it come on.

[2] Worm is put for any creeping thing or serpent. Shakspeare supposes falsely, but according to the vulgar notion, that a serpent wounds with his tongue, and that his tongue is forked. He confounds reality and fiction ; a serpent's tongue is soft, but not forked nor hurtful. If it could hurt, it could not be soft. JOHNSON.Shakspeare mentions the “adder's fork?' in Macbeth; and might have caught this idea from old tapestries or paintings, in which the tongues of serpents and dragons always appear barbed like the point of an arrow. STEÊVENS.

[3] Thou art perpetually repaired and renovated by external assistance, thou subsistest upon foreign matter, and hast no power of producirg or continuing thy own being. JOHNSON

[4] For effects read affects; that is, affections, passions of mind, or disor. ders of body variously affected. JOHNSON

[5] This is exquisitely imagined. When we are young, we busy ourselves in forming schemes for gucceeding time, and miss the gratifications that are before us; when we are old, we amuse the languor of age with the recollection of youthful pleasures or performances ; so that our life, of which no part is filled with the business of the present time, resembles our dreams after dinner, when the events of the morning are mingled with the designs of the evening JOHNSON

[6] Eld is generally used for old age. decrepitude. It is here put for old people, persons worn with years. STEVEENS.

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