Εικόνες σελίδας
Ηλεκτρ. έκδοση

I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted pot
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit;T
And to be talk'd with in sincerity,

As with a saint.

ISAB. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking


Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth," 'tis thus:

Your brother and his lover' have embrac❜d:

'Tis true:-I would not (though 'tis my familiar sin
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest,"

Tongue far from heart) play with all virgins so:

I hold you, &c.

According to this punctuation, Lucio is made to deliver a sentiment directly opposite to that which the author intended. Though 'tis my common practice to jest with and to deceive all virgins, I would not so play with all virgins.

The sense, as I have regulated my text, appears to me clear and easy. 'Tis very true, (says he,) I ought indeed, as you say, to proceed at once to my story. Be assured, I would not mock you. Though it is my familiar practice to jest with maidens, and, like the lapwing, to deceive them by my insincere prattle, though, I say, it is my ordinary and habitual practice to sport in this manner with all virgins, yet I should never think of treat

ing you so; for I consider you, in consequence of your having

renounced the world, as an immortal spirit, as one to whom I ought to speak with as much sincerity as if I were addressing a Maint. MALONE.


Mr. Malone complains of a contradiction which I cannot find in the speech of Lucio. He has not said that it is his practice to jest with and deceive all virgins. Though (says he) it is my practice with maids to seem the lapwing, I would not play with all virgins so;" meaning that she herself is the exception to his usual practice. Though he has treated other women with levity, he is serious in his address to her. STEEVENS.

• Fewness and truth, &c.] i. e. in few words, and those true ones. In few, is many times thus used by Shakspeare. STEEVENS.

Your brother and his lover-] i. e. his mistress; lover, in our author's time, being applied to the female as well as the

As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time,
That from the seedness the bare fallow brings
To teeming foison; even so her plenteous womb
Expresseth his full tilth and husbandry.

ISAB. Some one with child by him?-My cousin

male sex. Thus, one of his poems, containing the lamentation of a deserted maiden, is entitled, "A Lover's Complaint."

[ocr errors]

So, in Tarleton's Newes out of Purgatory, bl. 1. no date: he spide the fetch, and perceived that all this while this was his lover's husband, to whom he had revealed these escapes." MALONE.

[blocks in formation]

That from the seedness the bare fallow brings

To teeming foison; even so

-] As the sentence now stands,

it is apparently ungrammatical. I read

At blossoming time, &c.

That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blossoming time, at that time through which the seed time proceeds to the harvest, her womb shows what has been doing. Lucio ludicrously calls pregnancy blossoming time, the time when fruit is promised, though not yet ripe. JOHNSON.

Instead of that, we may read--doth; and, instead of brings, bring. Foizon is plenty. So, in The Tempest:

66 nature should bring forth,
"Of its own kind, all foizon," &c.

Teeming foizon, is abundant produce. STEEVens.

The passage seems to me to require no amendment; and the meaning of it is this: "As blossoming time proves the good tillage of the farmer, so the fertility of her womb expresses Claudio's full tilth and husbandry." By blossoming time is meant, the time when the ears of corn are formed.


This sentence, as Dr. Johnson has observed, is apparently ungrammatical. I suspect two half lines have been lost. Perhaps however an imperfect sentence was intended, of which there are many instances in these plays:-or, as might have been used in the sense of le. Tilth is tillage.

So, in our author's 3d Sonnet:

"For who is she so fair, whose unear'd womb

"Disdains the tillage of thy husbandry?" MALONE.

Lucro. Is she your cousin?

ISAB. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their


By vain though apt affection.


ISAB. O, let him marry her!

She it is.

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;

• 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:

"How you were borne in hand," &c.


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.

[ocr errors]

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
To soften Angelo: And that's my pith

Of business 'twixt 4

you and your poor brother.

ISAB. Doth he so seek his life?


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?


Assay the power you have.

ISAB. My power! Alas! I doubt,

[ocr errors]

Unless you have the grace] That is, the acceptableness, the power of gaining favour. So, when she makes her suit, the Provost says:


"Heaven give thee moving graces!" JOHNSON.

my pith

Of business- The inmost part, the main of my message.

So, in Hamlet :

"And enterprizes of great pith and moment.'



* Has censur'd him—] i. e. sentenced him. So, in Othello: 66 -to you, lord governor,

"Remains the censure of this hellish villain.”


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 written -h'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. : "-h'as been told so," for " he has been told so.'



[ocr errors]



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


All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe them."
ISAB. I'll see what I can do.


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.


Good sir, adieu. [Exeunt.

All their petitions are as freely theirs-] All their requests 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 readss-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.

« ΠροηγούμενηΣυνέχεια »