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O, Isabel! will you not lend a knee?
Most bounteous sir,
Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd,
His act did not o'ertake his bad intent ;9
That perish'd by the way:1 thoughts are no subjects;
8 Till he did look on me;] The Duke has justly observed, that Isabel is importuned against all sense to solicit for Angelo, yet here against all sense she solicits for him. Her argument is extraordinary:
A due sincerity govern'd his deeds
Till he did look on me: since it is so,
Let him not die.
That Angelo had committed all the crimes charged against him as far as he could commit them is evident. The only intent which bis act did not overtake, was the defilement of Isabel. Of this Angelo was only intentionally guilty.
Angelo's crimes were such, as must sufficiently justify punishment, whether its end be to secure the innocent from wrong, or to deter guilt by example; and I believe every reader feels some indignation when he finds him spared. From what extenuation of his crime, can Isabel, who yet supposes her brother dead, form any plea in his favour? Since he was good till he looked on me, let him not die. I am afraid our varlet poet intended to inculcate, that women think ill of nothing that raises the credit of their beauty, and are ready, however virtuous, to pardon any act which they think incited by their own charms. Johnson.
It is evident that Isabella condescends to Mariana's importunate solicitation with great reluctance. Bad as her argument might be, it is the best that the guilt of Angelo would admit. The sacrifice that she makes of her revenge to her friendship, scarcely merits to be considered in so harsh a light. Ritson. 9 His act did not o'ertake his bad intent ;] So, in Macbeth "The flighty purpose never is o'ertook,
"Unless the deed go with it." Steevens.
buried but as an intent
That perish'd by the way :] i. e. like the traveller, who dies, on his journey, is obscurely interred, and thought of no more: Illum expirantem
Obliti ignoto camporum in pulvere linquunt. Steevens,
Intents but merely thoughts.
Merely, my lord.
Duke. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say.-I have bethought me of another fault :Provost, how came it, Claudio was beheaded At an unusual hour?
It was commanded so.
His name is Barnardine. Duke. I would thou hasd'st done so by Claudio.Go, fetch him hither; let me look upon him.
[Exit Prov. Escal. I am sorry, one so learned and so wise As you, lord Angelo, have still appear'd, Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood, And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.
Ang. I am sorry, that such sorrow I procure:
Re-enter Provost, BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO, and
Duke. Which is that Barnardine?
This, my lord.
Duke. There was a friar told me of this man:Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul,
That apprehends no further than this world,
And squar'st thy life according. Thou'rt condemn'd;
after more advice:] i. e. after more mature conside
So, in Titus Andronicus:
"The Greeks, upon advice did bury Ajax." Steevens.
But, for those earthly faults,3 I quit them all;
Prov. This is another prisoner, that I sav'd, That should have died when Claudio lost his head; As like almost to Claudio, as himself.
[Unmuffles CLAUD. Duke. If he be like your brother, [to IsAB.] for
Is he pardon'd; And, for your lovely sake,
Look that you love your wife; her worth, worth yours.7
I find an apt remission in myself:
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon;8
You, sirrah, [to LUCIO] that knew me for a fool, a coward,
3 for those earthly faults,] Thy faults, so far as they are punishable on earth, so far as they are cognisable by temporal power, I forgive. Johnson.
4 -perceives he's safe;] It is somewhat strange that Isabel is not made to express either gratitude, wonder, or joy, at the sight of her brother. Johnson.
5 • your evil quits you well:] Quits you, recompenses, requites you. Johnson.
6 Look, that you love your wife;] So, in Promos, &c.
"Be loving to good Cassandra, thy wife." Steevens. her worth, worth yours.] Sir T. Hanmer reads, Her worth works yours.
This reading is adopted by Dr. Warburton, but for what reason! How does her worth work Angelo's worth? it has only contributed to work his pardon. The words are, as they are too frequently, an affected gingle; but the sense is plain. Her worth, worth yours; that is, her value is equal to your value, the match is not unworthy of you. Johnson.
bere's one in place I cannot pardon,] The Duke only means to frighten Lucio, whose final sentence is to marry the woman whom he had wronged, on which all his other punishments are remitted. Steevens.
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman;
Lucio. 'Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the trick: If you will hang me for it, you may, but I had rather it would please you, I might be whip'd. Duke. Whip'd first, sir, and hang'd after.Proclaim it, Provost, round about the city; If any woman's wrong'd by this lewd fellow, (As I have heard him swear himself, there's one Whom he begot with child,) let her appear, And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd, Let him be whip'd and hang'd.
Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore! Your highness said even now, I made you a duke; good my lord, do not recompense me, in making me a cuckold.
Duke. Upon mine honour thou shalt marry her. Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal
Remit thy other forfeits :2-Take him to prison:
9 One all of luxury,] Luxury means incontinence. So, in King
"To 't, luxury, pellmell, for I lack soldiers." Steevens. 1 according to the trick:] To my custom, my habitual practice. Johnson.
Lucio does not say my trick but the trick; nor does he mean to excuse himself by saying that he spoke according to his usual practice, for that would be an aggravation to his guilt, but according to the trick and practice of the times. It was probably then the practice, as it is at this day, for the dissipated and profligate, to ridicule and slander persons in high station, or of superior virtue. M. Mason.
According to the trick, is, according to the fashion of thoughtless youth. So, in Love's Labour's Lost: " - yet I have a trick of the old rage." Again, in a collection of epigrams, entitled Wit's Bedlam, printed about the year 1615:
"Carnus calls lechery a trick of youth;
"So he grows old; but this trick hurts his growth." Malone.
thy other forfeits:] Thy other punishments. Johnson. To forfeit anciently signified to commit a carnal offence. So, in The History of Helyas, Knight of the Swanne, b. 1. no date: "to affirme by an untrue knight, that the noble queen Beatrice had forfated with a dogge." Again, in the 12th Pageant of the Coventry Collection of Mysteries, the Virgin Mary tells Joseph:
And see our pleasure herein executed.
Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.
Duke. Sland'ring a prince deserves it.—
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.-
I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue.-
"I dede nevyr forfete with man I wys.” MS. Cott. Vesp. D. viii. Steevens.
3 Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness:] I have always thought that there is great confusion in this concluding speech. If my criticism would not be censured as too licentious, I should regulate it thus:
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness,
We shall employ thee in a worthier place.
Duke. There's more behind
That is more gratulate. Dear Isabel,
that is more gratulate.] i. e. to be more rejoiced in; meaning, I suppose, that there is another world, where he will find yet greater reason to rejoice in consequence of his upright ministry. Escalus is represented as an ancient nobleman, who, in conjunction with Angelo, had reached the highest office of the state. He therefore could not be sufficiently rewarded here; but is necessarily referred to a future and more exalted recompense. Steevens.
I cannot approve of Steevens's explanation of this passage, which is very far-fetched indeed. The Duke gives Escalus thanks for his much goodness, but tells him that he had some other reward in store for him more acceptable than thanks; which agrees with what he said before, in the beginning of this
"Such goodness of your justice, that our soul
Heywood also in his Apology for Actors, 1612, uses to gratulate, in the sense of to reward. "I could not chuse but gratulate your honest endeavours with this remembrance." Malone.
Mr. M. Mason's explanation may be right; but he forgets that the speech he brings in support of it, was delivered before