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No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge,
Lucio. (Aside.] Ay, touch him : there's the vein.
Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law,
0! think on that ;
Be you content, fair maid :
Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him,
He's not prepar'd for death. Even for our kitchens
many have committed it. Lucio.
[Aside.] Ay, well said. Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath
slept : 6 Those many had not dar'd to do that evil,
4“ You will then be as tender-hearted and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence."
6 T'hat is, when in season.
6 « Dormiunt aliquando leges, moriuntur nunquam," is a maxim of our lan.
If the first that did the edict infringe
Yet show some pity
[Aside.] That's well said.
! Dress'd in a little brief authority,
* This alludes to the deceptions of the fortune-tellers, who pretended to see future events in a beryl, or crystal glass.
8 One of Judge Hale's Memorials is of the same tendency " When I find myself swayed to mercy, let ine remember thai there is a mercy likewise due to the country.” 9 Pelting for paltry.
10 Gnarled, knotted.
Most ignorant of what he's most assur’d,
Prov. [Aside.] Pray Heaven, she win him! Isab. We cannot weigh our brother with your
self : Great men may jest with saints: 'tis wit in them; But in the less foul profanation. Lucio. [To ISAB. Thou’rt in the right, girl :
more o' that. Isab. That in the captain's but a choleric word, Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy.
Lucio. [Aside.] Art advis’d o’that? more on't. Ang. Why do you put these sayings upon me?
Isab. Because authority, though it err like others, Hath yet a kind of medicine in itself, That skins the vice o' the top: 13 Go to your bosom; Knock there, and ask your heart what it doth know That’s like my brother's fault: if it confess A natural guiltiness, such as is his, Let it not sound a thought upon your tongue Against my brother's life.
Ang. [Aside.] She speaks, and 'tis 11 That is, his brittle, fragile being.
12 The notion of angels weeping for the sins of n.en is rabbin. ical. By pleens Shakespeare meant that peculiar turn of the human mind, which always inclines it to a spiteful and unseasonable mirth. Had the angels that, they would laugh themselves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion unworthy of that prerogative.
13 Shakespeare has used this indelicate metaphor again in Hamlet : “ It will but skin and film the ulcerous place.”
my sense breeds with it.14 [To her.] Fare you well. Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back. Ang. I will brthink me: Come again to-mor
Isab. Hark, how I'll bribe you: Good my lord,
turn back. Ang. How! bribe me? Isab. Ay, with such gifts, that Heaven shall share
Lucio. [Aside.] You had marr'd all else.
Isab. Not with fond shekels of the tested gold, Or stones, whose rates are either rich or poor As fancy values them: but with true prayers, That shall be up at heaven, and enter there, Ere sunrise ; prayers from preserved souls, From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate To nothing temporal. Ang.
Well : come to me
Lucio. [Aside to ISAB.] Go to; it is well : away.
[Aside.] Amen ;
At what hour to-morrow Shall I attend your lordship?
14 That is, such sense as breeds a response in his inind. Ma. lone thought that sense bere meant sensual desire.
15 Isabella prays that his honour may be safe, meaning cnly to give him his title : his mind is caught by the word honour, he feels that it is in danger, and therefore says amen to her benediction.
16 The petition of the Lord's Prayer, “ Lead us not into lemptation," is here considered as crossing or intercepting the way in which Angelo was going : he was exposing himself to lemptation by the appointment for the morrow's meeting.
At any time 'fore uoon. Isab. Save
[Exeunt Lucio, ISABELLA, and Provost. Ang.
From thee; even from thy virtue ! What's this? what's this? Is this her fault, or mine? The tempter, or the tempted, who sins most? Ha! Not she; nor doth she tempt: but it is 1, That, lying by the violet in the sun, Do, as the carrion does, not as the flower, Corrupt with virtuous season. Can it be, That modesty may more betray our sense Than woman's lightness ? Having waste ground
enough, Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary, And pitch our evils there?"? O, fie, fie, fie ! What dost thou, or what art thou, Angelo ? Dost thou desire her foully, for those things That make her good ? O, let her brother live! Thieves for their robbery have authority, When judges steal themselves. What ! do I love her, That I desire to hear her speak again, And feast upon her eyes ? What is't I dream on? 0! cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint, With saints dost bait thy hook! Most dangerous Is that temptation, that doth goad us on To sin in loving virtue: Never could the strumpet, With all her double vigour, art and nature, Once stir my temper; but this virtuous maid Subdues me quite. — Ever, When men were fond, I smil'd, and wonder'd how!
17 No language could more forcibly express the aggravated profligacy of Angelo's passion, which the purity of Isabella buu served the more to inflame. The desecration of edifices devoted to religion, by converting them to the most abject purposes of nature, was an castern method of expressivg contempt. See" Kings x. 27.