Page images


Angelo, There is a kind of character in thy life, That, to the observer, 8 doth thy history Fully unfold: Thyself and thy belongings Are not thine own so proper,

as to walie Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee. Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do;



[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]

we have with special soul ! This seems to be only a tranilation of the usual formal words inserted in all royal grants : 6. De gratia nostra speciali, et ex mero motu MALONE. 3 There is a kind of character in thy life,

That, to the observer, &c.] Either this introduâion has more solemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I cannot dis

What is there peculiar in this, that man's life informs the observer of his history ? Might it be supposed that Shakspeare wrote this?

There is a kind of charafler in thy look.
History may be taken in a more diffuse and licentious meaning,
for future occurrences, or the part of life yet to come. If this senfc
be received, the passage is clear and proper. JOHNSON,

Shakspeare must, I believe, be answerable for the unnecessary
pomp of this introduction. He has the same thought in Honry IV.
P. II. which affords some comment on this pallage before us:

« There is a history in all men's lives,

Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd :
- The which obiery'd, a man may prophecy
- With a near aim, of the main chance of things

" As yet not come to life, ” &c. 'STEVENS.
On conldering this paisage, I am induced to think that the
words characler and history have been misplaced, and that it was
originally written thus:

There is a kind of history in thy life,
That to the observer doth thy character

Fully unfold.
This transposition seems to be justified by the passage quoted by
Steevens from the Second Part of Henry IV. M. MASON.

thy belongings -- ] i. c. endowments. Malone,
1 Are not thine own so proper, ] i. c. are not so much thy own
property. STEEVENS.

them on thee. The old copy reads - they on thee. The
emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. STEEVENS.





Not light them for themselves : for if our virtues *
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely

But to fine issues : S nor nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,
Both thanks and use. 7 But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise;

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

- for if our virtues, &c.]
« Paulum fepultæ diftat inertiæ

- Celaia virtus." HOR. THEOBALD, Again, in Massinger's Maid of Honour :

- Virtue, if not in adion, is a vice,

16 And when we niove not forward, we go backward.” Thus, in the Latin adage --- Non progredi est regredi. STEEVENS.

to fine ifjues :) To great consequences ; for high purposes. JOHNSON.

nor nature never lends ---- 1 Two negatives, not employed to make an affirmative, are common in our author. So, in Julius Cæfar:

There is no harm intended to your person,

Nor to no Roman eise;' STEEVENS. 7 - the determines

Herself the glory of a creditor,

Bothe thanks and use. ] i. e. She (Nature) requires and allots to herself the same advantages that creditors usually enjoy, thanks for the endowments she has bestowed, and extraordinary exertions in those whom she hath thus favoured, by way of interesi for what the has lent.

Use in the phraseology of our author's age, fignified interest of inoney. MALONE.

I do bend my speech, To one that can my part in him advertise ;] This is obscure. The meaning is, I dired my speech to one who is able to teach me how to govern; ing part in lim, fignifying my office, which I have delegated to him. My part in him advertise; i. e. who knows what appertains to the character of a deputy or viceroy. Can odvertise my part in him; that is, , his representation of my person. But all these quaintnefies of expression, the Oxford editor seems

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


[ocr errors]


Hold therefore, Angelo;
In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna
Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
Though first in question,' is thy secondary :
Take thy commission.

[ocr errors]

sworn to extirpate ; that is, to take away one of Shakspeare's cha. racteristic marķs ; which, if not one of the comeliest, is yet one of the strongest. So he alters this to,

To one that can, in any part me advertise. A better expreflion indeed, but, for all that none of Shakspeare's.

WARBURTON I know not whether we may not better read ,

One that can, my part to him advertise. One that can inform himself of that which it would be otherwise my part to tell him. Johnson.

To advertise is used in this fenfe, and with Shakspeare's accentuation, by Chapmanı, in his version of the 11th Book of the Ody/cy:

u Or, of my father, if thy royal ear
" Hath been advertis'd

STEEVENS. I believe, the meaning is, -I am talking to one who is himself already sufficiently conversant with the nature and duties of my office; --of that office, which I have now delegated to him. So, in Timon of Athens :

« It is our party and promise to the Athenians,

" To speak with Timon." MALONE. 9 Hold therefore, Angelo ;] That is, continue to be Angelo; hold as thou art. JOHNSON.

I believe that --- Hold therefore, Angelo ; are the words which the Duke utters on tendering his commillion to him. He concludes with -- Take thy commission. STEEVENS.

If a full point be put after therefore, the Duke may be underftood to speak of himself. Hold tharefore, i. e. Let me therefore hold or stop. And the sense of the whole passage may be this. -- The Duke, who has begun an exhortation to Angelo , checks himself thus : «But I am speaking to one, that can in him [in or by himself] apprehend my part (all that I have to say]: I will therefore say no more (ou that fubje&t)." He then merely fignifics to Angelo his appointment. TYRWHITT. - forft in question,] That is, first called for; first appointed.




Now, good my lord, Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure Be stamp'd upon it. DUKE.

No more evasión: We have with a leaven's and prepared choice! Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours. Our hafte froin hence is of so quick condition, That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd Matters of needful value.

We shall write to you, As time and our concernings shall impórtune, How it goes with us; and do look to know What doth befal you here. So, fare you well: To the hopeful execution do I leave you Of your commissions. ANG.

Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way.

Duke. My haste may not admit it; Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do With any scruple : your scope is as mine own;? So to enforce, or qualify the laws, As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;

3. We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice --] Leaven'd choice is one of Shakspeare's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this: I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is leavened it is left to ferment: a leavened choice is therefore a choice not hasty, but considerate; not declared as foon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled. JOHNSON.

bring you something on the way: ] i. e. accompany you. So, in A Woman kill'd with Kindness, by Heywood, 1617: went very lovingly to bring him on his way to horse. And the fame mode of expression is to be found in almost every writer of the times. REED,

your scope is as mine own ; ] That is, your amplitude of power. JOHNSON,

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]


you: Fare

I'll privily away: I love the people,
But do not like to stage me to their eyes :
Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause, and aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion,
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.

ANG. The heavens give safety to your purposes !
ESCAL. Lead forth, and bring you back in hap-

piness! DUKE. I thank


Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
To have free speech with you; and it concerns me
To look into the bottom of my place :
A power I have; but of what strength and nature
I am not yet instructed.
ANG. 'Tis fo with me: Let us withdraw to-

gether, And we may soon our satisfaction have Touching that point. ESCAL. I'll wait upon your honour.

[ Exeunt. S CE N E II.

A Street,

Enter LUCIO, and two Gentlemen. LUCIO. If the duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, then all the dukes fall upon the king.


to ftage me to their eyes :] So, in one of Queen Elizabeth's fpeeches to parliament, 1586: “We princes, I tel you, are set on Jages, in the fight and viewe of all the world, &c. See The Copy of a Letter to the Right Honourable the Earle of Leycester, &c. 410. 1586. STEEVENS.

« PreviousContinue »