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Re-enter MARIANA and ISABELLA.
Duke. It is not my consent,
Little have you to say,
Fear me not.
SCENE II. A Room in the Prison.
Enter Provost and Clown. Prov. Come hither, sirrah: Can you cut off a man's head?
Clo. If the man be a bachelor, sir, I can: but if he be a married man, he is his wife's head, and I can never cut off a woman's head.
Prov. Come, sir, leave me your snatches, and yield me a direct answer. To-morrow morning are to die Claudio and Barnardine: Here is in our prison a common executioner, who in his office lacks a helper: if you will take it on you to assist him, it shall redeem you from your gyves?; if not, you
9 j. e. ornament, embellish an action that would otherwise seem ugly.
10 Tilth here means land prepared for sowing. The ok copy reads tithe; the emendation is Warburton's, v.p. 19. note 6. ante, 1 i. e. fetters. VOL. II
shall have your full time of imprisonment, and your deliverance with an unpitied? whipping; for you have been a notorious bawd.
Clo. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time out of mind; but yet I will be content to be a lawful hangman. I would be glad to receive some instruction from
fellow partner. ov. What ho, Abhorson! Where's Abhorson, there?
Enter ABHORSON. Abhor. Do you call, sir?
Prov. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you tomorrow in your execution: If you think it meet, compound with him by the year, and let him abide here with you; if not, use him for the present, and dismiss him: He cannot plead his estimation with you; he hath been a bawd.
Abhor. A bawd, sir ? Fye upon him, he will discredit our mystery.
Prov. Go to, sir; you weigh equally; a feather will turn the scale.
[Exit. Clo. Pray, sir, by your good favour (for, surely, sir, a good favour 3 you have, but that you have a hanging look), do you call, sir, your occupation a mystery? Abhor. Ay, sir; a mystery.
Clo. Painting, sir, I have heard say, is a mystery; and your whores, sir, being members of my occupation, using painting, do prove my occupation a mystery: but what mystery there should be in hanging, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine.
Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery.
? i. e. a whipping that none shall pity.
4 i. e, honest.
If it be too little for your thief, your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief,
your thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel fits your thiefs.
Re-enter Provost. Prov. Are you agreed ?
Clo. Sir, I will serve him; for I do find, your hangman is a more penitent trade than your bawd; he doth oftener ask forgiveness.
Prov. You, sirrah, provide your block and your axe, to-morrow four o'clock.
Abhor. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
Clo. I do desire to learn, sir; and, I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you
shall find me yareo; for, truly, sir, for your kindness, I owe you a good turn. Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio:
[Exeunt Clown and ABHORSON. One has my pity; not a jot the other, Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
Enter CLAUDIO. Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death: 'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow Thou must be made immortal. Where's Barnardine?
5 Warburton says, ' this proves the thief's trade a mystery, not the hangman's,' and therefore supposes that a speech in which the hangman proved his trade a mystery is lost, part of this last speech being in the old editions given to the clown. But Heath observes, The argument of the hangman is exactly similar to that of the clown. As the latter puts in his claim to the whores as members of bis occupation, and in virtue of their painting would enroll bis own fraternity in the mystery of painters; so the former equally lays claim to the thieves as members of his occupation, and in their right endeavours to rank his brethren the hangmen under the mystery of fitters of apparel, or tailors.'
o i.e. ready.
Claud. As fast lock'd up in sleep, as guiltless
Who can do good on him ? Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise ?
[Knocking within. Heaven give your spirits comfort! [Exit CLAUDIO.
By and by:-
Enter Duke. Duke. The best and wholesomest spirits of the
night Envelope you, good Provost! Who calld here of
late? Prov. None, since the curfew rung. Duke.
Not Isabel ? Prov. No. Duke. They will then, ere't be long. Prov. What comfort is for Claudio ? Duke.
There's some in hope. Prov. It is a bitter deputy.
Duke. Not so, not so; his life is paralleld Even with the stroke 8 and line of his great justice; He doth with holy abstinence subdue That in himself, which he spurs power To qualify o in others : were he meal'd 10 With that which he corrects, then were he tyrannous; But this being so, he's just.—Now are they come.
[Knocking within.—Provost goes out. 7 i. e. strongly. 8 Stroke is here put for the stroke of a pen, or a line. 9 To qualify is to temper, to moderate.
10 Meal'd appears to mean here sprinkled, o'erdusted, defiled; I cannot think that in this instance it has any relation to the verb to mell, meddle or mix with.
This is a gentle provost: Seldom when 11
haste, That wounds the unsisting 19 postern with these
None, sir, none.
Enter a Messenger.
Mess. My lord hath sent you this note; and by me this further charge, that yo
swerve not from 11 This is absurdly printed Seldom, when, &c. in all the late editions. Seldom-when (i. e. rarely, not often) is the steeled gaoler the friend of men.' Thus in old phraseology we have seldom-time, any-when, &c. The comma between seldom and when is not in the old copy, but an arbitrary addition of some editor.
12 The old copies read thus.-Monck Mason proposed, unlisting, i. e. unheeding, which is intelligible. But I prefer Sir W. Blackstone's suggestion, that unsisting may signify 'never at rest,' always opening.
13 Hapily, haply, perhaps the old orthography of the word. 14 i. e. seat.