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* MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.] The story is taken from 
Ariosto, Orl. Fur. B. V. POPE. 

It is true, as Mr. Pope has observed, that somewhat resembling 
the story of this play is to be found in the fifth Book of the 
Orlando Furioso. In Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. II. c. iv. as re- 
mote an original may be traced. A novel, however, of Belle- 
forest, copied from another of Bandello, seems to have furnished 
Shakspeare with his fable, as it approaches nearer in all its par- 
ticulars to the play before us, than any other performance known 
to be extant. I have seen so many versions from this once 
popular collection, that I entertain no doubt but that a great 
majority of the tales it comprehends have made their appearance 
in an English dress. Of that particular story which I have just 
mentioned, viz. the 18th history of the third volume, no transla- 
tion has hitherto been met with. 

This play was entered at Stationers' Hall, Aug. 23, 1600. 


Ariosto is continually quoted for the fable of Much Ado about 
Nothing; but I suspect our poet to have been satisfied with the 
Geneura of Turberville. " The tale ( says Harington ) is a pretie 
comical matter, and hath bin written in English verse some few 
years past, learnedly and with good grace, by M. George Tur- 
bervil." Ariosto, fol, 15Q1, p. .Jp. FARMER. 

I suppose this comedy to have been written in 1600, in which 
year it was printed. See An Attempt to ascertain the Order of 
Shakspeare's Plays, Vol. II. I\ [ATONE. 

B 2 


Don Pedro, Prince o/~Arragon. 

Don John, his bastard Irrother. 

Claudio, a young lord of Florence, favourite to Don 

Benedick, a young lord of Padua, favourite likewise 

of Don Pedro. 

Leonato, governor of Messina. 
Antonio, his brother. 
Balthazar, servant to Don Pedro. 

Borachio, 7^/7 ^ r\ r t. 

Conrade, $ followers of Don John. 

Verge*? 7 ' two f oolish ffi cers - 
A Sexton. 
A Friar. 
A Boy. 

Hero, daughter to Leonato. 
Beatrice, niece to Leonato. 

TT , ? 1 ' > gentlewomen attending on Hero. 

Messengers, Watch, and Attendants. 
SCENE, Messina. 



Before Leonato's House. 

Enter LEONATO, HERO, 1 BEATRICE, and others, with 
a Messenger. 

LEON. I learn in this letter, that Don Pedro of 
Arragon comes this night to Messina. 

MESS. He is very near by this ; he was not three 
leagues off when I left him. 

LEON. How many gentlemen have you lost in 
this action ? 

1 Innogcn, (the mother of Hero,) in the old quarto that I have 
seen of this play, printed in 1 oo, is mentioned to enter in two 
several scenes. The succeeding editions have all continued her 
name in the Dramatis Personce. But I have ventured to ex- 
punge it ; there being no mention of her through the play, no 
one speech addressed to her, nor one syllable spoken by her. 
Neither is there any one passage, from which we have any rea- 
son to determine that Hero's mother was living. It seems as if 
the poet had in his first plan designed such a character : which, 
on a survey of it, he found would be superfluous ; and therefore 
he left it out. THEOBALD. 

The name of Hero's mother occurs also in the first folio : 
" Enter Leonato governor of Messina, Innogen his wife," &c. 



MESS. But few of any sort, 2 and none of name. 

LEON. A victory is twice itself, when the achiever 
brings home full numbers. I find here, that Don 
Pedro hath bestowed much honour on a young 
Florentine, called Claudio. 

MESS. Much deserved on his part, and equally 
remembered by Don Pedro : He hath borne him- 
self beyond the promise of his age ; doing, in the 
figure of a lamb, the feats of a lion : he hath, in- 
deed, better bettered expectation, than you must 
expect of me to tell you how. 

LEON. He hath an uncle here in Messina will 
be very much glad of it. 

MESS. I have already delivered him letters, and 
there appears much joy in him ; even so much, 
that joy could not show itself modest enough, with- 
out a badge of bitterness. 3 

9 of any sort,3 Sort is rank, distinction. So, in Chap- 
man's version of the ItJth Book of Homer's Odyssey: 
" A ship, and in her many a man of sort." 

I incline, however, to Mr. M. Mason's easier explanation. Of 
any sort, says he, means of any kind whatsoever. There were 
but fev> killed of any kind, and none of rank. STEEVENS. 

3 joy could not shoia itself modest enough, icithout a 
badge of bitterness.] This is judiciously expressed. Of all the 
transports of joy, that which is attended with tears is least 
offensive ; because, carrying with it this mark of pain, it allays 
the envy that usually attends another's happiness. This he finely 
calls a modest joy, such a one as did not insult the observer by 
an indication of happiness unmixed with pain. WARBURTON. 

A somewhat similar expression occurs in Chapman's version 
of the 10th Book of the Odyssey: 

" our eyes wore 

" The same wet badge of weak humanity." 
This is an idea which Shakspeare seems to have been delighted 
to introduce. It occurs again in Macbeth: 

my plenteous joys, 

" Wanton in fullness, seek to hide themselves 
" In drops of sorrow." STEEVENS. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 7 

LEON. Did he break out into tears ? 
MESS. In great measure. 4 

LEON. A kind overflow of kindness : There are 
no faces truer 5 than those that are so washed. 
How much better is it to weep at joy, than to joy 
at weeping ? 

BEAT. I pray you, is signior Montanto returned 6 
from the wars, or no ? 

MESS. I know none of that name, lady j there 
was none such in the army of any sort. 7 

LEON. What is he that you ask for, niece ? 

HERO. My cousin means signior Benedick of 

MESS. O, he is returned ; and as pleasant as ever 
he was. 

A badge being the distinguishing mark worn in our author's 
time by the servants of noblemen, &c. on the sleeve of their 
liveries, with his usual licence he employs the word to signify a 
mark or token in general. So, in Macbeth : 

" Their hands and faces were all badg'd with blood." 

4 In great measure.] i. e. in abundance. STEEVEVS. 

5 no faces truer ] That is, none honester, none more 

sincere. JOHNSON. 

6 -is signior Montanto returned ] Montante,in Spanish, 

is a huge two-handed sivord, [a title] given, with much humour, 
to one [whom] the speaker would represent as a boaster or bra- 

Montanto was one of the ancient terms of the fencing-school. 
So, in Every Man in his Humour : " your punto, your reverso, 
your stoccata, your imbrocata, your passada, your montanto" &c. 
Again, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: 

" thy reverse, thy distance, thy montdnt," 


7 there ivas none such in the army of any sort.] Not 

meaning there was none such of any order or degree whatever, 
but that there was none such of any quality above the common. 



BEAT. He set up his bills here in Messina, 8 and 
challenged Cupid at the flight : 9 and my uncle's 

8 He set up his bills &c.] So, in Ben Jonson's Every Man out 
of his Humour, Shift says : 

" This is rare, I have set up my bills without discovery." 
Again, in Sivetnam Arraigned, 1 620: 

" I have bought foils already, set up Mis, 
" Hung up my two-hand sword," &c. 
Again, in Nash's Have with you to Saffron Walden, &c. 15p6: 

" setting up bills, like a bearward or fencer, what fights 

we shall have, and what weapons she will meet me at." 

The following account of one of these challenges, taken from 
an ancient MS. of which further mention is made in a note on 
The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. sc. i. may not be unac- 
ceptable to the inquisitive reader. " Item a challenge playde 
before the King's majestie ( Edward VI. ) at Westminster, by three 
maisters, Willyam Pascall, Robert Greene, and W. Browne, at 
seven kynde of weapons. That is to say, the axe, the pike, the 
rapier and target, the rapier and cloke, and with two swords, 
agaynst all alyens and strangers being borne without the King's 
dominions, of what countrie so ever he or they were, geving them 
warninge by theyr Mils set up by the three maisters, the space 
of eight weeks before the sayd challenge was playde ; and it was 
holden four severall Sundayes one after another." It appears 
from the same work, that all challenges " to any maister within 
the realme of Englande being an Englishe man," were against 
the statutes of the " Noble Science of Defence." 

Beatrice means, that Benedick published a general challenge, 
like a prize-fighter. STEEVENS. 

9 challenged Cupid at the flight :] Flight (as Mr. Douce 

observes to me) does not here mean an arrow, but a sort of 
shooting called roving, or shooting at long lengths. The arrows 
used at this sport are called flight-arrows ; as were those used 
in battle for great distances. So, in Beaumont and Fletcher's 

" not the quick rack swifter ; 

" The virgin from the hated ravisher 

" Not half so fearful : not a flight drawn home, 

" A round stone from a sling, ." 
Again, in A Woman kill'd ivith Kindness, 1617: 

" We have tied our geldings to a tree, two flight-shot off," 
Again, in Middleton's Game of Chess : 

" Who, as they say, discharg'd it like a flight." 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 9 

fool, reading the challenge, subscribed for Cupid, 
and challenged him at the bird-bolt. 1 I pray you, 
how many hath he killed and eaten in these wars ? 

Again, in The Entertainment at Causome House, &c. l6l3 : 

" it being from the park about two flight-shots in 

Again, in The Civil Wars of Daniel, B. VIII. st. 15 : 

" and assign'd 

" The archers their^zgfa-shafts to shoot away ; 
" Which th' adverse side (with sleet and dimness blind, 
" Mistaken in the distance of the way,) 
" Answer with their sheaf-arrows, that came short 
" Of their intended aim, and did no hurt." 
Holinshed makes the same distinction in his account of the 
same occurrence, and adds, that these flights were provided on 
purpose. Again, in Holinshed, p. 649 : " He caused the sol- 
diers to shoot their Jlights towards the lord Audlies company." 

Mr. Toilet observes, that the length of a Jlight-shot seems 
ascertained by a passage in Leland' s Itinerary, 1769, Vol. IV. 
p. 44 : " The passage into it at ful se is a flite-shot over, as 
much as the Tamise is above the bridge." It were easy to know 
the length of London-bridge, and Stowe's Survey may inform 
the curious reader whether the river has been narrowed by 
embanking since the days of Leland. 

Mr. Douce, however, observes, that as the length of the shot 
depended on the strength and skill of the archer, nothing can 
with certainty be determined by the passage quoted from Leland. 


The flight was an arrow of a particular kind : In the Harleian 
Catalogue of MSS. Vol. I. n. 69, is " a challenge of the lady 
Maiee's servants to all comers, to be performed at Greenwiche 
to shoot standart arrow, or flight." I find the title-page of an 
old pamphlet still more explicit " A new post a marke ex- 
ceeding necessary for all men's arrows : whether the great 
man's flight, the gallant's rover, the wise man's pricke-shaft, 
the poor man's but-shaft, or the fool's bird-bolt" FARMER. 

1 at the bird-bolt.] The bird-bolt is a short thick arrow- 
without a point, and spreading at the extremity so much, as to 
leave a flat surface, about the breadth of a shilling. Such are 
to this day in use to kill rooks with, and are shot from a cross- 
bow. So, in Marston's What you will, } 607 

" ignorance should shoot 

" His gross-knobb'd bird ioft *" 


But how many hath he killed ? for, indeed, I pro- 
mised to eat all of his killing. 2 

LEON. Faith, niece, you tax signior Benedick 
too much ; but he'll be meet with you, 3 I doubt it 

MESS. He hath done good service, lady, in these 

BEAT. You had musty victual, and he hath holp 
to eat it : he is a very valiant trencher-man, he 
hath an excellent stomach. 

MESS. And a good soldier too, lady. 

BEAT. And a good soldier to a lady; But 
what is he to a lord ? 

Again, in Love in a Maze, 1632 : 

" Cupid, 

" Pox of his bird-bolt ! Venus, 

" Speak to thy boy to fetch his arrow back, 

" Or strike her with a sharp one /" STEEVENS. 

The meaning of the whole is Benedick, from a vain con- 
ceit of his influence over women, challenged Cupid at roving 
(a particular kind of archery, in which y??V/tf-arrows are used). 
In other words, he challenged him to shoot at hearts. The 
fool, to ridicule this piece of vanity, in his turn challenged 
Benedick to shoot at crows with the cross-bow and bird-bolt ; 
an inferior kind of archery used by fools, who, for obvious 
reasons, were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows : 
Whence the proverb " A fool's bolt is soon shot." DOUCE. 

* I promised to eat all of his killing.'] So in King Henry V : 
" Ram. He longs to eat the English. 
" Con. I think, he will eat all he kills." STF.EVEXS. 

3 he'll lie meet with you,] This is a very common ex- 
pression in the midland counties, and signifies, he'll be your 
match, he'll be even with you. 

So, in TEXNOFAMTA, by B. Holiday, 1618 : 

" Go meet her, or else she'll be meet with me." 
Chapman has nearly the same phrase in his version of the 
22d Iliad : 

" when 

" Paris and Phoebus meet with thee ." STEEVENS 

sc.i. ABOUT NOTHING. 11 

MESS. A lord to a lord, a man to a man ; stuffed 
with all honourable virtues. 4 

BEAT. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a 
stuffed man : but for the stuffing, Well, we are 
all mortal. 5 

LEON. You must not, sir, mistake my niece : 
there is a kind of merry war betwixt signior Bene- 
dick and her : they never meet, but there is a skir- 
mish of wit between them. 

BEAT. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our 
last conflict, four of his five wits 6 went halting otf, 

* stuffed with all honourable virtues.'} Stuffed, in this 

first instance, has no ridiculous meaning. Mr. Edwards ob- 
serves, that Mede, in his Discourses on Scripture, speaking of 
Adam, says, " he whom God hud stujfed with so many ex- 
cellent qualities." Edwards's MS. 

Again, in The Winter's Tale : 

" whom you know 

" Of stuff'd sufficiency." 

Un homme bien etoffe, signifies, in French, a man in good 
circumstances." STEEVENS. 

5 he is no less than a stuffed man : but for the stuffing, 

Well, ive are all mortal.'] Mr. Theobald plumed himsell' much 
on the pointing of this passage ; which, by the way. he might 
learn from D' Avenant : but he says not a word, nor any one 
else that I know of, about the reason of this abruption. The 
truth is, Beatrice starts an idea at tha words stiiffed man ; and 
prudently checks herself in the pursuit of it. A stuffed man 
was one of the many cant phrases for a cuckold. In Lyly's 
Midas, we have an inventory of Motto's moveables : " Item, 
says Petulus, one paire of homes in the bride-chamber on the 
bed's head. The beast's head, observes Licio ; for Motto is 
stuff d in the head, and these are among unmoveable goods" 


6 four of his Jive wits ] In our author's time wit was 

the general term for intellectual powers. So, Davies on the Soul : 

" Wit, seeking truth, from cause to cause ascends, 
" And never rests till it the first attain ; 

" Will, seeking good, finds many middle ends, 
" But never stays till it the last do gain." 


and now is the whole man governed with one : so 
that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, 
let him bear it for a difference between himself and 
his horse ; 7 for it is all the wealth that he hath left, 
to be known a reasonable creature. Who is his 
companion now? He hath every month a new 
sworn brother.* 

MESS. Is it possible ? 

BEAT. Very easily possible : he wears his faith 9 

And, in another part: 

" But if a phrenzy do possess the brain, 

" It so disturbs and blots the forms of things, 
" As fantasy proves altogether vain, 

" And to the wit no true relation brings. 
" Then doth the wit, admitting all for true, 

" Build fond conclusions on those idle grounds ." 
The wits seem to have been reckoned five, by analogy to the 
five senses, or the five inlets of ideas. JOHNSON. 

7 if h e have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him 

bear it for a difference c.~\ Such a one has wit enough to keep 
himself warm, is a proverbial expression. 
So, in Heyvvood's Epigram, 1 ; on Proverbs : 

" Wit kept by warmth" 

" Thou art wise inough, if thou keepe thee warme, 
" But the least colde that cumth, kilth thy wit by harme." 
Again, in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1O38: " You are 
the wise woman, are you ? and have wit to keepe yourself warm 
enough, I warrant you." Again, in Cynthia's Revels, by Ben 
Jonson : " your whole self cannot but be perfectly wise ; for 
your hands have wit enough to keep themselves warm." 

To bear any thing for a difference, is a term in heraldry. 
So, in Hamlet, Ophelia says : 

" you may wear your rue with a difference" 


* sworn brother.] i. e. one with whom he hath sworn 

(as was anciently the custom among adventurers) to share for- 
tunes. See Mr. Whalley's note on " we'll be all three sworn- 
brothers to France," in King Henry V. Act II. sc. i. STEEVENS. 

1 he wears his faith] Not religious profession, but 

profession of * friendship ; for the speaker gives it as the reason of 


but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with 
the next block. 1 

MESS. I see, lady, the gentleman is not in your 
books. 2 

her asking, u/ho ivas noiu his companion ? that he had every 
month a neiu sworn brother. WARBURTON. 

1 with the next block.] A block is the mould on which 

a hat is formed. So, in Decker's Satiromastix : 

" Of what fashion is this knight s wit? of what block?" 

See a note on King Lear, Act IV. sc. vi. 

The old writers sometimes use the word block, for the hat 
itself. STEEVENS. 

* the gentleman is not in your books.] This is a phrase 

used, I believe, by more than understand it. To be in one's 
books is to be in one's codicils or will, to be among friends set 
doixn'for legacies. JOHNSON. 

I rather think that the books alluded to, are memorandum- 
books, like the visiting books of the present age. So, in 
Decker's Honest Whore, Part II. ifiyo: 

" I am sure her name was in my table-book once." 

Or, perhaps the allusion is to matriculation at the University. 
So, in Aristippus, or The Jovial Philosopher, 1630: 

" You must be matriculated, and have your name recorded 
in Albo Academic" 

Again : " What have you enrolled him in albo? Have you 
fully admitted him into the society ? to be a member of the 
body academic ?" 

Again : " And if I be not entred, and have my name admitted 
into some of their books, let," &c. 

And yet I think the following passage in The Maid's Revenge, 
by Shirley, 103p, will sufficiently support my first supposition: 

" Pox of your compliment, you were best not write ia her 

It appears to have been anciently the custom to chronicle the 
small beer of every occurrence, whether literary or domestic, 
in table-books. 

So, in the play last quoted : 

" Devolve itself! that word is not in my table-books" 
Hamlet likewise has, " my tables," &c. 

Again, in The Whore of Babylon, 1607 : 
Campeius ! Babylon 

" His name hath in her tables." 

14, MUCH ADO ACT i. 

BEAT. No : an he were, I would burn my study. 
But, I pray you, who is his companion ? Is there 
no young squarer 3 now, that will make a voyage 
with him to the devil ? 

Again, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540: 

' We weyl haunse thee, or set thy name into ourjeloivship 
loke, with clappynge of handes," &c. 

I know not exactly to what custom this last quoted passage 
refers, unless to the album ; for just after, the same expression 
occurs again : that " from henceforthe thou may'st have a 
place worthy for thee in our whyte : from hence thou may'st 
have thy name written in our boke." 

It should seem from the following passage in The Taming of 
a Shrew, that this phrase might have originated from the 
Herald's Office : 

" A herald, Kate ! oh, put me in thy books /" 
After all, the following note in one of the Harleian MSS. 
No. 847, may be the best illustration : 

*' W. C. to Henry Fraclsham, Gent, the owner of this book: 
" Some write their fantasies in verse 
" In theire bookes where they friendshippe shewe, 
" Wherein oft tymes they doe rehearse 
" The great good will that they do owe," &c. 


This phrase has not been exactly interpreted. To be in a 
man's books, originally meant to be in the list of his retainers. 
Sir John Mandeville tells us, " alle the mynstrelles that comen 
before the great Chan ben witholden with him, as of his hous- 
hold, and entred hi his bookes, as for his own men." FARMER. 

A servant and a lover were in Cupid's Vocabulary, synony- 
mous. Hence perhaps the phrase to be in a person's books 
was applied equally to the lover and the menial attendant. 


There is a MS. of Lord Burleigh's, in the Marquis of Lans- 
downe's library, wherein, among manv other household con- 
cerns, he has entered the names of all his servants, &c. DOUCE. 

3 y un g squarer ] A squarer I take to be a cholerick, 

quarrelsome fellow, for in this sense Shakspi-are uses the word 
to square. So, in A Midsummer- Night's Dream, it is said of 
Oberon and Titania, that they never meet but they square. So 
the sense may be, Is there no hot-blooded youth that will keep 
him company 'through all his mad pranks ? JOHNSON. 

ac. z. ABOUT NOTHING. 15 

MESS. He is most in the company of the right 
noble Claudio. 

BEAT. O Lord ! he will hang upon him like a 
disease : he is sooner caught than the pestilence, 
and the taker runs presently mad. God help the 
noble Claudio ! if he have caught the Benedick, it 
will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured. 

MESS. I will hold friends with you, lady. 
BEAT. Do, good friend. 
LEON. You will never run mad, niece. 
BEAT. No, not till a hot January. 
MESS. Don Pedro is approached. 

Enter Don PEDRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and 
others, Don JOHN, CLAUDIO, and BENEDICK. 

D. PEDRO. Good signior Leonato, ydu are come 
to meet your trouble : the fashion of the world is 
to avoid cost, and you encounter it. 

LEON. Never came trouble to my^ouse in the 
likeness of your grace : for trouble being gone, 
comfort should remain ; but, when you depart 
from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his 

D. PEDRO. You embrace your charge 4 too will- 
ingly. I think, this is your daughter. 

LEON. Her mother hath many times told me so. 

4 your charge ] That is, your burden, your incum- 

brance. JOHNSON. 

Charge does not mean, as Dr. Johnson explains it, lurden t 
incumbrance, but " the person committed to your care." So it 
:>s used in the relationship between guardian and ward. DOUCE. 


BENE. Were you in doubt, sir, that you asked 
her ? 

LEON. Signior Benedick, no ; for then were you 
a child. 

D. PEDRO. You have it full, Benedick : we may 
guess by this what you are, being a man. Truly, 
the lady fathers herself: 5 Be happy, lady ! for you 
are like an honourable father. 

BENE. If signior Leonato be her father, she 
would not have his head on her shoulders, for all 
Messina, as like him as she is. 

BEAT. I wonder, that you will still be talking, 
signior Benedick ; no body marks you. 

BENE. What, my dear lady Disdain ! are you 
yet living ? 

BEAT. Is it possible, disdain should die, while 
she hath such meet food to feed it, as signior Be- 
nedick ? 6 Courtesy itself must convert to disdain, 
if you come in her presence. 

BENE. Then is courtesy a turn-coat : But it is 
certain, I am loved of all ladies, only you ex- 
cepted : and I would I could find in my heart that 
I had not a hard heart ; for, truly, I love none. 

BEAT. A dear happiness to women ; they would 
else have been troubled with a pernicious suitor. I 
thank God, and my cold blood, I am of your hu- 

-fathers herself i] This phrase is common in Dorset- 

shire: " Jackjathers himself;" i. e. is like his father. 


6 Is it possible, disdain should die, ivhile she hath such meet 
food to feed it, as signior Benedick ?] A kindred thought oc- 
curs in Coriolanus, Act II. sc. i : 

" Our very priests must become mockers, if they encounter 
such ridiculous subjects as you are." STEEVENS. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 17 

mour for that ; I had rather hear my dog bark at a 
crow, than a man swear he loves me. 

BENE. God keep your ladyship still in that 
mind ! so some gentleman or other shall 'scape a 
predestinate scratched face. 

BEAT. Scratching could not make it worge, an 
'twere such a face as yours were. 

BENE. Well, you are a rare parrot-teacher. 

BEAT. A bird of my tongue, is better than a 
beast of yours. 

BENE. I would, my horse had the speed of your 
tongue ; and so good a continuer : But keep your 
way o* God's name ; I have done. 

BEAT. You always end with a jade's trick j I 
know you of old. 

D. PEDRO. This is the sum of all: Leonato, 
signior Claudio, and signer Benedick, my dear 
friend Leonato, hath invited you all. I tell him, 
we shall stay here at the least a month ; and he 
heartily prays, some occasion may detain us longer : 
I dare swear he is no hypocrite, but prays from 
his heart. 

LEON. If you swear, my lord, you shall not be 
forsworn. Let me bid you welcome, my lord : be- 
ing reconciled to the prince your brother, I owe 
you all duty. 

D. JOHN. I thank you : 7 1 am not of many words, 
but I thank you. 

LEON. Please it your grace lead on ? 

7 / thank you .-] The poet has judiciously marked the 
gloominess of Don John's character, by making him averse to 
the common forms of civility. SIR J. HAWKINS. 



D. PEDRO. Your hand, Leonato ; we will go to- 


\_Exeunt all but BENEDICK and CLAUDIO. 

CLAUD. Benedick, didst thou note the daughter 
of signior Leonato ? 

BENE. I noted her not ; but I looked on her. 
CLAUD. Is she not a modest young lady? 

BENE. Do you question me, as an honest man 
should do, for my simple true judgment ; or would 
you have me speak after my custom, as being a 
professed tyrant to their sex ? 

CLAUD. No, I pray thee, speak in sober judg- 

BENE. Why, i'faith, methinks she is too low 
for a high praise, too brown for a fair praise, and 
too little for a great praise : only this commenda- 
tion I can afford her ; that were she other than she 
is, she were unhandsome ; and being no other but 
as she is, I do not like her. 

CLAUD. Thou thinkest, I am in sport; I pray 
thee, tell me truly how thou likest her. 

BENE. Would you buy her, that you inquire 
after her ? 

CLAUD. Can the world buy such a jewel ? 

BENE. Yea, and a case to put it into. But speak 
you this with a sad brow r or do you play the flout- 
ing Jack ; 8 to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, 

thejlouting Jack ;~J Jack, in our author's time, I know 
not why, was a term of contempt. So, in King Henry IV. P. I. 
Act III: 

" the prince is a Jack, a sneak-cup." 

Again, in The Taming of the Shrew : 

" - - rascal fidler, 

" And twangling Jack, with twenty such vile terms," &c. 

so. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 19 

and Vulcan a rare carpenter ? 9 Come, in what key 
shall a man take you, to go in the song ? l 

CLAUD. In mine eye, she is the sweetest lady 
that ever I looked on. 

BENE. I can see yet without spectacles, and I see 

See in Minsheu's DICT. 1617 : " A Jack sauce, or saucie 
Jack" See also Chaucer's Cant. Tales, ver. 14,816, and the 
note, edit. Tyrwhitt. MALONE. 

9 to tell us Cupid is a good hare-finder, &c.] I know 

not whether I conceive the jest here intended. Claudio hints 
his love of Hero. Benedick asks, whether he is serious, or 
whether he only means to jest, and to tell them that Cupid 
is a good hare-finder, and Vulcan a rare carpenter. A man 
praising a pretty lady in jest, may show the quick sight of Cupid, 
but what hits it to do with the carpentry of Vulcan ? Perhaps 
the thought lies no deeper than this, Do you mean to tell us as 
new "what we all know already? JOHNSON. 

I believe no more is meant by those ludicrous expressions than 
this. Do you mean, says Benedick, to amuse us with impro- 
bable stories ? 

An ingenious correspondent, whose signature is R. W. explains 
the passage in the same sense, but more amply. " Do you mean 
to tell us that love is not blind, and that fire will not consume 
what is combustible?" for both these propositions are implied in 
making Cupid a good hare-finder, and Vulcan (the God of fire) 
a good carpenter. In other words, would you convince me, 
whose opinion on this head is 'well known, that you can be in 
love without being blind, and can play with the flame of beauty 
without being scorched'? STEEVENS. 

I explain the passage thus : Do you scoff and mock in telling 
its that Cupid, who is blind, is a good hare-finder, which requires 
a quick eye-sight ; and that Vulcan, a blacksmith, is a rare car- 
penter? ToLLET. 

After such attempts at decent illustration, I am afraid that 
he who wishes to know why Cupid is a good hare-finder, must 
discover it by the assistance of many quibbling allusions of the 
same sort, about hair and hoar, in Mercutio's song in the second 
Act of Romeo and Jidiet. COLLINS. 

to go in the song ?] i. e. to join with you in your song 

-to strike in with you in the song. STEEVENS. 


no such matter : there's her cousin, an she were 
not possessed with a fury, exceeds her as much in 
beauty, as the first of May doth the last of De- 
cember. But I hope, you have no intent to turn 
husband ; have you ? 

CLAUD. I would scarce trust myself, though I had 
sworn the contrary, if Hero would be my wife. 

BENE. Is it come to this, i'faith ? Hath not the 
world one man, but he will wear his cap with sus- 
picion? 2 Shall I never see a bachelor of three- 
score again ? Go to, i'faith ; an thou wilt needs 
thrust thy neck into a yoke, wear the print of it, 
and sigh away Sundays. 3 Look, Don Pedro is re- 
turned to seek you. 

* wear his cap tuith suspicion?] That is, subject his 

head to the disquiet of jealousy. JOHNSON. 

In Painter's Palace of Pleasure, p. 233, we have the following 
passage : *' All they that tueare homes be pardoned to weare 
their cappes upon their heads." HENDERSON. 

In our author's time none but the inferior classes wore caps, 
and such persons were termed in contempt flat-caps. All gen- 
tlemen wore hats. Perhaps therefore the meaning is, Is there 
not one man in the world prudent enough to keep out of that 
.state where he must live in apprehension that his night-cap will 
be worn occasionally by another ? So, in Othello : 

" For I fear Cassio with my night-cap too/' MA LONE. 

If this remark on the disuse of caps among people of higher 
rank be accurate, Sir Christopher Hatton, and other worthies 
of the court of Elizabeth, have been injuriously treated ; for 
the painters of their time exhibit several of them with caps on 
their heads. It should be remembered that there was a mate- 
rial distinction between the plain statute-cap* of citizens, and 
the ornamented ones worn by gentlemen. STEEVENS. 

3 sigh away Sundays."] A proverbial expression to signify 

that a man has no rest at all ; when Sunday, a day formerly of 
ease and diversion, was passed so uncomfortably. WAUBURTON. 

I cannot find this proverbial expression in any ancient book 
whatever. I am apt to believe that the learned commentator 

ac. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 21 

Re-enter Don PEDRO. 

D. PEDRO. What secret hath held you here, 
that you followed not to Leonato's ? 

BENE. I would, your grace would constrain me 
to tell. 

D. PEDRO. I charge thee on thy allegiance. 

BENE. You hear, Count Claudio : I can be secret 
as a dumb man, I would have you think so ; but 
on my allegiance, mark you this, on my allegi- 
ance : He is in love. With who ? now that is 
your grace's part. Mark, how short his answer 
is : With Hero, Leonato's short daughter. 

CLAUD. If this were so, so were it uttered. 4 

has mistaken the drift of it, and that it most probably alludes to 
the strict manner in which the Sabbath was observed by the 
Puritans, who usually spent that day in sighs and gruntings, and 
other hypocritical marks of devotion. STEEVENS. 

4 Claud. If this ivere so, so ivere it uttered.'] This and the 
three next speeches I do not well understand ; there seems 
something omitted relating to Hero's consent, or to Claudio's 
marriage, else I know not what Claudio can wish not to be 
otherwise. The copies all read alike. Perhaps it may be better 

Claud. If this tvere so, so "were it. 

Bene. Uttered like the old tale, &c. 

Claudio gives a sullen answer, if it is so, so it is. Still there 
seems something omitted which Claudio and Pedro concur in 
wishing. JOHNSON. 

Claudio, evading at first a confession of his passion, says, if 
I had really confided such a secret to him, yet he would have 
blabbed it in this manner. In his next speech, he thinks proper 
to avow his love ; and when Benedick says, God forbid it should 
be so, i. e. God forbid he should even wish to marry her, 
Claudio replies, God forbid I should not wish it. STEEVENS. 


BENE. Like the old talc, my lord : it is not so, 
nor 'twas not so ; but, indeed, God forbid it should 
be so. 

CLAUD. If my passion change not shortly, God 
forbid it should be otherwise. 

D. PEDRO. Amen, if you love her ; for the lady 
is very well worthy. 

CLAUD. You speak this to fetch me in, my lord. 

D. PEDRO. By my troth, I speak my thought. 

CLAUD. And, in faith, my lord, I spoke mine. 

BENE. And, by my two faiths and troths, my 
lord, I spoke mine. 5 

CLAUD. That I love her, I feel. 

D. PEDRO. That she is worthy, I know. 

BENE. That I neither feel how she should be 
loved, nor know how she should be worthy, is the 
opinion that fire cannot melt out of me ; I will die 
in it at the stake. 

D. PEDRO. Thou wast ever an obstinate here- 
tick in the despite of beauty. 

CLAUD. And never could maintain his part, but 
in the force of his will. 6 

BENE. That a woman conceived me, I thank 
her ; that she brought me up, I likewise give her 
most humble thanks : but that I will have a recheat 

7 spoke nrine.~\ Thus the quarto, IGOO. The folio 
reads " I speak mine." But the former is right. Benedick 
means, that he xpoke his mind when he said " God forbid it 
should be so ;" i. c. that Claudio should be in love, and marry 
in consequence of his passion. STEEVENS. 

Iml in ike force of his icilL~\ Alluding to the definition 

of a heretick in the schools. WAKBURTON". 

xc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 23 

winded in my forehead, 7 or hang my bugle in an 
invisible baldrick, 8 all women shall pardon me: 
Because I will not do them the wrong to mistrust 
any, I will do myself the right to trust none j and 

7 but that I will have a recheat winded in my forehead.'] 

That is, / will "wear a horn on my forehead which the huntsman 
may blow. A recheate is the sound by which dogs are called 
back. Shakspeare had no mercy upon the poor cuckold, his 
horn is an inexhaustible subject of merriment. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Return from Parnassus : " When you blow the 
death of your fox in the field or covert, then you must sound 
three notes, with three winds ; and recheat, mark you, sir, upon 
the same three winds." 

" Now, sir, when you come to your stately gate, as you 
sounded the recheat before, so now you must sound the relief 
three times." 

Again, in The Book of Huntynge, &c. b. 1. no date : " Blow 
the whole rechate with three wyndes, the first wynde one longe 
and six shorte. The second wynde two shorte and one longe. 
The thred wynde one longe and two shorte." 

Among Bagford's Collections relative to Typography, in the 
British Museum, 1044, II. C. is an engraved half sheet, contain- 
ing the ancient Hunting Notes of England, &c. Among these, 
I find, Single, Double, and Treble Recheat s t Running Recheat, 
Warbling Recheat, another Recheat with the tongue very hard, 
another smoother Recheat, and another warbling Recheat. The 
musical notes are affixed to them all. STEEVENS. 

A recheate is a particular lesson upon the horn, to call dogs 
back from the scent : from the old French word recet, which was 
used in the same sense as retraite. HAMMER. 

8 hang my bugle in an invisible baldrick,'] Bugle, i. e. 

bugle-horn, hunting-horn. The meaning seems to be or that 
I should be compelled to carry a horn on my forehead where 
there is nothing visible to support it. So, in John Alday's 
translation of Pierre Boisteau's Theatrum Mundi, &c. bl. 1. no 
date : " Beholde the hazard wherin thou art (sayth William de 
la Perriere) that thy round head become not forked, which were 
a fearful sight if it were visible and apparent." 

It is still said of the mercenary cuckold, that he carries his 
horns in his pockets. STEEVENS. 

Baldrick.'] " A belt, from the old French word baudrier, a 
piece of dressed leather girdle, or belt, made of such leather; and 
that comes from the word baudroyer, to dress leather, curry or 
make belts. Monsieur Menage says, this comes from the Italian 


the fine is, (for the which I may go the finer,) I 
will live a bachelor. 

D. PEDRO. I shall see thee, ere I die, look pale 
with love. 

BENE. With anger, with sickness, or with hun- 
ger, my lord ; not with love : prove, that ever I 
lose more blood with love, than I will get again 
with drinking, pick out mine eyes with a ballad- 
maker's pen, and hang me up at the door of a 
brothel-house, for the sign of blind Cupid. 

D. PEDRO. Well, if ever thou dost fall from this 
faith, thou wilt prove a notable argument. 9 

BENE. If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat, 1 

baldringus, and that from the Latin balteus, from whence the 
Baltick sea has its name, because it goes round as a belt. This 
word baudrier among the French sometimes signified a girdle, in 
which people used to put their money. See Rabelais, III. 37. 
Menag. Orig. Franc. Somn. Diet. Sax. Nicot. Diet." Fortescue 
Aland's note on Fortescue, on the Difference between an absolute 
and limited Monarchy, 8vo. 1724, p. 52. REED. 

9 notable argument.] An eminent subject for satire. 


1 in a bottle like a cat,~\ As to the cat and bottle, I can 

procure no better information than the following : 

In some counties in England, a cat was formerly closed up 
with a quantity of soot in a wooden bottle, (such as that in which 
shepherds carry their liquor,) and was suspended on a line. He 
who beat out the bottom as he ran under it, and was nimble 
enough to escape its contents, was regarded as the hero of this 
inhuman diversion. 

Again, in Warren, or ike Peace is broken, bl. 1 : " arrowes 
flew faster than they did at a catte in a basket, when Prince 
Arthur, or the Duke of Shordich, strucke up the drumme in the 

In a Poem, however, called Cornu-copice, or Pasqnil's Night- 
cap, or an Antidote to (he I lead-ache, l0'23, p. 48, the following 
passage occurs : 

" Fairer than any stake in Greys-inn-field, &c. 
" Guarded with gunners, bill-men, and a rout 
" Of bow-men bold, which at a cat do shoot" 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 25 

and shoot at me ; and he that hits me, let him be 
clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam. 2 

D. PEDRO. Well, as time shall try : 
In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke? 

Again, ibid: 

" Nor. at the top a cat-a-mount Avasfram'd, 
" Or some vvilde beast that ne'er before was tam'd ; 
" Made at the charges of some archer stout, 
" To have his name canoniz'd in the clout." 
The foregoing quotations may serve to throw some light on 
Benedick's allusion. They prove, however, that it was the 
custom to shoot at factitious as well as real cats. STEEVENS. 

This practice is still kept up at Kelso, in Scotland, where it 
is called Cat-in-barreL See a description of the whole cere- 
mony in a little account of the town of Kelso, published in 1789, 
by one Ebenezer Lazarus, a silly Methodist, who has interlarded 
his book with scraps of pious and other poetry. Speaking of 
this sport, he says : 

" The cat in the barrel exhibits such a farce, 

" That he who can relish it is worse than an ass." 


* and he that hits me, let him, be clapped on the shoulder, 

and called Adam.] But why should he therefore be called 
Adam? Perhaps, by a quotation or two we may be able to 
trace the poet's allusion here. In Law-Tricks, or, Who would 
have thought it, (a comedy written by John Day, and printed 
in 1608,) I find this speech: " Adam Bell, a substantial out- 
law, and a passing good archer, yet no tobacconist." By this it 
appears, that Adam Bell at that time of day was of reputation 
for his skill at the bow. I find him again mentioned in a bur- 
lesque poem of Sir William D' Avenant's, called The long Vaca- 
tion in London. THEOBALD. 

Adam Bel, Clym of the Cloughe, and Wyllyam of Cloudesle, 
were, says Dr. Percy, three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery 
rendered them formerly as famous in the North of England, as 
Robin Hood and his fellows were'in the midland counties. Their 
place of residence was in the forest of Englewood, not far from 
Carlisle. At what time they lived does not appear. The author 
of the common ballads on The Pedigree, Education, and Mar- 
riage of Robin Flood, makes them contemporary with Robin 
Hood's father, in order to give him the honour of beating them. 
See Reliques of Ancient English Poetry, Vol. I. p. 143, where 
the ballad on these celebrated outlaws is preserved. STEEVENS. 

3 In time the savage bull doth bear the yoke.] This line is from 


BENE. The savage bull may ; but if ever the 
sensible Benedick bear it, pluck off'the bull's horns, 
and set them in my forehead : and let me be vilely 
painted ; and in such great letters as they write, 
Here is good horse to hire, let them signify under 
my sign, Here you may see Benedick the married 

CLAUD. If this should ever happen, thou would'st 
be horn-mad. 

D. PEDRO. Nay, if Cupid have not spent all his 
quiver in Venice, 4 thou wilt quake for this shortly. 

BENE. I look for an earthquake too then. 

D. PEDRO. Well, you will temporize with the 
hours. In the mean time, good signior Benedick, 
repair to Leonato's ; commend me to him, and tell 
him, I will not fail him at supper ; for, indeed, he 
hath made great preparation. 

BENE. I have almost matter enough in me for 
such an embassage ; and so I commit you 

CLAUD. To the tuition of God : From my house, 
(if I had it,)- 

D. PEDRO. The sixth of July : Your loving 
friend, Benedick. 

BENE. Nay, mock not, mock not : The body 
of your discourse is sometime guarded with frag- 

The Spanish Tragedy, or Hicronymo, c. and occurs also, with a 
slight variation, in Watson's Sonnets, 4to. bl. 1. printed in 1581. 
See note on the last edition of Dodsley's Old Play*, Vol. XII. 
p. 38/. STEEVENS. 

The Spanish Tragedy was printed and acted before 15Q3. 


It may be proved that The Spanish Tragedy had at least been 
written before 15^2. STEEVENS. 

if Cupid have nol spent all his quiver in Venice,] All 
modern writers agree in representing Venice in the same light as 
the ancients did Cyprus. And it is this character of the people 
that is here alluded to. WARBURTON. 


ments, 5 and the guards are but slightly basted on 
neither : ere you flout old ends any further, 6 exa- 
mine your conscience ; and so I leave you. 


& guarded "with fragments,] Guards were ornamental 

lace or borders. So, in The Merchant of Venice : 

" give him a livery 

" More guarded than his fellows." 
Again, in Henry IV. Part I: 

" velvet guards, and Sunday citizens." STEEVENS. 

6 - ere you- flout old ends &;c.~\ Before you endeavour to 

distinguish yourself any more by antiquated allusions, examine 
whether you can fairly claim them for your own. This, I think, 
is the meaning ; or it may be understood in another sense, 
examine, if your sarcasms do not touch yourself. JOHNSON. 

The ridicule here is to the formal conclusions of Epistles dedi- 
catory and Letters. Barnaby Googe thus ends his dedication to 
the first edition of Palingenius, 12mo. 1560: " And thus com- 
mittyng your Ladiship with all yours to the tuicion of the moste 
merciful! God, I ende. From Staple Inne at London, the eighte 
and twenty of March." The practice had however become 
obsolete in Shakspeare's time. In A Posts with a Packet of mad 
Letters, by Nicholas Breton, 4to. 160", I find a letter ending 
in this manner, entitled, " A letter to laugh at after the old 
fashion of love to a Maide." REED. 

Dr. Johnson's latter explanation is, I believe, the true one. 
By old ends the speaker may mean the conclusion of letters 
commonly used in Shakspeare's time : " From my house this 
sixth of July," &c. So, in the conclusion of a letter which our 
author supposes Lucrece to write : 

" So I commend me from our house in grief; 

" My woes are tedious, though my words are brief." 

See The Rape of Lucrece, p. 547, edit. 1780, and the note 

Old ends, however, may refer to the quotation that D. Pedro 
had made from The Spanish Tragedy : " Ere you attack me on 
the subject of love, with fragments of old plays, examine whe- 
ther you are ) r ourself free from its power." So, King Richard : 
" With odd old ends, stol'n forth of holy writ." 

This kind of conclusion to letters was not obsolete in our 
author's time, as has been suggested. Michael Drayton concludes 
one of his letters to Drummond of Hawthornden, in 1619, thus: 


CLAUD. My liege, your highness now may do me 

D. PEDRO. My love is thine to teach ; teach it 

but how, 

And thou shalt see how apt it is to learn 
Any hard lesson that may do thee good. 

CLAUD. Hath Leonato any son, my lord ? 

D. PEDRO. No child but Hero, she's his only heir : 
Dost thou affect her, Claudio ? 

CLAUD. O my lord, 

When you went onward on this ended action, 
I look'd upon her with a soldier's eye, 
That lik'd, but had a rougher task in hand 
Than to drive liking to the name of love : 
But now I am return'd, and that war-thoughts 
Have left their places vacant, in their rooms 
Come thronging soft and delicate desires, 
All prompting me how fair young Hero is, 
Saying, I lik'd her ere I went to wars. 

D. PEDRO. Thou wilt be like a lover presently, 
And tire the hearer with a book of words : 
If thou dost love fair Hero, cherish it; 
And I will break with her, and with her father, 
And thou shalt have her : Was't not to this end, 
That thou began'st to twist so fine a story ? 

CLAUD. How sweetly do you minister to love. 
That know love's grief by his complexion ! 

" And so wishing you all happiness, / commend you to God's 
tuition, and rest your assured friend." So also Lord Salisbury 
concludes a letter to Sir Ralph Winwood, April /th, l6l(): 
" And so I commit you to God's protection." 

Winwood's Memorial, 1 ;, III. 147. MALONE. 

The practice might have become obsolete to the general though 
retained by certain individuals. An old fashion has sometimes a 
few solitary adherents, after it has been discarded from common 
use. REED. 

sc. /. ABOUT NOTHING. 29 

But lest my liking might too sudden seem, 
I would have salv'd it with a longer treatise. 

D. PEDRO. What need the bridge much broader 

than the flood ? 

The fairest grant is the necessity : 7 
Look, what will serve, is fit : 'tis once, thoulov'st; 8 
And I will fit thee with the remedy. 
I know, we shall have revelling to-night ; 
I will assume thy part in some disguise, 
And tell fair Hero I am Claudio ; 
And in her bosom I'll unclasp my heart, 
And take her hearing prisoner with the force 
And strong encounter of my amorous tale : 
Then, after, to her father will I break ; 
And, the conclusion is, she shall be thine : 
In practice let us put it presently. \_Exeunt. 

7 The fairest grant is the necessity ] i. e. no one can have a 
better reason for granting a request than the necessity of its being 
granted. WARBUKTON. 

Mr. Hayley with great acuteness proposes to read : 
" The fairest <*rant is to necessity ; i. e. necessitas quod cogit 
defendit." STEEVENS. 

These words cannot imply the sense that Warburton contends 
for ; but if we suppose that grant means concession, the sense is 
obvious ; and that is no uncommon acceptation of that word. 


6 'tis once, thou lov'st ;] This phrase, with concomitant 

obscurity, appears in other dramas of our author, viz. The Merry 
Wives of Windsor, and King Henry VIII. In The Comedy of 
Errors, .it stands as follows : 

" Once this Your long experience of her wisdom," &c. 

Balthasar is speaking to the Ephesian Antipholis. 

Once may therefore mean " once for all," " 'tis enough to 
say at once." STEEVENS. 

Once has here, I believe, the force of once for all. So, in 
Coriolanus : " Once, if he do require our voices, we ought not 
fo deny him." MAT,O\H. 



A Room in Leonato's House. 

LEON. How now, brother ? Where is my cousin, 
your son ? Hath he provided this musick ? 

ANT. He is very busy about it. But, brother, 
I can tell you strange news 9 that you yet dreamed 
not of. 

LEON. Are they good ? 

ANT. As the event stamps them ; but they have 
a good cover, they show well outward. The prince 
and Count Claudio, walking in a thick-pleached 
alley 1 in my orchard, were thus much overheard by 
a man of mine : The prince discovered to Claudio, 
that he loved my niece your daughter, and meant 
to acknowledge it this night in a dance ; and, if 
he found her accordant, he meant to take the pre- 
sent time by the top, and instantly break with you 
of it. 

LEON. Hath the fellow any wit, that told you 
this ? 

ANT. A good sharp fellow : I will send for him, 
and question him yourself. 

9 strange news ] Thus the quarto, l6'OO. The folio 

omits the epithet, which indeed is of little value. STEEVENS. 

a thick-pleached alley ] Thick-pleached is thickly 
interwoven. 80 afterwards, Act III. sc. i : 

" bid her steal into the jrfeachcd bower." 

Again, in King Henry V : 

" her hedges even-pleach' d ." STEEVENS. 

sc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 31 

LEON. No, no ; we will hold it as a dream, till 
it appear itself: but I will acquaint my daughter 
withal, that she may be the better prepared for an 
answer, if peradventure this be true. Go you, and 
tell her of it. [Several persons cross the stage.~\ 
Cousins, you know 2 what you have to do. O, I 
cry you mercy, friend; you go with me, and I will 
use your skill : Good cousins, have a care this 
busy time. \_Exeunt. 


Another Room in Leonato's House. 
Enter Don JOHN and CONRADE. 

CON. What the goujere, 3 my lord! why are you 
thus out of measure sad ? 

D. JOHN. There is no measure in the occasion 
that breeds it, therefore the sadness is without 

CON. You should hear reason. 

D. JOHN. And when I have heard it, what bless- 
ing bringeth it ? 

* Cousins, you know ] and afterwards, good cousins.] 
Cousins were anciently enrolled among the dependants, if not 
the domesticks, of great families, such as that of Leonato. 
Petruchio-, while intent on the subjection of Katharine, calls out, 
in terms imperative, for his cousin Ferdinand. STEEVENS. 

3 What the goujere,] i. e. morbiis Gallicus. The old copy 
corruptly reads, " good-year." The same expression occurs 
again in King Lear, Act V. sc. iii : 

" The goujeres shall devour them, flesh and fell." 

See note on this passage. STEEVENS. 


CON. If not a present remedy, yet a patient suf- 

D. JOHN. I wonder, that thou being (as thou 
say'st thou art) born under Saturn, goest about to 
apply a moral medicine to a mortifying mischief. 
I cannot hide what I am : 4 I must be sad when I 
have cause, and smile at no man's jests ; eat when 
I have stomach, and wait for no man's leisure ; 
sleep when I am drowsy, and tend to no man's 
business ; laugh when I am merry, and claw no 
man in his humour. 5 

CON. Yea, but you must not make the full show 
of this, till you may do it without controlment. 
You have of late stood out against your brother, 
and he hath ta'en you newly into his grace ; where 
it is impossible you should take true root, but by 
the fair weather that you make yourself: it is need- 
ful that you frame the season for your own harvest. 

-* I cannot hide tvhat I am :] This is one of our author's 
natural touches. An envious and unsocial mind, too proud to 
give pleasure, and too sullen to receive it, always endeavours to 
hide its malignity from the world and from itself, under the 
plainness of simple honesty, or the dignity of haughty inde- 
pendence. JOHNSON. 

claw no man in his humour.'] To dam is to flatter. So, 
the pope's clam-backs, in Bishop Jewel, are the pope's flatterers. 
The sense is the same in the proverb, Midus mulum scabit. 


So, in Albion s England, 159/, p. 125 : 

" The overweening of thy wits does make thy foes to 

" Thy friends to weepe, and claw-backs thee with 

soothings to beguile." 

Again, in Wylson on Usury, 157 1, p. 141 : " therefore I will 
elawc him, and saye well might he fare, and godds blessing have 
he too. For the more he speaketh, the better it itcheth, and 
maketh better for me." REED. 

sc. in. ABOUT NOTHING. ss 

D. JOHN. I had rather be a canker in a hedge, 
than a rose in his grace; and it better fits my 
blood to be disdained of all, than to fashion a car- 
riage to rob love from any : in this, though I can- 
not be said to be a flattering honest man* it must 
not be denied that I am a plain-dealing villain. I 
am trusted with a muzzle, and enfranchised with a 
clog j therefore I have decreed not to sing in my 

6 / had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his grace ;~\ 
A canker is the canker-rose, dog-rose, cynosbatns, or hip. The 
sense is, I would rather live in obscurity the wild life of nature, 
than owe dignity or estimation to my brother. He still continues, 
his wish of gloomy independence. But what is the meaning of 
the expression, a rose in hi? grace? If he was a rose of himself, 
his brother's grace o? jhvour could not degrade him. I once; 
read thus : / had rather be a canker in a hedge, than a rose in his 
garden ; that is, I had rather be what nature makes me, how- 
ever mean, than owe any exaltation or improvement to my bro- 
ther's kindness or cultivation. But a less change will be suffici- 
ent : I think it should be read, I had rather be a canker in a hedge, 
than a rose by his grace. JOHNSON. 

The canker is a term often substituted for the canker-rose. 
Hey wood, in his Love's Mistress, 1030",- calls it the " canker- 

Again, in Shakspeare's 54th Sonnet : 

" The canker blooms have full as deep a die 
" As the perfumed tincture of the rose.' 1 ' 

I think no change is necessary. The sense is, I had rather be 
a neglected dog-rose in a hedge, than a garden-flower of th6 
same species, if it profited by his culture. STEEVKNS. 

The. latter words are intended as an answer to what Conrade 
has just said " he hath ta'en you newly into his grace, wheer 
it is impossible you should take true root," &c. In Macbeth- \VP 
have a kindred expression : 

" Welcome hither : 

" I have begun to plant thee, and will labour 

" To make thee full of growing," 
Again, in King Henry VI. P. Ill: 

" Til plant Plantagenet, root him up who dares.'* 


VOL. VT. f) 


cage : If I had my mouth, I would bite ; if I had 
my liberty, I would do my liking : in the mean 
time, let me be that I am, and seek not to alter 

CON. Can you make no use of your discontent ? 

D. JOHN. I make all use of it, for I use it only/ 
Who comes here ? What news, Borachio ? 


BORA. I came yonder from a great supper ; the 
prince, your brother, is royally entertained by Leo- 
nato ; and I can give you intelligence of an hir 
tended marriage. 

D. JOHN. Will it serve for any model to build 
mischief on ? What is he for a fool, that betroths 
himself to unquietness ? 

BORA. Marry, it is your brother's right hand. 
D. JOHN. Who ? the most exquisite Claudio ? 
BORA. Even he. 

D. JOHN. A proper squire ! And who, and who ? 
which way looks he ? 

BORA. Marry, on Hero, the daughter and heir 
of Leonato. 

D. JOHN. A very forward March-chick ! How 
came you to this ? 

BORA. Being entertained for a perfumer, as I was 
smoking a musty room, 8 comes me the prince and 

-for I use it only.] i. e. for I make nothing else my 

counsellor. STEEVENS. 

smoking a musty rmm^\ The neglect of cleanliness 

among our ancestors, rendered such precautions too often neces- 

sc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 35 

Claudio, hand in hand, in sad conference : 9 I whipt 
me behind the arras ; and there heard it agreed 
upon, that the prince should woo Hero for him- 
self, and having obtained her, give her to count 
C) audio. 

D. JOHN. Come, come, let us thither ; this may 
prove food to my displeasure : that young start-up 
hath all the glory of my overthrow ; if I can cross 
him any way, I bless myself every way : You are 
both sure, 1 and will assist me ? 

CON. To the death, my lord. 

D. JOHN. Let us to the great supper ; their cheer 
is the greater, that I am subdued: * Would the cook 
were of my mind ! Shall we go prove what's to 
be done ? 

BORA. We'll wait upon your lordship. \_Exeunt 

sary. In the Harieian Collection of MSS. No. 6850, fol. go, in 
the British Museum, is a paper of directions drawn up by Sir 
John Puckering's Steward, relative to Suffolk Place before Queen 
Elizabeth's visit to it in 15<)4. The 15th article is " The 
siuetynynge of the house in all places by any means." Again, 
in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1632, p. 26' 1 : " the 
smoake of juniper is in great request with us at Oxford, to sweeten 
our chambers." See also King Henry IV. P. II. Act V. sc. iv. 


9 : in sad conference :] Sad in this, as in future instances; 
signifies serious. So, in The Winter'' s Tale: " My father, and 
the gentlemen, are in sad talk." STEEVENS. 

both sure,] i. e. to be depended on. So, in Macbeth. 

" Thou sure and firm-set earth ." STEEVENS. 



A Hall in Leonato's House. 



LEON. Was not count John here at supper ? 
ANT. I saw him not. 

BEAT. How tartly that gentleman looks ! I 
never can see him, but I am heart-burned an hour 
after. 2 

HERO. He is of a very melancholy disposition. 

BEAT. He were an excellent man, that were 
made just in the mid-way between him and Bene- 
dick : the one is too like an image, and says 
nothing ; and the other, too like my lady's eldest 
son, evermore tattling. 

LEON. Then half signior Benedick's tongue in 
count John's mouth, and half count John's melan- 
choly in signior Benedick's face, 

BEAT. With a good leg, and a good foot, uncle, 
and money enough in his purse, such a man would 
win any woman in the world, if he could gtt her 
good will. 

LEON. By my troth, niece, thou wilt never get 
thee a husband, if thou be so shrewd of thy tongue. 

ANT. In faith, she is too curst. 

heart-burned an hour after .] The pain commonly called 

the heart-burn, proceeds from an acid humour in the stomach, 
and is therefore properly enough imputed to tart looks. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 37 

BEAT. Too curst is more than curst: I shall 
lessen God's sending that way : for it is^said, God 
sends a curst cow short horns ; but to a cow too 
curst he sends none. 

LEON. So, by being too curst, God will send you 
no horns. 

BEAT. Just, if he send me no husband ; for the 
which blessing, I am at him upon my knees every 
morning and evening : Lord ! I could not endure 
a husband with a beard on his face ; I had rather 
lie in the woollen. 3 

LEON. You may light upon a husband, that hath 
no beard. 

BEAT. What should I do with him ? dress him 
in my apparel, and make him my waiting gentle- 
woman ? He that hath a beard, is more than a 
youth ; and he that hath no beard, is less than a 
man : and he that is more than a youth, is not for 
me ; and he that is less than a man, I am not for 
him : Therefore I will even take sixpence in ear- 
nest of the bear-herd, and lead his apes into hell. 

LEON. Well then, go you into hell ? 4 

BEAT. No ; but to the gate ; and there will the 
devil meet me, like an old cuckold, with horns on 
his head, and say, Get you to heaven, Beatrice, get 

3 in the woollen.] I suppose she means between blan- 
kets, without sheets. STEEVENS. 

4 Well' then, c.] Of the two next speeches Dr. Warburton 
says, All this impious nonsense thrown to the bottom, is the 
players', and foisted in luithout rhyme or reason. He therefore 
puts them in the margin. They do not deserve indeed so ho- 
nourable a place ; yet I am afraid they are too much in the man- 
ner of our author, who is sometimes trying to purchase merri- 
ment at too dear a rate. JOHNSON. 

I have restored the lines omitted. STEEVEXS. 


you to heaven; here's no place for you maids: so 
deliver I Up my apes, and away to Saint Peter for 
the heavens ; he shows me where the bachelors sit, 
and there live we as merry as the day is long. 

ANT. Well, niece, [To HERO.] I trust, you wilf 
be ruled by your father. 

BEAT. Yes, faith ; it is my cousin's duty to niake 
courtesy, arid say, Father, as it please you : but yet 
for all that, cousin, let him be a handsome fellow, 
or else make another courtesy, and say, Father, as 
it please me. 

LEON. Well, niece, I hope to see you one day 
fitted with a husband. 

BEAT. Not till God make men of some other 
metal than earth. Would it not grieve a woman 
to be over-mastered with a piece of valiant dust ? 
to make an account of her life to a clod of way- 
ward marl ? No, uncle, I'll none : Adam's sons are 
my brethren ; and truly, I hold it a sin to match 
in my kindred. 

LEON. Daughter, remember, what I told you : if 
the prince do solicit you in that kind, you know 
your answer. 

BEAT. The fault will be in the musick, cousin, if 
you be not woo'd in good time : if the prince be 
too important,' tell him, there is measure in every 
thing,' 1 and so dance out the answer. For hear me, 

if the jn'iiice be too important,] Important here, and in 

many other places, is importunate. JOHNSON. 

So, in King Lear, Act IV. sc. iv : 
" --- great France 
" My mourning, and important tears hath pitied." 


there is measure in every fhing,'] A measure in old 
language, beside its ordinary meaning, signified also a dance. 


sc*. /. ABOUT NOTHING. 39 

Hero; Wooing, wedding, and repenting, is as a 
Scotch jig, a measure, and a cinque-pace : the first 
suit is hot and hasty, like a Scotch jig, and full as 
fantastical ; the wedding, mannerly-modest, as a 
measure full of state and ancientry; and then comes 
repentance, and, with his bad legs, falls into the 
cinque-pace faster and faster, till he sink into his 

LEON. Cousin, you apprehend passing shrewdly. 

BEAT. I have a good eye, uncle ; I can see a? 
church by day-light. 

LEON. The revellers are entering ; brother, make 
good room. 

URSULA, and others, masked. 

D. PEDRO. Lady, will you walk about with your 
friend ? 8 

So, in King Richard II: 

" My legs can keep no measure in delight, 

" When my poor heart no measure keeps in grief." 


7 Balthazar ;] The quarto and folio add or dumb John. 


Here is another proof that when the first copies of our au- 
thor's plays were prepared for the press, the transcript was made 
put by the ear. If the MS. had lain before the transcriber, it 
is very unlikely that he should have mistaken Don for dumb : 
but, by nn inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, they might 
easily be confounded. MALONE. 

Don John's taciturnity has been already noticed. It seems 
therefore not improbable that the author himself might have oc- 
casionally applied the epithet dumb to him. REED. 

8 " your friend ?] Friend, in our author's time, was the 
p ommon term for a lover. So also in French and Italian, 



HERO. So you walk softly, and look sweetly, and 
say nothing, I am yours for the walk ; and, espe- 
cially, when I walk away. 

D. PEDRO. With me in your company? 

HERO. I may say so, when I please. 

D. PEDRO. And when please you to say so ? 

HERO. When I like your favour ; for God de- 
fend, the lute should be like the case ! l 

D. PEDRO. My visor is Philemon's roof; within 
the house is Jove. 2 

Mr. Malone might have added, that this term was equally 
applicable to both sexes ; for, in Measure for Measure, Lucio 
tells Isabella that her brother had " got his friend with child." 


9 for God defend,'] i. e. forbid. So in the ancient MS. 

Romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 38: 
" But saide, damesel, thou arte woode ; 
" Thy fadir did us alle defende 
" Both mete and drinke, and other goode 
" That no man shulde them thider sende." 

See Othello, Act I. sc. iii. STEEVENS. 

1 the lute fjiould be like the case !] i. e. that your face 

should be as homely and coarse as your mask. THEOBALD. 

8 My visor is Philemon' l s roof ; 'within the house is Jove.] 
The first folio has Love ; the quarto, IfiOO /ore ; so that here 
Mr. Theobald might have found the very reading which, in the 
following note, he represents as a conjecture of his own. 


'Tis plain, the poet alludes to the story of Baucis and Phile- 
mon from Ovid : and this old couple, as the Roman poet de- 
scribes it, lived in a thatch'd cottage: 

" stipulis <fy catina tecta palustri." 

But why, mil hin ///.<; house is love? Though this old pair lived 
in a cottage, this cottage received two straggling Gods, (Jupiter 
and Mercury) under its roof. So, Don Pedro is a prince ; and 
though his visor is but ordinary, he would insinuate to Hero, 
that he has something godlike within : alluding either to his 
dignity, or the qualities of his mind and person. By these cii;- 
cumstances, I am sure, the thought is mended : as, I think ve- 


HflRQ. Why, then your visor should be thatch'd. 

D. PEDRO. Speak low, if you speak love. 

\_Takes her aside. 

BENE. Well, I would you did like me. 

MARG. So would not I, for your own sake j for 
I have many ill qualities. 

BENE. Which is one ? 

MARG. I say my prayers aloud. 

BENE. I love you the better ; the hearers may 
cry, Amen. 

MARG. God match me with a good dancer J . 
BALTH. Amen. 

MARG. And God keep him out of my sight, when 
the dance is done ! Answer, clerk. 

BALTH. No more words ; the clerk is answered. 

URS. I know you well enough ; you are signior 

ANT. At a word, I am not. 
URS. I know you by the waggling of your head. 
ANT. To tell you true, I counterfeit him. 
URS. You could never do him so ill-well, 3 unless 

rily, the text is too, by the addition of a single letter tvithin the 
house is Jove, Nor is this emendation a little confirmed by 
another passage in our author, in which he plainly alludes to the 
same story. As you like it : 

" Jaques. O, knowledge ill inhabited, 'worse than Jove in a 
thatched house /" THEOBALD. 

The line of Ovid above quoted is thus translated by Golding, 

" The roofe thereof was thatched all with straw and 
fennish reede." MALONE. 

' You could never do him so ill-well,] A similar phrase occurs 
in The Merchant of Venice: 


you were the very man : Here's his dry hand 4 up 
and down ; you are he, you are he. 

ANT. At a word, I am not. 

URS. Come, come; do you think I do not know 
you by your excellent wit ? Can virtue hide itself? 
Go to, mum, you are he : graces will appear, and 
there's an end. 

BEAT. Will you not tell me who told you so ? 
BENE. No, you shall pardon me. 
BEAT. Nor will you not tell me who you are ? 
BENE. Not now. 

BEAT. That I was disdainful, and that I had my 
ood wit out of the Hundred merry Tales f 
l, this was signior Benedick that said so. 

" He hath a better bad habit of frowning, than the Count 
Palatine." STEEVENS. 

4 his dry hand ] A dry hand was anciently regarded 

as the sign of a cold constitution. To this, Maria, in Twelfth- 
Night, alludes, Act I. sc. iii. STEEVENS. 

3 Hundred merry Tales ;] The book, to which Shak- 

speare alludes, might be an old translation of Les cent Nouvelles 
Nouvelles. The original was published at Paris, in the black 
letter, before the year 15OO, and is said to have been written by 
some of the royal family of France. Ames mentions a transla- 
tion of it prior to the time of Shakspeare. 

In The London Chaunticleres, 1659, this work, among others, 
is cried for sale by a ballad-man : " The Seven Wise Men of 
Gotham; a Hundred merry Talcs; Scoggiri's Jests," &c. 

Again, in The Nice Valour, &c. by Beaumont and Fletcher: 

" the Almanacs, 

" The Hundred Novels, and the Books of Cookery." 

Of this collection there are frequent entries in the register of 
the Stationers' Company. The first I met with was in Jan. 
1581. STEEVENS. 

This book was certainly printed before the year 15/5, and in 
tnuch repute, as appears from the mention of it in Laneham's 
Letter concerning the entertainment at Kenelworth-Castle, 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 43 

BENE. What's he ? 

BEAT. I am sure, you know him well enough. 

BENE. Not I, believe me. 

BEAT. Did he never make you laugh ? 

BENE. I pray you, what is he ? 

BEAT. Why, he is the prince's jester: a very dull 
fool ; only his gift is in devising impossible slan- 
ders : 6 none but libertines delight in him; and the 
commendation is not in his wit, but in his villainy ; 7 

Again, in The English Courtier and the Cuntrey Gentleman, 

bl. 1. 1586, sig. H 4: " wee want not also pleasant mad 

headed knaves that bee properly learned and well reade in 
diverse pleasant bookes and good authors. As Sir Guy of War- 
wicke, the Foure Sonnes of Aymon, the Ship of Fooles, the 
Budget of Demandes, the Hundredth merry Tales, the Booke 
of Ryddles, and many other excellent writers both witty and 
pleasaunt." It has been suggested to me that there is no other 
reason than the word hundred to suppose this book a translation 
of the Cent Nouvdles Notivelles. I have now but little doubt 
that Boccace's Decameron was the book here alluded to. It 
contains just one hundred Novels. So, in Guazzo's Civile Con- 
versation, 1586, p. i58: " we do but give them occasion 

to turne over the Hundred Novelles of Boccace, and to write 
amorous and lascivious letters." REED. 

his gift is in devising impossible slanders:'] We should 

read impassible, i. e. slanders so ill invented, that they will pass 
upon no body. WARBURTON. 

Impossible slanders are, I suppose, such slanders as, from their 
absurdity and impossibility, bring their own confutation with 
them. JOHNSON. 

Johnson's explanation appears to be right. Ford says, in The 
Merry Wives of Windsor, that he shall search for Falstaff in 
" impossible places." The word impossible is also used in a 
similar sense in Jonson's Sejanus, where Silius accuses Afer of 
" Malicious and manifold applying, 
" Foul wresting, and impossible construction." 


7 Ins villainy ;] By which she means his malice and im- 


for he both plcaseth men, and angers them, and 
then they laugh at him, and beat him : I am sure, 
lie is in the fleet ; I would he had boarded me. 

BENE. When I know the gentleman, I'll tell him 
what you say. 

BEAT. Do, do : he'll but break a comparison or 
two on me ; which, peradventure, not marked, or 
not laughed at, strikes him into melancholy ; and 
then there's a partridge' wing saved, for the fool 
will eat no supper that night. [Mustek within.'} 
We must follow the leaders. 

BENE. In every good thing. 

BEAT. Nay, if they lead to any ill, I will leave 
them at the next turning. 

\_Dance. Then exeunt all but Don JOHN, 

D. JOHN. Sure, my brother is amorous on Hero, 
and hath withdrawn her father to break with .him 
about it : The ladies follow her, and but one visor 

BORA. And that is Claudio : I know him by his 
bearing. 8 

D. JOHN. Are not you signior Benedick ? 
CLAUD. You know me well ; I am he. 

D. JOHN. Signior, you are very near my brother 
in his love : he is enamoured on Hero ; I pray you, 
dissuade him from her, she is no equal for his 

piety. By his impious jests, she insinuates, lie pleased liber- 
tines; and by his devising slanders of them, he angered them. 


his bearing.] i. e. his carriage, his demeanor. So, in 

Measure Jbr Measure: 

" How I may formally in person bear me." STEEVENS. 

ac. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 45 

birth : you may do the part of an honest man 
in it. 

CLAUD. How know you he loves her ? 
D. JOHN. I heard him swear his affection. 

BORA. So did I too j and he swore he would 
marry her to-night. 

D. JOHN. Come, let us to the banquet. 

\_Exeunt Don JOHN and BORACHIO. 

CLAUD. Thus answer I in name of Benedick, 
But hear these ill news with the ears of Claudio. 
'Tis certain so ; the prince wooes for himself. 
Friendship is constant in all other things, 
Save in the office and affairs of love : 
Therefore, 9 all hearts in love use their own tongues; 
Let every eye negotiate for itself, 
And trust no agent : for beauty is a witch, 
Against whose charms faith melteth into blood. 1 

9 Therefore, &c.] Let which is found in the next line, is 
understood here. MALONE. 

1 beauty is a witch, 

Against "whose charms Jaith melteth into blood.] i. e. as wax 
when opposed to the fire kindled by a witch, no longer preserves 
the figure of the person whom it was designed to represent, but 
flows into a shapeless lump ; so fidelity, when confronted with 
beauty, dissolves into our ruling passion, and is lost there like a 
drop of water in the sea. 

That blood signifies (as Mr. Malone has also observed) amorous 
heat, will appear from the following passage in All's well that 
ends well, Act III. sc. vii: 

" "Now his important blood will nought deny 
" That she'll deaiand." 

Again, in Chapman's version of the third Iliad, Helen, speak- 
i'ng of Agamemnon, says : 

" And one that was my brother in law, when I contain'd 

my blood, 
" And was move worthy: " STEEVENS. 


This is an accident of hourly proof, 

Which I mistrusted not: Farewell therefore, Hero ! 

Re-enter BENEDICK. 

BENE. Count Claudio ? 

CLAUD. Yea, the same. 

BENE. Come, will you go with me ? 

CLAUD. Whither? 

BENE. Even to the next willow, about your own 
business, count. What fashion will you wear the 
garland of? About your neck, like an usurer's 
chain ? 2 or under your arm, like a lieutenant's 
scarf? You must wear it one way, for the prince 
hath got your Hero. 

CLAUD. I wish him joy of her. 

BENE. Why, that's spoken like an honest drover; 

a usurer's chain?] Chains of gold, of considerable value, 

were in our author's time, usually worn by wealthy citizens, 
and others, in the same manner as they now are, on publick 
occasions, by the Aldermen of London. See The Puritan, or 
ihe Widow of Watling- Street, Act III. sc. iii. Albumazar, Act I. 
sc. vii. and other pieces. REED. 

Usury seems about this time to have been a common topic of 
invective. I have three or four dialogues, pasquils, and dis- 
courses on the subject, printed before the year l6GO. From every 
one it appears, that the merchants were the chief usurers 
of the age. STEEVENS. 

So, in The Choice of Change, containing the triplicilie of 
Divinilie, Phito.wp/n'e, and Poeirie, by S. It. Gent. 4to. ]5pS: 
" Three sortes of people, in respect of use in necessitie, may be 
accounted good : Mcrchantes, for they may play the usurers, 
instead of the Jc-wes." Again, ibid: ''There is a scarcitie of 
.Towes, because Christians make an occupation ofusurie." 


sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 47 

so they sell bullocks. But did you think, the 
prince would have served you thus ? 

CLAUD. I pray you, leave me. 

BENE. Ho ! now you strike like the blind man ; 
'twas the boy that stole your meat, and you'll beat 
the post. 

CLAUD. If it will not be, I'll leave you. [_E.rzY. 

BENE. Alas, poor hurt fowl! Now will he creep 

into sedges. But, that my lady Beatrice should 

know me, and not know me ! The prince's fool ! 
Ha ! it may be, I go under that title, because I am 
merry. Yea; but so; I am apt to do myself wrong: 
I am not so reputed : it is the base, the bitter dis- 
position of Beatrice, that puts the world into her 
person, 3 and so gives me out. Well, I'll be revenged 
as I may. 

Re-enter Don PEDRO, HERO, and LEONATO. 

D. PEDRO. Now, signior, where's the count; 
Did you see him ? 

BENE. Troth, my lord, I have played the part of 
lady Fame. I found him here as melancholy as a 
lodge in a warren ; 4 I told him, and, I think, I told 

it is the base, the fritter disposition of Beatrice, that 

puts the world into her person,] That is, It is the disposition of 
Beatrice, who takes upon her to personate the "world, and there- 
Jbre represents the world as saying ivhat she only says herself. 

The old copies read base, though bitter: but I do not under- 
stand how base and bitter are inconsistent, or why what is bitter 
should not be base. I believe, we may safely read, It is the 
base, the bitter disposition. JOHNSON. 

I have adopted Dr. Johnson's emendation, though I once 
thought it unnecessary. SfEEVENS. 

4 as melancholy as a lodge in a warren;] A parallel 
thought occurs in the first chapter of Isaiah, where the prophet, 

84 MUCH ADO ACT it. 

him true, that your grace had got the gctod will of 
this young lady; 5 and I offered him my company 
to a willow tree, either to make him a garland, as 
being forsaken, or to bind him up a rod, as being 
worthy to be whipped. 

D. PEDRO. To be whipped ! What's his fault ? 

BENE. The flat transgression of a school-boy ; 
who, being overjoy'd with rinding a bird's nest, 
shows it his companion, and he steals it. 

D. PEDRO. Wilt thou make a trust a transgres- 
sion ? The transgression is in the stealer. 

BENE. Yet it had not been amiss, the rod had 
beerl made, and the garland too; for the garland 
he might have worn himself; and the rod he 
might have bestow'd on you, who, as I take it, have 
stol'n his bird's nest. 

D. PEDRO. I will but teach them to sing, and 
restore them to the owner. 

BEXE. If their singing answer your saying, by 
my faith, you say honestly. 

describing the desolation of Judah, says: "The daughter of 
Zion is left as a cottage In a vineyard, as a lodge in a garden of 
cucumbers,'' &c. I am informed, that near Aleppo, these lonely 
buildings are still made use of, it being necessary, that the fields 
where water-melons, cucumbers, &c. are raised, should be regu- 
larly watched. I learn from Tho. Newton's Ihrball io tlic Bible, 
8vo. 1587, that " so soone as the cucumbers, &c. be gathered, 
these lodges are abandoned of the watchmen and keepers, and 
no more frequented." From these forsaken buildings, it should 
seem, the prophet takes his comparison. STKF.VF.XS. 

6 of ihis young lad// ;] Benedick speaks of Hero as if 

she were on the stage. Perhaps, both she and Leonato were 
meant to make their entrance with Don Pedro. When Beatrice 
enters, she is spoken of as coining in with only Claudio. 


1 have regulated the entries accordingly. MALONE. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 49 

D. PEDRO. The lady Beatrice hath a'quarrel to 
you ; the gentleman, that danced with her, told 
her, she is much wronged by you. 

BENE. O, she misused me past the endurance of 
a block ; an oak, but with one green leaf on it, 
would have answered her; my very visor began to 
assume life, and scold 6 with her: She told me, not 
thinking I had been myself, that I was the prince's 
jester ; that I was duller than a great thaw ; hud- 
dling jest upon jest, with such impossible convey- 
ance, 7 upon me, that I stood like a man at a mark, 

fi my visor began to assume life, and scold ] ' 'Tis 

whimsical, that a similar thought should have been found in the 
tenth Thebaid of Statius, v. 658 : 

" ipsa insanire vidctur 

" Sphynx galeae custos .'* STEEVENS. 

such impossible conveyance,'] Dr. Warburton reads 

impassable: Sir Thomas Hanmer impetuous, and Dr. Johnson 
importable, which, says he, is used by Spenser, in a sense very 
congruous to this passage, for insupportable, or not to be sus- 
tained. Also by the last translators of the Apocrypha ; and 
therefore such a word as Shakspeare may be supposed to have 
written. REED. 

Importable is very often used by Lidgate, in his Prologue to 
the translation of The Tragedies gathered by Ilion Bochas, &c. 
as well as by Holinshed. 

Impossible may be licentiously used for unaccountable. Bea- 

Again, in The Roman Actor, by Massinger: 

" to lose 

" Ourselves, by building on impossible hopes." 


Impossible may have been what Shakspeare wrote, and be 
used in the senpe of incredible or inconceivable, both here and 
in the beginning of the scene, where Beatrice speaks of impos- 
iiUc slanders. M. MASON. 

I believe the meaning is icith a rapidity equal to that of 
jugglers, who appear to perform impossibilities. We have the 



with a whole army shooting at me : She speaks 
poniards, 8 and every word stabs: if her breath were 
as terrible as her terminations, there were no living 
near her, she would infect to the north star. I 
would not marry her, though she were endowed 
with all that Adam had left him before he trans- 
gressed: she would have made Hercules have turned 
spit; yea, and have cleft his club to make the tire 
too. Come, talk not of her ; you shall rind her 
the infernal Ate in good apparel.' 1 I would to G od, 
some scholar would conjure her ; l for, certainly, 
while she is here, a man may live as quiet in hell, 
as in a sanctuary ; and people sin upon purpose, be- 
cause they would go thither ; so, indeed, all disquiet, 
horror, and perturbation follow her. 

same epithet again in Twelfth-Night: " There is no Christian 
can ever believe such impossible passages of grossness." So Ford 
says, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: " I will examine /> 
possible places." Again, in Julius Cccsar: 

" Now bid me run, 

" And I will strive with things impossible, 

" And get the better of them." 

Conveyance was the common term in our author's time for 
sleight of hand. MALONE. 

8 She speaks poniards,] So, in Hamlet: 

" I'll speak daggers to her ." STEEVEXS. 

the infernal Ate* in good apparel.'] This is a pleasant 
allusion to the custom of ancient poets and painters, who 
represent the Furies in rags. WARBURTON. 

At e is not one of the Furies, but the Goddess of Revenge, or 
Discord. STL EVENS. 

some scholar -would conjure her ;~| As Shakspeare 
always attributes to his exorcists the power of raising spirits, he- 
gives his conjurer, in this plucc, the power of laying them. 

M. MA sox. 

fc. /. ABOUT NOTHING. 51 


D. PEDRO. Look, here she comes. 

BENE. Will your grace command me any service 
to the world's end? I will go on the slightest errand 
now to the Antipodes, that you can devise to send 
me on ; I will fetch you a toothpicker now from 
the farthest inch of Asia; bring you the length of 
Prester John's foot ; fetch you a hair off the great 
Cham's beard ; 2 do you any embassage to the Pig- 
mies, rather than hold three words' conference with 
this harpy : You have no employment for me ? 

D. PEDRO. None, but to desire your good com- 

BENE. O God, sir, here's a dish I love not ; I 
cannot endure my lady Tongue. 3 \_Eait. 

8 bring you the length of Prester John's foot; fetch you 

ft hair off" the great Cham's beard ;~\ i. e. I will undertake the 
hardest task, rather than have any conversation with lady Bea- 
trice. Alluding to the difficulty of access to either of those 
monarchs, but more particularly to the former. 

So, Cartwright, in his comedy called The Siege, or Love's 
Convert, 1(351 : 

" bid me take the Parthian king by the beard; or draw 

an eye-tooth from the jaw royal of the Persian monarch." 

Such an achievement, however, Iluon of Bourdeaux was 
sent to perform, and performed it. See chap. 46, edit. 1(501: 
" he opened his mouth, and tooke out his f'oure great teeth, 
and then cut off his beard, and tooke thereof as much as 
pleased him." STEEVEXS. 

" Thou must goe to the citie of Babylon to the Admiral 
Gaudisse, to bring me thy hand full of the heare of his beard, 
and foure of his greatest teeth. Alas, my lord, (quoth the 
Barrens,) we see well you desire greatly his death, when you 
charge him with such a message." Huon of Bourdeaux, ch. 17. 


my lady Tongue.] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio 
reads this lady Tongue. STEEVENS. 

K 2 

52 MUCH' ADO ACT it. 

D. PEDRO. Come, lady, come j you have lost the 
heart of signior Benedick. 

BEAT. Indeed, my lord, he lent it me a while ; 
and I gave him use for it, 4 a double heart for his 
single one : marry, once before, he won it of me 
with false dice, therefore your grace may well say, 
I have lost it. 

