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ACT I.-SCENE I.
Promos, Mayor, Shirife, Sworde Bearer : one with a bunche
of keyes : Phallax, Promos Man.
Attentivelie his letters patents heare :
“ Phallax, reade out my Soveraines chardge. “ Phal. As you commaunde I wyll: give heedeful eare. “ Phallax readeth the Kinges Letters Pattents, which
must be fayre written in parchment, with some
great counterfeat zeale.
“Loe, heare his wish, that right, not might, beare swaye:
(How so he byds, the ignoraunt to save)
“ Pro. Both swoorde and keies, unto my princes use,
“ I do receyve, and gladlie take my chardge.
for to reforme abuse,
“ To treate of which, a whyle we wyll depart. “ Al. speake. To worke your wyll, we yeelde a willing hart.
“ Exeunt." The reader will find the argument of G. Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, at the end of this play. It was too bulky to be inserted here. See likewise the piece itself among Six old Plays on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing Cross. VENS.
Measure for Measure was, I believe, written in 1603. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare's Plays, vol. ii.
VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
ISABELLA, Sister to Claudio.
Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other
* Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and says nothing. Johnson.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
An Apartment in the Duke's Palace.
Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.
DUKE. Of government the properties to unfold,
Since I am put to know,] May mean, I am compelled to acknowledge. So, in King Henry VI. Part II. Sc. I. :
had I'first been put to speak my mind." Again, in Drayton's Legend of Pierce Gaveston :
My limbs were put to travel day and night." Steevens.
- lists - ] Bounds, limits. Johnson. So, in Othello :
“ Confine yourself within a patient list.” Again, in Hamlet :
“ The ocean, over-peering of his list —." STEEVENS.
And let them work.] To the integrity of this reading Mr. Theobald objects, and says, What was Escalus to put to his sufficiency? why, his science : But his science and sufficiency were but one and the same thing. On what then does the relative them depend? He will have it, then re, that a line has been accidentally dropped, which he attempts to restore thus :
Our city's institutions, and the terms 4
“But that to your sufficiency you add
“ Due diligence, as your worth is able,” &c. Nodum in scirpo quærit. And all for want of knowing, that by sufficiency is meant authority, the power delegated by the Duke to Escalus. The plain meaning of the word being this : Put your skill in governing (says the Duke) to the power which I give you to exercise it, and let them work together." WARBURTON.
Sir Thomas Hanmer having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a line was lost, endeavours to supply it thus :
Then no more remains,
“ A will to serve us, as your worth is able.”
That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other editor, [Rowe,] will amend the fault. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the author wrote thus :
Then no more remains,
“ And let them work."
Then no more remains, “ But that sufficiency, as worth is able,
“ And let them work.” Then no more remains to say, but that your political skill is on a par with your private integrity, and let these joint qualifications exert themselves in the public service.
“But that sufficiency to your worth is abled,” i. e. a power equal to your deserts.
The uncommon redundancy, as well as obscurity, of this verse,
As art and practice hath enriched any
may be considered as evidence of its corruption. Take away the second and third words, and the sense joins well enough with what went before. “ Then (says the Duke) no more remains to say,
“But your sufficiency as your worth is able,
“ And let them work." i. e. “ Your skill in government is, in ability to serve me, equal to the integrity of your heart, and let them co-operate in your future ministry."
The versification requires that either something should be added, or something retrenched. The latter is the easier, as well as the safer task. I join in the ef, ho rever, that a line is lost; and whoever is acquainted with the inaccuracy of the folio, (for of this play there is no other old edition,) will find my opinion justified.
STEEVENS. Some words seem to be lost here, the sense of which, perhaps, may be thus supplied :
Then no more remains,
“ And let them work." TYRWHITT. A phrase similar to that which Mr. Tyrwhitt would supply, occurs in Chapman's version of the sixth Iliad :
enough will is not put “ To thy abilitie.” Steevens. I agree with Warburton in thinking that by sufficiency the Duke means authority, or power; and, if that be admitted, a very slight alteration indeed will restore this passage--the changing the word is into be. It will then run thus, and be clearly intelligible :
Then no more remains, “ But that your own sufficiency, as your worth, be able,
“ And let them work." That is, you are thoroughly acquainted with your duty, so that nothing more is necessary to be done, but to invest you with
power equal to your abilities. M. Mason.
Then no more remains, “ But that to your sufficiency as your
worth is able, “ And let them work.” I have not the smallest doubt that the compositor's eye glanced from the middle of the second of these lines to that under it in the MS. and that by this means two half lines have been omitted. The very same error may be found in Macbeth, edit. 1632 :
- which, being taught, return,