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SCENE IV.

A Monastery. Enter Duke and Friar Thomas. Duke. No; holy father ; throw away that

thought ;Believe not that the dribbling dart of love * Can pierce a compleat bosom : why I desire thee To give me secret harbour, hath a purpose More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends Of burning youth.

Fri. May your grace fpeak of it?

Duke. My holy fir, none better knows than you How I have ever lov'd the life remov'd ; And held in idle price to haunt assemblies, Where youth, and coft, and witless bravery keeps. I have deliver'd to lord Angelo (A man of stricture, and firm abstinence)

4. Believe not, that the dribbling dart of love

Can pierce a compleat bofom : -] Think not that a breast complearly armed can be pierced by the dart of love that comes fluttering without force. Johnson.

-the life remov’d.] i.e. a life of retirement, a life removed from the bustle of the world. STEEVENS,

A man of stricture and firm abstinence,] Stristure makes no sense in this place. We should read,

A man of strict ure and firm abftinence, i.e. a man of the exacteft conduct, and practised in the fubdual of his pafsions. Ure an old word for use, practice : fo enur'd, habi

WARBURTON, Stricture may easily be used for ftri&tness; ure is indeed an old word, but, I think, always applied to things, never to perfons.

JOHNSON, Sir W. Davenant in his alteration of this play, reads, frict. ness: Ure is sometimes applied to persons as well as to things. So in the Old Interlude of Tom Tyler and bis Wife, 1598 :

66 So shall I be sure

" To keep him in ure."
The fame word occurs in Promos and Casandra, 1578:
“ The crafty man oft

puts
these
wrongs in ure.

STEEVENS

5

tuated to.

My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
And he supposes me travellid to Poland;
For so I have strew'd it in the common ear,
And so it is receiv'd: Now, pious fir,
You will demand of me, why I do this?

Fri. Gladly, my lord.
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting

laws, (The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds ) Which for these nineteen years we have let sleep';

Even * The needful bits and curbs for head-strong steeds,] In the copies,

The needful bits and curbs for head strong weeds. There is no matter of analogy or consonance in the metaphors here: and, though the copies agree, I do not think, the author would have talked of bits and curbs for weeds. On the other hand, nothing can be more proper, than to compare persons of unbridled licentiousness to head-strong steeds: and, in this view, bridling the pasions has been a phrase adopted by our best poets. THEOBALD.

3. Which for thesê nineteen years we have let pcep ;] In former editions,

Which for these fourteen years we have let slip. For fourteen I have made no scruple to replace nineteen. The reason will be obvious to him who recollects what the Duke has said in a foregoing scene. I have altered the odd phrase of letting the laws slip: for how does it fort with the comparison that follows, of a lion in his cave that went not out to prey ? But letting the laws seep, adds a particular propriety to the thing res' presented, and accords exactly too with the fimile. It is the metaphor too, that our author seems fond of using upon this occa fion, in several other passages of this play: The law hath not been dead, tho'it hath slept ;

'?is now awake. And so, again :

-but this new governor
Awakes me all th' enrolled penalties ;

and for a name,
Nosy puts the drowsy and neglected act

Freshly on me. THEOBALD. I once thought that the words let. Nip (which is the reading of the old copy, and, I believe right) related to the line immediately preceding - the needful bits and curbs, which we have suffered for so many years to hang loose. But it is clear from a parfage in Twelfth Night that these words should be referred to laws " which for these nineteen years we have suffered to pass un

noticed

Even like an o'er-grown lion in a cave,
That

goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers
Having bound up the threat’ning twigs of birch,
Only to stick it in their children's fight,
For terror, not to use; in time the rod
Becomes more mock'd', than feared : so our decrees,
Dead to infiction, to themselves are dead;
And liberty plucks justice by the nose ;
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum,

Fri. It rested in your grace To unloose this ty’d-up justice, when you pleas'd : And it in you more dreadful would have seem'd, Than in lord Angelo.

