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MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
An Apartment in the DUKE's Palace
Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
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
Our city's institutions, and the terms
[Erit an Attendant.
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
Look, where he comes.
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.
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
Now, good my lord,
No more evasion :
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
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion’d
Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way.
Duke. My haste may not admit it;
13 is as mine own,
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.
13 Scope is extent of power.
14 Aves are hailings.
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.