D. PEDRO. You have put him down, lady, you 
have put him down. 

BEAT. So I would not he should do me, my lord, 
lest I should prove the mother of fools. I have 
brought count Claudio, whom you sent me to seek, 

D. PEDRO. Why, how now, count ? wherefore 
are you sad ? 

CLAUD. Not sad, my lord. 
D. PEDRO. How then ? Sick ? 
CLAUD. Neither, my lord. 

BEAT. The count is neither sad, nor sick, nor 
merry, nor well : but civil, count ; civil as an 
orange, 5 and something of that jealous com- 
plexion. 6 

D. PEDRO. I'faith, lady, I think your blazon to 
be true ; though, I'll be sworn, if he be so, his 
conceit is false. Here, Claudio, I have wooed in 
thy name, and fair Hero is won; I have broke with 
her father, and his good w r ill obtained : name the 
day of marriage, and God give thee joy ! 

4 / gave him use for it,"] Use, in our author's time, 

meant interest of money. MALONE. 

5 civil as an orange,'] This conceit occurs likewise in 

Nashe's Four Letters confuted, 15p2: " For the order of my 
life, it is as civil as an orange.'" STEEVENS. 

6 of that jealous complexion.'] Thus the quarto, l6CO; 

the folio reads, of a jealous complexion. STEEVJENS. 


LEON. Count, take of me my daughter, and with 
her my fortunes: his grace hath made the match, 
and all grace say Amen to it ! 

. BEAT. Speak, count, 'tis your cue. 

CLAUD. Silence is the perfectest herald of joy: I 
were but little happy, if I could say how much. 
Lady, as you are mine, I am yours : I give away 
myself for you, and dote upon the exchange. 

BEAT. Speak, cousin ; or, if you cannot, stop 
his mouth with a kiss, and let him not speak, 

D. PEDRO. In faith, lady, you have a merry 

BEAT. Yea, my lord; I thank it, poor fool, 7 it 
keeps on the windy side of care: My cousin tells 
him in his ear, that he is in her heart, 

CLAUD. And so she doth, cousin. 

BEAT. Good lord, for alliance! 8 Thus goes 
every one to the world but I, and I am sun-burned j 9 

7 poor fool,'] This was formerly an expression of ten- 
derness. See King Lear, last scene : " And my poor fool is 
hang'd." M ALONE. 

8 Good lord, for alliance!] Claudio has just called Beatrice 
cousin. I suppose, therefore, the meaning is, Good lord, here 
have I got a new kinsman by marriage. MALOXE. 

I cannot understand these words, unless they imply a wish for 
the speaker's alliance with a husband. STEEVENS. 

9 Thus goes every one to the world but I, and I am sun- 
burned ;] What is it, to go to the taorld? perhaps, to enter by 
marriage into a settled state ; but why is the unmarried lady 
sun-burnt? I believe we should read, Thus goes every one to 
the wood but I, and I am mn-burnt. Thus does every one but 
J find a shelter, and 1 am left exposed to wind and sun. The 
nearest ivay to the wood, i.s a phrase for the readiest means to 


I may sit in a corner, and cry, heigh ho ! for a 

D. PEDRO. Lady Beatrice, I will get you one. 

BEAT. I would rather have one of your father's 
getting: Hath your grace ne'er a brother like you? 
Your father got excellent husbands, if a maid could 
come by them. 

D. PEDRO. Will you have me, lady ? 

BEAT. No, my lord, unless I might have another 
for working days ; your grace is too costly to wear 
every day: But, I beseech your grace, pardon me; 
I was born to speak all mirth, and no matter. 

D. PEDRO. Your silence most offends me, and to 
be merry best becomes you ; for, out of question, 
you were born in a merry hour. 

BEAT. No, sure, my lord, my mother cry'd; but 
then there was a star danced, and under that was I 
born. Cousins, God give you joy! 

LEON. Niece, will you look to those things I told 
you of? 

BEAT. I cry you mercy, uncle. By your grace's 
pardon. [Exit BEATRICE. 

D. PEDRO. By my troth, a pleasant-spirited lady. 
LEOX. There's little of the melancholy element 

any end. It is said of a woman, who accepts a worse match 
than those which she had refused, that she has passed through 
the wood, and at last taken a crooked stick. But conjectural 
criticism has always something to abate its confidence. Shak- 
speare, in All's well that ends well, uses the phrase, to go to the 
ivorlcl, for marriage. So that my emendation depends only on 
the opposition of wood to sun-burnt. JOHNSON. 

I am sun-burnt may mean, I have lost my beauty, and am 
consequently no longer such an object as can tempt a man to 
marry. STEEVENS. 


in her, 1 my lord : she is never sad, but when she 
sleeps; and not ever sad then; for I have heard my 
daughter say, she hath often dreamed of unhappi- 
ness, 2 and waked herself with laughing. 

D. PEDRO. She cannot endure to hear tell of a 

LEON. O, by no means; she mocks all her wooers 
out of suit. 

D. PEDRO. She were an excellent wife for Bene- 

LEON. O lord, my lord, if they were but a week 
married, they wx>uld talk themselves mad. 

D. PEDRO. Count Claudio, when mean you to go 
to church ? 

CLAUD. To-morrow, my lord : Time goes on 
crutches, till love have all his rites. 

LEON. Not till Monday, my dear son, which is 
hence a just seven-night; and a time too brief too, 
to have all things answer my mind. 

D. PEDRO. Come, you shake the head at so long 
a breathing; but, I warrant thee, Claudio, the time 

1 There's little of the melancholy element in her,] " Docs 
not our life consist of the four elements*" says Sir Toby, in 
Twelfth- Night. So, also in King Henry V: " He is pure air 
and fire, and the dull elements of earth and tauter never appear 
in him." MALONE. 

she hath often dreamed of unhappiness,] So all the 

editions ; but Mr. Theobald alters it to, an happiness, having 
no conception that unhappiness meant any thing but misfortune, 
and that, he thinks, she could not laugh at. He had never 
heard that it signified a wild, wanton, unlucky trick. Thus 
Beaumont and Fletcher, in their comedy of The Maid of the 

" My dreams are like my thoughts, honest and innocent: 

" Yours are unhappy." WAKBUKTON. 


shall not go dully by us ; I will, in the interim, un- 
dertake one of Hercules' labours ; which is, to 
bring signior Benedick and the lady Beatrice into a 
mountain of affection, the one with the other. 3 I 

into a mountain of affection, the one tvith the other.] 

A mountain of affection luith one another, is a strange expression, 
yet I know not well how to change it. Perhaps it was originally 
written to bring Benedick and Beatrice into a mooting cf affec- 
tion ; to bring them not to any more mootings of contention, 
but to a mooting or conversation of love. This reading is con- 
firmed by the preposition tvith ; a mountain with each other, or 
affection with each other, cannot be used, but a mooting with 
each other is proper and regular. JOHNSOX. 

Uncommon as the word proposed by Dr. Johnson may appear, 
it is used in several of the old plays. So, in Glapthorne's Wit 
in a Constable, 1&3Q: 

" one who never 

" Had mooted in the hall, or seen the revels 

" Kept in the house at Christmas." 
Again, in The Return from Parnassus, 1 606 : 

" It is a plain case, whereon 1 mooted in our temple." 
Again : 

" at a mooting in our temple." Ibid. 

And yet, all that I believe is meant by a mountain of affection 
is, a great deal of affection. 

In one of Stanyhurst's poems is the following phrase to denote 
a large quantity of love : 

" Lumps of love promist, nothing perform'd," &c. 
Again, in The Rencgado, by Massinger : 

" 'tis but parting with 

" A mountain of vexation." 

Thus, also in King Henry VIII. we find " a sea of glory." In 
Hamlet, " a sea of troubles." Again, in Howel's History of 
Venice : " though they see mountains of miseries heaped on 
one's back." Again, in Bacon's History of King Henry VII : 
" Perkin sought to corrupt the servants to the lieutenant of the 
tower by mountains of promises." Again, in The Comedy of 
'Errors : " the mountain of mad flesh that claims marriage 
of me." Little can be inferred from the present offence against 
grammar ; an offence which may not strictly be imputable to 
Shakspeare, but rather to the negligence or ignorance of his 
transcribers or printers. STEEVENS. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 51. 

would fain have it a match ; and I doubt not but 
to fashion it, if you three will but minister such 
assistance as I shall give you direction. 

LEON. My lord, I am for you, though it cost me 
ten nights' watchings. 

CLAUD. And I, my lord. 

D. PEDRO. And you too, gentle Hero? 

HERO. I will do any modest office, my lord, to 
help my cousin to a good husband. 

D. PEDRO. And Benedick is not the unhope- 
fullest husband that I know: thus far can I praise 
him ; he is of a noble strain, 4 of approved valour, 
and confirmed honesty. I will teach you how to 
humour your cousin, that she shall fall in love with 
Benedick : and I, with your two helps, will so 
practice on Benedick, that, in despite of his quick 
wit and his queasy stomach, 5 he shall fall in love 
with Beatrice. If we can do this, Cupid is no 

Shakspeare has many phrases equally harsh. He who would 
hazard such expressions as a storm of 'fortune, a vale of years, 
and a tempest of provocation, would not scruple to write a 
mountain of affection. M ALONE. 

4 a noble strain,] i. e. descent, lineage. So, in The 

Fairy Queen, B. IV. c. viii. s. 33 : 

" Sprung from the auncient stocke of prince's straine." 

Again, B. V. c. ix. s. 32 : 

" Sate goodly temperaunce in garments clene, 

" And sacred reverence yborn of heavenly strene" 

It was used in the same sense by Shadwell, in his Virtuoso, 

Act I : " Gentlemen care not upon what strain they get their 

cons." REED. 

Again, in King Lear, Act V. sc. iii : 

" Sir, you have shown to-day your valiant strain." 


* queasy stomach,] i. e. squeamish. So, in Aitlony and 

Cleopatra : 

" Who queasy with his insolence already ." S ricia F,N. 


longer an archer ; his glory shall be ours, for we 
are the only love-gods. Go in with me, and I will 
tell you my drift. \_ExeunL 


Another Room in Leonato's House. 

Enter Don JOHN and BORACHIO. 

D. JOHN. It is so ; the count Claudio shall marry 
the daughter of Leonato. 

BORA. Yea, my lord : but I can cross it. 

D. JOHN. Any bar, any cross, any impediment 
"will be medicinable to me : I am sick in displeasure 
to him ; and whatsoever comes athwart his affec- 
tion, ranges evenly with mine. How canst thou 
cross this marriage ? 

BORA. Not honestly, my lord ; but so covertly 
that no dishonesty shall appear in me. 

D. JOHN. Show me briefly how. 

BORA. I think, I told your lordship, a year since, 
how much I am in the favour of Margaret, the 
waiting-gentlewoman to Hero. 

D. JOHN. I remember. 

BORA. I can, at any unseasonable instant of the 
night, appoint her to look out at her lady's cham- 

D. JOHN. What life is in that, to be the death 
of this marriage ? 

BORA. The poison of that lies in you to temper. 
Go you to the prince your brother; spare not to 

sc. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 59 

tell him, that he hath wronged his honour in mar- 
rying the renowned Claudio (whose estimation do 
you mightily hold up) to a contaminated stale, such 
a one as Hero. 

D. JOHN. What proof shall I make of that ? 

BORA. Proof enough to misuse the prince, to vex 
Claudio, to undo Hero, and kill Leonato : Look 
you for any other issue ? 

D. JOHN. Only to despite them, I will endeavour 
any thing. 

6 J3osA. Go then, find me a meet hour to draw 

6 Bora. Go then,Jind me a meet hour to draw Don Pedro and 
the count Claudio, alone: tell them, that you know that Hero 

loves me ; offer them instances ; 'which shall bear no less 

likelihood, than to see me at her chamber-window ; hear me. 
call Margaret, Hero ; hear Margaret term me Claudio ; and 
bring them to see this, the very night before the intended 
'wedding:'] Thus the whole stream of the editions from the 
first quarto downwards. I am obliged here to give a short 
account of the plot depending, that the emendation I have 
made may appear the more clear and unquestionable. The 
business stands thus: Claudio, a favourite of the Arragon prince, 
is, by his intercessions with her father, to be married to fair 
Hero ; Don John, natural brother of the prince, and a hater 
of Claudio, is in his spleen zealous to disappoint the match. 
Borachio, a rascally dependant on Don John, offers his assistance, 
and engages to break off the marriage by this stratagem. " Tell 
the prince and Claudio (says he) that Hero is in love with me ; 
they won't believe it : offer them proofs, as, that they shall see 
me converse with her in her chamber-window. I am in the 
good graces of her waiting-woman, Margaret ; and I'll prevail 
with Margaret, at a dead hour of night, to personate her mistress 
Hero ; do you then bring the Prince and Claudio to overhear 
our discourse ; and they shall have the torment to hear me ad- 
dress Margaret by the name of Hero, and her say sweet things 
to me by the name of Claudio." This is the substance of 
Borachio's device to make Hero suspected of disloyalty ; and to 
break off her match with Claudio. But, in the name of com- 
mon sense, could it displease Claudio, to hear his mistress making 
use of his name tenderly ? If he saw another man with her. 


Don Pedro and the count Claudio, alone : tell them, 
that you know that Hero loves me : intend a kind of 
zeal 7 both to the prince and Claudio, as in love of 
your brother's honour who hath made this match; 
and his friend's reputation, who is thus like to be 
cozened with the semblance of a maid, that you 
have discovered thus. They will scarcely believe 
this without trial: offer them instances; which shall 

and heard her call him Claudio, he might reasonably think her 
betrayed, but not have the same reason to accuse her of disloy- 
alty. Besides, how could her naming CJaudio, make the Prince 
and Claudio delieve that she loved Borachio, as he desires Don 
John to insinuate to them that she did ? The circumstances 
'^weighed, there is no doubt but the passage ought to be reformed, 
as 1 have settled in the text hear me call Margaret, Hero; 
hear Margaret term me, Borachio. THEOBALD. 

Though I have followed Mr. Theobald's direction, I am not 
convinced that this change of names is absolutely necessary. 
Claudio would naturally resent the circumstance of hearing 
another called by his own name ; because, in that case, baseness 
of treachery would appear to be aggravated by wantonness of 
insult ; and, at the same time, he would imagine the person so 
distinguished to be Borachio, because Don John was previously 
to have informed both him and Don Pedro, that Borachio was 
the favoured lover. STEEVENS. 

We should surely read Borachio instead of Claudio. There 
could be no reason why Margaret should call him Claudio; 
and that would ill agree with what Borachio says in tbe last 
Act, where he declares that Margaret knew not what she did 
when she spoke to him. M. MASON. 

Claudio would naturally be enraged to find his mistress, Hero, 
(for such he would imagine Margaret to be,) address Borachio, 
or any other man, by his name, as he might suppose tbat she 
called him by the name of Claudio in consequence of a secret 
agreement between them, as a cover, in case she were over- 
heard ; and he would know, without a possibility of error, that 
it was not Claudio, with whom, in fact, she conversed. 


intend a kind of zeal ] i. e. pretend. So, in King 

Jlic/iarrl III: 

" Intending deep suspicion." STEEVENS. 

jsc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 61 

bear no less likelihood, than to see me at her 
chamber-window ; hear me call Margaret, Hero j 
hear Margaret term me Borachio; and bring them 
to see this, the very night before the intended wed- 
ding : for, in the mean time, I will so fashion the 
matter, that Hero shall be absent ; and there shall 
appear such seeming truth of Hero's disloyalty, that 
jealousy shall be call'd assurance, and all the pre- 
paration overthrown. 

D. JOHN. Grow this to what adverse issue it can, 
I will put it in practice: Be cunning in the work- 
ing this, and thy fee is a thousand ducats. 

BORA. Be you constant in the accusation, and 
my cunning shall not shame me. 

D. JOHN. I will presently go learn their day of 
marriage. [Exeunt. 


Leonato's Garden. 

JLnter BENEDICK and a Boy. 

BENE. Boy, 
BOY. Signior. 

BENE. In my chamber-window lies a book; bring 
it hither to me in the orchard. 8 

BOY. I am here already, sir. 

BENE. I know that; but I would have thee 

* in the orchard.] Gardens were anciently called or- 

f hards. So, in Romeo and Juliet: 

" The orchard walls are high, and hard to climb." 



hence, and here again. [Exit Boy.] I do much 
wonder, that one man, seeing how much another 
man is a fool when he dedicates his behaviours to 
love, will, after he hath laughed at such shallow fol- 
lies in others, become the argument of his own 
scorn, by falling in love : And such a man is 
Claudio. I have known, when there was no mu- 
sick with him but the drum and fife ; and now had 
he rather hear the tabor and the pipe : I have 
known, when he would have walked ten mile afoot, 
to see a good armour ; and now will he lie ten 
nights awake, carving the fashion of a new doublet. 9 
He was wont to speak plain, and to the purpose, 
like an honest man, and a soldier j and now is he 

* carving the fashion of a new doublet."] This folly, so 
conspicuous in the gallants of former ages, is laughed at by 
all our comic writers. So, in Greene's Farewell to Folly, \Q\7- 
" We are almost as fantastic as the English gentleman that is 
painted naked, with a pair of sheers in his hand, as not being 
resolved after what fashion to have his coat cut." STEEVENS. 

The English gentleman in the above extract alludes to a plate 
in Borde's Introduction of Knowledge. In Barnaby Kiche's 
Faults and nothing but Faults, <Jto. 1005, p. 6, we have the 
following account of a Faahionmonger : " here comes first 
the Fashionmonger that spends his time in the contemplation of 
sutes. Alas ! good gentleman, there is something amisse with 
him. I perceive it by his sad and heavie countenance : for my 
life his tailer and he are at some square about the making of 
his new sute ; he hath cut it after the old stampe of some stale 
fashion that is at the least of a whole fortnight's standing/' 


The English gentleman is represented [by Borde] naked, with 
a pair of tailor's sheers in one hand, and a piece of cloth on his 
arm, with the following verses: 

" I am an Englishman, and naked I stand here, 
" Musing in my mynde what ray men t I shall were, 
" For now I will ware this, and now I will were that, 
" Now I will were I cannot tell what, 1 ' c. 
See Camden's Remaines t lt>H, p. 17. MALONE. 

so. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 63 

turn'd orthographer ; l his words are a very fantasti- 
cal banquet, just so many strange dishes. May I be 
so converted, and see with these eyes? I cannot tell; 
I think not : I will not be sworn, but love may trans- 
form me to an oyster ; but I'll take my oath on it, 
till he have made an oyster of me, he shall never 
make me such a fool. One woman is fair ; yet I 
am well : another is wise ; yet I am well : another 
virtuous ; yet I am well : but till all graces be in 
one woman, one woman shall not come in my 
grace. Rich she shall be, that's certain ; wise, or 
I'll none ; virtuous, or I'll never cheapen her; fair, 
or I'll never look on her ; mild, or come not near 
me ; noble, or not I for an angel ; of good dis- 
course, an excellent musician, and her hair shall be 
of what colour it please God. 2 Ha! the prince 
and monsieur Love ! I will hide me in the arbour. 

[ Withdraws. 

1 orthographer ;] The old copies read orthography, 

Corrected by Mr. Pope. STEEVENS. 

8 and her hair shall be of what colour it please God.] 

Perhaps Benedick alludes to a, fashion, very common in the time 
of Shakspeare, that of dying the hair. 

Stubbes, in his Anatomy of Abuses, 15Q5, speaking of the 
attires of women's heads, says : " If any have haire of her owne 
naturall growing, which is not faire ynough, then will they die 
it in divers colours." STEEVEXS. 

The practice of dying the hair was one of those fashions so 
frequent before and in Queen Elizabeth's time, as to be thought 
worthy of particular animadversion from the pulpit. In the 
Homily against excess of apparel, b. 1. 1547, after mentioning 
the common excuses of some nice and vain women for painting 
their faces, dying their hair, &c. the preacher breaks out into 
the following invective : " Who can paynt her face, and curie 
her heere, and chaunge it into an unnaturall coloure, but 
therein doth worke . reprofe to her Maker who made her ? a* 
thoughe she coulde make herselfe more comelye than God hath 
appoynted the measure of her beautie. What do these women 
but go about to retburme that which God hath made ? not 



D. PEDRO. Come, shall we hear this musick ? 

CLAUD. Yea, my good lord : How still the 

evening is, 
As hush'd on purpose to grace harmony ! 

D. PEDRO. See you where Benedick hath hid 

CLAUD. O, very well, my lord: the musick ended, 
We'll fit the kid-fox with a penny-worth. 3 

knowyng that all thynges naturall is the wovke of God : and 
thynges disguysed and unnatural be the workes of the devyll," 
&c. REED. 

Or he may allude to the fashion of wearing fake hair, " of 
whatever colour it pleased God." So, in a subsequent scene: 
" I like the new tire within, if the hair were a thought 
browner." Fines Moryson, describing the dress of the ladies 
of Shakspeare's time, says : " Gentlewomen virgins weare 

fownes close to the body, and aprons of fine linnen, and go 
areheaded, with their hair curiously knotted, and raised at the 
forehead, but many (against the cold, as they say,) weare caps 
of hair that is not their oww." See The Two Gentlemen of 
Verona. MALONE. 

The practice of colouring the hair in Shakspeare's time, 
receives considerable illustration from Maria Magdalene her 
Life and Repentance, 156'7> where Infidelitie (the Vice) recom- 
mends her to a goldsmith to die her hair yellow with some pre- 
paration, when it should fade ; and Carnal Concupiscence tells 
her likewise that there was " other geare besides goldsmith's 
water," for the purpose. DOUCE. 

3 Pedro. See you "where Benedick hath hid himself? 
Claudio. O, very well, my lord : the musick ended, 
We'll Jit the kid-fox with a penny-worth."] i. e. we will be 
even with the fox now discovered. So the word kid, or kiddc, 
signifies in Chaucer: 

" The soothfastness that now is hid, 

" Without coverture shall be kid, 

" When I undoen have this dreming." 

Romaunt of' the Rose, 21/1 * c - 

sc. in. ABOUT NOTHING. 6.5 

Enter BALTHAZAR, with musick. 4 

D. PEDRO. Come, Balthazar, we'll hear that 
song again. 5 

BALTH. O good my lord, tax not so bad a voice 
To slander musick any more than once. 

D. PEDRO. It is the witness still of excellency, 
To put a strange face on his own perfection : 
I pray thee, sing, and let me woo no more. 

BALTH. Because you talk of wooing, I will sing : 
Since many a wooer doth commence his suit 

" Perceiv'd or shew'd. 

" He kidde anon his bone was not broken." 

Troilus and Cressida, Lib. I. 205. 
" With that anon sterte out daungere, 
" Out of the place where he was hidde ; 
" His malice in his cheere was kidde." 

Romaimt of the Rose, 2130. GREY. 

It is not impossible but that Shakspeare chose on this occasion 
to employ an antiquated word ; and yet if any future editor 
should choose to read hid fox, he may observe that Hamlet 
has said " Hide fox and all after." STEEVENS. 

Dr. Warburton reads as Mr. Steevens proposes. MA LONE. 

A kid-fox seems to be no more than a young fox or cub. In 
As you like it, we have the expression of " two dog-apes." 


4 toith musick.'] I am not sure that this stage-direction 

(taken from the quarto, l60O,) is proper. Balthazar might have 
been designed at once for a vocal and an instrumental performer. 
Shakspeare's orchestra was hardly numerous ; and the first folio, 
instead of Balthazar, only gives us Jacke Wilson, the name of 
the actor who represented him. STEEVENS. 

5 Come, Balthazar, well hear that song again.'] Balthazar, 
the musician and servant to Don Pedro, was perhaps thus named 
from the celebrated Baltazarini, called De Beaujoyeux, an Italian 
performer on the violin, who was in the highest fame and favour 
at the court of Henry II. of France, 15//. BUBNEY. 



To her he thinks not worthy ; yet he wooes ; 
Yet will he swear, he loves. 

D. PEDRO. Nay, pray thee, come : 

Or, if thou wilt hold longer argument, 
Do it in notes. 

BALTH. Note this before my notes, 

There's not a note of mine that's worth the noting. 

D. PEDRO. Why these are very crotchets that 

he speaks : 
Note, notes, forsooth, and noting ! 6 [Mustek. 

BENE. Now, Divine air! now is his soul ra- 
vished ! Is it not strange, that sheeps' guts should 
hale souls out of men's bodies ? Well, a horn for 
my money, when all's done. 



BALTH. Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,' 

Men were deceive?^ ever ; 
One foot in sea, and one on-shore ; 
To one thing constant never : 
Then sigh not so, 
But let them go, 
And be you blitli and bonny ; 
Converting all your sounds of woe 
Into, Hey nonny, nonny. 

and noting !] The old copies nothing. The correc- 
tion was made by Mr. Theobald. MALONE. 

7 Sigh no more, ladies, sigh no more,'] 

" Weep no more, woful shepherds, weep no more." 

Milton's Lycidas. STEEVENSI 

sc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 67 


Sing no more ditties, sing no mo 
Of dumps so dull and heavy ; 

The fraud of men was ever so, 
Since summer Jirst was leavy. 
Then sigh not so, &c. 

D. PEDRO. By my troth, a good song. 
BALTH. And an ill singer, my lord. 

D. PEDRO. Ha ? no ; no, faith ; thou singest well 
enough for a shift. 

BENE. [ Aside. ] An he had been a dog, that 
should have howled thus, they would have hanged 
him : and, I pray God, his bad voice bode no mis- 
chief! I had as lief have heard the night-raven, 8 
come what plague could have come after it. 

D. PEDRO. Yea, marry; [_To CLAUDIO.] Dost 
thou hear, Balthazar ? I pray thee, get us some 
excellent musick ; for to-morrow night we would 
have it at the lady Hero's chamber-window. 

BALTH. The best I can, my lord. 

D. PEDRO. Do so : farewell. [Exeunt BALTHA- 
ZAR and musick.~] Come hither, Leonato : What 
was it you told me of to-day ? that your niece 
Beatrice was in love with signior Benedick ? 

8 1 pray God, his bad voice bode no mischief! / had 

as lief have heard the night-raven,] i. e. the owl ; v 
So, in King Henry VI. P. III. sc. vi : 

" The night-crow cried, aboding lucUcss fime." 

Thus also, Milton, in L' Allegro : 

" And the night -raven sings." DOUCE. 


CLAUD. O, ay : Stalk on, stalk on ; the fowl 
sits. 9 \_Aslde to PEDRO.] I did never think that 
lady would have loved any man. 

LEON. No, nor I neither ; but most wonderful, 
that she should so dote on signior Benedick, whom 
she hath in all outward behaviours seemed ever to 

BENE. Is't possible ? Sits the wind in that 
corner ? [Aside. 

LEON. By my troth, my lord, I cannot tell what 
to think of it ; but that she loves him with an 

9 Stalk on, stalk on; the Jotxl sits.~\ This is an allusion to 
the stalking-horse; a horse either real or factitious, by which 
the fowler anciently sheltered himself from the sight of the 

So, in The Honest Lawyer, \QlQ: 

" Lye there, thou happy warranted case 
" Of any villain. Thou hast been my sloJ king-horse 
" Now these ten months." 
Again, in the 25th Song of Drayton's Polyolbion: 

" One underneath his horse to get a shoot doth stalk.''* 
Again, in his Muses' Elysium: 

" Then underneath my horse, I stalk my game to strike." 


Again, in New Shred* of the Old Snare, by John Gee, quarto, 
p. 23 : " Methinks I behold the cunning fowler, such as I have 
knowne in the fenne countries and els- where, that doe shoot at 
woodcockes, snipes, and wilde fowle, by sneaking behind a 
painted cloth which they carrey before them, having pictured in 
it the shape of a horse ; which while the silly fowle gazeth on, 
it is knockt down with hale shot, and so put in the fowler's 
budget." REED. 

A stalking'bull, with a cloth thrown over him, was sometimes 
used for deceiving the game ; as may be seen from a very elegant 
cut in Loniceri Venatus et Ancupium. Francofurti, 1582, 4to. 
and from a print by F. Valcggio, with the motto 

" Vestc boi-es operil, dum sturnosj'allil edaccs." 


sc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 69 

enraged affection, it is past the infinite of 
thought. 1 

D. PEDRO. May be, she doth but counterfeit. 

CLAUD. 'Faith, like enough. 

LEON. O God ! counterfeit ! There never was 

1 but that she loves him with an enraged affection, it 

is past the infinite of thought.] It is impossible to make sense 
and grammar of this speech. And the r.a on is, that the two 
beginnings of two different sentences are jumbled together and 
made one. For but that she loves him with an enraged affec- 
tion, is only part of a sentence, which should conclude thus, 
is most certain. But a new idea striking the speaker, he leaves 
his sentence unfinished, and turns to another, It is past the 
infinite of thought, which is likewise left unfinished ; for it 
should conclude thus to say how great that affection is. Those 
broken disjointed sentences are usual in conversation. However, 
there is one word wrong, which yet perplexes the sense ; and 
that is infinite. Human thought cannot surely be called infinite 
with any kind of figurative propriety. I suppose the true reading 
was definite. This makes the passage intelligible. It is past the 
definite of thought, i. e. it cannot be defined or conceived how 
great that affection is. Shakspeare uses the word again in the 
same sense in Cymbeline : 

" For ideots, in this case of favour, would 

" Be wisely definite ." 
i. e. could tell how to pronounce or determine in the case. 


Here are difficulties raised only to show how easily they can 
be removed. The plain sense is, / know not what to think 
otherwise, but that she loves him with an enraged affection : 
It (this affection) is past the infinite of thought. Here are no 
abrupt stops, or imperfect sentences. Infinite may well enough 
stand ; it is used by more careful writers for indefinite : and the 
speaker only means, that thought, though in itself unbounded, 
cannot reach or estimate the degree of her passion. JOHNSON. 

The meaning, I think, is, but with what an enraged affection 
she loves him, it is beyond the power of thought to conceive. 


Shakspeare has a similar expression in King John : 
" Beyond the infinite and boundless reach 
" Of mercy ." STEEVEXS. 


counterfeit of passion came so near the life of pas- 
sion, as she discovers it. 

D. PEDRO. Why, what effects of passion shows 

CLAUD. Bait the hook well ; this fish will bite. 


LEON. What effects, my lord ! She will sit you, 
You heard my daughter tell you how. 

CLAUD. She did, indeed. 

D. PEDRO. How, how, I pray you ? You amaze 
me : I would have thought her spirit had been in- 
vincible against all assaults of affection. 

LEON. I would have sworn it had, my lord ; 
especially against Benedick. 

BENE. \_Aside.~] I should think this a gull, but 
that the white-bearded fellow speaks it : knavery 
cannot, sure, hide itself in such reverence. 

CLAUD. He hath ta'en the infection j hold it up. 


D. PEDRO. Hath she made her affection known 
to Benedick ? 

LEON. No ; and swears she never will : that's 
her torment. 

CLAUD. 'Tis true, indeed; so your daughter says: 
Shall /, says she, that have so oft encountered him 
'with scorn, write to him that I love him ? 

LEON. This says she now when she is beginning 
to write to him : for she'll be tip twenty times a 
night ; and there will she sit in her smock, till she 
have writ a sheet of paper : 2 my daughter tells 
us all. 

1 This say? site now when she is beginning to 'write to him: 
for she'll be up ttvcnti/ tin/cx a night ; find there mill she sit in 

se. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 71 

CLAUD. Now you talk of a sheet of paper, I re- 
member a pretty jest your daughter told us of. 

LEON. O ! When she had writ it, and was 
reading it over, she found Benedick and Beatrice 
between the sheet ? 

CLAUD. That. 

LEON. O ! she tore the letter into a thousand 

her smock, till she have writ a sheet of paper:] Shakspeare has 
more than once availed himself of such incidents as occurred to 
him from history, &c. to compliment the princes before whom 
his pieces were performed. A striking instance of flattery to 
James occurs in Macbeth ; perhaps the passage here quoted was 
not less grateful to Elizabeth, as it apparently alludes to an 
extraordinary trait in one of the letters pretended to have been 
written by the hated Mary to Bothwell : 

" I am nakit, and ganging to sleep, and zit I cease not to 
scribble all this paper, in so meikle as rest is thairof." That is t 
I am naked, and going to sleep, and yet I cease not to scribble 
to the end of my paper, much as there remains of it unwritten 
on. HENLEY. 

Mr. Henley's observation must fall to the ground ; the word 
in every edition of Mary's letter which Shakspeare could possibly 
have seen, being irkit y not nakit. The French version (as Mr. 
Whitaker observes in his Vindication of this unfortunate Prin- 
cess, 2d edit. Vol. I. p. 522, c.) " we know to talk egregious 
nonsense at times. It even mistakes irkit for nakit ; strips the 
delicate Queen in the month of January, and at the hour of 
midnight ; and keeps her in this situation * toule nue,' without 
even the cover of a smock upon her, writing a long letter to her 
lover." Irkit, Scotch, is likewise rendered " nudatae," by the 
Latin translator. 

" I am irkit" means, I am vexed, uneasy. So, in Sir Philip 
Sidney's Astrophel and Stella : 

" And is even irkt that so sweete comedie 

" By such unsuted speech should hindred be." 
Again, in As you like it : 

" And yet it irks me, the poor dappled fools," &c. 
Again, in King Henry VI: 

" It irks his heart he cannot be reveng'd." STEEVENS. 


half-pence ; 3 railed at herself, that she should be so 
immodest to write to one that she knew would 
flout her : / measure him, says she, by my own 
spirit ; for I should flout him, if he writ to me; yea, 
though I love him, I should. 

CLAUD. Then down upon her knees she falls, 
weeps, sobs, beats her heart, tears her hair, prays, 
curses ; O sweet Benedick! God give me patience! 

LEON. She doth indeed ; my daughter says so : 
and the ecstasy 4 hath so much overborne her, that 
my daughter is sometime afraid she will do a despe- 
rate outrage to herself; It is very true. 

D. PEDRO. It were good, that Benedick knew 
of it by some other, if she will not discover it. 

CLAUD. To what end ? He would but make a 
sport of it, and torment the poor lady worse. 

D. PEDRO. An he should, it were an alms to 

3 0! she tore the letter into a thousand halfpence ;] i. e. into 
a thousand pieces of the same bigness. So, in As you like it: 

" they were all like one another , as halfpence are." 


A farthing, and perhaps a halfpenny, was used to signify any 
small particle or division. So, in the character of the Prioress 
in Chaucer : 

" That in hirre cuppe was noferthing sene 

" Of grese, vvhan she dronken hadde hire draught." 

Prol. to the Cant. Tales, Tynvhitt's edit. v. 135. 


See Mortimer? ados, by Michael Drayton, 4to. 15Q6: 
" She now begins to write unto her lover, 
" Then turning buck to read what she had writ, 
" She teyrs the paper, and condemns her wit." 


and the ecstasy--] i e. alienation of mind. So, in 

The Tempctt, Act III. sc. :ii : " Hinder them from what this 
ecstasy may now provoke them to." STEEVENS. 


hang him: She's an excellent sweet lady; and, out 
of all suspicion, she is virtuous. 

CLAUD. And she is exceeding wise. 

D. PEDRO. In every thing, but in loving Bene- 

LEON. O my lord, wisdom and blood 5 combating 
in so tender a body, we have ten proofs to one, that 
blood hath the victory. I am sorry for her, as I have 
just cause, being her uncle and her guardian. 

D. PEDRO. I would, she had bestowed this dotage 
on me; I would have daff'd 6 all other respects, and 
made her half myself: I pray you, tell Benedick of 
it, and hear what he will say. 

LEON. Were it good, think you ? 

CLAUD. Hero thinks surely, she will die : for she 
says, she will die if he love her not ; and she will 
die ere she makes her love known ; and she will 
die if he woo her, rather than she will 'bate one 
breath of her accustomed crossness. 

D. PEDRO. She doth well : if she should make 
tender of her love, 'tis very possible he'll scorn it; 
for the man, as you know all, hath a contemptible 
spirit. 7 

5 and blood ] I suppose blood, in this instance, to 

mean nature, or disposition. So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy: 

" For 'tis our blood to love what we're forbidden." 
See p. 45, n. 1. STEEVENS. 

Blood is here, as in many other places, used by our author in 
the sense of passion, or rather temperament of body. MALONE. 

6 have daff'd ] To daff is the same as to doff, to do 

off, to put aside. So, in Macbeth : 

" to doff their dire distresses." STEEVENS. 

7 contemptible spirit, .] That is, a temper inclined to 

scorn and contempt. It has been before remarked, that our 
author uses his verbal adjectives with great licence. There is 


CLAUD. He is a very proper man. 8 

D. PEDRO. He hath, indeed, a good outward 

CLAUD. 'Fore God, and in my mind, very wise. 

D. PEDRO. He doth, indeed, show some sparks 
that are like wit. 

LEON. And I take him to be valiant. 

D. PEDRO. As Hector, I assure you : and in the 
managing of quarrels you may say he is wise ; for 
either he avoids them with great discretion, or un- 
dertakes them with a most christian-like fear. 

LEON. If he do fear God, he must necessarily 
keep peace ; if he break the peace, he ought to 
enter into a quarrel with fear and trembling. 

D. PEDRO. And so will he do ; for the man doth 
fear God, howsoever it seems not in him, by some 
large jests he will make. Well, I am sorry for your 
niece : Shall we go see Benedick, and tell him of 
her love ? 

CLAUD. Never tell him, my lord; let her wear it 
out with good counsel. 

therefore no need of changing the word with Sir Thomas Han- 
mer to contemptuous. JOIINSOX. 

In the argument to Darius, a tragedy, by Lord Sterline, 1603, 
it is said, that Darius wrote to Alexander " in a proud and con- 
temptible manner." In this place contemptible certainly means 

Again, Drayton, in the 24th Song of his Polyoltion, speaking 
in praise of a hermit, says, that he 

" The mad tumultuous world contemptibly forsook, 
" And to his quiet cell by Crowland him betook." 


8 a very proper man.] i. e. a very handsome one. So, 

hi Othello: 

*' This Ludovico is a proper man.'' STEEVENS. 

sc. m. ABOUT NOTHING. 75 

LEON. Nay, that's impossible ; she may wear 
her heart out first. 

D. PEDRO. Well, we'll hear further of it by your 
daughter ; let it cool the while. I love Benedick 
well ; and I could wish he would modestly examine 
himself, to see how much he is unworthy so good 
a lady. 9 

LEON. My lord, will you walk ? dinner is ready. 

CLAUD. If he do not dote on her upon this, I 
will never trust my expectation. \_Aside. 

D. PEDRO. Let there be the same net spread for 
her ; and that must your daughter and her gentle- 
woman carry. The sport will be, when they hold 
one an opinion of another's dotage, and no such 
matter ; that's the scene that I would see, which 
will be merely a dumb show. Let us send her to 
call him in to dinner. \_Aside. 

\_Exeunt Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and LEONATO. 

BENEDICK advances from the Arbour. 

BENE. This can be no trick: The conference was 
sadly borne. 1 They have the truth of this from 
Hero. They seem to pity the lady ; it seems, her 
affections have their full bent. 2 Love me ! why, it 

9 unworthy so good a ladyj] Thus the quarto, 1600. 

The first folio unnecessarily reads " unworthy to have so good 
a lady." STEEVENS. 

1 > was sadly borne.~\ i. e. was seriously carried on. 


s have their full bent.] Metaphor from the exercise of 

the bow. So, in Hamlet : 

" And here give up ourselves in they//// bent, 
" To lay our service freely at your feet." 
The first folio reads " the full bent." I have followed the 
quarto, l6oO. STEEVENS. 

^78 MUCH ADO ACT n. 

must be requited. I hear how I am censured: 
they say, I will bear myself proudly, if I perceive 
the love come from her ; they say too, that she will 
rather die than give any sign of affection. I did 
never think to marry : I must not seem proud: 
Happy are they that hear their detractions, and 
can put them to mending. They say, the lady is 
fair ; 'tis a truth, I can bear them witness : and 
virtuous ; 'tis so, I cannot reprove it ; and wise, 
but for loving me : By my troth, it is no addition 
to her wit ; nor no great argument of her folly, 
for I will be horribly in love with her. I may 
chance have some odd quirks and remnants of wit 
broken on me, because I have railed so long against 
marriage : But doth not the appetite alter ? A man 
loves the meat in his youth, that he cannot endure 
in his age : Shall quips, and sentences, and these 
paper bullets of the brain, awe a man from the 
career of his humour ? No : The world must be 
peopled. When I said, I would die a bachelor, I 
did not think I should live till I were married. 
Here comes Beatrice : By this day, she's a fair 
lady : I do spy some marks of love in her. 


BEAT. Against my will, I am sent to bid you 
come in to dinner. 

BENE. Fair Beatrice, I thank you for your pains. 

BEAT. I took no more pains for those thanks, 
than you take pains to thank me ; if it had been 
painful, I would not have come. 

BENE. You take pleasure in the message ? 
BEAT. Yea, just so much as you may take upon 


a knife's point, and choke a daw withal: You 
have no stomach, signior ; fare you well. \_Exit. 

BENE. Ha ! Against my mil I am sent to bid 
you come to dinner there's a double meaning in 
that. / took no more pains for those thanks, than 
you took pains to thank me that's as much as to 
say, Any pains that I take for you is as easy as 
thanks : If I do not take pity of her, I am a vil- 
lain ; if I do not love her, I am a Jew : I will go 
get her picture. [Exif. 


Leonato's Garden. 


HERO. Good Margaret, run thee into the par- 
lour ; 

There shalt thou find my cousin Beatrice 
Proposing with the Prince and Claudio : 3 
Whisper her ear, and tell her, I and Ursula 
Walk in the orchard, and our whole discourse 
Is all of her ; say, that thou overheard'st us ; 
And bid her steal into the pleached bower, 
Where honey-suckles, ripen'd by the sun, 
Forbid the sun to enter ; like favourites, 
Made proud by princes, that advance their pride 
Against that power that bred it : there will she 
hide her, 

3 Proposing with the Prince and Claudio:] Proposing is 
conversing, from the French word propos, discourse, talk. 



To listen our propose : 4 This is thy office, 
Bear thee well in it, and leave us alone. 

MARG. I'll make her come, I warrant you, pre- 
sently. [Exit. 

HERO. Now, Ursula, when Beatrice doth come, 
As we do trace this alley up and down, 
Our talk must only be of Benedick : 
When I do name him, let it be thy part 
To praise him more than ever man did merit : 
My talk to thee must be, how Benedick 
Is sick in love with Beatrice : Of this matter 
Is little Cupid's crafty arrow made, 
That only wounds by hearsay. Now begin ; 

Enter BEATRICE, behind. 

For look where Beatrice, like a lapwing, runs 
Close by the ground, to hear our conference. 

URS. The pleasant'st angling is to see the fish 
Cut with her golden oars the silver stream, 
And greedily devour the treacherous bait : 
So angle we for Beatrice ; who even now 
Is couched in the woodbine coverture : 
Fear you not my part of the dialogue. 

4 our propose :] Thus the quarto. The folio reads 

our jnirposc. Propose is right. See the preceding note. 


Purpose, however, may be equally right. It depends only on 
the manner of accenting the word, which, in Shakspeare's time, 
was often used in the same sense as propose. Thus, in Knox's 
History of the Reformation in Scotland, p. J'l: " with him six 
persons ; and getting entrie, held purpose with the porter." 
Again, p. 54: " After supper he held comfortable purpose of 
(rod's chosen children." HEED. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 79 

HERO. Then go we near her, that her ear lose 

Of the false sweet bait that we lay for it. 

[They advance to the bower. 
No, truly, Ursula, she is too disdainful ; 
I know, her spirits are as coy and wild 
As haggards of the rock. 5 

URS. But are you sure, 

That Benedick loves Beatrice so entirely ? 

HERO. So says the prince, and my new-trothed 

URS. And did they bid you tell her of it, ma- 
dam ? 

HERO. They did intreat me to acquaint her of it: 
But I persuaded them, if they lov'd Benedick, 
To wish him 6 wrestle with affection, 
And never to let Beatrice know of it. 

URS. Why did you so ? Doth not the gentleman 

3 As haggards of the rock.'] Turberville, in his book of Fal- 
conry, 1575, tells us, that ' the haggard doth come from foreign 
parts a stranger and a passenger ;" and Latham, who wrote after 
him, says, that, " she keeps in subjection the most part of all 
the fowl that fly, insomuch, that the tassel gentle, her natural 
and chiefest companion, dares not come near that coast where 
she useth, nor sit by the place where she standeth. Such is the 
greatness of her spirit, she will not admit of any society, until 
such a time as nature worketh," &c. So, in The tragical History 
of Didaco and Violcnta, 15/6: 

" Perchaunce she's not of haggard's kind, 

if Nor heart so hard to bend," &c. STEEVENS. 

6 To wish him ] i. e. recommend or desire. So, in The 
Honest Whore, 1604 : 

" Go iioish the surgeon to have great respect," &c. 
Again, in The Hog hath lost his Pearl, 1014 : " But lady mine 
that shall be, your father hath icislid me to appoint the day with 
you." REED. 


Deserve as full, as fortunate a bed, 7 
As ever Beatrice shall couch upon ? 

HERO. O God of love ! I know, he doth deserve 
As much as may be yielded to a man : 
But nature never fram'd a woman's heart 
Of prouder stuff than that of Beatrice : 
Disdain and- scorn ride sparkling in her eyes, 
Misprising 8 what they look on ; and her wit 
Values itself so highly, that to her 
All matter else seems weak : 9 she cannot love, 
Nor take no shape nor project of affection, 
She is so self-endeared. 

URS. Sure, I think so ; 

And therefore, certainly, it were not good 
She knew his love, lest she make sport at it. 

HERO. Why, you speak truth : I never yet saw 


How wise, how noble, young, how rarely featured, 
But she would spell him backward : l if fair-faced, 

7 - 05 full, #c.] So, in Othello : 

" What a. full fortune doth the thick-lips owe ?" &c. 
Mr. M. Mason very justly observes, that what Ursula means 
to say is, " that he is as deserving of complete happiness in the 
marriage state, as Beatrice herself." STKEVENS. 

8 Misprising ] Despising, contemning. JOHNSON. 

To misprise is to undervalue, or take in a wrong light. So, in 
Troilus and Cressida: 

" -- a great deal misprising 

" The knight oppos'd." STEEVENS. 

9 - that to her 

All matter else seems weak :] So, in Lore's Labour's Lost : 
" - to your huge store 
" Wise things seem foolish, and rich things but poor " 


1 - spell him backward :] Alluding to the practice of 
witches in uttering prayers. 


She'd swear, the gentleman should be her sister j 
If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick, 
Made a foul blot: 2 if tall, a lance ill-headed; 

The following passages containing a similar train of thought, 
are from Lyly's Anatomy of IV it, 1531 : 

" If oiie be hard in conceiving, they pronounce him a dowltet 
if given to study, they proclaim him a dunce : if merry, a 
jester: if sad, a saint: if full of words, a sot: if without 
speech, a cypher : if one argue with him boldly, then is he 
impudent: if coldly, an innocent: if there be reasdning of 
divinitie, they cry, Quce supra nos, nildladnos: if of huma- 
nite, scntentias loquitur carnifex." 

Again, p. 4-1, b: " if he be cleanly, they [women] 

term him proude : if meene in apparel, a sloven : if tall, a- 
lungis : if short, a dwarf: if bold, blunt: if shamefast, a cow- 
arde," &c. P. 55: " If she be well set, then call her a bosse: 
if slender, a hasill twig: if nut brown, black as a coal: if 
well colour'd, a painted wall : if she be pleasant, then is she 
tvanton: if sullen, a clowne: if honest, then is she coye." 


* If black, why, nature, drawing of an antick, 
Made afoul blot:~\ The antick was a buffoon character in. 
the old English farces, with a blacked face, and a patch-work 
habit. What I would observe from hence is, that the name of 
antick or antique, given to this character, shows that the people 
had some traditional ideas of its being borrowed from the ancient 
mimes, who are thus described by Apuleius; " mimi centunculo^ 
Juliginejaciem obducti." WARBURTOX. 

I believe what is here said of the old English farces, is said at 
random. Dr. Warburton was thinking, I imagine, of the 
modern Harlequin. I have met with no proof that the face of 
the antick or Vice of the old English comedy was blackened. 
By the word black in the text, is only meant, as I conceive, 
swarthy,, or dark brown. MALOXE. 

A black man means a man with a dark or thick beard, not a 
swarthy or dark-brown complexion, as Mr. Malone conceives. 


.r When Hero says, that " nature dr diving of an ar.lick, made 
a foul blot,'" she only alludes to a drop of ink that may casually 
i'all out of a pen, and spoil a grotesque drawing. STEEVENS, 

VOL. vi. a- 


If low, an agate very vilely cut: 3 

3 If lotv, an agate very vilely cut .] But why an agate, if 
low? For what likeness between a little man and an agate? 
The ancients, indeed, used this stone to cut upon ; but very 
exquisitely. I make no question but the poet wrote; 

an aglet very vilely cut: 

An aglet was a tag of those points, formerly so much in fashion. 
These tags were either of gold, silver, or brass, according to the 
quality of the wearer ; and were commonly in the shape of 
little images ; or at least had a head cut at the extremity. The 
French call them, aiguillettes^ Mezeray, speaking of Henry the 
Third's sorrow for the death of the princess of Conti, says, 
" portant meme sur les aiguillettes dcs petites tetes dc mart" 
And as a tall man is before compared to a lance ill-headed ; so,* 
by the same figure^ a little man is very aptly liken'd to an aglet 
ill-cut. WARBURTON. 

The old reading is, I believe, the true one. Vilely cut may 
not only mean aukwardly cut by a tool into shape, but gro- 
tesquely veined by nature as it grew. To this circumstance, I 
suppose, Dray ton alludes in his Muses' 1 Elizium : 

" With th' agate, very oft that is 
" Cut strangely in the quarry; 

*< As nature meant to show in this 

" HovV' she herself can vary." 

Pliny mentions that the shapes of various beings are to be dis- 
covered in agates ; and Mr. Addison has very elegantly com- 
pared Shakspeare, who was born with all the seeds of poetry, 
to the agate in the ring of Pyrrhus, which, as Pliny tells uSj 
had the figure of Apollo and the nine Muses in the veins of it* 
produced by the spontaneous hand of nature, without any help 
from art. STEEVENS. 

Dr. Warburton reads aglet, which was adopted, I think, too 
hastily by the subsequent editors. I see no reason for departing 
from the old copy. Shakspeare's comparisons scarcely ever an- 
swer completely on both sides. Dr. Warbmton asks, " \\hat 
likeness is there between a little man and an agate'?"' No 
other titan that both are small. Our author has himself, in 
another place, compared a very little man to an agate, " Thou 
whorson mandrake, (says Falstaft to his page,] thou art fitter 
to be worn in my cap, than to wait at my heels. I was n.'ver 
so niati'd with an agate till now." Hero means no more than 
this : " If a man be low, Beatrice will say that he is as diminu* 
tive and unhappily formed as au ill-cut agate." 


If speaking, why, a vane blown with all winds; 4 
If silent, why, a block moved with none. 
So turns she every man the wrong side out ; 
And never gives to truth and virtue, that 
Which simpleness and merit purchaseth. 

URS. Sure, sure, such carping is not commend* 

HERO. No : not to be so odd, 5 and from all 


As Beatrice is, cannot be commendable : 
But who dare tell her so ? If I should speak> 
She'd mock me into airj O, she would laugh me 

It appears both from the passage just quoted^ and from one of 
Sir John Harrington's epigrams, 4to. 1018, that agates were com* 
monly worn in Shakspeare's time : 


" Though pride in damsels is a hateful vice, 
" Yet could I like a noble-minded girl, 

tl That would demand me things of costly price, 

" Rich velvet b owns, pendents, and chains of pearly 

" Cark'nets of agat<: t cut with rare device^' &c. 

These lines, at the same time that they add support to the old 
reading, shew, I think, that the words, " vilely cut,'* are to be 
understood in their usual sense, when applied to precious stones, 
viz; awkwardly wrought by a tool, and not, as Mr. Steevens 
supposes, grotesquely veined by nature. MALONE. 

4 a vane blown with all wi n d^ ;] This comparison might 

have been borrowed from an ancient black-letter ballad, entitled 
A Comparison of the 7,ife oj Man: 

" I may compare a man againe, 

" Even like unto a tuirting vane, 

" That changeth even as doth the wind; 

" Indeed so is man's fickle mind." STEEVENS. 

* No: not to he so odd, &c.] I should read nor to be so 
pdd, &c. M. MASON, 

*fi MUCH ADO ACT ilil- 

Out of myself, press me to death with xvit. c 
Therefore let Benedick, like cover'd fire, 
Consume away in sighs, waste inwardly : 
It were a better death than die with mocks; 
Which is as bad as die with tickling. 7 

URSi Yet tell her of it; hear what she will say. 

HERO. No ; rather I will go to Benedick, 
And counsel him to fight against his passion i 
And, truly, 1*11 devise some honest slanders 
To stain my cousin with: One doth not know, 
How much an ill word may empoison liking. 

URS. O, do not do your cousin such a wrong. % 
She cannot be so much without true judgment, 
(Having so swift and excellent a wit, 8 
As she is priz'd to have,) as to refuse 
So rare a gentleman as senior Benedick. 

O O 

HERO. He is the only man of Italy, 
Always excepted my dear Claudio. 

URS. I pray you, be not angry with me, madam j 
Speaking my fancy j signior Benedick, 

- press me to death ] The allusion is to an ancient 
punishment of our law, called peine fort et durc, which was 
formerly inflicted on those persons, who, being indicted, refused' 
to plead. In consequence of their silence, they were pressed to 
death by an heavy weight laid upon their stomach. This punish- 
ment the good sense and humanity of the legislature have within, 
few years abolished. MALONE. 

7 Which if as bad as die with tickling.] The author meant 
that tickling should be pronounced as a trisyllable; ticketing; 
So, in Spenser, I*. II. canto xii : 

" - a strange kind of harmony; 

" Which Crayon's senses softly ticketed J* &c. MALONE< 

no swift and excellent a wil,~] Swift means readyi 

, in As you like it, Act V. sc. iv: 

" lie is very swift and sententious.-*' STEEVENS, 


For shape, for bearing, argument, 9 and valour, 
Goes foremost in report through Italy. 

HERO. Indeed, he hath an excellent good name-. 

URS. His excellence did earn it, ere he had it. 
When are you married, madam ? 

HERO. Why, every day ; to-morrow : Come, 

go in; 

I'll show thee some attires ; and have thy counsel, 
Which is the best to furnish me to-morrow. 

URS. She's lim'd 1 1 warrant you; we have caught 
her, madam. 

HERO. If it prove so, then loving goes by haps : 
Some Cupid kills with arrows, some with traps, 

\_Exeunt HERO and URSULA. 

BEATRICE advances. 

is in mine ears? 2 Can this be true? 
Standlcondemn'd for pride andscorn so much? 
Contempt, farewell ! and maiden pride, adieu ! 
No glory lives behind the back of such. 

- argument, ~\ This word seems here to signify discourse, 
wr, the powers of reasoning. JOHNSON. 

Argument, in the present instance, certainly means conr-ersa?- 
tion. So, in King Henry IV. P. I: " It would be argument 
for a week, laughter for a month, and a good jest for ever." 


1 She's lim'd ] She is ensnared and entangled as a sparrow 
with birdlime. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Spanish Tragedy: 

" Which sweet conceits are lim'd with sly deceits." 
The folio reads She's ta'en. STEEVENS. 

2 What fire is in mine ears?'] Alluding to a proverbial saying 
.of the common people, that their ears burn, when others are 
talking of them. WARBURTON. 


And, Benedick, love on, I will requite thee; 

Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand;* 
If thou dost love, my kindness shall incite thee 

To bind our loves up in a holy band : 
For others say, thou dost deserve ; and I 
Believe it better than reportingly. [Exit. 

The opinion from whence this proverbial saying is derived, is 
of great antiquity, being thus mentioned by Pliny: " Moreover 
is not this an opinion generally received, That when our ears do 
glow and tingle, some there be that in our absence doe talke of 
us?" Philemon Holland's translation, B. XXVIII. p. 2y/, and 
Brown's Vulgar Errors. REED. 

Thus, in The Caslell of Courtesie, ivhereunto is adioyncd 
The Holde of Humilitie, fyc. fyc. By James Yates Seruingman t 
4tg 1582, p. 73: 

" Of the burnmg of the eares" 
" That I doe credite giue 

" vnto the saying old, 
" Which is, ivhen as the cares doe burne t 

" some thing on thee is told.'''' 

Chapman has transplanted this vulgarism into his version of the 
22d Iliad: 

" Now burnes my ominous eare 

** With "whispering, Hector's selfe conceit hath cast 
away his host." STEEVENS. 

3 Taming my wild heart to thy loving hand;"] This image is 
taken from falconry. She had been charged with being as wild 
as hnggar Is of the rock ; she therefore says, that ixild as her 
Jieart is, she will tame it to the hand. JOHNSON. 

sc. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 7 


A Room in Leonato's House. 


D. PEDRO. I do but stay till your marriage be 
consummate, and then I go toward Arragon. 

CLAUD. I'll bring you thither, my lord, if you'll 
vouchsafe me. 

D. PEDRO. Nay, that would be as great a soil in 
the new gloss of your marriage, as to show a child 
his new coat, and forbid him to wear it. 4 I will 
only be bold with Benedick for his company; for, 
from the crown of his head to the sole of his foot, 
he is all mirth ; he hath twice or thrice cut Cupid's 
bow-string, and the little hangman dare not shoot 
fit him : 5 he hath a heart as sound as a bell, and 

4 as to shozv a child his new coat } and Jbrbid him to ivear 

it.~\ So, in Romeo and Juliet : 

" As is the night before some festival, 

" To an impatient child, that hath new robes, 

" And may not wear them." STEEVENS. 

3 the little hangman dare not shoot at him :~\ This 

character of Cupid came from the Arcadia of Sir Philip 

" Millions of yeares this old drivel! Cupid lives ; 

While still more wretch, more wicked he doth prove: 

" Till now at length that Jove him office gives, 

(At Juno's suite, who much did Argus love,) 

" In this our world a hangman for to be 

*' Of a}l those fooles that will have all they see." 

B. II. ch. xiv. FARMEK. 

88 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

his tongue is the clapper; for what his heart thinks, 
his tongue speaks. 6 

BENE. Gallants, I am not as I have been. 
LEON. So say I ; methinksj you are sadder. 
CLAUD. I hope, he he in love. 

Z>. PEDRO. Hang him, truant ; there's no true 
drop of blood in him, to be truly touch'd with 
love: if he be sad, he wants money. 

BENE. I have the tooth-ach. 

D. PEDRO. Draw it. 

BENE. Hang it ! 

CLAUD. You must hang it first, and draw it after- 

D. PEDRO. What ? sigh for the tooth-ach ? 
LEON. Where is but a humour, or a worm ? 

BENE. Well, Every one can master a grief, 7 but 
he that has it. 

CLAUD. Yet say I, he is in love. 

D. PEDRO. There is no appearance of fancy in 
him, unless it be a fancy that he hath to strange dis- 
guises; 8 as, to be a Dutch-man to-day; a French- 
man to-morrow; or in the shape of two countries 

6 ax a bell) and his tongue is ike clapper \ &c.] A covert 

allusion to the old proverb : 

" As the fool thinkcth 

" So the bell clinketh." STEEVENS. 

7 can master a grief,'] The old copies read corruptly 

cannot. '1 he correction was made by M r. Pope. MALONE. 

* There in no appearance of fancy S)-c.~\ Here is a play upon 
the \vord fancy, which Shakspeare uses for love a.s well as for 
humour, caprice, or affectation. JOHNSON. 

sc. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 89 

at once, 9 as, a German from the waist downward^ 
all slops ; l and a Spaniard from the hip upward, 
jio doublet : 2 Unless he have a fancy to this 
foolery, as it appears he hath, he is no fool for 
fancy, as you would have it appear he is. 3 

CLAUD. If he be not in love with some woman ? 

9 or in the shape of two countries at once, &c.] So, hi 

The Seven deadly Sinnes of London, by Tho. Decker, 1606", 
4to. bl. 1 : < For an Englishman's sute is like a traitor's bodie 
that hath been hanged, drawne, and quartered, and is set up 
in severall places : his codpiece is in Denmarke ; the collor of 
his dublet a.nd the belly, in France : the wing and narrow 
sleeve, in Italy: the short waste hangs ouer a Dutch botcher's 
stall in Utrich : his huge sloppes speaks Spanish : Polonia gives 
him the bootes, c. and thus we mocke euerie nation, for 
keeping one fashion, yetsteale patches from euerie one of them, 
to peece out our pride ; and are now laughing-stocks to them, 
because their cut so scurvily becomes us." S TEE YENS. 

1 all slops ;] Slops are large loose breeches, or troivsers, 

worn only by sailors at present. They are mentioned by Jonson, 
in his Alchymist : 

" six great slops 

" Bigger than three Dutch hoys." 
Again, in Ram- Alley I or Merry Tricks, iQl 1 : 

" three pounds in gold 

" These slops contain." STEEVENS. 

Hence evidently the term slop-seller, for the venders of ready 
made clothes. NICHOLS. 

8 a Spaniard from the hip up'ixard, no doullet .] There 

can be no doubt but we should read, all doublet, which cor- 
responds with the actual dress of the old Spaniards. As the 
passage how stands, it is a negative description, which is in truth 
no description at all. M. MASON. 

no doublet :~\ or, in other words, all cloak. The words 

*' Or in the shape of two countries," &c. to " no doublet," were 
omitted in the folio, probably to avoid giving any offence to the 
Spaniards, with whom James became a friend in 1604. 


3 have it appear he z'.s.] Thus the quarto, l60Q. The 

folio, 1623, reads " have it to appear," &c. STJEEVEKS. 


there is no believing old signs : he brushes his hat 
o'mornings ; What should that bode ? 

D. PEDRO. Hath any man seen him at the bar* 
ber's ? 

CLAUD. No, but the barber's man hath been 
seen with him ; and the old ornament of his cheek 
hath already stuffed tennis-balls. 4 

LEON. Indeed, he looks younger than he did, 
by the loss of a beard. 

D. PEDRO. Nay, he rubs himself with civet : 
Can you smell him out by that ? 

CLAUD. That's as much as to say, The sweet 
youth's in love. 

D. PEDRO. The greatest note of it is his melan- 

CLAUD. And when was he wont to wash his face? 

D. PEDRO. Yea, or to paint himself? for the 
which, I hear what they say of him. 

CLAUD. Nay, but his jesting spirit; which is now 
crept into a lutestring, 5 and now governed by stops. 

* and the old ornament of liis check hath already stuffed 

tennis-balls.] So, in A ivonderful, strange, and miraculous 
astrological Prognostication for this Year of our Lord, 15Q1, 
written by Nashe, in ridicule of Richard Harvey : " they 
may sell their haire by the pound, to stuff e tcnnice balles." 


Again, in Ram- Alley, or Merry Tricks, lOll : 
" Thy beard shall serve to stuff those balls by which I get me 
heat at ten ice." 

Again, in The Gentle Craft, l600: 

" He'll shave it off, and stuffe tcnice balls with it." 


* crept into a lutestring,] Zouosongs in our author's 
time were generally sung to the musick of the lute. So, in 
King Henry I V.P.I: 

*' as melancholy as an old lion, or a lover's lute." 


sc. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 91 

D. PEDRO. Indeed, that tells a heavy tale 
him : Conclude, conclude, he is in love. 

CLAUD. Nay, but I know who loves him. 

D. PEDRO. That would I know too ; I warrant, 
one that knows him not. 

CLAUD. Yes, and his ill conditions; and, in de- 
spite of all, dies for him, 

D. PEDRO. She shall be buried with her face 
upwards. 6 

She shall be buried with her face upwards."] Thus the 
whole set of editions: but what is there any way particular in 
this ? Are not all men and women buried so ? Sure, the poet 
means, in opposition to the general rule, and by way of dis- 
tinction, with her heels upwards, or face downwards. I have 
chosen the first reading, because I find it the expression in 
vogue in our author's time. THEOBALD. 

This emendation, which appears to me very specious, is re- 
jected by Dr. Warburton. The meaning seems to be, that she 
who acted upon principles contrary to others, should be buried 
with the same contrariety. JOHNSON. 

Mr. Theobald quite mistakes the scope of the poet, who pre- 
pares the reader to expect somewhat uncommon or extraordi- 
nary ; and the humour consists in the disappointment of that 
expectation, as at the end of lago's poetry in Othello : 
" She was a wight, (if ever such wight were) 
" To suckle fools, and chronicle small beer." HEATH. 

Theobald's conjecture may, however, be supported by a pas- 
sage in The Wild Goose Chase of Beaumont and Fletcher : 

love cannot starve me ; 

" For if I die o' th' first fit, I am unhappy, 
" And worthy to be buried with my heels upwards." 
Dr. Johns.on's explanation may likewise be countenanced by 
a passage in an old black letter book, without date, intitled, 
A merye Jest of a Man that was called HOWLEGLAS, &c. 
" How Howleglas was buried." " Thus as Howleglas was 
deade, then they brought him to be buryed. And as they 
would have put the coffyn into the pytte with 1 1 cordes, the 
corde at the fete brake, so that the fote of the coffyn fell into 
the botome of the pyt, and the coffyn stood bolt upryght in 
the middes of the grave. Then desired the people that stode 


BENE. Yet is this no charm for the tooth-ach. 
Old signior, walk aside with me ; I have studied 
eight or nine wise words to speak to you, which 
these hobby-horses must not hear. 


about the grave that tyme, to let the cqffyn to stand bolt up- 
ryght. For in his lyfe tynie he was a very marvelous man, 
&c. and shall be buryed as marvailously ; and in this maner they 
left Howleglass" &c. 

That this book was once popular, may be inferred from Ben 
Jonson's frequent allusions to it in his Poetaster : 

" What do you laugh, Oivleglas?" 
Again, in The Fortunate Isles, a masque : 

" What do you think of Oivlglas, 

" Instead of him ?" 

And again, in The Sad Shepherd. This history was originally 
written in Dutch. The hero is there called Uyle-xpegel. Under 
this title he is likewise introduced by Ben Jonson in his Alchy- 
mist, and the masque and pastoral already quoted. Menage 
speaks of Ulespeigle as a man famous for trompcries ingenieuses ; 
adds that his Life was translated into French, and quotes the 
title-page of it. I have another copy published A Troyes, in 
1/14, the title of which differs from that set down by Menage. 

The passage indeed may mean only She shall be buried m 
her lover's arms. So, in The Winter's Tale: 

" Flo. What? like a corse? 

" Per. No, like a bank for love to lie and play on; 

" Not like a corse : or if, not to be buried, 

" But quick and in my arms.'' 

On the whole, however, I prefer Mr. Theobald's conjecture to 
my own explanation. STEKVENS. 

This last is, I believe, the true interpretation. Our author 
often quotes Lilly's Grammar ; and here perhaps he remem- 
bered a phrase that occurs in that book, p. 5y, and is thus 
interpreted: " Tu cubas supinus, thou liest in be.d with thy 
face upwards" Heels and. face never could have been con- 
founded by either the eye or the ear. 

Besides ; Don Pedro is evidently playing on the word dies 
in Claudio's speech, which Ciaudio uses metaphorically, and of 
which Don Pedro avails himself to introduce an allusion to that; 
consummation which he supposes Beatrice was dying for. 


sc'.-it.'- ABOUT NOTHING. 93 

D. PEDRO. For my life, to break with him aboufc 

CLAUD. J Tis even so : Hero and Margaret have 
by this played their parts with Beatrice ; and then 
the two bears will not bite one another, when they 

Enter Don JOHN. 

JD. JOHN. My lord and brother, God save you, 
D. PEDRO. Good den, brother. 

D. JOHN. If your leisure served, I would speak 
with you. 

D. PEDRO. In private ? 

D. JOHN. If it please you ; yet count Claudio 
may hear j for what I would speak of, concerns 

D. PEDRO. What's the matter ? 

D-. JOHN. Means your lordship to be married 
to-morrow ? [To CLAUDIO* 

D. PEDRO. You know, he does. 

D. JOHN. I kno^7 not that, when he knows 
what I know. 

CLAUD. If there be any impediment, I pray you, 
discover it. 

Z>. JOHN. You may think, I love you not let 
that appear hereafter, and aim better at me by 
that I now will manifest : For my brother, I think, 
he holds you well ; and in dearness of heart hath 
holp to effect your ensuing marriage : surely, suit 
ill spent, and labour ill bestowed ! 

D. PEDRO. Why, what's the matter ? 

D. Jony. I came hither to tell you ; and, cii>: 


cumstances shortened, (for she hath been too long 
a talking of,) the lady is disloyal* 

CLAUD. Who? Hero? 

D. JOHN, Even she; Leonato's Hero, your Hero, 
every man's Hero* 7 

CLAUD. Disloyal? 

D. JOHN. The word is too good to paint out her 
wickedness ; I could say, she were worse ; think 
you of a worse title, and I will fit her to it. Won- 
der not till further warrant : go but with me to- 
night, you shall see her chamber-window entered ; 
even the night before her wedding-day : if you 
love her then, to-morrow wed her ; but it would 
better fit your honour to change your mind, 

CLAUD. May this be so ? 

D. PEDRO. I will not think it. 

D. JOHN. If you dare not trust that you see, 
confess not that you know : if you will follow me, 
I will show you enough ; and when you have seen 
more, and heard more, proceed accordingly. 

CLAUD. If I see any thing to-night why I should 
not marry her to-morrow ; in the congregations 
where I should wed, there will I shame her. 

D. PEDRO. And, as I wooed for thee to obtain 
her, I will join with thee to disgrace her, 

D. JOHN. I will disparage her no farther, till 
you are my witnesses : bear it coldly but till mid^ 
night, and let the issue show itself. 

D. PEDRO. O day untowardly turned ! 

7 Lsonato's Hero, your Hero, every man's Hero.~\ Dryden 

has transplanted this sarcasm into his All for Love : 

" Your Cleopatra ; Dolabella's Cleopatra ; every man's Cleo- 
patra." STKEVENS. 

$c. in. ABOUT NOTHING, 95 

CLAUD. O mischief strangely thwarting ! 

D. JOHN. O plague right well prevented ! 
So will you say, when you have seen the sequel. 



A Street. 
Enter DOGBERRY and VERGES, with the Watch, 

DOGB. Are you good men and true ? 

VERG. Yea, or else it were pity but they should 
suffer salvation, body and soul. 

DOGB. Nay, that were a punishment too good 
for them, if they should have any allegiance in 
them, being chosen for the prince's watch. 

VERG. Well, give them their charge, neighbour 

DOGB. First, who think you the most desartless 
man to be constable ? 

1 WATCH. Hugh Oatcake, sir, or George Sea- 
coal ; for they can write and read. 

DOGB. Come hither, neighbour Seacoal : God 
hath blessed you with a good name : to be a well* 

8 Dogberry and Verges,] The first of these worthies 

had his name from the Dog-berry, i. e. the female cornel, a 
shrub that grows in the hedges in every county of England. 

Verges is only the provincial pronunciation of Verjuice. 


9 Well, give them their charge,] To charge his fellows, seems 
to have been a regular part of the duty of the constable of the 
watch. So, in A New Trick to cheat the Devil, It33 9: " My 
watch is set charge given and all at peace/' Again, in The 
Insatiate Countess, by Marsion, 1613: " Come on, my hearts; 
e are the city's security I'll give you your charge" 




favoured man is the gift of fortune ; but to write 
and read comes by nature. 

2 WATCH. Both which, master constable,- * 

DOGB. You have ; I knew it would be your an- 
swer. Well, for your favour, sir, why, give God 
thanks, and make no boast of it ; and for your 
writing and reading, let that appear when there is 
no need of such vanity. You are thought here to 
be the most senseless and fit man for the constable 
of the watch ; therefore bear you the lantern : 
This is your charge ; You shall comprehend all 
vagrorn men ; you are to bid any man stand j in 
the prince's name. 

2 WATCH. How if he will not stand ? 

DOGB. Why then, take no note of him, but let 
him go ; and presently call the rest of the watch 
together^ and thank God you are rid of a knave. 

VERG. If he will not stand when he is bidden, 
he is none of the prince's subjects. 

DOGB. True, and they are to meddle with none 
but the prince's subjects : You shall also make no 
noise in the streets ; for, for the watch to babble 
and talk, is most tolerable and not to be endured. 

2 WATCH. We will rather sleep than talk ; we 
know what belongs to a watch. 

DOGB. Why, you speak like an ancient and most 
quiet watchman ; for I cannot sec how sleeping 
should offend : only, have a care that your bills be 
not stolen : ' Well, you are to call at all the ale- 

1 bills le not stolen:"] A bill is still carried by the 

watchmen at Lichfield. It was the old weapon of English 
infantry, which, says Temple, gave ike most ghastly ami 
deplorable wounds. It may be called securisfalcala. 




houses, and bid those that are drunk 2 get them to 

About Shakspeare's time halberds were the weapons borne by 
the watchmen, as appears from Blount's Voyage to the Levant : 
" certaine Janizaries, who with great staves guard each street, 
as our night watchmen with holberds in London." REED. 

The weapons to. which the care of Dogberry extends, are 
mentioned in Glapthorne's Wit in a Constable, 163Q: 
Well said, neighbours ; 


You're chatting wisely o'er your bills and lanthorns, 
As becomes watchmen of discretion." 
in Arden ofFeversham, 15Q2: 

the watch 

Are coming tow'rd our house with glaives and bills." 
The following representation of a ivatchman, with his bill on 
his shoulder, is copied from the title-page to Decker's pe 
0, &c;4to. 1612: 




2 WATCH. How if they will not ? 

DOGS. Why then, let them alone till they are 
sober ; if they make you not then the better an- 
swer, you may say, they are not the men you took 
them for. 

2 WATCH. Well, sir. 

DOGB. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him , 
by virtue of your office, to be no true man : and, 
for such kind of men, the less you meddle or make 
with them, why, the more is for your honesty. 

2 WATCH. If we know him to be a thief, shall 
we not lay hands on him ? 

DOGS. Truly, by your office, you may ; but, I 
think, they that touch pitch will be defiled : the 
most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, 
is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal 
out of your company. 

VERG. You have been always called a merciful 
man, partner. 

DOGS. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my 
will ; much more a man who hath any honesty in 

VERG. If you hear a child cry in the night, you 
must call to the nurse, and bid her still it. 

bid those that are drunk ~] Thus the quarto, l60(). 
The folio, 1O23, reads " bid them that," &c. STEEVENS. 

* If you hear a child cry &c.] It is not impossible but that 
part of this scene was intended as a burlesque on The Statutes qj 
the Streets, imprinted by Wolfe, in 1595. Among these I find 
the following : 

22. " No man shall blowe any home in the night, within this 
citie, or whistle after the houre of nyne of the eloek in the night, 
under paine of imprisonment. 

23. " No man shall use to go with visoures, or disguised by 
night, under like paine of imprisonment. 

sc.m. ABOUT NOTHING. 99 

2 WATCH. How if the nurse be asleep, and will 
not hear us ? 

DOGS. Why then, depart in peace, and let the 
child wake her with crying : for the ewe that will 
not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer 
a calf when he bleats. 

VERG. 'Tis very true. 

DOGS. This is the end of the charge. You, 
constable, are to present the prince's own person ; 
if you meet the prince in the night, you may stay 

VERG. Nay by'r lady, that, I think, he cannot. 

DOGS. Five shillings to one on't, with any man 
that knows the statues, 4 he may stay him : marry, 

24. " Made that night-walkers, and evisdrpppers, like punish- 

25. " No hammer-man, as a smith, a pewterer, a founder, 
and all artificers making great sound, shall not worke after the 
houre of nyne at night, &c. 

30. " No man shall, after the houre of nyne at night, keepe 
any rule, whereby any such suddaine outcry be made in the still 
of the night, as making any affray, or beating his wyfe, or ser- 
vant, or singing, or revyling in his house, to the disturbaunce of 
his neighbours, under payne of iiis. iiiid." &c. &c. 

Ben Jonson, however, appears to have ridiculed this scene in 
the Induction to his Bartholomew-Fair : 

" And then a substantial watch to have stole in upon 'em, 
and taken them away with mistaking words, as the fashion is iu 
the stage practice." STEEVENS. 

Mr. Steevens observes, and I believe justly, that Ben Jonson 
intended to ridicule this scene in his Induction to Bartholomew- 
Fair ; yet in his Tale of a Tub, he makes his wise men of 
Finsbury speak just in the same style, and blunder in the same 
manner, without any such intention. M. MASON. 

4 the statues,] Thus the folio, 1 623. The quarto, 1600, 

reads *' the statutes." But whether the blunder was designed 
by the poet, or created by the printer, must be left to the con- 
sideration of our readers- .STEEVENS. 

100 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

not without the prince be willing : for, indeed, the 
watch ought to offend no man ; and it is an offence 
to stay a man against his will. 

VERG. By'r lady, I think, it be so. 

DOGS. Ha, ha, ha ! Well, masters, good night : 
an there be any matter of weight chances, call up 
me : keep your fellows' counsels and your own, 5 
and good night. Come, neighbour. 

2 WATCH. Well, masters, we hear our charge : 
let us go sit here upon the church-bench till two, 
and then all to-bed. 

DOGB. One word more, honest neighbours : I 

pray you, watch about signior Leonato's door ; for 

the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great 

coil to-night : Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you. 



BORA. What ! Conrade, 

WATCH. Peace, stir not. [Aside. 

BORA. Conrade, I say ! 

CON. Here, man, I am at thy elbow. 

BORA. Mass, and my elbow itched ; I thought, 
there would a scab follow. 

CON. I will owe thee an answer for that ; and 
now forward with thy tale. 

BORA. Stand thee close then under this pent- 

* keep your JeUolas* counsels and your own,'] This iV 

part of the oath of a grand juryman ; and is one of many proofs 
of Shakspeare's having been very conversant, at some period of 
has life, with legal proceedings and courts of justice. MAI.ONK- 

*t'. in. ABOUT NOTHING. 101 

house, for it drizzles rain ; and I will, like a true 
drunkard, 6 utter all to thee. 

WATCH. \_Aside.~] Some treason, masters ; yet 
stand close. 

BORA. Therefore know, I have earned of Don 
John a thousand ducats. 

CON. Is it possible that any villainy should be 
so dear ? 

BORA. Thou should' st rather ask, if it were pos- 
sible any villainy should be so rich ; 7 for when 
rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones 
may make what price they will. 

CON. I wonder at it. 

BORA. That shows, thou art unconfirmed : 8 
Thou knowest, that the fashion of a doublet, or a 
hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man. 

CON. Yes, it is apparel. 

BORA. I mean, the fashion. 

CON. Yes, the fashion is the fashion. 

BORA. Tush ! I may as well say, the fool's the 
fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief 
this fashion is ? 

WATCH. I know that Deformed ; he has been a 

6 like a true drunkard,] I suppose, it was on this ac- 
count that Shakspeare called him Borachio, from Boraccho, 
Spanish, a drunkard: or Borracha, a leathern receptacle for 
wine. STEEVENS. 

7 any villainy should be so rich;] The sense absolutely 
requires us to read, villain. WARBURTON. 

The old reading may stand. STEEVENS. 

8 thou art unconfirmed;] i. e. unpractised in the ways 

of the world. WARBURTON. 

102 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

vile thief this seven year ; he goes up and down 
like a gentleman : I remember his name. 

BORA. Didst thou not hear somebody ? 
Coy. No ; 'twas the vane on the house. 

BORA. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed 
thief this fashion is? how giddily he turns about all 
the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and 
thirty ? sometime, fashioning them like* Pharaoh's 
soldiers in the reechy painting ; 9 sometime, like 
god Bel's priests 1 in the old church window ; some- 
time, like the shaven Hercules 2 in the smirched 3 

9 reechy painting ;] Is painting discoloured by smoke. 

So, in Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, l6l8 : 

" he look'd so recchily, 

" Like bacon hanging on the chimney's roof." 
From Recan, Anglo-Saxon, to rcek,fumare. STEEVENS. 

1 like god BeV s priests ] Alluding to some aukward 

representation of the story of Bel and the Dragon, as related in 
the Apocrypha. STEEVENS. 

2 sometime, like the fhavcn Hercules &c.] By the shaven 

Hercules is meant Sampson, the usual subject of old tapestry. 
In this ridicule on the fashion, the poet has not unartfully given 
a stroke at the barbarous workmanship of the common tapestry 
hangings, then so much in use. The same kind of raillery 
Cervantes has employed on the like occasion, when he brings 
his knight and 'squire to an inn, where they found the story of 
Dido and Ericas represented in bad tapestry. On Sancho's 
seeing the tears fall from the eyes of the forsaken queen as big 
as walnuts, he hopes that when their achievements became the 
general subject for these sorts of works, that fortune will send 
them a better artist. What authorised the poet to give this 
name to Sampson was the folly of certain Christian mythologies, 
who pretend that the Grecian Hercules was the Jewish Sampson. 
The retenue of our author is to be commended : The sober audi- 
ence of that time would have been offended with the mention 
of a venerable name on so light an occasion. Shakspeare is 
indeed sometimes licentious in these matters : But to do him 
justice, he generally seems to have a sense of religion, and to 
be under its influence. What Pedro says of Benedick, in this 

sc.m. ABOUT NOTHING. io 

worm-eaten tapestry, where his cod-piece seems as 
massy as his club ? 

