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But can you,
Kneel down before him, hang upon
gown; You are too cold: if
should need a pin, You could not with more tame a tongue desire it: To him, I say.
Isab. Must he needs die ?
Maiden, no remedy. Isab. Yes; I do think that you might pardon him, And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the mercy.
Ang. I will not do't.
would ? Ang. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. Isab. But might you do't, and do the world no
wrong, If so your
heart were touch'd with that remorse As mine is to him? Ang.
He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late. Lucio. You are too cold, [To ISABELLA.
Isab. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word,
ceremony that to great ones ’longs,
Ang. Pray you, begone.
Isab. I would to heaven I had your potency, And
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.
Ang. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your
Alas! alas! 3 i. e. be assured of it.
Why, all the souls that were, were forfeit once;
Be you content, fair maid; It is the law, not I, condemns
brother: Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son, It should be thus with him ;—he must die to-morrow. Isab. To-morrow? O, that's sudden! Spare him,
spare He's not prepar’d for death! Even for our kitchens We kill the fowl of season 5: 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
have committed it. Lucio.
Ay, well said. Ang. The law hath not been dead, though it hath
slept 6: Those many
had not dar'd to do that evil, If the first man that did the edict infringe Had answer'd for his deed: now, 'tis awake; Takes note of what is done; and, like a prophet, Looks in a glass 7, that shows what future evils, (Either now, or by remissness new-conceiv'd, And so in progress to be hatch'd and born),
4 "You will then be as tender hearted and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence.'
5 i. e. when in season. 6 • Dormiunt aliquando leges, moriuntur nunquam,' is a maxim of our law.
7 This alludes to the deceptions of the fortune-tellers, who pretended to see future events in a beryl, or crystal glass.
Are now to have no successive degrees,
Yet show some pity.
you must be the first, that gives this sen
That's well said.
8 One of Judge Hale’s ‘Memorials’ is of the same tendency:"When I find myself swayed to mercy, let me remember that there is a mercy likewise due to the country.' 9 Pelting for paltry.
10 Gnarled, knotted. 11 Mr. Douce has remarked the close affinity between this passage and one in the second satire of Persius. Yet we have no translation of that poet of Shakspeare's age.
Ignovisse putas, quia, cum tonat, ocyus ilex
As make the angels weep; who, with our spleens,
Lucio. O, to him, to him, wench: he will relent;
Pray heaven, she win him!
Lucio. Thou’rt in the right, girl; more o' that.
Isab. That in the captain's but a cholerick word,
Lucio. Art advis'd o' that? more on't.
Isab. Because authority, though it err like others,
brother's fault: if it confess
She speaks, and 'tis
breeds with it 14 _Fare
Isab. Gentle my lord, turn back.
12 The notion of angels weeping for the sins of men is rabbinical. By spleens Shakspeare meant that peculiar turn of the human mind, that always inclines it to a spiteful and unseasonable mirth. Had the angels that, they would laugh themselves out of their immortality, by indulging a passion unworthy of that prerogative.
13 Shakspeare has used this indelicate metaphor again in Hamlet: :- It will but skin and film the ulcerous place.'
14 i. e. Such sense as breeds or produces a consequence in his mind. Malone thought that sense here meant sensual desire.
Ang. How! bribe me?
Lucio. You had marr'd all else.
Isab. Not with fond 15 shekels of the tested 16 gold, 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 17 souls, 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.
Amen 18 For I am that way going to temptation, [Aside. Where prayers cross 19.
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?
15 Fond, in its old signification sometimes meant foolish. In its modern sepse it evidently implied a doting or extravagant affection; here it signifies overvalued or prized by folly.
16 i. e. tried, refined.
18 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 it is in danger, and therefore says amen to her benediction.
19 The petition of the Lord's Prayer, 'Lead us not into temptation,'- is here considered as crossing or intercepting the way in which Angelo was going : be was exposing himself to temptation by the appointment for the morrow's meeting. VOL. II.