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A Hall in Angelo's House.
Ay, but yet
life Err'd in this point which now you censure him, And pull'd the law upon you.
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
That 4 A Provost martial, M nhieu explains, “ Prevost des mareschaux : Præfectus rerum capitalium, Prætor rerum capitalium." REED.
A prownft is generally the executioner of an army. STEEVENS.
A prison for military offenders is at this day, in some places, called the Prevôt. MALONE
The Pruvoft here, is not a mil-tary officer, but a kind of Iheriff or gailer, so called in foreign countries. DOUCE. § To fear is to affrigbt, to terrify. STEEVENS.
I should raiher read fell, i. e. ftrike down. WARBURTON. Fall is the old reading, and the true one. Shakspeare has used the fame verb active in Tbe Comedy of Errors. STEEVENS.
? To know is here to examine, to take cognisance. JOHNSON.
That justice seizes. What know the laws,
Efcal. Be it as your wisdom will.
Where is the provost ?
See that Claudio
Enter 8 How can the administrators of the laws take. cognizance of what I have just mentioned ? How can they know, whether the jurymen who decide on the life or death of thieves be themselves as criminal as thore whom they try? To pass on is a forenfck term. MALONE.
9 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with gocd; we punish the faults, as we cake the advantages that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note. JOHNSON.
2 That is, because, by reason that I have had such faults. JOHNSON.
3 Scme rije, &c.] This line is in the first foliu printed in Italics as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line :
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none. JOHNSON. The old reading is, perhaps, the true one, and may mean, fome run away from danger, and stay to answer none of their faults, wbilf orbers are condemned only on account of a single frailty. If this be the true reading, it should be printed :
Sor.e run from breaks [i. e. fractures] of ice, &c. Since I suggested this, I have found reason to change my opinion. A brake anciently meant not only a sharp bit, a fnaffle, but also the engine with which fairiers confined the legs of such unruly horfes as would not otherwise submit themselves to be shod, or to have a cţuel operation performed on them. This, in some places, is still called a smith's brake. In
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, &c. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but ufe their abuses in common houses, I know no law : bring them away.
this last sense, Ben Jonson uses the word in his Underwoods. And, for the former sense, see The Silent Woman, A& IV. I likewise find from Holinthed, p. 670, that the brake was an engine of
“ The said Hawkins was cast into the Tower, and at length brought to the brake, called the Duke of Excester's daughter, by means of which pain he shewed many things,” &c.
" When the Dukes of Exeter and Suffolk (says Blackstone, in his Commentaries, Vol. IV. chap. xxv. p. 320, 321 ) and other ministers of Hen. VI. had laid a design to introduce the civil law into this kingdom as the rule of government, for a beginning thereof they erected a rack for torture, which was called in derision the Duke of Exeter's Daughter, and still remains in the Tower of London, where it was occasionally used as an engine of state, not of law, more than once in the reign of Queen Elizabeth." Sce Coke's Inftit. 35. Barrington, 69, 385. and Fuller's Worthies, P. 317.
A part of this horrid engine still remains in the Tower, and the fola lowing is the figure of it :
It consists of a strong iron frame about six feet long, with three ro!lers of wood within it. The middle one of these, which has iron teeth at each end, is governed by two stops of iron, and was, probably, that part of the machine which suspended the powers of the rest, when the unhappy sufferer was fuficiently strained by the cords, &c. to begin confeffion. I cannot conclude this account of it without conftig my obligatio. to Sir Charles Friderick, who politely condescended to direct' my enquiries,
Ang. How now, fir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow
I do lean upon juftice, fir, and do bring in here before your good honour two notorious benefactors
· Ang. Benefactors ? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors ?
Elb. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are: but precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good christians ought to have.
Escal. This comes off well ;4 here's a wise officer.
Ang. Go to: What quality are they of ? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow's
Clo. He cannot, fir; he's out at elbow.
Eil. while his high command rendered every part of the Tower accessible to my researches.
I have fince observed that, in Fox's Martyrs, edit. 1596, p. 1843, there is a representation of the same kind. It should not, however, be diffembled, that yet a plainer meaning may be deduced from the same wordk. By brakes of vice may be meant a collection, a number, a thicket of vices.
STEEVENS. The words answer none (that is, make no confeffion of guilt) evidently thew that brake of vice here means the engine of forture. Îhe same mode of question is again referred to in Act V;
" To the rack with him: we'll touze you joint by joint,
" But we will know this purpose.' The name of brake of vice, appears to have been given this machine, from its resemblance to ibat used so fubdue vicious borfes. HENLIY.
4 This is nimbly spoken; this is volubly uttered. JOHNS
The same phrase is employed in Timon of Albens, and elsewhere; but in the present instance it is used ironically. The meaning of it, when Seriously applied to specch, is--This is well delivered, this story is well told. STEEVENS.
s Says Angelo to the constable. “ He cannot, fir, (quoth the Cloron,) he's out at elbow.” I know not whether this quibble be generally under. food; he is out at the word elbow, and out at the elbow of his coat. The Constable, in his account of master Froth and the Clown, has a stroke at the Puritans, who were very zealous againft the ftage about this time : 4 Precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanatios in the world, that good Chrifians ought to have.” FARMIR.
Elb. He fir? a tapfter, fir ; parcel-bawd ; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, fir, was, as they say, pluck d down in the suburbs; and now she professes a hot-house,? which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that ?
Elb. My wife, fir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour,
Escal. How! thy wife?
Elb. Ay, fir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman;
Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore ?
Elb. I say, fir, I will deteft my self also, as well as she, that this house, if it be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house.
Escal. How doft thou know that, conftable ?
Elb. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given, might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
Escal. By the woman's means ?
Elb. Ay, fir, by mistress Overdone's means : 9 but as the fpit in his face, so she dety'd him.
Clo. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not fo.
Elb. Prove it before thefe varlets here,' thou honourable man, prove it.
Escal. Do you hear how he misplaces ? [T. ANGELO.
Člo. Sir, the came in great with child ; and longing (fav, ing your honour's reverence,) for stew'd prunes ; 2 sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very diftant time ftood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some three-pence; your
* This we should now express by saying, be is half-tapster, half-bawd.
JOHNSON, 7 A bot - bouse is an Englith name for a bagnio. JOHNSON 8 He designed co say proteft. Mrs. Quickly makes the same blurder in The Merry Wives of Windjór, A& I. fc. iv.- But, I deteft, an honeft maid," &c. STEEVENS.
9 Here seems to have been some mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, and some words therefore may have been loft, unless the irre. gularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the . constable, Johnson.
2 Srewed prunes were to be found in every brothel. STESVINS,