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Niy absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travellid to Poland;
For fo I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is receiv'd : Now, pious fir,
You will demand of me, why I do this?

Fri. Gladiy, my lord.
DUKE. We have strict statutes, and most biting

laws, (The needful bits and curbs for head-strong

steeds.)" Which for these fourteen years we have let sleep; ?

6. The needful bits and curbs for head-ftrong steeds ,] In the copies,

The needful bits and curbs for head-strong weeds. There is no manner of analogy or consonance in the metaphors here : and, though the copies agree, I do not think the author would have alked of bits and curbs for weeds. On the other hand, nothing can be more proper, than to compare persons of unbridled licentiousness to head-strong steeds: and, in this view, bridling the pajions has been a phrase adopted by our best pocts.

THEOBALD. ? Which for these fourteen years we have let leep;] Thus the old copy : which also reads,

we have lei flip." STEEVENS. For fourteen I have made no fcruple to replace nineteen. The reason will be obvious to him who recollects what the Duke (Claudio has faid in a foregoing scene. I have altered the odd phrase of « letting the laws flip:” 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 sleep, adds a particular propriety to the thing represented, and accords exa&ly too with the fimile. It is the metaphor too, that our author seems fond of using upon this occalion, in several other passages of this play :

The law hatừ not been dead, though it hath dept;

'Tis now a wake. And, so again:

but this new governot
Awakes me all the enrolled penalties;

and for a name,
Now puts the drowsy and neglected ac
Freshly on me. THEOBALD.

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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 fight,
For terror, not to use; in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd, than fear'd: 8 so our de-

crees,
Dead to infliction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose;
The baby beats the nurse,' and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
FRI.

It rested in your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas’d:

my blood,

The latter emendation may derive support from a passage in Hamlet :

How stand I then,
« That have a father kill'd, a mother fain'd,
« Excitements of my reason and

. And let all sleep?" If hip be the true reading, ( which, however, I do not believe, ) the sense may be, - which for these fourteen years we have fuffered to pass unnoticed, unobserved; for fo the same phrase is used in Twelfth Night:

:-, Let him let this matter Nip, and I'll give him my horse, grey Capulet.

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. Claudio would naturally reprefent the periode during which the law had not been put in practice, greater than it really was. MALONE.

Theobald's corredion is misplaced. If any corredion is really necessary, it should have been made where Claudio, in a foregoing scene, says nineteen years. I am disposed to take the Duke's words. WHALLEY.

8 Becomes more mock'd, than fear'd:] Becomes was added by Mr. Pope, to restore sense to the passage, some such word having been left out. STEEVENS.

9 The baby beats the nurse, ] This allusion was borrowed from an ancient print, entitled The World turni'd uphide down, where an infant is thus employed. STEEVENS.

And it in you more dreadful would have seemd,
Than in lord Angelo.
DUKE.

I do fear, too dreadful:
Sith ' '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,
And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my

father, 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 fight, To do it flander : ? And to behold his sway, I will, as 'twere a brother of Visit both prince and people: therefore, I pr’ythee, Supply me with the habit, and instruct me How I may formally in person bear? me

your order,

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9 Sith - ] i, e. since. STEEVENS.
2 To do it slander: ] The text stood:

So do in sander :
Sir Thomas Hanmer has very well correded it thus :

To do it fander : Yet perhaps less alteration might have produced the true reading :

And yet my nature never, in the fight,

So doing slandered : And yet my nature never suffer slander, by doing any open ads of severity. JOHNSON. The old text stood,

in the fight To do in slander: Hanmer's emendation is supported by a passage in King Henry IV. P. I:

« Do me no slander, Douglas, I dare fight." Steevens. Fight seems to be countenanced by the words ambush and strikes Sight was introduced by Mr. Pope. MALONE.

in person bear -] Ms. Pope reads.

my person bear.

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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 * with

with envy; scarce confeffes
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone: Hence shall we fee,
If power change purpose, what our seemers be,

(Exeunt. S CE N E

N V.

A Nunnery.

Enter ISABELLA and FRANCISCA.

ISAB. And have you nuns no further privileges ? FRAN. Are not these large enough?

ISAB. Yes, truly: I speak not as desiring more; But rather wishing a more strict restraint Upon the fifter-hood, the votariffs of faint Clare. LUCIO. Ho! Peace be in this place! [ Within ISAB.

Who's that which calls ?

- How I

Perhaps the word which I have inserted in the text, had dropped out while the sheet was at press. A fimilar phrase occurs in The Tempeft: " some good inftru&ion give

may

bear me here. Sir W. D'Avenant reads, in his alteration of the play:

I may in person a true friar feem. The sense of the passage ( as Mr. Henley observes) is - How I anay demean myself, so as to support the charaéter I have affumed.

STEEVENS. 4 Siands at a guard -] Stands on terms of defiance.

JOHNSON. This rather means, to stand cautiously or his defence, than on icrms of, defiance. M. MASON.

VOL. VI.

FRAN. It is a man's voice: Gentle Isabella, Turn you the key, and know his business of him; You may, 1 may not; you are yet unsworn: When

you have vow'd, you must not fpeak with

men,
But in the presence of the prioress :
Then, if you speak, you must not show your face
Or, if you

your face, you must not speak. He calls again; I pray you, answer him.

[ Exit FRANCISCA. IsaB. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls ?

;

you show

Enter Lucio.

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LUCIO. Hail, virgin, if you be; as those check

rofes
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 Ifabella, and his fifter.
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, ? He should receive his punishment in thanks : He hath got his friend with child.

5 For that, which, if myself might be his judge, ) Perhaps these words were transposed at the press. The sense secms to require That, for which, &c. MALONE.

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