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On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up,
Before his sister should her body stoop
To such abhorr'd pollution.
Then Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die :
More than our brother is our chastity.
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request,
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. (Exit.



SCENE I. A Room in the Prison.

Enter Duke, Claudio, and Provost.
Duke. So, then you hope of pardon from lord

Claud. The miserable have no other medicine,
But only hope:
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die.
Duke. Be absolute for death; either death, or

life, Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with

life, If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing That none but fools would keep: a breath thou art, (Servile to all the skiey influences) That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st, Hourly afflict: merely, thou art death's fool; For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, And yet run'st toward him still: Thou art not noble; For all the accommodations that thou bear'st, Are nurs'd by baseness : Thou art by no means

valiant; For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork Of a poor worm: Thy best of rest is sleep,

s That none but fools would keep:] i. e. care for.

And that thou oft provok’st; yet grossly fear'st
Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thy.

For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains
That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not:
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get;
And what thou hast, forget'st: Thou art not cer-

tain; For thy complexion shifts to strange effects, After the moon: If thou art rich, thou art poor ; For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows, Thou bear’st thy heavy riches but a journey, And death unloads thee: Friend hast thou none; For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire, The mere effusion of thy proper loins, Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum, For ending thee no sooner: Thou hast nor youth,

nor age; But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep, Dreaming on both: for all thy blessed youth Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms Of palsied eld;' and when thou art old, and rich,

6- Thy best of rest is sleep,

And that thou oft provok'st; yet grossly fear'st

Thy death, which is no more.] I cannot without indignation find Shakspeare saying, that death is only sleep, lengthening out his exhortation by a sentence which in the Friar is impious, in the reasoner is foolish, and in the poet trite and vulgar. JOHNSON.

This was an oversight in Shakspeare; for in the second scene of the fourth Act, the Provost speaks of the desperate Barnardine, as one who regards death only as a drunken sleep. STEÉVENS.

I apprehend Shakspeare means to say no more, than that the passage from this life to another is as easy as sleep; a position in which there is surely neither folly nor impiety. MALONE.

7- strange effects,? read affects or affections. 8- serpigo,] The serpigo is a kind of tetter,

I- palsied eld;] Eld is here put for old people. Shakspeare declares that man has neither youth nor age ; for in youth, which is the happiest time, or which might be the happiest, he commonly wants means to obtain what he could enjoy; he is depen

Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,
To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this,
That bears the name of life? Yet in this life
Lie hid more thousand deaths : yet death we fear,
That makes these odds all even.

I humbly thank you.
To sue to live, I find, I seek to die;
And, seeking death, find life: Let it come on.


Isab. What, ho! Peace here; grace and good

company! Prov. Who's there? come in : the wish deserves ... a welcome. Duke. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again. Claud. Most holy sir, I thank you. Isab. My business is a word or two with Claudio. Prov. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's

your sister. Duke. Provost, a word with you. Prov.

As many as you please. Duke. Bring them to speak, where I may be

conceal’d. Yet hear them. Exeunt Duke and Provost.

Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort? Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good in

deed :: Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,

dent on palsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of hoary avarice; and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as aged, looks, like an old man, on happiness which is beyond his reach. And, when he is old and rich, when he has wealth enough for the purchase of all that formerly excited his desires, he has no longer ihe powers of enjoyment.

- has neither heat, affection, limi, nor beauty,
To make his riches pleasant.-'

most good in deed:] i. e. truly.

Intends you for his swift embassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger:
Therefore your best appointment make with speed;
To-morrow you set on

Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as, to save a head,
To cleave a heart in twain.

But is there any?
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live;
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.

Perpetual durance? .
Isab. Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint,
Though all the world's vastidity you had,
To a determin'd scope.

But in what nature? Isab. In such a one as (you consenting to't) Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear, And leave you naked.

Claud. . Let me know the point.

Isab. O, I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake, Lest thou a feverous life should'st entertain, And six or seven winters more respect Than a perpetual honour. Dar’st thou die? The sense of death is most in apprehension; And the poor beetle, that we tread upon, In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great . As when a giant dies. Claud.

Why give you me this shame? an everlasting leiger : Therefore your best appointmentą] Leiger is the same with resident. Appointment ; preparation; act of fitting, or state of being fitted for any thing. 3- a restraint

To a determin'd scope.] A confinement of your mind to one painful idea ; to ignominy, of which the remembrance can neither be suppressed nor escaped. JOHNSON.

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