图书图片
PDF
ePub

Of the all-binding law; 'and that there were
No carthly mean to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this supposed, or else let him suffer;
What would you do?

IsaB. As much for my poor brother, as myself:
That is, Were I under the terms of death,
The impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
That longing I have been fick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.
ANG

Thien must your brother die. IsaB. And 'twere the cheaper way : Better it were, a brother died at once, Than that a fifter, by redeeming him, Should die for ever.

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the sentence That you have slander'd fo?

3

1

You must

9 of the all-binding law;] The old editions read:

all-building lau. JOHNSON. The emendation is Thcobald's; STEEVENS.

or else let him suffer ;] The old copy reads, voor else to let him, " &c. STEEVENS.

Sir Thomas Hanmer reads moic grammatically 66 or else let him fuffer." But our author is frequently inaccurate in the conAtrudion of his sentences. I have therefore adhered to the old copy.

under the necessity (to let, &c.] muit be understood. 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. The old copy reads ---- supposed, not suppos'd. The second to in the line might therefore be the compositor's accidental repetition of the first. Being unnecefiary to fense, and injurious to measure, I' have omitted it. The pages 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,

[ocr errors]

ISAB. Ignomy in ransom, * and free pardon,
Are of two houses: lawful mercy is
Nothing akin to foul redemption.

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.

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out,
To have what we'd have, we speak not what we means:
I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.

Ang. We are all frail.
ISAB.

Else let

my

brother die, If not a feodary, but only he,

4 Ignomy in şansom, ] So the word ignominy was formerly written. Thus, in Troilus and Grella, Aa V. sc. iii :

" Hence, brother lacquey! ignomy and shame," &c. REED. 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 in harmonious, if not defe&ive. STEEVENS.

s Nothing akin-] The old copy reads kin. For this trivial emendation I am answerable. STEEVENS.

If not a feodary, but only he , &c.] This is so obscure, but the allusion fo fine, that it deserves to be explained. A feodary was one that in the times of vaflalage held lands of the chief lord, under the tenure of paying rent and service : which tenures were called feuda amongst the Goths. Now, says Angelo,' “ all frail ;

"Yes, replies Isabella ; if all mankind were feodaries, who owe what they are to this tenure of imbecility, and who succeed each other by the fanie tenure , as well as my brother, I would give him up.

The comparing mankind, lying under the weight of original fin, to a feodary, who owes suit and fertige te his lord, is, I think, not ill imagined. WARBURTON. Shakspeare has the same allusion in Cymbeline :

senseless bauble, “Art thou a feodarie, for this ad?" Again, in the prologue to Marston's Sophonisha , 1606

66 For seventeen Rings were Carthage fcoders."

we

are

not

[ocr errors]

Owe, 6 and fucceed by weakness.?
ANG.

Nay, women are frail too. Isab.Ay,as the glasses where they view themselves; Which are as ealy broke as they make forms.

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 vasel was an accomplice with his lord; i. e. was fubje& to be executor of the mischief he did not contrive, and was obliged to follow in every bad cause wħich his superior led.

STEEVENS. 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 fignification here. Dr. Warburton's note therefore is certainly wrong, and ought to be expunged.

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 perfe& verse : from which it may be conjeâured that the compositor's eye glanced from the word succeed to weakness in a Lubsequent hemistich, and that by this overfight the passage is become unintelligible. MALONE.)

6. Owe, ] To owe is, in this place, to own, to hold, to have possession. Johnson. -by weakness.] The old copy reads—thy weakness.

STELVENS. 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 tlie 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.

-glafes Which are as easy broke as they make forms.] Would it not be better to read?

take forms. JOHNSON,

7

[ocr errors]

8

Women !Help heaven! men their creation mar
In profiting by them. 'Nay, call us ten times frail;
For we are soft as our complexions are ,
And credulous to false prints."
ANG.

I think it well :
And from this testimony of your own fex,
(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 in treat you speak the former language. 3

[ocr errors]

9 In profiting by them.] In imitating them, in taking them for examples. JOHNSON.

If men mar their own creation, by taking women for their 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 deftru&ion of the whole sex, by taking advantage of their weakness, and using them for their own purposés. 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 fuck weak pitiful creatures. — Edinburgh Magazine', Nov. 1786. STEEVENS. ? For we are soft as our complexions are, And credulous to false prints. ] i. e. take any impression.

WARBURTON. 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. 3-speak the former language. ] Isabella answers to his circumlocutory courtship, that she has but one tongue, she does not

$

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,

Ísab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't,
Which seems a little fouler than it is,
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!" I will proclaim thee , Angelo; look for’t: Sign me a present pardon for my

brother, Or, with an out-stretch'd throat, I'll tell the world Aloud, what man thou art. ANG.

Who will believe thee, Isabel? My unsoil'd name, the austereness of any life,

[ocr errors]

an air

understand this new phrase , and desires him to talk his former language, that is, to talk as he talked before. JOHNSON.

3 I know your virtue hath a licence in't, ] Alluding to the licences given by minitters to their spies , to go into all lulpeded companies, and join in the language of malcontents. WARBURTON.

I suspe& Warburton's interpretation to be more ingenious than just. The obvious meaning is I know your virtue affumes of licentiousness which is not natural to you, on purpose to try me. Edinburgh Magazine , Nov. 1786. STEEVENS. 4 Which seems a little fouler , &c.] So, in Promos and Cassandra:

Caf. Renowned lord , you use this speech (I hope) your . If otherwise, my brother's life so deare I will not byez'' « Pro. Fair dame, my outward looks my inward thoughts

bewray; " If you mistrust, to search my harțe , would God you

had a kaye." STEEVENS. - Seeming, seeming!] Hypocrisy , hypocrisy; counterfeit virtue. JOHNSON

thrall to trye ,

[ocr errors]
« 上一页继续 »