Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Enter Servant.
How now, who's there?
SERV.

One Isabel, a sister,
Desires access to you.
Ang.
Teach her the way. O heavens !

[Exit Sero. Why does my blood thus muster to my heart'; Making both it unable for itself, And dispossessing all the 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,'

This passage, as it stands, appears to me to be right, and Angelo's reasoning to be this: “O place! O form! though you wrench awe from fools, and tie even wiser souls to your false seeming, yet you make no alteration in the minds or constitutions of those who possess, or assume you. Though we should write good angel on the devil's horn, it will not change his nature, so as to give him a right to wear that crest.” It is well known that the crest was formerly chosen either as emblematical of some quality conspicuous in the person who bore it, or as alluding to some remarkable incident of his life ; and on this circumstance depends the justness of the present allusion.

My explanation of these words is confirmed by a passage in Lyly's Midas, quoted by Steevens, in his remarks on King John ; "Melancholy! is melancholy a word for a barber's mouth? Thou shouldst say, heavy, dull, and doltish : melancholy is the crest of courtiers." M. Mason.

It should be remembered, that the devil is usually represented with “ horns and cloven feet.” The old copy appears to me to require no alteration. Malone.

9 — to my heart ;] Of this speech there is no other trace in Promos and Cassandra, than the following : “ Both hope and dreade at once my harte doth tuch."

Steevens. The general, subject to a well-wish'd king,] The later editions have — “subjects ;” but the old copies read :

"The general subject to a well-wish'd king.--" The general subject seems a harsh expression, but general sub

Quit their own part, and in obsequious fondness Croud to his presence, where their untaught love Must needs appear offence.

jects has no sense at all, and general was, in our author's time, a word for people ; so that the general is the people, or multitude, subject to a king: So, in Hamlet: "The play pleased not the million : 'twas caviare to the general." Johnson.

Mr. Malone observes, that the use of this phrase, the general,” for the people, continued so late as to the time of Lord Clarendon: "as rather to be consented to, than that the general should suffer.” Hist. b. v. p. 530, 8vo. I therefore adhere to the old reading, with only a slight change in the punctuation :

“The general, subject to a well-wish'd king,

“ Quit, &c." i. e. the generality who are subjects, &c. Twice in Hamlet our author uses subject for subjects :

“ So nightly toils the subject of the land." Act I. Sc. I. Again, Act I. Sc. II. :

“ The lists and full proportions, all are made

“ Out of his subject.The general subject however may mean the subjects in general. So, in As You Like It, Act II. Sc. VII. : “Wouldst thou disgorge into the general world."

Steevens. So the Duke had before (Act I. Sc. II.) expressed his dislike of popular applause:

“ I'll privily away. I love the people,
“ But do not like to stage me to their eyes.
“ Though it do well, I do not relish well
“ Their loud applause and aves vehement :
“ Nor do I think the man of safe discretion,

“ That does affect it." I cannot help thinking that Shakspeare, in these two passages, intended to flatter the unkingly weakness of James the First, which made him so impatient of the crouds that flocked to see him, especially upon his first coming, that, as some of our historians say, he restrained them by a proclamation. Sir Simonds D'Ewes, in his Memoirs of his own Life *, has a remarkable passage with regard to this humour of James. After taking notice, that the King going to parliament, on the 30th of January,

spake lovingly to the people, and said, God bless ye, God bless ye;" he adds these words, contrary to his former

* A Manuscript in the British Museum.

Enter ISABELLA.
How now, fair maid ?
ISAB.

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.

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 sawcy sweetness, that do coin heaven's image, In stamps that are forbid': 'tis all as easy

hasty and passionate custom, which often, in his sudden distemper, would bid a pox or a plague on such as flocked to see him."