CON. All this I see ; and see, that the fashion 
wears out more apparel than the man: But art not 
thou thyself giddy with the fashion too, that thou 
hast shifted out of thy tale into telling me of the 
fashion ? 

BORA. Not so neither : but know, that I have 
to-night wooed Margaret, the lady Hero's gentle- 
woman, by the name of Hero; she leans me out at 
her mistress' chamber-window, bids me a thousand 
times good night, I tell this tale vilely: I should 
first tell thee, how the Prince, Claudio, and my 
master, planted, and placed, and possessed by my 
master Don John, saw afar off in the orchard this 
amiable encounter. 

CON. And thought they, Margaret was Hero? 

BORA. Two of them did, the Prince and Claudio; 
but the devil my master knew she was Margaret ; 
and partly by his oaths, which first possessed them, 
partly by the dark night, which did deceive them, 

comedy, may be well enough applied to him : The man doth 
Jear God, however it seems not to be in him by some large jests 
he tvill make. WARBURTON. 

I believe that Shakspeare knew nothing of these Christian 
mythologists, and by the shaven Hercules meant only Hercules 
tvhen shaved to make him look like a woman, while he remained 
in the service of Omphale, his Lydian mistress. Had the shaved 
Hercules been meant to represent Sampson, he would probably 
have been equipped with a jam bone instead of a club. 


3 smirched ] Smirched is soiled, obscured. So, in 

As yon like it, Act I. sc. iii: 

" And with a kind of umber smirch my face." 


104 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

but chiefly by my villainy, which did confirm any 
slander that Don John had made, away went Claiu 
dio enraged ; swore he would meet her as he was 
appointed, next morning at the temple, and there, 
befpre the whole congregation, shame her with what 
he saw over-night, and send her home again without 
a husband. 

1 WATCH. We charge you in the prince's name, 

2 WATCH. Call up the right master constable : 
We have here recovered the most dangerous piece 
of lechery that ever was known in the common- 

1 WATCH. And one Deformed is one of them ; 
I know him, he wears a lock. 4 

CON. Masters, masters. 5 

2 WATCH. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, 
I warrant you. 

COA-. Masters, 

4 "wears a lock.] So, in The Return from Parnassus, 


*' He whose thin fire dwells in a smoky roofe, 
" Must take tobacco, and must wear a lock." 

See Dr. Warburton's note, Act V. sc. i. STEEVENS. 

s Con. Masters, masters, &c.] In former copies : 

Con. Masters. 

2 Watch. You'll be made bring Deformed forth, I warrant 

Con. Masters never speak, tve charge you, let us obey you to go 
ivith us. 

The regulation which I have made in this last speech, though 
against the authority of all the printed copies, I flatter myself, 
carries its proof witih it. Conrade and Borachio are not de- 
signed to talk absurd nonsense. It is evident, therefore, that 
Conrade is attempting his own justification ; but is interrupted 
in it by the impertinence of the men in office. THEOBALD. 

sc. iv. ABOUT NOTHING. 105 

I WATCH. Never speak j we charge you, let us 
obey you to go with us. 

BORA. We are like to prove a goodly commodity, 
being taken up of these men's bills. 6 

CON. A commodity in question, 7 I warrant you. 
Come, we'll obey you. \_Exeunt. 


A Room in Leonato's House. 

HERO. Good Ursula, wake my cousin Beatrice, 
and desire her to rise. 

URS. I will, lady. 

HERO. And bid her come hither. 

URS. Well. [Exit URSULA. 

a goodly commodity, being taken up of these men's 

bills.] Here is a cluster of conceits. Commodity was formerly 
as now, the usual term for an article of merchandise. To take 
up, besides its common meaning, (to apprehend,] was the phrase 
for obtaining goods on credit. " If a man is thorough with them 
in honest taking up, (says Falstaff,) then they must stand upon 
security." Bill was the term both for a single bond, and a 

We have the same conceit in King Henry VI. P. II : " My 
lord, When shall we go to Cheapside, and take up commodities 
upon our bills?" MALONE. 

7 A commodity in question,] i. e. a commodity subject g to 
judicial trial or examination. Thus Hooker : " Whosoever be 
found guilty, the communion book hath deserved least to be 
called in question for this fault." STEEVENS. 

106 MUCH ADO ACT ~m r 

MARG. Troth, I think, your other rabato 8 were 

HERO. No, pray thee, gpod Meg, I'll wear this. 

MARG. By my troth, it's not so good; and I war- 
rant, your cousin will say so. 

HERO. My cousin's a fool, and thou art another; 
I'll wear none but this. 

MARG. I like the new tire within excellently, if 
the hair were a thought browner: 9 and your gown's 

* rabato ] An ornament for the neck, a collar -band or 

kind of ruff. Fr. Rabat. Menage saith it comes from rabattre, 
to put back, because it was at first nothing but the collar of the 
shirt or shift turn'd back towards the shoulders. T. HAWKINS. 

This article of dress is frequently mentioned by our ancient 
comic writers. 

So, in the comedy of Latv Tricks, &c. 1608 : 
" Broke broad jests upon her narrow heel, 
" Pok'd her rabatoes, and survey'd her .steel." 
Again, in Decker's Guls Hornbook, \ 609 : " Your stiff-necked 
rebatoes (that have more arches for pride to row under, than 
can stand under five London-bridges) durst not then," &c. 

Again, in Decker's Untrussing the Humourous Poet: " What 
a miserable thing it is to be a noble bride ! There's such delays 
in rising, in fitting gowns, in pinning rebatoes, in poaking," &c. 

The first and last of these passages will likewise serve for an 
additional explanation of the polcing-sticks of steel, mentioned by 
Autolycus in The Winter's Tale. STEEVENS. 

' if the hair iverc a thought broivner:~\ i. e. the false 

hair attached to the cap ; for we learn from Stubbes's Anatomic 
of Abuses, 1595, p. 40, that ladies were " not simplie content 
with their own haire, but did buy up other haire either of 
horses, mares, or any other strange beasts, dying it of what 
collour they list themselves." STEEVENS. 

a thought browner .-] i. e. a degree, a little, or as would 

now be said, a shade browner. Thus, in Shirley's Honoria and 
Mammon, 1659 : 

" Col. They have city faces. 

" Squ. And are a thought too handsome to be Serjeants." 

sc. ir. ABOUT NOTHING. 107 

a most rare fashion, i'faith. I saw the duchess of 
Milan's gown, that they praise so. 

HERO. O, that exceeds, they say. 

MARG. By my troth it's but a night-gown in 
respect of yours : Cloth of gold, and cuts, and 
laced with silver ; set with pearls, down sleeves, 
side-sleeves, 1 and skirts round, underborne with a 

Again, in Guzman de Alfarache, fol. 1628, P. II. B. II. ch. v: 

" that I should lessen it a thought in the waist, for that 
it sits now well before." REED. 

1 side-sleeves,'] Side-sleeves, I believe, mean long ones. 

So, in Greene's Farewell to Follie, l6l7 : " As great selfe-love 
lurketh in a szofc-gowne, as in a short armour." Again, in Lane- 
ham's Account of Queen Elizabeth's Entertainment at Kenel- 
worth- Castle, 15/5, the minstrel's " gown had side-sleeves down 
to the mid-leg." Clement Paston (See Paston Letters, Vol. I. 
p. 145, 2d edit.) had " a short blue gown that was made of a 
side-gown," i. e. of a long one. Again, in The last Voyage of 
Captaine Frobisher, by Dionyse Settle, 12mo. bl.l. 15/7 : " They 
make their apparel with hoodes and tailes, &c. The men have 
them not so syde as the women." 

Such long sleeves, within my memory, were worn by children, 
and were called hanging-sleeves ; a term which is preserved in a 
line, I think, of Dryden : 

" And miss in hanging-sleeves now shakes the dice." 

Side or syde in the North of England, and in Scotland, is used 
for long when applied to the garment, and the word has the same 
signification in the Anglo-Saxon and Danish. Vide Glossary to 
Gawine Douglas's Virgil. See also A. Wyntown's Cronykil, 
B. IX. ch. viii. v. 120: 

" And for the hete tuk on syd gwnys." 

To remove an appearance of tautology, as doivn-sleeves may 
seem synonymous with side-sleeves, a comma must be taken out, 
and the passage printed thus " Set with pearls down sleeves, 
or down tti sleeves." The second paragraph of this note is 
copied from the Edinburgh Magazine, for Nov. ] 786'. 


/SzWe-sleeves were certainly long-sleeves, as will appear from 
the following instances. Stowe's Chronicle, p. 327, tempore 
Hen. IV : " This time was used exceeding pride in garments. 

108 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

blueish tinsel : but for a fine, quaint, graceful, and 
excellent fashion, yours is worth ten on't. 

HERO. God g ive me ioy to wear it, for my heart 

! t. I 

is exceeding heavy ! 

MARG. 'Twill be heavier soon, by the weight of 
a man. 2 

HERO. Fye upon thee ! art not ashamed ? 

MARG. Of what, lady ? of speaking honourably ? 
Is not marriage honourable in a beggar ? Is not 
your lord honourable without marriage ? I think, 
you would have me say, saving your reverence, 
a husband: an bad thinking do not wrest true speak- 
ing, I'll offend no body : Is there any harm in 
the heavier for a husband? None, I think, an it be 
the right husband, and the right wife ; otherwise 
'tis light, and not heavy : Ask my lady Beatrice 
else, here she comes. 

gownes with deepe and broad sleeves commonly called poke 
sleeves, the servants ware them as well as their masters, which 
might well have been called the receptacles of the devil, for 
what they stole they hid in their sleeves, whereof some hung 
downe to the feete, and at least to the knees, full of cuts and 
jagges, whereupon were made these verses : [i. e. by Tho. 

" Now hath this land little neede of broomes, 

" To sweepe away the filth out of the streete, 
" Sen side-sleeves of pennilesse groomes 

" Will it up licke be it drie or weete." 

Again, in Fitzherbert's Book of Husbandry : " Theyr cotes 
be so syde that they be fayne to tucke them up whan they ride, 
as women do theyr kyrtels when they go to the market," &c. 


' Twill be heavier soon, by the weight of a man.~\ So, in 
Troilus and Cressida : 

" the heavier for a whore." STEEVENS. 





HERO. Good morrow, coz. 
BEAT. Good morrow, sweet Hero. 

HERO. Why, how now ! do you speak in the sick 
tune ? 

BEAT. I am out of all other tune, methinks. 

MARG. Clap us into Light o' love; 3 that goes 
without a burden j do you sing it, and I'll dance it. 

Light o'love ;] This tune is alluded to in Fletcher's 

Two Noble Kinsmen. The gaoler's daughter, speaking of a 
horse, says : 

" He gallops to the tune of Light o'/oue." 
It is mentioned again in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 

" Best sing to the tune of Light o'/ove." 

And in The Noble Gentleman of Beaumont and Fletcher. 
Again, in A gorgious Gallery of gallant Inventions, &c. 4to. 
15/8 : " The lover exhorteth his lady to be constant to the 
tune of 

" Attend go play thee 

" Not Light of love, lady," &c. STEEVENS. 

This is the name of an old dance tune which has occurred al- 
ready in The Two Gentlemen of Verona. I have lately recovered 
it from an ancient MS. and it is as follows : 


4^-fr-f^tffH - I OT 

, . !__) | 

=F ! ! -II- ^'Tr r i* .1 r'n*^; 7^3 



r^^ 1 


1.10 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

BEAT. Yea, Light o' love, with your heels ! 
then if your husband have stables enough, you'll 
see he shall lack no barns. 4 

MARG. O illegitimate construction ! I scorn that 
with my heels. 

BEAT. 'Tis almost five o'clock, cousin ; 'tis time 
you were ready. By my troth I am exceeding ill: 
hey ho ! 

MARG. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband ? 5 
BEAT. For the letter that begins them all, H. 6 

MARG. Well, an you be not turned Turk, 7 there's 
no more sailing by the star. 

no barns.] A quibble between barns, repositories of 

eorn, and bairns, the old word for children. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Winter's Tale : 

" Mercy on us, a barn ! a very pretty barn /" 


* hey ho ! 

Marg. For a hawk, a horse, or a husband ?] " Heigh ho for 
a Husband, or the willing Maid's Wants made known," is the 
title of an old ballad in the Pepysian Collection, in Magdalen 
College, Cambridge. MALONE. 

6 For the letter that begins them all, H.] This is a poor 
jest, somewhat obscured, and not worth the trouble of elu- 

Margaret asks Beatrice for what she cries, hey ho; Beatrice 
answers, for an //, that is for an ache, or pain. JOHNSON. 

HeywoOjd, among his Epigrams, published in 1506, has om* 
on the letter H: 

" H is worht among letters in the cross-row ; 

" For if thou find him either in thine elbow, 

" In thine arm, or leg, in any degree ; 

" In thine head, or teeth, or toe, or knee ; 

u Into what place soever H may pike him, 

" Wherever thou find ache, thou shalt not like him." 


7 turnd Turk,'] i.e. taken captive by love, and turned 

a renegado to his religion. WARBURTON, 

sc. iv. ABOUT NOTHING. Ill 

BEAT. What means the fool, trow ? 8 

MARG. Nothing I ; but God send every one their 
heart's desire ! 

HERO. These gloves the count sent me, they are 
an excellent perfume. 

BEAT. I am stuffed, cousin, I cannot smell. 

MARG. A maid, and stuffed ! there's goodly 
catching of cold. 

BEAT. O, God help me ! God help me ! how 
long have you profess'd apprehension ? 

MARG. Ever since you left it : doth not my wit- 
become me rarely ? 

BEAT. It is not seen enough, you should wear it 
in your cap. By my troth, I am sick. 

MARG. Get you some of this distilled Carduus 
Benedictus, 9 and lay it to your heart ; it is the only 
thing for a qualm, 

This interpretation is somewhat far-fetched, yet, perhaps, it is 
right. JOHNSON. 

Hamlet uses the same expression, and talks of his fort une\ 
turning Turk. To turn Turk, was a common phrase for a 
change of condition or opinion. So, in The Honest Whore, by 
Decker, 1616: 

" If you turn Turk again," &c. STEEVRNS. 

8 What means the fool, trow ?] This obsolete exclamation of 
enquiry, is corrupted from I trow, or trow you, and occurs again 
in The Merry Wives of Windsor: " Who's there, trow?" To 
Iroiu is to imagine, to conceive. So, in Romeo and Juliet, the 
Nurse says: " 'Twas no need, I trow, to bid me trudge." 


;1 Carduus Benedictus,'] " Carduus Benedictus, or blessed 

thistle, (says Cogan, in his Haven of Health, 1595,) so worthily 
named for the singular virtues that it hath." " This herbe may 
worthily be called Benedictus, or Omnimorbia, that is, a salve for 
every sore, not knowen to physitians of old time, but lately re- 
vealed by the speciall providence of Almighty God. 1 ' STEEVENS. 

112 MUCH ADO ACT in. 

HERO. There thou prick'st her with a thistle. 

BEAT. Benedictus ! why Benedictus ? you have 
some moral * in this Benedictus. 

MARG. Moral? no, by my troth, I have .no 
moral meaning ; I meant, plain holy-thistle. You 
may think, perchance, that I think you are in love : 
nay, by'r lady, I am not such a fool to think what 
I list ; nor I list not to think what I can ; nor, in- 
deed, I cannot think, if I would think my heart 
out of thinking, that yoii are in love, or that you 
will be in love, or that you can be in love : yet 
Benedick was such another, and now is he become 
a man : he swore he would never marry ; and yet 
now, in despite of his heart, he eats his meat with- 
out grudging : 2 and how you may be converted, I 

some moral ] That is, some secret meaning, like the 

moral of a fable. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's explanation is certainly the true one, though it 
lias been doubted. In The Rape ofLucrece our author uses the 
verb to moralize in the same sense : 

" Nor could she moralize his wanton sight." 
L e. investigate the latent meaning of his looks. 

Again, in The Taming of the Shrew: " and has left me 
here behind, to expound the meaning or moral of his signs and 
tokens." MALONE. 

Moralizations (for so they were called) are subjoined to many 
of our ancient Tales, reducing them into Christian or moral 
lessons. See the Gcstu Romanorum, &c. STEEVENS. 

he eats his meat faithmit grudging :] I do not see 
fiow this is a proof of Benedick's change of mind. It would 
afford more proof of amorousness to say, he eats not his meat 
without grudging; but it is impossible to fix the meaning of 
proverbial expressions : perhaps, to eat meat without grudging, 
was the same as, to do as others do, and the meaning is, he is con- 
tent to live by eating like oilier mortals, and "will be content, not- 
withstanding his boasts, like other mortals, to have a wife. 


sc. v. ABOUT NOTHING. 113 

know not ; but methinks, you look with your eyes 
as other women do. 3 

BEAT. What pace is this that thy tongue keeps ? 
MARG. Not a false gallop. 

Re-enter URSULA. 

URS. Madam, withdraw ; the prince, the count, 
signior Benedick, Don John, and all the gallants 
of the town, are come to fetch you to church. 

HERO. Help to dress me, good coz, good Meg, 
good Ursula. \_Exeunt. 


Another Room in Leonato's House. 

LEON. What would you with me, honest neigh- 
bour ? 

DOGB. Marry, sir, I would have some confidence 
with you, that decerns you nearly. 

LEON. Brief, I pray you ; for you see, 'tis a busy 
time with me. 

Johnson considers this passage too literally. The meaning of 
it is, that . Benedick is in love, and takes kindly to it. 


The meaning, I think, is, " and yet now, in spite of his re- 
solution to the contrary, he feeds on love, and likes his food." 


3 you look "with your eyes as other women do.] i. e. you 

direct your eyes towards the same object ; viz. a husband. 



114 MUCH ADO ACT m. 

DOGS. Marry, this it is, sir. 
VERG. Yes, in truth it is, sir. 
LEON. What is it, my good friends ? 

DOGB. Goodman Verges, sir, speaks a little off 
the matter : an old man, sir, and his wits are not 
so blunt, as, God help, I would desire they were ; 
but, in faith, honest, as the skin between his 
brows. 4 

VERG. Yes, I thank God, I am as honest as any 
man living, that is an old man, and no honester 
than I. 5 

DOGS. Comparisons are odorous : palabras, 6 
neighbour Verges. 

4 honest, as the sJcin between his brows.] This is a pro- 
verbial expression. STEEVENS. 

So, in Gammer Gurton's Needle, 1575 : 

" I am as true, I would thou knew, as skin betwene thy 

Again, in Cartwright's Ordinary, Act V. sc. ii : 

" I am as honest as the skin that is between thy brows." 


* / am as honest as any man living, that is an old man, 
and no honester than /.] There is much humour, and extreme 
good sense, under the covering of this blundering expression. 
It is a sly insinuation, that length of years, and the being much 
hacknied in the ivays of men, as Shakspeare expresses it, take off 
the gloss of virtue, and bring much defilement on the manners. 
For, as a great wit [Swift] says, Youth is the season of virtue: 
corruptions grow with years, and I believe the oldest rogue in 
England is the greatest. WARBURTON. 

Much of this is true ; but I believe Shakspeare did not intend 
to bestow all this reflection on the speaker. JOHNSON. 

6 palabras,~\ So, in The Taming of the Shrew, the Tinker 

says, pocas pallabras, i. e. few words. A scrap of Spanish, which 
might once have been current among the vulgar, and had ap- 
peared, as Mr. Henley observes, in The Spanish Tragedy: 
" Pocas pattabras, milde as the lambe." STEEVENS. 

sc. r. ABOUT NOTHING. 115 

LEON. Neighbours, you are tedious. 

DOGS. It pleases your worship to say so, but we 
are the poor duke's officers ; 7 but, truly, for mine 
own part, if I were as tedious as a king, I could 
find in my heart to bestow it all of your worship. 

LEON. All thy tediousness on me ! ha ! 

DOGS. Yea, and 'twere a thousand times more 
than 'tis : for I hear as good exclamation on your 
worship, as of any man in the city ; and though I 
be but a poor man, I am glad to hear it. 

VERG. And so am I. 

LEON. I would fain know what you have to say. 

VERG. Marry, sir, our watch to-night, excepting 
your worship's presence, have ta'en a couple of as 
arrant knaves as any in Messina. 

DOGB. A good old man, sir ; he will be talking ; 
as they say, When the age is in, the wit is out ; 
God help us ! it is a world to see ! H Well said, 

7 we are the poor duke's officers;'] This stroke of plea- 
santry (arising from a transposition of the epithet poor,) has 
already occurred in Measure for Measure, Act II. sc. i. where 
Elbow says : " If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's 
constable." STEEVENS. 

8 it is a world to see /] i. e. it is wonderful to see. So, 

in All for Money, an old morality, 1594 : " It is a world to see 
how greedy they be of money." The same phrase often occurs, 
with the same meaning, in Holinshed. STEEVENS. 

Again, in a letter from the Earl of Worcester to the Earl of 
Salisbury, l6oy : " While this tragedee was acting yt was a 
world to heare the reports heare." 

Lodge's Illustrations, Vol. III. p. 380. REED. 

Rather, it is worth seeing. Barret, in his Alvearie, 1580, 
explains " It is a world to heare," by it is a thing worthie the 
hearing. Audire est operae pretium. Horat. 

i 2 

116 MUCH ADO ACT m. 

i'faith, neighbour Verges : well, God's a good 
man ; 9 an two men ride of a horse, one must ride 
behind : ' An honest soul, i'faith, sir ; by my troth 
he is, as ever broke bread : but, God is to be wor- 
shipped : All men are not alike ; alas good neigh- 
bour ! 

LEON. Indeed, neighbour, he comes too short 
of you. 

DOGS. Gifts, that God gives. 
LEON. I must leave you. 

DOGS. One word, sir : our watch, sir, have, in- 
deed, comprehended two aspicious persons, and we 
would have them this morning examined before 
your worship. 

LEON. Take their examination yourself, and 

And in The Myrrour of good Manners compyled in Latyn ly 
Domynike Mancyn and translate into Englyshe by Alexander 
Bercley prest. Imprynted by Rychard Pynson, bl. 1. no date, the 
line " Est operce pretium doctos spectare colonos" is rendered 
" A world it is to se wyse tyllers of the grounde." 


9 well, God's a good man ;] So, in the old Morality or 

Interlude of Lusty Juventus : 

" He wyl say, that God is a good Man, 

" He can make him no better, and say the best he can." 
Again, in A mery Geste of Robin Hoode, bl. 1. no date: 

" For God is hold a righteous man, 

" And so is his dame," &c. 

Again, in Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, edit. 1032, p. 6/0: 
" God is a good man, and will doe no harme," &c. STEEVENS. 

1 an two men ride &c.~\ This is not out of place, or with- 
out meaning. Dogberry, in his vanity of superior parts, apolo- 
gizing for his neighbour, observes, that of tivo men on an horse, 
one must ride behind. The jirst place of rank or understanding 
can belong but to one, and that happy one ought not to despise 
his iufcriour. JOHNSON. 

sc. v. ABOUT NOTHING. 117 

bring it me ; I am now in great haste, as it may 
appear unto you. 

DOGS. It shall be suffigance. 

LEON. Drink some wine ere you go : fare you 

Enter a Messenger. 

MESS. My lord, they stay for you to give your 
daughter to her husband. 

LEON. I will wait upon them ; I am ready. 

[Exeunt LEONATO and Messenger. 

DOGS. Go, good partner, go, get you to Francis 
Seacoal, bid him bring his pen and inkhorn to the 
gaol ; we are now to examination these men. 

VERG. And we must do it wisely. 

DOGS. We will spare for no wit, I warrant you ; 
here's that [Touching his forehead.'] shall drive 
some of them to a non com: 2 only get the learned 
writer to set down our excommunication, and meet 
me at the gaol. [Exeunt. 

2 to a non com :] i. e. to a non compos mentis; put them 

out of their wits : or, perhaps, he confounds the term with non- 
nlus. MALONE. 

118 MUCH ADO ACT ir- 


The Inside of a Church. 

Enter Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, LEONATO, Friar, 

LEON. Corne, friar Francis, be brief; only to the 
plain form of marriage, and you shall recount their 
particular duties afterwards. 

FRIAR. You come hither, my lord, to marry this 


LEON. To be married to her, friar ; you come 
to marry her. 

FRIAR. Lady, you come hither to be married to 
this count? 

HERO. I do. 

FRIAR. If either of you know any inward impe- 
diment 3 why you should not be conjoined, I charge 
you, on your souls, to utter it. 

CLAUD. Know you any, Hero? 
HERO. None, my lord. 
FRIAR. Know you any, count ? 
LEON. I dare make his answer, none. 

3 If either of you know any inward impediment, &c.] This is 
borrowed from our Marriage Ceremony, which (with a few slight 
changc-s in phraseology) is the same as was used in the time of 
Shakspeare. DOUCJE. 

x. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 1 1 9 

CLAUD. O, what men dare do! what men may do! 
what men daily do ! not knowing what they do ! 

BENE. How now! Interjections? Why, then 
some be of laughing, 4 as, ha! ha! he! 

CLAUD. Stand thee by, friar : Father, by your 

leave ; 

Will you with free and unconstrained soul 
Give me this maid, your daughter ? 

LEON. As freely, son, as God did give her me. 

CLAUD. And what have I to give you back, whose 

May counterpoise this rich and precious gift. 

D. PEDRO. Nothing, unless you render her again. 

CLAUD. Sweet prince, you learn me noble thank- 

There, Leonato, take her back again ; 
Give not this rotten orange to your friend ; 
She's but the sign and semblance of her honour: 
Behold, how like a maid she blushes here : 
O, what authority and show of truth 
Can cunning sin cover itself withal ! 
Comes not that blood, as modest evidence, 
To witness simple virtue ? Would you not swear, 
All you that see her, that she were a maid, 
By these exterior shows ? But she is none : 
She knows the heat of a luxurious bed : 5 
Her blush is guiltiness, not modesty. 

4 some be of laughing,] This is a quotation from the 

Accidence. JOHNSON. 

4 luxurious bed:"] That is, lascivious. Luxury is the 

confessor's term for unlawful pleasures of the sex. JOHNSON. 

Thus Pistol, in King Henry V. calls Fluellen a 

" damned and luxurious mountain goat." 


120 MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

LEON. What do you mean, my lord ? 

CLAUD. Not to be married, 

Not knit my soul 6 to an approved wanton. 

LEON. Dear my lord, if you, in your own proof 7 
Have vanquish'd the resistance of her youth, 
And made defeat of her virginity, 

CLAUD. I know what you would say ; If I have 

known her, 

You'll say, she did embrace me as a husband, 
And so extenuate the 'forehand sin : 
No, Leonato, 

I never tempted her with word too large ; 8 
But, as a brother to his sister, show'd 
Bashful sincerity, and comely love. 

HERO. And seem'd I ever otherwise to you ? 

CLAUD. Out on thy seeming! 9 I will write 

against it: 1 
You seem to me as Dian in her orb ; 

Again, in The Life and Death of Edward II. p. J2Q: 

" Luxurious Queene, this is thy foule desire." REED. 

6 Not knit my soul &c.] The old copies read, injuriously to 
metre, Not to knit, &c. I suspect, however, that our author 
wrote Nor knit, &c. STEEVENS. 

7 Dear my lord, if you. in your own proof- 1 In your otw? 

r '? -c - , i n rrt 

proof may signify in your own trial oj her. 1 YRWHITT. 

Dear like door, Jire, hour, and many similar words, is here 
used as a dissyllable. MALONE. 

8 fvord too large ;] So he uses large jests in this play, 

for licentious, not restrained within due bounds. JOHNSON. 

9 thy seeming /] The old copies have thec . The emen- 
dation is Mr. Pope's. In the next line Shakspeare probably 
wrote seemed. MALONE. 

1 I will write against it :] So, in Cymbeline, Posthumus 

speaking of women, says : 

" I'll 'write against them, 

" Detest them, curse them." STEEVENS. 

so. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 121 

As chaste as is the bud 2 ere it be blown ; 
But you are more intemperate in your blood 
Than Venus, or those pamper'd animals 
That rage in savage sensuality. 

HERO. Is my lord well, that he doth speak so 
wide ? 3 

LEON. Sweet prince, why speak not you ? 

D. PEDRO. What should I speak ? 

I stand dishonour'd, that have gone about 
To link my dear friend to a common stale. 

LEON. Are these things spoken? or do I but 
dream ? 4 

D. JOHN. Sir, they are spoken, and these things 
are true. 

BENE. This looks not like a nuptial. 

HERO. True, O God ! 

CLAUD. Leonato, stand I here? 
Is this the prince ? Is this the prince's brother ? 
Is this face Hero's ? Are our eyes our own ? 

LEON. All this is so ; But what of this, my lord ? 

CLAUD. Let me but move one question to your 
daughter ; 

chaste as is the bud ] Before the air has tasted its 

sweetness. JOHNSON. 

3 that he doth speak so wide ?] i. e. so remotely from 

the present business. So, in Troilus and Cressida : " No, no ; 
no such matter, you are wide." Again, in The Merry Wives 
of Windsor : " 1 never heard a man of his place, gravity, and 
learning, so wide of his own respect." STEEVENS. 

4 Are these things spoken ? or do I but dream ?"] So, in Mac- 
beth : 

" Were such things here, as we do speak about ? 
" Or have we," &c. STEEPENS. 

1 22 MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

And, by that fatherly and kindly power 5 
That you have in her, bid her answer truly. 

LEON. I charge thee do so, as thou art my child. 

HERO. O God defend me ! how am I beset ! 
What kind of catechizing call you this ? 

CLAUD. To make you answer truly to your name. 

HERO. Is it not Hero ? Who can blot that name 
With any just reproach ? 

CLAUD. Marry, that can Hero ; 

Hero itself can blot out Hero's virtue. 
What man was he talk'd with you yesternight 
Out at your window, betwixt twelve and one ? 
ISow, ir you are a maid, answer to this. 

HERO. I talk'd with no man at that hour, my 

D. PEDRO. Why, then are you no maiden. 


I am sorry you must hear ; Upon mine honour, 
Myself, my brother, and this grieved count, 
Did see her, hear her, at that hour last night, 
Talk with a ruffian at her chamber-window ; 
Who hath, indeed, most like a liberal villain, 6 

kindly poiuer ] That is, natural poiver. Kind is 

nature. JOHNSON. 

Thus, in the Induction to The Taming of the Shrciv : 

" This do, and do it kindly, gentle sirs." 
i. e. naturally. STEEVF.NS. 

6 liberal villain,] Liberal here, as in many places of 

these plays, means frank beyond honesty, or decency. Free oj 
tongue. Dr. Warburton unnecessarily reads, illiberal. 


So, in The Fair Maid of Bristow, 1605 : 

" Hut Vallinger, most like a liberal villain, 
" Did give her scandalous ignoble terms." 

so. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 123 

Confess'd the vile encounters they have had 
A thousand times in secret. 

D. JOHN. Fye, fye ! they are 

Not to be nam'd, my lord, not to be spoke of; 
There is not chastity enough in language, 
Without offence, to utter them : Thus, pretty lady, 
I am sorry for thy much misgovernment. 

CLAUD. O Hero ! what a Hero hadst thou been, 
If half thy outward graces had been placed 
About thy thoughts, and counsels of thy heart! 
But, fare thee well, most foul, most fair ! farewell, 
Thou pure impiety, and impious purity ! 
For thee I'll lock up all the gates of love, 
And on my eye-lids shall conjecture 7 hang, 
To turn all beauty into thoughts of harm, 
And never shall it more be gracious. 8 

LEON. Hath no man's dagger here a point for 
me? 9 [HERO swoons. 

Again, in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher : 
" And give allowance to your liberal jests 
" Upon his person." STEEVENS. 

This sense of the word liberal is not peculiar to Shakspeare. 
John Taylor, in his Suite concerning Players, complains of the 
" many aspersions very liberally, unmannerly, and ingratefully 
bestowed upon him." FARMER. 

6 ivhat a Hero hadst thou been,"] I am afraid here is in- 
tended a poor conceit upon the word Hero. JOHNSON. 

7 conjecture ] Conjecture is here used for suspicion. 


* And never shall it more be gracious.] i. e. lovely, attractive. 


So, in King John : 

" There was not such a gracious creature born." 


9 Hath no man's dagger here a point for mef] So, in Venice 

124 MUCH ADO ACT jr. 

BEAT. Why, how now, cousin ? wherefore sink 
you down ? 

D. JOHN. Come, let us go : these things, come 

thus to light, 
Smother her spirits up. 

\_Exeunt Don PEDRO, Don JOHN, and 

BENE. How doth the lady ? 

BEAT. Dead, I think ; help, uncle ; 

Hero ! why, Hero! Uncle! Signior Benedick! 
friar ! 

LEON. O fate, take not away thy heavy hand ! 
Death is the fairest cover for her shame, 
That may be wish'd for. 

BEAT. How now, cousin Hero ? 

FRIAR. Have comfort, lady. 
LEON. Dost thou look up ? J 

FRIAR. Yea ; Wherefore should she not ? 

LEON. Wherefore? Why, doth not every earthly 


Cry shame upon her ? Could she here deny 
The story that is printed in her blood ? 2 
Do not live, Hero ; do not ope thine eyes : 
For did I think thou would'st not quickly die, 
Thought I thy spirits were stronger than thy shames, 
Myself would, on the rearward of reproaches, 
Strike at thy life. Griev'd I, I had but one ? 

" A thousand daggers, all in honest hands ! 
" And have not 1 a friend to stick one here ?" 


1 Dost thou look itp?] The metre is here imperfect. Perhaps 
our author wrote Dost thou still look up? STEEVENS. 

* The story that is printed in her blood?] That is, the slory 
"which her blushes discover to be true.* JOHNSON. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. I2<r 

Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame ? 3 
O, one too much by thee ! Why had I one ? 
Why ever wast thou lovely in my eyes ? 
Why had I not, with charitable hand, 
Took up a beggar's issue at my gates ; 
Who smirched thus, 4 and mired with infamy, 
I might have said, No part of it is mine, 
This shame derives itself from unknown loins ? 
But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine I prais'd, 

3 Chid I for that at frugal nature's frame ?] Frame is con- 
trivance, order, disposition of things. So, in The Death of Robert 
Earl of Huntington, l60.i : 

" And therefore seek to set each thing in frame" 
Again, in Holinshed's Chronicle, p. 555: " there was no 
man that studied to bring the unrulie to frame." 
Again, in Daniel's Verses on Montaigne : 

" extracts of men, 

" Though in a troubledyhzme confus'dly set." 
Again, in this play : 

" Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies." STEEVENS. 

It seems to me, that by frugal nature" 's frame, Leonato 
alludes to the particular formation of himself, or of Hero's 
mother, rather than to the universal system of things. Frame 
means hereframing, as it does where Benedick says of John, 

" His spirits toil in frame of villainies." 
Thus Richard says of Prince Edward, that he was 

" Framed in the prodigality of nature." 
And, in All's ivell that ends txell, the King says to Bertram : 

" Frank nature, rather curious than in haste, 

" Hath well composed thee." 

But Leonato, dissatisfied with his own frame, was wont to com- 
plain of thefrugality of nature. M. MASON. 

The meaning, I think, is, Grieved I at nature's being so 
frugal as to hsweframed for me only one child ? MALONE. 

* Who smirched thus, &c.] Thus the quarto, l6OO. The 
folio reads " smeared." To smirch is to daub, to sully. So, 
in King Henry V: 

** Our gayness and our gilt are all besmirch 'd." &c. 


126 MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

And mine that I was proud on ; 5 mine so much, 
That I myself was to myself not mine, 
Valuing of her j why, she O, she is fallen 
Into a pit of ink ! that the wide sea 
Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ; c 
And salt too little, which may season give 
To her foul tainted flesh ! 7 

BENE. Sir, sir, be patient : 

For my part, I am so attir'd in wonder, 
I know not what to say. 

BEAT. O, on my soul, my cousin is belied ! 
BENE. Lady, were you her bedfellow last night? 

BEAT. No, truly, not; although, until last night, 
I have this twelvemonth been her bedfellow. 

LEON. Confirm'd, confirmed ! O, that is stronger 

5 But mine, and mine I lov'd, and mine Iprais'd, 

And mine that I was proud on ;] The sense requires that 
we should read, as in these three places. The reasoning of the 
speaker stands thus Had this been my adopted child, her shame 
"would not hare rebounded on me. But this child was mine, as 
mine I loved her, praised her, was proud of 'her : consequently, as 
I claimed the glory, I must needs be subject to the shame, &c. 


Even of this small alteration there is no need. The speaker 
utters his emotion abruptly. But mine, and mine that / lov'd, 
&c. by an ellipsis frequent, perhaps too frequent, both in verse 
and prose. JOHNSON. 

the "wide sea 

Hath drops too few to wash her clean again ;] The same 
thought is repeated in Macbeth: 

" Will all great Neptune's ocean wash this blood 
" Clean from my hand ?" STEEVENS. 

7 which may season give 

To her fold tainted Jles7i!~\ The same metaphor from the 
kitchen occurs in Twelfth- Night: 

" all this to, season 

" A brother's dead love." STEEVENS. 

sc.i. ABOUT NOTHING. 127 

Which was before barr'd up with ribs of iron ! 
Would the two princes lie ? and Claudio lie ? 
Who lov'd her so, that, speaking of her foulness, 
Wash'd it with tears? Hence from her j let her die. 

FRIAR. Hear me a little ; 
For I have only been silent so long, 
And given way unto this course of fortune, 
By noting of the lady : I have mark'd 
A thousand blushing apparitions start 
Into her face ; a thousand innocent shames 
In angel whiteness bear away those blushes ; 
And in her eye there hath appear'd a fire, 
To burn the errors 8 that these princes hold 
Against her maiden truth : Call me a fool ; 
Trust not my reading, nor my observations, 
Which with experimental seal doth warrant 
The tenour of my book ; 9 trust not my age, 
My reverence, calling, nor divinity, 
If this sweet lady lie not guiltless here 
Under some biting error. 

LEON. Friar, it cannot be : 

Thou seest, that all the grace that she hath left, 
Is, that she will not add to her damnation 
A sin of perjury ; she not denies it : 
Why seek'st thou tljen to cover with excuse 
That which appears in proper nakedness ? 

FRIAR. Lady, what man is he you are accus'd of? l 

8 To burn the errors ] The same idea occurs in Romeo and 

" Transparent hereticks be burnt for liars." STEEVENS. 

' o/'rwybook ;] i. e. of what I have read. MALONE. 

1 Friar. luhat man is he you are accus'd qf?~\ The Friar 

had just before boasted his great skill in fishing out the truth. 
And, indeed, he appears by this question to be no fool. He 
was by, all the while at the accusation, and heard no name 

128 MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

HERO. They know, that do accuse me ; I know 

none : 

If I know more of any man alive, 
Than that which maiden modesty doth warrant, 
Let all my sins lack mercy ! O my father, 
Prove you that any man with me conversed 
At hours unmeet, or that I yesternight 
Maintain'd the change of words with any creature, 
Refuse me, hate me, torture me to death. 

FRIAR. There is some strange misprision in the 

BENE. Two of them have the very bent of ho- 
nour ; 2 

And if their wisdoms be misled in this, 
The practice of it lives in John the bastard, 
Whose spirits toil in frame of villainies. 

LEON. I know not ; If they speak but truth of 


These hands shall tear her ; if they wrong her ho- 
The proudest of them shall well hear of it. 

mentioned. Why then should he ask her what man she was 
accused of? But in this lay the subtil ty of his examination. 
For, had Hero been guilty, it was very probable that in that 
hurry and confusion of spirits, into which the terrible insult of 
her lover had thrown her, she would never have observed that 
the man's name was not mentioned ; and so, on this question, 
have betrayed herself by naming the person she was conscious 
of an affair with. The Friar observed this, and so concluded, 
that were she guilty^ she would probably fall into the trap he 
laid for her. 1 only take notice of this to show how admirably 
well Shakspeare knew how to sustain his characters. 


* bent of honour ,-] Bent is used by our author for the 

utmost degree of any passion, or mental quality. In this play 
before, Benedick says of Beatrice, her affection has its full bent. 
The expression is derived from archery ; the bow has its bent, 
when it is drawn as far as it can be. JOHNSON. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 129 

Time hath not yet so dried this blood of mine, 
Nor age so eat up my invention, 
Nor fortune made such havock of my means, 
Nor my bad life reft me so much of friends, 
But they shall find, awak'd in such a kind, 
Both strength of limb, and policy of mind, 
Ability in means, and choice of friends, 
To quit me of them throughly. 

FRIAR. Pause a while, 

And let my counsel sway you in this case. 
Your daughter here the princes left for deadj^ 
Let her awhile be secretly kept in, 
And publish it, that she is dead indeed : 
Maintain a mourning ostentation; 4 
And on your family's old monument 
Hang mournful epitaphs, and do all rites 
That appertain unto a burial. 

LEON. What shall become of this ? What will 
this do ? 

FRIAR. Marry, this, well carried, shall on her 


Change slander to remorse; that is some good: 
But not for that, dream I on this strange course, 
But on this travail look for greater birth. 

3 Your daughter here the princes left for dead ;] In former 

Your daughter here the princess (left for dead;) 
But how comes Hero to start up a princess here ? We have no 
intimation of her father being a prince ; and this is the first and 
only time she is complimented with this dignity. The remotion 
of a single letter, and of the parenthesis, will bring her to her 
own rank, and the place to its true meaning: 

Your daughter he, < the princes lejt for dead; 
i. e. Don Pedro, prince ot Arragon ; and his bastard brother, 
who is likewise called a prince. THEOBALD. 

4 ostentation;] Show, appearance. JOHNSON. 


130 MUCH ADO ACT ir. 

She dying, as it must be so maintained, 

Upon the instant that she was accus'd, 

Shall be lamented, pitied and excus'd, 

Of every hearer : For it so falls out, 

That what we have we prize not to the worth, 

Whiles we enjoy it ; but being lack'd and lost, 

Why, then we rack the value; 5 then we find 

The virtue, that possession would not show us 

Whiles it was ours: So will it fare with Claudio: 

When he shall hear she died upon his words, 6 

The idea of her life shall sweetly creep 

Into his study of imagination ; 

And every lovely organ of her life 

Shall come apparell'd in more precious habit, 

More moving-delicate, and full of life, 

Into the eye and prospect of his soul, 

Than when she liv'd indeed: then shall he mourn, 

(If ever love had interest in his liver, 7 ) 

And wish he had not so accused her ; 

No, though he thought his accusation true. 

Let this be so, and doubt not but success 

Will fashion the event in better shape 

Than I can lay it down in likelihood. 

But if all aim but this be levell'd false, 

4 tve rack the value ;] i. c. we exaggerate the value. 

The allusion is to rack-rents. The same kind of thought occurs 
in Antony and Cleopatra: 

" What our contempts do often hurl from us, 

" We \vish it ours again." STF.EVENS. 

died upon his words,] i. e. died by them. So, in 
A Midsummer Night's Dream: 

" To die upon the hand I love so well." STEEVENS. 

7 (If ever love had interest in his liver,)] The liver, in con- 
formity to ancient supposition, is frequently mentioned by Shak- 
.speare as the seat of love. Thus Pistol represents Falstaff as 
loving Mrs. Ford " with liver burning hot." STKEVEXS. 


The supposition of the lady's death 

Will quench the wonder of her infamy : 

And, if it sort not well, you may conceal her 

(As best befits her wounded reputation,) 

In some reclusive and religious life, 

Out of all eyes, tongues, minds, and injuries. 

BENE. Signior Leonato, let the friar advise you : 
And though, you know, my inwardness 8 and love 
Is very much unto the prince and Claudio, 
Yet, by mine honour, I will deal in this 
As secretly, and justly, as your soul 
Should with your body. 

LEON, Being that I flow in grief, 

The smallest twine may lead me. 9 

FRIAR. J Tis well consented ; presently away; 
For to strange sores strangely they strain the 

Come, lady, die to live : this wedding day, 

Perhaps, is but prolong'dj have patience, and 

[Exeunt Friar, HERO, and LEONATO. 

BENE. Lady Beatrice,' have you wept all this 
while ? 

8 my inwardness ~| i. e. intimacy. Thus Lucio, in 

Measure for Measure, speaking of the Duke, says " I was an 
inward of his." Again, in King Richard III: 

" Who is most inward with the noble duke ?" 


9 The smallest twine may lead me.'] This is one of our au- 
thor's observations upon lire. Men overpowered with distress, 
eagerly listen to the first offers of relief, close with every scheme, 
and believe every promise. He that has no longer any confi- 
dence in himself, is glad to repose his trust in any other that will 
undertake to guide him. JOHNSON. 

1 Lady Beatrice, &c.] The poet, in my opinion, has shown 
* great deal of address in this scene. Beatrice here engages her 

K 2 

132 MUCH ADO ACT ir, 

BEAT. Yea, and I will weep a while longer. 

BENE. I will not desire that. 

BEAT. You have no reason, I do it freely. 

BENE. Surely, I do believe your fair cousin is 

BEAT. Ah, how much might the man deserve of 
me, that would right her ! 

BENE. Is there any way to show such friendship? 
BEAT. A very even way, but no such friend. 
BENE. May a man do it ? 
BEAT. It is a man's office, but not yours. 

BENE. I do love nothing in the world so well as 
you; Is not that strange ? 

BEAT. As strange as the thing I know not : It 
were as possible for me to say, I loved nothing so 
well as you: but believe me not; and yet I lie not; 
I confess nothing, nor I deny nothing : I am sorry 
for my cousin. 

BENE. By my sword, Beatrice, thou lovest me. 
BEAT. Do not swear by it, and eat it. 

BENE. I will swear by it, that you love me; and 
I will make him eat it, that says, I love not you. 

lover to revenge the injury done her cousin Hero : and without 
this very natural incident, considering the character of Beatrice, 
and that the story of her passion for Benedick was all a fable, 
she could never have been easily or naturally brought to confess 
she loved him, notwithstanding all the foregoing preparation. 
And yet, on this confession, in this very place, depended the 
whole success of the plot upon her and Benedick. For had she 
not owned her love here, they must have soon found out the 
trick, and then the design of bringing them together had been 
defeated ; and she would never have owned a passion she had 
been only tricked into, had not her desire of revenging her 
cousin's wrong made her drop her capricious humour at once. 



. Will you not eat your word ? 

BENE. With no sauce that can be devised to it : 
I protest, I love thee. 

BEAT. Why then, God forgive me ! 
BENE. What offence, sweet Beatrice ? 

BEAT. You have staid me in a happy hour 5 I 
was about to protest, I loved you. 

BENE. And do it with all thy heart. 

BEAT. I love you with so much of my heart, 
that none is left to protest. 

BENE. Come, bid me do any thing for thee. 
BEAT. Kill Claudio. 
BENE. Ha ! not for the wide world. 
BEAT. You kill me to deny it : Farewell. 
BENE. Tarry, sweet Beatrice. 
BEAT. I am gone, though I am here ; 2 There 
is no love in you : Nay, I pray you, let me go. 

BENE. Beatrice, 
BEAT. In faith, I will go. 
BENE, We'll be friends first. 

BEAT. You dare easier be friends with me, than 
fight with mine enemy. 

1 I am gone, though I am here ;] i. e. I am out of your 
mind already, though I remain here in person before you. 


I cannot approve of Steevens's explanation of these words, 
and believe Beatrice means to say, " I am gone," that is, " I 
am lost to you, though I am here." In this sense Benedick 
takes them, and desires to be friends with her. M. MASON. 

Or, perhaps, my affection is withdrawn from you, though I 
am yet here. M ALONE. 

13* MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

E. Is Claudio thine enemy ? 

BEAT. Is he not approved in the height a villain, 3 
that hath slandered, scorned, dishonoured my kins- 
woman ? O, that I were a man ! What ! bear 
her in hand 4 until they come to take hands ; and 
then with publick accusation, uncovered slander, 
unmitigated rancour, O God, that I were a man ! 
I would eat his heart in the market-place. 5 

BENE. Hear me, Beatrice ; 

BEAT. Talk with a man out at a window ? a 
proper saying ! 

BENE. Nay but, Beatrice ; 

BEAT. Sweet Hero ! she is wronged, she is 
slandered, she is undone. 

BENE. Beat 

BEAT. Princes, and counties! 6 Surely, a princely 

* " '" in the height a villain,'] So, in King Henry VIII: 

" He's a traitor to the height." 
lt Inprcecipiti vitiuni stetit.'' Juv. I. 140. STEEVENS. 

* - bear her in hand ] i. e. delude her by fair promises. 
So, in Macbeth: 

" How you were borne in hand, how cross'd," &c. 


1 I would eat his heart in the market-place.'] A sentiment as 
savage is imputed to Achilles by Chapman, in his version of the 
22d Iliad: 

" Hunger for slaughter, and a hate that eates thy heart, 

to fate 

" Thy foe's hearth 

With equal fjrocity, Hecuba, speaking of Achilles, in the 
24th Iliad, expresses a wish to employ her teeth on his liver. 


8 - and counties !] County was the ancient general term 
for a nobleman. See a note on the County Paris in Romeo and 

Juliet. STEEVENS. 

sc. T. ABOUT NOTHING. 135 

testimony, a goodly count-confect; 7 a sweet gal- 
lant, surely! O that I were a man for his sake ! or 
that I had any friend would be a man for my sake! 
But manhood is melted into courtesies, 8 valour 
into compliment, and men are only turned into 
tongue, and trim ones too : 9 he is now as valiant 
as Hercules, that only tells a lie, and swears it : 
I cannot be a man with wishing, therefore I will 
die a woman with grieving. 

BENE. Tarry, good Beatrice : By this hand, I 
love thee. 

BEAT. Use it for my love some other way than 
swearing by it. 

BENE. Think you in your soul the count 
Claudio hath wronged Hero ? 

BEAT. Yea, as sure as I have a thought, or a soul. 

BENE. Enough, I am engaged, I will challenge 
him; I will kiss your hand, and so leave you : By 
this hand, Claudio shall render me a dear account : 
As you hear of me, so think of me. Go, comfort 
your cousin : I must say, she is dead ; and so, 
farewell. \_Exeunt. 

7 a goodly count-confect ;] i. e. a specious nobleman 

made out of sugar. STEEVENS. 

9 into courtesies,] i. e. into ceremonious obeisance, like 

the courtesies dropped by women. Thus, in Othello : 

" Very good ; well kiss'd ! an excellent courtesy /" 
Again, in King Richard III : 

" Duck with French nods, and apish courtesy" 


9 and men are only turned into tongue, and trim ones 

too :] Mr. Heath would read tongues, but he mistakes the con- 
struction of the sentence, which is not only men but trim ones, 
are turned into tongue, i. e. not only common, but clever men, 


A Prison. 

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Sexton, in gowns , z 
and the Watch, with CONRADE and BORACHIO. 

DOGS. Is our whole dissembly appeared ? 

1 Scene //.] The persons, throughout this scene, have been 
strangely confounded in the modern editions. The first error 
has been the introduction of a Town-Clerk, who is, indeed, men- 
tioned in the stage-direction, prefixed to this scene in the old 
editions, (Enter the Constables, Borachio, and the Towne- 
Clerke, in gowncs, ) but no where else ; nor is there a single 
speech ascribed to him in those editions. The part, which he 
might reasonably have been expected to take upon this occasion, 
is performed by the Sexton ; who assists at, or rather directs, the 
examinations ; sets them down in writing, and reports them to 
Leonato. It is probable, therefore, I think, that the Sexton has 
been styled the Town-Clerk, in the stage-direction above-men- 
tioned, from his doing the duty of such an officer. But the 
editors, having brought both Sexton and Town-Clerk upon the 
stage, were unwilling, as it seems, that the latter should be a 
mute personage ; and therefore they have put into his mouth 
almost all the absurdities which the poet certainly intended for 
his ignorant constable. To rectify this confusion, little more is 
necessary than to go back to the old editions, remembering that 
the names of Kempe and Cowley, two celebrated actors of the 
time, are put in this scene, for the names of the persons repre- 
sented ; viz. Kempc for Dogberry, and Cowley for Verges. 


I have followed Mr. Tyrwhitt's regulation, which is undoubt- 
edly just ; but have left Mr. Theobald's notes as I found them. 


* in gowns;] It appears from The Black Book, 4to. 

1604, that this was the dress of a constable in our author's 
time: " when they mist their constable, and sawe the black 
gowne of his office lye full in a puddle 1 ." 

The Sexton (as Mr. Tyrwhitt observed) is styled in this stage- 
direction, in the old copies, the Town-Clerk, " probably from 

sc. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 137 

VERG. O, a stool and a cushion for the sexton ! 3 
SEXTON. Which be the malefactors ? 
DOGS. Many, that am I and my partner. 

VERG. Nay, that's certain ; we have the exhibi- 
tion to examine. 4 

SEXTON. But which are the offenders that are 
to be examined? let them come before master 

DOGB. Yea, marry, let them come before me. - 
What is your name, friend ? 

BORA. Borachio. 

DOGB. Pray write down Borachio. Yours, 

sirrah ? 

CON. I am a gentleman, sir, and my name is 

DOGS. Writedown master gentleman Conrade. 
Masters, do you serve God ? 

CON. BORA. Yea, sir, we hope. 

his doing the duty of such an officer." But this error has only 
happened here ; for throughout the scene itself he is described 
by his proper title. By mistake also in the quarto, and the folio, 
which appears to have been printed from it, the name of 
Kempe (an actor in our author's theatre) throughout this scene 
is prefixed to the speeches of Dogberry, and that of Cowley to 
those of Verges, except in two or three instances, where either 
Constable or Andrew are substituted for Kempe. MALONE. 

3 0, a stool and a cushion for the sexton!] Perhaps a ridi- 
cule was here aimed at The Spanish Tragedy: 
"' Hieron. What, are you ready ? 
" Balth. Bring a chaire and a cushion for the king." 


* toe have the exhibition to examine.] Blunder for 

examination to exhibit. See p. 1 1(3 : " Take their examination 
yourself, and bring it me" STEEVENS. 

138 MUCH ADO ACT iv. 

DOGB. Write down that they hope they serve 
God : and write God first ; for God defend but 
God should go before such villains ! 5 Masters, it 
is proved already that you are little better than 
false knaves ; and it will go near to be thought 
so shortly. How answer you for yourselves ? 

CON. Marry, sir, we say we are none. 

DOGB. A marvellous witty fellow, I assure you ; 
but I will go about with him. Come you hither, 
sirrah ; a word in your ear, sir ; I say to you, it is 
thought you are false knaves. 

BORA. Sir, I say to you, we are none. 

DOGB. Well, stand aside. 'Fore God, they are 
both in a tale : 6 Have you writ down that they 
are none ? 

5 Con. Bora. Yea, sir, "we hope. 

Dogb. Write down that they hope they serve God: and 
write Godjirst ; for God defend but God should go before such 
villains!] This short passage, which is truly humorous and in 
character, I have added from the old quarto. Besides, it sup- 
plies a defect : for without it, the Town-Clerk asks a question 
of the prisoners, and goes on without staying for any answer to 

The omission of this passage since the edition of 1000, may be 
accounted for from the stat. 3 Jac. I. c. 21, the sacred name 
being jestingly used four times in one line. BLACKSTONE. 

6 'Fore God, tfiey are both in a talc .] This is an admirable 
stroke of humour ; Dogberry says of the prisoners that they are 
false knaves ; and from that denial of the charge, which one in 
his wits could not be supposed to make, he infers a communion 
of counsels, and records it in the examination as an evidence of 
their guilt. SIR J. HAWKINS. 

If the learned annotator will amend his comment by omitting 
the word guilt, and inserting the word innocence, it will (except 
<is to the supposed inference of a communication of counsels, 
which should likewise be omitted or corrected,) be a just and 
pertinent remark. HITSON. 


SEXTON. Master constable, you go not the way 
to examine ; you must call forth the watch that 
are their accusers. 

DOGS. Yea, marry, that's the eftest way : 7 
Let the watch come forth : Masters, I charge 
you, in the prince's name, accuse these men. 

1 WATCH. This man said, sir, that Don John, 
the prince's brother, was a villain. 

DOGS. Write down prince John a villain : 
Why this is flat perjury, to call a prince's brother 

BORA. Master constable, 

DOGS. Pray thee, fellow, peace ; I do not like 
thy look, I promise thee. 

SEXTON. What heard you him say else ? 

2 WATCH. Marry, that he had received a thou- 
sand ducats of Don John, for accusing the lady 
Hero wrongfully. 

7 Yea, marry, that's the eftest may :~\ Our modern editors, 
who were at a loss to make out the corrupted reading of the old 
copies, read easiest. The quarto, in 100O, and the first and 
second editions in folio, all concur in reading Yen, marry, 
that's the eftest "way,, &c. A letter happened to slip out at press 
in the first edition ; and 'twas too hard a task for the subsequent 
editors to put it in, or guess at the word under this accidental 
depravation. There is no doubt but the author wrote, as I 
have restored the text Yea, marry, that's the deftest way, i. e. 
the readiest, most commodious way. The word is pure Saxon. 
Deaplice, debite, congrue, duely, fitly, Debtthe, opportune, 
commode, fitly, conveniently, seasonably, in good time, com- 
modiously. Vide Spelman's Saxon Gloss. THEOBALD. 

Mr. Theobald might have recollected the word deftly in 
Macbeth : 

" Thyself and office deftly show." 

Shakspeare, I suppose, designed Dogberry to corrupt this word 
as well as many others. STEEVENS. 

140 MUCH ADO ACTir. 

DOGS. Flat burglary, as ever was committed. 
VERG. Yea, by the mass, that it is. 
SEXTON. What else, fellow ? 

1 WATCH. And that count Claudio did mean, 
upon his words, to disgrace Hero before the whole 
assembly, and not marry her. 

DOGB. O villain ! thou wilt be condemned into 
everlasting redemption for this. 

SEXTON. What else ? 

2 WATCH. This is all. 

SEXTON. And this is more, masters, than you can 
deny. Prince John is this morning secretly stolen 
away ; Hero was in this manner accused, in this 
very manner refused, and upon the grief of this, 
suddenly died. Master constable, let these men 
be bound, and brought to Leonato's ; I will go 
before, and show him their examination. \_Exit. 

DOGB. Come, let them be opinioned. 
VERG. Let them be in band. 
CON. Off, coxcomb ! 8 

8 Verg. Let them be in band. 
Con. Off] coxcomb .'] The old copies read, 

" Let them be in the hands of coxcomb." STEEVENS. 

Mr. Theobald gives these words to Conrade, and says But 
tuhy the Sexton should be so pert upon his brother officers, there 
seems no reason from any superior qualiji 'cations in him ; or any 
suspicion he shows of knowing their ignorance. This is strange. 
The Sexton throughout shows as good sense in their examina- 
tion as any judge upon the bench could do. And as to his 
suspicion of their ignorance, he tells the Town-Clerk, That he 
goes not the way to examine. The meanness of his name hin- 
dered our editor from seeing the goodness of his sense. But 
this Sexton was an ecclesiastic of one of the inferior orders 
called the sacristan, and not a brother officer, as the editor calls 
him. I suppose the book from whence the poet took his sub- 

sc. ii. ABOUT NOTHING. 141 

DOGB. God's my life ! where's the sexton ? let 

ject, was some old English novel translated from the Italian, 
where the word sagristano was rendered sexton. As in Fairfax's 
Godfrey of Boulogne : 

" When Phcebus next unclos'd his wakeful eye, 

" Up rose the Sexton of that place prophane." 
The passage then in question is to be read thus : 

Sexton. Let them be in hand. [Exit. 

Con. Off, coxcomb ! 

Dogberry would have them pinioned. The Sexton says, it was 
sufficient if they were kept in safe custody, and then goes out. 
When one of the watchmen comes up to bind them, Conrade 
says, Off, coxcomb ! as he says afterwards to the constable, 
Aivay ! you are an ass. But the editor adds, The old quarto 
gave me the first umbrage for placing it to Conrade. What these 
words mean I don't know : but I suspect the old quarto divides 
the passage as I have done. WARBURTON. 

Theobald has fairly given the reading of the quarto. 
Dr. Warburton's assertion, as to the dignity of a sexton or 
sacristan, may be supported by the following passage in Stany- 
hurst's version of the fourth Book of the JEneid, where he call* 
the Massylian priestess: 

" in soil Massyla begotten, 

" Sexten of Hesperides sinagog." STEEVENS. 

Let them be in hand."] I had conjectured that these words 
should be given to Verges, and read thus Let them bind their 
hands. I am still of opinion that the passage belongs to Verges; 
but, for the true reading of it, I should wish to adopt a much 
neater emendation, which has since been suggested to me in 
conversation by Mr. Steevens Let them be in band. Shak- 
speare, as he observed to me, commonly uses band for bond. 


So, in King Henry VI. P. Ill : 

" And die in bands for this unmanly deed !" 

It is plain that they were bound from a subsequent speech of 
Pedro : " Whom have you offended, masters, that you are thus 
bound to your answer ?" STEEVENS. 

Off, coxcomb /] The old copies read of, and these words 
make a part of the last speech, " Let them be in the hands of 
coxcomb."" The present regulation was made by Dr. Warburton, 
and has been adopted by the subsequent editors. Off\vas for- 
merly spelt of. In the early editions of these plays a broken 
sentence (like that before us, Let them le in the hands ) is 

142 MUCH ADO Acrir. 

him write down the prince's officer, coxcomb. 
Come, bind them : Thou naughty varlet ! 

CON. Away ! you are an ass, you are an ass. 

DOGS. Dost thou not suspect my place ? Dost 
thou not suspect my years ? O that he were here 
to write me down an ass ! but, masters, remem- 
ber, that I am, an ass ; though it be not written 
down, yet forget not that I am an ass : No, thou 
villain, thou art full of piety, as shall be proved 
upon thee by good witness. I am a wise fellow ; 
and, which is more, an officer ; and, which is more, 
a housholder ; and, which is more, as pretty a piece 
of flesh as any is in Messina ; and one that knows 
the law, go to ; and a rich fellow enough, go to ; 
and a fellow that hath had losses ; and one that 
hath two gowns, and every thing handsome about 
him : Bring him away. O, that I had been writ 
down an ass ! [Exeunt, 

almost always corrupted by being tacked, through the ignorance 
of the transcriber or printer, to the subsequent words. So, in 
Coriolanus, instead of 

" You shades of Rome ! you herd of Boils and plagues 
" Plaster you o'er!" 
we have in the folio, l623, and the subsequent copies 

" You shames of Rome, you ! Herd of boils and 

plagues," &c. 
See also Measure for Measure. 

Perhaps, however, we should read and regulate the passage 

Ver. Let them be in the hands of [the law, he might have 

intended to sayJ\ 
Con. Coxcomb .' M ALONE. 

There is nothing in the old quarto different in this scene from 
the common copies, except that the names of two actors, Kempe 
and Cowley, are placed at the beginning of the speeches, instead 
of the proper words. JOHNSON. 



Before Leonato's House. 

ANT. If you go on thus, you will kill yourself 5 
And 'tis not wisdom, thus to second grief 
Against yourself. 

LEON. I pray thee, cease thy counsel, 

Which falls into mine ears as profitless 
As water in a sieve : give not me counsel ; 
Nor let no comforter delight mine ear, 
But such a one whose wrongs do suit with mine. 
Bring me a father, that so lov'd his child, 
Whose joy of her is overwhelmed like mine, 
And bid him speak of patience ; 9 
Measure his woe the length and breadth of mine, 
And let it answer every strain for strain ; 
As thus for thus, and such a grief for such, 
In every lineament, branch, shape, and form : 
If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard ; 
Cry sorrow, wag ! and hem, when he should 
groan ; l 

9 And bid him speak of patience ;] Read 

" And bid him speak to me of patience." RITSON. 

1 Cry sorrow, wag ! and hem, when he should groan ;] The 
quarto, 1'600, and folio, ]623, read 

" And sorrow, wagge, cry hem," &c. 
Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope 

" And hallow, wag," &c. 
Mr. Theobald 

" And sorrow wage," &c. 
Sir Tho. Hanmer and Dr. Warbuvton 

" And sorrow waive," &c. 

144 MUCH ADO ACT y. 

Patch grief with proverbs ; make misfortune drunk 

Mr. Tyrwhitt 

" And sorrow gftggc," &c. 
Mr. Heath and Mr. T. Warton 

" And sorrowing cry hem," &c. 
I had inadvertently offered 
" And, sorry wag !" &c. 
Mr. Ritson 

" And sorrow "waggery," &e. 
Mr. Malone 

" In sorrow wag," &c. 

But I am persuaded that Dr. Johnson's explanation as well 
as arrangement of the original words, is apposite and just : I 
cannot (says he) but think the true meaning nearer than it is 

If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard. 
And, sorrow, wag! cry ; hem, when he should groan, &c. 
That is, ' If he will smile, and cry sorrow be gone ! and hem 
instead of groaning.' The order in which and and cry are 
placed, is harsh, and this harshness made the sense mistaken. 
Range the words in the common order, and my reading will be 
free from all difficulty. 

If such a one will smile, and stroke his beard, 
Cry, sorrow, wag ! and hem when he should groan ." 
Thus far Dr. Johnson ; and in my opinion he has left succeed- 
ing criticks nothing to do respecting the passage before us. Let 
me, however, claim the honour of supporting his opinion. 

To cry Care away! was once an expression of triumph. 
So, in Acolastus, a comedy, 1540 : 

" I may now say, Care awaye!" 

Again, ibidem: " Now grievous sorrowe and care away /" 

Again, at the conclusion of Barnaby Googe's third Eglog : 
" Som chestnuts have I there in store, 
" With cheese and pleasaunt whaye ; 
" God sends me vittayles for my nede, 

" And I synge Care awaye /" 

Again, as Dr. Farmer observes to me, in George Withers's 
Philarete, 1(J22: 

" Why should we grieve or pine at that ? 
" Hang sorrow! care will kill a cat. 1 ' 

Sorrow go by! is also (as I am assured) a common exclama- 
tion of hilarity even at this time, in Scotland. Sorrow wag! 
might have been just such another. The verb, to wag, is 
several times used by our author in the sense of to go t or 
pack off. 

sc. /. ABOUT NOTHING. 145 

With candle-wasters j 2 bring him yet to me, 
And I of him will gather patience. 
But there is no such man: For, brother, men 
Can counsel, and speak comfort to that grief 
Which they themselves not feel; but, tasting it, 
Their counsel turns to passion, which before 
Would give preceptial medicine to rage, 
Fetter strong madness in a silken thread, 
Charm ach with air, and agony with words: 

The Prince, in The First Part of King Henry IV. Actll. sc. iv, 
says " They cry hem! and bid you play it off." And Mr. M. 
Mason observes that this expression also occurs in As you like it, 
where Rosalind says " These burs are in my heart;" and Celia 
replies " Hem them away." The foregoing examples sufficiently 
prove the exclamation hem, to have been of a comic turn. 


- make misfortune drunk 

With candle-wasters ;] This may mean, either wash away 
his sorrow among those who sit up all night to drink, and in that 
sense may be styled roasters of candles ; or overpower his mis- 
fortunes by swallowing flap-dragons in glass, which are described 
by Falstaff as made of candles' 1 ends. STEEVENS. 

This is a very difficult passage, and hath not, I think, been 
satisfactorily cleared up. The explanation I shall offer, will give, 
I believe, as little satisfaction ; but I will, however, venture it. 
Candle-wasters is a term of contempt for scholars: thus Jonson, 
in Cynthia's Revels, Act III., sc. ii : " spoiled by a whoreson 
book-worm, a candle-waster." In The Antiquary, Act III. is 
a like term of ridicule : " He should more catch your delicate 
court-ear, than all your head-scratchers, thumb-biters, lamp- 
masters of them all." The sense then, which I would assign to 
Shakspeare, is this : " If such a one will patch grief with pro- 
verbs, case or cover the icounds of his grief with proverbial 
sayings; make misfortune drunk with candle-wasters, stitpify 
misfortune, or render himself insensible to the strokes of it, by 
the conversation or lucubrations of scholars ; the production of 
the lamp, bid not Jittedto human nature" Patch, in the sense 
of mending a defect or breach, occurs in Hamlet, Act V. sc. i: 
" O, that that earth, which kept the world in awe, 
" Should, patch a wall, to expel the winter's flaw." 


146 MUCH ADO ACT v, 

No, no; 'tis all men's office to speak patience 

To those that wring under the load of sorrow; 

But no man's virtue, nor sufficiency, 

To be so moral, when he shall endure 

The like himself: therefore give me no counsel: 

My griefs cry louder than advertisement. 3 

ANT. Therein do men from children nothing 

LEON. I pray thee, peace : I will be flesh and 

blood ; 

For there was never yet philosopher, 
That could endure the tooth-ach patiently; 
However they have writ the style of gods, 4 
And made a pish at chance and sufferance.* 

ANT. Yet bend not all the harm upon yourself; 
Make those, that do offend you, suffer too. 

3 than advertisement.] That is, than admonition, than 

moral instruction. JOHNSON. 

* However they have writ the style of gods,] This alludes to 
the extravagant titles the Stoics gave their wise men. Sapieng 
ille cum Diis, ex part, vivit. Senec. Ep. 59. Jupiter quo 
antecedit virum bonum? diutius bonus est. Sapiens nihilo se 
minoris cestimat. Deus non vincit ssupientemfelicitate. Ep. 73. 


Shakspeare might have used this expression, without any 
acquaintance with the hyperboles of stoicism. By the style of 
gods, he meant an exalted language ; such as we may suppose 
would be written by beings superior to human calamities, and 
therefore regarding them with neglect and coldness. 

Beaumont and Fletcher have the same expression in the first 
of their Four Plays in One: 

" Athens doth make women philosophers, 

" And sure their children chat the talk of gods." 


* And made a pish at chance and sufferance.] Alludes to their 
famous apathy. WARBURTON. 

The old copies read -push. Corrected by Mr. Pope. 


sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 147 

LEON. There thou speak'st reason : nay, I will 

do so: 

My soul doth tell me, Hero is belied ; 
And that shall Claudio know, so shall the prince, 
And all of them, that thus dishonour her. 

Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO. 

ANT. Here comes the prince, and Claudio, hastily. 

D. PEDRO. Good den, good den. 

CLAUD. Good day to both of you. 

LEON. Hear you, my lords, 

D. PEDRO. We have some haste, Leonato. 

LEON. Some haste, my lord! well, fare you well, 

my lord : 
Are you so hasty now ? well, all is one. 

D. PEDRO. Nay, do not quarrel with us, good 
old man. 

ANT. If he could right himself with quarreling, 
Some of us would lie low. 

CLAUD. Who wrongs him ? 

LEON. Marry, 

Thou, thou 6 dost wrong me ; thou dissembler, 

thou : 

Nay, never lay thy hand upon thy sword, 
I fear thee not. 

CLAUD. Marry, beshrew my hand, 

If it should give your age such cause of fear : 
In faith, my hand meant nothing to my sword. 

LEON. Tush, tush, man, never fleer and jest at 
me : 

* Thou, thou ] I have repeated the word thou, for the 
,ake of measure, STERVENS. 

L 2 


I speak not like a dotard, nor a fool ; 

As, under privilege of age, to brag 

What I have done being young, or what would do, 

Were I not old : Know, Claudio, to thy head, 

Thou hast so wrong'd mine innocent child and me, 

That I am forc'd to lay my reverence by ; 

And, with grey hairs, and bruise of many days, 

Do challenge thee to trial of a man. 

I say, thou hast belied mine innocent child ; 

Thy slander hath gone through and through her 


And she lyes buried with her ancestors : 
O ! in a tomb where never scandal slept, 
Save this of her's, fram'd by thy villainy. 

CLAUD. My villainy ! 

LEON. Thine, Claudio ; thine I say. 

D. PEDRO. You say not right, old man. 

LEON. My lord, my lord, 

I'll prove it on his body, if he dare ; 
Despite his nice fence, 7 and his active practice, 
His May of youth, and bloom of lustyhood. 

CLAUD. Away, I will not have to do with you. 

LEON. Canst thou so daffme? 8 Thou hast kill'd 

my child ; 
If thou kill'st me, boy, thou shalt kill a man. 

7 Despite his nice fence,] i. e. defence, or skill in the science 
of fencing, or defence. DOUCE. 

6 Canst thou so daff me?'} This is a country word, Mr. Pope 
tells us, signifying, daunt. It may be so ; but that is not the 
exposition here : To daff and daff are synonymous terms, that 
mean to put off: which is the very sense required here, and 
what Leonato would reply, upon Claudio's saying, he would 
have nothing to do with him. THEOBALD. 

Theobald has well interpreted the word. Shakspeare uses it 
more than once. Thus, ia King Henry IV. P. I : 


ANT. He shall kill two of us, and men indeed:* 
But that's no matter ; let him kill one first; 
Win me and wear me, let him answer me, 
Come, follow me, boy; come, boy, follow me: 1 
Sir boy, I'll whip you from your foining fence; 2 
Nay, as I am a gentleman, I will. 

LEON. Brother, 

ANT. Content yourself: God knows, I lov'd my 

niece ; 

And she is dead, slander'd to death by villains ; 
That dare as well answer a man, indeed, 

" The nimble-footed mad-cap Prince of Wales, 

" And his comrades, that dajf'd the world aside." 
Again, in the comedy before us : 

" I would have dajf^d all other respects," &c. 
Again, in The Lover's Complaint: 

" There my white stole of chastity I dqjfd." 
It is, perhaps, of Scottish origin, as I find it in Ane vcrie 
excellent and delectabill Treatise intitulit PHILOTUS, &c. Edin- 
burgh, 1003 : 

" Their doffing does us so undo." STEEVENS. 

9 Ant. He shall kill two of us, &c.~] This brother Antony is 
the truest picture imaginable of human nature. He had assumed 
the character of a sage to comfort his brother, overwhelmed with 
grief for his only daughter's affront and dishonour ; and had 
severely reproved him for not commanding his passion better on 
so trying an occasion. Yet, immediately after this, no sooner 
does he begin to suspect that his age and valour are slighted, 
but he falls into the most intemperate fit of rage himself; and 
all he can do or say is not of power to pacify him. This is 
copying nature with a penetration and exactness of judgment 
peculiar to Shakspeare. As to the expression, too, of his passion, 
nothing can be more highly painted. WARBURTON. 

1 come, boy, follow me ] Here the old copies destroy 

the measure by reading 

" come, sir boy, come, follow me :" 

I have omitted the unnecessary words. STEEVENS. 

* foining fence ;] Foining is a term in fencing, and 
means thrusting. DOUCB. 


As I dare take a serpent by the tongue: 
Boys, apes, braggarts, Jacks, milksops ! 

LEON. Brother Antony, 

ANT. Hold you content ; What, man ! I know 

them, yea, 

And what they weigh, even to the utmost scruple: 
Scambling, 3 out-facing, fashion-mong'ring boys, 
That lie, and cog, and flout, deprave and slander, 
Go antickly, and show outward hideousness, 4 
And speak off half a dozen dangerous words, 
How they might hurt their enemies, if they durst, 
And this is all. 

LEON. But, brother Antony, 

ANT. Come, 'tis no matter ; 

Do not you meddle, let me deal in this. 

D. PEDRO. Gentlemen both, we will not wake 
your patience. 5 

* ScambHng,~\ i. e. scrambling. The word is more than once 
used by Shakspeare. See Dr. Percy's note on the first speech of 
the play of King Henry V. and likewise the Scots proverb, 
" It is well ken'd your father's son was never a scamblcr." 
A scambler, in its literal sense, is one who goes about among 
his friends to get a dinner, by the Irish called a coshercr. 


4 shou outward hideousness,] i. e. what in King Henry V. 

Act III. sc. vi. is called 

" a horrid suit of the camp.*' STEEVENS. 

ive "will not wake your patience."] This conveys a sen- 
timent that the speaker would by no means have implied, That 
the patience of the two old men was not exercised, but asleep, 
which upbraids them for insensibility under their wrong. Shak- 
speare must have wrote : 

ice will not wrack 

i. e. destroy your patience by tantalizing you. WARBURTON. 

This emendation is very specious, and perhaps is right ; yef 
the present reading may admit a congruous meaning with k^Y- 
difficulty than many other of Shakspeare's expressions. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 151 

My heart is sorry for your daughter's death ; 
But, on my honour, she was charg'd with nothing 
But what was true, and very full of proof. 

LEON. My lord, my lord, 
D. PEDRO. I will not hear you. 

LEON. No ? 

Brother, away : 6 I will be heard ; 

ANT. And shall, 

Or some of us will smart for it. 

\_Exeunt LEONATO and ANTONIO. 


D. PEDRO. See, see ; here comes the man we 
went to seek. 

CLAUD. Now, signior! what news! 
BENE. Good day, my lord. 

The old men have been both very angry and outrageous ; the 
Prince tells them that he and Claudio will not wake their 
patience; will not any longer force them to endure the presence 
of those whom, though they look on them as enemies, they 
cannot resist. JOHNSON. 

Wake, I believe, is the original word. The ferocity of wild 
beasts is overcome by not suffering them to sleep. We mil not 
wake your patience, therefore means, we will forbear any further 
provocation. HENLEY. 

The same phrase occurs in Othello : 

" Thou hadst been better have been born a dog, 
" Than answer my ivak'd wrath." STEEVENS. 

6 Brother, away: ] The old copies, without regard to metre, 

" Come, brother, away,*' &c. 
I have omitted the useless and redundant word come. 


152 MUCH ADO ACT r. 

D. PEDRO. Welcome, signior : You are almost 
come to part almost 7 a fray. 

CLAUD. We had like to have had our two noses 
snapped off with two old men without teeth. 

D. PEDRO. Leonato and his brother: What 
think'st thou ? Had we fought, I doubt, we should 
have been too young for them. 

BENE. In a false quarrel there is no true valour. 
I came to seek you both. 

CLAUD. We have been up and down to seek thee ; 
for we are high-proof melancholy, and would fain 
have it beaten away : Wilt thou use thy wit ? 

BENE. It is in my scabbard ; Shall I draw it ? 
D. PEDRO. Dost thou wear thy wit by thy side ? 

CLAUD. Never any did so, though very many 
have been beside their wit. I will bid thee draw, 
as we do the minstrels ; 8 draw, to pleasure us. 

D. PEDRO. As I am an honest man, he looks 
pale : Art thou sick, or angry ? 

CLAUD. What ! courage, man ! What though 
care killed a cat, 9 thou hast mettle enough in thee 
to kill care. 

7 to part almost ] This second almost appears like a 

casual insertion of the compositor. As the sense is complete 
without it, I wish the omission of it had been licensed by either 
of the ancient copies. STEEVENS. 

8 / ivill bid thee draw, as ive do the minstrels ;] An allusion 
perhaps to the itinerant sivord-dancers. In what low estimation 
minstrels were held in the reign of Elizabeth, may be seen from 
Stat. Eliz. 89, c. iv. and the term was probably used to denote 
any sort of vagabonds who amused the people at particular 
seasons. DOUCE. 

9 What though care killed a cat,] This is a proverbial expres- 
sion. See Ray's Proverbs. DOUCE. 

This proverb is recognized by Cob the water bearer, in Every 
Man in his Humour, Act I. sc. iv. 

sc.i. ABOUT NOTHING. 153 

BENE. Sir, I shall meet your wit in the career, 
an you charge it against me : I pray you, choose 
another subject. 

CLAUD. Nay, then give him another staff; this 
last was broke cross. 1 

D. PEDRO. By this light, he changes more and 
more ; I think, he be angry indeed. 

CLAUD. If he be, he knows how to turn his 

girdle. 2 

BENE. Shall I speak a word in your ear ? 
CLAUD. God bless me from a challenge ! 

1 Nay, then give him another staff; &c.] An allusion to 
tilting. See note, As you like it, Act III. sc. iv. WARBURTON. 

* to turn his girdle.] We have a proverbial speech, If 

he be angry, let him turn the buckle of his girdle. But I do not 
know its original or meaning. JOHNSON. 

A corresponding expression is to this day used in Ireland Jf 
lie be angry, let him tie up his brogues. Neither proverb, I be- 
lieve, has any other meaning than this : If he is in a bad humour, 
let him employ himself till he is in a better, 

Dr. Farmer furnishes me with an instance of this proverbial 
expression as used by Claudio, from WiniKood's Memorials, fol. 
edit. 1725, Vol. I. p. 453. See letter from Wimvood to Cecyll, 
from Paris, 1602, about an affront he received there from an 
Englishman : " I said what I spake was not to make him angry. 
He replied, if I were angry, / might turn the buckle of my 
girdle behind me." So likewise, Cowley On the Government of 
Oliver Cromwell: " The next month he swears by the living 
God, that he will turn them out of doors, and he does so in his 
princely way of threatening, bidding them turne the buckles of 
their girdles behind them." STEEVENS. 

Again, in Knavery in all Trades, or the Coffee- House, 1664, 
sign. E : " Nay, if the gentleman be angry, let him turn the 
buckles oj 'his girdle behind him." REED. 

Large belts were worn with the buckle before, but for wrest- 
ling the buckle was turned behind, to give the adversary a fairer 
grasp at the girdle. To turn the buckle behind, therefore, was 
a challenge. HOLT WHITE. 

154 MUCH ADO ACT r. 

BENE. You are a villain ; I jest not : I will 
make it good how you dare, with what you dare, 
and when you dare : Do me right, 3 or I will pro- 
test your cowardice. You have killed a sweet lady, 
and her death shall fall heavy on you : Let me hear 
from you. 

