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Lucro. Is she your cousin ?
ISAB. Adoptedly: as school-maids change their

names,
By vain though apt affection.
Lucio.

She it is.
IsaB. 0, let him marry her!
Lucro.

This is the point.
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 ;
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
He (to give fear to use and liberty,
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,
Unless

you

have the grace by your fair prayer

9 Bore many gentlemen,

In hand, and hope of action :) To bear in hand is a common phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance ; but we should read :

with hope of action.” Johnson. So, in Macbeth :

you were borne in hand,&c. STEÉVENS. with FULL LINE -] With full extent, with the whole length. Johnson.

- to give fear to use -] To intimidate use, that is, practices long countenanced by custom. Johnson.

3 Unless you have the grace -] That is, the acceptableness,

“ How

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To soften Angelo : And that's my pith
Of business 4 'twixt you and your poor brother.

ISAB. Doth he so seek his life?
Lucio.

Has censur'd him 5
Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath
A warrant for his execution.

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

Assay the power you have.
ISAB. My power! Alas ! I doubt,-
Lucro.

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 6 the power of gaining favour. So, when she makes her suit, the

Provost says :

4

to you,

“ Heaven give thee moving graces ! Johnson.

my PITH Of business – ] The inmost part, the main of my message.

Johnson. So, in Hamlet:

“ And enterprises of great pith and moment." Steevens. 5 Has cenSURD HIM -] i. e. sentenced him. So, in Othello:

lord

governor, “ Remains the censure of this hellish villain.” Steevens. We should read, I think, he has censured him, &c. In the MSS. of our author's time, and frequently in the printed copy of these plays, he has, when intended to be contracted, is writtenh'as. Hence probably the mistake here. So, in Othello, 4to. 1622:

“ And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets
H'as done my

office.” Again, in All's Well That Ends Well, p. 247, folio, 1623, we find H'as twice, for He has. See also Twelfth-Night, p. 258, edit. 1623 : “ has been told so,” for “ he has been told so.”

Yet after all as Shakspeare and the writers of his time frequently omit the personal pronoun, this emendation may be unnecessary. MALONE.

6 All their petitions are as FREELY theirs --] All their requests

8

As they themselves would owe them".

IsaB. I'll see what I can do.
Lucio.

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.
IsaB.

Good sir, adieu.

[Ereunt.

ACT II. SCENE I.

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,

8

are as freely granted to them, are granted in as full and beneficial a manner, as they themselves could wish. The editor of the second folio arbitrarily reads—as truly theirs; which has been followed in all the subsequent copies. MALONE.

7 would owe them.] To owe, signifies in this place, as in many others, to possess, to have. STEEVENS.

the mother -] The abbess, or prioress. Johnson. 9 Provost,] A Provost martial, Minsheu explains, “ Prevost des mareschaux : Præfectus rerum capitalium, Prætor rerum capitalium." Rees.

A provost is generally the executioner of an army. So, in The Famous History of Thomas Stukely, 1605, bl. 1.:

Provost, lay irons upon him, and take him to your charge.” Again, in The Virgin Martyr, by Massinger :

Thy provost, to see execution done

“ On these base Christians in Cesarea." STEEVENS. A prison for military offenders is at this day, in some places, called the Prevót. MALONE.

66

Setting it up to fear the birds of prey ’,
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror.
EscAL.

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

man, 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 coher'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 you had not sometime in your

life Err'd in this point which now you censure him*, And pulld the law upon you.

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The Provost here, is not a military officer, but a kind of sheriff or gaoler, so called in foreign countries. Douce.

- to FEAR the birds of prey,] To fear is to affright, to terrify. So, in the Merchant of Venice :

this aspect of mine

“ Hath fear'd the valiant.” Steevens. 2 Than Fall, and bruise to death :) I should rather read fell, i, e. strike down. So, in Timon of Athens :

“ All save thee,

I fell with curses." WARBURTON. Fall is the old reading, and the true one. Shakspeare has used the same verb active in The Comedy of Errors :

as easy may'st thou fall

A drop of water-." i. e. let fall. So, in As You Like It :

the executioner Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck.” Steevens. “ Than fall, and bruise to death : i. e. fall the axe; or rather let the criminal fall, &c. Malone.

3 Let but your honour know,] To know is here to examine, to take cognizance. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream:

Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires ; Know of your youth, examine well your blood.” Johnson. 4 Erråd in this point which now you censure him,] Some word

66

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. nant", 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,

passage thus :

6

seems to be wanting to make this line sense. Perhaps, we should read: “ Err'd in this point which now you censure him for."

Steevens. The sense undoubtedly requires, " which now you censure him for,” but the text certainly appears as the poet left it. I have elsewhere shown that he frequently uses these elliptical expressions. See Cymbeline, scene last. Malone.

s That justice seizes.] For the sake of metre, I think we should read, -seizes on ; or, perhaps, we should regulate the

• Guiltier than him they try : What's open made
“ To justice, justice seizes. What know,” &c. STEEVENS.

What know the laws,

That thieves do pass on thieves ?] How can the administrators of the laws take cognizance of what I have just mentioned ? How can they know, whether the jurymen, who decide on the life or death of thieves, be themselves as criminal as those whom they try. To pass on is a forensick term. MALONE. So, in King Lear, Act III. Sc. VII. :

Though well we may not pass upon his life.” See my note on this passage. Steevens.

7 'Tis very pregnant,] 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note.

Johnson. 8 For I have had -] That is, because, by reason, that I have had such faults. JOHNSON.

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