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Claud. Now, sister, what's the comfort ?
Isab.

Why, as all
Comforts are; most good, most good, indeed'.
Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,
Intends you

for his swift ambassador,
Where you shall be an everlasting lieger':
Therefore, your best appointment make with speed;
To-morrow you set on.
Claud.

Is there no remedy?
Isab. None, but such remedy, as to save a head
To cleave a heart in twain.
Claud.

But is there any ?
Isab. Yes, brother, you may live:
There is a devilish mercy in the judge,
If you'll implore it, that will free your life,
But fetter you till death.
Claud.

Perpetual durance ?
Isab. Ay, just; perpetual durance: a restraint,
Though all the world's* vastidity you had,
To a determin'd scope.
Claud.

But in what nature ?
Isab. In such a one as, you consenting to't,
Would bark your honour from that trunk
And leave

you

naked. Claud.

Let me know the point.
Isab. Oh! I do fear thee, Claudio; and I quake,
Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain',

you bear,

which is obviously wrong: the second folio thus corrects the error: “ Bring them to speak, where I may

be conceal'd," but the smallest change is the best, and the mere transposition of "me" and " them” is all that is required. The addition of the words, " yet hear them,” in the second folio, adopted by Malone, is thereby rendered unnecessary.

• Comforts are ; most good, most GOOD, indeed.] This line is not quite syl. labically correct, but the emphatic repetition of "most good” makes up the time. Hitherto the commentators have omitted the second most good,” and regulated the metre thus:" Claud.

Now, sister, what's the comfort ? “ Isab. Why, as all comforts are; most good, indeed." This mode of printing the passage neither preserves the text nor the measure. The words, “Why, as all,” complete the previous imperfect line, put into the mouth of Claudio. - an everlasting LIEGER :] A" “lieger

was a permanently resident ambasBador at a foreign court.

· THOUGR all the world's] The old copies read, “ through all," &c.

5 — life SBOULDst entertain,] It is life wouldst entertain" in the corr. fo. 1632, but perhaps the poet wrote “shouldst," and we therefore prefer the old test.

And six or seven winters more respect,
Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die ?
The sense of death is most in apprehension,
And the poor beetle, that we tread upon,
In corporal sufferance finds a pang, as great
As when a giant dies.
Claud.

Why give you me this shame ?
Think

you

I can a resolution fetoh
From flowery tenderness? If I must die,
I will encounter darkness as a bride,
And hug it in mine arms.
Isab. There spake my brother: there my father's

grave
Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die:
Thou art too noble to conserve a life
In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,
Whose settled visage and deliberate word
Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth enmew
As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil;
His filth within being cast, he would appear
A pond as deep as hell.
Claud.

The priestly Angelo"?
Isab. Oh, 'tis the cunning livery of hell,
The damned’st body to invest and cover
In priestly garbo! Dost thou think, Claudio ?
If I would yield him my virginity,
Thou mightst be freed.
Claud.

Oh, heavens! it cannot be.
Isab. Yes, he would give't thee from this rank offence,

6

and follies doth ENMEW] The old reading is eramew: the meaning is, that Angelo makes follies mew up or hide themselves, as the falcon compels the fowl to conceal itself.

? The PRIESTLY Angelo ?] The folio, 1623, has “ The prenzie Angelo," which the folio, 1632, alters to princely; but the true word, both here and three lines below, must be that given in the margin of the corr. fo. 1632, viz. “The priestly Angelo," who was as gevere and sanctimonious as a priest, and who, we may easily imagine, was dressed on the stage in a corresponding babit. This seems one of the best verbal emendations in the corr. fo. 1632: bitherto prenzie and princely have caused a vast deal of trouble to commentators, which, we apprehend, must now be at an end.

* In PRIESTLY GARB!] Here, according to the corr. fo. 1632, we have a double misprint in the folio, 1623-prenzie for "priestly " and guards for

garb :" we adopt both emendations, and feel confident that they are what the poet wrote. Isabella says, that to dress wickedness in a priestly habit was to invest it in the canning livery of hell. Warburton must bave credit for "priestly" in both places; but all editions and all commentators have erred as to garb, which we consider a fortunate recovery. VOL. I.

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So to offend him still. This night's the time
That I should do what I abhor to name,
Or else thou diest to-morrow.
Claud.

Thou shalt not do't.
Isab. Oh! were it but

my

life, I'd throw it down for

your

deliverance
As frankly as a pin.
Claud.

Thanks, dear Isabel.
Isab. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-morrow.

