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Of palsied eld; and when thou art old, and rich,
man has neither youth nor age; for in youth, which is the happiest
Line 45. -more thousand deaths :] The meaning is not only a thousand deaths, but a thousand deaths besides what have been ⚫mentioned. JOHNSON.
- Line 65. -as all comforts are; most good in deed:] If this reading be right, Isabella must mean that she brings something .better than words of comfort, she brings an assurance of deeds. This is harsh and constrained, but I know not what better to offer. JOHNSON.
an everlasting leiger,
Therefore your best appointment-] Leiger is the same with resident. Appointment; preparation; act of fitting, or state of being fitted for any thing. So in old books, we have a knight well appointed; that is, well armed and mounted or fitted at all points. JOHNSON.
Line 69. your best appointment-] The word appointment, on this occasion, comprehends confession, communion, and absolution. The King in Hamlet, who was cut off prematurely, and without such preparation, is said to be disappointed.
Line 80. -a restraint, &c.] A confinement of your mind to one painful idea; to ignominy, of which the remembrance can neither be suppressed nor escaped. JOHNSON.
Line 93. the poor beetle, &c.] The reasoning is, that death is no more than every being must suffer, though the dread of it
is peculiar to man; or perhaps, that we are inconsistent with our
selves, when we so much dread that which we carelessly inflict on other creatures, that feel the pain as acutely as we. JOHNSON. Line 107. follies doth enmew,] Forces follies to lie in cover without daring to show themselves.
JOHNSON. Line 108. As falcon doth the fowl;] In whose presence the follies of youth are afraid to shew themselves, as the fowl is afraid to flutter while the falcon hovers over it. STEEVENS.
Line 109. His filth within being cast,] To cast a pond is to empty it of mud.
Mr. Upton reads,
His pond within being cast, he would appear
Line 111. The princely Angelo?] The first folio has, in both places, prenzie, from which the other folios made princely.
Line 114.-princely guards!] Mean no more than the ornaments of royalty, which Angelo is supposed to assume during the absence of the Duke. The stupidity of the first editors is sometimes not more injurious to Shakspeare, than the ingenuity of those who succeeded them. STEEVENS. When he would force it?] Put it in force. WARBURTON.
134. If it were damnable, &c.] Shakspeare shows his knowledge of human nature in the conduct of Claudio. When Isabella first tells him of Angelo's proposal, he answers, with honest indignation, agreeably to his settled principles,
Thou shalt not do't.
But the love of life being permitted to operate, soon furnishes him with sophistical arguments-he believes it cannot be very dangerous to the soul, since Angelo, who is so wise, will venture it. JOHNSON.
Line 143. delighted spirit-] i. e. The spirit accustomed here to ease and delights. This was properly urged as an aggravation to the sharpness of the torments spoken of.
Perhaps we may read,
-the delinquent spirit,
a word easily changed to delighted by a bad copier, or unskilful reader. Delinquent is proposed by Thirlby in his manuscript.
JOHNSON. Line 149. -lawless and incertain thoughts.] Conjecture sent out to wander without any certain direction, and ranging through all possibilities of pain. JOHNSON.
Line 154. To what we fear of death.] Most certainly the idea of the "spirit bathing in fiery floods," or of residing " in thrilling regions of thick-ribbed ice," is not original to our poet; which is the whole that is wanted for the argument: but I am not sure that they came from the Platonick hell of Virgil. The monks also had their hot and their cold hell," the fyrste is fyre that ever "brenneth, and never gyveth lighte," says an old homily:"The seconde is passying colde, that yf a greate hylle of fyre FARMER.
were cast therein, it should torne to yce."
Line 163. Is't not a kind of incest,] In Isabella's declamation there is something harsh, and something forced and far-fetched. But her indignation cannot be thought violent, when we consider her not only as a virgin, but as a nun. JOHNSON.
Line 167. a warped slip of wilderness] Wilderness is here used for wildness, the state of being disorderly. STEEVENS. Line 175. but a trade:] A custom, a practice; an established habit. So we say of a man much addicted to any thing, he makes a trade of it. JOHNSON.
Line 198. Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are fallible:] A condemned man, whom his confessor had brought to bear death with decency and resolution, began anew to entertain hopes of life. This occasioned the advice in the words above. WARBURTON. The sense is this: Do not rest with satisfaction on hopes that are fallible. STEEVENS.
