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London. Published by F.C.& J. Rivington and Partners. Feb: 7823.

But can you,

If so



would ? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no wrong, yoyr

heart were touch'd with that remorse 6
As mine is to him?
Ang. He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.
Lucio. You are too cold.

Isab. Too late? why, no; I that do speak a word,
May call it back again: 'Well, believe this,
No ceremony that to great ones ’longs,
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace,
As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipt like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.

Ang. Pray you, begone.

Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel ? should it then be thus? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

Lucio. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. [Aside.

Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
And you but waste your words.

Alas! alas!
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
And He that might the vantage best have took,
Found out the remedy: How would you be,
If he, which is the top of judgment, should"
But judge you as you are? O, think on that;
And mercy then will breathe within your lips,
Like man new made.


touch'd with that remorse -] Remorse, for pity. 7 And mercy then will breathe within your lips,

Like man new made.] As amiable as a man come fresh out of the hands of his Creator ; or, as tender-hearted and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence, immediately after his creation.


Be you content, fair maid. It is the law, not I, condemns your brother: Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son, It should be thus with him;- he must die to-morrow.

Isabel. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him,

spare him :

Those many

He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens
We kill the fowl of season; shall we serve heaven
With less respect than we do minister
To our gross selves? Good, good my lord, bethink you:
Who is it that hath died for this offence?
There's many have committed it.

Ay, well said.
Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath


had not dar'd to do that evil,
If the first man that did the edict infringe,
Had answer'd for his deed: now, 'tis awake:
Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet,
Looks in a glass *, that shows what future evils,
(Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd,
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,)
Are now to have no successive degrees,
But, where they live, to end.

Yet show some pity.
Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice;
For then I pity those I do not know,
Which a dismiss'd offence would after gall;
And do him right, that answering one foul wrong,
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied;
Your brother dies to-morrow; be content.

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like a prophet, Looks in a glass,] This alludes to the fopperies of the beril, a kind of crystal which hath a weak tincture of red in it. Among other tricks of astrologers, the discovery of past or future events was supposed to be the consequence of looking into it.

9 But, where they live, to end.) i.e. they should end WHERE they began, i. e. with the criminal.

Isab. So you must be the first, that gives this sentence; And he, that suffers : 0, it is excellent To have a giant's strength; but it is tyrannous To use it like a giant. Lucio.

That's well said.
Isab. Could great men thunder
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet,
For every pelting', petty officer,
Would use his heaven for thunder : nothing but thun-

Merciful heaven!
Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt,
Splitst the unwedgeable and gnarled oak”,
Than the soft myrtle; - 0, but man, proud man! +
Drest in a little brief authority;
Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd,
His glassy essence, -like an angry ape,
Plays such fantastick tricks before high heaven,
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Would all themselves laugh mortal. 3

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent;
He's coming, I perceive't.

Pray heaven, she win him!
Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:
Great men may jest with saints : 'tis wit in them;
But, in the less, foul profanation.

Lucio. Thou’rt in the right, girl; more o' that.

Isab. That in the captain's but a cholerick word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.

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- pelting,] i. e. paltry.

gnarled oak,] Gnarre is the old English word for a knot in wood. + · “ But man, proud man!”

who, with our spleens, Would all themselves laugh mortal.] By spleens, Shakspeare means that peculiar turn of the human mind, that always inclines it to a spiteful, unseasonable mirth. Had the angels that, says Shakspeare, they would laugh themselves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion which does not deserve that prerogative.

Fare you

Lucio. Art advis'd o' that? more on't.
Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me?

Isab. Because authority, though it err like others,
Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself,
That skins the vice o' the top: Go to your bosom;
Knock there; and ask your heart, what it doth know
That's like my brother's fault: if it confess
A natural guiltiness, such as is his,
Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue
Against my brother's life.

She speaks, and 'tis Such sense,


my sense breeds with it. well. Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back. Ang. I will bethink me:- Come again to-morrow. Isab. Hark, how I'll bribe you : Good my lord, turn

back. Ang. How! bribe me? Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that heaven shall share with

Lucio. You had marr'd all else.

Isab. Not with fond shekels4 of the tested gold',
Or stones, whose rates are either rich, or poor,
As fancy values them: but with true prayers,
That shall be up at heaven, and enter there,
Ere sun-rise: prayers from preserved souls,
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate
To nothing temporal.

Well :

: come to me To-morrow.

Lucio. Go to; it is well; away. [Aside to ISABEL. Isab. Heaven keep your honour safe!

fond shekels -] Fond means very frequently in our author, foolish. It signifies in this place valued or prized by folly.

tested gold,] i. e. brought to the test, or cupelled.

preserved souls,] i. e. preserved from the corruption of the world.



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