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262. “The nature of their crimes,” &c.
It would be in vain to attempt a supplement to the numerous hemistics that disfigure the versification in this play: in the present instance, however, the measure might be formed by the admission of an apposite word.
“ The nature of their several crimes, that I
“May minister to them accordingly.” 265. “Grace go with you! Benedicite." A word appears to have been omitted: perhaps
“ All grace go with you ! Benedicite.” Thus in Much Ado About Nothing : " His grace hath made the match, and all grace
say Amen to it,
266. “When I would pray and think, I think
and pray " To several subjects; heaven hath my
empty words, “Whilst my invention, hearing not my
“ Anchors on Isabel.” The word “ empty” should be ejected from the second of these lines : the King, in Hamlet, is in a similar predicament with Angelo ;
“ My words fly up, my thoughts remain below; “ Words without thoughts never to Heaven go.”
267. “ The strong and swelling evil.” • As “evils,” in the former scene, is well explained by Mr. Steevens and Mr. Henley, to sig. nify Foricæ, will it appear ludicrous to suppose it may have the same sense here? if this be admitted, we should read, instead of “ swelling," smelling ; the M and the W; by inversion, are often confounded at the press.
“ My gravity, wherein I take pride." Angelo is reflecting on his former vanity, which, in his present state of mind, he despises; he cannot now take pride in “what he could, with boot, change for an idle plume.” We should, I am persuaded, read, “ I took pride." 0269." - Blood thou art but blood.
" Lel's write good angel on the devil's
Dr. Warburton's interpretation of this passage appears to be entirely foreign from the sense implied in Angelo's reflection, which I take to be this :- Titles and distinctions, though often falsely applied, are not thereby appropriated : and howsoever they may “ wrench awe from fools,” and obtain respect even from “ the wiser souls,” they cannot alter the true qualities of things. Blood is still but blood; depravity, although covered with the garb of virtue, is still depravity : it is the difference expressed between association and connexion. Their sentiment a little varied,
and the conclusion resting on the fair side, is introduced in Macbeth : “Though all things foul should wear the brows
of grace, “Yet grace would still seem so.” “ Wrench awe from fools, and tie the
wiser souls." Better, perhaps, “ Yea, tie the wiser souls.” 276. " Which had you rather that the most just
law “ Now took your brother's life" It would, perhaps, be better : “ Which would you rather that the most just law "Now take your brother's life,” &c. 277. “Were equal poize of sin and charity." We should, I think, read
“ 'Twere equal poise,” &c. 79. “ Admit no other way to save his life,
“ (As I subscribe not that, nor any other, “ But in the loss of question,) that you,
his sister," &c. This is confused: we should extend the compass of the parenthesis, and instead of the pronoun “ that,” read “ this.” “ Admit (no other way to save his life, “ As I subscribe not this, nor any other, “ But in the loss of question,) that you, his sis
ter,” &c. i. e. By ellipsis, there being no other way, &c. 28i. “ Ignomy in ransom and free pardon.”
To justify such a departure from established orthography, as to give ignomy for ignominy, some better authority should be produced, than that, by Mr. Reed, from Troilus and Cressida : it seems to have been, in both cases, merely an error of the press. But why should any one contend for an irregularity, which, when granted, will yield no advantage ? Ignomy (admitting such a word) is as lame a member of the line, as that whose place it here usurps; unless, indeed, we merely count syllables, without any regard to customary accentuation :
“ Ignómy in ransom and free pardón.” But the prosody is evidently deranged. I know not whether this would be any desirable amendment:
“ That you have slanderd ?” Isab. “
Ignominò in ransom.” The disorder that has taken place in the metre of this play, appears, indeed, incurable. 284. “ We are made to be no stronger,
“ Than faults may shake our frames.” i. e. Than (that) faults may shake, &c.
It is a very harsh ellipsis. 287. “ Who would believe me? O perilous
mouths." We might obtain metre by reading“Who would believe me? O these perilous
ACT III. SCENE I. 288. "
- I do lose a thing, “Which none but fools wou'd keep.” “Keep,” I believe, has here an.emphatic sense; not a wish to possess, as Dr. Johnson says, nor, as Mr. Steevens, care for, but guard, embrace, hold fast. Dr. Young, in The Brothers, calls life " a dream which ideots hug;" and this I take to be the sense implied here. 289. “ Death's fool,”
Hotspur calls life “ Time's fool.” 291. “ Sleep thou provok’st; yet grossly fear'st
“ Thy death, which is no more.” Dr. Johnson's indignation is unjustly excited here, and Mr. Steevens's remark (that this was an oversight of Shakspeare) misplaced: the poet's meaning was no other than that obvious and innocent one recognised by Mr. Malone, and again occurring in the meditation of Hamlet:
- To die ! to sleep : “No more; and, by a sleep, to say, we end
“ The heart-ach,” &c. 299.“ – The poor beetle, that we tread upon,
“ In corporal sufferance finds a pang as
“ As when a giant dies.”. The sense intended here cannot readily be mistaken :-a pang as great as that which a giant feels in death :—but the construction is embarrassed. Perhaps we might read,
“ As doth a giant dying.”