CLAUD. Well, I will meet you, so I may have 
good cheer. 

D. PEDRO. What, a feast ? a feast ? 

CLAUD. Ffaith, I thank him ; he hath bid 4 me 
to a calf's-head and a capon ; the which if I do 
not carve most curiously, say, my knife's naught. 
Shall I not find a woodcock too ? 5 

BENE. Sir, your wit ambles well; it goes easily. 

D. PEDRO. I'll tell thee how Beatrice praised thy 
wit the other day : I said, thou hadst a fine wit ; 
True, says she, a fine little one: No, said I, a great 
tvit ; Right, says she, a great gross one : Nay, said 
I, a good 'wit; Just, said she, it hurts no body : Nai/ 9 
said I, the gentleman is wise; Certain, said she, 

* Do me right,"] This phrase occurs in Justice Silence's song 
in King Henry IV. P. II. Act V. sc. iii. and was the usual form 
of challenge to pledge a bumper toast in a bumper. See note 
on the foregoing passage. STEEVENS. 

4 bid ] i. e. invited. So, in Titus Andronicus, Act I. 

sc. ii : 

" I am not bid to wait upon this bride." REED. 

* Shall I not find a woodcock too? ] A woodcock, being sup- 
posed to have no brains, was a proverbial term for a foolish 
fellow. See The London Prodigal, 1605, and other comedies. 


A woodcock, means one caught in a springe ; alluding to the 
plot against Benedick. So, in Hamlet, sc. ult. 

" Why, as a woodcock to my own springe, Osrick." 
Again, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act IV. sc. iii. Biron says 

" four woodcocks in a dish." DOUCE. 

sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 155 

a wise gentleman : G Nay, said I, he hath the 
tongues ; That I believe, said she, for he swore a 
thing to me on Monday night, 'which he forswore on 
Tuesday morning ; there's a double tongue ; there's 
two tongues. Thus did she, an hour together, 
trans-shape thy particular virtues ; yet, at last, she 
concluded with a sigh, thou wast the properest 
man in Italy. 

CLAUD. For the which she wept heartily, and 
said, she cared not. 

D. PEDRO. Yea, that she did ; but yet, for all 
that, an if she did not hate him deadly, she would 
love him dearly : the old man's daughter told us 

CLAUD. All, all ; and moreover, God saw him 
when he was hid in the garden. 

D. PEDRO. But when shall we set the savage 
bull's horns on the sensible Benedick's head ? 

CLAUD. Yea, and text underneath. Here dwells 
Benedick the married man ? 

BENE. Fare you well, boy ; you know my mind ; 
I will leave you now to your gossip-like humour : 
you break jests as braggarts do their blades, which, 
God be thanked, hurt not. My lord, for your 
many courtesies I thank you : I must discontinue 
your company : your brother, the bastard, is fled 
from Messina : you have, among you, killed a sweet 

6 a wise gentleman .-] This jest depending on the collo- 
quial use of words is now obscure ; perhaps we should read 
a 'wise gentleman, or a man wise enough to be a coivard. Per- 
haps wise gentleman was in that age used ironically, and always 
stood for silly Jelloiv. JOHNSON. 

We still ludicrously call a man deficient in understanding 
ft wise-acre. STEEVENS. 

156 MUCH ADO ACT v. 

and innocent lady : For my lord Lack -beard, there, 
he and I shall meet ; and till then, peace be with 
him. \_Exit BENEDICK. 

D. PEDRO. He is in earnest. 

CLAUD. In most profound earnest ; and, I'll 
warrant you, for the love of Beatrice. 

D. PEDRO. And hath challenged thee ? 
CLAUD. Most sincerely. 

D. PEDRO. What a pretty thing man is, when 
he goes in his doublet and hose, and leaves off his 
wit! 7 

7 What a pretty thing Man is, ivhen he goes in his doublet 
find hose, and leaves off" his ivit /] It was esteemed a mark of 
levity and want of becoming gravity, at that time, to go in the 
doublet and hose, and leave off the cloak, to which this well- 
turned expression alludes. The thought is, that love makes a 
man as ridiculous, and exposes him as naked as being in the 
doublet and hose without a cloak. WARBURTON. 

I doubt much concerning this interpretation, yet am by no 
means confident that my own is right. I believe, however, these 
words refer to what Don Pedro had said just before " And 
hath challenged thee ?" and that the meaning is, What a pretty 
thing a man is, when he is silly enough to throw off his cloak, 
and go in his doublet and hose, to Jight for a woman ? In 
The Merry Wives of Windsor, when Sir Hugh is going to en- 
gage with Dr. Caius, he walks about in his doublet and hose : 
" Page. And youthful still in your doublet and hose, this raw 
rheumatick day !" " There is reasons and causes for it," says 
Sir Hugh, alluding to the duel he was going to fight. I am 
aware that there was a particular species of single combat called 
rapier and cloak ; but I suppose, nevertheless, that when the 
small sword came into common use, the cloak was generally 
laid aside in duels, as tending to embarrass the combatants. 


Perhaps the whole meaning of the passage is this : What an 
inconsistent fool is man, when he covers his body with clothes, 
and at the same time divests himself of his understanding ! 


sc. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 157 

Enter DOGBERRY, VERGES, and the Watch, with 

CLAUD. He is then a giant to an ape : but then, 
is an ape a doctor to such a man. 

D. PEDRO. But, soft you, let be ; 8 pluck up, my 
heart, and be sad ! 9 Did he not say, my brother 
was fled ? 

DOGS. Come, you, sir ; if justice cannot tame 
you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her 
balance : l nay, an you be a cursing hypocrite once, 
you must be looked to. 

8 But, soft you, let be ;] The quarto and first folio read cor- 
ruptly let me be, which the editor of the second folio, in order 
to obtain some sense, converted to let me see. I was once idle 
enough to suppose that copy was of some authority; but a 
minute examination of it has shewn me that all the alterations 
made in it were merely arbitrary, and generally very injudicious. 
Let be were without doubt the author's words. The same ex- 
pression occurs again in Antony and Cleopatra, Act IV. sc. iv : 

" What's this for? Ah, let be, let be." MALONE. 

If let be, is the true reading, it must mean, let things remain 
as they are. I have heard the phrase used by Dr. Johnson him- 
self. Mr. Henley observes, that the same expression occurs in 
St. Matt, xxvii. 4Q. I have since met with it in an ancient me- 
trical romance, MS. entitled the Sotadon ofBabyloyne &c. : 
" Speke we now of sir Laban, 
" And let Charles and Gy be." STEEVENS. 

So, in Henry VIII. Act I. sc. i : 

" and they were ratified, 

" As he cried, Thus, let be." 

Again, in The Winter's Tale, Act V. sc. iii. Leontes says, " Let 
be, let be. 1 ' REED. 

9 pluck tip, my heart, and be sad /] i. e. rouse thyself, 

my heart, and be prepared for serious consequences ! 


1 ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance .] A quibble 

between reasons and raisons. 

158 MUCH ADO ACT v. 

JD. PEDRO. How now, two of my brother's meii 
bound ! Borachio, one ! 

CLAUD. Hearken after their offence, my lord ! 

D. PEDRO. Officers, what offence have these 
men done ? 

DOGB. Marry, sir, they have committed false re- 
port ; moreover, they have spoken untruths ; se- 
condarily, they are slanders ; sixth and lastly, they 
have belied a lady ; thirdly, they have verified unjust 
things : and, to conclude, they are lying knaves. 

D. PEDRO. First, I ask thee what they have 
done ; thirdly, I ask thee what's their offence ; 
sixth and lastly, why they are committed ; and, 
to conclude, what you lay to their charge. 

CLAUD. Rightly reasoned, and in his own divi- 
sion ; and, by my troth, there's one meaning well 
suited. 2 

D. PEDRO. Whom have you offended, masters, 
that you are thus bound to your answer ? this 
learned constable is too cunning to be understood : 
What's your offence ? 

BORA. Sweet prince, let me go no further to 
mine answer ; do you hear me, and let this count 
kill me. I have deceived even your very eyes : what 
yourwisdoms could not discover, these shallowfools 
have brought to light ; who, in the night, over- 
heard me confessing to this man, how Don John 
your brother incensed me to slander 3 the lady 

* one meaning "well suited.] That is, one meaning is 
put into many different dresses ; the Prince having asked the 
same question in four modes of speech. JOHNSON. 

3 incensed me to slander &c.] That is, incited me. The 

word is used in the same sense in Richard III. and Henry VIII. 

M. MA sox. 
See Mbosheu's Diet, in v. MALONF, 

ac. i. ABOUT NOTHING. 159 

Hero ; how you were brought into the orchard, 
and saw me court Margaret in Hero's garments ; 
how you disgraced her, when you should marry 
her ; my villainy they have upon record ; which I 
had rather seal with my death, than repeat over to 
my shame : the lady is dead upon mine and my 
master's false accusation ; and, briefly, I desire 
nothing but the reward of a villain. 

D. PEDRO. Runs not this speech like iron 
through your blood ? 

CLAUD. I have drunk poison, whiles he utter'd it. 

D. PEDRO. But did my brother set thee on to 
this ? 

BORA. Yea, and paid me richly for the practice; 
of it. 

D. PEDRO. He is compos'd and fram'd of trea- 
chery : 
And fled he is upon this villainy. 

CLAUD. Sweet Hero ! now thy image doth ap- 
In the rare semblance that I loved it first. 

DOGS. Come, bring away the plaintiffs ; by this 
time our Sexton hath reformed signior Leonato of 
the matter : And masters, do not forget to specify, 
when time and place shall serve, that I am an ass. 

VERG. Here, here comes master signior Leonato, 
and the Sexton too. 

Re-enter LEONATO and ANTONIO, with the 

LEON. Which is the villain ? Let me see his eyes; 
That when I note another man like him, 
I may avoid him : Which of these, is he ? 

160 MUCH ADO ACT v. 

BORA. If you would know your wronger look on 

LEON. Art thou the slave, that with thy breath 

hast kill'd 
Mine innocent child ? 

BORA. Yea, even I alone. 

LEON. No, not so, villain ; thou bely'st thyself \ 
Here stand a pair of honourable men, 
A third is fled, that had a hand in it : 
I thank you, princes, for my daughter's death ; 
Record it with your high and worthy deeds ; 
'Twas bravely done, if you bethink you of it. 

CLAUD. I know not how to pray your patience, 
Yet I must speak : Choose your revenge yourself; 
Impose me to what penance 4 your invention 
Can lay upon my sin : yet sinn'd I not, 
But in mistaking. 

D. PEDRO. By my soul, nor I ; 

And yet, to satisfy this good old man, 
I would bend under any heavy weight 
That he'll enjoin me to. 

LEON. I cannot bid you bid my daughter live, 
That were impossible ; but, I pray you both, 
Possess the people 5 in Messina here 

4 Impose me to tvhat penance ] i. e. command me to un- 
dergo whatever penance, &c. A task or exercise prescribed 
by way of punishment for a fault committed at the Universities, 
is yet called (as Mr. Steevens has observed in a former note) an 
imposition. MALONE. 

4 Possess the people c."j To possess, in ancient language, 
signifies, to inform, to make acquainted with. So, in The Mer- 
chant of Venice : 

" Is he yet possessed how much you would?" 
Again, ibid : 

" I have posse.ys'd your grace of what I purpose." 



How innocent she died : and, if your love 

Can labour aught in sad invention, 

Hang her an epitaph upon her tomb, 

And sing it to her bones ; sing it to-night : - 

To-morrow morning come you to my house ; 

And since you could not be my son-in-law, 

Be yet my nephew : my brother hath a daughter, 

Almost the copy of my child that's dead, 

And she alone is heir to both of us ; 6 

Give her the right you should have given her cousin, 

And so dies my revenge. 

CLAUD. O, noble sir, 

Your over-kindness doth wring tears from me ! 
I do embrace your offer ; and dispose 
For henceforth of poor Claudio. 

LEON. To-morrow then I will expect your com- 

To-night I take my leave. This naughty man 
Shall face to face be brought to Margaret, 
Who, I believe, was pack'd in all this wrong, 7 
Hir'd to it by your brother. 

6 And she alone is heir to botk of us ;~\ Shakspeare seems to 
have forgot what he had made Leonato say, in the fifth scene of 
the first Act to Antonio: " How now, brother; where is my 
cousin your son ? hath he provided the musick ?" ANONYMOUS. 

7 Who, I believe, "was pack'd in all this urong,'] i. e. com- 
bined ; an accomplice. So, in Lord Bacon's Works, Vol. IV. 
p. 269, edit. 1740 : " If the issue shall be this, that whatever shall 
be done for him, shall be thought done for a number of persons 
that shall be laboured and packed ." MALONE. 

So, in King Lear : 

" snuffs and packing/; of the dukes." STEEVENS. 

Again, in Melvill's Memoirs, p. 90: " he was a special in- 
strument of helping my Lord of Murray and Secretary Liding- 
ton to pack up the first friendship betwixt the two queens," &c. 



162 MUCH ADO ACT r. 

BORA. No, by my soul, she was not ; 

Nor knew not what she did, when she spoke to me ; 
But always hath been just and virtuous, 
In any thing that I do know by her. 

DOGB. Moreover, sir, (which, indeed, is not un- 
der white and black,) this plaintiff here, the of- 
fender, did call me ass : I beseech you, let it be 
remembered in his punishment: And also, the watch 
heard them talk of one Deformed : they say, he 
wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it j 8 

8 he wears a key in his ear, and a lock hanging by it ;] 

There could not be a pleasanter ridicule on the fashion, than the 
constable's descant on his own blunder. They heard the con- 
spirators satirize the fashion ; whom they took to be a man 
surnamed Deformed. This the constable applies with exquisite 
humour to the courtiers, in a description of one of the most fan- 
tastical fashions of that time, the men's wearing rings in their 
ears, and indulging a favourite lock of hair, which was brought 
before, and tied with ribbons, and called a love-lock. Against 
this fashion William Prynne wrote his treatise, called, The Un- 
lovelyness of Love-Locks. To this fantastick mode Fletcher 
alludes in his Cupid's Revenge : " This morning I brought him 
a new perriwig with a lock at it And yonder's a fellow come 
has bored a hole in his ear." And again, in his Woman-Hater : 
" If I could endure an ear with a hole in it, or a platted lock" 

Dr. Warburton, I believe, has here (as he frequently does) 
refined a little too much. There is no allusion, I conceive, to 
the fashion of wearing rings in the ears (a fashion which our 
author himself followed). The pleasantry seems to consist in 
Dogberry's supposing that the lock which DEFORMED wore, must 
have a key to it. 

Fynes Moryson, in a very particular account that he has given 
of the dress of Lord Montjoy, (the rival, and afterwards the 
friend, of Robert, Earl of Essex,) says, that his hair was " thinne 
on the head, where he wore it short, except a lock under his lejt 
eare, which he nourished the time of this warre, [the Irish War, 
in \LQ'.),'\ and being woven up, hid it in his neck under his 
ruffe." ITINERARY, P. II. p. 45. When he was not on service, 
he probably wore it in a different fashion. The portrait of Sir 

sc. /. ABOUT NOTHING. 163 

and borrows money in God's name ; 9 the which 
he hath used so long, and never paid, that now 
men grow hard-hearted, and will lend nothing for 
God's sake : Prayyou, examine him upon that point. 

LEON. I thank thee for thy care and honest 

DOGS. Your worship speaks like a most thank- 
ful and reverend youth ; and I praise God for you. 
LEON. There's for thy pains. 
DOGB. God save the foundation ! l 

LEON. Go, I discharge thee of thy prisoner, and 
I thank thee. 

DOGB. I leave an arrant knave with your wor- 
ship ; which, I beseech your worship, to correct 
yourself, for the example of others. God keep 
your worship ; I wish your worship well ; God re- 
store you to health : I humbly give you leave to 
depart ; and if a merry meeting may be wished, 
God prohibit it. Come, neighbour. 

{Exeunt DOGBERRY, VERGES, and Watch. 

Edward Sackville, Earl of Dorset, painted by Vandyck, (novr 
at Knowle, ) exhibits this lock with a large knotted ribband at 
the end of it. It hangs under the ear on the left side, and 
reaches as low as where the star is now worn by the knights of 
the garter 

The same fashion is alluded to in an epigram already quoted : 
" Or what he doth with such a horse-tail-/oc&," &c. 


9 and borrows money in God's name ;] i. e. is a common 

beggar. This alludes, with too much levity, to the 1 7th verse 
of the xixth chapter of Proverbs. : " He that giveth to the poor, 
lendeth unto the Lord.' 1 STEEVENS. 

1 God save the foundation !] Such was the customary phrase 
employed by those who received alms at the gates of religious 
houses. Dogberry, however, in the present instance, might have 
designed to say " God save the founder!" STEEVENS. 

M 2 

164, MUCH ADO ACT v. 

LEON. Until to-morrow morning, lords, farewell. 

ANT. Farewell, my lords ; we look for you to- 

D. PEDRO. We will not fail. 

CLAUD. To-night I'll mourn with Hero. 

[Exeunt Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO. 

LEON. Bring you these fellows on ; we'll talk 

with Margaret, 

How her acquaintance grew with this lewd fellow. 2 



Leonato's Garden. 
Enter BENEDICK and MARGARET, meeting. 

BENE. Pray thee, sweet mistress Margaret, de- 
serve well at my hands, by helping me to the 
speech of Beatrice. 

MAEG. Will you then write me a sonnet in praise 
of my beauty ? 

BENE. In so high a style, Margaret, that no man 
living shall come over it j for, in most comely 
truth, thou deservest it. 

* lewd /e//otu.] Lewd, in this, and several other instances, 

has not its common meaning, but merely signifies ignorant. 
So, in King Richard III. Act I. sc. Hi : 

" But you must trouble him with lewd complaints." 
Again, in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon oj 
Babyloyne, MS: 

" That witnessith both lerned and lewde." 
Again, ibid: 

" He spared neither letvde ner clerkc." STEEVENS, 

sc. ii. ABOUT NOTHING. 165 

MARG. To have no man come over me ? why, 
shall I always keep below stairs ? 3 

BENE. Thy wit is as quick as the greyhound's 
mouth, it catches. 

MARG. And your's as blunt as the fencer's foils, 
which hit, but hurt not. 

BENE. A most manly wit, Margaret, it will not 
hurt a woman ; and so, I pray thee, call Beatrice : 
I give thee the bucklers. 4 

3 To have no man come over me? why, shall I always keep 
below stairs ?] I suppose, every reader will find the meaning. 


Lest he should not, the following instance from Sir Aston 

Cockayne's Poems is at his service : 

" But to prove rather he was not beguil'd, 

" Her he o'er-came, for he got her with child." 

And another, more apposite, from Marston's Insatiate Countess, 


" Alas ! when we are once o'the falling hand, 
" A man may easily come over us." COLLINS. 

Mr. Theobald, to procure an obvious sense, would read 
above stairs. But there is danger in any attempt to reform a 
joke two hundred years old. 

The sense, however, for which Mr. Theobald contends, may 
be restored by supposing the loss of a word ; and that our author 
wrote " Why, shall I always keep men below stairs ?" i. e. never 
suffer them to come up into my bed-chamber, for the purposes of 
love. STEEVENS. 

4 / give thee the bucklers.] I suppose that to give the 

bucklers is, to yield, or to lay by all thoughts of defence, so cly- 
peum abjicere. The rest deserves no comment. JOHNSON. 

Greene, in his Second Part of Coney-Catching, 15Q2, uses the 
same expression : " At this his master laught, and was glad, for 
further advantage, to yield the bucklers to his prentise." 

Again, in A Woman never vex'd, a comedy by Rowley, 1632: 
*' into whose hands she thrusts the weapons first, let him take 
up the bucklers." 

Again, in Decker's Satiromastix : " Charge one of them to 
take up the bucklers against that hair-monger Horace." 

166 MUCH ADO ACT r. 

MARG. Give us the swords, we have bucklers of 
our own. 

BENE. If you use them, Margaret, you must put 
in the pikes with a vice ; and they are dangerous 
weapons for maids. 

MARG. Well, I will call Beatrice to you, who, 
I think, hath legs. \_Exit MARGARET. 

BENE. And therefore will come. 

The god of love, [Singing.] 

That sits above. 
And knows me, and knows me, 
How pitiful I deserve, 

I mean, in singing ; but in loving, Leander the 
good swimmer, Troilus the first employer of pan. 
dars, and a whole book full of these quondam ear- 
Again, in Chapman's May-Dan, 161 1 : 

" And now I lay the bucklers at your feet." 
Again, in Every Woman in her Humour, 1 609 : 

*' if you lay down the bucklers, you lose the vic- 

Again, in P. Holland's translation of Pliny's Natural History, 
B. X. ch. xxi : " it goeth against his stomach (the cock's) to 
yeeld the gantlet and give the bucklers.'" STEEVENS. 

4 The god of love, &c.] This was the beginning of an old 
song, by W. E. (William Elderton) a puritanical parody of 
which, by one W. Birch, under the title of The Complaint of 
a Sinner, &fc. Imprinted at London, by Alexander Lacy, for 
Richard Applorvo, is still extant. The words in this moralised 
copy are as follows : 

" The god of love, that sits above, 

" Doth know us, doth knoiu us, 

" How sinful that we be."" RITSON. 

In Bacchus' Bountie, &c. 4to. bl. 1. 1593, is a song, begin- 

" The gods of love . 

" Which raigne above." STEEVEKS. 

sc. ii. ABOUT NOTHING. 167 

pet-mongers, whose names yet run smoothly in the 
even road of a blank verse, why, they were never so 
truly turned over and over as my poor self, in love : 
Marry, I cannot show it in rhyme ; I have tried ; 
I can find out no rhyme to lady but baby, an inno- 
cent rhyme ; for scorn, horn, a hard rhyme ; for 
school, fool, a babbling rhyme ; very ominous end- 
ings : No, I was not born under a rhyming planet, 
nor I cannot woo in festival terms. 6 


Sweet Beatrice, would' st thou come when I called 
thee ? 

BEAT. Yea, signior, and depart when you bid me. 
BENE. O, stay but till then ! 

BEAT. Then, is spoken ; fare you well now : 
and yet, ere I go, let me go with that I came for, 7 
which is, with knowing what hath passed between 
you and Claudio. 

BENE. Only foul words ; and thereupon I will 
kiss thee. 

BEAT. Foul words is but foul wind, and foul 
wind is but foul breath, and foul breath is noisome ; 
therefore I will depart unkissed. 

BENE. Thou hast frighted the word out of his 
right sense, so forcible is thy wit : But, I must tell 

6 in festival terras.] i. e. in splendid phraseology, such 

as differs from common language, as holidays from common 
days. Thus, Hotspur, in King Henry IV. P. I: 

" With many holiday and lady terms. 1 ' STEEVENS, 

7 taith that I came for,] For, which is wanting in the 

old copy, was inserted by Mr. Rowe. MALONE. 


thee plainly, Claudio undergoes my challenge ; 8 
and either I must shortly hear from him, or I will 
subscribe him a coward. And, I pray thee now, 
tell me, for which of my bad parts didst thou first 
fall in love with me ? 

BEAT. For them all together ; which maintained 
so politick a state of evil, that they will not admit 
any good part to intermingle with them. But for 
which of my good parts did you first suffer love for 
me ? 

BENE. Suffer love; a good epithet! I do suffer 
love, indeed, for I love thee against my will. 

BEAT. In spite of your heart, I think ; alas ! 
poor heart ! If you spite it for my sake, I \vill spite 
it for yours ; for I will never love that which my 
friend hates. 

BENE. Thou and I are too wise to \voo peaceably. 

BEAT. It appears not in this confession: there's 
not one wise man among twenty, that will praise 

BENE. An old, an old instance, Beatrice, that 
lived in the time of good neighbours: 9 if a man do 
not erect in this age his own tomb ere he dies, he 
shall live no longer in monument, than the bell 
rings, and the widow weeps. 

BEAT. And how long is that, think you ? 
BENE. Question ? Why, an hour in clamour, 
and a quarter in rheum i 1 Therefore it is most ex- 

8 undergoes my challenge ;] i. e. is subject to it. So, 

in Cymbeline, Act III. sc. v: " undergo those employments, 
wherein I should have cause to use thee." STEEVENS. 

9 in the time of good neighbours .-] i. e. when men were 

not envious, but every one gave another his due. The reply is 
extremely humorous. W ARBURTOX. 

ac. n. ABOUT NOTHING. 169 

pedient for the wise, (if Don Worm, his conscience, 
find no impediment to the contrary,) to be the 
trumpet of his own virtues, as I am to myself: So 
much for praising myself, (who, I myself will bear 
witness, is praise-worthy,) and now tell me, How 
doth your cousin ? 

BEAT. Very ill. 

BENE. And how do you ? 

BEAT. Very ill too. 

BENE. Serve God, love me, and mend : there 
will I leave you too, for here comes one in haste. 

Enter URSULA. 

URS. Madam, you must come to your uncle ; 
yonder's old coil at home : 2 it is proved, my lady 
Hero hath been falsely accused, the Prince and 
Claudio mightily abused ; and Don John is the au- 
thor of all, who is fled and gone : will you come 
presently ? 

BEAT. Will you go hear this news, signior ? 

BENE. I will live in thy heart, die in thy lap, 
and be buried in thy eyes ; and, moreover, I will 
go with thee to thy uncle's. \_Exeunt. 

1 Question? Why, an hour &c.] i.e. What a question's 
there, or what a foolish question do you ask ? But the Oxford 
editor, not understanding this phrase, contracted into a single 
word, ( of which we have many instances in English, ) has fairly 
struck it out. WARBURTON. 

The phrase occurs frequently in Shakspeare, and means no 
more than you ask a question, or that is the question. RITSON. 

* old coil at homc:^ So, in King Henry IV. P. II, Act 

II. sc. iv : " By the mass, here will be old Utis." See note on 
this passage. Old, (I know not why,) was anciently a common 
augmentative in familiar language. 

Coil is bustle, stir. So, in King John: 

" I am not worth this coil that's made for me." STEEVENS. 

170 MUCH ADO Acrr. 


The Inside of a Church. 

Enter Don PEDRO, CLAUDIO, and Attendants, with 
musick and tapers. 

CLAUD. Is this the monument of Leonato? 
ATTEN. It is, my lord. 
CLAUD. [Reads from a scroll.^ 

Done to death 3 by slanderous tongues 

Was the Hero that here lies : 
Death, in guerdon 4 of her wrongs 

Gives her fame which never dies: 
So the life, that died with shame, 
Lives in death with glorious fame. 

Hang thou there upon the tomb, {^affixing it. 
Praising her when I am dumb. 

Now, musick, sound, and sing your solemn hymn. 

3 Done to death ] This obsolete phrase occurs frequently 
in our ancient writers. Thus, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 

"His mother's hand shall stop thy breath, 

" Thinking her own son is done to death." MALONE. 

Again, in the Argument to Chapman's version of the twenty- 
second Iliad: 

" Hector (in Chi) to death is done 
" By povvre of Peleus angry sonne." 

To do to death is merely an old translation of the French 
phrase Faire mourir. STEEVENS. 

4 in guerdon ] Guerdon is reward, remuneration. 

See Costard's use of this word in Love's Labour's Lost, Act III f 
sc. i. The verb, to guerdon, occurs both in King Henry VI. 
P. II. and in King Henry VIII. STEEVENS. 

ac. ///. ABOUT NOTHING. 171 


Pardon, Goddess of the night, 
Those that slew thy virgin knight;'" 

* Those that slew thy virgin knight ;] Knight, in its original 
signification, means follower, or pupil, and in this sense may be 
feminine. Helena, in All's well that ends well, uses knight in the 
same signification. JOHNSON. 

Virgin knight is virgin hero. In the times of chivalry, a 
virgin knight was one who had as yet atchieved no adventure. 
Hero had as yet atchieved no matrimonial one. It may be 
added, that a virgin knight wore no device on his shield, having 
no right to any till he had deserved it. 

So, in The History of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, 
&c. 15p9 : 

" Then as thou seem'st in thy attire a virgin knight to be, 

" Take thou this shield likewise of white," &c. 
It appears, however, from several passages in Spenser's Fairy 
Queen, B. I. c. vii. that an ideal order of this name was supposed, 
as a compliment to Queen Elizabeth's virginity : 

** Of doughtie knights whom faery land did raise 

" That noble order hight of maidenhed," 
Again, B. II. c. ii : 

" Order ofmaidenhed the most renown'd." 
Again, B. II. c. ix : 

" And numbred be mongst knights of maidenhed" 
On the books of the Stationers' Company in the year 15p4, is 
entered, " Pheander the mayden knight." STEEVENS. 

I do not believe that any allusion was here intended to Hero's 
having yet atchieved " no matrimonial adventure." Diana's 
knight or Virgin knight, was the common poetical appellation of 
virgins, in Shakspeare's time. 

So, in The Two Noble Kinsmen, 1634 : 

" O sacred, shadowy, cold and constant queen, 

" ; who to \hyjemale knights 

" Allow'st no more blood than will make-a blush, 

" Which is their order's robe, ." 
Again, more appositely, in Spenser's Fairy Queen, B. III. c. xii : 

" Soon as that virgin knight he saw in place, 

" His wicked bookes in hast he overthrew." MALONE. 

This last instance will by no means apply ; for the virgin 
knight is the maiden Britomart, who appeared in the accoutre- 


For the which, with so?2^s of woe, 
Hound about her tomb they go. 
Midnight, assist our moan; 
Help us to sigh and groan, 

Heavily, heavily: 

Graves, yawn, and yield your dead, 
Till death be uttered* 
Heavily, heavily. 

CLAUD. Now, unto thy bones good night ! 
Yearly will I do this rite. 

D. PEDRO. Good morrow, masters ; put your 

torches out : 
The wolves have prey'd ; and look, the gentle 

Before the wheels of Phoebus, round about 

Dapples the drowsy east with spots of grey : 
Thanks to you all, and leave us ; fare you well. 

CLAUD. Good morrow, masters ; each his several 

D. PEDRO. Come, let us hence, and put on other 

weeds ; 
And then to Leonato's we will go. 

CLAUD. And, Hymen, now with luckier issue 


Than this, for whom we rendered up this woe ! 7 


ments of a knight, and from that circumstance was so denomi- 
nated. STEEVENS. 

6 Till death be uttered,'} I do not profess to understand this 
line, which to me appears both defective in sense and metre. I 
Suppose two words have been omitted, which perhaps were 

Till songs of death be uttered, &c. 
So, in King Richard III : 

" Out on you, owls ! nothing but songs of death ?" 


sc. iv. ABOUT NOTHING. 173 


A Room in Leonato's House. 

URSULA, Friar, and HERO. 

FRIAR. Did I not tell you she was innocent ? 

LEON. So are the prince and Claudio, who ac- 

cus'd her, 

Upon the error that you heard debated : 
But Margaret was in some fault for this ; 
Although against her will, as it appears 
In the true course of all the question. 

ANT. Well, I am glad that all things sort so well. 

BENE. And so am I, being else by faith enforc'd 
To call young Claudio to a reckoning for it. 

LEON. Well, daughter, and you gentlewomen all, 
Withdraw into a chamber by yourselves ; 
And, when I send for you, come hither mask'd: 
The prince and Claudio promised by this hour 

7 And, Hymen, noiv tvith luckier issue speed's, 

Than this, for whom vie rendered up this ivoe/"] The old 
copy has speeds. STEEVENS. 

Claudio could not know, without being a prophet, that this 
new proposed match should have any luckier event than that 
designed with Hero. Certainly, therefore, this should be a wish 
in Claudio ; and, to this end, the poet might have wrote, speed's ; 
i. e. speed us : and so it becomes a prayer to Hymen. 


The contraction introduced is so extremely harsh, that I doubt 
whether it was intended by the author. However I have fol- 
lowed former editors in adopting it. MALONE. 


To visit me : You know your office, brother ; 
You must be father to your brother's daughter, 
And give her to young Claudio. \_Exeunt Ladies. 

ANT. Which I will do with confirmed counte- 

BENE. Friar, I must entreat your pains, I think. 
FRIAR. To do what, signior ? 

BENE. To bind me, or undo me, one of them. 
Signior Leonato, truth it is, good signior, 
Your niece regards me with an eye of favour. 

LEON. That eye my daughter lent her j J Tis most 

BENE. And I do with an eye of love requite her. 

LEON. The sight whereof, I think, you had from 


From Claudio, and the prince ; But what's your 
will ? 

BENE. Your answer, sir, is enigmatical : 
But, for my will, my will is, your good will 
May stand with ours, this day to be conjoin'd 
In the estate of honourable marriage ; 8 
In which, good friar, I shall desire your help. 

LEON. My heart is with your liking. 

FRIAR. And my help. 

Here comes the prince, and Claudio. 

8 In the estate of honourable marriage ;] Marriage, in this 
instance, is used as a trisyllable. So, in The Taming of the 
Shrew, Act III. sc. ii : 

" 'Twere good, methinks, to steal our marriage" 


sc. iv. ABOUT NOTHING. 175 

Enter Don PEDRO and CLAUDIO, with Attendants. 

D. PEDRO. Good morrow to this fair assembly. 

LEON. Good morrow, prince ; good morrow, 

Claudio ; 

We here attend you ; Are you yet determin'd 
To-day to marry with my brother's daughter ? 

CLAUD. I'll hold my mind, were she an Ethiope. 

LEON. Call her forth, brother, here's the friar 
ready. [Exit ANTONIO. 

D. PEDRO. Good morrow, Benedick : Why, 

what's the matter, 

That you have such a February face, 
So full of frost, of storm, and cloudiness ? 

CLAUD. I think, he thinks upon the savage 

bull: 9 

Tush, fear not, man, we'll tip thy horns with gold, 
And all Europa shall rejoice at thee j * 
As once Europa did at lusty Jove, 
When he would play the noble beast in love. 

BENE. Bull Jove, sir, had an amiable low ; 
And some such strange bull leap'd your father's 


And got a calf in that same noble feat, 
Much like to you, for you have just his bleat. 

9 the savage bull :] Still alluding to the passage quoted 

in a former scene from Kyd's Hieronymo. STEEVENS. 

1 And 'all Europa shall &c.] I have no doubt but that our 
author wrote 

And all our Europe, &c. 
So, in King Richard II: 

" As were our England in reversion his." STEEVENS. 

176 MUCH ADO ACT v. 

Re-enter ANTONIO, with the Ladies masked. 

CLAUD. For this I owe you : here come other 

Which is the lady I must seize upon ? 

ANT. This same is she, 2 and I do give you her. 

CLAUD. Why, then she's mine : Sweet, let me 
see your face. 

LEON. No, that you shall not, till you take her 

Before this friar, and swear to marry her. 

CLAUD. Give me your hand before this holy 

friar ; 
I am your husband, if you like of me. 

HERO. And when I lived, I was your other wife : 

[ Unmasking. 
And when you loved, you were my other husband. 

CLAUD. Another Hero? 

HERO. Nothing certainer : 

One Hero died defil'd ; but I do live, 
And, surely as I live, I am a maid. 

D. PEDRO. The former Hero ! Hero that is dead! 

LEON. She died, my lord, but whiles her slander 

FRIAR. All this amazement can I qualify ; 
When, after that the holy rites are ended, 
I'll tell you largely of fair Hero's death : 

1 Ant. This same &c.] This speech is in the old copies 
given to Leonato. Mr. Theobald first assigned it to the right 
owner. Leonato has in a former part of this scene told Antonio, 
that lie " must be father to his brother's daughter, and give her 
to young Claudio." MALONE. 

sc.iv. ABOUT NOTHING. 177 

Mean time, let wonder seem familiar, 
And to the chapel let us presently. 

BENE. Soft and fair, friar. Which is Beatrice? 

BEAT. I answer to that name ; [ Unmasking'] 
What is your will ? 

BENE. Do not you love me ? 

BEAT. No, no more than reason. 3 

BENE. Why, then your uncle, and the prince, 

and Claudio, 
Have been deceived ; for they swore you did. 4 

BEAT. Do not you love me ? 

BENE. No, no more than reason. 5 

BEAT. Why, then my cousin, Margaret, and 

Are much deceived ; for they did swear, you did. 

BENE. They swore that you were almost sick for 

BEAT. They swore that you were well-nigh dead 
for me. 

BENE. 'Tis no such matter: Then, you do not. 
love me ? 

3 No, no more than reason.] The old copies, injuriously to 
metre, read Why, no, Sfc. It should seem that the com- 
positor's eye had caught here the unnecessary adverb from the 
following speech. STEEVENS. 

4 for they swore yon did."] For, which both the sense 

and metre require, was inserted by Sir Thomas Hanrner. So, 
below : 

" Are much deceiv'd ; for they did swear you did." 


5 No, no more than reason.'] Here again the metre, in the 
old copies, is overloaded by reading Troth, no, no more, 8$c. 



178 MUCH ADO ACT r. 

BEAT. No, truly, but in friendly recompense. 

LEON. Come, cousin, I am sure you love the 

CLAUD. And I'll be sworn upon't, that he loves 


For here's a paper, written in his hand, 
A halting sonnet of his own pure brain, 
Fashion'd to Beatrice. 

HERO. And here's another, 

Writ in my cousin's hand, stolen from her pocket, 
Containing her affection unto Benedick. 

BENE. A miracle ! here's our own hands against 
our hearts ! Come, I will have thee ; but, by this 
light, I take thee for pity. 

BEAT. I would not deny you ; but, by this 
good day, I yield upon great persuasion ; 6 and, 
partly, to save your life, for I was told you were 
in a consumption. 

BENE. Peace, I will stop your mouth. 7 

\_Kissing her. 

u / would not deny you ; &c.] Mr. Theobald says, is not 
this mock-reasoning? She ivould not deny him, but that she 
yields upon great persuasion. In changing the negative, I 
make no doubt but I have retrieved the poet's humour: and so 
changes not into yet. But is not this a mock-critic? who could 
not see that the plain obvious sense of the common reading was 
this, I cannot find in my heart to deny you, but for all that 
I yield, after having stood out great persuasions to submission. 
He had said / take thee for pity, she replies / ivould not 
deny thee, i. e. I take thee for pity too: but as I live, I am won 
to this compliance by importunity of friends. Mr. Theobald, 
by altering not to yet, makes it supposed that he had been 
importunate, and that she had often denied, which was not the 

7 Bene. Peace, I ivill stop your mouth. [Kissing her.] In 
former copies : 

Leon Peace, I mil stop your mouth. 

sc. iv. ABOUT NOTHING. 179 

D. PEDRO. How dost thou, Benedick the mar- 
ried man ? 

BENE. I'll tell thee what, prince ; a college of 
wit-crackers cannot flout me out of my humour : 
Dost thou think, I care for a satire, or an epigram ? 
No: if a man will be beaten wdth brains, he shall 
wear nothing handsome about him: In brief, since 
I do propose to marry, I will think nothing to any 
purpose that the world can say against it ; and 
therefore never flout at me for what I have said 
against it ; for man is a giddy thing, and this is my 
conclusion. For thy part, Claudio, I did think to 
have beaten thee; but in that 8 thou art like to be 
my kinsman, live unbruised, and love my cousin. 

CLAUD. I had well hoped, thou wouldst have de- 
nied Beatrice, that I might have cudgelled thee out 
of thy single life, to make thee a double dealer ; 
which, out of question, thou wilt be, if my cousin 
do not look exceeding narrowly to thee. 

BENE. Come, come, we are friends : let's have 
a dance ere we are married, that we may lighten 
our own hearts, and our wives' heels. 

LEON. We'll have dancing afterwards. 

What can Leonato mean by this? " Nay, pray, peace, niece* 
don't keep up this obstinacy of professions, for I have proofs to 
stop your mouth." The ingenious Dr. Thirlby agreed with me, 
that this ought to be given to Benedick, who, upon saying it, 
kisses Beatrice; and this being done before the whole company, 
how natural is the reply which the prince makes upon it? 

How dost thou, Benedick, the married man ? 
Besides, this mode of speech, preparatory to a salute, is familiar 
to our poet in common with other stage-writers. THEOBALD. 

9 in that ] i.e. because. So, Hooker: " Things are 

preached not in that they are taught, but in that they are pub- 
lished." STEEYENS. 

x 2 


BENE. First, o* my word; therefore, play, mu- 


Prince, thou art sad ; get thee a wife, get thee a 
wife : there is no staff more reverend than one 
tipped with horn. 9 

9 no staff more reverend than one tipped with horn.] This 

passage may admit of some explanation that I am unable to fur- 
nish. By accident I lost several instances I had collected for the 
purpose of throwing light on it. The following, however, may 
assist the future commentator. 

MS. Sloan, 1691. 


" by order of the lawe both the parties must at their 

owne charge be armed withoute any yron or long armoure, and 
theire heades bare, and bare-handed and bare-footed, every one 
of them having a baston horned at ech ende, of one length,'* &c. 

Again, in Stowe's Chronicle, edit. 1615, p. (}6(): " his 

baston a slajfe of an elle long, made taper-wise, tipt uith home, 
&c. was borne after him." This instrument is also mentioned 
in the Sompnoure's Tale of Chaucer: 

" His felaw had a stqf tipped ivilh horn.'''' STEEVEXS. 

Again, Britton, Pleas of the Crorvn, c. xxvii. f. 18: " Next 
let them go to combat armed without iron and without linnen 
armour, their heads uncovered and their hands naked, and on 
foot, with two bastons tipped with horn of equal length, and 
each of them a target of four corners, without any other armour, 
whereby any of them may annoy the other ; and if either of 
them have any other weapon concealed about him, and there- 
with annoy his adversary, let it be done as shall be mentioned 
amongst combats in a plea of land." REED. 

Mr. Steevens's explanation is undoubtedly the true one. The 
allusion is certainly to the ancient trial by ivager of battcl, in 
suits both criminal and civil. The quotation above given recites 
the form in the former case, viz. an appeal of felony. The 
practice was nearly similar in civil cases, upon issue joined in a 
writ of right. Of the last trial of this kind in England, (which 
was in the thirteenth year of Queen Elizabeth,) our author 


Enter a Messenger. 

MESS. My lord, your brother John is ta'en in 

And brought with armed men back to Messina. 


BENF.. Think not on him till to-morrow ; I'll 
devise thee brave punishments for him. Strike up, 
pipers. \_Dance. 


might have read a particular account in Stowe's Annales. Henry 
Nailor, muster of defence, was champion for the demandants, 
Simon Low and John Kyme; and George Thorne for the tenant, 
( or defendant, ) Thomas Paramoure. The combat was appointed 
to be fought in Tuthill-fields, and the Judges of the Common 
Pleas and Serjeants at Law attended. But a compromise was 
entered into between the parties, the evening before the ap- 
pointed day, and they only went througli the forms, for the 
greater security of the tenant. Among other ceremonies Stowe 
mentions, that " the gauntlet that was cast down by George 
Thorne was borne before the sayd Nailor, in his passage through 
London, upon a sword's point, and his baston (a staff of an ell 
long, made taper-wise, tipt ivith horn,) with his shield of hard 
leather, was borne after him," c. See also Minsheu's DICT. 
l6l/, m v - Combat; from which it appears that Naylor on this 
occasion was introduced to the Judges, with " three solemn con- 
gees," by a very reverend person, " Sir Jerome Bowes, ambas- 
sador from Queen Elizabeth into Russia, who carried a red baston 
of an ell long, tipped with horne." In a very ancient law-book 
entitled Britton, the manner in which the combatants are to be 
armed is particularly mentioned. 'J he quotation from the Sloanian 
MS. is a translation from thence. By a ridiculous mistake the 
words, " sauns loge arme," are rendered in the modern trans- 
lation of that book, printed a few years ago, " without linnen 
armour ;" and " a mains nues and pies" [bare-handed and bare- 
footed] is translated, " and their hands naked, and on foot -." 


This play may be justly said to contain two of the most 
sprightly characters that Shakspeare ever drew. The wit, the 

182 MUCH ADO, &c. 

humourist, the gentleman, and the soldier, are combined in 
Benedick. It is to be lamented, indeed, that the first and most 
splendid of these distinctions, is disgraced by unnecessary pro- 
faneness ; for the goodness of his heart is hardly sufficient to 
atone for the licence of his tongue. The too sarcastic levity, 
which flashes out in the conversation of Beatrice, may be ex- 
cused on account of the steadiness and friendship so apparent in 
her behaviour, when she urges her lover to risque his life by a 
challenge to Claudio. In the conduct of the fable, however, 
there is an imperfection similar to that which Dr. Johnson has 
pointed out in The Merry Wives of Windsor: the second con- 
trivance is less ingenious than the first : or, to speak more 
plainly, the same incident is become stale by repetition. I wish 
some other method had been found to entrap Beatrice, than 
that very one which before had been successfully practised on 

Much Ado about Nothing, (as I understand from one of Mr. 
Vertue's MSS.) formerly passed under the title of Benedick and 
Beatrix. Heming the player received, on the 20th of May, 
lf)13, the sum of forty pounds, and twenty pounds more as his 
Majesty's gratuity, for exhibiting six plays at Hampton Court, 
among which was this comedy. STEEVENS. 


* MEASURE FOR MEASURE.] The story is taken from 
Cinthio's Novels, Decad. 8, Novel 5. POPE. 

We are sent to Cinthio for the plot of Measure for Measure, 
and Shakspeare's judgment hath been attacked for some devia- 
tions from him in the conduct of it, when probably all he knew 
of the matter was from Madam Isabella, in The Heptameron of 
Whetstone, Lond. 4to. 1582. She reports, in the fourth dayes 
Exercise, the rare Historic of Promos and Cassandra, A marginal 
note informs us, that Whetstone was the author of the Comedie 
on that subject ; which likewise had probably fallen into the 
hands of Shakspeare. FARMER. 

There is perhaps not one of Shakspeare's plays more darkened 
than this by the peculiarities of its author, and the unskilfulness 
of its editors, by distortions of phrase, or negligence of trans- 
cription. JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's remark is so just respecting the corruptions of 
this play, that I shall not attempt much reformation in its metre, 
which is too often rough, redundant, and irregular. Additions 
and omissions (however trifling) cannot be made without con- 
stant notice of them ; and such notices, in the present instance, 
would so frequently occur, as to become equally tiresome to the 
commentator and the reader. 

Shakspeare took the fable of this play from the Promos and 
Cassandra of George Whetstone, published in 15/8. See 
Theobald's note at the end. 

A hint, like a seed, is more or less prolific, according to the 
qualities of the soil on which it is thrown. This story, which 
in the hands of Whetstone produced little more than barren 
insipidity, under the culture of Shakspcare became fertile of 
entertainment. The curious reader will find that the old play 
of Promos and. Cassandra exhibits an almost complete embryo 
of Measure for Measure ; yet the hints on which it is formed 
are so slight, that it is nearly as impossible to detect them, as it 
is to point out in the acorn the future ramifications of the oak. 

Whetstone opens his play thus : 

ACT i. SCENE i. 

' Promos, Mayor, Shirife, Sworde Bearer : one with a bunche 
of keyes: Phallax, Promos Man. 

" You officers which now in Julio staye, 
" Know you your leadge, the King of Hungarie, 
" Sent me to Promos, to joyne with you in sway: 
" That styll we may to Justice have an eye. 

" And now to show my rule and power at lardge, 
" Attentivelie his letters patents heave : 
" Phallax, reade out my Soveraines chardge. 
Phal. " As you commaunde I wyll : give heedef'ul eare. 

Phallax rcadeth the Kinges Letters Patients, which 
must bejayre written in parchment, with some great 
counter/eat zeale. 

1 Loe, here you see what is our Soveraignes wyl, 
* Loe, heare his wish, that right, not might, beare swaye : 
' Loe, heare his care, to weede from good the yll, 
' To scoorge the wights, good lawes that disobay. 
' Such zeale he beares, unto the common weale, 
' (How so he byds, the ignoraunt to save) 
' As he commaundes, the lewde doo rigor feele, &c. 
&c. &c. 


Pro. " Both swoorde and keies, unto my princes use, 
" I do receyve, and gladlie take my chardge. 
" It resteth now, for to reforme abuse, 
" We poynt a tyme of councell more at lardge, 
" To treate of which, a whyle we wyll depart. 
Al. speake. " To worke your wyll, we yeelde a willing hart. 


The reader will find the argument of G. Whetstone's Promos 
and Cassandra, at the end of this play. It is too bulky to be 
inserted here. See likewise the piece itself among Six old Plays 
on which Shakspeare founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, 
Charing Cross. STEEVENS. 

Measure for Measure was, I believe, written in 1003. See 
An Attempt to ascertain the Order of Shakspeare' s Plays, Vol. II. 



Vincentio, duke of Vienna. 

Angelo, lord deputy in the duke's absence. 

Escalus, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the 


Claudio, a young gentleman. 
Lucio, afantastick. 
Two other like gentlemen. 
Varrius,* a gentleman, servant to the duke. 
A Justice. 
Elbow, a simple constable. 
Froth, a foolish gentleman. 
Clown, servant to Mrs. Over-done, 
Abhorson, an executioner. 
Barnardine, a dissolute prisoner. 

Isabella, sister to Claudio. 
Mariana, betrothed to Angelo. 
Juliet, beloved by Claudio. 
Francisca, a nun. 
Mistress Over-done, a bawd. 

Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other 

SCENE, Vienna. 

* Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, 
and says nothing. JOHNSON. 



An Apartment in the Duke's Palace. 
Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants. 

DUKE. Escalus, 
ESCAL. My lord. 

DUKE. Of government the properties to unfold, 
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse; 
Since I am put to know, 1 that your own science, 
Exceeds, in that, the lists 2 of all advice 

1 Since I am put to knoiv,] may mean, / am compelled to ac- 

So, in King Henry VI. P. II. sc. i : 

" had I first been put to speak my mind." 

Again, in Dray ton's Legend of Pierce Gaveston : 

" My limbs were put to travel day and night." 


* lists ] Bounds, limits. JOHNSON. 

So, in Othello : 

" Confine yourself within a patient list." 
Again, in Hamlet : 

" The ocean, over-peering of his list,." STEEVENS. 


My strength can give you : Then no more remains 
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able, 
And let them work. 3 The nature of our people, 

3 Then no more remains, 

But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able, 
And let them work.] To the integrity of this reading Mr. 
Theobald objects, and says, What was E.scalus to put to his 
sufficiency? why, his science : But his science and sufficiency were, 
but one and the same thing. On what then does the relative them 
depend? He will have it, therefore, that a line has been acci- 
dentally dropped, which he attempts to restore thus : 
But that to your sufficiency you add 
Due diligence, as your worth is able, &c. 

Nodum in scirpo qucerit. And all for want of knowing, that 
by sufficiency is meant authority, the power delegated by the 
Duke to Escalus. The plain meaning of the word being this : 
Put your skill in governing (says the Duke) to the power which 
I give you to exercise it, and let them work together. 


Sir Thomas Hanmer having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint 
that a line was lost, endeavours to supply it thus : 

Then no more remains, 

But that to your sufficiency you join 

A will to serve us, as your worth is able. 

He has, by this bold conjecture, undoubtedly obtained a mean- 
ing, but, perhaps, not even in his own opinion, the meaning of 

That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every 
reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a 
.line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of 
but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other 
editor, [Rowe,] will amend the fault. There was probably 
some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion 
to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect 
that the author wrote thus : 

i Then no more remains, 

But that to your sufficiencies your worth is abled, 

And let them work. 

Then nothing remains more than to tell you, that your virtue is 
now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. 
Let therefore your knowledge and your virtue now work toge- 
ther. It may easily be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an 

Our city's institutions, and the terms 4 

inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded with suf- 
ficiency as, and how abled, a word very unusual, was changed 
into able. For abled, however, an authority is not wanting. 
Lear uses it in the same sense, or nearly the same, with^ the 
Duke. As for sufficiencies, D. Hamilton, in his dying speech, 
prays that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues and sufficien- 
cies of his father. JOHNSOX. 

Then no more remains, 

But that sufficiency, as worth is able, 

And let them work.] Then no more remains to say, but 
that your political skill is on a par with your private integrity, 
and let these joint qualifications exert themselves in the public 

But that sufficiency to your worth is abled, 
i. e. a power equal to your deserts. 

The uncommon redundancy, as well as obscurity, of this 
verse, may be considered as evidence of its corruption. Take 
away the second and third words, and the sense joins well 
enough with what went before. Then (says the Duke) no more 
remains to say, 

But your sufficiency as your worth is able, 

And let them work. 

i. e. Your skill in government is, in ability to serve me, equal 
to the integrity of your heart, and let them co-operate in your 
future ministry. 

The versification requires that either something should be 
added, or something retrenched. The latter is the easier, as 
well as the safer task. I join in the belief, however, that a line 
is lost ; and whoever is acquainted with the inaccuracy of the 
folio, (for of this play there is no other old edition,) will find 
my opinion justified. STEEVENS. 

Some words seem to be lost here, the sense of which, perhaps, 
may be thus supplied : 

Then no more remains, 
But that to your sufficiency you put 
A .zeal as willing as your worth is able, 
And let them work. TYRWHITT. 

A phrase similar to that which Mr. Tyrwhitt would supply, 
occurs in Chapman's version of the sixth Iliad : 

" enough will is not put 

" To thv abilitie." STEKVENS. 


For common justice, you are as pregnant in, 5 

I agree with Warburton in thinking that by sufficiency the 
Duke means authority, or power ; and, if that be admitted, 
a very slight alteration indeed will restore this passage the 
changing the word is into be. It will then run thus, and be 
clearly intelligible : 

Then no more remains, 

But that your sufficiency, as your worth, be able. 

And let them work. 

That is, you are thoroughly acquainted with your duty, so that 
nothing more is necessary to be done, but to invest you with 
power equal to your abilities. M. MASON. 

Then no more remains, 

But that to your sufficiency * * as your worth is able. 

And let them work. 

I have not the smallest doubt that the compositor's eye glanced 
from the middle of the second of these lines to that under it in 
the MS. and that by this means two half lines have been omitted. 
The very same error may be found in Macbeth, edit. 1632 : 

" which, being taught, return, 

" To plague the ingredients of our poison 1 d chalice 

" To our own lips. 
instead of 

" which, being taught, return, 

" To plague the inventor. This even-handed justice 

" Commends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice," c. 
Again, in Much Ado about Nothing, edit. 1623, p. 103 : 

" And I will break with her. Was't not to this end," &c. 
instead of 

" And I will break with her, and with her father, 

" And thou shall have her. Was't not to this end," &c. 
The following passage, in King Henry IV. P. I. which is 
constructed in a manner somewhat similar to the present when 
corrected, appears to me to strengthen the supposition that two 
half lines have been lost : 

" Send danger from the east unto the west, 

" So honour cross it from the north to south, 

" And let them grapple.' 1 

Sufficiency is skill in government ; ability to execute his office. 
And let them work, a figurative expression ; Let them ferment. 


the terms ] Terms mean the technical language of 
the courts. An old book called Les Tennes de la Ley, (written 


As art and practice hath enriched any 

That we remember : There is our commission, 

From which we would not have you warp. Call 

I say, bid come before us Angelo. 

\_Exit an Attendant. 

What figure of us think you he will bear ? 
For you must know, we have with special soul 
Elected him our absence to supply ; 6 

in Henry the Eighth's time,) was in Shakspeare's days, and is 
no\v, the accidence of young students in the law. 


* the terms 

For common justice, you are as pregnant in,"] The later 
editions all give it, without authority 

the terms 

Of justice, 

and Dr. Warburton makes terms signify bounds or limits. I 
rather think the Duke meant to say, that Escalus was pregnant, 
that is ready and knowing in all the forms of the law, and, 
among other things, in the terms or times set apart for its admi- 
nistration. JOHNSON. 

The word pregnant is used with this signification in Ram- 
Alley, or Merry Tricks, l6ll, where a lawyer is represented 
reading : 

" In tricessimo primo Alberti Magni 
" 'Tis very cleare the place is very pregnant" 
i. e. very expressive, ready, or very big with apposite meaning. 

" the proof is most pregnant." STEEVENS. 

8 For you must know, ive have with special soul 

Elected him our absence to supply ;~\ By the words with 
special soul elected him, I believe, the poet meant no more' than 
that he was the immediate choice of his heart. 

A similar expression occurs in Troilus and Cressida : 

" with private soul, 

" Did in great llion thus translate him to me/* 
Again, more appositely, in The Tempest : 

" for several virtues 

" Have I lik'd several women, never any 

" With sojiillsoul, but some defect," &c. STEEVEN*. 


Lent him our terror, drest him with our love ; 
And given his deputation all the organs 
Of our own power : What think you of it ? 

ESCAL. If any in Vienna be of worth 
To undergo such ample grace and honour, 
It is lord Angelo. 

Enter ANGELO. 

DUKE. Look, where he comes. 

ANG. Always obedient to your grace's will, 
I come to know your pleasure. 

DUKE. Angelo, 

There is a kind of character in thy life, 
That, to the observer, 7 doth thy history 

Steevens has hit upon the true explanation of the passage ; 
and might have found a further confirmation of it in Troilux 
and Cressida, where, speaking of himself, Troilus says : 

" ne'er did young man fancy 

*' With so eternal, and sojijc'd a soul." 
To do a thing with all one's soul, is a common expression. 


toe have with special soul ] This seems to be only 

a translation of the usual formal words inserted in all royal 
grants: " De gratia nostra special!, et ex mero motu ." 


7 There is a kind of character in thy life. 

That, to the observer, c.] Either this introduction has 
more solemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I can- 
not discover. What is there peculiar in this, that a man's life 
informs the observer of his history ? Might it be supposed that 
Shakspeare wrote this ? 

There is a kind of character in thy look. 

History may be taken in a more diffuse and licentious mean- 
ing, for future occurrences, or the part of life yet to come. If 
this sense be received, the passage is clear and proper. 


Shakspeare must, I believe, be answerable for the unneces- 


Fully unfold: Thyself and thy belongings 8 
Are not thine own so proper, 9 as to waste 
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee. 1 
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do ; 
Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues 5 
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike 
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely 

sary pomp of this introduction. He has the same thought in 
Henry IV. P. II. which affords some comment on this passage 
before us : 

" There is a history in all men's lives, 

" Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd : 

" The which observ'd, a man may prophecy 

" With a near aim, of the main chance of things 

" As yet not come to life," &c. STEEVENS. 

On considering this passage, I am induced to think that the 
words character and history have been misplaced, and that it 
was originally written thus : 

There is a kind of history in thy life, 
That to the observer doth thy character 
Fully unfold. 

This transposition seems to be justified by the passage quoted 
by Steevens from The Second Part of Henry IV. M. MASON. 

8 thy belongings ] i. e. endowments. MALONE. 

9 Are not thine oiun so proper,] i. e. are not so much thy own 
property. STEEVENS. 

1 them on thee.~] The old copy reads they on thee. 

The emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. STEEVENS. 

* for if our virtues &c.] 

" Paulum sepultce distat inertice 

" Celata virtus.'" Hor. THEOBALD, 

Again, in Massinger's Maid of Honour: 
" Virtue, if not in action, is a vice, 
" And, when we move not forward, we go backward." 
Thus, in the Latin adage Non progredi est regredi. 




But to fine issues : 3 nor nature never lends 4 

The smallest scruple of her excellence, 

But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines 

Herself the glory of a creditor, 

Both thanks and use. 5 But I do bend my speech 

To one that can my part in him advertise ; G 

3 tojinc issues:] To great consequences ; for high pur- 
poses. JOHNSON. 

4 nor nature never lends ] Two negatives, not em- 
ployed to make an affirmative, are common in our author. 

So, in Julius Ccesar: 

" There is no harm intended to your person, 
" Nor to no Roman else." STEEVEXS. 

3 she determines 

Herself //ae glory of a creditor, 

Both thanks and use.] i. e. She (Nature) requires and allots 
to herself the same advantages that creditors usually enjoy, 
thanks for the endowments she has bestowed, and extraordinary 
exertions in those whom she hath thus favoured, by way of 
interest for what she has lent. 

Use, in the phraseology of our author's age, signified interest 
of money. MA LONE. 

6 I do bend my speech 

To one that can my part in him advertise;] This is obscure* 
The meaning is, I direct my speech to one who is able to teach 
me how to govern; my part in him, signifying my office, which 
I have delegated to him. My part in him advertise; i. e. who 
knows what appertains to the character of a deputy or viceroy. 
Can advertise my part in him; that is, his representation of my 
person. But all these quaintnesses of expression the Oxford 
editor seems sworn to extirpate ; that is, to take away one of 
Shakspeare's characteristic marks ; which, if not one of the 
comehest, is yet one of the strongest. So he alters this to 

To one that can, in my part me advertise, 

A better expression, indeed, but, for all that, none of Shak- 
speare's. WARBUHTON. 

I know not whether we may not better read 

One that can, my part to him advertise, 

One that can inform himself of that which it would be other- 
wise my part to tell him. JOHNSON. 


Hold therefore, Angelo ; 7 

In our remove, be thou at full ourself ; 

Mortality and mercy in Vienna 

Live in thy tongue and heart : Old Escalus, 

Though first in question, 8 is thy secondary : 

Take thy commission. 

ANG. Now, good my lord, 

Let there be some more test made of my metal, 
Before so noble and so great a figure 
Be stamp'd upon it. 

DUKE. No more evasion : 

To advertise is used in this sense, and with Shakspeare's 
accentuation, by Chapman, in his version of the eleventh Book 
of the Odyssey: 

" Or, of my father, if thy royal ear 

** Hath been advertised ." STEEVENS. 

I believe, the meaning is I am talking to one who is him- 
self already sufficiently conversant with the nature and duties of 
my office ; of that office, which I have now delegated to him. 
So, in Timon of Athens: 

" It is our part, and promise to the Athenians, 
" To speak with Timon." MALONE. 

7 Hold therefore, Angela;"] That is, continue to be Angelo; 
hold as thou art. JOHNSON. 

I believe that Hold therefore, Angelo, are the words which 
the Duke utters on tendering his commission to him. He con- 
cludes with Take thy commission. STEEVENS. 

If a full point be put after therefore, the Duke may be under- 
stood to speak of himself. Hold therefore, i. e. Let me there- 
fore hold, or stop. And the sense of the whole passage may be 
this. The Duke, who has begun an exhortation to Angelo, 
checks himself thus : " But I am speaking to one, that can in 
him [in or by himself] apprehend my part [all that I have to 
say]; I will therefore say no more [on that subject]." He then 
merely signifies to Angelo his appointment. TYRWHITT. 

' first in question,'] That is, first called for ; first appointed. 


o 2 


We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice 9 
Proceeded to you ; therefore take your honours. 
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition, 
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestioned 
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you, 
As time and our concernings shall importune, 
How it goes with us ; and do look to know 
What doth befall you here. So, fare you well ; 
To the hopeful execution do I leave you 
Of your commissions. 

ANG. Yet, give leave, my lord. 

That we may bring you something on the way. 4 

DUKE. My haste may not admit it ; 
Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do 
With any scruple : your scope is as mine own j 2 
So to enforce, or qualify the laws, 
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand ; 
I'll privily away : I love the people, 
But do not like to stage me to their eyes : 3 

9 We have ivith a leaven'd and prepared choice ~j Leaven 1 d 
choice is one of Shakspeare's harsh metaphors. His train of 
ideas seems to be this : / have proceeded to you icith choice 
mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is lea- 
vened it is left to ferment : a leavened choice is, therefore, a 
choice not hasty, but considerate ; not declared as soon as it fell 
into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. 
Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled. 


1 bring you something on the ivay.'] i. e. accompany you. 

So, in A Woman kiWd uith Kindness, by Heywood, l6'17; 
** She went very lovingly to brinv him on hia way to horse." 
And the same mode of expression is to be found in almost every 
writer of the times. REED. 

2 your scope is as mine oivn ,] That is, your amplitude 

of power. JOHNSON. 

3 to stage me to their ei/es:~\ So, in one of Queen 


Though it do well, I do not relish well 
Their loud applause, and aves vehement ; 
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion, 
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well. 

ANG. The heavens give safety to your purposes! 

ESCAL. Lead forth, and bring you back in hap- 

DUKE. I thank you : Fare you well. [Exit. 

ESCAL. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave 
To have free speech with you ; and it concerns me 
To look into the bottom of my place : 
A power I have ; but of what strength and nature 
I am not yet instructed. 

ANG. J Tis so with me : Let us withdraw to- 

And we may soon our satisfaction have 
Touching that point. 

ESCAL. I'll wait upon your honour. 


Elizabeth's speeches to parliament, 1586: " We princes, I tel 
you, are set on stages, in the sight and viewe of all the world,'* 
<Src. See The Copy of a Letter to the Right Honourable the 
Earle ofLcycester, &c. 4to. 1586. STEEVENS. 



A Street. 
Enter Lucio and two Gentlemen. 

Lucio. If the duke, with the other dukes, come 
not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, 
then all the dukes fall upon the king. 

1 GENT. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the 
king of Hungary's ! 

2 GENT. Amen. 

Lucio. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious 
pirate, that went to sea with the ten command- 
ments, but scraped one out of the table. 

2 GENT. Thou shalt not steal ? 
Lucio. Ay, that he razed. 

1 GENT. Why, 'twas a commandment to com-- 
mand the captain and all the rest from their func- 
tions; they put forth to steal : There's not a soldier 
of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, 
doth relish the petition well that prays for peace. 

2 GENT. I never heard any soldier dislike it. 

Lucio. I believe thee ; for, I think, thou never 
wast where grace was said. 

2 GENT. No ? a dozen times at least. 
1 GENT. What ? in metre ? 4 

* in metre?] In the primers there are metrical graces, 

such as, I suppose, were used in Shakspeare's time. JOHNSON. 


Lucio. In any proportion, 5 or in any language. 
1 GENT. I think, or in any religion. 

Lucio. Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite 
of all controversy : (i As for example ; Thou thyself 
art a wicked villain, despite of all grace. 

1 GENT. Well, there went but a pair of sheers 
between us. 7 

4 In any proportion, &c.] Proportion signifies measure j and 
refers to the question, What? in metre? WARBURTON. 

This speech is improperly given to Lucio. It clearly belongs 
to the second Gentleman, who had heard grace " a dozen times 
at least." RITSON. 

6 Grace is grace, despite of all controversy:] Satirically in- 
sinuating, that the controversies about grace were so intricate 
and endless, that the disputants unsettled every thing but this, 
that grace was grace; which, however, in spite of controversy, 
still remained certain. WARBURTON. 

I am in doubt whether Shakspeare's thoughts reached so far 
into ecclesiastical disputes. Every commentator is warped a little 
by the tract of his own profession. The question is, whether 
the second gentleman has ever heard grace. The first gentleman 
limits : the question to grace in metre. Lucio enlarges it to grace 
in any form or language. The first gentleman, to go beyond 
him, says, or in any religion, which Lucio allows, because the 
nature of things is unalterable ; grace is as immutably grace, as 
his merry antagonist is a ivicked villain. Difference in religion 
cannot make a grace not to be grace, a prayer not to be holy ; 
as nothing can make a villainjiot to be a villain. This seems to 
be the meaning, such as it is. JOHNSON. 

7 there ivent but a pair of sheers between us.~] We are 

both of the same piece. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Maid of the Mill, by Beaumont and Fletcher : 
" There went but a pair of sheers and a bodkin between 
them." STEEVENS. 

The same expression is likewise found in Marston's Malcon- 
tent, 1604: " There goes but a pair of sheers bewixt an emperor 
and the son of a bagpiper ; only the dj'ing, dressing, pressing, 
and glossing, makes the difference." MALONE. 


Lucio. \ grant ; as there may between the lists 
and the velvet : Thou art the list. 

1 GENT. And thou the velvet : thou art good 
velvet ; thou art a three-pil'd piece, I warrant thee: 
I had as lief be a list of an English kersey, as be 

fil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet. 8 Do 
speak feelingly now ? 

Lucio. I think thou dost ; and, indeed, with 
most painful feeling of thy speech : I will, out of 
thine own confession, learn to begin thy health ; 
but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee. 

1 GENT. I think, I have done myself wrong ; 
have I not ? 

2 GENT. Yes, that thou hast ; whether thou art 
tainted, or free. 

Lucio. Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation 
comes! 9 I have purchased as many diseases under 
her roof, as come to 

9 pil'd, as thou art pird,for a French velvet,] The jest 

about the pile of a French velvet, alludes to the loss of hair in 
the French disease, a very frequent topick of our author's jocu- 
larity. Lucio finding that the gentleman understands the dis- 
temper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to re- 
member to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. 
It was the opinion of Shakspeare's time, that the cup of an 
infected person was contagious. JOHNSON. 

The jest lies between the similar sound of the words pilPd 
and pil d. This I have elsewhere explained, under a passage in 
Henry VIII: 

" Pill'd priest thou liest.'* STEEVENS. 

9 Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation comes. /] In the 
old copy, this speech, and the next but one, are attributed to 
Lucio. The present regulation was suggested by Mr. Pope. 
What Lucio says afterwards, " A French crown more, 5 ' proves 
that it is right. He would not utter a sarcasm against himself. 



2 GENT. To what, I pray ? 

1 GENT. Judge. 

2 GENT. To three thousand dollars a-year. 1 
1 GENT. Ay, and more. 

Lucio. A French crown more. 2 

1 GENT. Thou art always figuring diseases in 
me : but thou art full of error ; I am sound. 

Lucio. Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but 
so sound, as things that are hollow : thy bones are 
hollow; 3 impiety has made a feast of thee. 

1 To three thousand dollars a-year.'] A quibble intended 
between dollars and dolours, HAN.MER. 

The same jest occurred before in The Tempest. JOHNSON. 

1 A French crown more."] Lucio means here not the piece of 
money so called, but that venereal scab, which among the sur- 
geons is styled corona Veneris. To this, I think, our author 
likewise makes Quince allude in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: 
" Some of your French crowns have no hair at all ; and then 
you will play bare-faced.'' For where these eruptions are, the 
skull is carious, and the party becomes bald. THEOBALD. 

So, in The Return from Parnassus, iGoS: 

" I may chance indeed to give the world a bloody nose ; but 
it shall hardly give me a crack'd crown, though it gives other 
poets French crowns. 1 ' 

Again, in the Dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up t 

" never metst with any requital, except it were some 

few French crownes, pil'd friers crownes," &c. STEEVENS. 

3 thy bones are hollow ;] So Timon, addressing himself 

to Phrynia and Timandra : 

" Consumptions sow 

" In holloiv bones of man." STJEEVENS. 


Enter Bawd. 

1 GENT. How now? Which of your hips has 
the most profound sciatica ? 

BAWD. Well, well ; there's one yonder arrested, 
and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of 
you all. 

1 GENT. Who's that, I pray thee ? 

BAWD. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 

1 GENT. Claudio to prison ! 'tis not so. 

BAWD. Nay, but I know, 'tis so : I saw him ar- 
rested ; saw him carried away; and, which is more, 
within these three days his head's to be chopped 

Lucio. But, after all this fooling, I would not 
have it so : Art thou sure of this ? 

BAWD. I am too sure of it : and it is for getting 
madam Julietta with child. 

Lucio. Believe me, this may be : he promised to 
meet me two hours since ; and he w T as ever precise 
In promise-keeping. 

2 GENT. Besides, you know, it draws something 
near to the speech we had to such a purpose. 

1 GENT. But most of all, agreeing with the pro- 

Lucio. Away; let's go learn the truth of it. 

[_Exeimt Lucio and Gentlemen. 

BAWD. Thus, what with the war, what with the 
sweat, 4 what with the gallows, and what with po- 

4 ichat with the sweat,] This may allude to the sweating 

-sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of 


verty, I am custom-shrunk. How now? what's 
the news with you ? 

Enter Clown. 

CLO. Yonder man is carried to prison. 

BAWD. Well ; what has he done ? 

CLO. A woman. 5 

BAWD. But what's his offence ? 

CLO. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. 6 

BAWD. What, is there a maid with child by 
him ? 

Shakspeare: [see Dr. Freind's History of Phi/sick, Vol. II. p. 335,3 
but more probably to the method of cure then used for the 
diseases contracted in brothels. JOHNSON. 

So, in the comedy of Doctor Dodypoll, l6CO: 

" You are very moist, sir: did you sweat all this, I pray? 
" You have not the disease, I hope." STEEVENS. 

* what has he done ? 

Clo. A woman.] The ancient meaning of the verb to do, 
(though now obsolete,) may be guess'd at from the following 
passages : 

" Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother. 
" Aaron. Villain, I've done thy mother." 

Titus Andronicus. 

Again, in Ovid's Elegies, translated by Marlowe, printed at 
Middlebourg, no date : 

" The strumpet with the stranger will not do, 
" Before the room is clear, an,d door put to." 
Again, in The Maid's Tragedy, Act II. Evadne, while undress- 
ing, says, 

" I am soon undone. 
Dida answers, " And as soon done." 

Hence the name of Over-done, which Shakspeare has appro- 
priated to his bawd. COLLINS. 

6 in a peculiar river."] i. e. a river belonging to an indi- 
vidual ; not public property. MALONE. 


CLO. No ; but there's a woman with maid by 
him : You have not heard of the proclamation, 
have you ? 

BAWD. What proclamation, man ? 

CLO. All houses in the suburbs 7 of Vienna must 
be pluck'd down. 

BAWD. And what shall become of those in the 


CLO. They shall stand for seed : they had gone 
down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them. 

BAWD. But shall all our houses of resort in the 
suburbs be pull'd down ? 8 

7 All houses in the suburbs ] This is surely too general an 
expression, unless we suppose, that all the houses in the suburbs 
were bawdy-houses. It appears too, from what the Bawd says 
below, " But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be 
pulled down ?" that the Clown had been particular in his de- 
scription of the houses which were to be pulled down. I am 
therefore inclined to believe that we should read here, all 
bawdy-houses, or all houses of resort in the suburbs. 


* But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd 
down?] This will be understood from the Scotch law of James's 
time, concerning huires (whores): "that comoun women be 
put at the utmost endes of townes, queire least perril of fire is." 
Hence Ursula the pig-woman, in Bartholomew-Fair: " I, I, 
gamesters, mock a plain, plump, soft wench of the suburbs, do !" 


So, in The Malcontent, 1604, when Altofront dismisses the 
various characters at the end of the play to different destinations, 
he says to Macquerelle the bawd: 

" thou unto the suburbs.' 1 '' 

Again, in Ram- Alley, or Merry Tricks, l6ll: 

" Some fourteen bawds ; he kept her in the suburbs." 
See Martial, where summamiana and suburbana are applied 
to prostitutes. STEEVENS. 

The licenced houses of resort at Vienna are at this time all in 
the suburbs, under the permission of the Committee of Chastity. 



CLO. To the ground, mistress. 

BAWD. Why, here's a change, indeed, in the 
commonwealth ! What shall become of me ? 

CLO. Come; fear not you: good counsellors 
lack no clients : though you change your place, 
you need not change your trade ; I'll be your 
tapster still. Courage ; there will be pity taken 
on you : you that have worn your eyes almost out 
in the service, you will be considered. 

BAWD. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? 
Let's withdraw. 

CLO. Here comes signior Claudio, led by the 
provost to prison ; and there's madam Juliet. 



The same. 

Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers 5 
Lucio, and two Gentlemen. 

CLAUD. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to 

the world ? 
Bear me to prison, where I am committed. 

PROF. I do it not in evil disposition, 
But from lord Angelo by special charge. 

CLAUD. Thus can the demi-god, Authority, 
Make us pay down for our offence by weight. 
The w r ords of heaven ; on whom it will, it will j 
On whom it will not, so ; yet still 'tis just. 9 

** Thus can the demi-god, Authority, 
Make us pay down for our offence by tveight. 
The words of heaven; on tvhom it "will, it nill; 
On "wham it tvill not, so; yet still 'tis just.] The sense of 


Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio ? whence comes 
this restraint ? 

the whole is this : The demi-god, Authority, makes us pay the 
full penalty of our offence, and its decrees are as little to be 
questioned as the words of heaven, which pronounces its pleasure 
thus, / punish and remit punishment according to my own 
uncontrollable will; and yet who can say, what dost thou? 
Make us pay down for our offence by weight, is a fine expression 
to signify paying the full penalty. The metaphor is taken from 
paying money by weight, which is always exact ; not so by tale, 
on account of the practice of diminishing the species. 


I suspect that a line is lost. JOHNSON. 

It mav be read, The sword of heaven. 
Thus can the demi-god t Authority,. 
Make us pay down for our offence, by weight ; 
The sword of heaven: on whom, &c. 

Authority is then poetically called the sword of heaven, which 
will spare or punish, as it is commanded. The alteration is 
slight, being made only by taking a single letter from the end 
of the word, and placing it at the beginning. 

This very ingenious and elegant emendation was suggested to 
me by the Rev. Dr. Roberts, Provost of Eton ; and it may be 
countenanced by the following passage in The Cooler's Prophecy, 

" In brief, they are the swords of heaven to punish.'* 
Sir W. D' Avenant, who incorporated this play of Shakspeare 
with Much Ado about Nothing, and formed out of them a tragi- 
comedy called The Law against Lovers, omits the two last lines 
of this speech; I suppose, on account of their seeming obscurity. 


The very ingenious emendation proposed by Dr. Roberts, is 
yet more strongly supported by another passage in the play be- 
fore us, where this phrase occurs, (Act III. sc. last): 

" He who the aword of heaven will bear, 

" Should be as holy, as severe." 
Yet I believe the old copy is right. MA LONE. 

Notwithstanding Dr. Robertas ingenious conjecture, the text 
is certainly right. Authority, being absolute in Angelo, is finely 
.stiled by Claudio, the demi-god. To this uncontroulable power, 
the poet applies a passage from St. Paul to the Romans, ch. ix. 
v. 15, 18, which he properly styles, the words of heaven: " for 
he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy," 


CLAUD. From too much liberty, my Lucio, li- 
berty : 

As surfeit is the father of much fast, 
So every scope by the immoderate use 
Turns to restraint : Our natures do pursue, 
(Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,) 1 
A thirsty evil ; and when we drink, we die. 2 

Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, 
I would send for certain of my creditors : And yet, 
to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of 
freedom, as the morality 3 of imprisonment. 
What's thy offence, Claudio ? 

&c. And again: " Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will 
have mercy," &c. HENLEY. 

It should be remembered, however, that the poet is here 
speaking not of mercy, but punishment. MALONE. 

Mr. Malone might have spared himself this remark, had he 
recollected that the words of St. Paul immediately following, 
and to which the S$c. referred, are " and whom he will he 
hardeneth." See also the preceding verse. HENLEY. 

1 (Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,}'] To ravin 
was formerly used for eagerly or voraciously devouring any thing. 
So, in Wilson's Epistle to the Earl of Leicester, prefixed to his 
Discourse upon Usury e, 15/2: " For these bee the greedie cor- 
moraunte wolfes indeed, that ravyn up both beaste and man." 


Again, in the Dedication to Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy, 
edit. 1632, p. 43 : 

" ravenest like a beare," &c. 

Ravin is an ancient word for prey. So, in Noah's Flood, by" 
Drayton : 

" As well of ravine, as that chew the cud.*' STEEVENS. 

8 when we drink, we die.] So, in Revenge for Honour f 

by Chapman: 

" Like poison'd rats, which when they've swallowed 
" The pleasing bane, rest not until they drink; 
" And can rest then much less, until they burst." 


3 as the morality ] The old copy has mortality. It 

was corrected by Sir William D'Avenant. MALONE. 


CLAUD. What, but to speak of would offend 

Lucio. What is it? murder? 


Lucio. Lechery? 

CLAUD. Call it so. 

PROF. Away, sir ; you must go. 

CLAUD. One word, good friend : Lucio, a word 
with you. \Takes him aside. 

Lucio. A hundred, if they'll do you any good. 
Is lechery so look'd after ? 

CLAUD. Thus stands it with me : Upon a true 


I got possession of Julietta's bed ; 4 
You know the lady; she is fast my wife, 
Save that we do the denunciation lack 
Of outward order : this we came not to, 
Only for propagation of a dower 
Remaining in the coffer of her friends ; 5 

* I got possession of Juliette? s bed; c.] This speech is surely 
too indelicate to be spoken concerning Juliet, before her face ; 
for she appears to be brought in with the rest, though she has 
pothing to say. The Clown points her out as they enter ; and 
yet, from Claudio's telling Lucio, that he knows the lady, &c. 
one would think she was not meant to have made her personal 
appearance on the scene. STEEVENS. 

The little seeming impropriety there is, will be entirely re- 
moved, by supposing that when Claudio stops to speak to Lucio, 
$he Provost's officers depart with Julietta. RITSON. 

Claudio may be supposed to speak to Lucio apart. MALONE* 

* this "we came not to, 

Only for propagation of a doiver 

Remaining in the coffer of her friends ;~\ This singular mode 
of expression certainly demands some elucidation. The sense 
appears to be this : We did not think it proper publickly to cele- 
brate our marriage; for this reason, that there might be no 


From whom we thought it meet to hide our love, 
Till time had made them for us. But it chances, 
The stealth of our most mutual entertainment, 
With character too gross, is writ on Juliet. 

Lucio. With child, perhaps ? 

CLAUD. Unhappily, even so. 
And the new deputy now for the duke, 
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness j 6 

hindrance to the payment of Julietta" s portion, which was then 
in the hands of her friends ; from whom, therefore, we judged 
it expedient to conceal our love till we had gained their favour." 
Propagation being here used to signify payment, must have its 
root in the Italian word pagare. Edinburgh Magazine for 
November, 1786. 

