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stands thus.- False seeming wrenches awe from fools, and deceives the wise. Therefore, Let us but write good angel on the devil's horn, (i. e. give him the appearance of an angel ;) and what then? Is't not the derils crest? (i. e. he shall be esteemed a devil.)
WARBURTON. I am still inclined to the opinion of the Oxford editor. Angelo, reflecting on the difference between his seeming character, and his real disposition, observes, that he could change his gravity for a plume. He then digresses into an apostrophe, O dignity, how dost thou impose upon the world! then returning to himself, Blood, says he, thou art but blood, however concealed with appearances and decorations. Title and character do not alter nature, which is still corrupt, however dignified.
Let's write good angel on the devil's horn;
Is't not ?—or rather—'Tis yet the devil's crest. It may however be understood, according to Dr. Warburton's explanation, O place, how dost thou impose upon the world by false appearances ! so much, that if we write good angel on the devil's horn, 'tis not taken any longer to be the devil's crest. In this sense,
Blood, thou art but blood ! is an interjected exclamation. 26 But in the loss of question,)] The loss of
tion I do not well understand, and should rather read,
But in the toss of question.
In the agitation, in the discussion of the question. To toss an argument is a common phrase. JOHNSON
But by loss of question. This expression I believe means, but in idle supposition, or conversation that tends to nothing, which may therefore, in our author's language, be call'd the loss of question. Question, in Sbakspeare, often bears this meaning. STEEVENS.
27 If not a feodary, but only he, &c.] This is so obscure, but the allusion so fine, that it deserves to be explained. A feodary was one that in the times of vassalage held lands of the chief lord, under the tenure of paying rent and service : which tenures were called feuda amongst the Goths. Now, says Angelo, we
are all frail : yes, replies Isabella; if all mankind
were not feodaries, who owe what they are to this “ tenure of imbecillity, and who succeed each other “ by the same tenure, as well as my brother, I would
give him up.” The comparing mankind, lying under the weight of original sin, to a feodary, who owes suit and service to his lord, is, I think, not ill imagined
WARBURTON. 29 In profiting by them.] In imitating them, in taking them for examples.
JOHNSON “ Dr. Johnson,” says a writer in the Edinburgh Magazine, “ does not seem to have understood this passage. Isabella certainly does not mean to say that men mar their own creation by taking women for examples. Her meaning is, that men debase their nature by taking advantage of such weak pitiful creatures.
Seeming, seeming !-] Hypocrisy, hypocrisy ! counterfeit virtue!
JOHNSON -prompture-] Instigation. 1 That dost this habitution,] Sir T. Hanmer reads do for dost, and uses no parenthesis to inclose “ Servile to all the skiey influences.' This reading I am sorry that he had no authority for, as I confess it pleases me better than Mr. Steevens's text. The doctrine of fatality is common enough to Shakspeare, and I either do discover or fancy that I do, more of his strength of expression, in the idea of the influences of heaven afflicting man, than in 'man's body,' or the habitation of his life, being afflicted by his life itself,
Thou hast nor youth, nor age; But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep,
Dreaming on both:] This is exquisitely imagined. When we are young; we busy ourselves in forming schemes for succeeding time, and miss the gratifications that are before us; when we are old, we amuse the languor of age with the recollection of youthful pleasures or performances; so that our life, of which no part is filled with the business of the present time, resembles our dreams after dinner, when the events of the morning aré mingled with the designs of the evening.
JOHNSON $9 - leiger:] Leiger is the same with resident.
JOHNSON. 54 His filth being cast,] To cast a pond is to empty it of its mud.
-guards !] This word means bere lace, or the ornaments of dress.
36 If it were damnable, &c.] Shakspeare shows his knowledge of human nature in the conduct of Claudio. When Isabella first tells him of Angelo's proposal, he answers, with honest indignation, agreeably to his settled principles,
Thou shalt not do't. But the love of life being permitted to operate, soon furnishes him with sophistical arguments; he believes it cannot be very dangerous to the soul, since Angelo, who is so wise, will venture it.
JOHNSON. 87 - delighted spirit] i. e. the spirit accustomed here to ease and delights. This was properly urged as an aggravation to the sharpness of the torments spoken of. The Oxford editor, not apprehending this, alters it to dilated. As if, because the spirit in the body is said to be imprisoned, it was crowded together likewise; and so by death not only set free, but ex: panded too; which, if true, would make it the less sensible of pain.
WARBURTON. 88 the corrupt deputy scaled.] To scale may mean to disorder, to disconcert, to put to flight. An army routed is called by Hollinshed an army scaled. The word sometimes signifies to diffuse or disperse; at others, as I suppose in the present instance, to put into confusion.
STEEVENS. 39 –brown and white bastard.] Bastard was a kind of sweet wine then much in vogue, from the Italian bastardo.
10-since, of two usuries, &c.] Here a satire on usury turns abruptly to a satire on the person of the usurer, without any kind of preparation. We may be assured then, that a line or two, at least, have been lost; the subject of which we may easily discover-a comparison between the two usurers; as, before, between the two usuries. So that, for the future, the passage should be read with asterisks thus-by order of law, * * * a surr'd gown, &c. WARBURTON.
Sir Thomas Hanmer corrected this with less pomp: then since of two usurers the merriest was put down, and the worser allowed, by order of law, a furr'd gown, &c. His punctuation is right, but the alteration, small as it is, appears more than was wanted. Usury may be used by an easy licence for the professors of usury.
JOHNSON. After all that the commentators have said here, I can see no reason for the Clown's moralizing on the different fate of two usurers. By the merry usury, which the law had put down, I can only suppose him to mean the traffic in the suburbs, where the principal and her agent divided the profits; in other words, his own profession of a bawd.
41 Free from our faults, as faults from seeming, free!] Dr. Johnson would have this line,
Free from all faults, or from false seeming free.' And sir T. Hanmer,
I ree from all faults, as from faults sceming free.'
-to your waist, a cord, sir.) Some orders of friars wear a cord for a girdle.