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Prov. His name is Barnardine.
Duke. I would, thou hadst done so by Claudio.-
Escal. I am sorry, one so learned and so wise
Ang. I am sorry, that such sorrow I procure :
JULIET. Duke. Which is that Barnardine ? Prov. This, my lord.
Duke. There was a friar told me of this man :Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul, That apprehends no further than this world, And squar’st thy life according. Thou’rt condemn'd; But, for those earthly faults, I quit them all ; And pray thee, take this mercy to provide For better times to come :-Friar, advise him ; I leave him to your hand.-What muffled fellow's that?
Prov. This is another prisoner, that I sav'd, That should have dy'd when Claudio lost his head; As like almost to Claudio, as himself.
[Unmuffles CLAUDIO. Dreke. If he be like your brother, for his sake (To ISAB. Is he pardon'd ; And, for your lovely sake, Give me your hand, and say you will be mine, He is my brother too : But fitter time for that. By this, lord Angelo perceives he's safe ; Methinks, I see a quick’ning in his eye:Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well : Look, that you love your wife; her worth, worth yours.-I find an apt remission in myself: And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon ;You, sirrah, that knew me for a fool, a coward, [To Luc. One all of luxury, an ass, a mad-man ; Wherein have I deserved so of you, That you extol me thus ?
Lucio. 'Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the
trick : if you will hang me for it, you may ; but I had rather it would please you I might be whipp'd.
Duke. Whipp'd first, sir, and hang’d after.-
Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore! Your highness said even now, I made you a duke ; good my lord, do not recompense me, fin making me a cuckold.
Duke. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her.
Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.
Duke. Sland'ring a prince deserves it. She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.Joy to you, Mariana !-love her, Angelo ; I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue.Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness : There's more behind, that is more gratulate.Thanks, Provost, for thy care and secrecy ; We shall employ thee in a worthier place :Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home The head of Ragozine for Claudio's; The offence pardons itself.-Dear Isabel, I have a motion much imports your good ; Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline, What's mine is your's, and what is your's is mine :So, bring us to our palace ; where we'll show What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know.
SHAKSPEARE might have taken the general plan of this comedy from a translation of the Menachmi of Plautus, by W. W.i.e. (according to Wood) William Warner, in 1595, whose version of the acrostical argument hereafter quoted is as follows :
“ Two twinne borne sonnes a Sicill marchant had,
* The first his father lost, a little lad ;
“ This (growne a man) long travell took to seeke
" Where th’ other dwelt inricht, and him so like, 66 That citizens there take him for the same :
“ Father, wife, neighbours, each mistaking either, “ Much pleasant error, ere they meet togither.” Perhaps the last of these lines suggested to Shakspeare the title for his piece.
In this play we find more intricacy of plot than distinction of character ; and our attention is less forcibly engaged, because we can guess in great measure how it will conclude.
STEEVENS. I suspect this and all other plays where much rhyme is used, and especially long hobbling verses, to have been among Shakspeare's more early productions. BLACKSTONE