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should be remembered, and in favor of the reading I propose, that the Duke had not yet delegated liis power to Escalus : he was just about to do it, and therefore says :
“No inore remains, “ But that your sufficiency be, as your worth is stable.” " It now only remains, -as your worth, your goodness is fixed and certain, as I have named you for ruler,--that you have the actual power; that you now exercise the princely authority with which I have invested you.” The Duke, a few lines after, gives him that authority, saying: “ There is our commission," &c. B.
Duke. There is a kind of character in thy life,
There is a kind of character in thy life,
That to the observer, &c. Either this introduction has more solemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I cannot discover. What is there peculiar in this, that a man's life informs the observer of his history? Might it be supposed that Shakspeare wrote this?
There is a kind of character in thy look." History may be taken in a more diffuse and licentious meaning, for future occurrences, or the part of life yet to come. If this sense be received, the passage is clear and proper. JOHN.
“ There is a kind of character in thy life,
" Fully unfold." Jobason's objection to “ his life," that unfolds “his history," appears at first to be sufficiently valid: but when particularly examined, it falls to the ground. I consider “ life," as spoken of the outward, and “history" of the inward man. The first will signify manteers, general conduct: the second may stand for disposition of the soul, affections of the heart. For it should ever be borne in mind, that actions alone, though possibly beneficial to a certain exteut, will not always determine for the existence of moral good. ness. This may be instanced in the dissembler, the hypocrite : one who may bring about a temporary and lesser good to others, not only that a real evil may afterwards arise to them, but that a greater advantage may, in consequence, be derived to himself.
But if the above distinction between life and history is not to be admitted, we may read lefe (love.)" There is a character in thy lefe” (thy love, thy loyalty] i. e. “There is such a marked loyalty in thee, that a close observer may fully know thy "history," or what thy conduct in office will be. While in private life, you have at all times deineaned yourself with so much virtue and ability that it is easy to foresee how you will act in future." B.
Duke. But I do bend my speech od sredi To one that can my part in him advertise : 5 Tailored
I do bend my speech, . To one lhat can my part in him advertise. This is obscure. The meaning is, I direct my speech to one who is able to teach me how to govern : my part in him, signifying office, which I have delegated to him. My part in him aloertise; i.e. who knows what appertains to the character of deputy or viceroy. Can advertise my part in him ; that is, his representation of my person. But all these quaintnesses of expression, the Oxford editor seems sworn to extirpale; that is, to take away one of Shakspeare's characteristie marks; which, if not one of the comeliest, is yet one of the strongest. So he alters this to,
“ To one that can, in my part, me advertise." A better expression indeed, but, for all that, none of Shakspeare's, WARB. I know not whether we may not better read,
“ One that can my part to him advertise," One that can inform himself of that which it would be otherwise my part to tell him. Join.
“ But I do bend my speech “ To one that can my part in him advertise." Warburton's explanation comes nearest, I think, to the Poet's meaning. “ Advertise,” however, I here understand, according to its common acceptation of set forth, display, or make known. A trifling change in the order of the words will give somewhat more of clearness to the expression :
“ To one that can, in bim, my part advertise.". « Io him ” [in, or of himself l i. e. “one who can himself, or by, or from his own ability, manifest, plainly show what belongs to the character of Ruler; what, in short, is the duty of a sovereign prince. B.
First in question] That is, first called for ; first appointed. John.
“ Though first in question." I rather think that “ first in question,” means one, who by his age or standing, is perhaps entitled to be first, but whom he has yet named to the second place. B.
Duke. We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honors.
We hade with a leaven'd and prepared choice.] Leaven'd has no sense in this place : we should read,
levell’d choice. The allusion is to archery, when a man'is fixed upon his object, after taking good aim. WARB. · No emendation is necessary. Leaven'd choice is one of Shakspeare's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this. I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is leavened it is left to ferment: a leadened choice is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate, not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled, Joun.
“ We have with a leavened and prepared choice.” It is most likely that the poet wrote levin'd choice, i.e. confidential, a choice confirmed by your worth. Levin in Chaucer, is belief, confidence. B.
Claud. Thus can the demi-god, authority,
Thus cún the demi-god, authority,
On whom it will not, so : yet still 'tis just. The wrong pointing of the second line hath made the passage unintelligible. There ought to be a full stop at weight. And 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 fire 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 specie. WARB.