Claud. Yes. Has he affections in him,
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose,
When he would force it? Sure, it is no sin;
Or of the deadly seven it is the least.

Isab. Which is the least?

Claud. If it were damnable, he being so wise,
Why would he for the momentary trick
Be perdurably fin'd ?-Oh Isabel !

Isab. What says my brother ?
Claud.

Death is a fearful thing.
Isab. And shamed life a hateful.

Claud. Ay, but to die, and go we know not where ;
To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot;
This sensible warm motion to become
A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit
To bathe in fiery floods, or to reside
In thrilling region of thick-ribbed ice;
To be imprison’d in the viewless winds,
And blown with restless violence round about
The pendent world; or to be worse than worst
Of those that lawless and incertain thoughts
Imagine howling !—'tis too horrible.
The weariest and most loathed worldly life,
That age, ache, penury', and imprisonment
Can lay on nature, is a paradise
To what we fear of death.

Isab. Alas! alas!
Claud.

Sweet sister, let me live.
What sin you do to save a brother's life,
Nature dispenses with the deed so far,
That it becomes a virtue.

- PENURY,] The oldest copy has perjury: it was corrected in tho second folio. In a previous line the folio, 1623, bas thought for " thoughts."

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Isab.

Oh, you beast !
Oh, faithless coward! Oh, dishonest wretch !
Wilt thou be made a man out of my

vice?
Is't not a kind of incest to take life
From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?
Heaven shield, my mother play'd my father fair,
For such a warped slip of wilderness'
Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take

my

defiance:
Die; perish ! might but my bending down
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.
I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,
No word to save thee.

Claud. Nay, hear me, Isabel.
Isab.

Oh, fie, fie, fie!
Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade.
Mercy to thee would

prove

itself a bawd: 'Tis best that thou diest quickly.

[Going. Claud.

Oh hear me, Isabella !

Re-enter DUKE.

Duke. Vouchsafe a word, young sister; but one word.
Isab. What is

your

will ? Duke. Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by and by have some speech with you: the satisfaction I would require is likewise your own benefit.

Isab. I have no superfluous leisure : my stay must be stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you a while.

Duke. [To CLAUDIO.] Son, I have overheard what hath past between you and your sister. Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an assay of her virtue, to practise his judgment with the disposition of natures. She, having the truth of honour in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is most glad to receive: I am confessor to Angelo, and I know this to be true; therefore, prepare yourself to death. Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible: to-morrow you must die. Go to your knees, and make ready.

Claud. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love

1- & warped slip of WILDERNESS] 1. e. Of wildness-8 wild slip, not proceeding from the grafted stock. Beaumont and Fletcher, Dekker, Milton, and others, use" wilderness" in the same senge.

with life, that I will sue to be rid of it.

Duke. Hold you there: farewell.

[Exit CLAUDIO.

Re-enter Provost.
Provost, a word with you.
Prov. What's your will,

father ?
Duke. That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave
me a while with the maid: my mind promises with my habit
no loss shall touch her by my company.
Proo. In good time.

[Exit Provost Duke. The hand that hath made you fair hath made you good: the goodness that is cheap in beauty' makes beauty brief in goodness; but grace, being the soul of your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever fair. The assault that Angelo hath made to you, fortune hath convey'd to my understanding; and, but that frailty hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Angelo. How will you do to content this substitute, and to save your brother?

Isab. I am now going to resolve him. I had rather my brother die by the law, than my son should be unlawfully born. But oh, how much is the good duke deceived in Angelo! If ever he return, and I can speak to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his government.

Duke. That shall not be much amiss; yet, as the matter now stands, he will avoid your accusation: he made trial of you only'. Therefore, fasten your ear on my advisings: to the love I have in doing good a remedy presents itself. I do make myself believe, that you may most uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited benefit, redeem your brother from the angry law, do no stain to your own gracious person, and much please the absent duke ; if, peradventure, he shall ever return to have hearing of this business.

Isab. Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do any thing that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

the goodness that is CHEAP in beauty] We do not here introduce the alteration of the corr. fo. 1632, chief for “ cheap,” because sense may be made out of the original words: the whole passage is erased in the corr. fo. 1632, but still chief, instead of " cheap," is written in the margin. If we adopted the emendation, the effect of it would be to make the poet say, that goodness, which consisted chiefly in external appearance, would be short-lived, but when it consisted in grace

it would be eternal. We are, by no means, confident that this is not the true construction of a rather difficult passage.

- he made trial of you only.] i.e. He will avoid your accusation by alleging that “ he made trial of you only."

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