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Qui non prohibet cum prohibere potest, jubet.

LORD CHEDWORTH, 218. " Our more leisure.

"More" here is adverbial, and the placing it between the adjective pronoun and the substantive is very uncouth. See Much ado about No. thing, “ Thy much misgovernment,”

SCENE V. 219. Not to be weary with you." “Weary,” for tedious, prolix.

Make me not your story.I am inclined to think that Mr. Steevens's first interpretation of this passage is the true one, “Make me not a person in your ludicrous drama.” 224. To give fear to use."

To annex terror to the commission of that act, for which Claudio was condemned. Use has the same meaning in other places, as in Othello, “He hath used thee,”


227. “ Rather cut a little,

Than fall,, and bruise to death.Mr. Steevens is right in annexing the active

sense to “fall;" Rowe employs the word in the same manner, in Jane Shore :

- Our new-fangled gentry “ Have fall’n their haughty crests.229. “Guiltier than him they try; what's open

made to justice.This line is, at once, exuberant and ungrammatical. We might read: “Guilter than he they try; what's ope to justice.”

The bad grammar, which Mr. Steevens seems not to have been aware of, proceeds from an inattention to an implied ellipsis in the construction. The jury may have among them a thief or two, gultier than (he is) whom they try.

'Tis very pregnant.Pregnant is replete with conviction, full of clear argument, as in the first scene of this play :

-The terms For common justice you are as pregnant in—"

i. e. As complete and expert in the knowledge of, &c. 230. “ Some run from brakes of vice, and an

swer none." By brakes of vice, I believe, are meant obstructions in the way of virtue: some people, says Escalus, run from, or avoid those, and so have no vices to answer for.

Some run from brakes of vice, and answer

none." Brakes of vice certainly means thickets of vice: all the learning about the Duke of Exeter's daughter might have been spared: for from I would read through, which seems to be countenanced by the passage cited from Henry VIII.



249. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do." · This declaration of proud austerity implies, “I have made my will subservient to my duty; and my wisdom infallibly prescribing what my duty is, I can only will to do what is equitable and right.” 350.“ No ceremony that to great ones 'longs, Not the king's crown, nor the deputed

sword, The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's O robe, Become them with one half so good a

grace As mercy does.The partitive conjunction, leaving the nominative noun, in this sentence, singular, we should read becomes, instead of become.

Mercy has a similar pre-eminence in the Merchant of Venice:

It becomes “ The throned monarch better than his crown.”

251. “ Your brother is a forfeit of the law.

Perhaps we should read to the law; yet the text may stand, a legal forfeit. He that might the 'vantage best have took.

Took for taken or ta’en.

This confusion of the tenses, which is not more remarkable in the works of Shakspeare, than in those of other writers, who are supposed to be more tenacious of accuracy, cannot be too often pointed at with reprehension: every person attached to grammatical propriety, must be offended at such expressions as these :--I have drank, I have spoke, I have wrote, for I have drunk, I have spoken, I have written :- and again—I writ, I drunk; for I wrote, I drank, &c. Dr. Lowth, indeed, in his elegant little essay of English grammar, has taken notice of this abuse ; but if the editors of Shakspeare, and of our other eminent authors, had descended to expose the instances as they occur, their remarks would have been more effectual in correcting and purifying our language, than the most diffuse and systematic treatise of philology, “

How would you be, If He who is the top of judgment, should But judge you as you are ?"

This sentiment also occurs in The Merchant of Venice:

Consider this, “ That in the course of justice none of us. “ Should see Salvation.” And again in Hamlet;

“Use every one according to his desert, and who “Shall 'scape whipping ?” 254. “ Pelting petty officer,&c.

Pelting is mean, obscure, inconsiderable; as in K. Richard II.

“ This scepter'd isle is now leas'd out,

Like to a tenement or pelting farm." 255. We cannot weigh our brother with our

self.I believe this is put generally " we," for mankind :-we, of human nature, cannot justly estimate the motives and principles of our brethren, by what we perceive in ourselves; for there will always be a difference between men, especially between those great ones, in whom, “ to jest with saints is wit,” and “ the less," in whom it is foul profanation.” 258. “ As fancy values them : but with true

prayers.“ Prayers" is one of those words which the poet lengthens or contracts, to accommodate the measure of his verse: thus it is, in the same sentence, a dissyllable : “ Ere sun-rise, práyérs from preserved souls.”

- Amen ! for I
Am that way going to temptation

Where práyers cross.Where my honour and my cupidity are at variance, where my solicitations or prayers to obtain possession of Isabella's beauties, must be crossed or thwarted by this prayer of her's, for the safety of my honour.


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