I suspect that a line is lost. Jous.
Thus can the demi-god authority,
The sword of heuven :-on whom, &c. 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, 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." MAL. .. The words of Heaven." There is no occasion for altering the text to sword of Heaven. By such alteration the passage becomes broken and disjointed, while much of its force is lost. We must read : “ The word's of Heaven," (in reference to authority.) The omission of the word of the genitive, or rather possessive case, singu. lar, in the printed copy, has made ihe whole appear obscure, Claudio had said: “The demi-god authority can make us pay down for our offence by weight.” He pauses, and then goes on: “ The word's of Heaven," i.e. authority belongs to, or proceeds from Heaven: therefore all its actions, (those of authority) must be just." By admitting into the text, the “ word's of Heaven,” the reasoning will become clear and consequential : which, as I have already observed (the present reading words, pl. being out of the question) would be by no means the case in printing sword. It should be remembered too, that princes who have authority or rule, . are styled heaven's vicegerents, the delegates of lieaven, &c. Thus in the language of Scripture: “1 here is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, there. fore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God, and they that resist shall receive to themselves dampation." B.
Claud. Whether it be the fault and glimpse of new
ness. The fault and glimpse of newness.) Fault and glimpse have so little relation to each other, that both can scarcely be right: we may read flash for fault : or, perhaps we may read,
Whether it be the fault or glimpse-That is, whether it be the seeming enormity of the action, or the glare of new authority. Yet the same sense follows in the next lines. John.
“ The fault and glimpse of newness.” “Fault" should, no doubt, be• faust (faustus Lat.) His happy situation, bis fortunate state. “ Climpse of newness," will mean, the consequence just beaming on him, &c. B.
· In her youth There is a prone and speechless dialect, Such as moves men.
--prone and speechless dialect, I can scarcely tell what signification to give to the word prone. Its primitive and translated senses are well known. The author may, by a prone dialect, mean a dialect which men are prone to regard, or a dialect, natural and unforced, as those actions seem to which we are prone. Either of these interpretations are sufficiently strained; but such distortion of words is not uncommon in our author. For the sake of an easier sense, we may read :
---In her youth
Such as moves men.
There is a prompt and speechless dialect. Jonn. Prone, is used here for prompt. So, in our author's Rape of. Luarece, 1594. O that prone lust should stain so pure a bed! Mal.
“Prone and speechless dialect." “ Prone" is very uomeaning. The Poet must have written proue, an old French word, and which signifies “in a sufficient measure, sufficiently powerful," — the particular sense required here. Prone, in the Rape of Lucrece, as instanced by Mr. M. has certainly not the meaning of prompt ; but that of poor, mean, grovelling. The Epithet is highly characteristic of lust. B.
Duke. I have delivered to Lord Angelo (A man of stricture and firm abstinence) My absolute power and place here in Vienna.
A man of stricture and firm abstinence.] Stricture makes no sense in this place. We should read,
A man of strict ure and firm abstinence. i. e. a man of the exactest conduct, and practised in the subdual of his passions. Ure an old word for use, practice : so enur'd, habituated to.
Stricture may easily be used for strictness ; ure is indeed an old word, but I think, always applied to things, never to persons. John.
“A man of stricture.” “Stricture” is the proper word; but Johnson is wholly unconscious of its force : strictness is, indeed, implied in the word; but stricture goes to a great deal more. Stricture is touch, and Sbakspeare applies it personally. “A man of stricture ;” i.e. a man of touch ; a tried man. This is conformable to all that he had before spoken of Angelo. The poet in another place writes :
“ Now my sweet wife, and you my friends of touch.” B.
· Luc. And with full line of his authority,
* With full line." This is somewhat in Mr. Si's style of annotation. See other notes of Johnson of the like kind (passim) and which are not only wholly unworthy of him, but an insult to the reader's understanding. B. wat oor
Isab. O, but man! proud man, (Drest in a little brief authority ; . Most ignorant of what he's most assur'd, His glassy essence) like an angry ape, Plays such fantastic tricks before high heaven, As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens, Would all themselves laugh mortal. ve benin bu "O, but man, proud man,
om “ Drest in a little brief authority; “(Most ignorant of what he's most assurd,
" His glassy essence) like an angry ape," &c. de in This passage
“ Most ignorant of what he's most assurd,
“ His glassy essence," I do not well understand. I would change the order of the lines,