Imagens das páginas

You may,

Turn you the key, and know his business of him;


may not ; you are yet unsworn : When

you have vow'd, you must not speak with men But in the presence of the prioress: Then, if you speak, you must not show your face; Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. He calls again: I pray you, answer him.

[Exit FRANCISCA. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls ?

Enter LUCIO. Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be;. as those cheek-roses Proclaim you are no less ! can you so stead me, As bring me to the sight of Isabella, A novice of this place, and the fair sister To her unhappy brother Claudio ?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother ? let me ask ; The rather, for I now must make you

know I am that Isabella, and his sister. Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets

you :
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.

Isab. Woe me! For what?
Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his

He should receive his punishment in thanks :
He hath got his friend with child.

Isab. Sir, make me not your story."
Lucio. 'Tis true. I would not, -though 'tis my

familiar sin

· Such is the reading of the original ; the me being expletive, as in the well-known passage setting forth the virtues of sack: " It ascends me into the brain,” &c. So that the meaning is, “ Make not your tale, invent not your fiction.” Malone improved the passage thus : “Sir, mock me not, — your story ;" which, surely, renders Lucio's reply, 'tis true, very unapt.



With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,
Tongue far from heart, — play with all virgins so :
I hold you as a thing enskied, and sainted ;
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,
As with a saint

Isab. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me.
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth,

'tis thus :
Your brother and his lover have embrac'd :
As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison ; 4 even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.
Isab. Some one with child by him ? - My cousin

Juliet ?
Lucio. Is she your cousin ?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their

By vain though apt affection.

She it is.
Isab. O, let him marry

her !

This is the point.

2 This bird is said to divert pursuers from her nest by crying in other places. The lapwing cries most, farthest from her nest,” is an old proverb. Thus in The Comedy of Errors : “ Far from her nest the lapwing cries away ;

My heart prays for him, though my tongue doth curse; which shows what is meant by “ tongue far from heart.” So, again, in Lyly's Alexander and Campaspe : “ You resemble the lapwing, who crieth most where her nest is not, and so, to lead me from espying your love for Campaspe, you cry Timoclea."

3 That is, in few and true words. 4 Teeming foison is abundant produce. 6 Tilth is tillage. So in Shakespeare's third Sonnet : « For who is she so fair, whose unrear'd womb

Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry ?


The Duke is very strangely gone from hence;
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one,
In hand, and hope of action : but we do learn
By those that know the very nerves of state,
His givings-out were of an infinite distance
From his true-meant design. Upon his place,
And with full line of his authority,
Governs lord Angelo ; a man whose blood
Is very snow-broth; one who never feels
The wanton stings and motions of the sense ;
Both doth rebate ? and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He - to give fear to use and liberty, 8
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law,
As mice by lions — hath pick'd out an act,
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life
Falls into forfeit: he arrests him on it;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example : all hope is gone,

have the


prayer To soften Angelo : And that's my pith Of business 'twixt you


your poor brother.
Isab. Doth he so seek his life ?

Has censur'd' him

by your


6 “ To bear in hand,” says Richardson, “ is merely to carry along with us, to lead along, as suitors, dependants, expectants, believers," The phrase is not uncommon in old writers. Thus, in 2 Henry IV. Act i. sc. 2: A rascally yea-forsooth knave! to bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security!” H.

7 To rebate is to beat back; hence, applied to any thing sharp, it is to make dull.

8 That is, to put the restraint of fear upon licentious custom and abused freedom.

9 To censure is to judge, to pass sentence. We have it again in the next scene :

“ When I that censure him do so offend,

Let mine own judgmeut pattern out my death."


Already; and, as I bear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me
To do him good ?

Assay the power you have.
Isab. My power ? alas ! I doubt.

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win,
By fearing to attempt : Go to lord Angelo,
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Men give like gods; but when they weep and kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe

Isab. I'll see what I can do.

But speedily.
Isab. I will about it straight ;
No longer staying but to give the mother
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you :
Commend me to my brother : soon at night
I'll send him certain word of my success.

Lucio. I take my leave of you.

Good sir,

adieu. [Ereunt.

10 them.




A Hall in ANGELO's House.

Enter AngeLO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost, Officers,

and other Attendants. Ang. We must not make a scare-crow of the law, Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,

10 To owe is to have, to possess. 11 That is, the abbess. 1 To fear is to affright. VOL. II.


And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror.

Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
Than fall,” and bruise to death: Alas! this gen-

tleman, Whom I would save, had a most noble father. Let but your honour know, (Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,) That, in the working of your own affections, Had time cober'd with place, or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of your

blood Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose, Whether


had not sometime in your life Err'd in this point which now you censure him, And pull’d the law upon you.

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try: What's open

made To justice, that justice seizes. What know the laws, That thieves do pass * on thieves ? 'Tis very preg




The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
Because we see it; but what we do not see,
We tread upon, and never think of it.
You may not so extenuate his offence,
For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,

? That is, throw down ; to fall a tree is still used for to fell it.

3 To complete the sense of this line for seems to be required,“ which now you censure him for.But Shakespeare frequently uses elliptical expressions.

4 An old forensic term, signifying to pass judgment, or sentence.

6 Full of force or conviction, or full of proof in itself. So, in Othello, Act ii. sc. 1: “As it is a most pregnant and unforc'd position.”

6 That is, because.

« AnteriorContinuar »