I suppose the speaker means for the sake of getting such a 
dower as her friends might hereafter bestow on her, when time 
had reconciled them to her clandestine marriage. 

The verb to propagate, is, however, as obscurely employed 
by Chapman, in his version of the sixteenth Book of Homer's 
Odyssey : 

' to try if we, 

' Alone, may propagate to victory 

' Our bold encounters ," 
Again, n the fourth Iliad, by the same translator, 4to. 15Q8 : 

' 1 doubt not but this night 

' Even to the fleete to propagate the Greeks' unturned 

flight." STEEVENS. 
Perhaps we should read only for prorogation. MALONE. 

the fault and glimpse of newness ;] Fault and glimpse 
have so little relation to each other, that both can scarcely be 
right: we may read fash for fault ; or, perhaps, we may read, 

Whether it be the fault or glimpse 

That is, whether it be the seeming enormity of the action, or 
die glare of new authority. Yet the same sense follows in the 
next lines. JOHNSON. 

Fault, I apprehend, does not refer to any enormous act done 
by the deputy, (as Dr. Johnson seems to have thought,) but to 
newness. The fault and glimpse is the same as the faulty glimpse. 
And the meaning seems to be Whether it be the fault of new- 
ness, a fault arising from the mind being dazzled by a novel 



Or whether that the body public be 

A horse whereon the governor doth ride, 

Who, newly in the seat, that it may know 

He can command, lets it straight feel the spur : 

Whether the tyranny be in his place, 

Or in his eminence that fills it up, 

I stagger in : But this new governor 

Awakes me all the enrolled penalties, 

Which have, like unscour'd armour, 7 hung by the 


So long, that riineteen zodiacks have gone round,* 
And none of them been worn ; and, for a name, 
Now puts the drowsy and neglected act 
Freshly on me : 9 'tis surely, for a name. 

Lucio. I warrant, it is : and thy head stands so 

authority, of which the new governor has yet had only a glimpse, 
has yet taken only a hasty survey ; or "whether, &c. Shakspeare 
has many similar expressions. MA LONE. 

7 like unscour'd armour,] So, in Troilus ami Cressida .' 

" Like rusty mail in monumental mockery." 


' 80 long, that nineteen zodiacks have gone round,] Thft" 
Duke, in the scene immediately following, says: 

" Which for these fourteen years vie have let slip" 


But this neiv governor 

Awakes me all the enrolled penalties, 

Which have, like unscour'd armour, hung by the wall 

So long, 

Now puts the drowsy and neglected act 

Freshly on me .] Lord Strafforfl, in the conclusion of hiJ 
Defence in the House of Lords, had, perhaps, these lines in 1m 
thoughts : 

" It is now full two hundred and forty years since any man 
was touched for this alledged crime, to this height, before my- 
self. Let us rest contented with that which our fathers have 

left us ; and not awake those sleeping lions, to our own destruc- 
tion, by raking up a feiv musty records, that have lain so -n 
<ro,y by the icatlt,, tybite forgotten and neglected." 


tickle 1 on thy shoulders, that a milk-maid, if she 
be in love, may sigh it off. Send after the duke, 
and appeal to him. 

CLAUD. I have done so, but he's not to be found. 
I pr'ythee, Lucio, do me this kind service : 
This day my sister should the cloister enter, 
And there receive her approbation : 2 
Acquaint her with the danger of my state ; 
Implore her, in my voice, that she make friends 
To the strict deputy ; bid herself assay him ; 
I have great hope in that : for in her youth 
There is a prone and speechless dialect, 3 

1 so tickle ] i. e. ticklish. This word is frequently 

used by our old dramatic authors. So, in The true Tragedy of 
Murius and Sci.Ha, 15p4: 

" lords of Asia 

" Have Stood on tickle terms." 
.Again, in The Widow's Tears, by Chapman, l6l2: 

" upon as tickle a pin as the needle of a dial." 


* her approbation :] i. e. enter on her probation, or 

noviciate. So again, in this play : 

" I, in probation of a sisterhood." 
Again, in The Merry Devil of Edmonton, 160S : 

" Madam, for a twelvemonth's approbation, 

" We mean to make the trial of our child." M ALONE. 

* prone and speechless dialect,'] I can scarcely tell what 

signification to give to the word prone. Its primitive and trans- 
lated senses are well known. The author may, by a prone dia- 
lect, mean a dialect which men are prone to regard, or a dialect 
natural and unforced, as those actions seem to which we are 
prw>.e. Father of these interpretations is sufficiently strained ,- 
hut such distortion of words is not uncommon in our author. 
For the sake of an easier sense, we may read: 

in lie)- youth 

There is a povv'r, and speechless dialect, 
Such as moves men ; 
Or thus: 

'.I 'here it a prompt and speechless dialect, 

p 2 


Such as moves men; beside, she hath prosperous art 
When she will play with reason and discourse, 
And well she can persuade. 

Lucio. I pray, she may: as well for the encou- 
ragement of the like, which else would stand under 
grievous imposition ; 4 as for the enjoying of thy 
life, who I would be sorry should be thus foolishly 
lost at a game of tick-tack. 5 I'll to her. 

CLAUD^ I thank you, good friend Lucio. 

Lucio. Within two hours, 

CLAUD. Come, officer, away. [Exeunt. 

Prone, perhaps, may stand for humble, as a prone posture is 
a posture of supplication. 

So, in The Opportunity, by Shirley, 1640: 

" You have prostrate language." 
The same thought occurs in The Winter' 1 s Tale : 

" The silence often of pure innocence 

" Persuades, when speaking fails." 

. Sir W. D' Avenant, in his alteration of the play, changes prone 
to street. I mention some of his variations, to shew that what 
appear difficulties to us, were difficulties to him, who, living 
nearer the fcime of Shakspeare, might be supposed to have under- 
stood his language more intimately. STEEVENS. 

Prone, I believe, is used here for prompt, significant, expres- 
sive, (though speechless,) as in our author's Rape of Lucrece it 
means ardent, head-strong, rushing forward to its object : 

" O that prone lust should stain so pure a bed !" 
Again, in CijmbcUne : " Unless a man would marry a gallows. 
and beget young gibbets, I never saw any one so prone.'" 


4 - under grievous imposition ;] I once thought it should 
he inquisition, but the present reading is probably right. Tht 
crime would be under grievous penalties imposed. JOHNSON. 

- la.--;, at a game of tick-tack.] Tick-tack is a game at 
tables. " Joiicr au tric-trac," is used in Trench, in a wanton 
sense. MALONK. 

The same phrase, in Lucio's sportive setfse, occur 1 - in 
irccHttfs. STKKVEXS-. 



A Monastery. 
Enter DUKE and Friar Thomas. 

DUKE. No ; holy father ; throw away that 

thought ; 

Believe not that the dribbling dart of love 
Can pierce a complete bosom : 6 why I desire thee 
To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose 
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends 
Of burning youth. 

FRI. May your grace speak of it ? 

DUKE. My holy sir, none better knows than you 
How I have ever lov'd the life reinov'd j 7 

6 Believe not that the. dribbling dart of love . 

Can pierce a complete bosom .] Think not that a breast 
completely armed can be pierced by the dart of love, that comes 
fluttering without force. JOHNSON. 

A dribbcr, in archery, was a term of contempt which perhaps 
cannot be satisfactorily explained. Ascham, in his Toxophilus, 
edit. 1589, p. 32, observes: " if he give it over, and not use 
to shoote truly, &c. he shall become of a fayre archer a starke 
squirter and dribber." 

In the second stanza of Sir Philip Sidney's Arcadia, the same 
term is applied to the dart of Cupid : 

" Not at first sight, nor yet with dribbed shot, 
" Love gave the wound," &c. STEKVKNS. 

7 the life remov'd ;] i. e. a life of retirement, a life remote, 

or removed, from the bustle of the world. 

So, in the Prologue to Milton's Masque at Ludloiv Castle : 
I mean the MS. copy in the Library of Trinity College, Cam- 
bridge : 

" 1 was not sent to court your wonder 

" With distant worlds, and strange removed climes." 



And held in idle price to haunt assemblies, 
Where youth, and cost, and witless bravery 8 keeps.* 
I have delivered to lord Angelo 
(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,) 1 
My absolute power and place here in Vienna, 
And he supposes me travelled to Poland ; 
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear, 
And so it is received : Now, pious sir, 
You will demand of me, why I do this ? 

FRI. Gladly, my lord. 

DUKE. We have strict statutes, and most biting 

* ivitlcss bravery ] Bravery, in the present instance, 

signifies showy dress. So, in The Taming of a Skretv : 

" With scarfs, and fans, and double change of bravery." 


9 keeps."] i. e. dwells, resides. In this sense it is still 

used at Cambridge, where the students and fellows, referring 
to their collegiate apartments, always say they keep, i. e. reside 
there. REED. 

1 (A man of stricture, andjtrm abstinence,}] Stricture makes 
no sense in this place. We should read 

A man ofstvict ure andjirm abstinence. 

\. e. a man of the cxactest conduct, and practised in the subdual 
of his passions. Ure is an old word for use, practice : so cnur'd, 
habituated to. WARBURTON. 

Stricture may easily be used for strictness ; ure. is indeed an 
old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to 
persons. JOHNSON. 

Sir W. D'Avenant, in his alteration of this play, reads 
strictness. Ure is sometimes applied to persons, as well as to 
things. So, in the old interlude of Tom Tyler and his Wife, 
1661 : 

" So shall I be sure 
" To keep him in ure.''* 

The same word occurs in Promos and Cassandra, 1578 : 
" The crafty man oft puts these wrongs in ure'* 



(The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,) 2 
Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep ; 3 

* ( The needful bits and curbsybr head-strong steeds,)] In the 

The needful bits and curbsjfor head-strong vveeds. 
There is no mariner of analogy or consonauce in the metaphors 
here ; and, though the copies agree, I do not think the author 
would have talked of bits and curbs for weeds. On the other 
hand, nothing can he more proper, than to compare persons of 
unbridled licentiousness to head-strong steeds ; and, in this view, 
bridling the passions has been a phrase adopted by our best poets. 


3 Which for these fourteen years ice have let sleep ;] Thus 
the old copy ; which also reads 

" we have let slip" STEEVENS. 

For fourteen I have made no scruple to replace nineteen. The 
reason will be obvious to him who recollects what the Duke 
[Claudio] has said in a foregoing scene*. I have altered the odd 
phrase of " letting the laws slip:" for how does it sort with the 
comparison that follows, of a lion in his cave that went not out 
to prey ? But letting the laws deep, adds a particular propriety 
to the thing represented, and accords exactly too with the simile. 
It is the metaphor too, that our author seems fond of using upon 
this occasion, in several other passages of this play : 

The law hath not been dead, though it hath slept ; 

' Tis now awake. 

And, so again : 

but this new governor 

Awakes me oil the enrolled penalties ; 
and for a name, 

N OIK puts the drowsy and neglected act 

v pu 

Freshly on me. THEOBALD. 

The latter emendation may derive its support from a passage 
in Hamlet: 

" How stand I then, 

" That have a father kill'd, a mother stain'd, 

" Excitements of my reason and my blood, 

" And let all sleep?" 

If slip be the true reading, (which, however, I do not be- 
lieve,) the sense may be, which for these fourteen years we 
have suffered to pass unnoticed, unobserved; for SQ the same 
phrase is used in Twelfth- Night: " Let him let this matter 
slip, and I'll give him my horse, grey Capulet." 


Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave, 

That goes not out to prey : Now, as fond fathers 

Having bound up the threat'ning twigs of birch, 

Only to stick it in their children's sight, 

For terror, not to use ; in time the rod 

Becomes more mock'd, than fear'd : 4 so our de- 


Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead ; 
And liberty plucks justice by the nose ; 
The baby beats the nurse, 5 and quite athwart 
Goes all decorum. 

FRI. It rested in your grace 

To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd : 
And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd, 
Than in lord Angelo. 

DUKE. I do fear, too dreadful : 

Sith 6 'twas my fault to give the people scope, 
'Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall them 
For what I bid them do : For we bid this be done, 
When evil deeds have their permissive pass, 

Mr. Theobald altered fourteen to nineteen, to make the Duke's 
account correspond with a speech of Claudio's in a former scene, 
but without necessity. Claudia would naturally represent the 
period during which the law had not been put in practice greater 
than it really was. MALONE. 

Theobald's correction is misplaced. If any correction is really 
necessary, it should have been made where Claudio, in a fore- 

S)ing scene, says nineteen years. I am disposed to take the 
uke's words. WIIALLEY. 

4 Becomes more mock'd, than jear'd:~\ Becomes was added 
by Mr. Pope, to restore sense to the passage, some such word 
having been left out. STEEVENS. 

5 The baby beats the nurse,"] This allusion was borrowed from 
an ancient print, entitled The World turn'd upside down, where 
an infant is thus employed. STEEVENS. 

Jj Sith ] i. e. since. STEEVENS. 


And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my 


I have on Angelo impos'd the office ; 
Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home. 
And yet my nature never in the sight, 
To do it slander : 7 And to behold his sway, 
I will, as 'twere a brother, of your order, 
Visit both prince and people : therefore, I pr'ythee, 
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me 
How I may formally in person bear 8 me 

7 To do it slander .-] The text stood ; 

So do in slander : 

Sir Thomas Hanmer has very well corrected it thus : 

To do it slander: 

Yet, perhaps, less alteration might have produced the true 
reading : 

And yet my nature never, in the sighi, 

So doing slandered : 

And yet my nature never suffer slander, by doing any open act* 
of severity. JOHNSON. 

The old text stood, 

in thejlght 

To do in slander :- 

Hanmer's emendation is supported by a passage in K. Henry IV. 

" Do me no slander, Douglas, I dare fight." STEEVENS. 

Fight seems to be countenanced by the words ambush and 
strike. Sight was introduced by Mr. Pope. MALONE. 

8 in person bear ] Mr. Pope reads 

my person bear. 

Perhaps the word which I have inserted in the text, had 
dropped out while the sheet was at press. A similar phrase oc- 
curs in The Tempest: 

" some good instruction give 

" How I may bear me here." 
Sir W. D'Avenant reads, in his alteration of the play : 

/ may in person a true friar seem. 

The sense of the passage (as Mr. Henley observes) is Hole 
I may demean myself, so as to support ihe character I have as- 
sumed. STEEVENS. 


Like a true friar. More reasons for this action, 

At our more leisure shall I render you ; 

Only, this one : Lord Angelo is precise ; 

Stands at a guard 9 with envy ; scarce confesses 

That his blood flows, or that his appetite 

Is more to bread than stone : Hence shall we see, 

If power change purpose, what our seemers be. 



A Nunnery. 


ISAS. And have you nuns no further privileges ? 

FRAN. Are not these large enough ? 

ISAS. Yes, truly : I speak not as desiring more ; 
But rather wishing a more strict restraint 
Upon the sister-hood, the votarists of saint Clare. 

Lucio. Ho! Peace be in this place! \WithinJ\ 
ISAB. Who's that which calls ? 

FRAN. It is a man's voice : Gentle Isabella, 
Turn you the key, and know his business of him j 
You may, I may not ; you are yet unsworn : 
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with 


But in the presence of the prioress: 
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face ; 

IJ Stands at a guard ] Stands on terms of defiance. 


Tliis rather means, to stand cautiously on his defence, than on 
terms of defiance. M. 


Or, if you show your face, you must not speak. 
Pie calls again ; I pray you, answer him. 


ISAB. Peace and prosperity ! Who is't that calls ? 

Enter Lucio. 

Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be ; as those cheek- 

Proclaim you are no less ! Can you so stead me, 
As bring me to the sight of Isabella, 
A novice of this place, and the fair sister 
To her unhappy brother Claudio ? 

ISAB. Why her unhappy brother ? let me ask ; 
The rather, for I now must make you 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, 1 

He should receive his punishment in thanks : 
He hath got his friend with child, 

ISAB. Sir, make me not your story, 2 

1 For that, which, if myself might le his judge,'] Perhaps these 
words were transposed at the press. The sense seems to require 
That, for which, &c. MALONE. 

v make me not your story.'} Do not, by deceiving me, 

make me a subject for a tale. JOHNSON. 

Perhaps only, Do not divert yourself with me, as you uxnild 
'icith a story, do not make me the subject of your drama. Bene- 
dick talks of becoming the argument of his own scorn. 


Lucio. It is true. 

I would not 3 though 'tis my familiar sin 

So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream : 
" If you have any pity, &c. 
" You would not make me such an argument." 

Sir W. D'Avenant reads scorn instead of story. 

After all, the irregular phrase [me, &c.] that, perhaps, ob- 
scures this passage, occurs frequently in our author, and par- 
ticularly in the next scene, where Escalus says : " Come me to 
what was done to her." " Make me not your story," may 
therefore signify invent not your story on purpose to deceive me, 
" It is true" in Lucio's reply, means What I have already told 
you, is true. STEEVENS. 

Mr. Ritson explains this passage, " do not make a, jest of me." 


I have no doubt that we ought to read, (as I have printed,) 
Sir, mock me not : your story. 
So, in Macbeth : 

" Thou com'st to use thy tongue : thy story quickly." 
In King Lear we have 

" Pray, do not mock me." 

I beseech you, Sir, (says Isabel) do not play upon my fears ; 
reserve this idle talk for some other occasion ; proceed at once 
to your tale. Lucio's subsequent words, [" 'Tis true," i. e. 
you are right; I thank you for remembering me ;] which, as 
the text has been hitherto printed, had no meaning, are then 
pertinent and clear. Mr. Pope was so sensible of the impossi- 
bility of reconciling them to what preceded in the old copy, that 
he fairly omitted them. 

What Isabella says afterwards fully supports this emendation : 

" You do blaspheme the good, in mocking me." 
I have observed that almost every passage in our author, in 
which there is either a broken speech, or a sudden transition 
without a connecting particle, has been corrupted by the care- 
lessness of either the transcriber or compositor See a note on 
Love's Labour's Lost, Act II. sc. i : 

" A man of sovereign, peerless, he's esteem'd." 
And another on Coriolanus, Act I. sc. iv : 

" You shames of Rome ! you herd of Boils and plagues 

" Plaster you o'er!" MALONE. 

3 / "would not ] i. e. Be assured, I would not mock you. 


With maids to seem the lapwing, 4 and to jest, 
Tongue far from heart, play with all virgins so: 5 

So afterwards: " Do not believe it:" i. e. Do not suppose that 
I would mock you. MALONE. 

I ani satisfied with the sense afforded by the old punctuation. 


'tis my familiar sin 

With maids to seem the lapwing,] The Oxford editor's note 
on this passage is in these words : The lapwings fly, with seeming 
fright and anxiety, far from their nests, to deceive those who seek 
their young. And do not all other birds do the same ? But what 
has this to do with the infidelity of a general lover, to whom this 
bird is compared ? It is another quality of the lapwing that is 
here alluded to, viz. its perpetual flying so low and so near the 
passenger, that he thinks he has it, and then is suddenly gone 
again. This made it a proverbial expression to signify a lover's 
falshood ; and it seems to be a very old one : for Chaucer, in his 
Plowman's Tale, says : 

" And lapwings that well conith lie." WARBURTON. 

The modern editors have not taken in the whole similitude 
here ; they have taken notice of the lightness of a spark's beha- 
viour to his mistress, and compared it to the lapwing's hovering 
and fluttering as it flies. But the chief, of which no notice is 
taken is, " and to jest" [See Ray's Proverbs.'] " The lap- 
wing cries, tongue far from heart ;" i. e. most farthest from the 
nest ; i. e. She is, as Shakspeare has it here, Tongue far from 
heart. " The farther she is from her nest, where her heart is 
with her young ones, she is the louder, or, perhaps, all tongue." 


Shakspeare has an expression of the like kind in his Comedy 
<>/ Errors : 

" Adr. Far from her nest the lapwing cries away ; 
" My heart prays for him, though my tongue do curse." 
We meet with the same thought in Lyly's Campaspe, 158-i, from 
whence Shakspeare might borrow it : 

" Alex. you resemble the lapwing, who crieth most 

where her nest is not, and so, to lead me from espying your love 
tor Campaspe, you cry Timoclea." GREY. 

' / would not 1 hough 'tis my familiar sin 
IVith maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest, 
Tongue Jar from heart, play with all virgins so: &c.J 
Tins passage has been pointed in the modern editions thus; 


I hold you as a thing ensky'd, and sainted ; 
By your renouncement, an immortal spirit ; 
And to be talk'd with in sincerity, 
As with a saint. 

ISAS. You do blaspheme the good, in mocking 

LUCJO. Do not believe it. Fewness and truth, 1 " 

'tis thus : 
Your brother and his lover 7 have embraced : 

'77.? true .' / would not (though "'tis my familiar sin 
With maids to seem the lapwing, and to jest, 
Tongue far from heart] play with all virgins so : 
I hold you, &c. 

According to this punctuation, Lucio is made to deliver at 
sentiment directly opposite to that which the author intended. 
Though 'tis my common practice to jest with and to deceive all 
virgins, I would not ,vo play with all virgins. 

The sense, as I have regulated my text, appears to me clear 
and easy. 'Tis very true, (says he,) I ought indeed, as you say, 
to proceed at once to my story. Be assured, I would not mock 
i/on. Though it is my familiar practice to jest with maidens, 
and. like the lapwing, to deceive them by my insincere prattle, 
though, I say, it is my ordinary and habitual practice to sport 
in this manner with all virgins, yel: I should never think of treat- 
ing y<>u so; for I consider vou, in consequence of your having 
renounced the world, as an immortal spirit, as one to whom 1 I 
ought to speak with as much sincerity as if 1 were addressing a 
saint. MALONE. 

Mr. M alone complains of a contradiction which I cannot find 
in the speech of Lucio. He has not s.iid that it is his practice 
to jest with and deceive all virgins. " Though (says he) it is 
my practice with in,i'ds to seem the lapwing, I would not play 
with all virgins so ;" meaning tnat she herself is the exception 
to his usual practice. Though he has treated other women with 
levity, he is serious in Ms address to her. STEEVKNS. 

r> Fewness and truth, &c,J i. c. in few words, and tlioie 
true ones. In y va, is many times ihus used by Shakspeare. 


' Your brother a;id /?/,< lover-] i. e. iiis mistress; lover, in 
4>uv author's time, being applied to the lemule as well as the 


As those that feed grow full ; as blossoming time, 8 
That from the seedness 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 eousin 
Juliet ? 

male sex. Thus, one of hie poems, containing the lamentation 
of a deserted maiden, is entitled, " A Lover's Complaint." 

So, in Tarleton's Newss out of Purgatory, bl. 1. no date: 
" he spide the fetch, and perceived that all this while this was 
Jus lover's husband, to whom he had revealed these escapes." 


* as blossoming time', 

Thatjrom the seedness the bare fallow brings 
To teeming foison ; even so ] As the sentence now stands', 
it is apparently ungrammatical. I read 

At blossoming time, &c. 

That is, As they that feed grow full, so her womb now at blos^ 
doming time, at that time through which the seed time proceeds 
to the harvest, her womb shows what has been doing. Lucio 
ludicrously calls pregnancy blossoming time, the time when fruit 
is promised, though not yet ripe. JOHNSON. 

Instead of that, we may read doth ; and, instead of brings* 
firing. Foizon is plenty. So, in The Tempest: 

" nature should bring forth, 

" Of its own kind, allfuizon," &c. 
Teeming foizon, is abundant produce. STEEVENS. 

The passage seems to me to require no amendment ; and the 
meaning of it is this : " As blossoming time proves the good 
tillage of the farmer, so the fertility of her womb expresses 
Clauuio's full tilth and husbandry." By blossoming time is 
Incant, the time when the ears of corn are formed. 


This sentence, as Dr. Johnson has observed, is apparently un- 
grammatical. I suspect two half lines have been lost. Perhaps 
however an imperfect sentence was intended, of which there are 
many instances in these plays : or, as might have been used in 

?he sense of like. Tilth is tillage. 
,-, . i , -, to 

c<o, m our author s 3d bonnet: 

' For who is she so fair, whose unear'd womb 

" Disdains the tiUagr of thy husbandry?" MALONE. 


Lucio. Is she your cousin ? 

ISAB. Adoptedly ; as school-maids change their 

By vain though apt affection. 

Lucio. She it is. 

ISAB. O, let him marry her ! 

Lucio. This is the point. 

The duke is very strangely gone from hence ; 
Bore many gentlemen, myself being one, 
In hand, and hope of action : 9 but we do learn 
By those that know the very nerves of state, 
His givings out were of an infinite distance 
From his true-meant design. Upon his place, 
And with full line l of his authority, 
Governs lord Angelo ; a man, whose blood 
Is very snow-broth ; one who never feels 
The wanton stings and motions of the sense ; 
But doth rebate and blunt his natural edge 
With profits of the mind, study and fast. 
He (to give fear to use 2 and liberty, 
Which have, for long, run by the hideous law, 
As mice by lions,) hath pick'd out an act, 
Under whose heavy sense your brother's life 
Falls into forfeit : he arrests him on it ; 

9 Bore many gentlemen, 

In hand, and hope of 'action :~\ To bear in hand is a common 
phrase for to keep in expectation and dependance; but we should 
read : 

with hope of action. JOHNSON. 

So, in Macbeth : 

" How you were borne in hand," c. STEEVENS. 

_ _ mith full line ] With full extent, with the whole 
length. JOHNSON. 

to give Jear to use ] To intimidate use, that is, prac- 
tices long countenanced by custom. JOHNSON. 


And follows close the rigour of the statute, 
To make him an example : all hope is gone, 
Unless you have the grace 3 by your fair prayer 
To soften Angelo : And that's my pith 
Of business 4 'twixt you and your poor brother. 

ISAB. Doth he so seek his life ? 

Lucio. Has censur'd him 5 

Already; and, as I hear, the provost hath 
A warrant for his execution. 

ISAB. Alas ! what poor ability's in me 
To do him good ? 

Lucio. Assay the power you have. 

ISAB. My power ! Alas ! I doubt, 

3 Unless you have, the grace ] That is, the acceptableness, 
the power of gaining favour. So, when she makes her suit, the 
Provost says : 

" Heaven give thee moving graces /" JOHNSON. 

4 my pith 

Of business ] The inmost part, the main of my message. 


So, in Hamlet : 

" And enterprizes of great pith and moment." 


' Has censur'd him ] i. e. sentenced him. So, in Othello: 

" to you, lord governor, 

" Remains the censure of this hellish villain." 


We should read, I think, He has censured him, &c. In the 
MSS. of our author's time, and frequently in the printed copy 
of these plays, he has, when intended to be contracted, is written 
h'as. Hence probably the mistake here. 
So, in Othello, 4 to. 1022: 

" And it is thought abroad, that 'twixt my sheets 
" H'as done my office." 

Again, in All's ivell that ends -well, p. 247, folio, 1623, we find 
H'as twice, for He has. See also Twelfth- Night, p. 258, edit. 
1623 : " h'as been told so," for " he has been told so." 




Lucio. Our doubts are traitors, 

And make us lose the good we oft might win, 
By fearing to attempt : Go to lord Angelo, 
And let him learn to know, when maidens sue, 
Men give like gods ; but when they weep and 


All their petitions are as freely theirs 
As they themselves would owe them. 7 

ISAB. I'll see what I can do. 

Lucio. But, speedily. 

ISAB. I will about it straight ; 
No longer staying but to give the mother 8 
Notice of my affair. I humbly thank you : 
Commend me to my brother : soon at night 
I'll send him certain word of my success. 

Lucio. I take my leave of you. 

ISAB. Good sir, adieu. 


* All their petitions are as freely theirs ] All their requests 
are as freely granted to them, are granted in as full and bene- 
ficial a manner, as they themselves could wish. The editor of 
the second folio arbitrarily reads as truly theirs; which has 
been followed in all the subsequent copies. M ALONE. 

7 would owe them.~\ To owe, signifies in this place, as 

in many others, to possess, to have. STEEVENS. 

* -the mother ] The abbess, or prioress. JOHNSON. 



A Hall in Angelo's House. 

Enter ANGELO, ESCALUS, a Justice, Provost, 9 
Officers, and other Attendants. 

ANG. We must not make a scare-crow of the law, 
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey, 1 
And let it keep one shape, till custom make it 
Their perch, and not their terror. 

ESCAL. Ay, but yet 

Let us be keen, and rather cut a little, 
Than fall, and bruise to death : 2 Alas ! this gen- 

Provost,"] A Provost martial, Minshieu explains, " Prevost 
des mareschaux : Praefectus rerum capitalium, Praetor rerum 
capitalium." REED. 

A provost is generally the executioner of an army. So, in 
The famous History of Thomas StuJiely, ]605, bl. 1 : 

" Provost, lay irons upon him, and take him to your 


Again, in The Virgin Martyr, by Massinger : 
" Thy provost, to see execution done 
" On these base Christians in Caesarea." STEEVENS. 

A prison for military offenders is at this day, in some places, 
called the Prevot. MALONE. 

The Provost here, is not a military officer, but a kind of 
sheriff or gaoler, so called in foreign countries. DOUCE. 

1 to fear the birds of 'prey ',] To fear is to affright, to 

terrify. So, in The Merchant of Venice: 

" This aspect of mine 

" Hathfear'd the valiant." STEEVENS. 

2 Than fall, and bruise to death :] I should rather read fell, 
i. e. strike down. So, in Tirnon of Athens : 



Whom I would save, had a most noble father. 
Let but your honour know, 3 
(Whom I believe to be most strait in virtue,) 
That, in the working of your own affections, 
Had time cohered with place, or place with wishing, 
Or that the resolute acting of your blood 
Could have attained the effect of your own purpose, 
Whether you had not sometime in your life 
Err'd in this point which now you censure him, 4 
And pull'd the law upon you. 

ANG. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus, 
Another thing to fall. I not deny, 
The jury, passing on the prisoner's life, 

" All save thee, 

" I Jell with curses." WARBUUTOX. 

Fall is the old reading, and the true one. Shakspeare has 
used the same verb active in The Comedy of Errors : 

" as easy may'st thoujall 

" A drop of water, ." 
i. e. let fall. So, in As you like it : 

" the executioner 

" Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck." 


Than fall, and bruise to death .-] i. e. fall the axe ; or rather, 
let the criminal fall, c. MALONE. 

3 Let but your honour know,] To knoia is here to examine, 
to take cognisance. So, in A Midsummer- Night's Dream : 

" Therefore, fair Hermia, question your desires ; 
" Knoiv of your youth, examine well your blood." 


4 Err'd in this point which now yon censure him,] Some 
word seems to be wanting to make this line sense. Perhaps, 
we should read : 

Err'd in this point which now you censure him for. 


The sense undoubtedly requires, " which now you censure 
himyor," but the text certainly appears as the poet left it. 
I have elsewhere shewn that he frequently uses these elliptical 
expressions. MALONE. 


May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two 
Guiltier than him they try : What's open made to 


That justice seizes. 5 What know the laws, 
That thieves do pass on thieves ? 6 J Tis very preg- 
nant, 7 

The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it, 
Because we see it ; but what we do not see, 
We tread upon, and never think of it. 
You may not so extenuate his offence, 
For I have had 8 such faults ; but rather tell me, 
When I, that censure him, do so offend, 
Let mine own judgment pattern out my death, 
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die. 

ESCAL. Be it as your wisdom will. 

ANG. Where is the provost ? 

PROF. Here, if it like your honour. 

a That justice seizes.'] For the sake of metre, I think we 
should read, seizes on ; or, perhaps, we should regulate the 
passage thus : 

Guiltier than him they try : What's open made 

To justice, justice seizes. What know, &c. STEEVENS. 

What knoiv the laws, 

That thieves do pass on thieves?] How can the admini- 
strators of the laws take cognizance of what I have just men- 
tioned ? How can they know, whether the jurymen, who decide 
on the life or death of thieves, be themselves as criminal as those 
whom they try ? To pass on is a forensick term. MALONE. 

So, in King Lear, Act III. sc. vii : 

" Though well we may not pass upon his life." 
See my note on this passage. STEEVENS. 

7 'Tis very pregnant,"] 'Tis plain that we must act with bad 
as with good ; we punish the faults, as we take the advantages 
that lie in our way, and what we do riot see we cannot note. 


8 For I have had ] That is, because, by reason that I have 
had such faults. JOHNSON. 


ANG. See that Claudio 

Be executed by nine to-morrow morning : 
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar'd ; 
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage. 

[Exit Provost. 

ESCAL. Well, heaven forgive him ! and forgive 

us all ! 

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall : 
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none ; 
And some condemned for a fault alone. 9 

9 Some rise &c.~\ This line is in the first folio printed in 
Italics as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line : 
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none. 


The old reading is, perhaps, the true one, and may mean, 
some run away from danger , and stay to answer none of their 
faults, whilst others are condemned only on account of a single 

If this be the true reading, it should be printed: 

Some run from breaks [i. e. fractures] of ice, &c. 
Since I suggested this, I have found reason to change my opi- 
nion. A brake anciently meant not only a sharp bit, a snaffle, but 
also the engine with which farriers confined the legs of such 
unruly horses as would not otherwise submit themselves to be 
shod, or to have a cruel operation performed on them. This, 
in some places, is still called a smith's brake. In this last sense, 
Ben Jonson uses the word in his Underwoods: 
" And not think he had eat a stake, 
" Or were set up in a brake." 

And, for the former sense, see The Silent Woman, Act IV. 
Again, for the latter sense, Bussy D'Ambois, by Chapman : 
" Or, like a strumpet, learn to set my face 
" In an eternal brake. 1 " 
Again, in The Opportunity, by Shirley, 1(5-10 : 

" He is fallen into some brake, some wench has tied him by 
the legs." 

Again, in Holland's Leaguer, 1033 : 

" lur I'll make 

" A stale, to catch this courtier in a brake.'" 
I offer these quotations, which may prove of use to some more 
fortunate conjecture)- ; but am able myself to derive very little 
from them to suit the passage before us. 


Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, fyc. 

ELS. Come, bring them away: if these be good 
people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use 

I likewise find from Holinshed, p. 670, that the brake was 
an engine of torture. " The said Hawkins was cast into the 
Tower, and at length brought to the brake, called the Duke of 
Excester's daughter, by means of which pain he shewed many 
things," &c. 

" When the Dukes of Exeter and Suffolk, (says Blackstone, 
in his Commentaries, Vol. IV. chap. xxv. p. 320, 321,) and 
other ministers of Henry VI. had laid a design to introduce the 
civil law into this kingdom as the rule of government, for a 
beginning thereof they erected a rack for torture ; which was 
called in derision the Duke of Exeter's Daughter, and still re- 
mains in the Tower of London, where it was occasionally used 
as an engine of state, not of law, more than once in the reign 
of Queen Elizabeth." See Coke's Imtit. 35, Earrington, tig, 
385, and Fuller's Worthies, p. 317- 

A part of this horrid engine still remains in the Tower, and 
the following is the figure of it : 

It consists of a strong iron frame about six feet long, with three 
rollers of wood within it. The middle on ; of these, which has 
iron teeth at each end, is governed by two stops of iron, and 
was, probably, that part of the machine which suspended the 
powers of the rest, when the unhappy sufferer was sufficiently 


their abuses in common houses, I know no law ; 
bring them away. 

strained by the cords, &c. to begin confession. I cannot con- 
clude this account of it without confessing my obligation to 
Sir Charles Frederick, who politely condescended to direct my 
enquiries, while his high command rendered every part of the 
Tower accessible to my researches. 

I have since observed that, in Fox's Martyrs, edit. 15Q6, 
p. 1843, there is a representation of the same kind. To this 
also, Skelton, in his Why come ye not to Court, seems to allude : 

" And with a cole rake 

" Bruise them on a brake" 

If Shakspeare alluded to this engine, the sense of the contested 
passage will be: Some run more than oner, from engines of pu- 
nishment, and answer no interrogatories; while some are con- 
demned to suffer for a single trespass. 

It should not, however, be dissembled, that yet a plainer 
meaning may be deduced from the same words. By brakes of 
vice may be meant a collection, a number, a thicket of vices. 
The same image occurs in Daniel's Civil Wars, B. IV : 

" Rushing into the thickest woods of spears, 

" And brakes of swords," c. 

That a brake meant a bush, may be known from Drayton's 
poem on Moses and his Miracles : 

" Where God unto the Hebrew spake, 

" Appearing from the burning brake " 
Again, in The Mooncalf of the same author : 

" He brings into a brake of briars and thorn, 

" And so entangles." 

Mr. Toilet is of opinion that, by brake* of vice, Shakspeare 
means only the thorni/ paths of vice. 

So, in Ben Jonson's Undenvood*, Whalley's edit. Vol. VI. 
p. 367: 

" Look at the false and cunning man, &c. 

" Crush'd in the snakey brakes that he had past." 


The words ansiccr none, (that is, mnkc no confession of 
<?.i<i/t,) evidently shew that brake of vice here means the engine 
of torture. The same mode of question is again referred to in 
Act V : 

" To the rude with him: we'll touze you joint by joint, 
" But we will know this purpose." 
The name of brake of vice, appears to have been given this 


ANG. How now, sir ! What's your name ? and 
what's the matter ? 

ELS. If it please your honour, I am the poor 
duke's constable, and my name is Elbow ; I do 
lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before 
your good honour two notorious benefactors. 

ANG. Benefactors ? Well ; what benefactors are 
they ? are they not malefactors ? 

ELS. If it please your honour, I know not well 
what they are : but precise villains they are, that I 
am sure of; and void of all profanation in ih& 
world, that good Christians ought to have. 

ESCAL. This comes off well ; l here's a wise 

ANG. Go to : What quality are they of? Elbow 
is your name ? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ? 2 

machine from its resemblance to that used to subdue vicious 

horses; to which Daniel thus refers : 

" Lyke as the brake within the rider's hande 

" Doth straine the horse nye wood with grief of paine, 

" Not us'd before to come in such a band," &c. 


I am not satisfied with either the old or present reading of 
this very difficult passage ; yet have nothing better to propose. 
The modern reading, vice, was introduced by Mr. Rowe. In 
King Henry VIII. we have 

" 'Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake 
" That virtue must go through." MAJ.ONE. 

1 This comes offtvcll ;~] This is nimbly spoken ; this is volubly 
uttered. JOHNSON. 

The same phrase is employed in Timon of Athens, and else- 
where ; but in the present instance it is used ironically. The 
meaning of it, when seriously applied to speech, is* This is well 
delivered, this story is well told. STEEVENS. 

* Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ?] Says Angelo to the 
constable. " He cannot, sir, (quoth the Clown,) he's out at 
t'/t'ou-." I know not. whether this quibble be generally under- 


CLO. He cannot, sir ; he's out at elbow. 
ANG. What are you, sir ? 

ELS. He, sir ? a tapster, sir ; parcel-bawd ; 3 one 
that serves a bad woman ; whose house, sir, was, 
as they say, pluck'd down in the suburbs ; and 
now she professes a hot-house, 4 which, I think, is 
a very ill house too. 

ESCAL. How know you that ? 

ELB. My wife, sir, whom I detest 5 before heaven 
and your honour, 

ESCAL. How ! thy wife ? 

ELB. Ay, sir ; whom, I thank heaven, is an 
honest woman, 

stood: he is out at the word elbow, and out at the elbow of his 
coat. The Constable, in his account of master Froth and the 
Clown, has a stroke at the Puritans, who were very zealous 
against the stage about this time : " Precise villains they are, 
that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that 
good Christians ought to have." FARMER. 

3 - a tapster, sir ; parcel-baivd ;] This we should now 
express by saying, he is half tapster, half-bawd. JOHNSON. 

Thus, in King Henry IF. P. II: 

ilt oblet." STEEVENS. 

she professes a hot-house,] A hot-house is an English 

name for a bagnio. So, Ben Jonson 

" Where lately harbour'd many a famous whore, 
" A purging bill now fix'd upon the door, 
" Tells you it is a hoi-house: so it may, 
" And still be a whore-house." JOHNSON. 

Again, in Goulart's Admirable Histories, &c. iCJO/ : " hear- 
ing that they were together in a hot-house at an old woman's 
that dwelt by him." STEEVENS. 

* - whom I detest - ] lie designed to say protest. Mrs. 
Quickly makes the same blunder in The Merry Wives of Windsor, 
Act I. sc. iv : " But, I detest, an honest maid," &c. STEEVKN.S. 

I think that Elbow, in both instances, uses detest for altex! ; 
that is, to call witness. M. MASON. 


ESCAL. Dost thou detest her therefore ? 

ELS. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as wel] 
as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, 
it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. 

ESCAL. How dost thou know that, constable ? 

ELB. Marry, sir, by my wife ; who, if she had 
been a woman cardinally given, might have been 
accused in fornication, adultery, and all un cleanli- 
ness there. 

ESCAL. By the woman's means ? 

ELS. Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone's means : 6 
but as she spit in his face, so she defied him. 

CLO. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not so. 

ELS. Prove it before these varlets here, thou 
honourable man, prove it. 

ESCAL. Do you hear how he misplaces ? 


CLO. Sir, she came in great with child ; and 
longing (saving your honour's reverence,) for 
stew'd prunes ; 7 sir, we had but two in the house, 
which at that very distant time stood, as it were, 

6 Ay, sir, by mistress Overdone* s means:] Here seems to 
have been some mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, 
and some words therefore may have been lost, unless the irre- 
gularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the igno- 
rance of the constable. JOHNSON. 

7 steui'd prunes ;~\ Stewed prunes were to be found in 

every brothel. 

So, in Maroccus Exstaticus, or Bankes's Bay Horse in a 
Trance, ISQj: " With this stocke of wenches will this trustie 
Roger and his Bettrice set up, forsooth, with their pamphlet 
pots and stewed prunes, &c. in a sinful saucer,'" &c. 

See a note on the 3d scene of the 3d Act of The First Part 
of King Henry IF. In the old copy prunes are spelt, according 
to vulgar pronunciation, preiotjns. STEEVENS. 


in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence ; your 
honours have seen such dishes ; they are not China 
dishes, 8 but very good dishes. 

ESCAL. Go to, go to ; no matter for the dish, sir. 

CLO. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin ; you are 
therein in the right : but, to the point : As I say, 
this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, 
and being great belly'd, and longing, as I said, for 
prunes ; and having but two in the dish, as I said, 
master Froth here, this very man, having eaten 
the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them 
very honestly ; for, as you know, master Froth, 
I could not give you three pence again. 

FROTH. No, indeed. 

CLO. Very well: you being then, if you be re- 
member'd, cracking the stones of the foresaid 

FROTH. Ay, so I did, indeed. 

CLO. Why, very well : I telling you then, if 
you be remember'd, that such a one, and such a 
one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, un- 
less they kept very good diet, as I told you. 

FROTH. All this is true. 
CLO. Why, very well then. 

ESCAL. Come, you are a tedious fool : to the 
purpose. What was done to Elbow's wife, that he- 
hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was 
done to her. 

8 not China dishes,'] A China dish, in the age of Shak- 

speare, must have been such an uncommon thing, that the 
Clown's exemption of it, as no utensil in a common brothel, is 
a striking circumstance in his absurd and tautological deposition. 



CLO. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. 
ESCAL. No, sir, nor I mean it not. 

CLO. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your 
honour's leave : And, I beseech you, look into 
master Froth here, sir; a man of fourscore pound 
a year ; whose father died at Hallowmas : Was't 
not at Hallowmas, master Froth ? 

FROTH. AlUiollond eve. 

CLO. Why, very well ; I hope here be truths : 
He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a lower chair, 9 sir ; 
'twas in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you 
have a delight to sit : Have you not ? 

FROTH. I have so ; because it is an open room, 
and good for winter. 

CLO. Why, very well then ; I hope here be 

ANG. This will last out a night in Russia, 
When nights are longest there : I'll take my leave., 
And leave you to the hearing of the cause ; 
Hoping, you'll find good cause to whip them all. 

ESCAL. I think no less : Good morrow to your 
lordship. \_Exit ANGELO. 

Now, sir, come on : What was done to Elbow's 
wife, once more ? 

CLO. Once, sir ? there was nothing done to her 

ELB. I beseech you, sir, ask him what this man 
did to my wife. 

9 in a lower chair,] Every house had formerly, among 
its other furniture, what was called a lotv chair, designed for 
the ease of sick people, and, occasionally, occupied by lazy ones. 
Of these conveniencies I have seen many, though, perhaps, at 
present they are wholly disused. STEEVENS. 


CLO. I beseech your honour, ask me. 

ESCAL. Well, sir : What did this gentleman to 
her ? 

CLO. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's 
face : Good master Froth, look upon his honour ; 
'tis for a good purpose : Doth your honour mark 
his face ? 

ESCAL. Ay, sir, very well. 

CLO. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well. 

ESCAL. Well, I do so. 

CLO. Doth your honour see any harm in his face ? 

ESCAL. Why, no. 

CLO. I'll be supposed ' upon a book, his face is 
the worst thing about him : Good then ; if his 
face be the worst thing about him, how could 
master Froth do the constable's wife any harm ? 
I would know that of your honour. 

ESCAL. He's in the right : Constable, what say 
you to it ? 

ELB. First, an it like you, the house is a re- 
spected house ; next, this is a respected fellow ; 
and his mistress is a respected woman. 

CLO. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more re- 
spected person than any of us all. 

ELB. Varlet, thou liest ; thou liest, wicked var- 
let : the time is yet to come, that she was ever 
respected with man, woman, or child. 

CLO. Sir, she was respected with him before he 
married with her. 

1 I'll be supposed ] He means deposed. MA LONE. 


ESCAL. Which is the wiser here ? Justice, or 
Iniquity ? 2 Is this true ? 

ELS. O thou caitiff! O thou varlet! O thou 
wicked Hannibal ! 3 1 respected with her, before 
I was married to her ? If ever I was respected 
with her, or she with me, let not your worship 
think me the poor duke's officer : Prove this, 
thou wicked Hannibal, or I'll have mine action 
of battery on thee. 

ESCAL. If he took you a box o* ear, you might 
have your action of slander too. 

ELS. Marry, I thank your good worship for it : 
What is't your worship's pleasure I should do with 
this wicked caitiff? 

ESCAL. Truly, officer, because he hath some of- 
fences in him, that thou wouldst discover if thou 
couldst, let him continue in his courses, till thou 
know'st what they are. 

ELS. Marry, I thank your worship for it : 
Thou seest, thou wicked varlet now, what's come 

* Justice, or Iniquity?] These were, I suppose, two per- 
sonages well known to the audience by their frequent appear- 
ance in the old moralities. The words, therefore, at that time 
produced a combination of ideas, which they have now lost. 


Justice, or Iniquity?] i. e. The Constable or the Fool. Esca- 
lus calls the latter, Iniquity, in allusion to the old Vice, a fami- 
liar character in the ancient moralities and dumb-shews. Justice 
may have a similar allusion, which I am unable to explain. 
Iniquitie is one of the personages in the " worthy interlude of 
Kynge Darius,*'' 4to. bl. 1. no date. And in The First Part of 
King Henri/ IV. Prince Henry calls Falstaff, " that reverend 
Vice, that grey Iniquity." RITSOX. 

3 ., . .- Hannibal!] Mistaken by the Constable for Cannibal, 



upon thee ; thou art to continue now, thou varlet ; 
tliou art to continue. 4 

ESCAL. Where were you born, friend ? 


FROTH. Here in Vienna, sir. 

ESCAL. Are you of fourscore pounds a year ? 

FROTH. Yes, and't please you, sir. 

ESCAL. So. What trade are you of, sir ? 

[To the Clown. 

CLO. A tapster ; a poor widow's tapster. 
ESCAL. Your mistress's name ? 
CLO. Mistress Over-done. 

ESCAL. Hath she had any more than one hus- 
band ? 

CLO. Nine, sir ; Over-done by the last. 

ESCAL. Nine ! Come hither to me, master Froth. 
Master Froth, I would not have you acquainted 
with tapsters ; they will draw you, 5 master Froth, 
and you will hang them : Get you gone, and let 
me hear no more of you. 

FROTH. I thank your worship : For mine own 
part, I never come into any room in a taphouse, 
but I am drawn in. 

4 thou art to continue.] Perhaps Elbow, misinterpreting 

the language of Escalus, supposes the Clown is to continue in 
confinement; at least, he conceives some severe punishment or 
other to be implied by the word continue. STEEVENS. 

' they will draw you,"] Draw has here a cluster of 

senses. As it refers to the tapster, it signifies to drain, to empty ; 
as it is related to hang, it means to be conveyed to execution on 
a hurdle. In Froth's answer, it is the same as to bring along bi/ 
some motive or power. JOHNSON. 


ESCAL. Well ; no more of it, master Froth r 
farewell. [Exit FROTH.] Come you hither to me, 
master tapster j what's your name, master tapster I 

CLO. Pompey. 6 

ESCAL. What else ? 

CLO. Bum, sir. 

ESCAL. 'Troth, and your bum is the greatest 
thing about you j 7 so that, in the beastliest sense, 

Pompey."] His mistress, in a preceding scene, calls him 
Thomas. KITSON. 

7 greatest thing about you;] Greene, in one of hie 

pieces, mentions the "great bumme of Paris." 
Again, in Tyro's Roaring Megge, 15Q8: 

" Tyro's round breeches have a cliffe behind." 


Harrison, in his Description of Britain, prefixed to HolinshedV 
Chronicle, condemns the excess of apparel amongst his country- 
men, and thus proceeds : " Neither can we be more justly bur- 
dened with any reproche than inordinate behaviour in apparell, 
for which most nations deride us ; as also for that we- men doe 
seeme to bestowe most cost upon our arses, and much more than 
upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do likewise upon their 
heads and shoulders." Should any curious reader wish for more 
information upon this subject, he is referred to Strutt's Man- 
ners and Customs of the English, Vol. III. p. 86. DOUCE. 

But perhaps an ancient MS. ballad, entitled, A lamentable 
Complaint of the poor Country Men againste great Hose, for 
the Losse of there Cattelles Tailes, Mus. Brit. MS. Harl. 367, 
may throw further light on the subject. This ballad consists of 
41 stanzas. From these the following are selected : 

5. " For proude and paynted parragenns, 

?' And monstrous breched beares, 
" This realme almost hath cleane distroy'd, 
" Which I reporte with teares. 

9. " And chefely those of cache degree 

" Who monstrous hose delyght, 
" As monsters fell, have done to us 
" Most grevus hurte and spyte.- 

YOL, VI.. R 


you are Pompey the great. Pompey, you are partly 
a bawd, Pompey, howsoever you colour it in being 

11. "As now of late in lesser thinges 

" To furnyshe forthe theare pryde, 
" With woole, with flaxe, with hare also, 
" To make theare brychcs ivyde. 

12. " What hurte and damage doth ensew 

" And fall upon the poore, 
" For want of woll and flax of late, 
" Which monnstrus hose devore. 

1 4. " But heare hath so possessed of late 

" The bryche of every knave, 
" That none one beast nor horse can tell 
" Which waye his tale to saufe. 

23. " And that with speede to take awaye 

" Great bryches as the cause 
" Of all this hurte, or ealse to make 

" Some sharpe and houlsome lawes, 

39. *' So that in fyne the charytie 

" Whiche Chrysten men shoulde save, 
" By dyvers wayes is blemyshed, 
" To boulster breaches brave. 

40. " But now for that noe remedye 

" As yet cann wel be founde, 
" I wolde that suche as weare this heare 
" Weare well and trewly bounde, 

41. " With every heare a louse to have, 

" To stuffe their breychcs oute ; 
" And then I trust they wolde not weare 
** Nor beare suche baggs about. 
" Finis." 

See also, in the Pcrsones Tale of Chaucer: " and eke the 
buttokkes of hem behinde, that faren as it were the hinder part 
of a she ape in the ful of the mone/' 

In consequence of a diligent inspection of ancient pictures 
and prints, it may be pronounced that this ridiculous fashion 
appeared in the early part of Queen Elizabeth's reign, then 
declined, and recommenced at the beginning of that of James 
the First. STEEVENS. 


a tapster. Are you not ? come, tell me true ; it 
shall be the better for you. 

CLO. Truly, sir, I am a poor fellow, that would 

ESCAL. How would you live, Pompey ? by being 
a bawd ? What do you think of the trade, Pompey I 
is it a lawful trade ? 

CLO. If the law would allow it, sir. 

ESCAL. But the law will not allow it, Pompey j 
nor it shall not be allowed in Vienna. 

CLO. Does your worship mean to geld and spay 
all the youth in the city ? 

ESCAL. No, Pompey. 

CLO. Truly, sir, in my poor opinion, they will 
to't then : If your worship will take order 8 for 
the drabs and the knaves, you need not to fear 
the bawds. 

ESCAL. There are pretty orders beginning, I 
can tell you : It is but heading and hanging. 

CLO. If you head and hang all that offend that 
way but for ten year together, you'll be glad to 
give out a commission for more heads. If this law 
hold in Vienna ten year, I'll rent the fairest house 
in it, after three pence a bay : 9 If you live to see 
this come to pass, say, Pompey told you so, 

* take order ] i. e. take measures. So, in Othello: 

" Honest lago hath to? en order for't." STEEVENS. 

Til rent the fairest house in it, after three pence a 

bay:] A bay of building is, in many parts of England, a com- 
mon term, of which the best conception that ever I could obtain 
is, that it is the space between the main beams of the roof; so 
that a barn crossed twice with beams is a barn of three bays. 




ESCAL. Thank you, good Pompey : and, in re- 
quital of your prophecy, hark you, I advise you, 
let me not find you before me again upon any 
complaint whatsoever, no, not for dwelling where 
you do ; if I do, Pompey, I shall beat you to your 
tent, and prove a shrewd Caesar to you ; in plain 
dealing, Pompey, I shall have you whipt : so for 
this time, Pompey, fare you well. 

CLO. I thank your worship for your good coun- 
sel ; but I shall follow it, as the flesh and fortune 
shall better determine. 

"Whip me ? No, no ^ let carman whip his jade ; 
The valiant heart's not whipt out of his trade. 


ESCAL. Come hither to me, master Elbow ; come 
hither, master Constable. How long have you 
been in this place of constable ? 

ELS. Seven year and a half, sir. 

ESCAL. I thought, by your readiness 1 in the 
office, you had continued in it some time : You; 
say, seven years together ? 

ELD. And a half, sir. 

" that by the yearly birth 

" The large-bay'd barn doth fill," &c. 

I forgot to take down the title of the work from which this 
instance is adopted. Again, in Hall's Virgidemiarum, Lib. IV. 
" His rent in f'aire respondence must arise, 
** To double trebles of his one yeares price ; 
" Of one baycs breadth, God wot, a silly cote 
" Whose thatched spars are furr'd with sluttish soote." 


1 - by your readiness ] Old copy the readiness. Cor- 
rected by Mr. Pope. In the MSS. of our author's age, y f . and 
y<. (for so they were frequently written) were easily confounded. 



ESCAL. Alas ! it hath been great pains to you ! 
They do you wrong to put you so oft upon't : Are 
there not men in your ward sufficient to serve it ? 

ELS. Faith, sir, few of any wit in such matters : 
as they are chosen, they are glad to choose me for 
them ; I do it for some piece of money, and go 
through with all. 

ESCAL. Look you, bring me in the names of 
some six or seven, the most sufficient of your 

ELS. To your worship's house, sir ? 
EscAL. To my house : Fare you well. [Exit 
ELBOW.] What's o'clock, think you ? 

JUST. Eleven, sir. 

ESCAL. I pray you home to dinner with me. 

JUST. I humbly thank you. 

ESCAL. It grieves me for the death of Claudio ; 
But there's no remedy. 

JUST. Lord Angelo is severe. 

ESCAL. It is but needful : 

Mercy is not itself, that oft looks so ; 
Pardon is still the nurse of second woe : 
But yet, Poor Claudio ! There's no remedy. 
Come, sir. 



Another Room in the same. 

Enter Provost and a Servant. 

SERF. He's hearing of a cause j he will come 

I'll tell him of you. 

PROV. Pray you, do. [Exit Servant.] I'll know 
His pleasure ; may be, he will relent : Alas, 
He hath but as offended in a dream ! 
All sects, all ages smack of this vice ; and he 
To die for it ! 

Enter ANGELO. 

ANG. Now, what's the matter, provost? 

PROV. Is it your will Claudio shall die to-mor- 
row ? 

ANG. Did I not tell thee, yea ? hadst thou not 

order ? 
Why dost thou ask again ? 

PROV. Lest I might be too rash : 

Under your .good correction, I have seen, 
When, after execution, judgment hath 
Repented o'er his doom. 

ANG. Go to ; let that be mine : 

Do you your office, or give up your place, 
And you shall well be spar'd. 

PROV. I crave your honour's pardon. 

What shall be done, sir, with the groaning Juliet? 
She's very near her hour. 


ANG. Dispose of her 

To some more fitter place ; and that with speed, 

He-enter Servant. 

SERI'. Here is the sister of the man condemned, 
Desires access to you. 

ANG. Hath he a sister ? 

PROF. Ay, my good lord ; a very virtuous maid, 
And to be shortly of a sisterhood, 
If not already. 

ANG. Well, let her be admitted. 

\JEocit Servant. 

See you, the fornicatress be remov'd ; 
Let her have needful, but not lavish, means ; 
There shall be order for it. 


PROV. Save your honour ! 2 [Offering to retire. 

ANG. Stay a little while. 3 [To ISAB.] You are 
welcome : What's your will ? 

* Save your honour !] Your honour, which is so often repeated 
in this scene,, was in our author's time the usual mode of address 
to a lord. It had become antiquated after the Restoration ; for 
Sir William D'Avenant, in his alteration of this. play, has sub- 
stituted your excellence in the room of it. MALONE. 

3 Stay a little while.] It is not clear why the Provost is bid- 
den to stay, nor when he goes out. JOHNSON. 

The entrance of Lucio and Isabella should not, perhaps, be 
made till after Angelo's speech to the Provost, who had only 
announced a lady, and seems to be detained as a witness to the 
purity of the deputy's conversation with her. His exit may he 
fixed with that of Lucio and Isabella. He cannot remain longer, 
and there is no reason to think he departs before. RITSON. 


ISAB. I am a woeful suitor to your honour, 
Please but your honour hear me. 

ANG. Well ; what's your suit ? 

ISAB. There is a vice, that most I do abhor, 
And most desire should meet the blow of justice ; 
For which I would not plead, but that I must ; 
For which I must not plead, but that I am 
At war, 'twixt will, and will not. 4 

ANG. Well ; the matter? 

ISAB. I have a brother is condemned to die : 
I do beseech you, let it be his fault, 
And not my brother. 5 

PROV. Heaven give thee moving graces ! 

Stay a little while, is said by Angelo, in answer to the words, 
" Save your honour ;'' which denoted the Provost's intention to 
depart. Isabella uses the same words to Angelo, when she goes 
out, near the conclusion of this scene. So also, when she offers 
to retire, on finding her suit ineffectual ; " Heaven keep your 
honour!" MALONE. 

4 For 'which I must nty plead, but that I am 

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] This is obscure ; per- 
haps it may be mended by reading : 

For which I must now plead ; but yet / am 
At war, 'twixt will, and will not. 

Yet and^ are almost undistinguishable in an ancient manuscript. 
Yet no alteration is necessary, since the speech is not unintelli- 
gible as it now stands. JOHNSON. 

For which I must not plead, but that I am 

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] i. e. for which I must not 
plead, but that there is a conflict in my breast betwixt my affec- 
tion for my brother, which induces me to plead for him, and my 
regard to virtue, which forbids me to intercede for one guilty of 
such a crime ; and I find the former more powerful than the 
latter. MALONE. 

let it be his fault, 

And not my brother,'} i. e. let his fault be condemned, or 
extirpated, but let not my brother himself suffer. MALONE. 


ANG. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it ! 
Why, every fault's condemri'd, ere it be done : 
Mine were the very cipher of a function, 
To find the faults, 6 whose fine stands in record, 
And let go by the actor. 

ISAB. O just, but severe law ! 

I had a brother then. Heaven keep your honour ! 


Lucio. \_To ISAB.] Give't not o'er so : to him 

again, intreat him ; 

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown; 
You are too cold : if you should need a pin, 
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it : 
To him, I say. 

ISAB. Must he needs die ? 

ANG. Maiden, no remedy. 

ISAB. Yes ; I do think that you might pardon 

And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy. 

ANG. I will not do't. 

ISAB. But can you, if you would ? 

ANG. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. 

ISAB. But might you do't, and do the world no 

6 To find the faults t ~\ The old copy reads To fine, &c. 


T-oJlne means, I think, to pronounce thejine or sentence of 
the law, appointed for certain crimes. Mr. Theobald, without 
necessity, reads find. The repetition is much in our author's 
manner. MALONE. 

Theobald's emendation may be justified by a passage in King 
Lear : 

" All's not offence that indiscretion finds, 
" And dotage terms so." STEKVENS. 


If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse 7 
As mine is to him ? 

ANG. He's sentenced ; 'tis too late. 

Lucio. You are too cold. [To ISABELLA. 

ISAS. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word, 
May call it back again : 8 Well believe this, 9 
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, 
Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword, 
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe, 
Become them with one half so good a grace, 
As mercy does. If he had been as you, 
And you as he, you would have slipt like him ; 
But he, like you, would not have been so stern. 

ANG. Pray you, begone. 

ISAB. I would to heaven I had your potency, 
And you were Isabel ! should it then be thus ? 
No ; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, 
And what a prisoner. 

Lucio. Ay, touch him : there's the vein. \_Aside. 

7 touch 1 'd 'with that remorse ] Remorse, in this place, 

as in many others, signifies pity. 

So, in the fifth Act of tins play : 

** My sisterly remorse confutes my honour, 

" And I did yield to him." 
Again, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632: 

" The perfect image of a wretched creature, 

*' His speeches beg remorse" 
See Othello, Act III. STEEVENS. 

8 May call it back again :] The word back was inserted by 
the editor of the second folio, for the sake of the metre. 


Surely, it is added for the sake of sense as well as metre. 


Well believe this.] Be thoroughly assured of this. 



ANG. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, 
And you but waste your words. 

ISAB. Alas ! alas ! 

Why, all the souls that were, 1 were forfeit once ; 
And He that might the vantage best have took, 
Found out the remedy : How would you be, 
If he, which is the top of judgment, should 
But judge you as you are ? O, think on that ; 
And mercy then will breathe within your lips, 
Like man new made. 2 

ANG. Be you content, fair maid ; 

It is the law, not I, condemns your brother : 
Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son, 
Itshouldbethuswith him ; he must die to-morrow. 

1 all the souls that were,] This is false divinity. We 

should read are. WARBURTON. 

1 fear, the player, in this instance, is a better divine than the 
prelate. The souls that WERE, evidently refer to Adam and 
Eve, whose transgression rendered them obnoxious to the pe- 
nalty of annihilation, but for the remedy which the Author of 
their being most graciously provided. The learned Bishop, how- 
ever, is more successful in his next explanation. HENLEY. 

2 And mercy then mil breathe "within your lips, 

Like man new made.] This is a fine thought, and finely 
expressed. The meaning is, that mercy will add such a grace 
to your person, that you will appear as amiable as a man come 
fresh out of the hands of his Creator. WARBURTON. 

I rather think the meaning is, You will then change the seve- 
rity of your present character. In familiar speech, You would 
be quite another man. JOHNSON. 

And mercy then will breathe within your lips, 

Like man new made.] You will then appear as tender-hearted 
and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence, im- 
mediately after his creation. MALONE. 

I incline to a different interpretation : And you, Angela, will 
breathe new life into Claudio, as the Creator animated Adam, 
by " breathing into his nostrils the breath of life." 



ISAB. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him, 

spare him : 

He's not prepar'd for death ! Even for our kitchens 
We kill the fowl of season ; :j shall we serve heaven 
With less respect than we do minister 
To our gross selves ? Good, good my lord, bethink 

you : 

Who is it that hath died for this offence ? 
There's many have committed it. 

Lucio. Ay, well said. 

ANG. The law hath not been dead, though it 

hath slept : 4 

Those many had not dar'd to do that evil, 
If the first man that did the edict infringe, 5 
Had answer'd for his deed : now, 'tis awake ; 
Takes note of what is done ; and, like a prophet, 
Looks in a glass, that shows what future evils, 

3 of season ;~\ i.e. when it is in season. So, in The 

Merry Wives of Windsor: " buck; and of the season too it 
shall appear." STEEVENS. 

* The laid hath not been dead, though it hath slept :~] Dor~ 
miunt aliqunndo leges, moriuntur nunquam, is a maxim in our 

3 If tlie first man &c.] The word man has been supplied by 
the modern editors. I would rather read 
If he, the first, &c. TYKWHITT. 

Man was introduced by Mr. Pope. MALONE. 

like a prophet, 

Looks in a glass,'] This alludes to the fopperies of the beril, 
much used at that time by cheats and fortune-tellers to predict 

See Macbeth, Act IV. sc. i. 

So again, in Vittoria Corombona, l6l2: 

" How long have I beheld the devil in chrystal?" 


The beril, which is a kind of crystal, hath a weak tincture of 
red in it. Among other tricks of astrologers, the discover}' of 


(Either now, 7 or by remissness new-conceiv'd a 
And so in progress to be hatch'd and born,)- 
Are now to have no successive degrees, 
But, where they live, to end. 8 

ISAR. Yet show some pity. 

ANG. I show it most of all, when I show justice ; 
For then I pity those I do not know, 9 

past or future events was supposed to be the consequence of 
looking into it. See Aubrey's Miscellanies, p. \Q5, edit. 1721. 


7 (Either now,"] Thus the old copy. Modern editors read 

8 But, where they live, to end.] The old copy reads But, 
here they live, to end. Sir Thomas Hanraer substituted ere for 
here ; but inhere was, I am persuaded, the author's word. 

So, in Coriolanus, Act V. sc. v : 

" but there to end, 

" WHERE he was to begin, and give away 
" The benefit of our levies," &c. 
Again, in Julius Caesar : 

" And WHERE I did begin, there shall lend" 
The prophecy is not, that future evils should end, ere, or be- 
fore they are born ; or, in other words, that there should be no 
more evil in the world (as Sir T. Hanmer by his alteration seems 
to have understood it); but, that they should end WHERE they 
began, i. e. with the criminal ; who, being punished for his first 
offence, could not proceed by successive degrees in wickedness^, 
nor excite others, by his impunity, to vice. So, in the nexf 
speech : 

" And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong, 
" Lives not to act another" 

It is more likely that a letter should have been omitted at thr 
press, than that one should have been added. 

The same mistake has happened in The Merchant of Venice*, 
folio, 1^23, p. 173, col. 2 : " ha, ha, here in Genoa," instead 
of "-where? in Genoa ?' MALONE. 

Dr. Johnson applauds Sir Thomas Hanmer's emendation, 
I prefer that of Mr. iMalone. STEEVENS. 

9 show some pity. 

Ang. I show it most of all, when I show justice ; 

For then I pity those I do not know-,} This was one of 


Which a dismissed offence would after gall ; 
And do him right, that, answering one foul wrong, 
Lives not to act another. Be satisfied ; 
Your brother dies to-morrow ; be content. 

ISAB. So you must be the first, that gives this 

sentence ; 

And he, that suffers : O, it is excellent 
To have a giant's strength ; but it is tyrannous 
To use it like a giant. 1 

Lucio. That's well said. 

ISAB. Could great men thunder 
As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet, 
For every pelting, 2 petty officer, 
Would use his heaven for thunder ; nothing but 


Merciful heaven ! 

Thou rather, with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt, 
Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak, 3 
Than the soft myrtle ; O, but man, proud man ! * 

Hale's memorials. When I find myself sivayed to mercy, let me 
remember, that there is a mercy likewise due to the country. 


1 To use it like a giant.] Isabella alludes to the savage con- 
duct o? giants in ancient romances. STEEVENS. 

* pelting,] i. e. paltry. 

This word I meet with in Mother Bomhie, 15Q4: 

" will not shrink the city for a, pelting jade." 


3 gnarled oak,"] Gnarre is the old English word for a 

inot in tuood. 

So, in Antonio's Revenge, 1 602 : 

" Till by degrees the tough and gnarly trunk 
" He riv'd in sunder." 

Again, in Chaucer's Knight's Talc, Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 1P79 : 
" With knotty knarry barrein trees old." STEEVENS. 

4 Than the soft myrtle; 0, but man, proud manf] The de- 
fective metre of this line shews that some word was accident* 


Drest in a little brief authority ; 

Most ignorant of what he's most assured, 

His glassy essence, like an angry ape, 

Plays such fantastick tricks before high heaven, 

As make the angels weep ; 5 who, with our spleens. 

Would all themselves laugh mortal. 6 

Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench : he will relent; 
He's coming, I perceive't. 

PROV. Pray heaven, she win him ! 

Is AS. We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:' 

ally omitted at the press ; probably some additional epithet to 
man ; perhaps weak, " but man, weak, proud man ." The 
editor of the second folio, to supply the defect, reads O, but 
man, &c. which, like almost all the other emendations of that 
copy, is the worst and the most improbable that could have been 
chosen. MALONE. 

I am content with the emendation of the second folio, which 
I conceive to have been made on the authority of some manu- 
script, or corrected copy. STEEVENS. 

5 As make the angels weep;'] The notion of angels weeping 
for the sins of men is rabbinical. Ob peccatum Jlentes angelos 
inducunt Hebr&orum magistri. Grotius ad S. Lucam. 


who, with our spleens, 

Would all themselves laugh mortal.'] Mr. Theobald says 
the meaning of this is, that if they were endowed with our 
spleens and perishable organs, they would laugh themselves out 
of immortality; or, as we say in common life, laugh them- 
selves dead ; which amounts to this, that if they were mortal, 
they would not be immortal. Shakspeare meant no such non- 
sense. By spleens, he meant that peculiar turn of the human 
mind, that always inclines it to a spiteful, unseasonable mirth. 
Had the angels that, says Shakspeare, they would laugh them- 
selves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion which 
does not deserve that prerogative. The ancients thought, that 
immoderate laughter was caused by the bigness of the spleen. 


7 We cannot weigh our brother with ourself:] We mortals, 
proud and foolish, cannot prevail on our passions to weigh or 
compare our brother, a being of like nature and like frailtyv 


Great men may jest with saints : 'tis wit in them ; 
But, in the less, foul profanation. 

Lucio. Thou'rt in the right, girl ; more o' that. 

ISAB. That in the captain's but a cholerick word, 
Which in the soldier is flat blasphemy. 

Lucio. 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 : 8 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* She speaks, and 'tis 

Such sense, that my sense breeds with it. 9 Fare 

you well. 

with ourself. We have different names and different judge- 
ments for the same faults committed by persons of different 
condition. JOHNSON. 

The reading of the old copy, ourself, which Dr. Warburton 
changed to yourself, is supported by a passage in the fifth Act: 

" If he had so offended, 

" He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself, 
*' And not have cut him off." MALONE. 

That skins the vice o' the top :] Shakspeare is fond of thifr 
indelicate metaphor. So, in Hamlet : 

" It will but skin and film the ulcerous place." 


9 that my sense breeds with it.~\ Thus all the folios. 

Some later editor has changed breeds to bleeds, and Dr. War- 
burton blames poor Theobald for recalling the old word, which 
yet is certainly right. My sense breeds with her sense, that is^ 
new thoughts are stirring in my mind, new conceptions are 
batched in my imagination. So we say, to brood over thought* 



ISAB. Gentle my lord, turn back. 

ANG. I will bethink 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 
with you. 

Lucio. You had marr'd all else. 

ISAB. Not with fond shekels 1 of the tested gold, 2 

Sir William D'Avenant's alteration favours the sense of the 
old reading breeds, which Mr. Pope had changed to bleeds. 

She speaks such sense 

As "with my reason breeds such images 

As she has excellently formed. STEEVENS. 

I rather think the meaning is She delivers her sentiments 
with such propriety, force, and elegance, that my sensual desires 
are inflamed by what she says. Sense has been already used in 
this play with the same signification : 

" one who never feels 

" The wanton stings and motions of the sense" 
The word breeds is used nearly in the same sense in The Tempest: 

" Fair encounter 

" Of two most rare affections ! Heavens rain grace 

" On that which breeds between them !" MALONE. 

The sentence signifies, Isabella does not utter barren words, 
but speaks such sense as breeds or produces a consequence in 
Angelo's mind. Truths which generate no conclusion are often 
termed barren facts. HOLT WHITE. 

I understand the passage thus: Her arguments are enforced 
with so much good sense, as to increase that stock of sense which 
I already possess. DOUCE. 

1 fond shekels ] Fond means very frequently in our 

author, foolish. It signifies in this place valued or prized by 
jolly. STEEVENS. 

2 tested gold,} \. e. attested, or marked with the standard 

stamp. WAR BURTON. 



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 sun-rise ; prayers from preserved souls, 3 
From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate 
To nothing temporal. 

ANG. Well : come to me 


Lucio. Go to ; it is well ; away. 

[Aside to ISABEL. 

ISAB. Heaven keep your honour safe ! 

ANG. Amen : for I 

Am that way going to temptation, \_Aslde. 

Where prayers cross. 4 

Rather cupelled, brought to the test, refined. JOHNSON. 

All gold that is tested is not marked with the standard stamp. 
The verb has a different sense, and means tried by the cuppel, 
which is called by the refiners a test. Vide Harris's Lex. Tech. 

3 preserved souls,~\ i. e. preserved from the corruption 

of the world. The metaphor is taken from fruits preserved m 
sugar. WARBURTON. 

So, in The Amorous War, 1(548: 

" You do not reckon us 'mongst marmalade, 
" Quinces and apricots ? or take us for 
** Ladies preserved 1 ?" STEEVENS. 

* / am that ivay going to temptation, 

Where prayers cross.] Which way Angelo is going to 
temptation, we begin to perceive ; but how prayers cross that 
way, or cross each other, at that way, more than any other, 1 
do not understand. 

Isabella prays that his honour may be safe, meaning only to 
give him his title : his imagination is caught by the word 
honour: he feels that his honour is in danger, and therefore, I 
believe, answers thus : 

/ am that way going to temptation, 
Which your prayers cross. 


ISAB. At what hour to-morrow 

Shall I attend your lordship ? 

ANG. At any time 'fore noon. 

ISAB. Save your honour ! 

\_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 ! a 
Not she ; nor doth she tempt : but it is I, 
That lying by the violet, in the sun, 6 

That is, I am tempted to lose that honour of which thou im- 
plorest the preservation. The temptation under which I labour 
is that which thou hast unknowingly thivarted with thy prayer. 
He uses the same mode of language a few lines lower. Isabella, 
parting, says: 

Save your honour ! 
Angelo catches the word Save it! From 'what? 

From thee! even from thy virtue! JOHNSON. 

The best method of illustrating this passage will be to quote a 
similar one from The Merchant of Venice, Act III. sc. i : 

" Sal. I would it might prove the end of his losses ! 

" Sola. " Let me say Amen betimes, lest the devil cross 

thy prayer.' 1 '' 

For the same reason Angelo seems to say Amen to Isabella's 
prayer ; but, to make the expression clear, we should read per- 
haps Where prayers are crossed. TYRWHITT. 

The petition of the Lord's Prayer " lead us not into tempta- 
tion" is here considered as crossing or intercepting the onward 
way in which Angelo was going ; this appointment of his for 
the morrow's meeting, being a premeditated exposure of him- 
self to temptation, which it was the general object of prayer to 
thwart. HENLEY. 

4 Ha /]' This tragedy Ha! (which clogs the metre) was 
certainly thrown in by the player editors. STEEVENS. 

6 it is I, 

That lying by the violet, in the sun, &c.] I am not cor- 
rupted by her, but my own heart, which excites foul desires 

S 2 


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 ? 7 Having waste ground 


Shall we desire to raze the sanctuary, 
And pitch our evils there? 8 O, fy, fy, fy! 

under the same benign influences that exalt her purity, as the 
carrion grows putrid by those beams which increase the fra- 
grance of the violet. JOHNSON. 

7 Can it Ic, 

That modesty may more betray our sense 
Than ivoman's lightness ?] So, in Promos and Cassandra, 

" I do protest her modest wordes hath wrought in me a 

'* Though she be faire, she is not deackt with garish 

shewes for gaze. 
" Hir bewtie lures, her lookes cut off fond suits with 

ciiast disdain. 

" O God, I feele a sodaine change, that doth my free- 
dome chayne. 
" What didst thou say ? fie, Promos fie," &c. STEEVENS. 

Sense has in this passage the same signification as in that above 
" that my sense breeds with it." MA LONE. 

* And pitch our evils there?] So, in King Henry VIII: 
" Nor build their evils on the graves of great men." 
Neither of these passages appears to contain a very elegant allu- 

Evils, in the present instarre, undoubtedly stand for foricff. 
Dr. Farmer assures me he has seen the word evil used in this 
sense by our ancient writers; and it appears from Harrington's 
Metamorphosis of Ajax, &c. that privies were originally so ill- 
contrived, even in royal palaces, as to deserve the title of evils 
or nuisances. STEEVENS. 

One of Sir John Berkenhead's queries confirms the foregoing 
observation : 

" Whether, ever since the House of Commons has bees 
locked up, the speaker's chair has not been a close-stool?" 


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 


That I desire to hear her speak again, 
And feast upon her eyes ? What is't I dream on ? 
O cunning enemy, that, to catch a saint, 
With saints dost bait thy hook ! Most dangerou 
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, till now, 
When men were fond, I smil'd, and wonder' d how. 9 

" Whether it is not seasonable to stop the nose of my evil?' 1 


No language could more forcibly express the aggravated profli- 
gacy of Angelo's passion, which the purity of Isabella but 
served the more to inflame. The desecration of edifices devoted 
to religion, by converting them to the most abject purposes of 
nature, was an eastern method of expressing contempt. See 
2 Kings, x. 27. HENLEY. 

A Brahman is forbid to drop his faeces even on " the ruins of 
a temple." See Sir W. Jones's translation of Institutes of the 
Hindu Law, or the Ordinances of Menu, London edit. p. Q5. 


9 / smil'd, and ivonder'd hotu.'] As a day must now 

intervene between this conference of Isabella with Angelo, and 
the next, the Act might more properly end here ; and here, in 
my opinion, it was ended by the poet. JOHNSON. 



A Room in a Prison. 
Enter Duke, habited like a Friar , and Provost. 

DUKE. Hail to you, provost! so, I think you are. 

PROF. I am the provost : What's your will, good 

friar ? 
DUKE. Bound by my charity, and my bless'd 


I come to visit the afflicted spirits 
Here in the prison: 1 do me the common right 
To let me see them ; and to make me know 
The nature of their crimes, that I may minister 
To them accordingly. 

PROV. I would do more than that, if more were 

Enter JULIET. 

Look, here comes one ; a gentlewoman of mine, 
Who falling in the flames of her own youth, 
Hath blister'd her report : 2 She is with child ; 

1 I come to visit the afflicted spirits 

Here in the prison :] This is a scriptural expression, very 
suitable to the grave character which the Duke assumes. " By 
which also he went and preached unto the spirits in prison" 
1 Pet. iii. 19. WHALLEY. 

* Who Jailing in the flames of her own youth, 
Hath blister'd her report:'] The old copy reads -flaws. 



And he that gqj it, sentenced : a young man 
More fit to do another such offence, 
Than die for this. 

DUKE. When must he die ? 

PROV. As I do think, to-morrow. 
I have provided for you ; stay a while, [To JULIET. 
And you shall be conducted. 

Who doth not see that the integrity of the metaphor requires 
we should read : 

flames of her oivn youth ? WAKBURTON. 

Who does not see that, upon such principles, there is no end 
of correction ? JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson did not know, nor perhaps Dr. Warburton 
either, that Sir William D'Avenant reads Jlames instead ofjiaivs, 
in his Law against Lovers, a play almost literally taken from 
Measure for Measure, and Much. Ado about Nothing. FARMER. 

Shakspeare has fanning youth in Hamlet; and Greene, in 
his Never too late, l6ld, says " he measured the flames of 
youth by his own dead cinders." Blister'd her report, is disfl- 
gur'd her fame. Blister seems to have reference to the flames 
mentioned in the preceding line. A similar use of this word 
occurs in Hamlet: 

" takes the rose 

" From the fair forehead of an innocent love, 

" And sets a blister there." STEEVENS. 

In support of this emendation, it should be remembered, that 
flakes (for so it was anciently spelled) im& flames differ only by 
a letter that is very frequently mistaken at the press. The same 
mistake is found in Macbeth, Act II. sc. i. edit. 162.3: 

" my steps, which may they walk," 

instead of which way. Again, in this play of Measure for 
Measure, Act V. sc. i. edit. 10'23 : "give we your hand;" 
instead of me. In a former scene of the play before us we 
meet with " burning youth." Again, in All's u-ell that ends vjell: 

" Yet, in his idlejire, 

" To buy his will, it would not seem too dear." 
To fall IN (not into) was the language of the time. So, in 

" almost spent with hunger 

" I am fallen in offence." MALONE. 


DUKE* Repent you, fair one, of the sin you 
carry ? 

JULIET. I do; and bear the shame most patiently. 

DUKE. I'll teach you how you shall arraign your 


And try your penitence, if it be sound, 
Or hollowly put on. 

JULIET. 1*11 gladly learn. 

DUKE. Love you the man that wrong'd you? 

JULIET. Yes, as I love the woman that wrong'd 

DUKE. So then, it seems, your most offenceful act 
Was mutually committed ? 

JULIET. Mutually. 

DUKE. Then was your sin of heavier kind than 

JULIET. I do confess it, and repent it, father. 
DUKE. 'Tis meet so, daughter: But lest you do 

repent, 3 
As that the sin hath brought you to this shame, 

3 But lest you do repent,'] Thus the old copy. The 

modern editors, led by Mr. Pope, read : 

" But repent you not," 

But lest you do repent is only a kind of negative imperative 
Ne te pceniteat, and means, repent not on this account. 


I think that a line at least is wanting after the first of the 
Duke's speech. It would be presumptuous to attempt to replace 
the words ; but the sense, I am persuaded, is easily recoverable 
out of Juliet's answer. I suppose his advice, in substance, to 
have been nearly this : " Take care, lest you repent [not so 
much of your fault, as it is an evil,] as that the sin hath brought 
you to this shame" Accordingly, Juliet's answer is explicit to 
this point : 

I do repent me, as it is an evil, 

And take the shame with joy. TYRWIIITT. 

sc. ///. MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 265 

Which sorrow is always toward ourselves, not 

heaven ; 

Showing, we'd not spare heaven, 4 as we love it, 
But as we stand in fear, 

JULIET. I do repent me, as it is an evil ; 
And take the shame with joy. 

DUKE. There rest. 5 

Your partner, as I hear, must die to-morrow, 
And I am going with instruction to him. 
Grace go with you! Benedicite/ 6 \_Exit. 

JULIET. Must die to-morrow ! O, injurious love, 7 

4 Showing, ive'd not spare heaven,] The modern editors 
had changed this word into seek. STEEVENS. 

Showing, we'd not spare heaven,'] i. e. spare to offend heaven. 


5 There rest.] Keep yourself in this temper. JOHNSON. 

6 Grace go ivith you! Benedicite!] The former part of this 
line evidently belongs to Juliet. Benedicite is the Duke's reply. 


This regulation is undoubtedly proper : but I suppose Shak- 
speare to have written 

Juliet. May grace go luith you! 

Duke. Benedicite ! STEEVENS. 

7 0, injurious love,~] Her execution was respited on 

account of her pregnancy, the effects of her love ; therefore she 
calls it injurious ; not that it brought her to shame, but that it 
hindered her freeing herself from it. Is not this all very na- 
tural ? yet the Oxford editor changes it to injurious laiv. 


I know not what circumstance in this play can authorise a 
supposition that Juliet was respited on account of her pregnancy ; 
as her life was in no danger from the law, the seventy of which 
was exerted only on the seducer. I suppose she means that a 
parent's love for the child she bears is injurious, because it 
makes her careful of her life in her present shameful condition. 

Mr. Toilet explains the passage thus : " O, love, that is inju- 
rious in expediting Claudio's death, and that respites me a life, 
which is a burthen to me worse than death !" STEEVENS. 


That respites me a life, whose very comfort 
Is still a dying horror ! 

PKOF. 'Tis pity of him. [Exeunt, 


A Room in Angelo's House. 
Enter ANGELO. S 

ANG. When I would pray and think, I think and 


To several subjects : heaven hath my empty words; 
Whilst my invention, 9 hearing not my tongue, 

Both Johnson's explanation of this passage, and Steevens's 
refutation of it, prove the necessity of Hanmer's amendment, 
^vhich removes every difficulty, and can scarcely be considered 
as an alteration, the trace of the letters in the words law and 
love being so nearly alike. The law affected the life of the man 
only, not that of the woman ; and this is the injury that Juliet 
complains of, as she wished to die with him. M. MASON. 

8 Enter Angelo.] Promos, in the play already quoted, has 
likewise a soliloquy previous to the second appearance of Cas- 
sandra. It begins thus : 

" Do what I can, no reason cooles desire : 
" The more I strive my fond affectes to tame, 
" The hotter (oh) I feele a burning fire 
" Within my breast, vaine thoughts to forge and frame," 

9 Whilst my invention,] Nothing can be either plainer or 
exacter than this expression. [Dr.Warburton means intention, 
a word substituted by himself.] But the old blundering folio 
having it invention, this was enough for Mr. Theobald to 
prefer authority to sense. WARBUKTON. 

Intention (if it be the true reading) has, in this instance, more 
than its common meaning, and signifies eagerness of desire. 


Anchors on Isabel : l Heaven in my mouth, 
As if I did but only chew his name ; 
And in my heart, the strong and swelling evil 
Of my conception : The state, whereon I studied, 
Is like a good thing, being often read, 
Grown fear'd and tedious j 2 yea, my gravity, 
Wherein (let no man hear me) I take pride, 
Could I, with boot, 3 change for an idle plume, 

So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor: 

" course o'er my exteriors, with such greediness of 


By invention, however, I believe the poet means imagination. 

So, in our author's 103d Sonnet: 

" a face, 

" That overgoes my blunt invention quite." 
Again, in King Henry V: 

" O for a muse of fire, that would ascend 

" The brightest heaven of invention /" MALONE. 

Steevens says that intention, in this place, means eagerness of 
desire; but I believe it means attention only, a sense in which 
the word is frequently used by Shakspeare and the other writers 
of his time. Angelo says, he thinks and prays to several sub- 
jects ; that Heaven has his prayers, but his thoughts are fixed 
on Isabel. So, in Hamlet, the King says : 

" My words fly up, my thoughts remain below : 
" Words, without thoughts, never to Heaven go." 


1 Anchors on Isabel:'] We have the same singular expression 
in Antony and Cleopatra: , 

" There would he anchor his aspect, and die 
" With looking on his life." MALONE. 

The same phrase occurs again in Cymbeline: 

" Posthumus anchors upon Imogen." STEEVENS. 

3 Grown fear'd and tedious:'} We should read seared, i. e. 
old. So, Shakspeare uses in the sear, to signify old age. 


I think fear'd may stand. What we go to with reluctance 
may be said to be fear'd. JOHNSON. 

3 with boot,] Boot is profit, advantage, gain. So, in 

M. Kyffin's translation of The Andria of Terence, 1588: " You 


Which the air beats for vain. O place ! O form ! 4 

obtained this at my hands, and I went about it while there was 
any boot." 

Again, in The Pinner ofWakefield, 15QQ: 

" Then list to me : Saint Andrew be my loot, 

" But I'll raze thy castle to the very ground." 


* change for an idle plume, 

Which the air beats for vain. O place ! O form ! &c.] 
There is, I believe, no instance in Shakspeare, or any other 
author, of "for vain" being used for " in vain." Besides; has 
the air or wind less effect on a feather than on twenty other 
things ? or rather, is not the reverse of this the truth ? An 
idle plume assuredly is not that " ever-fixed mark," of which 
our author speaks elsewhere, " that looks on tempests, and is 
never shaken." The old copy has vaine, in which way a vane 
or weather-cock was formerly spelt. [See Minshieu's DICT. 
1617, in verb. So also, in Love's Labour's Lost, Act IV. sc. i. 
edit. 1623 : "What vaine? what weathercock?"] I would 
therefore read \-ane. I would exchange my gravity, says 
Angelo, for an idle feather, which being driven along by the 
wind, serves, to the spectator, for a vane or weathercock. So, 
in The Winter's Tale: 

" I am & feather for each taind that blows." 
And in The Merchant of Venice we meet with a kindred thought : 

" 1 should be still 

" Plucking the grass, to knoin inhere sits the "wind." 
The omission of the article is certainly awkward, but not with- 
out example. Thus, in King Lear: 

" Hot questrists after him met him at gate." 
Again, in Coriolanus: 

" Go, see him out at gates." 
Again, in Titus Andronicus: 

" Ascend, fair queen, Pantheon" 
Again, in The Winter's Tale: 

" 'Pray heartily, he be at palace /" 
Again, in Cymbeline : 

" Nor tent, to bottom, that." 
The author, however, might have written : 

an idle plume, 

Which the air beats for vane o' the place. Ojbr/n, 

How often dost thou &c. 

The pronoun thou, referring to only one antecedent, appears to 
toe strongly to support such a regulation. MALONK. 


How often dost thou with thy case, 5 thy habit, 
Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls 
To thy false seeming? 6 Blood, thou still art blood: 7 

I adhere to the old reading. As fair is known to have been 
repeatedly used by Shakspeare, Marston, &c. for fairness, vain 
might have been employed on the present occasion, instead of 
vanity. Pure is also substituted for purity in England's Helicon. 

In Chapman's version of the first Iliad, " the clear" is used 
for the clearness of the evening : 

** When twilight hid the clear, 
" All soundly on their cables slept ." 

See likewise notes on A Midsummer- Night's Dream, Act I. 
sc. i. and The Comedy of Errors, Act II. sc. i. Again, in Love's 
Labour's Lost, foul is given, as a substantive, to express foulness. 

The air is represented by Angeio as chastising the plume for 
being vain. A feather is exhibited by many writers as the 
emblem of vanity. Shakspeare himself, in King Henry VIII. 
mentions^o^ andfeather, as congenial objects. 

That the air beats the plume for its vainness, is a supposition 
fanciful enough ; and yet it may be paralleled by an image in 
King Edward III. 1599, where flags are made the assailants, 
and " cuff the air, and beat the wind," that struggles to kiss 

The pronoun thou, referring to the double antecedents place 
andyo/vw, ought to be no objection ; for, a little further on, the 
Duke says : 

" O place and great ness ! millions of false eyes 
" Are stuck upon tkee." 

We have all heard of Town-bulls, Town-halls, Toivn-clocfcs r 
and Toivn-tops ; but the vane o' the place (meaning a thing of 
general property, and proverbially distinct from private owner- 
ship) is, to me at least, an idea which no example has hitherto 
countenanced. I may add, that the plume could be no longer 
idle, if it served as an index to the wind; and with whatever 
propriety the vane in some petty market-town might be distin- 
guished, can we conceive there was only a single weathercock 
in so large a city as Vienna, where the scene of this comedy i 
laid? STEEVEXS. 

4 case,] For outside ; garb ; external shew. JOHNSON. 

Wrench atve from fools, and tie the luiser souls 

To thy false seeming?] Here Shakspeare judiciously dis- 
tinguishes the different operations of high place upon different 


Let's write good angel on the devil's horn, 
'Tis not the devil's crest. 8 

minds. Fools are frighted, and wise men are allured. Those 
who cannot judge but by the eye, are easily awed by splendour; 
those who consider men as well as conditions, are easily per- 
suaded to love the appearance of virtue dignified with power. 


7 ' ' Blood, thou still art blood.'] The old copy reads 
Blood, thou art blood. Mr. Pope, to supply the syllable wanting 
to complete the metre, reads Blood, thou art but blood! But 
the word now introduced appears to me to agree better with the 
context, and therefore more likely to have been the author's. 
Blood is used here, as in other places, for temperament of body. 


8 Let's 'write good angel on the devil's horn, 

'Tis not the devil's crest."] i. e. Let the most wicked thing 
have but a virtuous pretence, and it shall pass for innocent. 
This was his conclusion from his preceding words: 


How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit, 

Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls 

To thy false seeming? 

But the Oxford editor makes him conclude just counter to his 
own premises ; by altering it to 

Is't not the devil's crest? 

So that, according to this alteration, the reasoning stands thus: 
False seeming, wrenches awe from fools, and deceives the wise. 
Therefore, Let us but write good angel on the devil's horn, 
(i. e. give him the appearance of an angel,) and what then? 
Is't not the devil's crest? (i. e. he shall be esteemed a devil.) 


I am still inclined to the opinion of the Oxford editor. An- 
gelo, reflecting on the difference between his seeming character, 
and his real disposition, observes, that he could change his gra- 
vity for a plume. He then digresses into an apostrophe, O dig- 
nity, how dost thou impose upon the world! then returning to 
himself, Blood (says he) thou art but blood, however concealed 
with appearances and decorations. Title and character do not 
alter nature, which is still corrupt, however dignified: 
Let's write good angel on the devil's horn; 
Is't not? or rather 'Tis yet the devil's crest. 

It may however be understood, according to Dr. Warburton's 
explanation: O place, how dost thou impose upon the world by 
false appearances! so much, that if we write good angel on the 


Enter Servant. 

How now, who's there ? 

SERV. One Isabel, a sister, 

Desires access to you. 

ANG. Teach her the way. [Exit Serv. 

O heavens ! 
Why does my blood thus muster to my heart; 9 

devil's horn, 'tis not taken any longer to be the devil's crest. 
In this sense. 

Blood, thou art but blood! 
is an interjected exclamation. JOHNSON. 

A Hebrew proverb seems to favour Dr. Johnson's reading: 

" 'Tis yet the devil's crest." 

" A nettle standing among myrtles, doth notwithstanding 
retain the name of a nettle." STEEVENS. 

This passage, as it stands, appears to me to be right, and 
Angelo's reasoning to be this: " O place! O form! though you 
wrench awe from fools, and tie even wiser souls to your false 
seeming, yet you make no alteration in the minds or constitu- 
tions of those who possess, or assume you. Though we should 
write good angel on the devil's horn, it will not change his 
nature, so as to give him a right to wear that crest." It is well 
known that the crest was formerly chosen either as emblematical 
of some quality conspicuous in the person who bore it, or as 
alluding to some remarkable incident of his life ; and on this 
circumstance depends the justness of the present allusion. 

My explanation of these words is confirmed by a passage in 
Lyly's Midas, quoted by Steevens, in his remarks on King John : 
" Melancholy! is melancholy a word for a barber's mouth? 
Thou shouldst say, heavy, dull, and doltish: melancholy is the 
crest of courtiers." M. MASON. 

It should be remembered, that the devil is usually represented 
with horns and cloven feet. The old copy appears to me to 
require no alteration. MALONE. 

9 to my heart ;] Of this speech there is no other trace 

in Promos and Cassandra, than the following: 

" Both hope and dreade at once my harte doth tuch." 



Making both it unable for itself, 

And dispossessing all the other parts 

Of necessary fitness ? 

So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons ; 

Come all to help him, and so stop the air 

By which he should revive : and even so 

The general, subject to a well-wish'd king, 1 

1 The general, subject to a ivell-ivisti 'd king,] The later edi- 
tions have " subjects;" but the old copies read: 
The general subject to a icell-iuish'd king. 

The general subject seems a harsh expression, but general 
subjects has no sense at all, and general was, in our author's 
time, a word for people ; so that the general is the people, or 
multitude, subject to a king. So, in Hamlet : " The play pleased 
not the million : 'twas caviare to the general" JOHNSON. 

Mr. Malone observes, that the use of this phrase, " the ge- 
neral," for the people, continued so late as to the time of Lord 
Clarendon: "as rather to be consented to, than that the general 
should suffer." Hist. B. V. p. 530, 8vo. I therefore adhere to 
the old reading, with only a slight change in the punctuation: 
The general, subject to a iKeU-iKisli* d king, 
Quit, &c. 
i. e. the generality who are subjects, &c. 

Twice in Hamlet our author uses subject for subjects : 

" So nightly toils the subject of the land." Act I. sc. i. 
Again, Act I. sc. ii : 

" The lists and full proportions, all are made 

" Out of his subject." 

The general subject however may mean the subjects in general. 
So, in As you like it, Act II. sc. vii : 

" Wouldst thou disgorge into the general 'world" 


So the Duke had before (Act I. sc. ii.) expressed his dislike 

of popular applause : 

" I'll privily away. I love the people, 
" But do not like to stage me to their eyes. 
" Though it do well, I do not relish well 
" Their loud applause and fives vehement: 
" Nor do I think ths man of safe discretion, 
" That does affecl it." 
I cannot help thinking that Sbukppeare, in these two passages, 

intended to flatter the unkingly weakness of James the First, 


Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness 
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love 
Must needs appear offence. 


How now, fair maid ? 
ISAB. I am come to know your pleasure, 

ANG. That you might know it, would much 

better please me, 

Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot 

ISAB. Even so ? Heaven keep your honour ! 

T Retiring ) 

ANG. Yet may he live a while ; and, it may be ? 
As long as you, or I : Yet he must die. 

ISAB. Under your sentence ? 
ANG. Yea. 

which made him so impatient of the crowds that flocked to see 
him, especially upon his first coming, that, as some of our his- 
torians say, he restrained them by a proclamation. Sir Simonds 
D'Ewes, in his Memoirs of his own Life,* has a remarkable 
passage with regard to this humour of James. After taking no- 
tice that the King going to parliament, on the 30th of January, 
1620-1, " spake lovingly to the people, and said, God bless ye, 
God bless ye ;" he adds these words, " contrary to his former 
hasty and passionate custom, which often, in his sudden distem- 
per, would bid a pox or a plague on such as flocked to see him." 


Mr. Tyrwhitt's apposite remark might find support, if it 
needed any, from the following passage in A true Narration of 
the Entertainment of his Royall Majestic, from the Time of his 
Departure from Edinbrogh, till his receiving in London, &c. 
&c. ICOJ : " he was faine to publish an inhibition against 
the inordinate and dayly accesse of peoples comming," &c. 


* A Manuscript in the British Museum. 


ISAS. When, I beseech you ? that in his reprieve, 
Longer, or shorter, he may be so fitted, 
That his soul sicken not. 

ANG. Ha! Fye, these filthy vices! It were as 


To pardon him, that hath from nature stolen 
A man already made, 2 as to remit 
Their sawcy sweetness, that do coin heaven's image, 
In stamps that are forbid : 3 'tis all as easy 
Falsely to take away a life true made, 4 
As to put mettle in restrained means, 5 
To make a false one. 

that hath from nature stolen 

A man already made,] i. e. that hath killed a man. 


3 Their sawcy sweetness, that do coin heaven's image, 

In stamps that are forbid :] We meet with nearly the same 
words in King Edward III. a tragedy, 15$6, certainly prior to 
this play : 

" And will your sacred self 

" Commit high treason 'gainst the King of Heaven, 
" To stamp his image injbrbidden metal?" 
These lines are spoken by the Countess of Salisbury, whose 
chastity (like Isabel's) was assailed by her sovereign. 

Their saivcy sweetness Dr. Warburton interprets, their sawcy 
indulgence of their appetite. Perhaps it means nearly the same 
as what is afterwards c .lied sweet imcleanness. MALONE. 

Sweetness, in the present instance, has, I believe, the same 
sense as lickerishness. STEEVENS. 

* Falsely to take away a life true made,"] Falsely is the same 
with dishonestly, illegally : so false, in the next line but one, is 
illegal, illegitimate. JOHNSON. 

* mettle in restrained means,] In forbidden moulds. I 

suspect means not to be the right word, but I cannot find another. 


I should suppose that our author wrote 

in restrained mints, 

as the allusion may be still to coining. Sir W. D' Avcnant omits 
the passage. STFEVKNS. 


ISAB. J Tis set down so in heaven, but not in 
earth. 6 

Mettle, the reading of the old copy, which was changed to 
metal by Mr. Theobald, (who has been followed by the subse- 
quent editors,) is supported not only by the general purport of 
the passage, (in which our author having already illustrated the 
sentiment he has attributed to Angelo by an allusion to coining, 
would not give the same image a second time,) but by a similar 
expression in Timon: 

" thy father, that poor rag, 

" Must be thy subject; who in spite put stiff 

" To some she-beggar, and compounded thee, 

" Poor rogue hereditary." 
Again, in The Winter's Tale : 

" As rank as any flax -wench, that puts to, 

" Before her troth-plight." 

The controverted word is found again in the same sense in. 
Macbeth : 

" thy undaunted mettle should compose 

" Nothing but males." 
Again, in King Richard II : 

" that bed, that womb, 

" That mettle, that self-mould that fashion'd thee, 

" Made him a man.'' 
Again, in Timon of Athens : 

" Common mother, thou, 

" Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast, 

" Teems and feeds all ; whose self-same mettle, 

" Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff'd, 

" Engenders the black toad," &c. 

Means is here used for medium, or object ; and the sense of 
the whole is this: 'Tis as easy wickedly to deprive a man born 
in wedlock of life, as to have unlawful commerce with a maid, 
in order to give life to an illegitimate child. The thought is 
simply, that murder is as easy as fornication ; and the inference 
which Angelo would draw, is, that it is as improper to pardon, 
the latter as the former. The words to make a false one 
evidently referring to life, shew that the preceding line is to be 
understood in a natural, and not in a metaphorical, sense. 


6 J Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth."] I would have 
it considered, whether the train of the discourse does not rather 
require Isabel to say : 

' Tin so set down in earth, but not in heaven. 

T 2 


ANG. Say you so ? then I shall poze you quickly. 
Which had you rather, That the most just law 
Now took your brother's life ; or, to redeem him, 7 
Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness, 
As she that he hath stain'd ? 

ISAS. Sir, believe this, 

I had rather give my body than my soul. 8 

ANG. I talk not of your soul ; Our compelled sins 
Stand more for number than accompt. 9 


When she has said this, Then, says Angelo, I shall poze y 
quickly. Would you, who, for the present purpose, decla 
your brother's crime to be less in the sight of heaven, than the 
law has made it ; would you commit that crime, light as it is, 
to save your brother's life ? To this she answers, not very 
plainly in either reading, but more appositely to that which I 
propose : 

/ had rather give my body than my soul. JOHNSON. 

What you have stated is undoubtedly the divine law : murder 
and fornication are both forbid by the canon of scripture ; but 
on earth the latter offence is considered as less heinous than the 
former. MALONE. 

So, in King John : 

" Some sins do bear their privilege on earth, 
" And so doth yours." STEEVENS. 

7 or, to redeem him,~\ The old copy has and to redeem 

him. The emendation was made by Sir W. D'Avenant. 


8 I had rather give my body than my soul."] Isabel, I believe, 
uses the words, " give my body," in a different sense from that 
in which they had been employed by Angelo. She means, I 
think, I had rather die, than forfeit my eternal happiness by the 
prostitution of my person. MALONE. 

She may mean I had rather give up my body to imprisonment, 
than my soul to perdition. STEEVENS. 

9 Our compcll'd sins 

Stand more for number than accompt.] Actions to which 
we are compelled, however )inmerous, are not imputed to us by 
heaven as crimes. If you cannot save your brother but by the 
loss of your chastity, it is not a voluntary but compelled sin, for 
which you cannot be account able. MALONE. 


ISAB. How say you ? 

ANG. Nay, I'll not warrant that ; for I can speak 
Against the thing I say. Answer to this j - 
I, now the voice of the recorded law, 
Pronounce a sentence on your brothers life : 
Might there not be a charity in sin, 
To save this brother's life ? 

ISAB. Please you to do't, 

I'll take it as a peril to my soul, 
It is no sin at all, but charity. 

ANG. Pleas'd you to do't, at peril of your soul, 1 
Were equal poize of sin and charity. 

ISAB. That I do beg his life, if it be sin, 
Heaven, let me bear it ! you granting of my suit, 
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn prayer 
To have it added to the faults of mine : , 
And nothing of your, answer. 2 

The old copy reads 

Stand more for number than for accompt. 

I have omitted the seconder, which had been casually repeated 
by the compositor. STEEVENS. 

1 Pleas'd you to do't, at peril &c."] The reasoning is thus : 
Angelo asks, whether there might not be a charity in sin to save 
this brother. Isabella answers, that if Angelo 'will save him, she 
will stake her soul that it were charity, not sin. Angelo replies, 
that if Isabella would save him at the hazard of her soul, it would 
be not indeed no sin, but a sin to which the charity would be 
equivalent. JOHNSON. 

s And nothing of your, answer."] I think .it should be read 

And nothing of yours, answer. 
You, and whatever is yours, be exempt from penalty. 


And nothing of your answer, means, and make no part of those 
sins for which you shall be called to answer. STEEVENS, 

This passage would be clear, I think, if it were pointed thus t 
To have it added to the faults ofmine t 
And nothing ofyour t answer-. 


ANG. Nay, but hear me : 

Your sense pursues not mine : either you are igno- 
Or seem so, craftily ; 3 and that's not good. 

ISAB. Let me be ignorant, 4 and in nothing good, 
But graciously to know I am no better. 

ANG. Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright, 
When it doth tax itself: as these black masks 
Proclaim an enshield beauty 5 ten times louder 

So that the substantive answer may be understood to be joined 
in construction with mine as well as your. The faults of mine 
answer are the faults which I am to answer for. TYRWHITT. 

crafily;~\ The old copy reads crafty. Corrected by 

Sir William D'Avenant. MA LONE. 

4 Let me be ignorant,"] Me is wanting in the original copy. 
The emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. 


* Proclaim an enshield beauty ] An enshield beauty is a 
shielded beauty, a beauty covered or protected as with a shield. 


as these black masks 

Proclaim an enshield beauty, &c.] This should be written 
en-sheWd, or in-shelVd > as it is in Coriolanus, Act IV. sc. vi : 
" Thrusts forth his horns again'into the world 
" That were in-shell'd when Marcius stood for Rome." 

These masks must mean, I think, the masks of the audience ; 
however improperly a compliment to them is put into the mouth 
of Angelo. As Shnkspeare would hardly have been guilty of 
such an indecorum to flatter a common audience, I think this 
passage affords ground for supposing that the play was written 
to be acted at court. Some strokes of particular flattery to the 
King I have already pointed out ; and there are several other 
general reflections, in the character of the Duke especially, 
which seem calculated for the royal ear. TYRWHITT. 

I do not think so well of the conjecture in the latter part of 
this note, as I did some years ago ; and therefore I should wish 
to withdraw it. Not that I am inclined to adopt the idea of 
Mr. Ilitson, as I see no ground for supposing that Isabella had 
any mask in her hand. My notion at present is, that the phrass MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 279 

Than beauty could displayed. But mark me ; 
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross : 
Your brother is to die. 

ISAB. So. 

ANG. And his offence is so, as it appears 
Accountant to the law upon that pain. 8 

ISAB. True. 

ANG. Admit no other way to save his life, 
(As I subscribe not that, 7 nor any other, 

these black masks signifies nothing more than black masks; 
according to an old idiom of our language, by which the 
demonstrative pronoun is put for the prepositive article. See 
the Glossary to Chaucer, edit. 1775: This, Thine. Shakspeare 
seems to have used the same idiom not only in the passage 
quoted by Mr. Steevens from Romeo and Juliet, but also in King 
Henry IF. Part I. Act I. sc. iii: 

" and, but for these vile guns, 

" He would himself have been a soldier." 
With respect to the former part of this note, though Mr. 
Ritson has told us that " enshield is CERTAINLY put by contrac- 
tion for enshielded," I have no objection to leaving my conjecture 
in its place, till some authority is produced for such an usage of 
enshield or enshielded. TYRWHITT. 

There are instances of a similar contraction or elision, in our 
author's plays. Thus, bloat for bloated, ballast for ballasted, 
and -waft for wafted, with many others. RITSON. 

Sir William D'Avenant reads as a black mask; but I am 
afraid Mr. Tyrwhitt is too well supported in his first supposition, 
by a passage at the beginning of Romeo and Juliet: 

" These happy masks that kiss fair ladies' brows, 
** Being black, put us in mind they hide the fair." 


6 Accountant to the laia upon that pain.] Pain is here for 
penalty, punishment, JOHNSON. 

7 As I subscribe not that,] To subscribe means, to agree to. 
Milton uses the word in the same sense. 

So also, in Marlowe's Lust's Dominion, 1*561 : 
" Sub-scribe to his desires." STEEVENS. 


But in the loss of question,) 8 that you, his sister, 
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person, 
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place, 
Could fetch your brother from the manacles 
Of the all-binding law ; 9 and that there were 
No earthly mean to save him, but that either 
You must lay down the treasures of your body 
To this supposed, or else let him suffer ; l 
What would you do ? 

8 But in the loss of question,] The loss of question I do not 
well understand, and should rather read: 

But in the toss of question. 

In the agitation, in the discussion of the question. To toss an 
argument is a common phrase. JOHNSON. 

This expression, I believe, means, but in idle supposition, or 
conversation that tends to nothing, which may therefore, in 
our author's language, be called the loss of question. Thus> in 
Coriolanus, Act III. sc. i : 

" The which shall turn you to no other harm, 

" Than so much loss of time." 

Question, in Shakspeare, often bears this meaning. So, in his 
Tarqidn and Lucrrce : 

" And after supper, long he questioned 

" With modest Lucrece," c. STEEVENS. 

Question is used here, as in many other places, for conversa- 
tion. INT A LONE. 

9 Of the all-binding law ;] The old editions read: 
all-building law. JOHNSON. 

The emendation is Theobald's. STEEVENS. 

1 or else let him suffer;} The old copy reads " or else 

to let him," &c. STEEVENS. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer reads more grammatically " or else let 
him suffer." But our author is frequently inaccurate in the con- 
struction of his sentences. I have therefore adhered to the old 
copy. You must be under the necessity [to let, &c.] must be 

So, in Holinshed's History of Scotland, p. 150: " asleep 
they were so fast, that a man might have removed the chamber 
over them, sooner than to have awaked them out 'of their 
drunken sleep." MALONE. 


ISAB. As much for my poor brother, as myself: 
That is, Were I under the terms of death, 
The impression of keen whips Pd wear as rubies, 
And strip myself to death, as to a bed 
That longing I have been sick for, ere I'd yield 
My body up to shame. 

ANG. Then must your brother die. 

ISAB. And 'twere the cheaper way : 
Better it were, a brother died at once, 2 
Than that a sister, by redeeming him, 
Should die for ever. 

ANG. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence 
That you have slander'd so ? 

ISAB. Ignomy in ransom, 3 and free pardon, 
Are of two houses : lawful mercy is 
Nothing akin 4 to foul redemption. 

The old copy reads supposed, not supposV. The second to 
in the line might therefore be the compositor's accidental repe- 
tition of the first. Being unnecessary to sense, and injurious to 
measure, I have omitted it. The pages of the first edition of 
Holinshed will furnish examples of every blunder to which 
printed works are liable. STEEVENS. 

* a brother died at once,'] Perhaps we should read : 

Better it were, a brother died for once, &c. JOHNSON. 

3 Ignomy in ransom,'] So the word ignominy was formerly 
written. Thus, in Troilus and Cressida, Act V. sc. iii : 

" Hence, brother lacquey ! ignomy and shame," &c. 


Sir William D' Avenant's alteration of these lines may prove a 
reasonably good comment on them : 

".Ignoble ransom no proportion bears 
" To pardon freely given." MALONE. 

The second folio reads ignominy; but whichsoever reading 
we take, the line will be inharmonious, if not defective. 


4 Nothing akin ] The old copy reads kin. For this trivial 
emendation I am answerable. STEEVENS. 


ANG. You seem'd of late to make the law a 

tyrant ; 

And rather prov'd the sliding of your brother 
A merriment than a vice. 

ISAS. O, pardon me, my lord ; it oft falls out, 
To have what we'd have, we speak not what we 

mean : 

I something do excuse the thing I hate, 
For his advantage that I dearly love. 

ANG. We are all frail. 

ISAS. Else let my brother die, 

If not a feodary, but only he, 5 

* If not a feodary, but only he, &c.~] This is so obscure, but 
the allusion so fine, that it deserves to be explained. A feodary 
was one that in the times of vass;ilage held lands of the chief 
lord, under the tenure of paying rent and service : which tenures 
were called fcnda amongst the Goths. " Now," says Angelo, 
*' we are all frail ;'' " Yes,'' replies Isabella; " if all mankind 
were not Jeodaries, who owe what they are to this tenure of 
imbecility, and who succeed each other by the same tenure, as 
well as my brother, I would give him up." The comparing 
mankind, lying under the weight of original sin, to a feodary, 
who owes suit and service to his lord, is, I think, not ill 
imagined. WARBURTOX. 

Shakspeare has the same allusion in Cymheline : 

" senseless bauble, 

" Art thou afeodarie for this act ?" 
Again, in the Prologue to Marston's Sophonisba, 1660: 

" For seventeen kings were Carthage focdars" 
Mr. M. Mason censures me for not perceiving that feodary 
signifies an accomplice. Of this I was fully aware, as it supports 
the sense contended for by Warburton, and seemingly acquiesced 
in by Dr. Johnson. Every vassal was an accomplice with hi* 
lord ; i. e. was subject to be executor of the mischief he did not 
contrive, and was obliged to follow in every bad cause which 
his superior led. STEKVENS. 

I have shewn in a note on Cymbeline, that feodary was used 
by Shakspeare in the sense of an associate, and such undoubtedly 
is its signification here. Dr. Warburton's note therefore is cer- 
tainly wrong, and ought to be expunged. 


Owe, 6 and succeed by weakness. 7 

ANG. Nay, women are frail too. 

ISAB. Ay, as the glasses where they view them- 
selves ; 

"Which are as easy broke as they make forms. 8 
Women! Help heaven! men their creation mar 
In profiting by them. 9 Nay, call us ten times frail j 

After having ascertained the true meaning of this word, I 
must own, that the remaining part of the passage before us is 
extremely difficult. I would, however, restore the original 
reading thy, and the meaning should seem to be this : We are 
all frail, says Angelo. Yes, replies Isabella ; if he has not one 
associate in his crime, if no other person own and follow the 
same criminal courses which you are now pursuing, let my 
brother suffer death. 

I think it however extremely probable that something is 
omitted. It is observable, that the line " Owe, and succeed 
thy weakness," does not, together with the subsequent line, 
" Nay, women are frail too," make a perfect verse : from 
which it may be conjectured that the compositor's eye glanced 
from the word succeed to weakness in a subsequent hemistich, 
and that by this oversight the passage is become unintelligible. 


6 Otee,] To owe is, in this place, to own, to hold, to have 
possession. JOHNSON. 

7 by weakness.'] The old copy reads thy weakness. 


The emendation was made by Mr. Rowe. I am by no means 
satisfied with it. Thy is much more likely to have been printed 
by mistake for this, than the word which has been substituted. 
Yet this weakness and by weakness are equally to be understood. 
Sir W. D'Avenant omitted the passage in his Law against 
Lovers, probably on account of its difficulty. MALONE. 

8 glasses 

Which are as easy broke as they make forms.] Would it 
not be better to read? 

take forms. JOHNSON. 

'-' In profiting by them.] In imitating them, in taking them 
for examples. JOHNSON. 

If men mar their own creation, by taking women for their 


For we are soft as our complexions are, 
And credulous to false prints. l 

ANG. I think it well : 

And from this testimony of your own sex, 
(Since, I suppose, we are made to be no stronger 
Than faults may shake our frames,) let me be 

bold ; 

I do arrest your words ; Be that you are, 
That is, a woman ; if you be more, you're none ; 
If you be one, (as you are well express'd 
By all external warrants,) show it now, 
By putting on the destin'd livery. 

ISAB. I have no tongue but one: gentle my lord, 
Let me intreat you speak the former language. 2 

example, they cannot be said to profit much by them. Isabella 
is deploring the condition of woman-kind, formed so frail and 
credulous, that men prove the destruction of the whole sex, by 
taking advantage of their weakness, and using them for their 
Own purposes. She therefore calls upon Heaven to assist them. 
This, though obscurely expressed, appears to me to be the 
meaning of this passage. M. MASON. 

Dr. Johnson does not seem to have understood this passage. 
Isabella certainly does not mean to say that men mar their own 
creation by taking women for examples. Her meaning is, that 
men debase their nature by taking advantage of such lueak 
pitiful creatures. Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1/86. 


1 For lae are soft as our complexions arc, 
And credulous to false prints.'] i. e. take any impression. 


So, in Twelfth Night : 

" How easy is it for the proper false 

" In women's waxen hearts to set their forms! 

*' Alas ! our frailty is the cause, not we ; 

" For, such as we are made of, such we be." MALONE. 

* speak the former language.] Isabella answers to his 

circumlocutory courtship, that she has but one tongue, she does 

not understand this new phrase, and desires him to talk his 

former language, that is, to talk as he talked before. JOHNSON. 


ANG. Plainly conceive, I love you. 

ISAB. My brother did love Juliet; and you tell me, 
That he shall die for it. 

ANG. He shall not, Isabel, if you give me love. 

ISAB. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't, 1 
Which seems a little fouler than it is, 4 
To pluck on others. 

ANG. Believe me, on mine honour, 

My words express my purpose. 

ISAB. Ha ! little honour to be much believ'd, 
And most pernicious purpose ! Seeming, seem- 
ing ! 5 

I will proclaim thee, Angelo ; look for*t : 
Sign me a present pardon for my brother, 
Or, with an outstretched throat, I'll tell the world 
Aloud, what man thou art. 

ANG. Who will believe thee, Isabel ? 

My unsoil'd name, the austereness of my life, 

8 I knoio, your virtue hath a licence in't,'] Alluding to the 
licences given by ministers to their spies, to go into all suspected 
companies, and join in the language of malcontents. 


I suspect Warburton's interpretation to be more ingenious than 
just. The obvious meaning is / know your virtue assumes an 
air of licentiouness which is not natural to you, on purpose to 
try me. Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786. STEEVENS. 

* Which seems a little fouler &c.] So, in Promos and Cas- 

" Cos. Renowned lord, you use this speech (I hope) your 

thrall to trye, 

" If otherwise, my brother's life so deare I will not bye." 
" Pro. Fair dame, my outward looks my inward thoughts 

bewray ; 

" If you mistrust, to search my harte, would God you 
had a kaye." STEEVENS. 

5 Seeming, seeming /] Hypocrisy, hypocrisy ; counter- 
feit virtue. JOHNSON. 


My vouch against you, 6 and my place i'the state, 

Will so your accusation overweigh, 

That you shall stifle in your own report, 

And smell of calumny. 7 I have begun ; 

And now I give my sensual race the rein : 8 

Fit thy consent to my sharp appetite ; 

Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes, 9 

That banish what they sue for ; redeem thy brother 

By yielding up thy body to my will ; 

Or else he must not only die the death, 1 

6 My vouch against you,~\ The calling his denial of her 
charge his vouch, has something fine. Vouch is the testimony 
one man bears for another. So that, by this, he insinuates his 
authority was so great, that his denial would have the same 
credit that a vouch or testimony has in ordinary cases. 


I believe this beauty is merely imaginary, and that vouch 
against means no more than denial. JOHNSON. 

7 That you shall stifle in your own report, 

And smell of 'calumny .] A metaphor from a lamp or candle 
extinguished in its own grease. STEEVENS. 

8 And oru I give my sensual race the rein:~\ And now I give 
my senses the rein, in the race they kre now actually running. 


9 and prolixious blushes,~\ The word prolixious is not 

peculiar to Shakspeare. I find it in Moses his Birth and Miracles, 
by Drayton : 

" Most part by water, move prolixious was," c. 
Again, in the Dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up, 1598: 

" rarifier tf prolixious rough barbarism," &c. 

Again, in Nash's Lenten Stuff, &c. 15.00: 

" well known unto them by his prolixious sea- 
Prolixious blushes mean what Milton has elegantly called 

" sweet reluctant delay" STEEVENS. 

1 die the death,'] This seems to be a solemn phrase for 

death inflicted by law. So, in A Midsummer-Night's Dream : 
" Prepare to die the death." JOHNSON. 

It is a phrase taken from scripture, as is observed in a note on 

A Midsummet Night's Dream. STEEVENS. 


But thy unkindness shall his death draw out 
To lingering sufferance : answer me to-morrow, 
Or, by the affection that now guides me most, 
I'll prove a tyrant to him : As for you, 
Say what you can, my false o'erweighs your true. 


ISAB. To whom shall I complain ? Did I tell this, 
Who would believe me ? O perilous mouths, 
That bear in them one and the self-same tongue, 
Either of condemnation or approof! 
Bidding the law make court'sy to their will ; 
Hooking both right and wrong to the appetite, 
To follow as it draws ! I'll to my brother : 
Though he hath fallen by prompture 2 of the blood, 
Yet hath he in him such a mind of honour, 3 
That had he twenty heads to tender down 
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up, 
Before his sister should her body stoop 
To such abhorr'd pollution. 
Then Isabel, live chaste, and, brother, die : 
More than our brother is our chastity. 
I'll tell him yet of Angelo's request, 
And fit his mind to death, for his soul's rest. 


The phrase is a good phrase, as Shallow says, but I do not 
conceive it to be either of legal or scriptural origin. Chaucer 
uses it frequently. See Canterbury Tales, ver. 6'07 : 

" They were adradde of him, as of the deth." ver. 1222. 
" The deth he feleth thurgh his herte smite." It seems to have 
been originally a mistaken translation of the French La Mort. 


* prompture ] Suggestion, temptation, instigation. 


3 such a mind of honour,] This, in Shakspeare's lan- 
guage, may mean, such an honourable mind, as he uses " mind 
of love, 1 ' in The Merchant of Venice, for loving mind. Thus 
also, in Philaster: 

li I had thought, thy mind 

" Had been ofhonour" STF.FVF.N T S. 



A Room in the Prison. 
Enter Duke, CLAUDIO, and Provost. 

DUKE. So, then you hope of pardon from lord 
Angelo , ? 

CLAUD. The miserable have no other medicine, 
But only hope : 
I have hope to live, and am prepar'd to die. 

DUKE. Be absolute for death ; 4 either death, or 

Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with 


If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing 
That none but fools would keep : 5 a breath tliou art. 

4 Be absolute for death :~\ Be determined to die, without any 

hope of life. Horace, 

'* The hour which exceeds expectation will be welcome." 


* That none but fools would keep :~\ But this reading is not 
only contrary to all sense and reason, but to the drift of this 
moral discourse. The Duke, in his assumed character of a 
friar, is endeavouring to instil into the condemned prisoner a 
resignation of mind to his sentence ; but the sense of the lines 
in this reading, is a direct persuasive to suicide: I make no 
doubt, but the poet wrote 

That none but fools would reck : 

i. e. care for, be anxious about, regret the loss of. So, in the 
tragedy of Tancred and Gismund, Act IV. sc. iii : 

" Not that she recks this life." 

And Shakspeare, in The Two Gentlemen of Verona: 

Kecking as little what betideth me." 



(Servile to all the skiey influences,) 
That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st, 6 
Hourly afflict : merely, thou art death's fool ; 
For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, 
And yet run'st toward him still : 7 Thou art not 
noble ; 

The meaning seems plainly this, that none but fools would, 
wish to keep life; or, none but fools "would keep it, if choice 
were allowed. A sense which, whether true or not, is certainly 
innocent. JOHNSON. 

Keep, in this place, I believe, may not signify preserve, but 

care for. " No lenger for to liven I ne kepe," says ./Eneas, in 

Chaucer's Dido, Queen of Carthage; and elsewhere: " That I 

kepe not rehearsed be ;" i. e. which I care not to have rehearsed. 

Again, in The Knightes Tale, Tyrwhitt's edit. ver. 2240 : 

" I kepe nought of armes for to yelpe." 

Again, in A mery Jeste of a Man called Hoivleglass, bl. 1. no 
date : " Then the parson bad him remember that he had a soule 
for to kepe, and he preached and teached to him the use of con- 
fession," &c. 

Again, in Ben Jonson's Volpone : 

" Faith I could stifle him rarely with a pillow, 
** As well as any woman that should keep him." 
i. e. have the care of him. STEEVENS. 

Mr. Steevens's explanation is confirmed by a passage in The 
Dutchess of Malfy, by Webster, (1623,) an author who has 
frequently imitated Shakspeare, and who perhaps followed him 
in the present instance : 

" Of what is't fools make such vain keeping ? 

" Sin their conception, their birth weeping ; 

" Their life a general mist of error ; 

** Their death a hideous storm of terror." 
See the Glossary to Mr. Tyrwhitt's edit, of The Canterbury 
Tales of Chaucer, v. kepe. MALONE. 

6 That dost this habitation, where thou keep'st,'] Sir T. Han- 
mer changed dost to do, without necessity or authority. The con- 
struction is not, " the skiey influences that do," but, " a breath 
thou art, that dost," &c. If " Servile to all the skiey influences," 
be inclosed in a parenthesis, all the difficulty will vanish. 


7 merely, thou art death's fool ; 

For him thou labourist by thy flight to shun, 

And yet run'st taivard him still ;] In those old forces called 



For all the accommodations that thou bear'st, 
Are nilrs'd by baseness : 8 Thou art by no means 

Moralities, the fool of the piece, in order to show the inevitable 
approaches of death, is made to employ all his stratagems tc 
avoid him ; which, as the matter is ordered, bring the fool, at 
every turn, into his very jaws. So that the representations ot 
these scenes would afford a great deal of good mirth and morals 
mixed together. And from such circumstances, in the genius of 
our ancestors' publick diversions, I suppose it was, that the old 
proverb arose, at being merry and wise. WARBURTON. 

Such another expression as death's fool, occurs in The Honest 
Lawyer, a comedy, by S. S. 1616 : 

" Wilt thou be a, fool of fate? who can 

" Prevent the destiny decreed for man ?" STEEVENS. 

It is observed by the editor of The Sad Shepherd, 8vo. 1783. 
p. 154, that the initial letter of Stow's Survey, contains a repre- 
sentation of a struggle between Death and the Fool; the figures 
of which were most probably copied from those characters as 
formerly exhibited on the stage. REED. 

There are no such characters as Death and the Fool? in anj 
old Morality now extant. They seem to have existed only in 
the dumb Shows. The two figures in the initial letter of Stow's 
Survey, 1603, which have been mistaken for these two person- 
ages, have no allusion whatever to the stage, being merely one 
of the set known by the name of Death's Dance, and actually 
copied from the margin of an old Missal. The scene in the 
modern pantomime of Harlequin Skeleton, seems to have been 
suggested by some playhouse tradition of Death and the Fool. 


See Pericles, Act III. sc. ii. STEEVENS. 

* Are nurs'd by baseness :] Dr. Warburton is undoubtedly 
mistaken in supposing that by baseness is meant self-love, here 
assigned as the motive of all human actions. Shakspeare only 
meant to observe, that a minute analysis of life at once destroys 
that splendour which dazzles the imagination. Whatever gran- 
deur can display, or luxury enjoy, is procured by baseness, by 
offices of which the mind shrinks from the contemplation. All 
the delicacies of th'e table may be traced back to the shambles 
and the dunghill, all magniiicence of building was hewn from 
the quarry, and all the pomp ol ornament dug from among the 
damps and darkness of the mine. JOHNSON. 


For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork 
Of a poor worm : 9 Thy best of rest is sleep, 
And that thou oft provok'st ; yet grossly fear'st 
Thy death, which is no more. 1 Thou art not thy- 

self; 2 

This is a thought which Shakspeare delights to express. 
So, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

" - our dungy earth alike 

" Feeds man as beast." 

Again : 

" Which sleeps, and never palates more the dung, 
" The beggar's nurse, and Ccesar's." STEEVENS. 

9 -- the soft and tender fork 

Of a poor worm:] Worm is put for any creeping thing or 
serpent. Shakspeare supposes falsely, but according to the vulgar 
notion, that a serpent wounds with his tongue, and that his tongue 
is forked. He confounds reality and fiction; a serpent's tongue 
is soft, but not forked nor hurtful. If it could hurt, it could 
not be soft. In A Midsummer-Night's Dream he has the same 
notion : 

" With doubler tongue 

" Than thine, O serpent, never adder stung.'" JOHNSON. 

Shakspeare mentions the " adders fork" in Macbeth ; and 
might have caught this idea from old tapestries or paintings, in 
which the tongues of serpents and dragons always appear barbed 
like the point of an arrow. STEEVENS. 

1 - Thy best of rest is sleep, 
And that thou oft provok'st ; yet grossly fear'st 
Thy death, which is no more.'] Evidently from the following 
passage of Cicero : " Habes somnum imaginem mortis, eamque 
quotidie induis, fy dubitas quin scnsus in morte nullus sit, cum 
in ejus simulacra videos esse nullum sensum." But the Epicurean 
insinuation is, with great judgment, omitted in the imitation. 


Here Dr. Warburton might have found a sentiment worthy of 
his animadversion. I cannot without indignation find Shakspeare 
saying, that death is only sleep, lengthening out his exhortation 
by a sentence which in the Friar is impious, in the reasoner is 
foolish, and in the poet trite and vulgar. JOHNSON. 

This was an oversight in Shakspeare ; for in the second scene 

U 2 


For thou exist'st on many a thousand grains 
That issue out of dust : Happy thou art not : 
For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get ; 
And what thou hast, forget'st : Thou art not cer- 

For thy complexion shifts to strange effects, 3 
After the moon : If thou art rich, thou art poor ; 
For, like an ass, whose back with ingots bows, 4 
Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey, 
And death unloads thee : Friend hast thou none j 
For thine own bowels, which do call thee sire, 
The mere effusion of thy proper loins, 
Do curse the gout, serpigo,* and the rheum, 

of the fourth Act, the Provost speaks of the desperate Barnardine, 
as one who regards death only as a drunken sleep. STEEVENS. 

I apprehend Shakspeare means to say no more, than that the 
passage from this life to another is as easy as sleep ; a position in 
which there is surely neither folly nor impiety. MALONE. 

* Thou art not thyself;"} Thou art perpetually repaired 

and renovated by external assistance, thou subsistest upon foreign 
matter, and hast no power of producing or continuing thy own 
being. JOHNSON. 

3 strange effects,] For effects read affects ; that is, 

affections, passions of mind, or disorders of body variously 
affected* So, in Othello : 

" The young affects" JOHNSON. 

When I consider the influence of the moon on the human 
mind, I am inclined to read with Johnson affects instead of 
effects. We cannot properly say that the mind " shifts to strange 
effects." M. MASON. 

4 like an ass, iuhose back with ingots 5ou;s,] This simile 

is far more ancient than Shakspeare's play. It occurs in T. 
Churchyard's Discourse of Rebellion, &c. 1570: 

" Rebellion thus, with paynted vizage brave, 

" Leads out poore soules (that knowes not gold from glas) 

" Who beares the packe and burthen like the asse." 

* serpigo,] The serpigo is a kind of tetter. STEEVENS. 


For ending thee no sooner : Thou hast nor youth 5 

nor age ; 

But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep, 
Dreaming on both : c for all thy blessed youth 
Becomes as aged, and doth beg the alms 
Of palsied eld ; 7 and when thou art old, and rich, 
Thou hast neither heat, 8 affection , limb, nor beauty, 9 

But, as it were, an after-dinner's sleep, 

Dreaming on both .] This is exquisitely, imagined. When 
we are young, we busy ourselves in forming schemes lor suc- 
ceeding time, and miss the gratifications that are before us ; 
when we are old, we amuse the languor of age with the recol- 
lection of youthful pleasures or performances ; so that our life, 
of which no part is filled with the business of the present time, 
resembles our dreams after dinner, when the events of the 
morning are mingled with the designs of the evening. 


7 palsied eld;] Eld is generally used for old age, decre- 
pitude. It is here put for old people, persons ivorn with years. 
So, in Marston's Dutch Courtesan, 1604 : 

" Let colder eld their strong objections move." 
Again, in our author's Merry Wives of Windsor : 

" The superstitious idle-headed eld" 
Gower uses it for age as opposed to youth : 
" His elde had turned into youth." 

De Confessions Amantis, Lib. V. fol. 106. STEEVENS. 

8 for all thy blessed youth 

Becomes as aged : and doth beg the alms 
Of palsied eld ; and when ihou art old, and rich, 
Thou hast neither heat, &c.] The drift of this period is to 
prove, that neither youth nor age can be said to be really enjoyed, 
which, in poetical language, is We have neither youth nor age. 
But how is this made out ? That age is not enjoyed, he proves 
by recapitulating the infirmities of it, which deprive that period 
of life of all sense of pleasure. To prove that youth is not en- 
joyed, he uses these words : 

for all thy blessed youth 
Becomes as aged, and doth Leg the alms 
Of palsied eld ; 


To make thy riches pleasant. What's yet in this, 

Out of which, he that can deduce the conclusion, has a better 
knack at logick than I have. I suppose the poet wrote 

For pall'd, thy blazed youth 

Becomes assuaged ; and doth beg the alms 

Of palsied eld; 

i. e. when thy youthful appetite becomes palled, as it will be in 
the very enjoyment, the blaze of youth is at once assuaged, and 
thou immediately contractest the infirmities of old age ; as par- 
ticularly the palsy and other nervous disorders, consequent on 
the inordinate use of sensual pleasures. This is to the purpose ; 
and proves youth is not enjoyed, by shewing the short duration 
of it. WARBURTON. 

Here again I think Dr. Warburton totally mistaken. Shak- 
speare declares that man has neither youth nor age; for in youth, 
which is the happiest time, of which might be the happiest, he 
commonly wants means to obtain what he could enjoy ; he is 
dependent on palsied eld; must beg alms from the coffers of 
hoary avarice ; and being very niggardly supplied, becomes as 
aged, looks, like an old man, on happiness which is beyond his 
reach. And, when he is old and rich, when he has wealth 
enough for the purchase of all that formerly excited his desires, 
he has no longer the powers of enjoyment : 

has neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty, 

To make his riches pleasant. 

1 have explained this passage according to the present reading, 
which may stand without much inconvenience ; yet I am willing 
to persuade my reader, because I have almost persuaded myself, 
that our author wrote 

for all tliy blasted youth 

Becomes as aged . JOHNSON. 

The sentiment contained in these lines, which Dr. Johnson 
has explained with his usual precision, occurs again in the forged 
letter that Edmund delivers to his father, as written by Edgar ; 
King Lear, Act I. sc. ii: " This policy, and reverence of age, 
makes the world bitter to the best of our times ; keeps our for- 
tunes from us till our oldness cannot relish them." The words 
above, printed in Italics, support, I think, the reading of the 
old copy " blessed youth," and shew that any emendation is 
unnecessary. MALONE. 

- heat, affection, limb, nor beauty,] But how does 
beauty make riches pleasant? We should read bounty, which 


That bears the name of life ? Yet in this life 
Lie hid more thousand deaths : 1 yet death we fear, 
That makes these odds all even. 

CLAUD. I humbly thank you. 

To sue to live, I find, I seek to die ; 
And, seeking death, find life : 2 Let it come on. 


I SAB. What, ho ! Peace here ; grace and good 
company ! 

completes the sense, and is this thou hast neither the pleasure 
of enjoying riches thyself, for thou wantest vigour ; nor of seeing 
it enjoyed by othejs, for thou wantest bounty. Where the 
making the want of bounty as inseparable from old age as the 
want of health, is extremely satirical, though not altogether just. 


I am inclined to believe, that neither man nor woman will 
have much difficulty to tell how beauty makes riches pleasant. 
Surely this emendation, though it is elegant and ingenious, is 
not such as that an opportunity of inserting it should be pur- 
chased by declaring ignorance of what every one knows, by 
confessing insensibility of what every one feels. JOHNSON. 

By " heat" and " affection" the poet meant to express appe- 
tite, and by " limb" and " beauty" strength. EDWARDS. 

1 more thousand deaths:"] For this Sir T. Hamner reads: 

a thousand deaths :- 

The meaning is, not only a thousand deaths, but a thousand 
deaths besides what have been mentioned. JOHNSON. 

9 To sue to live, IJind, I seek to die ; 

And, seeking death, Jind life .] Had the Friar, in recon- 
ciling Claudio to death, urged to him the certainty of happiness 
hereafter, -this speech would have been introduced with more 
propriety ; but the Friar says nothing of that subject, and argues 
more like a philosopher, than a Christian divine. M. MASON. 

Mr. M. Mason seems to forget that no actual Friar was the 
,-peaker, but the Duke, who might be reasonably supposed to 
.Have more of the philosopher than the divine in his composition. 



PROF. Who's there ? come in : the wish deserves 
a welcome. 

DUKE. Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again. 3 

CLAUD. Most holy sir, I thank you. 

Is AS. My business is a word or two with Claudio. 

PROV. And very welcome. Look, signior, here's 
your sister. 

DUKE. Provost, a word with you. 

PROV. As many as you please* 

DUKE. Bring them to speak, where I may be 

Yet hear them. 4 [Exeunt Duke and Provost. 

CLAUD. Now, sister, what's the comfort? 

ISAB. Why, as all comforts are j most good in 
deed : 5 

3 Dear sir, ere Ions I'll visit you again.'] Dear sir, is too 
courtly a phrase for the Friar, who always addresses Claudio and 
[sabella by the appellations of son and daughter. I should there- 
fore read dear son. M. MASON. 

4 Bring them to speak, where I may be conceal'd, 

Yet hear them.'] The first copy, published by the players, 
gives the passage thus : 

Bring them to hear me speak, where I may be conceal'd. 
Perhaps we should read : 

Bring me to hear them speak, where /, &c. STEEVENS. 

The second folio authorizes the reading in the text. 


The alterations made in that copy do not deserve the smallest 
credit. There are undoubted proofs that they were merely arbi- 
trary ; and, in general, they are also extremely injudicious. 


I am of a different opinion, in which I am joined by Dr. Far- 
mer ; and, consequently, prefer the reading of the second folio 
to my own attempt at emendation, though Mr. Malone has done 
me the honour to adopt it. STEEVENS. 

5 aft all comforts are ; most good in deed :] If this read- 
ing be right, Isabella must mean that she brings something 


Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven, 
Intends you for his swift embassador, 
Where you shall be an everlasting leiger : 
Thereforeyourbest appointment 6 make with speed; 
To-morrow you set on. 

better than tuords of comfort she brings an assurance of deeds. 
This is harsh aud constrained, but I know not what better to 
offer. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads : 
in speed. JOHNSON. 

The old copy reads : 

As all comforts are : most good, most good indeede. 
I believe the present reading, as explained by Dr. Johnson, is 
the true one. So, in Macbeth : 

" We're yet but young in deed.' 9 STEEVENS. 

I would point the lines thus : 

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

" Isab. Why, as all comforts are, most good. Indeed Lord 
Angelo," &c. 

Indeed is the same as in truth, or truly, the common begin- 
ning of speeches in Shakspeare's age. See Charles the First's 
Trial. The King and Bradshaw seldom say any thing without 
this preface : " Truly, Sir ." BLACKSTONE. 

6 an everlasting leiger: 

Therefore your best appointment ] Leiger is the same with 
resident. Appointment ; preparation ; act of fitting, or state of 
being fitted for any thing. So in old books, we have a knight 
well appointed ; that is, well armed and mounted, or fitted at 
all points. JOHNSON. 

The word leiger is thus used in the comedy of Look about you, 

" Why do you stay, Sir ? 

" Madam, as leiger to solicit for your absent love." 
Again, in Leicester's Common-health : "'a special man of that 
hasty king, who was his ledger, or agent, in London," &c. 


your best appointment ] The word appointment, on 

this occasion, should seem to comprehend confession, commu 
nion, and absolution. " Let him (says Escalus) be furnished 
with divines, and have all charitable preparation." The King 
in Hamlet, who was cut oft' prematurely, and without such 


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 7 you had, 
To a determin'd scope. 8 

CLAUD. But in what nature ? 

ISAB. In such a one as (you consenting to't) 
Would bark your honour 9 from that trunk you bear, 
Ai-d leave you naked. 

CL4UD. Let me know the point. 

ISAB. O, I do fear tliee, Claudio ; and I quake, 
Lest thou a feverous life should'st entertain, 
And six or seven winters more respect 

preparation, is said to be dis-appointed. Appointment, how- 
ever, may be more simply explained by the following passage 
in The Antipodes, 1638: 

" your lodging 

" Is decently appointed." 
i. e. prepared, furnished. STEEVENS. 

7 Though all ilie world's vastidity ] The old copy reads 
Through all, &c, Corrected by Mr. Pope. MALONE, 

8 a restraint 

To a determin'd scope. ~\ A confinement of your mind to 
one painful idea; to ignominy, of which the remembrance can 
neither be suppressed nor escaped. JOHNSON. 

9 Would bark ymir honour ] A metaphor from stripping 
trees of their bark. Doucu. 


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. 1 

CLAUD. Why give you me this shame ? 

Think you I can a resolution fetch 
From flowery tenderness ? If I must die, 
I will encounter darkness as a bride, 
And hug it in mine arms. 2 

ISAB. There spake my brother; there my father's 


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 

1 the poor beetle, &c.] The reasoning is, that death is 

no more than every being must suffer, though the dread of it is 
peculiar to man ; or perhaps, that we are inconsistent with our- 
selves, when we so much dread that which we carelessly inflict 
on other creatures, that feel the pain as acutely as we. 


The meaning is fear is the principal sensation in death, 
which has no pain ; and the giant, when he dies, feels no greater 
pain than the beetle. This passage, however, from its arrange- 
ment, is liable to an opposite construction, but which would 
totally destroy the illustration of the sentiment. DOUCE. 

2 / will encounter darkness as a bride, 

And hug it in mine arms.'] So, in the First Part of Jero- 
mmo, or The Spanish Tragedy, 1605: 


" That yawning Beldam, with her jetty skin, 

" 'Tis she I hug as mine effeminate bride." STEEVENS. 

Again, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

*' I will be 

" A bridegroom in my death ; and run into't, 
" As to a lover's bed." MALONE. 


Nips youth i'the head, and follies doth enmew, 3 
As falcon doth the fowl," is yet a devil ; 
His filth within being cast, 5 he would appear 
A pond as deep as hell. 

CLAUD. The princely Angelo ? 

ISAB. O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell, 
The damned'st body to invest and cover 
In princely guards ! G Dost thou think, Claudio, 

3 - follies doth enmew,] Forces follies to lie in cover, 
without daring to show themselves. JOHNSON. 

4 As falcon doth thefowl,~\ In whose presence the follies of 
youth are afraid to show themselves, as the fowl is afraid t 
flutter while the falcon hovers over it. 

So, in The Third Part of King Henry VI : 
" - not he that loves him best, 
" The proudest he that holds up Lancaster, 
" Dares stir a wing, if Warwick shakes his bells," 
To enmew is a term in falconry, also used by Beaumont and 
Fletcher, in The Knight of Malta : 
" -- I have seen him scale, 
" As if a falcon had run up a train, 
" Clashing his warlike pinions, his steel'd cuirass, 
" And, at his pitch, enmeiio the town below him." 

5 Hisjilih within being cast,] To cast a pond is to empty it 
of mud. Mr. Upton reads : 

His pond within being cast, he would appear 
A filth as deep as hell. JOHNSON. 

6 The princely Angelo ? - 

-- princely guards /] The stupid editors, mistaking guards 
for satellites, (whereas it here signifies face,) altered priestly, in 
'both places, to princely. Whereas Shakspeare wrote it, priestly, 
'as appears from the words themselves : 

- *'Tis the cunning livery of hell, 

The damnedest body to invest and cover 

IVith priestly guards. - 

In the first place we see that guards here signifies lace, as 
referring to livery, and as having no sense in the signification of 
satellites. Now priestly guard:- means sanctity, which is the 


If I would yield him my virginity, 
Thou might' st be freed ? 

CLAUD. O, heavens ! it cannot be. 

sense required. But princely guards means nothing but rich 
lace, which is a sense the passage will not bear. Angelo, in- 
deed, as deputy, might be called the princely Angelo : but not 
in this place, where the immediately preceding words of 

This out-ward-sainted deputy, 
demand the reading I have restored. WARBURTON. 

The first folio has, in both places, prenzie, from which the 
other folios made princely, and every editor may make what he 
can. JOHNSON. 

Princely is the judicious correction of the second folio. 
Princely guards mean no more than the badges of royalty, 
(laced or bordered robes, ) which Angelo is supposed to assume 
during the absence of the Duke. The stupidity of the first edi- 
tors is sometimes not more injurious to Shakspeare, than the in- 
genuity of those who succeeded them. 

la the old play of Cambyses I meet with the same expression. 
Sisamnes is left by Cambyses to distribute justice while he is ab- 
sent ; and in a soliloquy says : 

" Now may I wear the brodered garde, 

11 And lye in downe-bed soft." 
Again, the queen of Cambyses says : 

" I do forsake these broder'd gardes, 

'* And all the facions new." STEEVENS. 

A guard, in old language, meant a welt or border of a gar- 
ment ; "because (says Minshieu) it gards and keeps the gar- 
ment from tearing." These borders were sometimes of lace. 
So, in The Merchant of Venice : 

" Give him a livery 

" More guarded than his fellows." MALONE. 

Warburton reads priestly, and, in my opinion, very pro- 

The meaning of the speech is, that it is the cunning policy of 
the devil, to invest the damnedest bodies in the most sanctified 
robes ; that is to say, in priestly guards, which, when applied to 
deceitful purposes, she calls the livery of hell. By guards, 
Isabella metaphorically means outward appearances. 



ISAB. Yes, he would give it thee, from this rank 

offence, 7 

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. O, were it but my life, 
I'd throw it down for your deliverance 
As frankly as a pin. 8 

CLAUD. Thanks, dear Isabel. 

ISAB. Be ready, Claudio, for your death to-mor- 

CLAUD. Yes. Has he affections in him, 
That thus can make him bite the law by the nose, 
When he would force it? 9 Sure it is no sin ; 

7 from this rank offence,"} I believe means, from the time 

of my committing this offence, you might persist in sinning 
with safety. The advantages you would derive from my having 
such a secret of his in my keeping, would ensure you from fur- 
ther harm on account of the same fault, however frequently 
repeated. STEEVENS. 

8 as a pin.] So, in Hamlet : 

" I do not set my life at a pin's fee.*' STEEVENS. 

9 Has he affections &c.] Is lie actuated l>y passions thai 
impel him to transgress the laiv, at the very moment that he is 
enforcing it against others ? [1 find, he is.] Surely then, since 
this is so general a propensity, since the judge is as criminal as 
he whom he condemns, it is no sin, or at least a venial one. So, 
in the next Act : 

" A deflower' d maid, 

" And by an eminent body that en fore 'd 

" The law against it." 
Force is again used for enforce in King Henry VIII ; 

" If you will now unite in your complaints, 

" And force them with a constancy." 
Again, in Coriolanus : 

' < Why _ force you tli is ? " MA LO N i\ 


Or of the deadly seven it is the least. 1 
ISAB. Which is the least ? 

CLAUD. If it were damnable, 2 he, being so wise, 
Why, would he for the momentary trick 
Be perdurably fin'd? 3 O 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 ; 4 

1 Or of the deadly seven Sfc."] It may be useful to know 
which they are ; the reader is, therefore, presented with the fol- 
lowing catalogue of them, viz. Pride, Envy, Wrath, Sloth, 
Covetousness, Gluttony, and Lechery. To recapitulate the 
punishments hereafter for these sins, might have too powerful 
an effect upon the weak nerves of the present generation ; but 
whoever is desirous of being particularly acquainted with them, 
may find information in some of the old monkish systems of 
divinity, and especially in a curious book entitled Le Kalendrier 
ties Be rgiers, 1500, folio, of which there is an English translation. 


9 If it "were damnable, &c.] Shakspeare shows his know- 
ledge of human nature in the conduct of Claudio. When Isa- 
bella first tells him of Angelo's proposal, he answers, with 
honest indignation, agreeably to his settled principles 

Thou shalt not do't. 

But the love of life being permitted to operate, soon furnishes 
him with sophistical arguments; he believes it cannot be very 
dangerous to the soul, since Angelo, who is so wise, will venture 

3 Be perdurably Jin'd?] Perdurably is lastingly. So, in 
Othello : 

" cables of perdurable toughness." STEEVENS. 

* and go we know not where ;] Dryden has imparted 

this sentiment to his Aureng-Zebe, Act IV. sc i: 
" Death in itself is nothing; but we fe^r 
" To be we know not what, <:>:& /bc/:>v -wi wJiere.*' 



To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot ; 

This sensible warm motion to become 

A kneaded clod ; and the delighted spirit 5 

To bathe in fieiy floods, or to reside 

In thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice ; 

To be imprison'd in the viewless winds, 

And blown with restless violence round about 

The pendent world j or to be worse than worst 

5 delighted spirit ] i. e. the spirit accustomed here to 

ease and delights. Ihis was properly urged as an aggravation to 
the sharpness of the torments spoken of. The Oxford editor, 
not apprehending this, alters it to dilated. As if, because the 
spirit in the body is said to be imprisoned, it was crowded toge- 
ther likewise ; and so by death not only set free, but expanded 
too ; which, if true, would make it the less sensible of pain. 


This reading may perhaps stand, but many attempts have been 
made to correct it. The most plausible is that which substitutes 

the benighted spirit; 

alluding to the darkness always supposed in the place of future 

Perhaps we may read : 

the delinquent spirit; 

a word easily changed to delighted by a bad copier, or unskilful 
reader. Delinquent U proposed by Thirlby in his manuscript. 


I think with Dr. Warburton, that by the delighted spirit is 
meant, the soul once accustomed to delight, which, of course, 
must render the sufferings, afterwards described, less tolerable. 
Thus our author calls youth, Uesaed, in a former scene, before 
he proceeds to show its wants and its inconveniencies. 

Mr. Ritson has furnished me with a passage which I leave to 
those who can use it for the illustration of the foregoing epithet : 
" Sir Thomas Herbert, speaking of the death of Mirza, son to 
Shah Abbas, says, that he gave a period to his miseries in this 
world, by supping a delighted cup of extreame poyson." 

Travels, 1634-, p. 104. STEEVENS. 

6 viewless 'winds,'] i. e. unseen, imisible. So, in Mil- 
ton's Comus, v. 92 : 

'* I naust be viewless now." STJEEVENS. 


Of those, that lawless and incertain thoughts 7 

Imagine howling ! 'tis too horrible ! 

The weariest and most loathed worldly life, 

That age, ach, penury, 8 and imprisonment 

Can lay on nature, is a paradise 

To what we fear of death. 9 

7 lawless and incertain thoughts ] Conjecture sent out 

to wander without any certain direction, and ranging through 
possibilities of pain. JOHNSON. 

8 penury,] The old copy has perjury. Corrected by 

the editor of the second folio. MALONE. 

9 To txhat tuc fear of death .] Most certainly the idea of the 
" spirit bathing in fiery floods," or of residing " iu thrilling 
regions of thick-ribbed ice," is not original to our poet; but I 
am not sure that they came from the Platonick hell of Virgil. 
The monks also had their hot and their cold hell ; " the fyrste 
is fyre that ever brenneth, and never gyveth lighte," says an 
old homily: " The seconde is passying cold, that yf a greate 
hylle of fyre were cast therin, it shold tome to yce." One of 
their legends, well remembered in the time of Shakspeare, gives 
us a dialogue between a bishop and a soul tormented in a piece 
^f ice, which was brought to cure a brenning heate in his foot ; 
take care, that you do not interpret this the gout, for I remem- 
ber Menage quotes a canon upon us : 

" Hi (juts dixerit episcopum podagra laborare, anathema 

Another tells us of the soul of a monk fastened to a rock, 
which the winds were to blow about for a twelvemonth, and 
purge of its enormities. Indeed this doctrine was before now 
introduced into poetick fiction, as you may see in a poem, 
" where the lover declareth his pains to exceed far the pains of 
hell," among the many miscellaneous ones subjoined to the 
works of Surrey : of which you will soon have a beautiful edi- 
tion from the able hand of my friend Dr. Percy. Nay, a very 
learned and inquisitive brother-antiquary hath observed to me, 
on the authority of Blefkenius, that this was the ancient opinion 
of the inhabitants of Iceland, who were certainly very little read 
either in the poet or philosopher. FARMER. 

Lazarus, in The Shepherd's Calendar, is represented to have 
seen these particular modes of punishment in the infernal 
regions : 



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, 

ISAB. O, you beast ! 

O, faithless coward ! O, dishonest wretch ! 
Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice ? 
Is't not a kind of incest, 1 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 2 
Ne'er issu'd from his blood. Take my defiance : 3 
Die ; perish ! might but my bending down 
Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed : 

" Secondly, I have seen in hell a floud frozen as ice, wherein 
the envious men and women were plunged unto the navel, and 
then suddainly came over them a right cold and great wind that 
grieved and pained them right sore," &c. STEEVENS. 

1 Is't not a land of incest,'] In Isabella's declamation there is 
something harsh, and something forced and far-fetched. But 
her indignation cannot be thought violent, when we consider her 
not only as a virgin, but as a nun. JOHNSOX. 

* a luarped slip of wilderness ] Wilderness is here used 
for Uiildnexs, the state of being disorderly. So, in The Maid's 
Tragedy : 

" And throws an unknown icilderness about me." 
Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600: 

" But I in wilderness totter'd out my youth." 
The word, in this sense, is now obsolete, though employed by 
Milton : 

" The paths, and bowers, doubt uot, but our joint hands 

" Will keep from wilderness with ease." STEEVENS. 

3 Take my defiance :] Defiance is refusal. So, in Romeo and 
Juliet : 

" I do defy thy commiseration." STEEVENS. 


I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death, 
No word to save thee. 

CLAUD. Nay, Hear me, Isabel. 

ISM. 0,fye,fye,fye! 

Thy sin*s not accidental, but a trade : 4 
Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd : 
*Tis best that thou diest quickly. [Going. 

CLAUD. O hear me, Isabella. 

Re-enter Duke. 

DUKE. Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one 

ISABI 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 

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

DUKE. [To CL AUDIO, aside."] Son, I have over- 
heard what hath past between you and your sister. 
Angelo had never the purpose to corrupt her ; only 
he hath made an essay of her virtue, to practice his 
judgment with the disposition of natures : she, hav- 
ing 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 

4 but a trade :] A custom ; a practice ; an established 

habit. So we say of a man much addicted to any thing he 
makes a trade of it. JOHNSON. 

X 2 


your resolution with hopes that are fallible : 5 to* 
morrow you must die ; go to your knees, and make 

CLAUD. Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so 
out of love with life, that I will sue to be rid of it. 

DUKE* Hold you there : 6 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 

* Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes thai arc fallible :~\ 
A condemned man, whom his confessor had brought to bear 
death with decency and resolution, began anew to entertain 
hopes of life. This occasioned the advice in the words above. 
But how did these hopes satisfy his resolution ? or what harm 
was there, if they did ? We must certainly read, Do not falsify 
your resolution rvith hopes that are fallible. And then it be- 
comes a reasonable admonition. For hopes of life, by drawing 
him back into the world, would naturally elude or weaken the 
virtue of that resolution which was raised only on motives of 
religion. And this his confessor had reason to warn him of. 
The term falsify is taken from fencing, and signifies the pretend- 
ing to aim a stroke, in order to draw the adversary off his guard. 
So, Fairfax : 

" Now strikes he out, and no\v hefahificth." 


The sense is this : Do not rest with satisfiiction on hopes that, 
are fallible. There is no need of alteration. STEEVENS. 

Perhaps the meaning is, Do not satisfy or content yourself with 
that kind of resolution, which acquires strength from a latent 
hope that it will not be put to the test ; a hope that, in your 
case, if you rely upon it, will deceive you. MALOXE. 

* Hold you there :~\ Continue in that resolution. JOHNSON. 


promises with my habit, no loss shall touch her by 
my company. 

PROF. In good time. 7 \_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, should 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 
would you do to content this substitute, and to 
save your brother? 

ISAB. I am now going to resolve him : I had ra- 
ther my brother die by the law, than my son should 
be unlawfully born. But O, 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 accusa- 
tion ; he made trial of you only. 8 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. 

' In good time.'] i. e. d la bonne heure, so be it, very well. 


8 --lie made trial of you only.] That is, he 'vcill say he made 

trial of you only. M. MASON. 


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

DUKE. Virtue is bold, and goodness never fear- 
ful. Have you not heard speak of Mariana the 
sister of Frederick, the great soldier, who miscar- 
r ied at sea ? 

ISAB. I have heard of the lady, and good words 
went with her name. 

DUKE. Her should this Angelo have married ; 
was affianced to her by oath, 9 and the nuptial ap- 
pointed : between whicli time of the contract, and 
limit of the solemnity, 1 her brother Frederick was 
wrecked at sea, having in that perish'd vessel the 
dowry of his sister. But mark, how heavily this 
befel to the poor gentlewoman : there she lost a 
noble and renowned brother, in his love toward 
iier ever most kind and natural ; with him the por- 
tion and sinew of her fortune, her marriage-dowry ; 
with both, her combinate husband, 2 this well- 
seeming Angelo. 

ISAB. Can this be so ? Did Angelo so leave her ? 

DUKE. Left her in her tears, and dry'd not one 
of them with his comfort ; swallowed his vows 
iv hole, pretending, in her, discoveries of dishonour: 

9 by oath,] By inserted by the editor of the second folio. 


1 and limit of the solemnity,] So, in King John : 

fi Prescribes how long the virgin state shall last, 
" Gives limits unto holy nuptial rites." 
i. e. appointed times. MA LONE. 

s her combinate husband,] Combinate is betrothed, settled 

l>i contract. STEEVENS. 


in few, bestowed her on her own lamentation, 3 
which she yet wears for his sake ; and he, a marble 
to her tears, is washed with them, but relents not. 

ISAB. What a merit were it in death, to take 
this poor maid from the world ! What corruption 
in this life, that it will let this man live ! But how 
out of this can she avail ? 

DUKE. It is a rupture that you may easily heal: 
and the cure of it not only saves your brother, but 
keeps you from dishonour in doing it. 

ISAB. Show me how, good father. 

DUKE. This fore-named maid hath yet in her the 
continuance of her first affection ; his unjust un- 
kindness, that in all reason should have quenched 
her love, hath, like an impediment in the current, 
made it more violent and unruly. Go you to 
Angelo ; answer his requiring with a plausible 
obedience ; agree with his demands to the point : 
only refer yourself to this advantage, 4 first, that 
your stay with him may not be long ; that the time 
may have all shadow and silence in it ; and the 
place answer to convenience : this being granted 
in course, now follows all. We shall advise this 
wronged maid to stead up your appointment, go in 
your place ; if the encounter acknowledge itself 

3 bestowed her on her oivn lamentation,] I. e. left her to 
her sorrows. MA LONE. 

Rather, as our author expresses himself in King Henri/ V: 
" gave her up" to them. STEEVENS. 

4 only refer yourself to this advantage,"] This is scarcely 

to be reconciled to any established mode of speech. We may 
read, only reserve yourself to, or only reserve to yourself this ad" 
vantage. JOHNSON. 

Refer yourself tp t merely signifies have recourse to, betake 
this advantage. STEEVSNS. 


hereafter, it may compel him to her recompense : 
and here, by this, is your brother saved, your ho- 
nour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, and 
the corrupt deputy scaled. 5 The maid will I frame, 
and make fit for his attempt. If you think well to 
carry this as you may, the doubleness of the bene- 
fit defends the deceit from reproof. What think 
you of it ? 

I SAB. The image of it gives me content already ; 
and, I trust, it will grow to a most prosperous per- 

DUKE. It lies much in your holding up : Haste 
you speedily to Angelo ; ii for this night he entreat 

4 the corrupt deputy scaled.] To scale the deputy, may 

be, to reach him, notwithstanding the elevation of his place ; 
or it may be, to strip him and discover his nakedness, though 
armed and concealed by the investment of authority. 


To scale, as may be learned from a note to Coriolanus, Act I. 
sc. i. most certainly means, to disorder, to disconcert, to put to 
Jlight. An army routed is called by Holinshed, an army scaled. 
The word sometimes signifies to diffuse or disperse ; at others, 
as I suppose in the present instance, to 2)iit into confusion. 


To scale is certainly to reach (as Dr. Johnson explains it) as 
well as to disperse or spread aljroad, and hence its application to 
a routed army which is scattered over the Jield. The Duke's 
meaning appears to be, either that Angelo would be over- 
reached, as a town is by the scalade, or that his true character 
would be spread or laid open, so that his vileness would become 
evident. Dr. Warburton thinks it is iverg/icd, a meaning which 
Dr. Johnson affixes to the word in another place. See Coriolanus t 
Act I. sc. i. 

Scaled, however, may mean laid open, as a corrupt sore is 
by removing the slough that covers it. The allusion is rendered 
less disgusting, by more elegant language, in Hamlet: 

" It will but skin andjllm the ulcerous place ; 

" Whiles rank corruption, mining all within. 

" Infects unseen." KITSON. 


you to his bed, give him promise of satisfaction. I 
will presently to St. Luke's ; there, at the moated 
grange, 6 resides this dejected Mariana : At that 
place call upon me ; and despatch with Angelo, 
that it may be quickly. 

ISAB. I thank you for this comfort : Fare you 
well, good father. [Exeunt severally. 

6 the moated grange,] A grange is a solitary farm- 

house. So, in Othello : 

this is Venice, 

" My house is not a grange" STEEVENS. 

A grange implies some one particular house immediately infe- 
rior in rank to a hall, situated at a small distance from the town 
or village from which it takes its name ; as, Hornby Grange, 
Blackwell Grange ; and is in the neighbourhood simply called 
The Grange. Originally, perhaps, these buildings were the 
lord's granary or storehouse, and the residence of his chief bai- 
liff. (Grange, from Granagium, Lat.) RITSON. 

A grange, in its original signification, meant a farm-house of 
a monastery, (from grana gerendo,) from which it was always 
at some little distance. One of the monks was usually appointed 
to inspect the accounts of the farm. He was called the Prior of 
the Grange ; in barbarous Latin, Grangiarius. Being placed 
at .a distance from the monastery, and not connected with any 
other buildings, Shakspeare, with his wonted licence, uses it, 
both here and in Othello, in the sense of a solitary farm-house. 

I have since observed that the word was used in the same 
sense by the contemporary writers. So, in Tarleton's Newe$ 
out of Purgatory, printed about the year 1590 : 

" till my return I would have thee stay at our little 

graunge house in the country." 