Line 203. Hold you there:] Continue in that resolution.
JOHNSON. -her combinate husband,] i. e. Her betrothed JOHNSON.
Line 281. the corrupt deputy scaled.] To scale the deputy may be, to reach him, notwithstanding the elevation of his place; or
it may be, to strip him and discover his nakedness, though armed and concealed by the investments of authority. JOHNSON.
To scale, as may be learned from a note to Coriolanus, Act 1. Sc. 1. may mean, to disorder, to disconcert, to put to flight. An army routed is called by Holinshed, an army scaled. The word sometimes signifies to diffuse or disperse; at others, as I suppose in the present instance, to put into confusion. STEEVENS.
Line 298. -the moated grange,] A grange is a farm-house remote from others.
ACT III. SCENE II.
Line 307. -bastard.] A kind of sweet wine, then much in vogue, from the Italian, bastardo. WARBURTON.
It appears that bastard was raisin wine. Line 309. -since of two usuries,] Here a satire on usury turns abruptly to a satire on the person of the usurer, without any kind of preparation. We may be assured then, that a line or two, at least, have been lost. The subject of which we may easily discover, a comparison between the two usurers; as, before, between the two usuries. So that, for the future, the passage should be read with asterisks thus-by order of law, a furr'd gown, &c.
Line 329. I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.] That is, the clown fed himself, and put cloaths on his back, by exercising the vile trade of a bawd, THEOBALD.
That we were all, as some would seem to be, Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free!] i.e. As faults are destitute of all comeliness or seeming. The first of these lines refers to the deputy's sanctified hypocrisy; the second to the clown's beastly occupation. But the latter part is thus ill expressed for the sake of the rhime. WARBURTON.
That men were really good, or that their faults were known, that men were free from faults. or faults from hypocrisy. So Isabella calls Angelo's hypocrisy, seeming, seeming. JOHNSON.
Line 345. His neck will come to your waist, a cord, Sir.] That is, his neck will be tied, like your waist, with a rope. The friars of the Franciscan order, perhaps of all others, wear a hempen cord for a girdle. JOHNSON.
Line 351. -Pygmalion's images, newly made woman,] By Pygmalion's images, newly made woman, I believe Shakspeare meant-Are there no virgins yet untouched to be had? This passage may, however, contain some allusion to a pamphlet printed in 1598, called―The Metamorphosis of Pigmalion's Images, and certain Images. I have never seen the book, but it is mentioned by Ames, page 568. STEEVENS.
Line 354. What say'st thou to this tune, matter, and method? Is't not drown'd i'th the last rain?] Lucio, a prating fop, meets his old friend going to prison, and pours out upon him his impertinent interrogatories, to which, when the poor fellow makes no answer, he adds, What reply? ha? what say'st thou to this? tune, matter, and method,—is't not? drown'd i' th' last rain? ha? what say'st thou, trot? &c. It is a common phrase used in low raillery of a man crest-fallen and dejected, that he looks like a drown'd puppy. Lucio, therefore, asks him, whether he was drowned in the last rain, and therefore cannot speak. JOHNSON.
what say'st thou, trot?] It should be read, I think, what say'st thou to't? the word trot being seldom, if ever used to a man.
Old trot, or trat, signifies a decrepid old woman, or an old drab. In this sense it is used by Gawin Douglass, Virg. Æn. B. 4.
"Out on the old trat, aged dame or wyffe." Dr. GREY. Trot, or as it is often pronounced, honest trout, is a familiar address to a man, among the provincial vulgar. JOHNSON.
Line 357. Which is the way?] What is the mode now?
JOHNSON. 363. -in the tub.] The method of cure for venereal complaints is grossly called the powdering tub. JOHNSON. Line 392. Go;-to kennel, Pompey, go:] It should be remembered, that Pompey is the common name of a dog, to which allusion is made in the mention of a kennel. JOHNSON.
Line 408. It is too general a vice.] Yes, replies Lucio, the vice is of great kindred,—it is well ally'd, &c. As much as to say, Yes, truly, it is general; for the greatest men have it as well as we little folks. A little lower he taxes the Duke personally with it. EDWARDS.
-and he is a motion ungenerative, that's infal