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My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
Fri. Gladly, my lord.
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
goes not out to prey: now, as fond fathers,
It rested in your grace
I do fear, too dreadful :
6 (The needful bits and curbs to headstrong stEEDS,)] " Steeds " is weeds in all the folios, but weeds is amended to “steeds" in the corr. fo. 1632. In the next line it properly alters slip of the folios to “sleep ;' and in “ The Two Gentlemen of Verona" (this Vol. p. 132) we have seen the word “sleep” and its mispronunciation slip played upon for the purpose of a joke. Here, of course, the error was unintentional on the part of the old printer, and not only does the simile which immediately follows it correct the blunder, but Angelo himself, in the next act, says that the law " bath slept."
7 For TERROR,] The second folio reads, “for error;" but the mistake is remedied by the old corrector, and the whole passage is made to run as in our text, the ordinary lection having been this:-
“For terror, not to use, in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd than fear'd; so our decrees,
Dead to infliction,” &c. Becomes was added by Pope. In Mr. Singer's copy of the second folio rod is altered to “rods,” as in our corr. fo. 1632; but it has not the words “most just" before “ decrees,” necessary for the measure, and which we venture to accept, on the same authority, as having been accidentally omitted in the press.
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my father,
power change purpose, what our seemers be. [Exeunt.
Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.
Isab. And have you nuns no farther privileges ?
Isab. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more,
Lucio. [Within.] Ho! Peace be in this place!
Who's that which calls ?
8 And yet my nature never in the sight,
TO DRAW on slander.] i. e. He should never be seen in the execution of the old law, in order that be might avoid the slander of undue severity. In the folios
sight” was misprinted fight, and “draw on ” do in. “Sight" was Hanmer's alteration, and adding to it “ draw on as the words appear in the corr. fo. 1632, the whole obscurity of the passage, which has caused much doubt, and dispute, seems removed.
9 How I may formally in person bear ME] The pronoun me” is in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632, and is necessary, unless we suppose that the words were originally, as Pope supposed,
“ How I may formally my person bear
Like a true friar." Mr. Singer adopts me from our Vol. of “Notes and Emendations," p. 44, or from Malone; but is silent upon the subject, so that it looks, on his part, like an unauthorized interpolation.
Fran. It is a man's voice. Gentle Isabella,
not; you are yet unsworn.
Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls ?
Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be, as those cheek-roses
Isab. Why her unhappy brother ? let me ask,
know I am that Isabella, and his sister.
Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets you. Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.
Isab. Woe me! for what?
Lucio. For that, which, if myself might be his judge,
Isab. Sir, make me not your scorn'.
I would not, though 'tis my familiar sin
Sir, make me not your scorn.] So the corr. fo. 1632, but the word in all the old copies is story, and so it remained until the time of Davenant, who altered storie to “scorn,” or scorne, as it was then written and printed with a final e. But although
is unquestionably the genuine text, there is a passage in Fletcher's “ Lover's Progress,” A. ii. sc. 1 (edit. Dyce, xi. p. 47), where story is used in a very similar manner : Clarangè has been praising Lydian, and Lysander observes, “ You're a fair story of your friend.” How could the Rev. Mr. Dyce consent, in a later part of that play, A. v. sc. 1, to print "prefer” for preserve, clearly the proper word, and pointed out to him even by the editors of 1750 ? “Prefer” was anciently spelt preferre; and recollecting how often the long s and f were confounded, the mistake was as easy as it is evident. In “ Henry VI., Part I.” (Vol. iii. pp. 686. 689), we retained prefer in our text, because it might be doubted whether the poet did not use that word, and not preserve, recom mended by the corr. fo. 1632; but how could any doubt of the kind exist in regard to such a passage as the following ?
“ The principal means appointed to preserve
Societies and kingdoms." Mr. Dyce allows prefer to usurp the place of “preserve,” just as if societies and kingdoms were to be preferred, not “preserved."
With maids to seem the lapwing !, and to jest,
Isab. You do blaspheme the good in mocking me.
Lucio. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 'tis thus: Your brother and his lover have embrac’d: As those that feed grow full; as blossoming time, That from the seeding 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 Juliet ?
Isab. Adoptedly; as school-maids change their names
She it is.
This is the point.
2 With maids to seem the lapwing,] An allusion to the proverb (also referred to in “Much Ado about Nothing," A. iii. sc. I, “ The Comedy of Errors,” A. iv. sc. 2, “ Hamlet,” A. v. sc. 2, &c.), that the lapwing cries loudest when at the greatest distance from her nest, in order to mislead. 3 That from the SEEDING the bare fallow brings
To teeming FUTSON,] Seeding,” according to the corr. fo. 1632, is misprinted seedness in the folios. “Foison ” is plenty, abundance, and figuratively autumn: see Vol. v. p. 414. The opposite of “foison” is geason.
+ The duke, who's very strangely gone from bence,] So the corr. fo. 1632 instead of “ The duke is,” &c., which can hardly be right, since it leaves the verb “ bore,” in the next line, without a nominative. Four lines lower, for “ giving out” of the old copies we are told, on the same authority, to read “givings out,” as governing the plural verb “were" in the same line. Mr. Singer prints “ His givings out were,” &c., but does not state how the change was warranted.
With profits of the mind, study and fast.
Isab. Doth he so seek his life?
Has censur'd him 5
Isab. Alas! what poor ability's in me
Assay the power you have.
Our doubts are traitors,
Isab. I'll see what I can do.
Good sir, adieu. [Exeunt.
5 Has censur'd him] i. e. Sentenced him, pronounced judgment upon him : this use of the verb to “ censure was so common, that it is needless to cite examples : see also p. 281. In the same way the substantive“
sometimes meant judgment, but oftener opinion.
o As they themselves would owe them.] Here, as in innumerable other places, to “owe” means to own. The meaning of the passage seems to be, that their petitions are granted as freely, as if they themselves had to comply with them.