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1 GENT. How now? Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica ?
BAWD. Well, well; there's one yonder arrested, and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of you all.
1 GENT. Who's that, I pray thee?
BAWD. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 1 GENT. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.
BAWD. Nay, but I know, 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him carried away: and, which is more, within these three days his head's to be chopped off.
LUCIO. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so: Art thou sure of this?
BAWD. I am too sure of it: and it is for getting madam Julietta with child.
LUCIO. Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours since; and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.
2 GENT. Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we had to such a purpose.
1 GENT. But most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.
LUCIO. Away; let's go learn the truth of it. [Exeunt Lucio and Gentlemen. BAWD. Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat, what with the gallows, and what with po
what with the SWEAT,] This may allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of Shakspeare [see Dr. Freind's History of Physick, vol. ii. p. 335,] but more probably to the method of cure then used for the diseases contracted in brothels. JOHNSON.
So, in the comedy of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600:
"You are very moist, sir: did you sweat all this, I pray?
You have not the disease, I hope." STEEVENS.
verty, I am custom-shrunk. How now? what's the news with you?
CLO. Yonder man is carried to prison.
BAWD. Well; what has he done?
CLO. A woman ".
BAWD. But what's his offence ?
CLO. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river o. BAWD. What, is there a maid with child by him?
CLO. No; but there's a woman with maid by him: You have not heard of the proclamation, have you?
BAWD. What proclamation, man?
CLO. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be pluck'd down.
5 what has he DONE?
Clo. A woman.] The ancient meaning of the verb to do, (though now obsolete,) may be guess'd at from the following passages:
"Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother.
"Aaron. Villain, I've done thy mother." Titus Andronicus. Again, in Ovid's Elegies, translated by Marlowe, printed at Middlebourg, no date :
"The strumpet with the stranger will not do,
Again, in The Maid's Tragedy, Act II. Evadne, while undressing, says,
"I am soon undone.”
Dula answers, "And as soon done."
Hence the name of Over-done, which Shakspeare has appropriated to his bawd. COLLINS.
in a PECULIAR river.] i. e. a river belonging to an individual; not public property. MALone.
7 ALL houses in the suburbs -] This is surely too general an expression, unless we suppose, that all the houses in the suburbs were bawdy-houses. It appears too, from what the Bawd says below, "But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled down?" that the Clown had been particular in his description of
BAWQ. And what shall become of those in the city?
CLO. They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. BAWD. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down3 ?
CLO. To the ground, mistress.
BAWD. Why, here's a change, indeed, in the commonwealth! What shall become of me? CLO. Come; fear not you: good counsellors lack no clients: though you change your place, you need not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. Courage; there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.
BAWD. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster?? Let's withdraw.
the houses which were to be pulled down. I am therefore inclined to believe that we should read here, all bawdy-houses, or all houses of resort in the suburbs. TYRWHITT.
8 But shall all our houses of resort in the SUBURBS be pull'd down?] This will be understood from the Scotch law of James's time, concerning huires (whores): "that comoun women be put at the utmost endes of townes, queire least perril of fire is." Hence Ursula the pig-woman, in Bartholomew-Fair: "I, I, gamesters, mock a plain, plump, soft wench of the suburbs, do!" FARMER.
So, in The Malcontent, 1604, when Altofront dismisses the various characters at the end of the play to different destinations, he says to Macquerelle the bawd:
thou unto the suburbs."
Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:
"Some fourteen bawds; he kept her in the suburbs."
See Martial, where summæniana and suburbana are applied to prostitutes. STEEVENS.
The licensed houses of resort at Vienna are at this time all in the suburbs, under the permission of the Committee of Chastity. S. W.
9 Thomas Tapster?] Why does she call the clown by this name, when it appears from his own showing that his name was Pompey? Perhaps she is only quoting some old saying, or ballad. DoucE.
CLO. Here comes signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison: and there's madam Juliet.
Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; Lucio, and two Gentlemen.
CLAUD. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?
Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
But from lord Angelo by special charge.
CLAUD. Thus can the demi-god, Authority, Make us pay down for our offence by weight.The words of heaven;-on whom it will, it will; On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just'.
Names were, and still are, applied to different occupations, such as Tom Tapster, Tom Toss-pot, &c. BOSWELL.
1 Thus can the demi-god, Authority,
Make us pay down for our offence by weight.
The words of heaven ;-on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.] The sense of the whole is this: "The demi-god, Authority, makes us pay the full penalty of our offence, and its decrees are as little to be questioned as the words of heaven, which pronounces its pleasure thus, -I punish and remit punishment according to my own uncontroulable will; and yet who can say, what dost thou ?"-" Make us pay down for our offence by weight," is a fine expression to signify paying the full penalty. The metaphor is taken from paying money by weight, which is always exact; not so by tale, on account of the practice of diminishing the species. WARBURTON. I suspect that a line is lost. JOHNSON.
It may be read,-the sword of heaven.
"Thus can the demi-god, Authority,
"Make us pay down for our offence, by weight;-
LUCIO. Why, how now, Claudio? whence comes this restraint?
CLAUD. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty:
As surfeit is the father of much fast,
Authority is then poetically called the sword of heaven, which will spare or punish, as it is commanded. The alteration is slight, being made only by taking a single letter from the end of the word, and placing it at the beginning.
This very ingenious and elegant emendation was suggested to me by the Rev. Dr. Roberts, Provost of Eton; and it may be countenanced by the following passage in The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594:
"In brief, they are the swords of heaven to punish."
Sir W. D'Avenant, who incorporated this play of Shakspeare with Much Ado About Nothing, and formed out of them a tragicomedy called The Law Against Lovers, omits the two last lines of this speech; I suppose, on account of their seeming obscurity. STEEVENS.
The very ingenious emendation proposed by Dr. Roberts, is yet more strongly supported by another passage in the play before us, where this phrase occurs (Act III. Sc. last):
"He who the sword of heaven will bear, "Should be as holy, as severe." Yet I believe the old copy is right. MALONE.
Notwithstanding Dr. Roberts's ingenious conjecture, the text is certainly right. Authority, being absolute in Angelo, is finely stiled by Claudio, the demi-god. To this uncontroulable power, the poet applies a passage from St. Paul to the Romans, ch. ix. v. 15, 18, which he properly styles, the words of heaven: "for he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," &c. And again : "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy," &c. HENLEY.
(Like rats that RAVIN down their proper bane,)] To ravin was formerly used for eagerly or voraciously devouring any thing. So, in Wilson's Epistle to the Earl of Leicester, prefixed to his Discourse upon Usurye, 1572: "For these bee the greedie cormoraunte wolfes indeed, that ravyn up both beaste and man." REED. Again, in the Dedication to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 43: