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Adhor. Sir, it is a mystery.
Every truc nan's apparel fits your thief: Clo. If it be too little for your thief, pour irue mon thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it liitle enough : jo every true man's apparel fils 3cut thief. 1. Thus it ftood in all the editions till Mr. Theobald's, and was, meihiuks, not very difficult to be understood. The plain and humorous sense of the speech is this. Every truc man's apparel, which the thief robs him of, its the thief. Why? Because, if ii be too little for the chief, the true man thinks it big enougli: i. e. a purchase 100 good for him. So that this fits the thief in the opinion of the true man. But if it be 100 big for the thief, yet the thief thinks it licile enough: i. e. of value liitle enough. So that this fits the thief in his own opinion. Where we see, that the pleasantry of the joke consilis in the equivocal sense of big enough, and little enough. Yet Mr. Theobald says, he can see no sense in all this, and therca fore aliers ihe whole thius :
Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thirf.
your thief thinks it lig enough: if it be too big for your true man, your thief thinks it little enough. And for liis alteration' gives this estracrdinary reason. - I am satisfied the post interded a regular fyllogism; and I fubmit it to judgement, whether any regulation has not reflored 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 mystery : the Clown cannot conceive it. The Hangman undertakes 10 prove it in these words, [erry true inan's apparel,' &c. but this proves the thief's trade a myflery, noi the hanginan's. Hence it appears, that the speech, in which the Hangman proved his trade a mystery, is lost. The very words it is impossible to retrieve, but one inay easily understand what medium he employed in proving it: without doubt, the very fame the Clown employed to prove the thief's trade a mystery; namely, that all sorts of clothes filied the hang
The Clown, on hearing this argument, replied, I suppose, to this effe&: Why', bing the saine kind of reasoning, I can prove the thief's trado 100 to be a myjtery. The other. asks liow , .and the Clown goes on as above, Every true nun's apparel fits your thief; if it be too litile, &c. Thic jocular conclufion from the whole, being an infinuation that thief and hangman were rogues alike. This conjeâure gives a spirit and integrity to the dialogue, which, in its present mangled condition, is alio yether wanting; and Thews why the argument of encry truc man's apparel, &c. was in all.
ABHOR. Every true man's apparel fits your thief:
oditions given to the Clown, to whom indeed it belongs; and likewise that the present reading of that argument is the true. WARBURTON.
If Dr. Warburton had attended to the argument by which the Bawd proves his own profellion to be a nystery, he would not have been driven to take refuge in the groundlels fuppofition, “ that part of the dialogue had been lost or dropped.
The argument of the Hangman is exally similar to that of the Bawd. As the latter puts in his claim to the whores, as memòers of his occupation, and, in virtue of their painting, would enroll his own fraternity in the mystery of painters; so the former equally lays claiin to the thieves, as members of his occupation, and, in their right, endeavours 10 rank his brethren, the hangmen, under the mystery of ftiers 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 millake, as the reader's own sagacity will readily perceive, given to the Clown or Bawd. I suppose, therefore the poet gave us the whole thus :
Abhor. Sir, it is a mystery'.
Abhor. Every true man's ațþarel fits your thief: if it be too little far your thief, gour true man thinks it big enongh: if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it liitle enough; so every true man's apparel fits your thief.
I must do Dr. Warburton the justice to acknowledge, that he hath righily apprehended, and explained the force of the Hangman's argument. HEATH.
There can be no doubt but the word Clown, prefixed to the last senience, If it be too little, &c.'fhould be ftruck out. It makes part of Abhorlon's argument, who has undertaken to prove that hanging was a mystery, and convinces the Clown of it by this very speech. M. Mason.
$ Every true man's apparel fits your thief :] So, in Promos and Casandra, 1578, the Hangman says : “ Here is nyne and twenty futes of apparell for my
share. True milan,
in the language of ancient times, is always placed in oppofition to thief. So, in Churchyard's Warning to Wanderers abroade, 1593 :
“ The priuy thiefe that feales away our wealth,
" Is sore afraid a true 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 lealt in the book of Genesis, ihere is one instance to the conírary, ch. xlii. v. 11:~" We are all one man's fons; we are all truc mer: thy servants are no spies. HENLEY.
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
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. 6
Prov. You, firrah , provide your block and your axe, to-morrow four o'clock.
ABHOR. Come on, bawd; I will instruct thee in my trade; follow.
Clo. I do desire to learn , fir; and , I hope, if you have occasion to use me for your own turn, you
shall find me yare : ' for , truly fir, for your kindness, I owe you a good turn. Prov. Call hither Barnardine and Claudio :
[ Exeunt Clown and ABHORSON. One has my pity; not a jot the other , Being a murderer, though he were my brother.
Enter CLAUDIO. Look, here's the warrant , Claudio, for thy death :
ask forgiveness] So, in As you like it :
The common executioner, " Whose heart the accustom'd fight of death makes hard, “ Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck, " But first begs pardon." STEEVENS.
--yare: ] i. e. handy, nimble in the execution of my office. So, in Twelfth Night : dismount thy tuck, be jare in thy preparation. Again, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ His ships are gare, yours heavy. Steevens.
- a good turn. ) i. e. a turn off the ladder. He quibbles or the phrase according to iis common acceptation, FARMER.
'Tis now dead midnight, and by eight to morrow
Who can do good on him?
[Knocking within. Heaven give your spirits comfort! [Exit CLAUDIO.]
by and by: I hope it is some pardon, or reprieve', For the most gentle Claudio.-Welcome, father.
Duke. The best and wholesomeft fpirits of the
Prov. None, since the curfew rung.
There's some in hope.
- Starkly-] Stiffily. These two lines afford a very pleasing image. JOHNSON. So, in The Legend of Lord Haflings , 1575: “ Least starke with rest they finew'd waxe and hoare.'
STEEVENS. '? They will then, ] Perhaps -- she will then. Sir J. HAWKINS.
The Duke expe&s Isabella and Mariana. A little afterward he lays :
Now are they come." RITSON.
Duke. Not so, not fo; his life is parallel'd
[Knocking within.---Provost goes out.
3 Even with the stroke-] Stroke is here put for the firoke of a pen or a line. JOHNSON.
* 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.". Again, in Othello:
* I have drank but one cup to-night, and that was craftily qualified too.” STEEVENS,
were he meald-) Were he sprinkled ; were he defiled. A figure of the same kind our author uses in Macbeth:
" The blood-bolter'd Banquo." JOHNSON,
" As if their perriwigs to death they gave,
BLACKSTONE. 6 But this being so,] 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.
That Spirit's poslofs'd with hafte, That wounds the unlifting postern with these firakes.] The line is irregular, and the old reading , unresisting posiern, so strange an espreslion, that want of measure, and want of sense, might juhly raise