TYRWHITT. Mr. Tyrwhitt's apposite remark might find support, if it needed any, from the following passage in A True Narration of the Entertainment of his Royall Majestie, from the Time of his Departure from Edinbrogh, till his Receiving in London, &c. &c. 1603 : “-- he was faine to publish an inhibition against the inordinate and dayly accesse of peoples comming,” &c. Strevens.

that hath from nature stolen
A man already made,] i. e. that hath killed a man.

MALONE. 3 Their sawcy sweetness, that do coin heaven'S IMAGE,

In stamps that are FORBID :] We meet with nearly the same words in King Edward III. a tragedy, 1596, certainly prior to this play:

6

Falsely to take away a life true made“,
As to put mettle in restrained means
To make a false one.

And will your sacred self
" Commit high treason 'gainst the King of Heaven,

To stamp his image in forbidden metal ?These lines are spoken by the Countess of Salisbury, whose chastity (like Isabel's) was assailed by her sovereign.

Their sawcy sweetness Dr. Warburton interprets, their sawcy indulgence of their appetite. Perhaps it means nearly the same as what is afterwards called sweet uncleanness. MALONĖ.

Sweetness, in the present instance, has, I believe, the same sense as-lickerishness. STEEVÉNS.

+ Falsely to take away a life true made,] Falsely is the same with dishonestly, illegally: so false, in the next line but one, is illegal, illegitimate. Johnson.

s – mettle in restrained means,] In forbidden moulds. I suspect means not to be the right word, but I cannot find another.

Johnson. I should suppose that our author wrote

in restrained mints," as the allusion may be still to coining. Sir W. D'Avenant omits the passage. Steevens.

Mettle, the reading of the old copy, which was changed to metal by Mr. Theobald, (who has been followed by the subsequent editors,) is supported not only by the general purport of the passage, in which our author having already illustrated the sentiment he has attributed to Angelo by an allusion to coining, would not give the sanıe image a second time,) but by a similar expression in Timon :

thy father, that poor rag,
“ Must be thy subject ; who in spite put stuff
“ To some she-beggar, and coinpounded thee,

“Poor rogue hereditary." Again, in The Winter's Tale:

“ As rank as any fax-wench, that puts to,

“Before her troth-plight." The controverted word is found again in the same sense in Macbeth:

thy undaunted mettle should compose
“ Nothing but males."
Again, in King Richard II. :

that bed, that womb,
“ That mettle, that self-mould that fashion'd thee,

“ Made him a man." VOL. IX.

G

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 ?

Again, in Timon of Athens :

Common mother, thou,
“ Whose womb unmeasurable, and infinite breast,
“ Teems and feeds all; whose self-same metile,
“ Whereof thy proud child, arrogant man, is puff d,

Engenders the black toad," &c. Means is here used for medium, or object; and the sense of the whole is this : ''Tis as easy wickedly to deprive a man born in wedlock of life, as to have unlawful commerce with a maid, in order to give life to an illegitimate child. The thought is simply, that murder is as easy as fornication; and the inference which Angelo would draw, is, that it is as improper to pardon the latter as the former. The words-to make a false oneevidently referring to life, show that the preceding line is to be understood in a natural, and not in a metaphorical, sense.

Malone. 6 'Tis set down so in heaven, but not in earth.] I would have it considered, whether the train of the discourse does not rather rether require Isabel to say:

“ 'Tis so set down in earth, but not in heaven." When she has said this, Then,” says Angelo, I shall poze you quickly.Would you, who, for the present purpose, declare your brother's crime to be less in the sight of heaven, than the law has made it ; would you commit that crime, light as it is, to save your brother's life? To this she answers, not very plainly in either reading, but more appositely to that which I propose :

“I had rather give my body than my soul.” . Johnson. - What you have stated is undoubtedly the divine law: murder and fornication are both forbid by the canon of scripture ;-but on earth the laiter offence is considered as less heinous than the former. MALONE. So, in King John :

“ Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
“ And so doth vours." Strevens.

- or, to redeem him,] The old copy has—and to redeem him. The emendation was made by Sir William D'Avenant.

Malone,

7

« ZurückWeiter »