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not one who would have tampered with this woman to make her a false evidence against your deputy.

Line 189.


Whensoever he's convented.] Or, convened. 191. So vulgarly] Meaning either so grosly, with such indecency of invective, or by so mean and inadequate wit



It is more probable that vulgarly here signifies, publicly or notoriously.

Line 197. Come, cousin Angelo;

In this I'll be impartial; be you judge.

Of your own cause.] Surely this Duke had odd notions of impartiality; to commit the decision of a cause to the person accused. THEOBALD.

Line 210. neither maid, widow, nor wife.] See RAY's proverbs, where this expression may be found.

Line 240. This is a strange abuse :] Abuse stands in this place for deception, or puzzle. So in Macbeth,

This strange and self abuse,

means, this strange deception of himself.

Line 257.

her promised proportions


Came short of composition;] Her fortune, which

was promised proportionate to mine, fell short of the composition,

that is, contract or bargain.

Line 277. These poor informal women


-] Informal signifies

out of their senses. In The Comedy of Errors, we meet with these


66 -I will not let him-stir,

"Till I have us'd the approved means I have,

"With wholesome syrups, drugs, and holy prayers,

"To make of him a formal man again."

Formal, in this passage, evidently signifies in his senses. The


spoken of Antipholis of Syracuse, who is behaving like a


Line 289. That's seal'd in approbation?] When any thing sub ject to counterfeits is tried by the proper officers and approved, a stamp or seal is put upon it, as among us on plate, weights, and measures. So the Duke says, that Angelo's faith has been tried,

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approved, and seal'd in testimony of that approbation, and, like other things so sealed, is no more to be called in question.

Line 301.


-to hear this matter forth,] To hear it to the

end; to search it to the bottom.

Line 350.

JOHNSON. -to retort your manifest appeal,] To refer back

to Angelo the cause in which you appealed from Angelo to the Duke. JOHNSON. Line 367. Nor here provincial:] Nor here accountable. The meaning seems to be, I am not one of his natural subjects, nor of any dependent province. JOHNSON.

Line 372. Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop.] Barbers' shops were, at all times, the resort of idle people.

Tonstrina erat quædam: hic solebamus ferè

Plerumque eam opperiri

Which Donatus calls apta sedes otiosis. Formerly with us, the better sort of people went to the barber's shop to be trimmed; who then practised the under parts of surgery: so that he had occasion for numerous instruments, which lay there ready for use; and the idle people, with whom his shop was generally crowded, would be perpetually handling and misusing them. To remedy which, I suppose, there was placed up against the wall a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this kind; which, it is not likely, would long preserve its authority. WARBURTON.

Line 388.

and a coward.)
and a coward.) So again afterwards,

You, sirrah, that know me for a fool, a coward,

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But Lucio had not, in the former conversation, mentioned couardice among the faults of the Duke.-Such failures of memory are incident to writers more diligent than this poet.


Line 409. Show your sheep-biting face, and be hang'd an hour! wilt not off?] This is intended to be the common language of vulgar indignation. Our phrase on such occasions is simply; show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged. The words an hour have no particular use here, nor are authorised by custom. I suppose it was written thus, show your sheep-biting face, and be hanged-an'

how? wilt not off? In the midland counties, upon any unexpected obstruction or resistance, it is common to exclaim an' how?

Line 439. complished.


-which consummate,] i. e. Which being ac

Line 446. Advertising and holy-] Attentive and faithful.


453. -be you as free to us.] Be as generous to us,

-pardon us as we have pardoned you.


Line 461. That brain'd my purpose:] We now use in conversation a like phrase, This it was that knocked my design on the head.

. Line 476.


-even from his proper tongue,] Even from An

gelo's own tongue. So above,

In the witness of his proper ear

To call him villain.


denies thee vantage:] Take from thee all opporWARBURTON.

Line 481. tunity, all expedient of denial.

Line 509. Against all sense you do impórtune her.] The meaning required is, against all reason and natural affection; Shakspeare, therefore, judiciously uses a single word that implies both; sense signifying both reason and affection. JOHNSON.

Line 525. Till he did look on me;] The Duke has justly observed, that Isabel is importuned against all sense to solicit for Angelo, yet here against all sense she solicits for him. Her argument is extraordinary.

A due sincerity govern'd his deeds,

'Till he did look on me; since it is so,

Let him not die.

That Angelo had committed all the crimes charged against him, as far as he could commit them, is evident. The only intent which his act did not overtake, was the defilement of Isabel. Of this Angelo was only intentionally guilty. JOHNSON.

Line 547.

after more advice,] i. e. After more reflection. 570. for those earthly faults,] Thy faults, so far as they are punishable on earth, so far as they are cognisable by temporal power, I forgive.

Line 583.


-perceives he's safe;] It is somewhat strange,

that Isabel is not made to express either gratitude, wonder, or joy,

at the sight of her brother.

Line 585.

penses, requites you.


-your evil quits you well:] Quits you, recom

JOHNSON, Line 586. -her worth, worth yours.] These words are, as they are too frequently, an affected gingle, but the sense is plain. Her worth, worth yours; that is, her value is equal to your value, the match is not unworthy of you.


Line 589. here's one in place I cannot pardon ;] After the pardon of two murderers, Lucio might be treated by the good Duke with less harshness; but perhaps the poet intended to show, what is too often seen, that men easily forgive wrongs which are not committed against themselves. JOHNSON.

Line 592. One all of luxury,] Luxury here means, lewdness. 595. according to the trick:] To my custom, my

habitual practice.



Line 612.thy other forfeits:] Thy other punishments.






LINE 22. joy could not shew itself modest enough, without a badge of bitterness.] This is judiciously express'd. Of all the transports of joy, that which is attended with tears is least of fensive; because carrying with it this mark of pain, it allays the envy that usually attends another's happiness. This he finely calls observer by an inWARBURTON.

a modest joy, such a one as did not insult the dication of happiness unmixed with pain.

This is an idea which Shakespeare seems to have been delighted

to express.

Line 27.

more sincere,



-no faces truer -] That is, none honester, none

Line 30. -is Signior Montanto returned- -] Montante, in Spanish, is a huge two-handed sword, given, with much humour, to one, the speaker would represent as a boaster or bravado.


Line 32. there was none such in the army of any sort.] Not meaning there was none such of any order or degree whatever, but that there was none such of any quality above the common.


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