Duke. I do fear, too dreadful : Sith' 'twas my fault to give the people scope, 'Twould be my tyranny to strike, and gall them, For what I bid them do : For we bid this be done, When evil deeds have their permiffive pass, And not the punishment. Therefore, indeed, my

father, I have on Angelo impos'd the office ; Who may, in the ambush of my name, strike home, And yet, my nature never in the fight To do it flander 2 : And to behold his sway,

I will, noticedunobserved;" for fo the same phrase is used by Sir Andretu Aguecheek : " Let hím let the matter Nip, and I'll give him my horle grey Capulet.” Again in Marlow's Doctor Fauftus 1631 :

- Shall I let Nip so great an injury.” Again in A Mad World my Masters, by Middleton, 1640 : "Well, things must

pip and sleep-I will diffemble.” Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1605 :

"My fimplicity may make them think

4. That ignorantly I will let all slip.Malone. 9 Becomes more mock'd than fear'd: -] Becomes was added by Mr. Pope to restore sense to the passage, some fuch word having been left out. STEEVENS.

Sith.] i. e. fince, STEEVENS. ? To do it sander.

-] The text stood : So do in sander.

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Sir

I will, as 'twere a brother of your order,
Vifit both prince and people : therefore, I pr’ythee,
Supply me with the habit, and instruct me
How I may formally in person bear 3 me
Like a true friar. More reasons for this action,
At our more leisure shall I render you;
Only, this one :-Lord Angelo is precise ;
Stands at a guard + with envy ; fcarce confeffes
That his blood flows, or that his appetite
Is more to bread than stone : Hence shall we fee,
If

power change purpose. what our seemers be: Sir Thomas Hanmer has very well corrected it thus,

To do it Nander. Yet perhaps less alteration might have produced the true reading,

And yet my nature never, in the fight,

So doing Nandered.
And yet my nature never fuffer slander by doing any open acts of
severity. Johnson.
The old text stood,

in the fight
To do in flander.
Hanmer's emendation is in my opinion best.
So in Hen. IV. p. 1:

Do me no Nander, Douglas, I dare fight." STEEVENS. The words in the preceding line-ambush and Arike, fhew that fight is the true reading. MALONE.

in perfon bear,] Mr. Pope reads, Perhaps a word was dropped at the end of the line, which originally stood thus,

How I may formally in perfon bear me,

Like a true friar. So in the Tempeft:

-fome good instruction give 66 How I may

bear here." Sir W. Davenant reads, in his alteration of the play:

I may in perfon a true friar seem. STEEVENS. * Stands at a guard] Stands on terms of defiance.

JOHNSON.

3

-my person bear.

me

SCENE

SCENE V,

A Nunnery.

Enter Isabella and Francisca.
Isab. And have you nuns no farther privileges ?
Nun. Are not these large enough?

Isab. Yes, truly : I fpeak not as defiring more;
But rather wishing a more strict restraint
Upon the fifter-hood, the votarists of saint Clare.

Lucio. [Within] Ho! Peace be in this place !
Isab. Who's that which calls ?

Nun. It is a man's voice : Gentle Isabella,
Turn you the key, and know his business of him ;
You may, I may not; you are yet unsworn :
When you have vow'd, you must not speak with men,
But in the presence of the prioress :
Then, if you speak, you must not shew

your

face ; Or, if you

shew your face, you must not speak. He calls again ; I pray you, answer him. [Exit Franc. Isab. Peace and prosperity! Who is't that calls ?

Enter Lucio. Lucio. Hail, virgin, if you be ; as those cheek-roses Proclaim you are no less! Can you so stead me, As bring me to the fight of Isabella, A novice of this place, and the fair fifter To her unhappy brother Claudio ?

Isab. Why her unhappy brother ? let me alk; The rather, for I now must make you know I am that Isabella, and his fifter. Lucio. Gentle and fair, your brother kindly greets

you ;
Not to be weary with you, he's in prison.

Isab. Woe me! For what ?
Lucio

. For that, which, if myself might behis judge, He should receive his punishment in thanks : He hath

gat
his friend with child.

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