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That respites me a life, whose very comfort
Is still a dying horror!

'Tis pity of him.



A Room in ANGELO's House.


Ang. When I would pray and think, I think and

To several subjects: heaven hath my empty words,
Whilst my invention, hearing not my tongue,
Anchors on Isabel : heaven in my mouth,
As if I did but only chew his name,
And in my heart the strong and swelling evil
Of my conception. The state, whereon I studied,
Is like a good thing, being often read,
Grown seard and tedious'; yea, my gravity,
Wherein (let no man hear me) I take pride,
Could I, with boot, change for an idle plume,
Which the air beats for vain. O place! O form!
How often dost thou with thy case, thy habit,
Wrench awe from fools, and tie the wiser souls
To thy false seeming! Blood, thou art blood ?:
Let's write good angel on the devil's horn,
"Tis not the devil's crest.

1 Grown SEAR'D and tedious ;] Warburton suggested seared for “feared," or “feard,” as it stands in most copies of the first folio : that belonging to Lord Francis Egerton has it seard, as if the letter s had been substituted for f, as the sheet was going through the press. We need not therefore doubt as to the adoption of seard instead of fear'd."

? Blood, thou art blood :) Pope, to remedy the supposed defect of the metre, read, “ Blood, thou art but blood ;" and Malone, “ Blood, thou still art blood,” for the same reason ; but we have no right to take these liberties with the text : “ Blood, thou art blood,” is more emphatic than “Blood, thou art but blood,” or “ Blood, thou still art blood,” and the pause after the mark of admiration amply fills up the time.

my other

Enter Servant.
How now! who's there?

One Isabel, a sister,
Desires access to you.

Teach her the way. (Exit Serv.
O heavens!
Why does my blood thus muster to my heart,
Making both it unable for itself,
And dispossessing all

other parts
Of necessary fitness?
So play the foolish throngs with one that swoons ;
Come all to help him, and so stop the air
By which he should revive: and even so
The general, subject to a well-wish'd king 3,
Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness
Crowd to his presence, where their untaught love
Must needs appear offence.

How now, fair maid?

I am come to know your pleasure. Ang. That you might know it, would much better

please me, Than to demand what 'tis. Your brother cannot live. Isab. Even so.—Heaven keep your honour !

[Retiring. Ang. Yet may he live a while; and, it may be, As long as you, or I: yet he must die.

Isab. Under your sentence?

Ang. Yea.

3 THE GENERAL, subject to a well-wish'd king,] This is the old and intelligible reading. “ The general ” is the people : so in “Hamlet”—“'twas caviare to the general,” A. ii. sc. 2; and Lord Clarendon, as quoted by Malone,

as rather to be consented to, than that the general should suffer.” Hist. b. 5, p. 530, 8vo. edit. Yet in Act iii, sc. 2, of this play, “subject " is used for subjects, and "the general subject of a well-wish'd king" may mean," the general subjects,” &c. Either way, the meaning is evident.

Isab. When, I beseech you? that in his reprieve, Longer or shorter, he may be so fitted, That his soul sicken not.

Ang. Ha! Fye, these filthy vices! It were as good To pardon him, that hath from nature stolen A man already made, as to remit Their saucy sweetness, that do coin heaven's image In stamps that are forbid : 'tis all as easy Falsely to take away a life true made, As to put metal in restrained means, To make a false one.

Isab. "Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.

Ang. Say you so ? then, I shall poze you quickly. Which had you rather, that the most just law Now took your brother's life, or to redeem him Give up your body to such sweet uncleanness As she that he hath stain'd? Isab.

Sir, believe this, I had rather give my body than my soul.

Ang. I talk not of your soul. Our compelld sins Stand more for number than for accompt. Isab.

How say you? Ang. Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can speak Against the thing I say. Answer to this :I, now the voice of the recorded law, Pronounce a sentence on your brother's life : Might there not be a charity in sin, To save this brother's life? Isab.

Please you to do't, I'll take it as a peril to my soul : It is no sin at all, but charity.

Ang. Pleas'd you to do't, at peril of your soul,
Were equal poize of sin and charity.

Isab. That I do beg his life, if it be sin,
Heaven, let me bear it ! you granting of my suit,
If that be sin, I'll make it my morn-prayer
To have it added to the faults of mine,

And nothing of your answer.

Nay, but hear me. Your sense pursues not mine : either you are ignorant, Or seem so, crafty *; and that is not good.

Isab. Let me be ignorant', and in nothing good,
But graciously to know I am no better.

Ang. Thus wisdom wishes to appear most bright,
When it doth tax itself: as these black masks
Proclaim an enshield beauty ten times louder
Than beauty could displayed.—But mark me:
To be received plain, I'll speak more gross.
Your brother is to die.

Isab. So.

Ang. And his offence is so, as it appears Accountant to the law upon that pain.

Isab. True.

Ang. 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,
Finding yourself desir'd of such a person,
Whose credit with the judge, or own great place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-building law?; and that there were
No earthly mean to save him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this suppos’d, or else to let him suffer,
What would you do?

Isab. As much for my poor brother, as myself:
That is, were I under the terms of death,

* Or seem so, CRAFTY; and that is not good.] This is the old reading, and not craftily, as it has been modernized—“or seem so, being crafty,” is the meaning.

• Let me be ignorant,] “Me,” added in the folio 1632.

6 But in the loss of question] This may mean, but for the sake of the question which must otherwise be lost, or could not be put.

7 of the all-BUILDING law ;) Since the time of Theobald this compound epithet has been changed to "all-binding.” Shakespeare seems to use "all-building” in reference to the constructive and constantly repairing power of the law. The modern editors have given no other reason for changing so important and emphatic a word, but that Theobald had done so before them.

Th’ impression of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip myself to death, as to a bed
That longing I have been sick for®, ere I'd yield
My body up to shame.

Then must
Your brother die.

Isab. And 'twere the cheaper way. Better it were, a brother died at once, Than that a sister, by redeeming him, Should die for ever.

Ang. Were not you, then, as cruel, as the sentence That you have slander'd so?

Isab. Ignomy in ransom', and free pardon,
Are of two houses : lawful mercy is
Nothing akin to foul redemption 10.

Ang. You seem’d of late to make the law a tyrant ;
And rather prov'd the sliding of
A merriment, than a vice.

Isab. O, pardon me, my lord ! it oft falls out, To have what we would have, we speak not what we

your brother


I something do excuse the thing I hate,
For his advantage that I dearly love.

Ang. We are all frail.

Else let my brother die,
If not a feodary, but only he,
Owe, and succeed this weakness !!

8 That longing I have been sick for,] The old copies omit the pronoun, which is required by the sense.

9 Igxomy in ransom,] The second folio reads, ignominy for “ignomy ;” the word ignomy occurs again in Troilus and Cressida, A. v. sc. 3.

10 Nothing akin to foul redemption.] The folios have kin for “ akin;" but then they regulate the passage differently

“ lawful mercy Is nothing kin to foul redemption.” 1 If not a feodary, but only he,

Owe, and succeed this weakness.] The word this (instead of thy, as it stands in the old copies) is from an old MS. note in the margin of Lord Francis Egerton's first folio : it is probably right, and the meaning of the whole passage seems to be, “ If we are not all frail, let my brother die, if he alone offend, and have no feodary (companion or accomplice) in this weakness.” To "owe” is here, as in many other instances, to own.

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