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Provost relurns, speaking to one at the door.
Prov.' There he must fiay, until the officer Arife to let him in; he is call'd up.
DUKE. Have you no countermand for Claudio yet,
None, fir, none.
suspicion of an error ; yet none of the latter editors seem to have supposed the place faulty, except Sir Thomas Hammer, who reads:
the unresting poftern The three folios have it,
-unfifting pofternout of which Mr. Rowe made unrefiling, and the rest followed him. Sir Thomas Hanmer seems to have supposed unrefifting the word in the copies, from which he plausibly enough extracted untefling; but he grounded bis emendation on the very fyllable that wants authority. What can be made of unfifting i know not; the best that occurs to me is unfeeling. JOHNSON. Unfisting may signify s never at rest," always opening.
BLACKSTONE. I hould think we might safely read:
---unlift'ning poflern, or unshifting ofen. The measure requires it, and the sense remains uninjured.
Mr. M. Mason would read unlisling, which means unregarding. I have', however, inserted Sir William Blackstone's emendacion in tlae text. STEEVENS. 8-fiege of justice, ] i. c. feat of justice. Siege , French,
, So, in Othello :
- I fetch my birth
DUKE. This is his lordship’s man.
Mess. My lord hath sent you this note ; and by
Prov. I fall obey him. [ Exit Messenger.
This is his lordships man. ] The old copy has his lord's man. Correded by Mr. Pope. In the MS. plays of our author's time they often wrote Lo. for Lord, and Lord, for Lordship ; and these con. tra&ions were sometimes improperly followed in the printed copies.
MALONE, 9. Enter Messenger.
Duke. This is his lordship's man.
Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.] The Provost has just
This is his lordship's man,
And here comes Claudio's pardon.
This is his pardon; purchas'd by such sin. TYRWHITT.
When vice makes mercy, mercy's so extended, That for the fault's love, is the offender friended.--Now, sir, what news?
Prov. I told you : Lord Angelo, be-like, thinking me remiss in mine office, awakens me with this unwonted putting on: methinks, ftrangely; 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 five. Let this be duly perform'd; with a thought, that more depends on it than we must get deliver. Thus fail not to do your office, as you will answer it at your peril. What say you to this, fır?
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 deliver'd 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 government of lord Angelo, came not to an undoubtful proof.
Duke. Is it now apparent?
- putting on :) i. e. fpur, incitement. So, in Macbeth, AE IV. sc. iii:
the powers above
one that is a prisoner nine years old.] i. e. That has been confined these nine years. So, in Hamlet : «. Ere we days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike preparation," &c. MALOŃa.
DUKE. Hath he borne himself penitently in prison? How fcems hc to be touch'd?
PROV. A man that apprehends death no more dreadfully, but as a drunken sleep; careless, reckless, and fearless of what's past, present, or to come; insensible of mortality, and desperately mortal.”
DUKE. He wants advice.
Proy. He will hear none: he hath ever more 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 fhow'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 confiancy : if I read it not truly, my ancient skill beguiles me; but in the boldness of my cunning, ' 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
alesperately mortal. ] This expression is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads , morially-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 desperately mortal may mean a man likely to die in a desperate ftate, without refle&ion or repentance. Johnson.
The word is often used by Shakspeare in the sense firft 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 - harmonious charmingly," instead of " harmoniousy charming," he may, in the present instance, have given us " desperately morial," for tally desperate :" i. e. desperate in the extreme. In low provincial language, mortal fick, - mortal bad, – mortal poor, is phraseology of frequent occurrence. STEEVENS.
in the boliness of ing cunning, ) i. e. in confidence of my Jagacity. SITEVENS,
stand this in a manifested effect, I crave but four days respite; for the which you are to do me both a present and a dangerous courtesy.
Prov. Pray, fir, in what?
Prov. 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 cafe as Claudio's, to cross this in the smallest.
DUKE. By the vow of mine order, I warrant you, if my instructions may
your guide. Let this Barnardinę be this morning executed, and his head borne to Angelo.
Prov. Angelo hath seen them both, and will discover the favour.
DUKE. O, death's a great disguiser: and you may add to it. Shave the head, and tie the beard ; 'and say, it was the desire of the penitent to be so 'baredo
the favour. ] See note 3. p. 149. STLEVENS. -- 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 ludicrouly careful about this ornament of his face. It should, however, be remembered, 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?
16 I think, a red; for that is most in fashion, Again, in The Silent Woman : " I have fitted my divine and canonist, dyed their beards all. Again, in The Alchemill: 66 he had dy'd his beard, and all."
STEEVENS. 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. JOHNSON.
- to be so bared--] These words relate to what has just preceded – Mave the head. The modern editions following the fourth folio, read - to be so barb'd; but the old copy is certainly right. So, in All's well that ends well: “ I would the cutting of