In Lincolnshire they at this day call every lone house that is 
unconnected with others, a grange. MALONE. 


The Street before ilie Prison. 

Enter Duke, as a Friar; to him ELBOW, Clown, 
and Officers. 

ELB. Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but 
that you will needs buy and sell men and women 
like beasts, we shall have all the world drink 
brown and white bastard. 7 

DUKE. O, heavens! what stuff is here ? 

CLO. 'Twas never merry world, since, of two 
usuries, 8 the merriest w r as put down, and the worser 
allow'd by order of law a furr'd gown to keep him 

7 - bastard."] A kind of sweet wine, then much in vogue, 
from the Italian bastardo. WARBURTON. 

See a note on King Henry IV. Part I. Act II. sc. iv. 


Bastard was raisin wine. See Minshieu's DICT. in v. and 
Cole's Latin Diet. 1679. MALONE. 

8 - since, of two usuries,] Here a satire on usuiy turns 
abruptly to a satire on the person of the usurer, without any 
kind of preparation. We may be assured then, that a line or 
two, at least, have been lost. The subject of which we may 
easily discover was a comparison between the two usurers ; as, 
before, between the two usuries. So that, for the future, the 
passage should be read with asterisks, thus by order of law, 
* * * a furred gown, &c. WARBURTON. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer corrected this with less pomp : then since 
of two usurers the merriest was put down, and the worscr al- 
lowed, l)y order of law, ajiirr'd gown, &c. His punctuation is 
right, but the alteration, small as it is, appears more than was 
wanted. Usury may be used by au easy licence for the pro- 
fessors of usury. JOHKSON. 


warm ; and furr'd with fox and lamb-skins too, 9 tq 
signify, that craft, being richer than innocency, 
stands for the facing. 

ELS. Come your way, sir : Bless you, good 
father friar. 

And you, good brother father : l What 
offence hath this man made you, sir ? 

ELB. Marry, sir, he hath offended the law ; and, 
sir, we take him to be a thief too, sir ; for we 
have found upon him, sir, a strange pick-lock/ 
which we have sent to the deputy. 

9 - andfurr'd "with fox and lamb-skins too, &c.] In this 
passage the foxes skins are supposed to denote craft, and the 
lamb-skins innocence. It is evident, therefore, that we ought 
to read, " furred with fox on lamb-skins," instead of " and 
lamb-skins ;" for otherwise, craft will not stand for the facing. 


Fox-skins and lamb-skins were both used as facings to cloth 
in Shakspeare's time. See the Statute of Apparel, 24- Henry 
VIII. c. 13. \-{QTHCQ fox-furred slave is used as an opprobrious 
epithet in Wily Beguiled, 1606, and in other old comedies. 
See also Characterismi, or Lenton's Leasures, &c. 1631 : " An 
Usurer is an old fox, clad in lamb-skin, who hath pray'd [prey'dj 
So long abroad," &c. M.ALONE. 

1 - and you, good brother father :] In return to Elbow's, 
blundering address of good father friar, i. e. good father bro- 
ther, the Duke humorously calls him, in his own style, good 
brother father. This would appear still clearer in French. 
J)ieu vous benisse, mon pere frere. Et vous aussi, mon frere 
pere. There is no doubt that our friar is a corruption of the 
French/rm?. TYRWHITT. 

Mr. Tynvhitt's observation is confirmed by a passage in The. 
strangest Adventure that ever happened, &c. 4-to. 1601 : 

" And I call to mind, that as the reverendfather brother f 
Thomas Sequera, Superiour of Ebora, and mine auncient friendj 
came to vi&ite me," &c, STEEVENS. 

2 - a strange pick-lock,] As we hear no more of this 
charge, it is necessary to prevent honest Pompey from being 
takeji for a house-breaker. The locks which he had occasion to 


DUKE. Fye, sirrah ; a bawd, a wicked bawd ! 
The evil that thou causest to be done, 
That is thy means to live : Do thou but think 
What 'tis to cram a maw, or clothe a back, 
From such a filthy vice : say to thyself, 
From their abominable and beastly touches 
I drink, I eat, array myself, and live. 3 
Canst thou believe thy living is a life, 
So stinkingly depending ? Go, mend, go, mend. 

CLO. Indeed, it does stink in some sort, sir ; but 
yet, sir, I would prove 

DUKE. Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs 

for sin, 

Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer j 
Correction and instruction must both work, 
Ere this rude beast will profit. 

ELB. He must before the deputy, sir ; he has 

pick, were by no means common, in this country at least. They 
were probably introduced, with other Spanish customs, during 
the reign of Philip and Mary ; and were so well known in 
Edinburgh, that in one of Sir David Lindsay's plays, repre- 
sented to thousands in the open air, such a lock is actually 
opened on the stage, RITSON. 

In Ben Jonson's Volpone, Corvino threatens to make his wife 
wear one of these contrivances : 

" Then, here's a lock, which I will hang upon thee." 


3 I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.] The old editions 

/ drink, I eat away myself, and live. 

This is one very excellent instance of the sagacity of our edi- 
tors, and it were to be wished heartily, that they would have 
obliged us with their physical solution, how a man can eat aixai/ 
himself, and live. Mr. Bishop gave me that most certain emen- 
dation, which I have substituted in the room of the former 
foolish reading; by the help whereof, we have this easy sense: 
that the Clown fed himself, and put clothes on his bubk, by 
exercising the vile trade of a bawd. THEOBALD. 


given him warning : the deputy cannot abide a 
whoremaster : if he be a whoremonger, and comes 
before him, he were as good go a mile on his 

DUKE. That we were all, as some would seem 

to be, 
Free from our faults, as faults from seeming, free! 4 

4 That we were all, as some would seem to be, 

Free from our faults, as faults from seeming, free !"] i.e. 
as faults are destitute of all comeliness or seeming. The first of 
these lines refers to the deputy's sanctified hypocrisy ; the second 
to the Clown's beastly occupation. But the latter part is thus 
ill expressed for the sake of the rhyme. WARBURTON. 

Sir Thomas Hanmer reads : 

Free from all faults, as from faults seeming free. 
In the interpretation of Dr. Warburton, the sense is trifling, and 
the expression harsh. To wish that men were as free from 
faults, as faults are free from comeliness, [instead of void of 
comeliness,] is a very poor conceit. I once thought it should be 
read : 

that all were, as all mould seem to be, 

Free from all faults, or from false seemingy><?e. 
So in this play: 

" O place, O power how dost thou 

" Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls 

" To thy false seeming .'" 
But now I believe that a less alteration will serve the turn : 

Free from all faults, or faults from seemingfree. 
That men ivere really good, or that their faults were known, 
that men were free from faults, or faults from hypocrisy. So 
Isabella calls Angelo's hypocrisy, seeming, seeming. JOHNSON. 

I think we should read with Sir T. Hanmer : 

Free from all faults, as from faults seemingfree. 
i. e. I wish we were all as good as we appear to be ; a sentiment 
very naturally prompted by his reflection on the behaviour of 
Angelo. Sir T. Hanmer has only transposed a word to produce 
a convenient sense. STEEVENS. 

Hanmer is right with respect to the meaning of this passage, 
but I think his transposition unnecessary. The words, as they 
stand, will express the same sense, if pointed thus : 

Free from all faults, as, faults from, seemingfree. 


Enter Lucio. 

ELS. His neck will come to your waist, a cord, 
air. 5 

CLO. I spy comfort ; I cry, bail : Here's a gen- 
tleman, and a friend of mine. 

Lucio. How now, noble Pompey ? What, at the 
heels of Caesar ? Art thou led in triumph ? What, 
is there none of Pygmalion's images, newly made 
woman, 6 to be had now, for putting the hand in 

Nor is this construction more harsh than that of many other 
sentences in the play, which, of all those which Shakspeare has 
left us, is the most defective in that respect. M. MASOV. 

The original copy has not Free at the beginning of the line. 
It was added unnecessarily by the editor of the second folio, 
who did not perceive that our, like many words of the same 
kind, was used by Shakspeare as a dissyllable. The reading, 
from all faults, which all the modern editors have adopted, 
(I think, improperly,) was first introduced in the fourth folio. 
Dr. Johnson's conjectural reading, or, appears to me very pro- 
bable. The compositor might have caught the word a* from 
the preceding line. If as be right, Dr. Warburton's interpreta- 
tion is, perhaps, the true one. Would we were all as free from 
faults, as faults are free from, or destitute of comeliness, or 
seeming. This line is rendered harsh and obscure by the word 
Jrce. being dragged from its proper place for the sake of the 
rhyme. MALONE. 

Till I meet with some decisive instance of the pronoun our, 
used as a dissyllable, I read with the second folio, which I cannot 
suspect of capricious alterations. STEEVENS. 

5 His neck mill come to your waist, a cord, sir."] That is, his 
neck will be tied, like your waist, with a rope. The friars of 
the Franciscan order, perhaps of all others, wear a hempen cord 
for a girdle. Thus Buchanan : 
*' Fac gcmant suis 
" Variala tergajimibus" JOIIXSON. 

G Pygmalion's images, newly made woman,'] By Pygma- 
lion's images, ncivly made woman, I believe Shakspcare meant 


the pocket and extracting it clutch'd? What reply ? 
Ha? What say'st thou to this tune, matter, and 

no more than Have you no women now to recommend to your 1 
customers, as fresh and untouched as Pygmalion's statue was, at 
the moment when it became flesh and blood ? The passage 
may, however, contain some allusion to a pamphlet printed in 
1598, called The Metamorphosis of Pygmalion s Image, and 
certain Satires. I have never seen it, but it is mentioned by 
Ames, p. 568 ; and whatever its subject might be, we learn 
from an order signed by the Archbishop of Canterbury and the 
Bishop of London, that this book was commanded to be burnt. 
The order is inserted at the end of the second volume of the 
entries belonging to the Stationers' Company. STEEVENS. 

If Marston's Metamorphosis of Pygmalion' s Image be alluded 
to, I believe it must be in the argument. " The maide (by the 
power of Venus) was metamorphosed into a liviag woman. 1 ' 


There may, however, be an allusion to a passage in Lyly's 
Woman in the Moone, 1597. The inhabitants of Utopia peti- 
tion Nature for females, that they may, like other beings, pro- 
pagate their species. Nature grants their request; and " they 
draw the curtins from before Nature's shop, where stands an 
image clad, and some unclad, and they bring forth the cloathed 
image," &c. STEEVENS. 

Perhaps the meaning is, Is there no courtezan, who being 
newly made woman, i. e. lately debauched, still retains the 
appearance of chastity, and looks as cold as a statue, to be 
had, &c. 

The following passage in Blurt Master Constable, a comedy, 
by Middle-ton, 1602, seems to authorize this interpretation: 

" Laz. Are all these women ? 

" Imp. No, no, they are half men, and half women. 

" Laz. You apprehend too fast. I mean by women, wives ; 
for wives are no maids, nor 'are maids women." 

Mulier in Latin had precisely the same meaning. MALONE. 

A pick-lock had just been found upon the Clown, and there- 
fore without great offence to his morals, it may be presumed 
that he was likewise a pick-pocket ; in which case Pygmalion s 
images, &c. may mean new-coined money with the Queen's 
image upon it. DOUCE. 


method ? Is't not drown'd i* the last rain ? 7 Ha ? 
What say'st thou, trot ? 3 Is the world as it was, 
man ? Which is the way ? 9 Is it sad, and few 
words ? Or how ? The trick of it ? 

7 What say'st thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is't 
not droivri'd i 1 the last rain?] Lucio, a prating fop, meets his 
old friend going to prison, and pours out upon him his imperti- 
nent interrogatories, to which when the poor fellow makes no 
answer, he adds, What reply"? ha? what say'st thou to this? 
tune, matter, and method, is't not? drown' d i' the last rain? 
ha ? what say'st thou, trot ? &c. It is a common phrase used 
in low raillery of a man crest-fallen and dejected, that he looks 
like a drown' 'd puppy. Lucio, therefore, asks him, whether he 
was drotun'd in the last rain, and therefore cannot speak. 


He rather asks him whether his answer was not drown'd in 
the last rain, for Pompey returns no ansiver to any of his ques- 
tions: or, perhaps, he means to compare Pompey's miserable 
appearance to a drown' d mouse. So, in King Henry VI. Part I. 
Act I. sc. ii : 

" Or piteous they will look, like drowned mice" 


8 what say 1 st thou, trot?] It should be read, I think, 

what say'st thou to't ? the word trot being seldom, if ever, used 
to a man. 

Old trot, or trat, signifies a decrepid old woman, or an old 
rJrab. In this sense it is used by Gawin Douglas, Virg. JEn. 
13. IV : ' 

" Out on the old tral, aged dame or wyffe." GREY. 

So, in Wily Beguiled, 1613 : " Thou toothless old trot thou." 
Again, in The Wise Woman of Hogsden, 1638: 

" What can this witch, this wizard, or old trot.'''' 
Trot, however, sometimes signifies a bawd. So, in Church- 
yard's Tragicall Discourse of a dolorous Gentlewoman, 1593: 

" Awaie old trots, that sets young flesh to sale." 
Pompey, it should be remembered, is of this profession. 


Trot, or as it is now often pronounced, honest trout, is a 
familiar address to a man among the provincial vulgar. 


9 Which is the way ?] What is /Ac mode notv? JOHNSON. 


DUKE. Still thus, and thus ! still worse ! 

Lucio. How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? 
Procures she still ? Ha ? 

CLO. Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, 
and she is herself in the tub. 1 

Lucio. Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it 
must be so : Ever your fresh whore, and your 
powder'd bawd : An unshunn'd consequence ; it 
must be so : Art going to prison, Pompey ! 

CLO. Yes, faith, sir. 

Lucio. Why 'tis not amiss, Pompey: Farewell : 
Go ; say, I sent thee thither. 2 For debt, Pompey ? 
Or how ? 3 

1 in the tub.] The method of cure for venereal com- 
plaints is grossly called the powdering tub. JOHNSON. 

It was so called from the method of cure. See the notes on 

" the tub-fast and the diet " in Timon, Act IV. 


* say, I sent thee thither.'] Shakspeare seems here to 

allude to the words used by Gloster, in King Henry VI. P. III. 
Act V. sc. vi : 

" Down, down to hell; and say / sent thee thither" 


3 Go; say, I sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey? or 

kow?~\ It should be pointed thus: Go, say I sent thee thither 
for debt, Pompey ; or how i. e. to hide the ignominy of thy 
case, say, I sent thee to prison for debt, or whatever other pre- 
tence thou fanciest better. The other humorously replies, For 
being a bawd, for being a bawd, i. e. the true cause is the most 
honourable. This is in character. WARBURTON. 

I do not perceive any necessity for the alteration. Lucio first 
offers him the use of his name to hide the seeming ignominy of 
his case ; and then very naturally desires to be informed of the 
true reason why he was ordered into confinement. STEEVENS. 

Warburton has taken some pains to amend this passage, which 
does not require it ; and Lucio's subsequent reply to Elbow, shows 
that his amendment cannot be right. When Lucio advisee Pom- 

VOL. vi. y 


ELS. For being a bawd, for being a bawd. 

Lucio. Well, then imprison him : If imprison- 
ment be the due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right : 
Bawd is he, doubtless, and of antiquity too j bawd- 
born. Farewell, good Pompey : Commend me to 
the prison, Pompey : You will turn good husband 
now, Pompey ; you will keep the house. 4 

CLO. I hope, sir, your good worship will be my 

Lucio. No, indeed, will I not, Pompey; it is 
not the wear. 5 I will pray, Pompey, to increase 
your bondage : if you take it not patiently, why, 
your mettle is the more : Adieu, trusty Pompey. 
Bless you, friar. 

DUKE. And you. 

Lucio. Does Bridget paint still, Pompey ? Ha? 

ELB. Come your ways, sir ; come. 

CLO. You will not bail me then, sir ? 

Lucio. Then, Pompey? nor now. 6 What news 
abroad, friar ? What news ? 

ELB. Come your ways, sir ; come. 

pey to say he sent him to the prison, and in his next speech de- 
sires him to commend him to the prison, he speaks as one who 
had some interest there, and was well known to the keepers. 


4 You 'will turn good husband now, Pompey ; you ivill 

keep the house.] Alluding to the etymology of the word husband. 


* it is not the wear.] i. e. it is not the fashion. 


6 Then, Pompey? nor wott\] The meaning, I think, is: / 
ixill neither bail thee then, nor now. So again, in this play ; 
*' More, nor less to others paying ." MALONE. 


Lucio. Go, to kennel, Pompey, go : 7 

[Exeunt ELBOW, Clown, and Officers. 
What news, friar, of the duke ? 

DUKE. I know none : Can you tell me of any ? 

Lucio. Some say, he is with the emperor of 
Russia ; other sonie, lie is in Rome : But where is 
he, think you ? 

DUKE. I know not where : But wheresoever, I 
wish him well. 

Lucio. It was a mad fantastical trick of him, 
to steal from the state, and usurp the beggary he 
was never born to. Lord Angelo dukes it well 
in his absence ; he puts transgression to't. 

DUKE. He does well in't. 

Lucio. A little more lenity to lechery would 
do no harm in him : something too crabbed that 
way, friar. 

DUKE. It is too general a vice, 8 and severity 
must cure it. 

Lucio. Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great 
kindred ; it is well aily'd : but it is impossible to 
extirp it quite, friar, till eating and drinking be 
put down. They say, this Angelo was not made 
by man and woman, after the downright way of 
creation : Is it true, think you ? 

DUKE. How should he be made then ? 

7 Go, to kennel, Pompey, go .-] It should be remembered, 
that Pompey is the common name of a dog, to which allusion is 
made in the mention of a kennel. JOHNSON. 

8 It is too general a vice,] Yes, replies Lucio, the vice is of 
great kindred ; it is voett ally* d : &c. As much as to say, Yes, 
truly, it is general; for the greatest men have it as well as we 
little folks. A little lower he taxes the Duke personally with it. 

Y 2 


Lucio. Some report, a sea-maid spawn'd him : 
Some, that he was begot between two stock-fishes : 
But it is certain, that when he makes water, his 
urine is congeal'd ice ; that I know to be true : 
and he is a motion ungenerative, that's infallible.' 

DUKE. You are pleasant, sir > and speak apace. 

Lucio. Why, what a ruthless thing is this in 
him, for the rebellion of a cod-piece, to take away 
the life of a man ? Would the duke, that is absent, 
have done this ? Ere he would have hang'd a man 
for the getting a hundred bastards, he would have 
paid for the nursing a thousand : He had some 
feeling of the sport ; he knew the service, and 
that instructed him to mercy. 

DUKE. I never heard the absent diike much de- 
tected for women ; l he was not inclined that way. 

9 and he is a motion ungenerative, that's infallible.] In 

the former editions : and he is a motion generative; that's in- 
fallible. This may be sense ; and Lucio, perhaps, may mean, 
that though Angelo have the organs of generation, yet that he 
makes no more use of them, than if he were an inanimate pup- 
pet. But I rather think our author wrote,. and he is a motion 
ungenerative, because Lucio again in this very scene says, this 
ungenitured agent -will unpeople the province with continency. 


A motion generative certainly means a puppet of the masculine 
gender^ a thing that appears to have those powers of which it is 
not in reality possessed. STEEVENS. 

A motion ungenerative is a moving or animated body without 
the power of generation. RITSON. 

1 much detectedjfor 'women ;] This appears so like the 

language of Dogberry, that at first I thought the passage corrupt, 
and wished to read suspected. But perhaps detected had anciently 
the same meaning. So, in an old collection of tales, entitled, 
Wits, Fits, and Fancies, 1595 : " An officer whose daughter 
was detected of dishonestie, and generally so reported." That 
detected is there used for suspected, and not in the present sense 
of the word, appears, I think, from the words that follow 


Lucio. O, sir, you are deceived. 

DUKE. 'Tis not possible. 

Lucio. Who? not the duke? yes, your -beggar 
of fifty ; and his use was, to put a ducat in her 
clack-dish: 2 the duke had crotchets in him : He 
would b.e drunk too ; that let me inform you. 

nd so generally reported, which seem to relate not to a knoiun 
but suspected fact. MALONE. 

In the Statute 3d Edward First, c. 15, the words gentz rettez 
de felonie, are rendered persons detected of felopy, that is, as I 
conceive, suspected. REED. 

In this sense, perhaps, it is used 'in the infamous publication 
entitled A Detection, &c. of Mary Queen of Scots : " But quho 
durst accuse the Quene? or (quhilk was in maner mair perilous) 
quho durst detect Both well of sic a horrible oflence ?" 

Again, in A courtlie Controversie of Cupid's Cautels: fyc. 
Translated from the French, fyc. by H. W. .[Henry Wotton,] 
Gentleman, 4to. 1588 : " And in truth women are to be detected 
of no imperfection, jealousie only excepted." STEEVENS. 

Again, in Rich's Adventures of Simonides, 15S4-, 4to: " all 
Rome, detected of inconstancie." HENDERSON. 

Detected, however, may mean, notoriously charged, or guilty. 
So, in North's translation of Plutarch : " he only of all other 
kings in his time was most detected with this vice of leacherie." 

Again, in Howe's Abridgment of Stowe's Chronicle, 1618, 
p. 363 : *' In the month of February divers traiterous persons 
were apprehended, and detected of most wicked conspiracie 
against his Majestic : the 7th of Sept. certaine of them wicked 
subjects were indicted," &c. MALONE. 

* . . clack-dish .-] The beggars, two or three centuries ago, 
used to proclaim their want by a wooden dish with a moveabte 
cover, which they clacked, to show that their vessel was empty. 
This appears from a passage quoted on another occasion by Dr. 

Dr. Grey's assertion may be supported by the following passage 
in an old comedy, called The Family of Love, 1608 : 

" Can you think I get my living by a beliand a clack-dish?" 

tf By a bell and a clack-disk? how's that?" 

" Why, by begging, sir," &c. 


DUKE. You do him wrong, surely. 

Lucio. Sir, I was an inward of his : 3 A shy fel- 
low was the duke: 4 and, I believe, I know the 
cause of his withdrawing. 

DUKE. What, I pr'ythee, might be the cause ? 

Lucio. No, pardon; 'tis a secret must be 
lock'd within the teeth and the lips: but this I 
can let you understand, The greater rile of the 
subject : ' held the duke to be wise. 

Again, in Henderson's Supplement to Chaucer's Troilus and 
Cres'seid : 

" Thus shalt thou go a begging from lious to hous, 
" With cuppe and clappir like a lazarous." 
And by a stage direction in The Second Part of K. Edward IV. 

" Enter Mrs. Blague, very poorly, begging with her basket 
and a clap-dish.'" 

There is likewise an old proverb to be found in Ray's Collec- 
tion, which alludes to the same custom : 

" He clafis his dish at a wrong man's door." STEEVENS. 

A custom is still kept up in the villages near Oxford, about 
Easter, for the poor people and children to go a clacking : they 
carry wooden bowls, salt boxes, &c. and make a rattling noise 
at the houses of the principal inhabitants, who give them bacon, 
eggs, &c. HARRIS. 

3 an inward of his .] Inward is intimate. So, in Daniel's 

Hymen K Triumph, 1623: 

" You two were wont to be most inward friends." 
Again, in Marston's Malcontent, 1604- : 

" Come we must be inward, thou and I all one." 


4 A shy fellow was the duke :~\ The meaning of this 

term may be best explained by the following lines in the fifth 

" The wicked'st caitiff on the ground, 
" May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute," &c. 


5 The greater file of the subject ] The larger list, the 

greater number. JOHNSON. 

So, in Macbeth : 

" the valued^/zfc." STEEVENS. 


DUKE. Wise ? why, no question but he was. 

Lucio. A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing 6 

DUKE, Either this is envy in you, folly, or mis- 
taking ; the very stream of his life, and the business 
he hath helmed, 7 must, upon a warranted need, 
give him a better proclamation. Let him be but 
testimonied in his own bringings forth, and he shall 
appear to the envious, a scholar, a statesman, and a 
soldier: Therefore, you speak unskilfully; OP, if 
your knowledge be more, it is much darken' d in 
your malice. 

Lucio. Sir, I know him, and I love him. 

DUKE. Love talks with better knowledge, and 
knowledge with dearer love. 

Lucio. Come, sir, I know what I know. 

DUKE. I can hardly believe that, since you know 
not what you speak. But, if ever the duke return, 
(as our prayers are he may,) let me desire you to 
make your answer before him : If it be honest you 
have spoke, you have courage to maintain it : I am 
bound to call upon you ; and, I pray you, your 
name ? 

Lucio. Sir, my name is Lucio ; well known to 
the duke. 

DUKE. He shall know you better, sir, if I may 
live to report you. 

Lucio. I fear you not. 

DUKE. O, you hope the duke will return no 
more j or you imagine me too unhurtful an oppo- 

unweighing "j i. e. inconsidarate. So, in The Merry 

Wives of Windsor: " What an untveighed behaviour hath this 
Flemish drunkard pick'd out of my conversation," &c. 


7 the business he hath helmed,] The difficulties he hath 

steered through. A metaphor from navigation. STEEVENS. 


site. 8 But, indeed, I can do you little harm : you'll 
forswear this again. 

Lucio. I'll be hang'd first : thou art deceived in 
me, friar. But no more of this : Canst thou tell, 
if Claudio die to-morrow, or no ? 

DUKE. Why should he die, sir ? 

Lucio. Why? for filling a bottle with a tun-dish. 
I would, the duke, we talk of, were return'd again : 
this ungenitur'd agent 9 will unpeople the province 
with continency ; sparrows must not build in his 
house-eaves, because they are lecherous. The duke 
yet would have dark deeds darkly answer'd ; he 
would never bring them to light : would he were 
returned! Marry, this Claudio is condemn'd for 
untrussing. Farewell, good friar ; I pr'ythee, pray 
for me. The duke, I say to thee again, would eat 
mutton on Fridays. l He's now past it ; yet, 2 and 

8 opposite,] i. e. opponent, adversary. So, in King Lear: 

" thou wast not bound to answer 

" An unknown opposite" STEEVENS. 

The term was in use in Charles the Second's time. See 
The Woman turn'd Bully, p. 38. REED. 

9 ungenitur'd agent ] This word seems to be formed 

from genitoirs, a word which occurs in Holland's Pliny, Tom. II. 
pp. 321, 56o, 5Sp, and comes from the French genitoires, the 
genitals. To L LET. 

1 eat mutton on Fridays.'] A wench was called a laced 

mutton. THEOBALD. 

So also in the famous Satire on Cardinal Wolsey. 
See note on King Henry VIII. pp. 84 and 126: 
" And namly one that is the chefe, 
" Which is not fedd so ofte with rost befe, 

" As with rawe motten, so God helpe me." 
Again, in Doctor Faustus, 1(X)4, Lechery says : 

" I am one that loves an inch of raw mutton better than an 
ell of Friday stock-fish." STEEVENS. 

See also H. Stephens's Apologie for Herodotus, folio, 1607, 
p. 167. " The diuell take all those maried villains who are per- 
mitted to eate laced mutton their bellies full." HARRIS. 


I say to thee, he would mouth with a beggar, 
though she smelt brown bread and garlick: 3 say, 
that I said so. Farewell. [Exit. 

DUKE. No might nor greatness in mortality 
Can censure 'scape ; back-wounding calumny 
The whitest virtue strikes : What king so strong, 
.Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue ? 
But who comes here ? 

Enter ESCALUS, Provost, Bawd, and Officers. 

ESCAL. Go, away with her to prison. 

BAWD. Good my lord, be good to me ; your 
honour is accounted a merciful man : good my 

ESCAL. Double and treble admonition, and still 
forfeit 4 in the same kind? This would make mercy 
swear, and play the tyrant. 5 

* He's now past it ; yet,~\ Sir Thomas Hanmer reads He is 
not past it yet. This emendation was received in the former 
edition, but seems not necessary. It were to be wished, that 
we all explained more, and amended less. JOHNSON. 

If Johnson understood the passage as it stands, I wish he had 
explained it. To me, Hanmer's amendment appears absolutely 
necessary. M. MASON. 

I have inserted Mr. M. Mason's remark ; and yet the old 
reading is, in my opinion, too intelligible to need explanation. 


3 - though she smelt brown bread and garlick :] This 
was the phraseology of our author's time. In The Merry Wives 
of Windsor, Master Fenton is said to " smell April and May," 
not " to smell of," &c. MALONE. 

4 forfeit ] i. e. transgress, offend ; from the French 
forfaire. STEEVENS. 

*j */ 

5 mercy swear, and play the tyrant.'] We should read 

swerve, i. e. deviate from her nature. The common reading 
gives us the idea of a ranting whore. WARBURTON. 


PROV. A bawd of /eleven years continuance, may 
it please your honour. 

BAWD. My lord, this is one Lucio's information 
against me : mistress Kate Keep-down was with 
child by him in the duke's time, he promised her 
marriage ; his child is a year and a quarter old, 
come Philip and Jacob : I have kept it myself; and 
see how he goes about to abuse me. 

ESCAL. That fellow is a fellow of much licence : 
let him be called before us. Away with her to 
prison : Go to ; no more words. \_Exeunt Bawd and 
Officers.] Provost, my brother Angelo will not 
be alter'd, Claudio must die to-morrow : let him 
be furnished with divines, and have all charitable 
preparation : if my brother wrought by my pity, it 
should not be so with him. 

PROV. So please you, this friar hath been with 
him, and advised him for the entertainment of 

JEscAL. Good even, good father. 
DUKE. Bliss and goodness on you! 
ESCAL. Of whence are you ? 

There is surely no need of emendation. We say at present, 
Such a thing is enough to make a parson swear, i. e. deviate 
from a proper respect to decency, and the sanctity of his cha- 

The idea of swearing agrees very well with that of a tyrant 
in our ancient mysteries. STEEVENS. 

I do not much like mercy swear, the old reading; or mercy 
swerve, Dr. Warburton's correction. I believe it should be, 
this would make mercy severe. FARM EH. 

We still say, to swear like an emperor ; and from some old 
book, of which I unfortunately neglected to copy the title, I 
have noted to swear like, a tyrant. To swear like a termagant 
is quoted elsewhere. ItiTSox. 


DUKE. Not of this country, though my chance 

is now 

To use it for my time : I am a brother 
Of gracious order, late come from the see, 6 
In special business from his holiness, v 

ESCAL. What news abroad i* the world ? 

DUKE. None, but that there is so great a fever 
on goodness, that the dissolution of it must cure it: 
novelty is only in request ; and it is as dangerous to 
be aged in any kind of course, as it is virtuous to 
be constant in any undertaking. There is scarce 
truth enough alive, to make societies secure ; but 
security enough, to make fellowships accurs'd : 7 
much upon this riddle runs the wisdom of the 
world. This news is old enough, yet it is every 
day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition 
was the duke ? 

6 from the see,] The folio reads: 

from the sea. JOHNSON. 

The emendation, which is undoubtedly right, was made by 
Mr. Theobald. In Hall's Chronicle, sea is often written for see. 


7 There is scarce truth enough alive, to make societies secure ; 
but security enough, to make fellowships accurs'd:'} The speaker 
here alludes to those legal securities into which' " fellowship" 
leads men to enter for each other. So, in King. Henry IV. 
Part II : " He would not take his bond and yours ; he liked not 
the security." FalstafF, in the same scene, plays, like the Duke, 
on the same word : " I had as lief they should put ratsbane in 
my mouth, as offer to stop it with security. I look'd he should 
have sent rue two and twenty yards of sattin, and he sends me 
security. Well, he may sleep in security" &c. MALONE. 

The sense is, " There scarcely exists sufficient honesty in the 
world to make social life secure ; but there are occasions enough 
where a man may be drawn in to become surety, which will 
make him pay dearly for his friendships." In excuse of this 
quibble, Shakspeare may plead high authority: " He that hatetlj. 
suretiship 'is sure" Prov. xi. 15. HOLT WHITE. 


ESCAL. One, that, above all other strifes, con- 
tended especially to know himself. 

DUKE. What pleasure was he given to ? 

ESCAL. Rather rejoicing to see another merry, 
than merry at any thing which profess'd to make 
him rejoice : a gentleman of all temperance. But 
leave we him to his events, with a prayer they may 
prove prosperous ; and let me desire to know how 
you find Claudio prepared. I am made to under- 
stand, that you have lent him visitation, 

DUKE. He professes to have received no sinister 
measure from his judge, but most willingly humbles 
himself to the determination of justice : yet had he 
framed to himself, by the instruction of his frailty, 
many deceiving promises of life ; which I, by my 
good leisure, have discredited to him, and now is 
he resolved 8 to die. 

ESCAL. You have paid the heavens your func 
tion, and the prisoner the very debt of your calling. 
I have laboured for the poor gentleman, to the ex- 
tremest shore of m^ modesty; but my brother jus- 
tice have I found so severe, that he hath forced 
me to tell him, he is indeed justice. 9 

DUKE. If his own life answer the straitness of 
his proceeding, it shall become him well ; wherein, 
if he chance to fail, he hath sentenced himself. 

ESCAL. I am going to visit the prisoner : Fare 
you well. 

9 resolved ] i. e. satisfied. So, in Middleton's More 

Dissemblers besides Women, Act I. sc. iii : 

" The blessing of perfection to your thoughts lady ; 
*' For I'm resolved they are good ones." REED. 

9 he is indeed -justice.] Summum jus, summa injuria. 



DUKE. Peace be with you ! 

[Exeunt ESCALUS and Provost. 
He, who the sword of heaven will bear. 
Should be as holy as severe ; 
Pattern in himself to know, 
Grace to stand, and virtue go j 1 

1 Pattern in himself to know, 

Grace to stand, and virtue go ;} These lines I cannot under* 
stand, but believe that they should be read thus : 
Patterning himself to know, 
In grace to stand, in virtue go. 

To pattern is to work after a pattern, and, perhaps, in Shak- 
speare's licentious diction, simply to work. The sense is, he that 
bears the sword of heaven should be holy as well as severe ; one 
that after good examples labours to know himself, to live with in- 
nocence, and to act with virtue. JOHNSON. 

This passage is very obscure, nor can be cleared without a 
more licentious paraphrase than any reader may be willing to 
allow. He that bears the sword of heaven should be not less holy 
than severe : should be able to discover in himself a pattern of such 
grace as can avoid temptation, together with such virtue as dares 
venture abroad into the world without danger of seduction. 


Grace to stand, and virtue go ;} This last line is not intelli- 
gible as it stands ; but a very slight alteration, the addition of 
the word in, at the beginning of it, which may refer to virtue 
as well as to grace, will render the sense of it clear. " Pattern 
in himself to know," is to feel in his own breast that virtue which 
he makes others practise. M. MASON. 

" Pattern in himself to know," is, to experience in his own 
bosom an original principle of action, which, instead of being 
borrowed or copied from others, might serve as a pattern to 
them. Our author, in The Winter's Tale, has again used the 
same kind of imagery : 

" By the pattern of mine own thoughts I cut out 
'* The purity of his." 

In The Comedy of Errors he uses an expression equally hardy 
and licentious : 

" And will have no attorney but myself;" 
which is an absolute catachresis ; an attorney importing precisely 
a person appointed to act for another. In Every Woman in her 
Humour, 1609, we find the same expression : 


More nor less to others paying, 
Than by self-offences weighing. 
Shame to him, whose cruel striking 
Kills for faults of his own liking ! 
Twice treble shame on Angelo, 
To weed my vice, and let his grow ! 2 
O, what may man within him hide, 
Though angel on the outward side ! 3 
How may likeness, 4 made in crimes, 
Making practice on the times, 

" - he hath but shown 

" A pattern in himse[f\ what thou shall find 
" In others." MA LONE. 

* To iveed my vice, and let his grotv /] i. e. to weed fault? 
out of my dukedom, and yet indulge himself in his own private 
vices. So, in The Contention bcttvyxtc Churchyeard and Camell, 
&c. 1 560 : 

" For Cato doth affyrme 

" Ther is no greater shame, 
" Than to reprove a vyce 

" And your selves do the same." STEEVENS. 

My, does not, I apprehend, relate to the Duke in particular, 
who had not been guilty of any vice, but to an indefinite person. 
The meaning seems to be To destroy uj/ extirpation (as it is 
expressed in another place) a fault that I have committed, and 
to suffer his own vices to grow to a rank and luxuriant height. 
The speaker, for the sake of argument, puts himself in the case 
of an offending person. MALONE. 

The Duke is plainly speaking in his own person. What he 
here terms " my vice," may be explained from his conversation 
in Act I. sc. iv. with Friar Thomas, and especially the following 
line : 

" 'twas my fault to give the people scope." 

The vice of Angelo requires no explanation. HENLEY. 

3 Though angel on the outward side /] Here we see what in- 
duced our author to give the outward-sainted deputy the name 
of Angelo. MALONE. 

4 likeness,'} i. e. comeliness appearance ; as we guv " a 

likely man.'' STEKVENS. 


Draw with idle spiders' strings 

Most pond'rous and substantial things ! 5 

* How may likeness, made in crimes, 
Making practice on the times, 
Draw "with idle spiders' strings, 

Most pond'rous and substantial things /] The old copy reads 
" To draiv with" &c. STEEVENS. 

Thus all the editions read corruptly ; and so have made an 
obscure passage in itself, quite unintelligible. Shakspeare wrote 
it thus : 

How may that likeness, made in crimes, 
Making practice on the times, 


The sense is this. How much wickedness may a man hide 
within, though he appear angel without. How may that like- 
ness made in crimes, i. e. by hypocrisy, [a pretty paradoxical 
expression, an angel made in crimes^] by imposing upon the 
world, [thus emphatically expressed, making practice on the 
times,'] draw with its false and feeble pretences [finely called 
spiders' 1 strings^ the most pondrous and substantial matters of 
the world, as riches, honour, power, reputation, &c. 


The Revisal reads thus : 

How may such likeness trade in crimes, 
Making practice on the times, 
To draw with idle spiders 1 strings 
Most pond'rous and substantial things ! 

Meaning by pond'rous and substantial things, pleasure and 
wealth. STEEVENS. 

The old copy reads Making practice, &c. which renders the 
passage ungrammatical, and unintelligible. For the emendation 
now made, [mocking,"] I am answerable. A line in Macbeth 
may add some support to it : 

" Away, and mock the time with fairest show." 

There is no one more convinced of the general propriety of 
adhering to old readings. I have strenuously followed the course 
which was pointed out and successfully pursued by Dr. Farmer 
and Mr. Steevens, that of elucidating and supporting our author's 
genuine text by illustrations drawn from the writings of his 
contemporaries, hut in some cases alteration is a matter not of 


Craft against vice I must apply : 
With Angelo to-night shall He 

choice, but necessity; and, surely, the present is one of them. 
Dr. Warburton, to obtain some sense, omitted the word To in 
the third line ; in which he was followed by all the subsequent 
editors. But omission, in my apprehension, is of all the modes 
of emendation, the most exceptionable. In the passage before 
us, it is clear, from the context, that some verb must have stood 
in either' the first or second of these lines. Some years ago I 
conjectured that, instead of made, we ought to read wade, 
which was used in our author's time in the sense of to proceed. 
But having since had occasion to observe how often the words 
mock and make have been confounded in these plays, I am now 
persuaded that the single error in the present passage is, the 
word Making having been printed instead of Mocking, a word 
of which our author has made very frequent use, and which 
exactly suits the context. In this very play we have had make 
instead of mock. [See my note on p. 220.] In the hand-writing 
of that time, the small c was merely a straight line ; so that if 
it happened to be subjoined and written very close to an o, the 
two letters might easily be taken for an a. Hence I suppose it 
was, that these words have been so often confounded. The 
awkwardness of the expression " Making practice," of which 
I have met with no example, may be likewise urged in support 
of this emendation. 

Likeness is here used for specious or seeming virtue. So, be- 
fore : " O seeming, seeming !" The sense then of the passage 
is, How may persons, assuming the likeness or semblance of 
virtue, while they are in fact guilty of the grossest crimes, impose 
with this counterfeit sanctity upon the world, in order to draw to 
themselves by the Jlimsiest pretensions the most solid advantages ; 
i. e. pleasure, honour, reputation, &c. 

In Much Ado about Nothing we have a similar thought : 
" O, what authority and show of truth 
*' Can cunning sin cover itself withal !" MALONE. 

I cannot admit that make, in the ancient copies of our author, 
has been so frequently printed instead of mock; for the passages 
in which the one is supposed to have been substituted for the 
other are still unsettled. But, be this as it may, I neither 
comprehend the drift of the lines before us as they stand in the- 
old edition, or with the aid of any changes hitherto attempted : 
and must, therefore, bequeath them to the luckier efforts of fu- 
ture criticism. STE EVENS. 


His old betrothed, but despis'd ; 

So disguise shall, by the disguis'd, 6 

Pay with falshood false exacting, 

And perform an old contracting. [Exit. 


A Room in Mariana's House. 

MARIANA discovered sitting; a Boy singing. 


Take, oh take those lips away? 

That so sweetly were forsworn ; 
And those eyes, the break of 'day , 

Lights that do mislead the morn : 
But my kisses bring again, 

bring again, 
Seals of love, but seal'd in vain, 

seal'd in vain. 

By made in crimes, the Duke means, trained in iniquity, and 
perfect in it. Thus we say a made horse ; a made pointer ; 
meaning one well trained. M. MASON. 

6 So disguise shall, by the disguis'd,] So disguise shall, by 
means of a person disguised, return an injurious demand with a 
counterfeit person. JOHNSON. 

7 Take, oh take &c.] This is part of a little song of Shak- 
speare's own writing, consisting of two stanzas, and so extremely 
sweet, that the reader won't he displeased to have the other : 



MARL Break off thy song, and haste thee quick 

away ; 

Here comes a man of comfort, whose advice 
Hath often still'd my brawling discontent. 

[Exit Boy. 

Enter Duke. 

I cry you mercy, sir ; and well could wish 
You had not found me here so musical : 

Hide, oh hide those hills of snow, 

Which thy frozen bosom bears, 
On whose tops the pinks that grow. 

Are of those that April wears. 
Butjirst set my poor heart free, 
Bound in those icy chains by thee, WARBURTON. 

This song is entire in Beaumont's Bloody Brother, and i: 
Shakspeare's Poems. The latter stanza is omitted by Mariana, 
as not suiting a female character. THEOBALD. 

Though Sewell and Gildon have printed this among Shak- 
speare's Poems, they have done the same to so many other pieces, 
of which the real authors are since known, that their evidence 
is not to be depended on. It is not found in Jaggard's edition ot 
our author's Sonnets, which was printed during his life-time. 

Our poet, however, has introduced one of the same thought- 
in his 142d Sonnet: 

" not from those lips of thine 

" That have prophan'd their scarlet ornaments, 
" And seaVdJalse bonds of love, as oft as mine." 

Again, in his Venus and Adonis : 

" Pure lips, sweet seals in my soft lips imprinted, 
" What bargains may I make, still to be sealing." 


The same image occurs also in the old black-letter translation 
of Amadis qfGaule, 4to. p. 171 : " rather with kisses (which 
are counted the scales of love.} they chose to confirm their una- 
nimitie, than otherwise to offend a resolved pacience." HEED. 

This song is found entire in Shakspeare's Poems, printed in 
1640; but that is a book of no authority: yet I believe that 
both these stanzas were -written by our author. MALONK. 


Let me excuse me, and believe me so, 

My mirth it much displeas'd, but pleas'd my woe. 8 

DUKE. 'Tisgood : though musick oft hath such 

a charm, 

To make bad, good, and good provoke to harm. 
I pray you, tell me, hath any body inquired for 
me here to-day ? much upon this time have I pro- 
mis'd here to meet. 

MART. You have not been inquired after : I 
have sat here all day. 


DUKE. I do constantly 9 believe you : The time 
is come, even now. I shall crave your forbearance 
a little ; may be, I will call upon you anon, for 
some advantage to yourself. 

MARI. I am always bound to you. [Exit, 

DUKE. Very well met, and welcome. 
What is the news from this good deputy ? 

ISAB. He hath a garden circummur'd with brick, 1 
Whose western side is with a vineyard back'd ; 

* My mirth it much displeas'd, but pleas' d my uoe.~\ Though 
the musick soothed my sorrows, it had no tendency to produce 
light merriment. JOHNSON. 

9 constantly ] Certainly ; without fluctuation of mind. 


So, in The Merchant of Venice: 

" Could so much turn the constitution 
" Of any constant man." STEEVENS. 

1 circummur'd ivitk brick^\ Circummured, walled round, 

" Ho caused the doors to be mured and cased up." 

Painter's Palace of Pleasure. JOHNSON. 

z 2 


And to that vineyard is a planched gate, 2 
That makes his opening with this bigger key : 
This other doth command a little door, 
Which from the vineyard to the garden leads ; 
There have I made my promise to call on him, 
Upon the heavy middle of the night. 3 

DUKE. But shall you on your knowledge find 
this way ? 

ISAB. I have ta'en a due and wary note upon't ; 
With whispering and most guilty diligence, 
In action all of precept, 4 he did show me 
The way twice o'er. 

DUKE. Are there no other tokens 

Between you 'greed, concerning her observance ? 

ISAB. No, none, but only a repair i* the dark ; 

a planched gate,] f. e. a gate made of boards. Planch e. 


A plancher is a plank. So, in Lyly's Maid's Metamorphosif, 

upon the ground doth lie 

" A hollow plancher.'"'- 

Again, in Sir Arthur Gorges' translation of Lucan, 16H : 
" Yet with his hoof'es doth beat and rent 
" The planched floore, the barres and chaines." 


3 There have I &c.] In the old copy the lines stand thus : 

There have I made my promise upon the 

Heavy middle of the night, to call upon him. STEEVENS. 

The present regulation was made by Mr. Steevens. MALONE. 

4 In action all of precept,'] i. e. shewing the several turnings 
of the way with his hand ; which action contained so many 
precepts, being given for my direction. WAUBUHTON. 

I rather think we should read 

In precept of all action, 
that is, in direction given not by words, but by mute signs. 



And that I have possessed him, 5 my most stay 
Can be but brief: for I have made him know, 
I have a servant comes with me along, 
That stays upon me ; 6 whose persuasion is, 
I come about my brother. 

DUKE. 'Tis well borne up. 

I have not yet made known to Mariana 
A word of this: What, ho! within! come forth! 

Re-enter MARIANA. 

I pray you, be acquainted with this maid; 
She comes to do you good. 

I SAB. I do desire the like. 

DUKE. Do you persuade yourself that I respect 

MARL Good friar, I know you do ; and have 
found it. 

DUKE* Take then this your companion by the 


Who hath a story ready for your ear : 
I shall attend your leisure ; but make haste ; 
The vaporous night approaches. 

MART. WilPt please you walk aside ? 


4 / have possess'd him,] I have made him clearly and 

strongly comprehend. JOHNSON. 

To possess had formerly the sense of inform or acquaint. As 
in Every Man in his Humour, Act I. sc. v. Captain Bobadil 
says : " Possess no gentleman of our acquaintance with notice 
of my lodging." REED. 

6 That stays upon me ;] So, in Macleth : 

" Worthy Macbeth, we stay upon your leisure." 



DUKE. O place and greatness, 7 millions of false 

eyes 8 

Are stuck upon thee ! volumes of report 
Run with these false and most contrarious quests 9 

7 place and greatness,"] It plainly appears that this fine 
speech belongs to that which concludes the preceding scene be- 
tween the Duke and Lucio : for they are absolutely foreign to 
the subject of this, and are the natural reflections arising from 
that. Besides, the very words 

Run with these false and most contrarious quests, 
evidently refer to Lucio's scandals just preceding ; which the 
Oxford editor, in his usual way, has emended, by altering these 
to their. But that some time might be given to the two women 
to confer together, the players, I suppose, took part of the 
speech, beginning at No might nor greatness, &c. and put it 
here, without troubling themselves about its pertinency. How- 
ever, we are obliged to them for not giving us their own imper- 
tinency, as they have frequently done in other places. 


I cannot agree that these lines are placed here by the players. 
The sentiments are common, and such as a prince, given to re- 
. flection, must have often present. There was a necessity to fill 
up the time in which the ladies converse apart, and the}' must 
have quick tongues and ready apprehensions if they understood 
each other while this speech was uttered. JOHNSOX. 

8 millions of false eyes ] That is, eyes insidious and 

traiterous. JOHNSON. 

So, in Chaucer's Sompnoures Tale, Tyrwhitt's edit. v. 7633 : 
" Ther isful many an eye, and many an ere, 
" Awaiting on a lord," &c. STEEVENS. 

9 contrarious quests ] Different reports, running coun- 
ter to each other. JOHNSON. 

So, in Othello ; 

" The senate has sent out three several guests." 

In our author's King Richard III. is a passage in some degree 
similar to the foregoing : 

" My conscience hath a thousand several tongues, 
" And every tongue brings in a several tale, 
" And every tale condemns /' STEEVENS. 

I incline to think that quests here means inquisitions, in which 
the word was used in Shakspeare's time. See Minshieu's 


Upon thy doings! thousand 'scapes of wit 1 
Make thee the father of their idle dream, 
And rack thee in their fancies ! 2 Welcome ! How 
agreed ? 


ISAS. She'll take the enterprize upon her, father, 
If you advise it. 

DUKE. It is not my consent, 

But my intreaty too. 

ISAS. Little have you to say, 

When you depart from him, but, soft and low, 
Remember now my brother. 

MARI. Fear me not. 

DUKE. Nor, gentle daughter, fear you not at all : 
He is your husband on a pre-contract : 
To bring you thus together, 'tis no sin ; 
Sith that the justice of your title to him 

DICT. in v. Cole, in his Latin Dictionary, 1679, renders " A 
guest," by " examen, inquisitio." MALONE. 

False and contrarious guests, in this place, rather mean lying 
and contradictory messengers, with whom run volumes of report. 
An explanation, which the line quoted by Mr. Steevens will 
serve to confirm. RITSON. 

1 'scapes of wit -] i.e. sallies, irregularities. So, in 

King John, Act III. sc. iv : 

** No 'scape of nature, no distemper'd day." STEEVENS. 

* And rack thee in their fancies !~\ Though rack, in the pre- 
sent instance, may signify torture or mangle, it might also mean 
confuse ; as the rack, i. e. fleeting cloud, renders the object be- 
hind it obscure, and of undetermined form. So, in Antony and 
Cleopatra ; 

" That which was now a horse, even with a thought, 
" The rack dislirnns, and makes it indistinct, 
" As water is in water.'' STEEVENS. 


Doth flourish the deceit. 3 Come, let us go ; 
Our corn's to reap, for yet our tithe's to sow. 4 


3 Doth flourish the deceit.] A metaphor taken from embroi- 
dery, where a coarse ground is filled up, and covered with figures 
of rich materials and elegant workmanship. WAUBURTON. 

Flourish is ornament in general. So, in our author's Twelfth 

" empty trunks o'erftourish'd by the devil." 


Dr. Warburton's illustration of the metaphor seems to be in- 
accurate. The passage from another of Shakspeare's plays, 
quoted by Mr. Steevens, suggests to us the true one. 

The term flourish, alludes to the flowers impressed on the 
waste printed paper and old books, with which trunks are com- 
monly lined. HENLEY. 

When it is proved that the practice alluded to, was as ancient 
as the time of Shakspeare, Mr. Henley's explanation may be 
admitted. STEEVENS. 

4 -for yet our tithe's to sotc.] As before, the blundering 

editors have made a prince of the priestly Angelo, so here they 
have made & priest of the prince. We should read tilth, i. e. our 
tillage is yet to make. The grain from which we expect our 
harvest, is not yet put into the ground. WARRUHTON 

The reader is here attacked with a petty sophism. We should 
read tilth, i. e. our tillage is to make. But in the text it is to 
sow ; and who has ever said that his tillage was to soiv ? I 
believe tythe is r'ght, and that the expression is proverbial, in 
which tythe is taken, by an easy metonymy, for harvest. 


Dr. Warburton did not do justice to his own conjecture; and 
no wonder, therefore, that Dr. Johnson has not. Tilth is pro- 
vincially used for land till'd, prepared for sowing. Shakspeare, 
however, has applied it before in its usual acceptation. FARMER. 

Dr. Warburton's conjecture may be supported by many in- 
stances in Markham's English Husbandman, 1635: " After the 
beginning of March you shall begin to sowe your barley upon 
that ground which the year before did lye fallow, and is com- 
monly called your tilth or fallow field." In p. 74- of this book, 
a corruption, like our author's, occurs : " As before, I said 
beginne to fallow your tithe field;" which is undoubtedly mis- 
printed for tilth field. TOLLET. 



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. 

PROF. 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 pri- 
son 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 shall 
have your full time of imprisonment, and your de- 
liverance with an unpitied whipping ; 5 for you have 
been a notorious bawd. 

Tilth is used for crop, or harvest, by Gower, DC Confessione 
Amantis, Lib. V. fol. 93, b : 

" To sowe cockill with the corne, 
" So that the tilth is nigh forlorne, 
" Which Christ sew first his owne honde." 
Shakspeare uses the word tilth in a former scene of this play ; 
and, (as Dr. Farmer has observed,) in its common acceptation : 

" her plenteous womb 

" Expresseth its full tilth and husbandry." 
Again, in The Tempest: 

" bound of land, tilth, vineyard, none." 

But my quotation from Gower shows that, to sow tilth, was a 
phrase once in use. STEEVENS. 

This conjecture appears to me extremely probable. MALONE. 

s an unpitied whipping;"] i. e. an unmerciful one. 



CLO. Sir, I have been an unlawful bawd, time 
out of mind ; but yet I will be content to be a law- 
ful hangman. I would be glad to receive some 
instruction from my fellow partner. 

PROF. What ho, Abhorson ! Where's Abhor, 
son, there ? 


ABHOR. Do you call, sir? 

PROV. Sirrah, here's a fellow will help you to- 
morrow 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. Goto, sir; you weigh equally; a feather 
will turn the scale. [_Exit. 

CLO. Pray, sir, by your good favour, (for, surely, 
sir, a good favour 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 occu- 
pation, using painting, do prove my occupation a 

6 a good favour ] Favour is countenance. So, in 

Antony and Cleopatra : 

" why so tart a favour, 

" To publish such good tidings.'' STEEVENS. 


mystery: but what mystery there should be in hang- 
ing, if I should be hang'd, I cannot imagine. 7 

7 what mystery &c.] Though I have adopted an emenda- 
tion independent of the following note, the omission of it would 
have been unwarrantable. STEEVEXS. 

'what mistery there should be in hanging, if I should be 

hang'd, I cannot imagine. 

Abhor. Sir, it is a mistery. 

Clo. Proof. 

Abhor. Every true man's apparel jits your thief: 

Clo. 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 Jits your thief.'] Thus 
it stood in all the editions till Mr. Theobald's, and was, methinks, 
not very difficult to be understood. The plain and humorous 
sense of the speech is this. Every true man's apparel, which 
the thief robs him of, fits the thief. Why ? Because, if it be too 
little for the thief, the true man thinks it big enough : i. e. a 
purchase too good for him. So that this fits the thief in the 
opinion of the true man. But if it be too big for the thief, yet 
the thief thinks it little enough : i. e. of value little enough. So 
that this fits the thief in his own opinion. Where we see, that 
the pleasantry of the joke consists in the equivocal sense of big 
enough, and little enough. Yet Mr. Theobald says, he can see 
no sense in all this, and therefore alters the whole thus : 

Abhor. Every true man's apparel Jits your thief. 

Clown. If it be too little for your true man, your thief thinks 
it big enough : if it be too big for your true man, your thief thinks 
it little enough. 

And for his alteration gives this extraordinary reason. / am 
satisfied the poet intended a regular syllogism ; and I submit it 
to judgment, whether my regulation has not restored that wit 
and humour which was quite lost in the depravation. But the 
place is corrupt, though Mr. Theobald could not find it out. 
Let us consider it a little. The Hangman calls his trade a mis- 
tery: the Clown cannot conceive it. The Hangman undertakes 
to prove it in these words, Every true mans apparel, &c. but 
this proves the thief's trade a mistery, not the hangman's. Hence 
it appears, that the speech, in which the Hangman proved his 
trade a mistery, is lost. The very words it is impossible to re- 
trieve, but one may easily understand what medium he employed 
in proving it : without doubt, the very same the Clown employed 
to prove the thief's trade a mistery ; namely, that all sorts of 


ABHOR. Sir, it is a mystery. 

clothes Jltted the hangman. The Clown on hearing this argu- 
ment, replied, I suppose, to this effect : Why, by the same kind 
of reasoning, I can prove the thief's trade too to be a mistery. 
The other asks how, and the Clown goes on as above, Every 
true man's apparel Jits your thief; if it be too little, &c. The 
jocular conclusion from the whole being an insinuation that thief 
and hangman were rogues alike. This conjecture gives a spirit 
and integrity to the dialogue, which, in its present mangled 
condition, is altogether wanting ; and shews why the argument 
of every true man's apparel, &c. was in all editions given to the 
Clown, to whom indeed it belongs ; and likewise that the pre- 
sent reading of that argument is the true. WARBURTON. 

If Dr. Warburton had attended to the argument by which the 
Bawd proves his own profession to be a mystery, he would not 
have been driven to take refuge in the groundless supposition, 
" that part of the dialogue had been lost or dropped." 

The argument of the Hangman is exactly similar to that of 
the Bawd. As the latter puts in his claim to the whores, as 
members of his occupation, and, in virtue of their painting, 
would enroll his 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. 
The reading of the old editions is, therefore, undoubtedly right; 
except that the last speech, which makes part of the Hangman's 
argument, is, by mistake, as the reader's own sagacity will rea- 
dily perceive, given to the Clown or Bawd. I suppose, there- 
fore, the poet gave us the whole thus : 

Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery. 

Clown. Proof. 

Abhor. Every true man s apparel Jits your thief: 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 Jits your thief. 

I must do Dr. Warburton the justice to acknowledge, that he 
hath rightly apprehended and explained the force of the Hang- 
man's argument. HEATH. 

There can be no doubt but the word Clown, prefixed to the 
last sentence, If it be too little, c. should be struck out. It 
makes part of Abhorson's argument, who has undertaken to 
prove that hanging was a mystery, and convinces the Clown of 
it by this very speech. M, MASON. 


CLO. Proof. 

ABHOR. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: 8 
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 thief. 

Re-enter Provost. 

PROF. 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 oftner ask forgiveness. 9 

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. 

8 Every true man's apparel Jits your thief i} So, in Promos and 
Cassandra, 1578, the Hangman says : 

" Here is nyne and twenty sutes of apparell for my 


True man, in the language of ancient times, is always placed iu 
apposition to thief. 

So, in Churchyard's Warning to Wanderers abroade, 1593: 
" The priuy thiefe that steales away our wealth, 
" Is sore afraid a trice man's steps to see." STEEVENS. 

Mr. Steevens seems to be mistaken in his assertion that true 
man in ancient times was always placed in opposition to thief. 
At least in the Book of Genesis, there is one instance to the con- 
trary, ch. xlii. v. 11 : " We are all one man's sons: we are all 
i rue men ; thy servants are no spies.' 1 HENLEY. 

* ask forgiveness.] So, in As you like it: 

" The common executioner, 

" Whose heart the accustom'd sight of death makes hard r 
" Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck, 
" But first begs pardon." STEF.VEXS. 


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 yare : 1 for, truly sir, for your kind- 
ness, I owe you a good turn. 2 

PROV. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio : 

\JExeunt Clown and ABHORSON. 
One has my pity ; not a jot the other, 
Being a murderer, though he were my brother. 


Look, here's the warrant, Claudio, for thy death : 
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to-morrow 
Thoumustbemade immortal. Where's Barnardine? 

CLAUD. As fast.lock'd up in sleep, as guiltless 


When it lies starkly 3 in the traveller's bones : 
He will not wake. 

PROV. Who can do good on him ? 

Well, go, prepare yourself. But hark, what noise ? 

[Knocking within. 

1 yare :~\ i. e. handy, nimble in the execution of my 

office. So, in Twelfth-Night : " dismount thy tuck, be yare 
in thy preparation." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra: 
" His ships are yare, yours heavy," STEEVENS. 

a good turn.] i. e. a turn off the ladder. He quibbles 
on the phrase according to its common acceptation. FARMER. 

3 starkly ] Stiffly. These two lines afford a very pleas- 
ing image. JOHNSON. 

So, in The Legend of Lord Hastings, 1575 : 

" Least slarke with rest they nnew'd waxe and hoare." 
Again, in an ancient Poem quoted in MS. Harl. 4690 : 
" Alle displayedde on the grounde, 
" And layne starkly on blode, ." 

Again, Thomas Lupton's Fourth Booke of Notable Thinges : : 
" Synewes cutte, starke, or sprayned in travell." STEEVENS. 


Heaven give your spirits comfort ! \_ExitC~L AUDIO, 

By and by : 

I hope it is some pardon, or reprieve, 
For the most gentle Claudio. Welcome, father. 

Enter Duke. 

DUKE. The best and wholesomest spirits of the 


Envelop you, good Provost ! Who call'd here of 
late ? 

PROV. None, since the curfew rung. 

DUKE. Not Isabel r 

PROV. No. 

DUKE. They will then, 4 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 3 not so ; his life is paralleled 
Even with the stroke 5 and line of his great justice ; 
He doth with holy abstinence subdue 
That in himself, which he spurs on his power 
To qualify 6 in others : were he meal'd 7 

* They ivill then,']. Perhaps she will then. 


The Duke expects Isabella and Mariana. A little afterward 
he says : 

" Now are they come." RITSON. 

* Even -with the stroke ] Stroke is here put for the stroke of 
a pen or a line. JOHNSON. 

6 To qualify ] To temper, to moderate, as we say wine is 
qualified with water. JOHNSON. 

Thus before in this play : 

" So to enforce, or qualify the laws." 


With that which he corrects, then were he tyran- 
nous ; 

But this being so, 8 he's just. Noware they come. 
[Knocking within. Provost goes out. 
This is a gentle provost : Seldom, when 
The steeled gaoler is the friend of men. 
How now ? What noise ? That spirit's possess'd 

with haste, 

That wounds the unsisting postern with these 

Again, in Othello : 

" I have drank but one cup to-night, and that was craftily 
qualified too." STEEVENS. 

7 were he meal'd ] Were he sprinkled ; were he defiled. 

A figure of the same kind our author uses in Macbeth : 
" The blood-bolter 9 d Banquo." JOHNSON. 

More appositely, in The Philosophers Satires, by Robert 
Anton : 

" As if their pcrriwigs to death they gave, 

" To meale them in some gastly dead man's grave." 


Mealed is mingled, compounded ; from the French mesler. 


8 But this being .90,] The tenor of the argument seems to 

require But this not being so, . Perhaps, however, the 

author meant only to say But, his life being paralleled, &c.he's 
just. MALONE. 

9 That spirit's possessed with haste, 

That wounds the unsisting postern with these strokes."] The 
line is irregular, and the old reading, unresisting postern, so 
strange an expression, that want of measure, and want of sense, 
might justly raise suspicion of an error; yet none of the later 
editors seem to have supposed the place faulty, except Sir Thomas 
Hanmer, who reads : 

the unresting postern 

The three folios have it 

unsisting postern 

out of which Mr. Rowe made unresisting, and the rest followed 
him. Sir Thomas Hanmer seems to have supposed unresisting 
the word in the copies, from which he plausibly enough ex- 


Provost returns, speaking to one at the door. 

PROV. There he must stay, until the officer 
Arise to let him in ; he is call'd up. 
DUKE. Have you no countermand for Claudio 


But he must die to-morrow? 

PROV. None, sir, none. 

DUKE. As near the dawning, Provost, as it is, 
You shall hear more ere morning. 

PROV. Happily, 

You something know; yet, I believe, there comes 
No countermand; no such example have we: 
Besides, upon the very siege of justice, 1 
Lord Angelo hath to the publick ear 
Profess* d the contrary. 

Enter a Messenger. 
DUKE. This is his lordship's man. 2 

tracted unresting; but he grounded his emendation on the very 
syllable that wants authority. What can be made of unsisting 
I know not; the best that occurs to me is unfeeling. JOHNSON. 

Unsisting may signify " never at rest," always opening. 


I should think we might safely read: 

unlist'ning postern, or unshifting postern. 

The measure requires it, and the sense remains uninjured. 

Mr. M. Mason would read unlisting, which means unregard- 
ing. I have, however, inserted Sir William Blackstone's emen- 
dation in the text. STEEVENS. 

1 siege of justice,] i.e. seat of justice. Siege, French. 

'So, in Othello : 

" 1 fetch my birth 

" From men of royal siege." STEEVENS. 

2 This is his Zon/ship's man.] The old copy has his lord's 
man. Corrected by Mr. Pope. In the MS. plays of our author's 



PROV. And here comes Claudio's pardon. 3 

MESS. My lord hath sent you this note ; and by 
me this further charge, that you swerve not from 
the smallest article of it, neither in time, matter, 
or other circumstance. Good morrow; for, as I 
take it, it is almost day. 

PROV. I shall obey him. \_Exit Messenger. 

DUKE. This is his pardon; purchas'd by such 
sin, [Aside. 

For which the pardoner himself is in: 
Hence hath offence his quick celerity, 
When it is borne in high authority: 
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended, 
That for the fault's love, is the offender friended. 
Now, sir, what news ? 

time they often wrote Lo. for Lord, and Lord, for Lordship ; 
and these contractions were sometimes improperly followed in 
the printed copies. MALONE. 

3 Enter a Messenger. 
Duke. This is his lordship's man. 

Prov. And here comes Claudia's pardon."] The Provost has 
just declared a fixed opinion that the execution will not be 
countermanded, and yet, upon the first appearance of the Mes- 
senger, he immediately guesses that his errand is to bring 
Claudio's pardon. It is evident, I think, that the names of 
the speakers are misplaced. If we suppose the Provost to say : 

This is his lordship's man, 
it is very natural for the Duke to subjoin, 

And here comes Claudio' s pardon. 

The Duke might believe, upon very reasonable grounds, that 
Angelo had now sent the pardon. It appears that he did so, 
from what he says to himself, while the Provost is reading the 
letter : 

This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin. TYRWHITT. 

When, immediately after the Duke had hinted his expectation 
of a pardon, the Provost sees the Messenger, he supposes the 
Duke to have known something, and changes his mind. Either 
reading may serve equally well. JOHNSON. 


PROV. I told you : Lord Angelo, be-like, think- 
ing me remiss in mine office, awakens me with 
this unwonted putting on : 4 methinks, strangely; 
for he hath not used it before. 

DUKE. Pray you, let's hear. 

PROV. [Reads.] Whatsoever you may hear to the 
contrary, let Claudio be executed by four of the 
clock; and, in the afternoon, Barnardine : for my 
better satisfaction, let me have Claudio' s head sent 
me by Jive. Let this be duly performed ; with a 
thought, that more depends on it than we must yet 
deliver. Thus Jail not to do your office, as you will 
answer it at your peril. 
What say you to this, sir ? 

DUKE. What is that Barnardine, who is to be 
executed in the afternoon ? 

PROV. A Bohemian born ; but here nursed up 
and bred : one that is a prisoner nine years old. & 

DUKE. How came it, that the absent duke had 
not either delivered him to his liberty, or executed 
him? I have heard, it was ever his manner to 
do so. 

PROV. His friends still wrought reprieves for 
him : And, indeed, his fact, till now in the govern- 
ment of lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful 

* putting on .] i.e. spur, incitement. So, in Macbeth^ 

Act IV. sc. iii: 

*' the powers above 

" Put on their instruments." STEEVENS. 

one that is a prisoner nine years old.~] i. e. That has 

been confined these nine years. So, in Hamlet : " Ere we were 
two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike preparation," &c. 


A A 2 


DUKE. Is it now apparent ? 

PROV. Most manifest, and not denied by himself. 

DUKE. Hath he borne himself penitently in 
prison ? How seems he to be touch'd ? 

PROV. A man that apprehends death no more 
dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep ; careless, reck- 
less, and fearless of what's past,present, or to come; 
insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal. 6 

DUKE. He wants advice. 

PROV. He will hear none : he hath evermore had 
the liberty of the prison; give him leave to escape 
hence, he would not : drunk many times a day, if 
not many days entirely drunk. We have very often 
awaked him, as if to carry him to execution, and 
show'd him a seeming warrant for it : it hath not 
moved him at all. 

DUKE. More of him anon. There is written in 
your brow, Provost, honesty and constancy : if I 
read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but 

6 desperately mortal.] This expression is obscure. Sir 

Thomas Hanmer reads, mortally desperate. Mortally is in low- 
conversation used in this sense, but I know not whether it was 
ever written. I am inclined to believe, that desperately mortal 
means desperately mischievous. Or desjjeratety mortal may 
mean a man likely to die in a desperate state, without reflection 
or repentance. JOHNSON. 

The word is often used by Shakspeare in the sense first affixed 
to it by Dr. Johnson, which I believe to be the true one. 
So, in Othello.' 

" And you, ye mortal engines," &c. MALONE. 

As our author, in The Tempest, seems to have written " har- 
monious charmingly," instead of " harmoniously charming," he 
may,, in the present instance, have given us " desperately mor- 
tal," for " mortally desperate:" i. e. desperate in the extreme. 
In low provincial language, mortal sick, mortal bad, mortal 
poor, is phraseology of frequent occurrence. STEEVENS. 


in the boldness of my cunning, 7 I will lay myself 
in hazard. Claudio, whom here you have a warrant 
to execute, is no greater forfeit to the law than 
Angelo who hath sentenced him : To make you 
understand this in a manifested effect, I crave but 
four day.*, respite ; for the which you are to do me 
both a present and a dangerous courtesy. 

PROF. Pray, sir, in what? 
DUKE. In the delaying death. 

PROF. Alack ! how may I do it? having the hour 
limited; and an express command, under penalty, 
to deliver his head in the view of Angelo ? I may 
make my case as Claudio's, to cross this in the 

DUKE. By the vow of mine order, I warrant 
you, if my instructions may be your guide. Let 
this Barnardine be this morning executed, and his 
head borne to Angelo. 

PROV. Angelo hath seen them both, and will 
discover the favour. 8 

DUKE. O, death's a great disguiser: and you may 
add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard; 9 and 

7 in the boldness of my cunning,] i. e. in confidence of 

my sagacity. STEEVENS. 

8 the favour .] See note 6, p. 346. STEEVENS. 

9 and tie the beard ;~\ The Revisal recommends Mr. 
Simpson's emendation, DIE the beard, but the present reading 
may stand. Perhaps it was usual to tie up the beard before 
decollation. Sir T. More is said to have been ludicrously careful 
about this ornament of his face. It should, however, be remem- 
bered, that it was also the custom to die beards. 

, So, in the old comedy of Ram- Alley, 1611 : 

" What colour 'd beard comes next by the window ? 

" A black man's, I think. 

" 1 think, a red ; for that is most in fashion." 


say, it was the desire of the penitent to be so bared 1 
before his death: You know, the course is com- 
mon. 2 If any thing fall to you upon this, more 
than thanks and good fortune, by the saint whom 
I profess, I will plead against it with my life. 

PROV. Pardon me, good father ; it is against my 

DUKE. Were you sworn to the duke, or to the 
deputy ? 

PROV. To him, and to his substitutes. 

Again, in The Silent Woman : " I have fitted my divine and 
canonist, dyed their beards and all." 

Again, in The Alchemist : " he had dy'd his beard, and all." 


A beard tied would give a very new air to that face, which 
had never been seen but with the beard loose, long, and squalid. 


1 to be so bared ] These words relate to what has just 

preceded shave the head. The modern editions, following the 
fourth folio, read to be so barUd; but the old copy is certainly 
right. So, in All's well that ends well: " I would the cutting of 
my garments would serve the turn, or the baring of my beard ; 
and to say it was in stratagem." MA.LONE. 

* You know, the course is common."] P. Mathieu, in his 

Heroyke Life and deplorable Death of Henry the Fourth, of 
France, says, that Ravaillac, in the midst of his tortures, lifted 
up his head and shook a spark of fire from his beard. " This 
unprofitable care, (he adds,) to save it, being noted, afforded 
matter to divers to praise the custome in Germany, Svuisserland, 
and divers other places, to shave off", and then to burn all the 
haire from all parts of the bodies of those who are convicted for 
any notorious crimes." 

Grimston's Translation, 4'to. 1612, p. 181. REED. 

This alludes to a practice frequent amongst Roman Catholicks, 
of desiring to receive the tonsure of the Monks before they die. 
It cannot allude to the custom which Mr. Reed tells us was 
established in some parts of Germany, that of shaving criminals 
previous to their execution, as here the penitent is supposed to 
be bared at his own request. M. MASON. 

sc. ii. MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 8,59 

DUKE. You will think you have made no of- 
fence, if the duke avouch the justice of your 
dealing ? 

PROV. But what likelihood is in that ? 

DUKE. Not a resemblance, but a certainty. Yet 
since I see you fearful, that neither my coat, inte- 
grity, nor my persuasion, can with ease attempt 
you, I will go further than I meant, to pluck all 
fears out of you. Look you, sir, here is the hand 
and seal of the duke. You know the character, I 
doubt not ; and the signet is not strange to you. 

PROV. I know them both. 

DUKE. The contents of this is the return of the 
duke; you shall anon over-read it at your pleasure; 
where you shall find, within these two days he will 
be here. This is a thing, that Angelo knows not: 
for he this very day receives letters of strange te- 
nor; perchance, of the duke's death ; perchance, 
entering into some monastery; but, by chance, 
nothing of what is writ. 3 Look, the unfolding 
star calls up the shepherd: 4 Put not yourself into 
amazement, how these things should be: all diffi- 
culties are but easy when they are known. Call 
your executioner, and off with Barnardine's head: 
I will give him a present shrift, and advise him for 

s nothing of what is writ.] We should read here ton/; 
the Duke pointing to the letter in his hand. WARBURTON. 

4 the unfolding star calls up the shepherd:] 

" The star, that bids the shepherd fold, 
" Now the top of heaven doth hold." Milton's Comus. 


" So doth the evening star present itself 

" Unto the careful shepherd's gladsome eyes, 

*' By which unto the fold he leads his flock." 

Marston's Insatiate Countess t 1613. M ALONE. 


a better place. Yet you are amazed; but this 
shall absolutely resolve you. 5 Come away; it is 
almost clear dawn. \_Exeunt. 


Another Room in the same. 
Enter Clown. 

CLO. I am as well acquainted here, as I was in 
our house of profession: 6 one would think, it were 
mistress Overdone's own house, for here be many 
of her old customers. First, here's young master 
Rash ; 7 he's in for a commodity of brown paper 

* this shall absolutely resolve you."] That is, shall en- 
tirely convince you. M. MASON. 

c in our house o/'profession:] i. e. in my late mistress's 

house, which was a professed, a notorious bawdy-house. 


7 First, here's young master Rash ; &c.] This enumeration 
of the inhabitants of the prison affords a very striking view of 
the practices predominant in Shakspeare's age. Besides those 
whose follies ate common to all times, we have four fighting 
men and a traveller. It is not unlikely that the originals of the 
pictures were then known. JOHNSON. 

Rash was the name of some kind of stuff. So, in An Apr ill 
Shotver, shed in Abundance of Tears, for the Death and incom- 
parable Louse, Sfc. of Richard Sacvile, fyc. Earl of Dorset, Sfc. 

" For with the plainest plaine yee saw him goe, 

" In ciuill blacke of Rash, of Serge, or so ; 

" The liuerie of wise stayednesse ." STEEVENS. 

If this term alludes to the stuff so called, (which was probably 
one of the commodities fraudulently issued out by money- 
lenders,) there is nevertheless a pun intended. So, in an old 
MS. poem, entitled, The Description of Women : 
" Their head is made of Rash, 
" Their tongues are made of Say." DOUCE. 


and old ginger, 8 ninescore and seventeen pounds; 
of which he made five marks, ready money : marry, 

All the names here mentioned are character istical. Rash was 
a stuff formerly used. So, in A Reply as true as Steele, to a 
rusty, railing, ridiculous, lying lAbell, which was lately written 
by an impudent unsoder d Ironmonger, and called by the Name 
of An Answer to a foolish Pamphlet entitled A Swarme of Sec- 
taries and Schismatiques. By John Taylour, 161-1 : 

" And with mockado suit, and judgement rash, 
" And tongue of saye, thou'lt say all is but trash." 

Sericum rasum. See Minshieu's DICT. in v. Bash, and Florio's 
Italian Diet. 1598, in v. rascia, rascetta. MALONE. 

9 a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, ~\ Thus the 

old copy. The modern editors read, brown pepper ; but the 
following passage in Michaelmas Term, Com. 1607, will com- 
pletely establish the original reading : 

" I know some gentlemen in town have been glad, and nre 
glad at this time, to take up commodities in hawk's-hoods and 
brown paper ." 

Again, in A new Trick to cheat the Devil, 1636 : 

' to have been so bit already 

' With taking up commodities of brown paper, 
1 Buttons past fashion, silks, and sattins, 
' Babies and children's fiddles, with like trash 
' Took up at a dear rate, and sold for trifles." 
Again, in Greene's Quip for an upstart Courtier, 1620 : 

" For the merchant, he delivered the iron, tin, lead, hops, 
sugars, spices, oyls, brown paper, or whatever else, from six 
months to six months : which when the poor gentleman came 
to sell again, he could not make three score and ten in the hun- 
dred besides the usury." Again, in Greene's Defence of Coney- 
catching, 1592: " so that if he borrow an hundred pound, 
he shall have forty in silver, and threescore in wares ; as lute- 
strings, hobby-horses, or brown paper, or cloath," &c. 

Again, in The Spanish Curate of Beaumont and Fletcher : 

'* Commodities of pins, brown papers, packthread." 
Again, in Gascoigne's Steele Glasse: 

'< To teach young men the trade to sell browne paper" 
Again, in Hall's Satires, Lib. IV : 

" But Nummius eas'd the needy gallant's care, 
" With a base bargaine of his blowen ware, 
" Of f usted hoppes now lost for lacke of sayle, 
*' Or mol'd browne-paper that could nought auaile." 


then, ginger was not much in request, for the old 
women were all dead. 9 Then is there here one 
master Caper, at the suit of master Three-pile the 
mercer, for some four suits of peach-colour'd satin, 
which now peaches him a beggar. Then have we 
here young Dizy, 1 and young master Deep-vow, 
and master Copper-spur, and master Starve-lackey 
the rapier and dagger-man, and young Drop-heir 

Again, in Decker's Seven deadly Sinnes of London, 4 to. bl. I. 
1606 : " and these are usurers, who, for a little money, and 
a great deale of trash, (as fire-shouels, browne paper, motley 
cloake-bags, &c.) bring yong nouices into a foole s paradice, 
till they have sealed the mortgage of their landes," &c. 


A commodity of brown paper ] Mr. Steevens supports this 
rightly. Fennor asks, in his Comptor's Commonwealth, " sup- 
pose the commodities are delivered after Signior Unthrift and 
Master Breaker have both sealed the bonds, how must those 
hobby-horses, reams of brown paper, Jewes trumpes and babies, 
babies and rattles, be solde ?" FARMER. 

In a MS. Letter from Sir John Hollis to Lord Burleigh, is the 
following passage : " Your Lordship digged into my auncestors 
graves, and pulling one up from his 70 yeares reste, pronounced 
him an abominable usurer and merchante of browne paper, so 
hatefull and contemptible that the players acted him before the 
kinge with great applause." And again: " Nevertheles I denye 
that any of them were merchantes of browne paper, neither doe 
I thinke any other but your Lordship's imagination ever sawe or 
hearde any of them playde upon a stage ; and that they were 
such usurers I suppose your Lordship will want testimonye." 


9 ginger was not much in request, for the old women 

were all dead.] So, in The Merchant of Venice : " I would, 
she were as lying a gossip in that, as ever knapt ginger" 


1 y oun g Dizy,] The old copy has Dizey. This name, 

like the rest, must have been designed to convey some meaning. 
It might have been corrupted from Dicey, i. e. one addicted to 
dice; or from Dizzy, i. e. giddy, thoughtless. Thus, Milton 
styles the people " the dizzy multitude.'* STEEVENS. 


that kilPd lusty Pudding, and master Forthright 2 
the tilter, and brave master Shoe-tie the great tra- 
veller, 3 and wild Half-can that stabb'd Pots, and, I 

* master Forthright ] The old copy reads Forth/ight. 

Dr. Johnson, however, proposes to read Forthright, alluding 
to the line in which the thrust is made. REED. 

Shakspeare uses the \vordforthright in The Tempest: 

" Through forthrights and meanders." 
Again, in Troilus and Cressida, Act III. sc. iii : 

" Or hedge aside from the divcect forthright" 


' and brave master Shoe-tie the great traveller^] The old 

copy reads Shooty ; but as most of these are compound names, 
I suspect that this was originally written as I have printed it. 
At this time Shoe-strings were generally worn. 
So, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631 : 

" I think your wedding shoes have not been oft untied." 
Again, in Randolph's Muses' Looking Glass, 1638 : 

" Bending his supple hams, kissing his hands, 

" Honouring shoe-strings.'' 
Again, in Marston's 8th Satire : 

" Sweet-faced Corinna, daine the riband tie 

" Of thy corke-shooe, or els thy slave will die." 
As the person described was a traveller, it is not unlikely that he 
might be solicitous about the minutiae of dress ; and the epithet 
brave, i. e. showy, seems to countenance the supposition. 


Mr. Steevens's supposition is strengthened by Ben Jonson's 
Epigram upon English Monsieur, Whalley's edit. Vol. VI. 
p. 253 : 

" That so much scarf of France, and hat and feather, 
** And shoe, and tye, and garter, should corne hither." 


The finery which induced our author to give his traveller the 
name of Shoe-tie was used on the stage in his time. " Would 
not this, sir, (says Hamlet,) and a forest of feathers, with two 
Provencial roses on my raz'd shoes, get me a fellowship in a cry 
of players, sir?" MALONE. 

The roses mentioned in the foregoing instance were not the 
ligatures of the shoe, but the ornaments above them. 



think, forty more ; all great doers in our trade,* 
and are now for the Lord's sake. 5 

* all great doers in our trade,] The word doers is here 

used in a wanton sense. See Mr. Collins's note, Act I. sc. ii. 


4 for the Lord's sake.'] i. e. to beg for the rest of their . 

lives. WARBURTON. 

I rather think this expression intended to ridicule the Puritans, 
whose turbulence and indecency often brought them to prison, 
and who considered themselves as suffering for religion. 

It is not unlikely that men imprisoned for other crimes might 
represent themselves to casual enquirers as suffering from puritan- 
ism, and that this might be the common cant of the prisons. In 
Donne's time, every prisoner was brought to jail by suretiship. 


Thus, in Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, 1594 : " Baudes, if 
they be imprisoned or carried to bridewell for their baudrie, 
they give out they suffer for the Church" 

The word in (now expunged in consequence of a following 
and apposite quotation of Mr. Malone's) had been supplied by 
some of the modern editors. The phrase which Dr. Johnson has 
justly explained is used in A new Trick to cheat the Devil, 1636: 
" I held it, wife, a deed of charity, and did it for the Lord's 
sake." STEEVENS. 

I believe Dr. Warburton's explanation is right. It appears 
from a poem entitled Paper's Complaint, printed among Davies's 
Epigrams, [about the year 1611,] that this was the language in 
which prisoners who were confined for debt addressed passengers: 

" Good gentle writers,yor the Lord's sake, for the Lord's 
sake, . 

" Like Ludgate prisoner, lo, I, begging, make 

" My mone." 

The meaning, however, may be, to beg or borrow for the rest of 
their lives. A passage in Much Ado about Nothing may counte- 
nance this interpretation : " he wears a key in his ear, and a lock 
hanging to it, and borrows money in God's name, the which he 
hath used so long, and never paid, that men grow hard-hearted, 
and will lend nothing^cr God's sake." 

Mr. Pope reads and are now in for the Lord's sake. Per- 
haps unnecessarily. In King Henri/ IV. P. I. Falstaff says, 
" there's not three of my hundred and fifty left alive ; and they 
are for the town's end, to beg during life." MALONE. 



ABHOR. Sirrah, bring Barnardine hither. 

CLO. Master Barnardine ! you must rise and be 
hang'd, master Barnardine ! 

ABHOR. What, ho, Barnardine ! 

BARNAR. [ Within."} A pox o' your throats ! 
Who makes that noise there ? What are you ? 

CLO. Your friends, sir ; the hangman : You must 
be so good, sir, to rise and be put to death. 

BARNAR. [Within.'} Away, you rogue, away; I 
am sleepy. 

ABHOR. Tell him, he must awake, and that 
quickly too. 

CLO. Pray, master Barnardine, awake till you are 
executed, and sleep afterwards. 

ABHOR. Go in to him, and fetch him out. 

CLO. He is coming, sir, he is coming ; I hear his 
straw rustle. 


ABHOR. Is the axe upon the block, sirrah ? 
CLO. Very ready, sir. 

BARNAR. How now, Abhorson ? what's the news 
with you ? 

ABHOR. Truly, sir, I would desire you to clap into 
your prayers ; 6 for, look you, the warrant's come. 

BARNAR. You rogue, I have been drinking all 
night, I am not fitted for't. 

6 to clap into your prayers;] This cant phrase occurs 

also in As you like it : " Shall we clap into't roundly, without 
hawking or spitting ?" STEEVENS. 


CLO. O, the better, sir ; for he that drinks all 
night, and is hang'd betimes in the morning, may 
sleep the sounder all the next day. 

Enter Duke. 

ABHOR. Look you, sir, here comes your ghostly 
father ; Do we jest now, think you ? 

DUKE. Sir, induced by my charity, and hearing 
how hastily you are to depart, I am come to advise 
you, comfort you, and pray with you. 

BARNAR. Friar, not I ; I have been drinking 
hard all night, and I will have more time to pre- 
pare me, or they shall beat out my brains with bil- 
lets : I will not consent to die this day, that's cer- 

DUKE. O, sir, you must : and therefore, I be- 
seech you, 
Look forward on the journey you shall go. 

BARNAR. I swear, I will not die to-day for any 
man's persuasion. 

DUKE. But hear you, 

BARNAR. Not a word ; if you have any thing to 
say to me, come to my ward 5 for thence will not 
I to-day. \Exit. 

Enter Provost. 

DUKE. Unfit to live, or die ; O, gravel heart ! 
After him, fellows : 7 bring him to the block. 

[Exeunt ABHORSON and Clown. 

7 After him,fellotx>s ,-] Here is a line given to the Duke, which 
belongs to the Provost. The Provost, while the Duke is lament- 
ing the obduracy of the prisoner, cries out : 

After him, fellows, &c. 
and when they are gone out, turns again to the Duke. JOH NSONV 


PROV. Now, sir, how do you find the prisoner ? 

DUKE. A creature unprepar'd, unmeet for 

death ; 

And, to transport him 8 in the mind he is, 
Were damnable. 

PROV. Here in the prison, father, 

There died this morning of a cruel fever 
One Ragozine, a most notorious pirate, 
A man of Claudio's years ; his beard, and head, 
Just of his colour : What if we do omit 
This reprobate, till he were well inclined ; 
And satisfy the deputy with the visage 
Of Ragozine, more like to Claudio ? 

DUKE. O, 'tis an accident that heaven provides ! 
Despatch it presently; the hour draws on 
Prefixed by Angelo : See, this be done, 
And sent according to command ; whiles I 
Persuade this rude wretch willingly to die. 

PROV. This shall be done, good father, presently. 
But Barnardine must die this afternoon : 
And how shall we continue Claudio, 
To save me from the danger that might come, 
If he were known alive ? 

DUKE. Let this be done ; Put them in secret 


Both Barnardine and Claudio : Ere twice 
The sun hath made his journal greeting to 

I do not see why this line should be taken from the Duke, 
and still less why it should be given to the Provost, who, by his 
question to the Duke in the next line, appears to be ignorant 
of every thing that has passed between him and Barnardine. 


* to transport him ] To remove him from one world 

to another. The French trepas affords a kindred sense. 



The under generation, 9 you shall find 
Your safety manifested. 

PROV. I am your free dependant. 

DUKE. Quick, despatch, 

And send the head to Angelo. [Exit Provost. 

9 The under generation,'] So, Sir Thomas Hanmer, with true 
judgment. It was in all the former editions : 

To yonder 

ye under and yonder were confounded. JOHNSON. 

The old reading is not yonder, but yond. STEEVENS. 

To yond generation,'] Prisons are generally so constructed a? 
not to admit the rays of the sun. Hence the Duke here speaks 
of its greeting only those without the doors of the jail, to which 
he must be supposed to point when he speaks these words. Sir 
T. Hanmer, I think, without necessity, reads To the under 
generation, which has been followed by the subsequent editors. 
Journal, in the preceding line, is daily. Journalier, French. 

Mr. Malone reads : 

To yond generation, you shall find 

But surely it is impossible that yond should be the true reading ; 
for unless ge-ne-ra-ti-on were sounded as a word of five sylla- 
bles, (a practice from which every ear must revolt,) the metre 
would be defective. It reminds one too much of Peascod, in 
Gay's What d'ye call it : 

" The Pilgrim's Progress eighth-e-di-ti-on, 
" Lon-don prin-ted for Ni-cho-las Bod-ding-ton." 
By the under generation our poet means the antipodes. So, ia 
King Richard II : 

" when the searching eye of heaven is hid 

" Behind the globe, and lights the lower world" 
Again, in Chapman's version of the nineteenth Iliad: 

" Gave light to all ; as well to gods, as men of th* under 

Again, in Fletcher's Tivo Noble Kinsmen : 

" clap their wings and sing 

" To all the under world ." STEEVENS. 

I perfectly agree with Steevens in this reading. The diameter 
of the globe may be supposed to make the people, on each side 
of it, of a different generation ; but the walls of a prison surely 
cannot. M. MASON. 


Now will I write letters to Angelo, 

The provost, he shall bear them, whose contents 

Shall witness to him, I am near at home ; 

And that, by great injunctions, I am bound 

To enter publickly : him I'll desire 

To meet me at the consecrated fount, 

A league below the city ; and from thence, 

By cold gradation and weal-balanced form, 1 

We shall proceed with Angelo. 

Re-enter Provost. 

PRtiv. Here is the head ; I'll carry it myself. 

DUKE. Convenient is it : Make a swift return ; 
For I would commune with you of such things, 
That want no ear but yours. 

PROF. I'll make all speed. 


ISAB. \_Within.~] Peace, ho, be here ! 
DUKE. The tongue of Isabel : She's come to 


If yet her brother's pardon be come hither : 
But I will keep her ignorant of her good, 

1 weal-balanced form,"] Thus the old copy. Mr. Heath 

thinks that ad7-balanced is the true reading ; and Hanmer was 
of the same opinion. 

In Milton's Ode on The Nativity, we also meet with the same 
compound epithet : 

" And the well-balanc'd world on hinges hung." 


Weal-balanced is a pompous expression, without any mean- 
ing. I agree, therefore, with Heath, in reading ivell- balanced. 




To make her heavenly comforts of despair, 
When it is least expected. 2 


ISAB. Ho, by your leave. 

DUKE. Good morning to you, fair and gracious 

ISAB. The better, given me by so holy a man. 
Hath yet the deputy sent my brother's pardon ? 

DUKE. He hath releas'd him, Isabel, from the 

world ; 
His head is off, and sent to Angelo. 

ISAB. Nay, but it is not so. 

DUKE. It is no other: 

IS how your wisdom, daughter, in your closepatience. 

ISAB. O, I will to him, and pluck out his eyes. 
DUKE. You shall not be admitted to his sight. 

ISAB. Unhappy Claudio ! Wretched Isabel ! 
Injurious world ! Most damned Angelo ! 

DUKE. This nor hurts him, nor profits you a jot : 
Forbear it therefore ; give your cause to heaven. 
Mark what I say ; which you shall find 
By every syllable, a faithful verity : 
The duke comes home to-morrow ; nay, dry your 


One of our convent, and his confessor, 
Gives me this instance : Already he hath carried 

4 When it is least expected.] A better reason might have 
been given. It was necessary to keep Isabella in ignorance, 
that she might with more keenness accuse the deputy. 


><fc in. MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 371 

Notice to Escalus and Angelo ; 

Who do prepare to meet him at the gates, 

There to give up their power. If you can, pace 

your wisdom 

In that good path that I would wish it go ; 
And you shall have your bosom 3 on this wretch, 
Grace of the duke, revenges to your heart, 
And general honour. 

I SAB. I am directed by you. 

DUKE. This letter then to friar Peter give ; 
'Tis that he sent me of the duke's return : 
Say, by this token, I desire his company 
At Mariana's house to-night. Her cause, and yours, 
I'll perfect him withal ; and he shall bring you 
Before the duke ; and to the head of Angelo 
Accuse him home, and home. For my poor self, 
I am combined by a sacred vow, 4 
And shall be absent. Wend you 5 with this letter : 
Command these fretting waters from your eyes 

3 your bosom ] Your wish ; your heart's desire. 


4 / am combined by a sacred votv,~] I once thought this should 
be confined, but Shakspeare uses combine for to bind by a pact or 
agreement; so he calls Angelo the combinate husband of Mariana. 


The verb, to combine, appears to be as irregularly used by 
Chapman, in his version of the sixteenth Book of Homer's 

" as thou art mine, 

" And as thy veins my own true blood combine.'''' 


5 Wend you ] To luend is to go. An obsolete word. So, 
in The Comedy of Errors : 

" Hopeless and helpless doth ^Egeon ncend" 
Again, in Orlando Furio.*o, 1599 : 

" To let his daughter wend with us to France." 


JB B 2 


With a light heart ; trust not my holy order, 
If I pervert your course. Who's here ? 

Enter Lucio. 

Lucio. Good even! 

Friar, where is the provost ? 

DUKE. Not within, sir. 

Lucio. O, pretty Isabella, I am pale at mine 
heart, to see thine eyes so red : thou must be pa- 
tient : I am fain to dine and sup with water and 
bran ; I dare not for my head rill my belly ; one 
fruitful meal would set me to't : But they say the 
duke will be here to-morrow. By my troth, Isabel, 
I lov'd thy brother : if the old fantastical duke of 
dark corners had been at home, he had lived. 


&UKE. Sir, the duke is marvellous little beholden 
to your reports ; but the best is, he lives not in 
them. 7 

Lucio. Friar, thou knowest not the duke so well 
as I do : he's a better woodman 8 than thou takest 
him for. 

if the old 8fc.~\ Sir Thomas Hanmer reads the odd 

fantastical duke; but old is a common word of aggravation in 
ludicrous language, as, there -was old revelling. JOHNSON. 

duke of dark corners ~| This duke who meets his mis- 
tresses in by-places. So, in King Henry VIII: 

" There is nothing I have done yet, o' my conscience, 
" Deserves a corner." MALONE. 

7 he lives not in them.'] i. e. his character depends not 

on them. So, in Much Ado about Nothing : 

" The practice of it lives in John the bastard." 


ivoodman ] A woodman seems to have been an at- 
tendant or servant to the officer called Forrester. See Man-wood 


DUKE. Well, you'll answer this one day. Fare 
ye well. 

Lucio. Nay, tarry ; I'll go along with thee ; I 
can tell thee pretty tales of the duke. 

DUKE. You have told me too many of him al- 
ready, sir, if they be true ; if not true, none were 

Lucio. I was once before him for getting a 
wench with child. 

DUKE. Did you such a thing ? 

Lucio. Yes, marry, did I : but was fain to for- 
swear it ; they would else have married me to the 
rotten medlar. 

DUKE. Sir, your company is fairer than honest: 
Rest you well. 

Lucio. By my troth, I'll go with thee to the 
lane's end : If bawdy talk offend you, we'll have 
very little of it : Nay, friar, I am a kind of burr, I 
shall stick. [Exeunt. 

on the Forest Laws, 4-to. 1615, p. 46. It is here, however, used 
in a wanton sense, and was, probably, in our author's time, 
generally so received. In like manner in The Chances, Act I. 
sc. ix. the Landlady says : 

" Well, well, son John, 

" I see you are a "woodman, and can choose 
" Your deer tho* it be i' th' dark." REED. 

So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Falstaff asks his mis- 
tresses : 

" Am I a woodman? Ha!" STEEVENS. 



A Room in Angelo's House. 

ESCAL. Every letter he hath writ hath disvouch'd 

ANG. In most uneven and distracted manner. 
His actions show much like to madness : pray hea- 
ven, his wisdom be not tainted! And why meet 
him at the gates, and re-deliver our authorities 
there ? 

ESCAL. I guess not. 

ANG. And why should we 3 proclaim it in an 
hour before his entering, that, if any crave redress 
of injustice, they should exhibit their petitions in 
the street ? 

ESCAL. He shows his reason for that : to have a 
despatch of complaints ; and to deliver us from de- 
vices hereafter, which shall then have no power to 
stand against us. 

ANG. Well, I beseech you, let it be proclaimed : 
Betimes i* the morn, I'll call you at your house : * 

9 Ang. And tuhy should U<P &c.~] It is the conscious guilt of 
A^gelo that prompts this question. The reply of Escalus is such 
as arises from an undisturbed mind, that only considers the mys- 
terious conduct of the Duke in a political point of view. 


1 let it be proclaimed ; 

Betimes i' the morn, &c.~] Perhaps it should be pointe^ 

let it be proclaimed 

Betimes i' the morn : I'll call you at your house- 

sc. iv. MEASURE FOR MEASURE. 37-5 

Give notice to such men of sort and suit, 2 
,As are to meet him. 

ESCAL. I shall, sir : fare you well. 


ANG. Good night. 
This deed unshapes me quite, makes me unpreg- 

nant, 3 

And dull to all proceedings. A deflowered maid ! 
And by an eminent body, that enforc'd 
The law against it ! But that her tender shame 
Will not proclaim against her maiden loss, 
How mio-ht she tongue rne ? Yet reason dares her? 

no : 4 

So above : 

" And why should we proclaim it an hour before his 
entering?" MALONE. 

* - sort and suit,~] Figure and rank. JOHNSON. 

Not so, as I imagine, in this passage. In the feudal times all 
vassals were bound to hold suit and service to their over-lord ; 
that is, to be ready at all times to attend and serve him, either 
when summoned to his courts, or to his standard in war. Such 
men of sort and suit as are to meet him, I presume, means the 
Duke's vassals or tenants in capile. 

Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786. STEEVENS. 

3 - makes me unpregnant,] In the first scene the Duke says 
that Escalus is pregnant, i. e. ready in the forms of law. Un- 
pregnant, therefore, in the instance before us, is unready, unpre- 
pared. STEEVENS. 

4 - Yet reason dares her ? no :] The old folio impressions 
read : 

Yet reason dares her No. 

And this is right. The meaning is, the circumstances of our 
case are such, that she will never venture to contradict me ; dares 
her to reply A T o to me, whatever I say. WAKBURTON. 

Mr. Theobald reads : 

- Yet reason dares her note. 
Sir Thomas Hanmer : 

---- Yet reason dares her : No. 


For my authority bears a credent bulk, 
That no particular scandal once can touch. 

Mr. Upton : 

Yet reason dares her No. 

Which he explains thus : " Were it not for her maiden modesty, 
kow might the lady proclaim my guilt? Yet (you'll say) she has 
reason on her side, and that will make her dare to do it. I think 
not ; for my authority is of such weight, &c. I am afraid dare 
has no such signification. I have nothing to offer worth inser- 
tion. JOHNSON. 

To dare has two significations ; to terrify, as in The Maid's 

" those mad mischiefs 

" Would dare a woman." 
Again, in Chapman's translation of the eleventh Iliad: 

" the wound did dare him sore." 

In King Henry IV. Part I. it means, to challenge, or call forth 

" Unless a brother should a brother dare 

" To gentle exercise," &c. 
I would therefore read : 

Yet reason dares her not, 

For my authority c. 
Or perhaps, with only a slight transposition : 

Yet no reason dares her, &c. 

The meaning will then be Yet reason does not challenge, call 
forth, or incite her to appear against me, for my authority is above 
the reach of her accusation. STEEVENS. 

Yet reason dares her No.~\ Dr. Warburton is evidently 
right with respect to this reading, though wrong in his applica- 
tion. The expression is a provincial one, and very intelligible : 

But that her tender shame 

Will not proclaim against her maiden loss, 
How might she tongue me ? Yet reason dares her No. 
That is, reason dares her to do it, as by this means she would 
not only publish her ' maiden loss," but also as she would cer- 
tainly suffer from the imposing credit of his station and power, 
which would repel with disgrace any attack on his reputa- 

For my authority bears a credent bulk, 
That, no particular scandal once can touch, 
But it confounds the breather. HENLEY. 


But it confounds the breather.* He should have 


Save that his riotous youth, with dangerous sense, 
Might, in the times to come, have ta'en revenge, 
By so receiving a dishonour'd life, 
With ransome of such shame. 'Would yet he had 


We think Mr. Henley rightly understands this passage, but 
has not sufficiently explained himself. Reason, or reflection, 
we conceive, personified by Shakspeare, and represented as 
daring or overawing Isabella, and crying No to her, whenever 
she finds herself prompted to " tongue" Angelo. Dare is often 
met with in this sense in Shakspeare. Beaumont and Fletcher 
have used the word No in a similar way in The Chances, 
Act III. sc. iv : 

" I wear a sword to satisfy the world no." 
Again, in A Wife for a Month, Act IV : 

" I'm sure he did not, for I charg'd him no." 


Yet reason dares her? no:] Yet does not reason chal- 
lenge or incite her to accuse me? no, (answers the speaker,) 
for my authority, &c. To dare, in this sense, is yet a school- 
phrase : Shakspeare probably learnt it there. He has again 
used the word in King Henry VI. Part II : 

" What dares not Warwick, if false Suffolk dare Mm?" 


5 my authority bears a credent bulk, 

That no particular scandal &c.] Credent* Is creditable, in- 
forcing credit, not questionable. The old English writers often 
confound the active and passive adjectives. So Shakspeare, 
and Milton after him, use inexpressive for inexpressible. 

Particular is private, a French sense. No scandal from any 
private mouth can reach a man in my authority. JOHNSON. 

The old copy reads " bears of a credent bulk." If of be 
any thing more than a blunder, it must mean bears off, i. e. 
carries "with it. As this monosyllable, however, does not im- 
prove our author's sense, and clogs his metre, I have omitted it. 


Perhaps Angelo means, that his authority will ward off or set 
aside the weightiest and most probable charge that can be 
brought against him. MALONE. 


Alack, when once our grace we have forgot, 
Nothing goes right; we would, and we would not 6 



Fields without the Town. 
Enter Duke in his own habit, and Friar PETER. 

DUKE. These letters 7 at fit time deliver me. 

[Giving letters. 

The provost knows our purpose, and our plot. 
The matter being afoot, kep your instruction, 
And hold you ever to our special drift ; 
Though sometimes you do blench from this to 
that, 8 

"ive ivould, and ixe would not."] Here undoubtedly the 

Act should end, and was ended by the poet ; for here is properly 
a cessation of action, and a night intervenes, and the place is 
changed, between the passages of this scene, and those of the 
next. The next Act beginning with the following scene, pro- 
ceeds without any interruption of time or change of place. 


7 These letters ] Peter never delivers the letters, but tells 
his story without any credentials. The poet forgot the plot 
which he had formed. JOHNSON. 

The first clause of this remark is undoubtedly just ; but, re- 
specting the second, I wish our readers to recollect that all the 
plays of Shakspeare, before they reached the press, had passed 
through a dangerous medium, and probably experienced the 
injudicious curtailments to which too many dramatic pieces are 
still exposed, from the ignorance, capric", and presumption, of 
transcribers, players, and managers. STKEVENS. 

* you do blench from this to that,'] To blcn>:h is to start 

oft', to fly off. So, in Hamfct : 

" if he but 'tlench, 

" I know my course." STEKVENS. 


As cause doth minister. Go, call at Flavius* house, 
And tell him where I stay : give the like notice. 
To Valentinus, Rowland, and to Crassus, 
And bid them bring the trumpets to the gate ; 
But send me Flavius first. 

F. PETER. It shall be speeded well. 

[Exit Friar. 


DUKE. I thank thee, Varrius; thou hast made 

good haste : 

Come, we will walk: There's other of our friends 
Will greet us here anon, my gentle Varrius. 



Street near the City Gate. 

ISAB. To speak so indirectly, I am loath ; 
I would say the truth ; but to accuse him so, 
That is your part : yet I'm advis'd to do it ; 
He says, to veil full purpose. 9 

He says, to \e\\full purpose.'] Mr. Theobald alters it to 

Pie says, t'availful purpose. 

because he has no idea of the common reading. A good reason! 
Yet the common reading is right. Full is used for beneficial; 
and the meaning is He says, it is to hide a beneficial purpose, 
that must not yet be revealed. WARJJURTON. 

To veil full purpose, may, with very little force on the words, 
mean, to hide the ivhole extent of our design, and therefore the. 
reading may stand; yet I cannot but think Mr. Theob ild's al- 
teration either lucky or ingenious. To interpret words with such 


MART. Be n4'4 by him. 

ISAB. Besides, he tells me, that, if peradventure 
He speak against me on the adverse side, 
I should not think it strange ; for 'tis a physick, 
That's bitter to sweet end. 

MARL I would, friar Peter 

ISAB. O, peace ; the friar is come. 

Enter Friar PETER. 1 

F. PETER. Come, I have found you out a stand 

most fit, 

Where you may have such vantage on the duke, 
He shall not pass you ; Twice have the trumpets 

sounded ; 

laxity, as to make full the same with beneficial, is to put an end, 
at once, to all necessity of emendation, for any word may then 
stand in the place of another. JOHNSON. 

I think Theobald's explanation right, but his amendment un- 
necessary. We need only read vailfulas one w.ord. Shakspeare, 
who so frequently uses cite for excite, bate for abate, force for 
enforce, and many other abbreviations of a similar nature, may 
well be supposed to use vailful for availful. M. MASON. 

If Dr. Johnson's explanation be right, (as J think it is,) the 
word should be written veil, as it is now printed in the text. 

That vail was the old spelling of veil, appears from a line in 
The Merchant of Venice, folio, 1623 : 

" Vailing an Indian beauty ." 

for which, in the modern editions, veiling has been rightly sub- 
stituted. MA LONE. 

1 Enter Friar Peter.] This pliiy has two friars, either of" 
whom might singly have served. I should therefore imagine, 
that Friar Thomas, in the first Act, might be changed, without 
any harm, to Friar Peter ; for why should the Duke unnecessa- 
rily trust two in an affair which required only one ? The name 
of Friar Thomas is never mentioned in the dialogue, and there- 
fore seems arbitrarily placed at. the head of the scene. 



The generous 2 and gravest citizens 
Have hent the gates, 3 and very near upon 
The duke is ent'ring ; therefore hence, away. 


* The generous fyc.~] i. e. the most noble, &c. Generous is 
here used in its Latin sense. " Virgo generosa et nobilis." Cicero. 
Shakspeare uses it again in Othello : 

" the generous islanders 

" By you invited ." STEEVENS. 

* Have hent the gates,] Have seized or taken possession of 
the gates. JOHNSON. 

So, in Sir A. Gorges' translation of the 4th Book ofLucan : 

" did prevent 

" His foes, ere they the hills had hent." 
Again, in T. Hryvvood's Rape ofLucrece, 1630 : 

" Lament thee, Roman land, 

" The king is from thee hent." 

Again, in the black-letter romance of Syr Eglamoure of Artoys, 
no date: 

" But with the childe homeward gan ryde 

" That fro the grylfon was hent." 

Again, in the ancient metrical romance of Syr Guy of Warwick, 
bl. 1. no date : 

" Some by the arms hent good Guy/' &c. 
Again : 

" And some by the bridle him hent." 

Spenser often uses the word hend for to seize or take, and over- 
hend for to overtake.' 1 '' STEEVENS. 

Hent, henten, hende, (says Junius, in his Etymologicon,) 
Chaucero est, capere> assequi, prehendere, ampere* ab A. S~ 
hendan. MALONE. 



A publick Place near the City Gate. 

MARIANA, (ve'iVd^) ISABELLA, and PETER, at a 
distance. Enter at opposite doors, Duke, VAR- 
RIUS, Lords ; ANGELO, ESCALUS, Lucio, Pro- 
vost, Officers, and Citizens. 

DUKE. My very worthy cousin, fairly met : 
Our old and faithful friend, we are glad to see you* 

ANG. and ESCAL. Happy return be to your royal 
grace ! 

DUKE. Many and hearty thankings to you both* 
We have made inquiry of you ; and we hear 
Such goodness of your justice, that our soul 
Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks, 
Forerunning more requital. 

ANG. You make my bonds still greater, 

DUKE. O, your desert speaks loudj and I should 

wrong it, 

To lock it in the wards of covert bosom, 
When it deserves with characters of brass 
A forted residence, 'gainst the tooth of time, 
And razure of oblivion : Give me your hand, 
And let the subject see, to make them know 
That outward courtesies would fain pioclann 
Favours that keep within. Come, Escalus ; 
You must walk by us on our other hand j 
And good supporters are you. 


PETER and ISABELLA come forward. 

F. PETER. Now is your time ; speak loud, and 
kneel before him. 

I SAB. Justice, O royal duke ! Vail your regard 4 
Upon a wrong'd, I'd rain have said, a maid ! 
O worthy prince, dishonour not your eye 
By throwing it on any other object, 
Till you have heard me in my true complaint, 
And given me, justice, justice, justice, justice ! 

DUKE. Relate your wrongs : In what ? By 

whom ? Be brief: 

Here is lord Angelo shall give you justice ; 
Reveal yourself to him. 

ISAB. O, worthy duke, 

You bid me seek redemption of the devil : 
Hear me yourself; for that which I must speak 
Must either punish me, not being believ'd, 
Or wring redress from you : hear me, O, hear me, 

ANG. My lord, her wits, I fear me, are not 
firm : 

Vail your regard ] That is, withdraw your thoughts 
from higher things, let your notice descend upon a wronged 
woman. To vail is to lower. JOHNSON. 

This is one of the few expressions which might have been 
borrowed from the old play of Promos and Cassandra, 1578 : 

" vail thou thine ears." 

So, in Stanyhurst's translation of the 4th Book of Virgil's JEneid : 

" Plirygio liceat servire mnrilo" 

"Let Dido vail her heart to bed-fellow Trojan." 


Thus also, in Hamlet : 

" Do not for ever, with thy vailed fids, 

" Seek for thy noble father in the dust." HENLEY. 


She hath been a suitor to me for her brother, 
Cut off by course of justice. 

ISAB. By course of justice I 

ANG. And she will speak most bitterly, and 

ISAB. Most strange, but yet most truly, will I 

speak : 

That Angelo's forsworn ; is it not strange ? 
That Angelo's a murderer ; is't not strange ? 
That Angelo is an adulterous thief, 
An hypocrite, a virgin-violator j 
Is it not strange, and strange ? 

DUKE. Nay, ten times strange, 

ISAB. It is not truer he is Angelo, 
Than this is all as true as it is strange : 
Nay, it is ten times true ; for truth is truth 
To the end of reckoning. 5 

DUKE. Away with her : Poor soul. 

She speaks this in the infirmity of sense. 

ISAB. O prince, I conjure thee, as thou believ'st 
There is another comfort than this world, 
That thou neglect me not, with that opinion 
That I am touched with madness : make not im- 

That which but seems unlike : 'tis not impossible, 
But one, the wicked'st caitiff on the ground, 

* truth is truth 

To the end of reckoning^ That is, truth lias no gradations ; 
nothing which admits of increase can be so much what it is, as 
truth is truth, There may be a strange thing, and a thing more 
strange, but if a proposition be true, there can be none more 
true. JOHNSON. 


May seem as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute^ 6 
As Angelo ; even so may Angelo, 
In all his dressings, 7 characts, 8 titles, forms, 
Be an arch- villain : believe it, royal prince, 
If he be less, he's nothing ; but he's more, 
Had I more name for badness. 

DUKE. 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. 9 

as shy, as grave, as just, as absolute,"] As shy ; as re- 
served, 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 carecte" 


So, in Gower, De Cotifessione Amantis, B. I : 

" With his carrecte would him enchaunt." 
Again, B. V. fol. 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 arrns^ for the knowledge of the 
diocese." Characters are the letters in which the inscription is 
written.. Character)/ is the materials of which characters are 

" Fairies use flowers for their charactery." 

Merry Wives of Windsor. BLACKSTONF, 

" As e'er I heard &c.] I suppose Shakspeare wrote: 
As ne'er / heard in madness. MALONE. 



ISAB. O, gracious duke, 

Harp not on that ; nor do not banish reason 
For inequality : l but let your reason serve 
To make the truth appear, where it seems hid ; 
And hide the false, seems true. 2 

DUKE. Many that are not mad, 

Have, sure, more lack of reason. What would you 

ISAB. I am the sister of one Claudio, 
Condemned upon the act of fornication 
To lose his head ; condemn'd by Angelo : 
I, in probation of a sisterhood, 
Was sent to by my brother : One Lucio 
As then the messenger j 

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 in- 
consistency ; and to have no reference to the high rank of Angelo, 
as Johnson supposes. M. MASON. 

1 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 fol- 
lowed 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. S TEE YENS. 

I agree with Theobald in reading 
Not hide the false seems true. 

which requires no explanation. I cannot conceive how the 
word hide, can mean to " plunge into eternal darkness," as 
Mr. Malone supposes. M. MASON. 


Lucio. That's I, an't like your grace : 

I came to her from Claudio, and desir'd her 
To try her gracious fortune with lord Angelo, 
For her poor brother's pardon. 

ISAB. That's he, indeed. 

DUKE. You were not bid to speak. 

Lucio. No, my good lord; 

Nor wish'd to hold my peace. 

DUKE. I wish you now then j 

Pray you, take note of it : and when you have 
A business for yourself, pray heaven, you then 
Be perfect. 

Lucio. I warrant your honour. 

DUKE. The warrant's for yourself; take heed 
to it. 

ISAB. This gentleman told somewhat of my tale. 
Lucio. Right. 

DUKE. It may be right; but you are in the wrong 
To speak before your time. Proceed. 

ISAB. I went 

To this pernicious caitiff deputy. 

DUKE. That's somewhat madly spoken. 

ISAB. Pardon it ; 

The phrase is to the matter. 

DUKE. Mended again : the matter ; Proceed. 

ISAB. In brief, to set the needless process by, 
How I persuaded, how I pray'd, and kneel'd, 
How he refell'd me, 3 and how I reply'd ;, 

* Hotv he refell'd me,] To rcfel is to refute. 
" Refellere et coarguere mendacium." 


Cicero pro Li* 

c c 2 


(For this was of much length,) the vile conclusion 
I now begin with grief and shame to utter : 
He would not, but by gift of my chaste body 
To his concupiscible intemperate lust, 4 
Release my brother ; and, after much debatement, 
My sisterly remorse 5 confutes mine honour, 
And I did yield to him : But the next morn be- 

His purpose surfeiting, he sends a warrant 
For my poor brother's head. 

DUKE. This is most likely! 

ISAB. O, that it were as like, as it is true ! 7 

Ben Jonson uses the word : 

" Friends not to re/el you, 

" Or any way quell you." 

Again, in The Second Part of Robert Earl of Pluntingion r 

" Therefore go on, young Bruce, proceed, re/ell 

" The allegation." 
Again, in Chapman's version of the ninth Iliad : 

" as thou then didst re fell 

" My valour," &c. 
The modern editors changed the word to repel. STEEVENS. 

4 To his concupiscible <Src.] Such is the old reading. The 
modern editors unauthoritatively substitute concupiscent. 


3 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. 

' 0, that it uere 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. 



DUKE. By heaven, fond wretch, 8 thou know'st 

not what thou speak'st ; 
Or else thou art suborn'd against his honour, 
In hateful practice : 9 First, his integrity 
Stands without blemish : next, it imports no rea- 

That with such vehemency he should pursue 
Faults proper to himself: if he had so offended, 
He would have weigh'd thy brother by himself, 
And not have cut him off: Some one hath set you 

on ; 

Confess the truth, and say by whose advice 
Thou cam'st here to complain. 

ISAB. And is this all ? 

Then, oh, you blessed ministers above, 
Keep me in patience ; and, with ripen'd time, 
Unfold the evil which is here wrapt up 

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 

! 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 : O that it had as much of the ap- 
pearance, as it has of the reality, of truth ! MALONE. 

8 fond laretch,] Fond wretch is foolish wretch. So, in 

Coriolanus, Act IV. sc. I : 

** 'li&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. 


In countenance ! * Heaven shield your grace from 

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. 2 
Who knew of your intent, and coming hither ? 

ISAB. One that I would were here, friar Lodo- 

DUKE. A ghostly father, belike : Who knows 
that Lodowick f 

Lucio. My lord, I know him; 'tis a medling 

friar ; 

I do not like the man : had he been lay, my lord, 
For certain words he spake against your grace 
In your retirement, I had swing'd him soundly. 

DUKE. Words against me ? This' a good friar, 

belike ! 

And to set on this wretched woman here 
Against our substitute ! Let this friar be found, 

Lucio. But yesternight, my lord, she and that 

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 sanctified demeanour of Angelo, which, as she supposes, pre- 
vented the Duke from believing her story. M. MASON. 

* practice.'] Practice, in Shakspeare, very often means; 

shameful artifice, unjustifiable stratagem. So, in King Lear : 

*' This in practice, Gloster." 

Again, in King John : 

" It is the shameful work of Hubert's hand, 
<5 The practice and the purpose of the king.'' 

STEEVE.N ?; , 


I saw them at the prison : a sawcy friar, 
A very scurvy fellow. 

F. PETER. Blessed be your royal grace ! 

I have stood by, my lord, and I have heard 
Your royal ear abus'd : First, hath this woman 
Most wrongfully accus'd your substitute ; 
Who is as free from touch or soil with her, 
As she from one ungot. 

DUKE. We did believe no less. 

Know you that friar Lodowick, that she speaks of? 

F. PETER. I know him for a man divine and 


Not scurvy, nor a temporary medler, 3 
As he's reported by this gentleman ; 
And, on my trust, a man that never yet 
Did, as he vouches, misreport your grace. 

Lucio. My lord, most villainously ; believe it. 

F. PETER. Well, he in time may come to clear 

But at this instant he is sick, my lord, 

* nor a temporary medler,] It is hard to know what is 

meant by a temporary medler. In its usual sense, as opposed to 
perpetual, it cannot be used here. It may stand for temporal : 
the sense will then be, I knoiv him for a holy man, one that 
meddles not with secular affairs. It may mean temporising: 
I know him to be a holy man, one who would not temporise, or 
take the opportunity of your absence to defame you. Or we may 

Not scurvy, nor a tamperer and medler : 

not one who would have tampered with this woman to make her 
a false evidence against your deputy. JOHNSON. 

Peter here refers to what Lucio had before affirmed con- 
cerning Friar Lodowick. Hence it is evident that the phrase 
" temporary medler,'' was intended to signify one who introduced 
himself, as often as he could find opportunity, into other men's 
concerns. See the context. HENLEY. 


Of a strange fever : Upon his mere request, 4 
(Being come to knowledge that there was complaint 
Intended 'gainst lord Angelo,) came I hither, 
To speak, as from his mouth, what he doth know 
Is true, and false ; and what he with his oath, 
And all probation, will make up full clear, 
Whensoever he's convented. 5 First, for this wo- 

(To justify this worthy nobleman, 
So vulgarly 6 and personally accus'd,) 

his mere request,"] i. e. his absolute request. So, in 

Julius Ccesar: 

" Some mere friends, same honourable Romans.*' 
Again, in Othello: 

" The mere perdition of the Turkish fleet." STEEVENS. 

5 Whensoever he's convented.] The first folio reads, consented, 
and this is right : for to convene signifies to assemble ; but con- 
vent, to cite, or summons. Yet because convented hurts the 
measure, the Oxford editor sticks to convened, though it be 
nonsense, and signifies, Whenever he is assembled together. But 
thus it will be, when the author is thinking of one thing, and 
his critic of another. The poet was attentive to his sense, and 
the editor, quite throughout his performance, to nothing but the 
measure; which Shakspeare having entirely neglected, like all 
the dramatic writers of that age, he has spruced him up with all 
the exactness of a modern measurer of syllables. This being 
here taken notice of once for all, shall, for the future, be forgot, 
as if it had never been. WARBUBTON. 

The foregoing account of the measure of Shakspeare, and his 
contemporaries, ought indeed to be forgotten, because it is 

To convent is no uncommon word. So, in Woman 's a Wea 
ihercock, 1612: 

" lest my looks 

" Should tell the company convented there," &c. 
To convent and to convene are derived from the same Latij 
verb, and have exactly the same meaning. Sr EEVENS. 

6 So vulgarly ] Meaning either so grossly, with such inde- 
cency of invective, or by so mean and inadequate witnesses. 



Her shall you hear disproved to her eyes, 
Till she herself confess it. 

DUKE. Good friar, let's hear it. 

[ISABELLA is carried off', guarded ; and MA- 
RIANA comes forward. 

Do you not smile at this, lord Angelo ? 
O heaven ! the vanity of wretched fools ! 
Give us some seats. Come, cousin Angelo ; 
In this I'll be impartial ; be you judge 
Of your own cause. 7 Is this the witness, friar? 

Vulgarly, I believe, means publickly. The vulgar are the 
common people. Daniel uses vulgarly for among the common 
people : 

" and which pleases vulgarly" STEEVENS. 

Mr. Steevens's interpretation is certainly the true one. So^ 
in The Comedy of Errors, Act III. sc. i : 

" A vulgar comment will be made of it ; 

" And that supposed by the common rout, 

" That may," &c. 
Again, in Twelfth-Night: 

" for 'tis a vulgar proof, 

" That very oft we pity enemies.'' MALONE. 

7 Come, cousin Angelo ; 

In this I'll be impartial ; be you judge 

Of your own cause.'] Surely, says Mr. Theobald, this Duke 
had odd notions of impartiality ! He reads therefore I will be 
partial, and all the editors follow him : even Mr. Heath de- 
clares the observation unanswerable. But see the uncertainty of 
criticism ! impartial was sometimes used in the sense of partial. 
In the old play of Swetnam, the Woman Hater, Atlanta cnV. 
out, when the judges decree against the women : 
" You are impartial, and we do appeal 
" From you to judges more indifferent." FARMEP. 

So, in Marston's Antonio and Mellida, 2d Part, 1G02: 
" There's not a beauty lives, 
" Hath that impartial predominance 
" O'er my affects, as your enchanting graces," 
Again, in Romeo and Juliet, 1597 : 

" Cruel, unjust, impartial destinies !" 


First, let her show her face ; 8 and, after, speak. 

MARJ. Pardon, my lord; I will not show my face, 
Until my husband bid me. 

DUKE. What, are you married ? 

MARI. No, my lord. 

DUKE. Are you a maid ? 

MARI. No, my lord. 

DUKE. A widow then ? 

MARI. Neither, my lord. 

DUKE. Why, you 

Are nothing then: Neither maid, widow, nor wife? 9 

Lucio. My lord, she may be a punk : for many 
of them are neither maid, widow, nor wife. 

DUKE. Silence that fellow: I would, he had 

some cause 
To prattle for himself. 

Lucio. Well, my lord. 

MARI. My lord, I do confess I ne'er was married; 
And, I confess, besides, I am no maid : 
I have known my husband ; yet my husband 

knows not, 
That ever he knew me. 

Lucio. He was drunk then, my lord ; it can be 
no better. 

Again : 

" this day, this unjust, impartial day." 

In the language of our author's time, im was frequently used 
as an augmentative or intensive particle. MAJ,ONE. 

8 heryacey] The original copy reads your face. The 

emendation was made by the editor of the second folio. 


9 Neither maid, widow, nor wife?] This is a proverbial phrase, 
ko be found in Ray's Collection. STEEVENS. 


DUKE. For the benefit of silence, 'would thou 
wert so too. 

Lucio. Well, my lord. 

DUKE. This is no witness for lord Angelo. 

MARL Now I come to't, my lord : 
She, that accuses him of fornication, 
In self-same manner doth accuse my husband ; 
And charges him, my lord, with such a time, 
When I'll depose I had him in mine arms, 
With all the effect of love. 

ANG. Charges she more than me ? 

MART. Not that I know. 

DUKE. No ? you say, your husband. 

MARL Why, just, my lord, and that is Angelo, 
Who thinks, he knows, that he ne'er knew my 

But knows, he thinks, that he knows Isabel's. 

ANG. This is a strange abuse : * Let's see thy 

MARL My husband bids me ; now I will un- 
mask. [ Unveiling. 
This is that face, thou cruel Angelo, 
Which, once thou swor'st, was worth the looking on: 
This is the hand, which, with a vow'd contract, 
Was fast belock'd in thine : this is the body 
That took away the match from Isabel, 
And did supply thee at thy garden-house, 2 
In her imagin'd person. 

1 This is a strange abuse :] Abuse stands in this place for 
deception or puzzle. So, in Macbeth : 

" my strange and self abuse,'" 

means, this strange deception of myself. JOHNSON. 

8 And did supply thee at thy garden-house,] A garden-house 
in the time of our author was usually appropriated to purposes 


DUKE. Know you this woman ? 

Lucio. Carnally, she says. 
DUKE. Sirrah, no more. 

Lucio. Enough, my lord. 

ANG. My lord, I must confess, I know this wo- 
man ; 
And, five years since, there was some speech of 


Betwixt myself and her ; which was broke off, 
Partly, for that her promised proportions 
Came short of composition ; 3 but, in chief, 
For that her reputation was disvalued 
In levity: since which time, of five years, 
I never spake with her, saw her, nor heard from her, 
Upon my faith and honour. 

MART. Noble prince, 

As there comes light from heaven, and words from 


As there is sense in truth, and truth in virtue, 
I am affianc'd this man's wife, as strongly 
As words could make up vows : and, my good lord, 

of intrigue. So, in SKIALETHIA, or A Shadow r>f Truth, in 
certain Epigrams and Sat y res, 1598: 

" Who, coming from the CURTAIN, sneaketh in 
" To some old garden noted house for sin." 
Again, in The London Prodigal, a comedy, 1605 : " Sweet 
lady, if you have any friend, or garden-house, where you may 
employ a poor gentleman as your friend, I am yours to com- 
mand in all secret service." MA LONE. 

See also an extract from Stubbes's Anatomic of Abuses, 4to. 
1597, p. 57; quoted in Vol. V. of Dodsley's Old Plays, edit. 
1780, p. 74. REED. 

3 her promised proportions 

Came short of composition ;] Her fortune, which was pro- 
mised proportionate to mine, fell short of the composition, that 

is, contract or bargain. JOHNSON. 


But Tuesday night last gone, in his garden-house, 
He knew me as a wife : As this is true 
Let me in safety raise me from my knees j 
Or else for ever be confixed here, 
A marble monument ! 

ANG. I did but smile till now ; 

Now, good my lord, give me the scope of justice; 
My patience here is touch'd : I do perceive, 
These poor informal women 4 are no more 
But instruments of some more mightier member, 
That sets them on : Let me have way, my lord, 
To find this practice out. 

DUKE. Ay, with my heart ; 

And punish them unto your height of pleasure. 
Thou foolish friar ; and thou pernicious woman, 
Compact with her that's gone ! think' st thou, thy 

Though they would swear down each particular 

Were testimonies against his worth and credit, 

4 These poor informal women ] Itiformal signifies out of 
their senses. In The Comedy of Errors, we meet with these 
lines : 

" 1 will not let him stir, 

" Till I have us'd the approved means I have, 

" With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers, 

" To make of him a formal man again." 

Formal, in this passage, evidently signifies in his senses. The 
lines are spoken of Antipholis of Syracuse, who is behaving 
like a madman. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra : 

*f Thou should'st come like a fury crown'd with snakes, 

" Not like ^.formal man." STEEVENS. 

4 Though they ivoiild swear down each particular saint,"] So, 
in Antony and Cleopatra, Act I. sc. iii : 

" Though you in swearing shake the throned gods." 



That's seal'd in approbation ? 6 You, lord Escalus* 
Sit with my cousin ; lend him your kind pains 
To find out this abuse, whence 'tis deriv'd. 
There is another friar that set them on ; 
Let him be sent for. 

F. PETER. Would he were here, my lord; for 

he* indeed, 

Hath set the women on to this complaint : 
Your provost knows the place where he abides, 
And he may fetch him. 

DUKE. Go, do it instantly. [Exit Provost. 
And you, my noble and well-warranted cousin, 
Whom it concerns to hear this matter forth, 7 
Do with your injuries as seems you best, 
In any chastisement : I for a while 
Will leave you ; but stir not you, till you have well 
Determined upon these slanderers, 

ESCAL. My lord, we'll do it thoroughly. [ Exit 
Duke.] Signior Lucia, did not you say, you kne\r 
that friar Lodowick to be a dishonest person ? 

Lucio. Cucullus nonfacit monachum: honest in 
nothing, but in his clothes ; and one that hath 
spoke most villainous speeches of the duke. 

ESCAL* We shall entreat you to abide here till 

G That's seaVd in approbation ?] When any thing subject to 
counterfeits is tried by the proper officers and approved, a stamp 
or seal is put upon it, as among us on plate, weights, and mea- 
sures. So the Duke says, that Angelo's faith has been tried, 
approved, and sealed in testimony of that approbation, and, like 
other things so sealed, is no more to be called in question. 


to hear this matter forth,'] To hear it to the end ; to 

search it to the bottom. JOHNSON. 


he come, and enforce them against him : we shall 
find this friar a notable fellow* 

Lucio. As any in Vienna, on my word. 

ESCAL. Call that same Isabel here once again ; 
[To an Attendant.^ I would speak with her : Pray 
you, my lord, give me leave to question ; you shall 
see how 1*11 handle her. 

Lucio. Not better than he, by her own report. 
ESCAL. Say you ? 

Lucio. Marry, sir, I think, if you handled her 
privately, she would sooner confess j perchance, 
publickly she'll be ashamed. 

He-enter Officers, with ISABELLA ; the Duke, in the 
Friar's habit, and Provost. 

ESCAL. I will go darkly to work with her. 

Lucio. That's the way ; for women are light at 
midnight. 8 

ESCAL. Come on, mistress: [To ISABELLA.] 
here's a gentlewoman denies all that you have 

Lucio* My lord, here comes the rascal I spoke 
of; here with the provost. 

ESCAL. In very good time : speak not you to 
him, till we call upon you. 

Lucio. Mum. 

* -are light at midnight.'] This is one of the words on 

which Shakspeare chiefly delights to quibble. Thus, Portia, in 
The Merchant of Venice, Act V. sc. i : 

" Let me give light, but let me not be light." 



JEscAL. Come, sir : Did you set these women ori 
to slander lord Angelo ? they have confessed you 

DUKE. 'Tis false. 

ESCAL. How ! know you where you are ? 

DUKE. Respect to your great place ! .and let the 


Be sometime honour'd for his burning throne : 9 
Where is the duke ? 'tis he should hear me speak. 

ESCAL. The duke's in us ; and we will hear you 

speak : 
Look, you speak justly. 

DUKE. Boldly, at least : But, O, poor souls, 
Come you to seek the lamb here of the fox ? 
Good night to your redress. Is the duke gone ? 
Then is your cause gone too. The duke's unjust, 
Thus to retort your manifest appeal, 1 

9 Respect to your great place ! and let the devil &c.] I sus- 
pect that a line preceding this has been lost. MALONE. 

I suspect no omission. Great place has reference to the pre- 
ceding question " know you "where you are ?" 

Shakspeare was a reader of Philemon Holland's translation of 
Pliny ; and in the fifth book and eighth chapter, might have 
met with his next idea ; " The Augylae do no worship to any 
but to the devils beneath." 

Tyrants, in our ancient romances, have frequently the same 
object of adoration. Thus, in The Soivdon of Babyloyne, 
p. 60: 

" Then came the bishop Cramadas, 

" And knelcd bifore the Sowdon, 

" And charged him by the hye name Sathanas, 

*' To saven his goddes ychon." STEEVENS. 

to retort your manifest appeal,] To refer back to 
Angelo the cause in which you appealed from Angelo to the 


And put your trial in the villain's mouth, 
Which here you come to accuse. 

Lucio. This is the rascal; this is he I spoke 

ESCAL. Why, thou unreverend and unhallow'd 

friar ! 

Is't not enough, thou hast suborn'd these women 
To accuse this worthy man ; but, in foul mouth, 
And in the witness of his proper ear, 
To call him villain ? 

And then to glance from him to the duke himself; 
To tax him with injustice ? Take him hence ; 
To the rack with him : We'll touze you joint by 

But we will know this purpose : 2 What ! unjust ? 

DUKE. Be not so hot ; the duke 
Dare no more stretch this finger of mine, than he 
Dare rack his own ; his subject am I not, 
Nor here provincial : 3 My business in this state 
Made me a looker-on here in Vienna, 

this purpose:"] The old copy has his purpose. 

ndation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. I believe the pi 


emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. I believe the passage 
has been corrected in the wrong place ; and would read : 

We'll touze him joint by joint, 

But we will know his purpose. MALONE. 

3 Nor here provincial :] Nor here accountable. The meaning 
seems to be, I am not one of his natural subjects, nor of any de- 
pendent province. JOHNSON. 

The different orders of monks have a chief, who is called the 
General of the order ; and they have also superiors, subordinate 
to the general, in the several provinces through which the order 
may be dispersed. The Friar therefore means to say, that the 
Duke dares not touch a finger of his, for he could not punish 
him by his own authority, as he was not his subject, nor through 
that of the superior, as he was not of that province. 




Where I have seen corruption boil and bubble, 
Till it o'er-run the stew: 4 laws, for all faults ; 
But faults so countenanc'd, that the strong statutes 
Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop, 5 
As much in mock as mark. 

4 boil and bubble, 

Till it o'er-run the stew :] I fear that, in the present in- 
stance, our author's metaphor is from the kitchen. So, in 
Macbeth : 

" Like a hell-broth, boil and bubble." STEEVENS. 

3 Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,] Barbers' shops 
were, at all times, the resort of idle people : 

" Tonstrina erat qu&dam: hie solcbamus Jere 

" Plerumque earn opperiri" . 

which Donatus calls apta sedes otiosis. Formerly with us, the 
better sort of people went to the barber's shop to be trimmed ; 
who then practised the under parts of surgery : so that he had 
occasion for numerous instruments, which lay there ready for 
use ; and the idle people, with whom his shop was generally 
crouded, would be perpetually handling and misusing them. To 
remedy which, I suppose there was placed up against the wall 
a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this kind ; 
which, it is not likely, would long preserve its authority. 


This explanation may serve till a better is discovered. But 
whoever has seen the instruments of a chirurgeon, knows that 
they may be very easily kept out of improper hands in a very 
small box, or in his pocket. JOHNSON. 

It was formerly part of a barber's occupation to pick the teeth 
and ears. So, in the old play of Herod and Antipater, 1622, 
Truphon the barber enters with a case of instruments, to each of 
which he addresses himself separately : 

" Toothpick, dear toothpick ; earpick, both of you 
" Have been her sweet companions ! " &c. 

I have conversed with several people who had repeatedly read 
the list of forfeits alluded to by Shakspeare, but have failed in 
my endeavours to procure a copy of it. The metrical one, pub- 
lished by the late l)r. Kenrick, was a forgery. STEEVENS. 

I believe Dr. Warburton's explanation in the main to be 
right, only that instead of chirurgical instruments, the barber's 
prohibited implements were principally his razors ; his whole 


ESCAL. Slander to the state ! Away with him to 

ANG. What can you vouch against him, signior 

Lucio ? 
Is this the man that you did tell us of ? 

Lucio. 'Tis he, my lord. Come hither, good- 
man bald-pate : Do you know me ? 

DUKE. I remember you, sir, by the sound of 
your voice : I met you at the prison, in the ab- 
sence of the duke. 

Lucio. O, did you so ? And do you remember 
what you said of the duke ? 

DUKE. Most notedly, sir. 

Lucio. Do you so, sir? And was the duke a 
fleshmonger, a fool, and a coward, 6 as you then 
reported him to be ? 

DUKE. You must, sir, change persons with me, 
ere you make that my report : you, indeed, spoke 
so of him ; and much more, much worse. 

ttock of which, from the number and impatience of his custom- 
ers on a Saturday night or a market morning, being necessarily 
laid out for use, were exposed to the idle fingers of the by- 
standers, in waiting for succession to the chair. 

These forfeits were as much in mock as mark) both because 
the barber had no authority of himself to enforce them, and also 
as they were of a ludicrous nature. I perfectly remember to 
have seen them in Devonshire, (printed like King Charles's 
Rules, ) though I cannot recollect the contents. HENLEY. 

c ; and a coward,] So again, afterwards : 

You, sirrah, that know me for a fool, a coward, 

" One all of luxury 

But Lucio had not, in the former conversation, mentioned 
cowardice among the faults of the Duke. Such failures of me- 
mory are incident to writers more diligent than this poet. 


D D 2 


Lucio. O thou damnable fellow! Did not I 
pluck thee by the nose, for thy speeches ? 

DUKE. I protest, I love the duke, as I love myself. 

ANG. Hark ! how the villain would close now, 
after his treasonable abuses. 

ESCAL. Such a fellow is not to be talk'd withal: 
Away with him to prison : Where is the provost ? 
Away with him to prison ; lay bolts enough upon 
him : let him speak no more : Away with those 
giglots too, 7 and with the other confederate com- 
panion. \_The Provost lays hands on the Duke. 

DUKE. Stay, sir ; stay a while. 

ANG. What ! resists he ? Help him, Lucio. 

Lucio. Come, sir; come, sir; come, sir; foh, sir; 
Why, you bald-pated, lying rascal ! you must be 
hooded, must you ? Show your knave's visage, with 
a pox to you ! show your sheep-biting face, and be 
hang'd an hour ! Will't not off? 8 

[Pulls off the Friar's hood, and discovers 
the Duke. 

7 those giglots too,'] A giglot is a wanton wench. So, in 

King Henry VI. P. I : 

" y un g Talbot was not born 

" To be the pillage of a giglot wench." STEEVENS. 

1 shota your sheep-biting face, and be hang'd an hour ! 

WilVt not off?} This is intended to be the common language 
of vulgar indignation. Our phrase on such occasions is simply : 
shotv your sheep-biting face and be hanged. The words an hour 
have no particular use here, nor are authorised by custom. I 
suppose it was written thus : shoiayour sheep-biting face, and be 
hanged an hoiv ? wilVt not off? fn the midland counties, upon 
any unexpected obstruction or resistance, it is common to ex- 
claim an y hoiu ? JOHNSON. 

Dr. Johnson's alteration is wrong. In The Alchemist we meet 
with " a man that has been strangled an hour." 


DUKE. Thou art the first knave, that e'er made 

a duke. 

First, Provost, let me bail these gentle three: 

Sneak not away, sir ; [To Lucio.] for the friar and 

Must have a word anon : lay hold on him. 

Lucio. This may prove worse than hanging. 

DUKE. What you have spoke, I pardon ; sit you 

down. [To ESCALUS. 

We'll borrow place of him : Sir, by your leave : 


Hast thou or word, or wit, or impudence, 
That yet can do thee office ? 9 If thou hast, 
Rely upon it till my tale be heard, 
And hold no longer out. 

ANG. O my dread lord, 

I should be guiltier than my guiltiness, 
To think I can be undiscernible, 
When I perceive, your grace, like power divine, 

" What, Piper, ho ! be hang'd a-while," is a line of an old 
madrigal. FARMER. 

A similar expression is found in Ben Jonson's Bartholomerv 
Fair, 1614: 

" Leave the bottle behind you, and be curst a-while" 


Dr. Johnson is much too positive in asserting " that the words 
an hour have no particular use here, nor are authorised by cus- 
tom," as Dr. Farmer has well proved. The poet evidently refers 
to the ancient mode of punishing by collistrigium, or the original 
pillory, made like that part of the pillory at present which re- 
ceives the neck, only it was placed horizontally, so that the cul- 
prit hung suspended in it by his chin, and the back of his head. 
A distinct account of it may be found, if I mistake not, in Mr. 
Barrington's Observations on the Statutes. HENLEY. 

9 can do thee office ?] i. e. do thee service. 



Hath look'd upon my passes : l Then, good prince, 
No longer session hold upon my shame, 
But let my trial be mine own confession ; 
Immediate sentence then, and sequent death, 
Is all the grace I beg. 

DUKE. Come hither, Mariana : 

Say, wast thou e'er contracted to this woman ? 

ANG. I was, my lord. 

DUKE. Go take her hence, and marry her in- 

Do you the office, friar ; which consummate, 2 
Return him here again : Go with him, Provost. 
and Provost. 

ESCAL. My lord, I am more amaz'd at his dis- 
Than at the strangeness of it. 

DUKE. Come hither, Isabel : 

Your friar is now your prince : As I was then 
Advertising, and holy 3 to your business, 
Not changing heart with habit, I am still 
Attorney'd at your service. 

ISAB. O, give me pardon, 

That I, your vassal, have employed and pain'd 
Your unknown sovereignty. 

DUKE. You are pardon J d, Isabel : 

1 my passes :] i. e. what has past in my administration. 
** Not so ; (says the Edinburgh Magazine, Nov. 1786,) Passes 
means here artful devices, deceitful contrivances. Tours de passe- 
passe, in French, are tricks of jugglery." STEEVENS. 

* "which consummate,] i. e. which being consummated. 


3 Advertising, and holy ] Attentive and faithful. 



And now, dear maid, be yon as free to us. 4 
Your brother's death, I know, sits at your heart ; 
And you may marvel, why I obscur'd myself, 
Labouring to save his life ; and would not rather 
Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power, 5 
Than let him so be lost : O, most kind maid, 
It was the swift celerity of his death, 
Which I did think with slower foot came on, 
That brain'd my purpose : 6 But, peace be with him ! 
That life is better life, past fearing death, 
Than that which lives to fear : make it your com- 
So happy is your brother. 

Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, PETER, and Provost. 

ISAS. I do, my lord. 

DUKE. For this new-married man, approaching 


Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd 
Your well-defended honour, you must pardon 
For Mariana's sake : but as he adjudg'd your 


(Being criminal, in double violation 
Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach, 7 

4 be you as free to us.~\ Be as generous to us ; pardon us 

as we have pardoned you. JOHNSON. 

5 Make rash remonstrance of my hidden power,'] That is, a 
premature discovery of it. M. MASON. 

6 That brain'd my purpose:] We now use in conversation a 
like phrase : This it teas that knocked my design on the head. Dr. 
Warburton reads : 

baned my purpose. JOHNSON. 

7 and of promise-breach,] Our author ought to have 

written " in double violation of sacred chastity, and of pro- 


Thereon dependent, for your brother's life,) 

T-he very mercy of the law cries out 

Most audible, even from his proper tongue, 8 

An Angela for Claudio, death for death. 

Haste still pays haste, and leisure answers leisure ; 

Like doth quit like, and Measure stills/or Measure? 

Then, Angelo, thy fault's thus manifested ; 

Which though thou would'st deny, denies thee 

vantage : l 

We do condemn thee to the very block 
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like 

haste ; 
Away with him. 

wise" instead of promise-breach. Sir T. Hanmer reads and 
in promise-breach ; but change is certainly here improper, Shak- 
speare having many similar inaccuracies. Double indeed may 
refer to Angelo's conduct to Mariana and Isabel ; yet still some 
difficulty will remain : for then he will be said to be " criminal 
[instead of guilty] o/'promise-breach." M ALONE. 

* even from his proper tongue,] Even from Angelo's own 

tongue. So, above : 

" In the witness of his proper ear 
" To call him villain." JOHNSON. 

9 Measure still for Measure.] So, in The Third Part of 

King Henry VI: 

" Measure for Measure must be answered." STEEVENS. 

Shakspeare might have remembered these lines in A Warning 
for faire Women, a tragedy, 15gp, (but apparently written some 
years before) : 

" The trial now remains, as shall conclude 

" Measure for Measure, and lost blood for blood." 


1 denies thee vantage :] Takes from thee all opportunity, 

all expedient of denial. WAKBURTON. 

Which though thou 'would'st deny, denies thee vantage :] The 
denial of which will avail thee nothing. So, in The Winter's 

" Which to deny, concerns more than avails." 



MART. O, my most gracious lord, 

I hope you will not mock me with a husband ! 

DUKE. It is your husband mock'd you with a 

husband : 

Consenting to the safeguard of your honour, 
I thought your marriage fit ; else imputation, 
For that he knew you, might reproach your life, 
And choke your good to come : for his possessions, 
Although by confiscation they are ours, 2 
We do instate and widow you withal, 
To buy you a better husband. 

MART. O, my dear lord, 

I crave no other, nor no better man. 

DUKE. Never crave him ; we are definitive. 
MARI. Gentle, my liege, [Kneeling. 

DUKE. You do but lose your labour ; 

Away with him to death. Now, sir, [To Lucio.j 
to you. 

MARI. O, my good lord ! Sweet Isabel, take 

my part ; 

Lend me your knees, and all my life to come 
I'll lend you, all my life to do you service. 

DUKE. Against all sense you do importune her : s 

8 Although by confiscation they are ou?-s,~\ This reading was 
furnished by the editor of the second folio. The original copy 
has confutation, which may be right : by his being confuted, or 
proved guilty of the fact which he had denied. This, however, 
being rather harsh, I have followed all the modern editors in 
adopting the emendation that has been made. MALONE. 

I cannot think it even possible that confutation should be the 
true reading. But the value of the second folio, it seems, must 
on all occasions be disputed. STEEVENS. 

3 Against all sense you do importune lier:~\ The meaning 
required is, against all reason and natural affection ; Shakspeare, 


Should she kneel down, in mercy of this fact, 
Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break, 
And take her hence in horror. 

MARL Isabel, 

Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me ; 
Hold up your hands, say nothing, I'll speak all. 
They say, best men are moulded out of faults ; 
And, for the most, become much more the better 
For being a little bad : so may my husband. 
O, Isabel ! will you not lend a knee ? 

DUKE. He dies for Claudio's death. 

ISAB. Most bounteous sir, 


Look, if it please you, on this man condemn'd, 
As if my brother liv'd : I partly think, 
A due sincerity govern' d his deeds, 
Till he did look on me j 4 since it is so, 

therefore, judiciously uses a single word that implies both : sense 
signifying both reason and affection. JOHNSON. 

The same expression occurs in The Tempest, Act II: 
" You cram these words into my ears, against 
" The stomach of my sense." STEEVENS. 

* Till he did look on me ;~\ The Duke has justly observed, 
that Isabel is importuned against all sense to solicit for Angelo, 
yet, here against all sense she solicits for him. Her argument is 
extraordinary : 

A due sincerity governed his deeds 
Till he did look on me : since it is so, 
Let him not die. 

That Angelo had committed all the crimes charged against 
him, as far as he could commit them, is evident. The only in- 
tent which his act did not overtake, was the defilement of Isabel. 
Of this Angelo was only intentionally guilty. 

Angelo's crimes were such as must sufficiently justify punish- 
ment, whether its end be to secure the innocent from wrong, or 
to deter guilt by example ; and I believe every reader feels some 
indignation when he finds him spared. From what extenuation 


Let him not die : My brother had but justice, 
In that he did the thing for which he died : 
For Angelo, 

His act did not o'ertake his bad intent ; 5 
And must be buried but as an intent 
That perish'd by the way : 6 thoughts are no sub- 
jects ; 
Intents but merely thoughts. 

MAEI. Merely, my lord. 

DUKE. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I say. 
I have bethought me of another fault : 
Provost, how came it, Claudio was beheaded 
At an unusual hour ? 

PROF. It \vas commanded so. 

DUKE. Had you a special warrant for the deed ? 

PROV. No, my good lord ; it was by private mes- 

of his crime can Isabel, who yet supposes her brother dead, form 
any plea in his favour ? Since he ivas good till he looked on me, 
let him not die. I am afraid our varlct poet intended to incul- 
cate, that women think ill of nothing that raises the credit of 
their beauty, and are ready, however virtuous, to pai'don any 
act which they think incited by their own charms. JOHNSON. 

It is evident that Isabella condescends to Mariana's importu- 
nate solicitation with great reluctance. Bad as her argument 
might be, it is the best that the guilt of Angelo would admit. 
The sacrifice that she makes of her revenge to her friendship 
scarcely merits to be considered m so harsh a light. RITSON. 

* His act did not o'ertake his bad intent ;] So, in Macbeth : 
. " The flighty purpose never is overtook, 
" Unless the deed go with it." STEEVENS. 

buried but as an intent 

That perish'd by the way :] i. e. like the traveller, who 
dies on his journey, is obscurely interred, and thought of no 
more : 

Ilium expirantem 

Obliti ignoto camponim in pulvere linquunt. STEEVEVS. 


DUKE. For which I do discharge you of your 

office : 
Give up your keys. 

PROV. Pardon me, noble lord : 

I thought it was a fault, but knew it not ; 
Yet did repent me, after more advice : 7 
For testimony whereof, one in the prison, 
That should by private order else have died, 
I have reserv'd alive. 

DUKE. What's he ? 

PROF. His name is Barnardine. 

DUKE. I would thou had'st done so by Claudio. 
Go, fetch him hither ; let me look upon him. 

\_Exit Provost. 

ESCAL. I am sorry, one so learned and so wise 
As you, lord Angelo, have still appeared, 
Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood, 
And lack of tempered judgment afterward. 

ANG. I am sorry, that such sorrow I procure : 
And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart, 
That I crave death more willingly than mercy ; 
'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it. 

Re-enter Provost, BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO, and 

DUKE. Which is that Barnardine ? 

PROV. This, my lord. 

DUKE. There was a friar told me of this man : 
Sirrah, thou art said to have a stubborn soul, 

7 after more advice :~\ i. e. after more mature considera- 
tion. So, in Titus Andronicus: 

" The Greeks, upon advice, did bury Ajax." 



That apprehends no further than this world, 
And squar'st thy life according. Thou'rt con- 

demn'd ; 

But, for those earthly faults, 8 1 quit them all ; 
And pray thee, take this mercy to provide 

For better times to come : Friar, advise him ; 

I leave him to your hand. What muffled fellow's 

that ? 

PROV. This is another prisoner, that I sav'd, 
That should have died when Claudio lost his head; 
As like almost to Claudio, as himself. 

\_Unimtffles CLAUDIO. 

DUKE. If he be like your brother, [ To ISABELLA.] 

for his sake 

Is he pardon'd ; And, for your lovely sake, 
Give me your hand, and say you will be mine, 
He is my brother too : But fitter time for that. 
By this, lord Angelo perceives he's safe ; 9 
Methinks, I see a quick'ning in his eye : 
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well: 1 
Look that you love your wife j 2 her worth, worth 

yours. 3 

* for those earthly faults,] Thy faults, so far as they are 

punishable on earth, so far as they are cognisable by temporal 
power, I forgive. JOHNSON. 

9 perceives he's safe ;] It is somewhat strange that Isabel 

is not made to express either gratitude, wonder, or joy, at the 
tight of her brother. JOHNSON. 

1 your evil quits you "well .-] Quits you, recompenses, re- 
quites you. JOHNSON. 

* Look that you love your wife ;~\ So, in Promos, &c. 

" Be loving to good Cassandra, thy wife." STEEVENS. 

* her worth, worth yours.] Sir T. Hanmer reads 

Her worth works yours. 

This reading is adopted by Dr. Warburton ; but for what 
reason ? How does her worth work Angela's worth ? it has 


I find an apt remission in myself: 

And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon ; 4 

You, sirrah, [To Lucio.] that knew me for a fool, 

a coward, 

One all of luxury, 5 an ass, a madman ; 
Wherein have I so deserved of you, 
That you extol me thus ? 

Lucio. 'Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according 
to the trick : If you will hang me for it, you may, 
but I had rather it would please you, I might be 

only contributed to tvork his pardon. The words are, as they 
are too frequently, an affected gingle ; but the sense is plain. 
Her ivorth, worth yours ; that is, her value is equal to your 
value, the match is not unworthy of you. JOHNSON. 

4 here's one in place I cannot pardon y] The Duke only 

means to frighten Lucio, whose final sentence is to marry the 
woman whom he had wronged, on which all his other punish- 
ments are remitted. STEEVENS. 

6 One all of luxury,] Luxury means incontinence. So, in 
King Lear : 

" To't, luxury, pellmell, for I lack soldiers." 


6 according to the trick :] To my custom, my habitual 

practice. JOHNSON. 

Lucio does not say my trick, but the trick ; nor does he mean 
to excuse himself by saying that he spoke according to his usual 
practice, for that would be an aggravation to his guilt, but ac- 
cording to the trick and practice of the times. It was probably 
then the practice, as it is at this day, for the dissipated and pro- 
fligate, to ridicule and slander persons in high station, or of su- 
perior virtue. M. MASON. 

According to the trick, is, according to the fashion of thought- 
less youth. So, in Love's Labour's Lost : " yet I have a trick 
of the old rage." Again, in a collection of epigrams, entitled 
Wit's Bedlam, printed about the year 1015 : 

" Carnus calls lechery a trick of youth; 

" So he grows old ; but this trick hurts his growth." 



DUKE. Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after. 
Proclaim it, provost, round about the city ; 
If any woman's wrong'd by this lewd fellow, 
(As I have heard him swear himself, there's one 
Whom he begot with child,) let her appear, 
And he shall marry her : the nuptial finished, 
Let him be whipp'd and hang'd. 

Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me 
to a whore ! Your highness said even now, I made 
you a duke ; good my lord, do not recompense 
me, in making me a cuckold. 

DUKE. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her. 
Thy slanders I forgive ; and therewithal 
Remit thy other forfeits: 7 Take him to prison : 
And see our pleasure herein executed. 

Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing 
to death, whipping, and hanging. 

DUKE. Sland'ring a prince deserves it. 
She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore. 
Joy to you, Mariana ! Love her, Angelo ; 
I have confessed her, and I know her virtue. 
Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much good- 
ness : 8 

7 thy other forfeits :] Thy other punishments. 


To forfeit anciently signified to commit a carnal offence. So, 
in The History of Helyas, Knight of the Sivanne, bl. 1. no date: 
" to affirme by an untrue knight, that the noble queen Bea- 
trice hadforfayted with a dogge." Again, in the 12th Pageant 
of the Coventry Collection of Mysteries, the Virgin Mary tells 
Joseph : 

" I dede nevyrforfete with man I wys." 
MS. Cott. Vesp. D. viii. STEEVENS. 

8 Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness .-} 
I have always thought that there is great confusion in this con- 
cluding speech. If my criticism would not be censured as tof> 
licentious, I should regulate it thus : 


There's more behind, that is more gratulate. 9 
Thanks, Provost, for thy care, and secrecy ; 
We shall employ thee in a worthier place : 

Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much goodness, 
Thanks, Provost, for thy care and secrecy ; 
We shall employ thee in a worthier place. 
Forgive him, Angela, that brought you home 
The head of ' Ragozine for Claudia's. 

Ang. The offence pardons itself. 

Duke. There's more behind 
That is more gratulate. Dear Isabel, 
I have a motion, &c. JOHNSON. 

9 that is more gratulate.] i. e. to be more rejoiced in ; 
meaning, I suppose, that there is another world, where he will 
find yet greater reason to rejoice in consequence of his upright 
ministry. Escalus is represented as an ancient nobleman, who, 
in conjunction with Angelo, had reached the highest office of 
the state. He therefore could not be sufficiently rewarded here ; 
but is necessarily referred to a future and more exalted recom- 
pense. STEEVENS. 

I cannot approve of Steevens's explanation of this passage, 
which is very far-fetched indeed. The Duke gives Escalus 
thanks for his much goodness, but tells him that he had some 
other reward in store for him, more acceptable than thanks ; 
which agrees with what he said before, in the beginning of this 

" we hear 

" Such goodness of your justice, that our soul 
" Cannot but yield you forth to public thanks, 
" Fore-running more requital." M. MASON. 

Hey wood also, in his Apology for Actors, 1612, uses to gratu- 
late, in the sense of to reward: " I could not chuse but 
gratulate your honest endeavours with this remembrance." 


Mr. M. Mason's explanation may be right ; but he forgets 
that the speech he brings in support of it, was delivered before 
the denouement of the scene, and was, at that moment, as much 
addressed to Angelo as to Escalus ; and for Angelo the Duke 
had certainly no reward or honours, in store. Besides, I cannot 
but regard the word requital, as an interpolation, because it 
destroys the measure, without improvement of the sense. " Fore- 
running more," therefore, would only signify ^preceding further 
thanks. STEEVENS. 


Forgive him, Angelo, that brought you home 
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's ; 
The offence pardons itself. Dear Isabel, 
I have a motion much imports your good ; 
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline, 
What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine : 
So> bring us to our palace ; where we'll show 
What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know. 


1 I cannot help taking notice with how much judgment Shak- 
speare has given turns to this story from what he found it in 
Giraldi Cinthio's novel. In the first place, the brother is there 
actually executed, and the governor sends his head in a bravado 
to the sister, after he had debauched her on promise of marriage : 
a circumstance of too much horror and villainy for the stage. 
And, in the next place, the sister afterwards is, to solder up her 
disgrace, married to the governor, and begs his life of the em- 
peror, though he had unjustly been the death of her brother. 
Both which absurdities the poet has avoided by the episode of 
Mariana, a creature purely of his own invention. The Duke's 
remaining incognito at home to supervise the conduct of his 
deputy, is also entirely our author's fiction. 

This story was attempted for the scene before our author was 
fourteen years old, by one George Whetstone, in Ttoo Comical 
Discourses, as they are called, containing the right excellent and 
famous history of Promos and Cassandra, printed with the black 
letter, 15/8. The author going that year with Sir Humphrey 
Gilbert to Norimbega, left them with his friends to publish. 


The novel of Giraldi Cinthio, from which Shakspeare is sup- 
posed to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakspeare 
illustrated, elegantly translated, with remarks which will assist 
the enquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakspeare ha* 
admitted or avoided. 

I cannot but suspect that some other /had new-modelled the 
novel of Cinthio, or written a story which in some particulars 
resembled it, and that Cinthio was not the author whom Shak- 
speare immediately followed. The Emperor in Cinthio is named 
Maximine ; the Duke, in Shakspeare's enumeration of the per- 
sons of the drama, is called Vincentio. This appears a very 
slight remark ; but since the Duke has no name in the play, 
nor is ever mentioned, but by his title, why should he be called 



Vincentio among the persons, but because the name was copied 
from the story, and placed superfluously at the head of the list 
by the meer habit of transcription ? It is therefore likely that 
there was then a story of Vincentio Duke of Vienna, different 
from that of Maximine Emperor of the Romans. 

Of this play, the light or comick part is very natural and pleas- 
ing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have 
more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than 
artful. The time of the action is indefinite ; some time, we know 
not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of the 
Duke and the imprisonment of Claudio; for he must have learn- 
ed the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his power 
to a man already known to be corrupted. The unities of action 
and place are sufficiently preserved. JOHNSON. 

The Duke probably had learnt the story of Mariana in some 
of his former retirements, "having ever loved the life removed." 
(Page 213) "And he had a suspicion that Angelo was but a 
seemer, (page 218) and therefore he stays to watch him." 


The Fable of Whetstone's Promos and Cassandra, 
" The Argument of the whole History" 

" In the cyttie of Julio, (sometimes under the dominion of 
Corvinus kynge of Plungarie and Bohemia,} there was a law, 
that what man so ever committed adultery should lose his head, 
and the woman offender should weare some disguised apparel, 
during her life, to make her infamously noted. This severe 
lawe, by the favour of some mercifull magistrate, became little 
regarded, untill the time of lord Promos' auctority ; who con- 
victing a young gentleman named Andrugio of incontinency, 
condemned both him and his minion to the execution of this 
statute. Andrugio had a very virtuous and beautiful gentle- 
woman to his sister, named Cassandra : Cassandra, to enlarge 
her brother's life, submitted an humble petition to the lord 
Promos : Promos regarding her good behaviours, and fantasymg 
her great beawtie, was much delighted with the sweete order of 
her talke ; and doyng good, that evill might come thereof, Jor 
a time he repryved her brother : but wicked man, tourning his 
liking into unlawfull lust, he set downe the spoile of her honour, 
raunsome for her brother's life : chaste Cassandra, abhorring 
both him and his sute, by no persuasion would yeald to this 
raunsome. But in fine, wonne by the importunitye cf hir bro- 
ther," (pleading fgr life,) upon these conditions she agreed to 


Promos. First, that he should pardon her brother, and after 
marry her. Promos, as feareles in promisse, as carelesse in per- 
formance,- with sollemne vowe sygned her conditions ; but worse 
then any infydell, his will satissfyed, he performed neither the 
one nor the other : for to keepe his auctoritye unspotted with 
favour, and to prevent Cassandra's clamors, he commaunded 
the gayler secretly, to present Cassandra with her brother's 
head. The gayler, [touched] with the outcryes of Andrugio, 
(abhorryng Promos' lewdenes,) by the providence of God pro- 
vided thus for his safety. He presented Cassandra with a felon's 
head newlie executed ; who knew it not, being mangled, from 
her brother's, (who was set at libertie by the gayler). [She] 
was so agreeved at this trecherye, that, at the point to kyl her 
self, she spared that stroke, to be avenged of Promos: and 
devysing a way, she concluded, to make her fortunes knowne 
unto the kinge. She, executing this resolution, was so highly 
favoured of the king, that forthwith he hasted to do justice on 
Promos: whose judgment was, to marry Cassandra, to repaire 
her erased honour , which donne, for his hainous offence, he 
should lose his head. This maryage solempnised, Cassandra 
tyed in the greatest bondes of affection to her husband, became 
an earnest suter for his life : the kinge, tendringe the generall 
benefit of the comon weale before her special case, although he 
favoured her much, would not graunt her sute. An drugio (dis- 
guised amonge the company) sorrowing the griefe of his sister, 
bewrayde his safety, and craved pardon. The kinge, to renowne 
the vertues of Cassandra, pardoned both him and Promos. The 
circumstances of this rare historye, in action livelye foloweth." 

Whetstone, however, has not afforded a very correct analysis of 
his play, which contains a mixture of comick scenes, between a 
Bawd, a Pimp, Felons, &c. together with some serious situations 
which are not described. STEEVENS. 

One paragraph of the foregoing narrative being strangely con- 
fused in the old copy, by some carelessness of the printer, I have 
endeavoured to rectify it, by transposing a few words, and add- 
ing two others, which are included within crotchets. MALONE, 


T. OAVISON, Lombard-street, 
Whitefriars, London. 


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