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MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

ACT I.

SCENE I.

An Apartment in the DUKE's Palace

Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.
Duke. Escalus,
Escal. My lord.

Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
Would seem in me t’affect speech and discourse ;
Since I am put to know,' that your own science
Exceeds, in that, the lists? of all advice
My strength can give you : Then, no more remains,
But that, to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,

1 That is, informed; much the same as our phrase, given to understand.

H. 2 Lists are bounds, or limits.

3 An instance of obscurity, such as often occurs in this play, resulting from an overcrowding of thought. It hath been generally supposed that some words must have dropped out in the hands of the transcriber or compositor. Of course no two editors can agree what those words were. Mr. Halliwell thinks to relieve the passage of darkness by printing task instead of that, a correction which he found written by some unknown hand in an old copy of the play belonging to Mr. Tunno. But if we understand that as referring to the commission, which the Duke holds in his hand, as he afterwards says, - " There is our commission,” — the passage, though still obscure, will appear complete as it stands. The meaning will then be, — “Since, then, your worth is ample, nothing is wanting to qualify you, to make you sufficient for the office, but this our commission, and let them. that is, the ability, which is in you, and the authority, which I confer upon

you, work.

H.

4

Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, y’are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. - Call

hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo. —

[Erit an Attendant.
What figure of us think you he will bear ?
For you must know we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply ;
Lent him our terror, dress'd him with our love;
And given his deputatjon all the organs
Of our own power : What think you of it ?

Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
It is lord Angelo.

Enter ANGELO.

Duke.

Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.
Duke.

Angelo,
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold. Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper,' as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do ;
Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues

5

4 That is, ready, skilful in. Terms, in the line before, Blackstone explains to mean the technical langnage of the courts; and he adds, - • An old book, called Les Termes de la Ley, was in Shakespeare's day the accidence of young students in the law." The same book was used in Blackstone's time.

1. 5 So much thy own property.

10

Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch’d,
But to fine issues : 6 nor nature never lends?
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use.8 But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise: 9
Hold, therefore, Angelo :
In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and Mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart:" Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary :
Take thy commission.
Ang.

Now, good my lord,
Let there be some more test made of my metal,
Before so noble and so great a figure :
Be stamp'd upon it.
Duke.

No more evasion :
We have with a leaven'd'? and prepared choice.
Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition,

H.

H.

H.

6 That is, to noble ends, to high purposes.

7 Two negatives, not making an affirmative, are common in Shakespeare's writings. So in Julius Cæsar : “ Nor to no Roman else."

8 Use in the mercantile sense of interest.

9 That is, one that can himself set forth what pertains to him is my substitute.

10 Tyrwhitt thinks the Duke here checks himself, — Hold, therefore : and that Angelo begins a new sentence. But hold seems addressed to Angelo ; the sense being, — “ Hold, therefore, our power;referring to the commission which the Duke has in his hand.

11 That is, I delegate to thy tongue the power of pronouncing sentence of death, and to thy heart the privilege of exercising mercy.

12 A choice mature, concocted, fermented ; that is, not basty, but considerate

H.

That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion’d
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall importune,
How it goes with us ; and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So, fare you

well :
To the hopeful execution do I leave you
Of your commissions.
Ang.

Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way.

Duke. My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple : your scope

13 is as mine own,
So to enforce or qualify the laws,
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand.
I'll privily away : I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes :
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause, and aves

14 vehement; Nor do I think the man of safe discretion That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.

Ang. The heavens give safety to your purposes ! Escal. Lead forth, and bring you back in hap

piness! Duke. I thank you : Fare you well. [Exit.

Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave To have free speech with you; and it concerns me To look into the bottom of my place : A

power I have ; but of what strength and nature I am not yet instructed.

Ang. 'Tis so with me:- Let us withdraw together, And we may soon our satisfaction have Touching that point. Escal. I'll wait upon your honour.

[Ereunt.

13 Scope is extent of power.

14 Aves are hailings.

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Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen. Lucio. If the Duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, then all the dukes fall upon the king.

1 Gent. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the king of Hungary's !

2 Gent. Amen.

Lucio. Thou conclud'st like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the Ten Commandments, but scrap'd one out of the table.

2 Gent. Thou shalt not steal ? Lucio. Ay, that he raz’d.

1 Gent. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions : they put forth to steal. There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.

2 Gent. I never heard any soldier dislike it.

Lucio. I believe thee; for I think thou never wast where grace was said.

2 Gent. No ? a dozen times at least. 1 Gent. What! in metre? Lucio. In any proportion,' or in any language. 1 Gent. I think, or in any religion.

Lucio. Ay ; why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy : as, for example, thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.

1 Gent. Well, there went but a pair of shears between us.?

| That is, measure.

? An old proverb, meaning, - We were both cut off, or out of, the same piece.

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