Page images



« Pro. Both swoorde and keiés, unto my princes use,

“I doo receyve and gladlie take my chardge.
“ It resteth nowe for to reform abuse,
We poynt a tyme, of councell more at lardge,

“ To treate of which, a whyle we wyll depart.
" Al. speake. To worke your wyll, we yeelde a wil.
ling hart."

[Exeunt. The reader will find the argument of G. Whet. stone’s Promos and Cassandra, at the beginning of this play. See likewise the piece itself among Six old Plays on which Shakspere founded, &c. published by S. Leacroft, Charing-Cross, STEEVENS,

[merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]


[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

Line 6.
-LISTS_] Bounds, limits,

So, in Othello :
“ Confine yourself within a patient list.”


-Then no more remains,
But that your sufficiency, as your worth is able,

And let them work.] Then nothing remains more than to tell


virtue is now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let therefore Aiij





[ocr errors]
[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]

jour knowledge and your virtue now work together. It
may easily be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an in-
articulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded
with sufficiency as, and how abled, a word very un-
usual, was changed into able. For abled, however,
an authority is not wanting. Lear uses it in the same
sense, or nearly the same with the Duke. As for
sufficiencies, D. Hamilton in his dying speech, prays
that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues and suffi-
ciencies of his father.

The uncommon redundancy, as well as obscurity,
of this verse, may be considered as some evidence of
its corruption. Take away the two first words, and
the sense joins well enough with what went before,

Then (says the Duke) no more remains to say:
Your suficiency as your worth is able,

And let them work.
i.e. Your skill in government is in ability to serve me,
equal to the integrity of your heart, and let them co-operate
in your future ministry.

The versification requires, that either something
should be added, or something retrenched. The lat-
ter is the easier, as well as the fafer task. I join in
the belief, however, that a line is lost; and whoever
is acquainted with the inaccuracy of the folio (for of
this play there is no other old edition), will find my
opinion justified.

STEEV ENS. Some words seem to be lost here, the sense of which, perhaps, may be thus supplied :


[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]


ever, Same = for orays sufi


rity, e of




[ocr errors]

then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency you put
A zeal as willing as your worth is able,
And let them work.

TYRWHITT, the terms] Terms mean the technical language of the courts, An old book called Les Termes de la Ley (written in Henry the Eighth's time), was in Shakspere's days, and is now, the accidence of young students in the law.

BLACKSTONE. 11. For common justice you are pregnant in,] The word pregnant is used with this signification in Rame Alley or Merry Tricks, 1611, where a lawyer is represented reading, “ In tricessimo primo Alberti Magni


cleare-the place is very pregnant." ii e. very expressive, ready, or very big with meaning. Again :

-the proof is most pregnant." STEEVENS, 16.

-For you must know, we have with special soul

Elected him our absence to supply ;] By the words, with special soul elected him, I believe, the poet meant, that he was the immediate choice of his heart. A similar expression occurs in Troilus and Cressida :

--with private soul
“ Did in great Ilion thus translate him to mę.”'
Again, more appositely, in the Tempest :

for several virtues
" Have I lik'd several women, never any
“With so full soul, but some defect," &c.





hing lat

nin ver r of my VS.



[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

We have with special soul.] This seems to be only a translation of the usual formal words inserted in all royal grants. De gratia nostra speciali et ex mero motu.'.

MALONE 29. There is a kind of character in thy life

That, to the observer, &c.] Either this introa
duction has more solemnity than meaning, or it has a
meaning which I cannot discover. What is there
peculiar in this, that a man's life informs the observer
of his history? Might it be supposed that Shakspere
wrote this a

There is a kind of character in thy look.
History may be taken in a more diffuse and licena
tious meaning, for future occurrences, or tie part of
life yet to come. If this sense be received, the pasa
sage is clear and proper.

Shakspere must, I believe, be answerable for the
unnecessary pomp of this introduction. He has the
same thought in Henry IV. P. II, which is some com-
ment on this passage before us :

“ There is a history in all men's lives,
“ Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd :
"The which observ’d, a man may prophesy
« With a near aim, of the main chance of things

As yet not come to life,” &c. STEEVENS.

Are not thine own so proper, -] i. e, are not so much thy own property.

33. -them on thee. ] The old copy reads--they on

--for if our virtues, &c.]

« Paulum

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

Paulum sepultæ distat inertiæ

« Celata virtus.' Hor. WARBURTON. So, in Massinger's Maid of Honour:

“ Virtue, if not in action, is a vice,
“ And, when we move not forward, we go back.

So in the Latin adage-Non progredi est regredi.

STEEVENS. 38. -to fine issues :

-] To great consequences. For high purposes.

nor nature never lends] Two negatives, not
employed to make an affirmative, are common in our
So, in Julius Cæsar :

" There is no harm intended to your person,
Nor to no Roman else."

STEEVENS. 44. I do bend my speech

To one that can my part in him advertise:] This is obscure. The meaning is, I direct my speech to one'who is able to teach me how to govern: my part in him, signifying office, which I have delegated to him. My part in him advertise ; i. e. who knows what appertains to the character of deputy or viceroy. Can advertise my part in him; that is, his representation of my person,

WARBURTON. 44. Hold therefore Angelo :]. That is, continue to be Angelo ; hold as thou art.

JOHNSON, I believe that--Hold therefore Angelo, are the words which the Duke utters on tendering his commission

[merged small][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »