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MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

SHAKSPEARE took the fable of this play from the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone, published in 1578, of which this is “The Argument."

“In the city of Julio (sometimes under the dominion of Corvinus, king of Hungary and Bohemia), there was a law, that what man soever committed adultery should lose his head, and the woman offender should wear some disguised apparel, during her life, to make her infamously noted. This severe law, by the favor of some merciful magistrate, became little regarded, until the time of Lord Promos's authority; who, convicting a young gentleman named Andrugio of incontinency, condemned both him and his minion to the execution of this statute. Andrugio had a very virtuous and beautiful gentlewoman to his sister, named Cassandra. Cassandra, to enlarge her brother's life, submitted a humble petition to the Lord Promos. Promos, regarding her good behavior, and fantasying her great beauty, was much delighted with the sweet order of her talk; and doing good, that evil might come thereof, for a time he reprieved her brother; but, wicked man, turning his liking into unlawful lust, he set down the spoil of her honor, ransom for her brother's life: chaste Cassandra, abhorring both him and his suit, by no persuasion would yield to this ransom. But in fine, won by the importunity of her brother (pleading for life), upon these conditions she agreed to Promos: First, that he should pardon her brother, and after marry her. Promos, as fearless in promise as careless in performance, with solemn vow, signed her conditions; but, worse than any infidel, his will satisfied, he performed neither the one nor VOL. I.

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MEASURE FOR MEASURE.

PRELIMINARY REMARKS.

SHAKSI

ESPEARE took the fable of this play from the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone, published in 1578, of which this is “The Argument."

“ In the city of Julio (sometimes under the dominion of Corvinus, king of Hungary and Bohemia), there was a law, that what man soever committed adultery should lose his head, and the woman offender should wear some disguised apparel, during her life, to make her infamously noted. This severe law, by the favor of some merciful magistrate, became little regarded, until the time of Lord Promos's authority; who, convicting a young gentleman named Andrugio of incontinency, condemned both him and his minion to the execution of this statute. Andrugio had a very virtuous and beautiful gentlewoman to his sister, named Cassandra. Cassandra, to enlarge her brother's life, submitted a humble petition to the Lord Promos. Promos, regarding her good behavior, and fantasying her great beauty, was much delighted with the sweet order of her talk; and doing good, that evil might come thereof, for a time he reprieved her brother; but, wicked man, turning his liking into unlawful lust, he set down the spoil of her honor, ransom for her brother's life: chaste Cassandra, abhorring both him and his suit, by no persuasion would yield to this ransom. But in fine, won by the importunity of her brother (pleading for life), upon these conditions she agreed to Promos: First, that he should pardon her brother, and after marry her. Promos, as fearless in promise as careless in performance, with solemn vow, signed her conditions; but, worse than any infidel, his will satisfied, he performed neither the one nor VOL. I.

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