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See that Claudio

Be executed by nine to-morrow morning:
Bring him his confessor, let him be prepar❜d;
For that's the utmost of his pilgrimage.

[Exit Provost.

ESCAL. Well, heaven forgive him! and forgive us all!

Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall :
Some run from brakes of vice, and answer none;
And some condemned for a fault alone.9

? Some rise &c.] This line is in the first folio printed in Italics as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line: Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none.


The old reading is, perhaps, the true one, and may mean, some run away from danger, and stay to answer none of their faults, whilst others are condemned only on account of a single frailty.

If this be the true reading, it should be printed:

Some 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 snaffle, but also the engine with which farriers confined the legs of such unruly horses as would not otherwise submit themselves to be shod, or to have a cruel operation performed on them. This, in some places, is still called a smith's brake. In this last sense, Ben Jonson uses the word in his Underwoods:

"And not think he had eat a stake,

"Or were set up in a brake."

And, for the former sense, see The Silent Woman, Act IV. Again, for the latter sense, Bussy D'Ambois, by Chapman : "Or, like a strumpet, learn to set my face

"In an eternal brake."

Again, in The Opportunity, by Shirley, 1640:

"He is fallen into some brake, some wench has tied him by the legs."

Again, in Holland's Leaguer, 1633:

- her I'll make

"A stale, to catch this courtier in a brake."

I offer these quotations, which may prove of use to some more fortunate conjecturer; but am able myself to derive very little from them to suit the passage before us.

Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, &c.

ELB. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use

I likewise find from Holinshed, p. 670, that the brake was an engine of torture. "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 Henry 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." See Coke's Instit. 35, Barrington, 69, 385, and Fuller's Worthies, p. 317.

A part of this horrid engine still remains in the Tower, and the following is the figure of it:


It consists of a strong iron frame about six feet long, with three rollers 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 sufficiently

their abuses in common houses, I know no law bring them away.


strained by the cords, &c. to begin confession. I cannot conclude this account of it without confessing my obligation to Sir Charles Frederick, who politely condescended to direct my enquiries, while his high command rendered every part of the Tower accessible to my researches.

I have since observed that, in Fox's Martyrs, edit. 1596, p. 1843, there is a representation of the same kind. To this also, Skelton, in his Why come ye not to Court, seems to allude: "And with a cole rake

"Bruise them on a brake."

If Shakspeare alluded to this engine, the sense of the contested passage will be: Some run more than once from engines of punishment, and answer no interrogatories; while some are condemned to suffer for a single trespass.

It should not, however, be dissembled, that yet a plainer meaning may be deduced from the same words. By brakes of vice may be meant a collection, a number, a thicket of vices. The same image occurs in Daniel's Civil Wars, B. IV :

"Rushing into the thickest woods of spears,

"And brakes of swords," &c.

That a brake meant a bush, may be known from Drayton's poem on Moses and his Miracles:

"Where God unto the Hebrew spake,

"Appearing from the burning brake."

Again, in The Mooncalf of the same author:

"He brings into a brake of briars and thorn,
"And so entangles."

Mr. Tollet is of opinion that, by brakes of vice, Shakspeare means only the thorny paths of vice.

So, in Ben Jonson's Underwoods, Whalley's edit. Vol. VI.

p. 367:

"Look at the false and cunning man, &c.-
"Crush'd in the snakey brakes that he had past."


The words-answer none, (that is, make no confession of guilt,) evidently shew that brake of vice here means the engine of torture. The 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

ANG. How now, sir! 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 justice, sir, 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; here's a wise officer.

ANG. Go to: What quality are they of? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou not speak, Elbow ? 2

machine from its resemblance to that used to subdue vicious horses; to which Daniel thus refers:


Lyke as the brake within the rider's hande

"Doth straine the horse nye wood with grief of paine, "Not us'd before to come in such a band," &c.


I am not satisfied with either the old or present reading of this very difficult passage; yet have nothing better to propose. The modern reading, vice, was introduced by Mr. Rowe. In King Henry VIII. we have

""Tis but the fate of place, and the rough brake
"That virtue must go through." MALONE.

1 This comes off well;] This is nimbly spoken; this is volubly uttered. JOHNSON.

The same phrase is employed in Timon of Athens, and elsewhere; but in the present instance it is used ironically. The meaning of it, when seriously applied to speech, is-This is well delivered, this story is well told. STEEVENS.

Why dost thou not speak, Elbow?] Says Angelo to the constable. "He cannot, sir, (quoth the Clown,) he's out at elbow." I know not whether this quibble be generally under

CLO. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
ANG. What are you, sir?

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ELB. He, sir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; 3 one that serves a bad woman; whose house, sir, 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, sir, whom I detest" before heaven and your honour,

ESCAL. How! thy wife?

ELB. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,

stood: 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 against the stage about this time: "Precise villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the world, that good Christians ought to have." FARMER.


a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd;] This we should now express by saying, he is half-tapster, half-bawd. JOHNSON. Thus, in King Henry IV. P. II:

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a parcel-gilt goblet." STEEVENS.

↑ she professes a hot-house,] A hot-house is an English name for a bagnio. So, Ben Jonson :

"Where lately harbour'd many a famous whore,

"A purging bill now fix'd upon the door,
"Tells you it is a hot-house: so it may,

"And still be a whore-house." JOHNSON.

Again, in Goulart's Admirable Histories, &c. 1607: “ —hearing that they were together in a hot-house at an old woman's that dwelt by him." STEEVENS.


whom I detest] He designed to say protest. Mrs. Quickly makes the same blunder in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act I. sc. iv: “But, I detest, an honest maid," &c. STEEVENS.

I think that Elbow, in both instances, uses detest for attest; that is, to call witness. M. MASON.

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