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There is another comfort than this world,
By mine honesty, If she be mad, (as I believe no other,) Her madness hath the oddest frame of sense, Such a dependency of thing on thing, As e'er I heard in madness'.
6 — as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,] As shy; as reserved, as abstracted : as just ; as nice, as exact : as absolute ; as complete in all the round of duty. Johnson.
7 In all his DRESSINGS, &c.] In all his semblance of virtue, in all his habiliments of office. Johnson
8 — characts,] i, e. characters. See Dugdale, Orig. Jurid. p. 81: “ That he use ne hide, no charme, ne carecle."
TYRWHITT. So, in Gower, De Confessione Amantis, b. i.:
“ With his carrecte would him enchaunt.” Again, b. v. folio 103 :
“And read his carecte in the wise." Again, b. vi. fol. 140 :
“ Through his carectes and figures.” Again :
“And his carecte as he was taught,
“ He rad,” &c. Steevens. Charact signifies an inscription. The stat. 1 Edward VI. c. 2, directed the seals of office of every bishop to have “ certain characts under the king's arms, for the knowledge of the diocese.” Characters are the letters in which the inscription is written. Charactery is the materials of which characters are composed. 6. Fairies use flowers for their charactery."
Merry Wives of Windsor. BLACKSTONE. Isab.
O, gracious duke, Harp not on that; nor do not banish reason For inequality': but let your reason serve To make the truth appear, where it seems hid; And hide the false, seems true?. DUKE..
Many that are not mad, Have, sure, more lack of reason.What would you
That's I, an't like your grace :
• As e’er I heard, &c.] I suppose Shakspeare wrote:
“ As ne'er I heard in madness.” MALONE. 1-do not banish REASON
For INEQUALITY :) Let not the high quality of my adversary prejudice you against me. Johnson.
Inequality appears to me to mean, in this place, apparent inconsistency; and to have no reference to the high rank of Angelo, as Johnson supposes. M. Mason.
I imagine the meaning rather is-Do not suppose I am mad, because I speak passionately and unequally. Malone.
2 AND HIDE the false, seems true.] And for ever hide, i. e. plunge into eternal darkness, the false one, i. e. Angelo, who now seems honest. Many other words would have expressed our poet's meaning better than hide ; but he seems to have chosen it merely for the sake of opposition to the preceding line. Mr. Theobald unnecessarily reads-Not hide the false, —which has been followed by the subsequent editors. MALONE.
I do not profess to understand these words ; nor can I perceive how the meaning suggested by Mr. Malone is to be deduced from them. STEEVENS. I agree with Theobald in reading
“ Not hide the false seems true" which requires no esplanation. I cannot conceive how the word hide, can mean to®“ plunge into eternal darkness," as Mr. Malone supposes. M. Mason.
I would read And hid, the false seems true, i. e. the truth being hid, not discovered or made known, what is false seems true. Phelps.
I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her
That's he, indeed.
No, my good lord ; Nor wish'd to hold my peace. Duke.
I wish you now then;
Lucio. I warrant your honour.
it. ISAB. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. Lucro. Right.
DUKE. It may be right; but you are in the wrong To speak before your time.-Proceed. Isab.
DUKE. That's somewhat madly spoken.
Isab. In brief, ---- to set the needless process by, How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneeld, How he refell’d me', and how I reply'd ;
• 2 The phrase is to the matter.] Suited to the matter; as in Hamlet, “the phrase would be more german to the matter."
Malone 3 How he REFELL'd me,] To refel is to refute.
kefellere et coarguere mendacium. Cicero pro Ligaro. Ben Jonson uses the word :
“ Friends not to refel you,
“ Or any way quell you." Again, in The Second Part of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601 :
“ Therefore go on, young Bruce, proceed, refell
“ The allegation." Again, in Chapman's version of the ninth lliad :
(For this was of much length,) the vile conclusion
This is most likely!
not what thou speak'st;
“ as thou then didst refell
“ My valour," &c. The modern editors changed the word to repel. STEEVENS.
4 To his CONCUPISCIBLE, &c.] Such is the old reading. The modern editors unauthoritatively substitute concupiscent.
STEEVENS. 5 My sisterly REMORSE – ] i. e. pity. So, in King Richard III.:
" And gentle, kind, effeminate remorse." STEEVENS. 6 His purpose SURFEITING,] Thus the old copy. We might read forfeiting, but the former word is too much in the manner of Shakspeare to be rejected. So, in Othello :
“— my hopes not surfeited to death.” Steevens. 70, that it were as like, as it is true!] Like is not here used for probable, but for seemly. She catches at the Duke's word, and turns it into another sense ; of which there are a great many examples in Shakspeare, and the writers of that time.
WARBURTON. I do not see why like may not stand here for probable, or why the lady should not wish, that since her tale is true, it may ob. tain belief. If Dr. Warburton's explication be right, we should read:
“O! that it were as likely, as 'tis true!” Likely I have never found for seemly. Johnson.
Though I concur in Dr. Johnson's explanation, I cannot help observing, that likely is used by Shakspeare himself for seemly. So, in King Henry IV. Part II. Act III. Sc. II. : “ Sir John, they are your likeliest men.” STEEVENS.
The meaning, I think, is : 'Othat it had as much of the likeness, or appearance, as it has of the reality, of truth!' Malone.
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour,
son, ', Ini! ; .,' ; '.
on; . i Confess the truth, and say by whose advice Thou cam'st here to complain.
And is this all ? Then, oh, you blessed ministers above, Keep me in patience; and, with ripend time, Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up In countenance?!-Heaven shield your grace from
woe, As I, thus wrong'd, hence unbelieved go!
Duke. I know, you'd fain be gone :-An officer ! To prison with her :- Shall we thus permit A blasting and a scandalous breath to fall On him so near us ? This needs must be a practice.
8 — FoxD wretch.] Ford wretch is foolish wretch. So, in Coriolanus, Act IV. Sc. I.:
“ "Tis fond to wail inevitable strokes." STEEVENS. 9 In hateful PRACTICE:] Practice was used by the old writers for any unlawful or insidious stratagem. So again :
“ This must needs be practice.” And again :
“Let me have way to find this practice out.” Johnson. 1 In countenance!] i. e. in partial favour. WARBURTON.
Countenance, in my opinion, does not mean partial favour, as Warburton supposes, but false appearance, hypocrisy. Isabella does not mean to accuse the Duke of partiality; but alludes to the sanctifed demeanour of Angelo, which, as she supposes, prevented the Duke from believing her story. M. Mason. '
? practice.] Practice, in Shakspeare, very often means shameful artifice, unjustifiable stratagem. So, in King Lear:
“ This is practice, Gloster." Again, in King John :