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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,8
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;
And follows close the rigour of the statute,
To make him an example : all hope is gone,

have the grace by your


To soften Angelo : And that's my pith
Of business 'twixt you and your poor brother.

Isab. Doth he so seek his life ?

Has censur'd' him


*8 « To bear in hand,” says Richardson, « is merely to carry along with us, to lead along, as suitors, dependants, expectants, believers.” The phrase is not uncommon in old writers. Thus, in 2 Henry IV. Act i. sc. 2: “A rascally yea-forsooth knave' to bear a gentleman in hand, and then stand upon security!” H.

7 To rebate is to beat back; hence, applied to any thing starp, it is to make dull.

8 That is, to put the restraint of fear upon licentious custom and abused freedom.

9 To censure is to judge, to pass sentence. We liave it again in the next scene :

“ When I that censure him do so offend,

Let mine own judgment pattern out my death."


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.

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 kneel,
All their petitions are as freely theirs
As they themselves would owe

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.


10 them.


SCENE I. A Hall in ANGELO's House.

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost, Officers,

and other Attendants. Ang. We must not make a scare-crow of the law, Setting it up to fear' the birds of prey,

11 That is, the abbess

10 To owe is to have, to possess.

To fear is to affright.


And let it keep one shape, till custom make it
Their perch, and not their terror.

Ay, but yet
Let us be keen, and rather cut a little,
Than fall, and bruise to death: Alas! this gen-

tleman, Whom I would save, had a most noble father. Let but your honour know, (Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,) That, in the working of your own affections, llad time coher'd with place, or place with wishing, Or that the resolute acting of your

blood Could have attain'd the effect of your own purpose, Whether

had not sometime in


life Err'd in this point where now you censure him, And pull’d the law upon you.

Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life,
May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two
Guiltier than him they try: What's open

made To justice, that justice seizes. What know the laws, That thieves do pass * on thieves ?

'Tis very preg. nant, The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it, Because we see it; but what we do not see, We tread upon, and never think of it. You may not so extenuate his offence, For I have had such faults; but rather tell me,

? That is, throw down ; to fall a tree is still used for to fell it.

3 To complete the sense of this line for seems to be required, " which now you censure him for.But Shakespeare frequently uses elliptical expressions.

4 An old forensic term, signifying to pass judgment, or sentence.

6 Full of force or conviction, or full of proof in itself. So, in Othello, Act ii. sc. 1: “ As it is a most pregnant and unforc'a p wition.”

& That is, because.


When I, that censure him, do so offend,
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.

Escal. Be it as your wisdom will.

Where is the provost ?
Prov. Here, if it like your honour.

See that Claudio Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd; For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

[Exit Provost. Escal. Well, Heaven forgive him ; and forgive

us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall :
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none;
And some condemned for a fault alone.


? The original here reads, - Some run from brakes of ice;" which Mr. Collier retains, silently changing brakes into breaks. It can hardly be denied that this reading yields very good sense ; the image of course being that of men making good their escape, even when the ice is breaking under them. But brakes and ice do not quite cohere; and it seems as proper to change ice into vice, as brakes into breaks ; and, as the former accords better with the rest of the passage, we venture to accept it. It was first made by Rowe. But there is a further question, whether brake, allowing that to be the right word, here means an engine of war or torture, or a snare, or a bramble; the word being used in all these

For the first, thus in Holland's Pliny: “ Among engines of artillery, the Cretes invented the scorpion or crossebow; the Syrians, the catapult ; the Phenicians, the balist or brake, and the sling;” and in Palsgrave: “I brake on a brake or payne bauke, as men do mysdoers to confesse the trouthe.” For the second, it occurs in Skelton's Ellinour Rummin : “ It was a stale to take the devil in a brake ;and in another old play : “ Her I'll make a stale to catch this courtier in a brake.For the third, it is found in Henry VIII. Act i. sc. 2: “ 'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake that virtue must go through ; " and Ben Jonson has,

Look at the false and cunning man, crush'd in the snaky brakes that he had past.” Which of these senses the word bears in the text, we must leave the reader to decide for himself. Mr. D. e thinks that brakes is here used for instruments or engines of

Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, Officers, fc. Elb. Come, bring them away : If these be good people in a commonweal, that do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away.

Ang. How now, sir! What's your name ? and what's the matter ?

Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor Duke's constable, and my name is Elbow: I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors.

Ang. Benefactors ! Well; what benefactors are they ? are they not malefactors ?

Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have.

Escal. This comes off well:8 here's a wise officer.

Ang. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow

Clo. He cannot, sir : he's out at elbow.
Ang. What are you, sir ?

Elb. He, sir ? a tapster, sir ; parcel-bawd ; one that serves a bad woman, whose house, sir, was, as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too.


punishment, from which some men escape, and answer no ques.

But the more common notion is, that in this place the word means brambles, thickets, or thorny entanglements of vice, which some rush into, and, when pursued, run away from uncaught, while others have to suffer for a single act of vice.

8 That is, this is well told. The meaning of the phrase, when seriously applied to speech, is, “ This is well delivered, this story is well told.” But in the present instance it is used ironically.

• That is, professes, or pretends, to keep a hot-house. Hot


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