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thief thinks it little enough: so every true man's apparel
fits your thief.] The last speech, which makes part of
the Hangman's argument, is, by mistake, as the
reader's own sagacity will readily perceive, given to.
the Clown or Bawd. I suppose, therefore, the poet
gave us the whole thus :

Abhor. Sir, it is a mistery.
Clown. Proof.

Abhor. Every true man's apparel fits your thief: if. it be too little for your thies, your true man thinks it big enough; if it be too big for your thief, your thief thinks it little enough ; so every true man's apparel fits your thief.

REVISAL. 127. -- fits your thief.] So in Promos and Casa sandra, 1578, the Hangman says:

“ Here is nyne and twenty sutes of apparell for

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True man, in the language of ancient times, is gene. rally placed in opposition to thief. STEEVENS. 135.

-ask forgiveness.] Șo, in As You Like It:
"__The common executioner,
“ Whose heart the accustom'd sight of death

makes hard,
“ Falls not the axe upon the humbled neck,
" But first begs pardon."

STEEVENS. good turn.

n.] 1. e. a turn off the ladder, He quibbles on the phrase according to its common acceptation,

FARMER. 151. --starkly—] Stifly. These two lines afford a very pleasing image.




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163. They will then, ---] Perhaps she will then.

Sir J. HAWKINS. 168. Even with the strokem -] Stroke is here put for the stroke of a pen or a line.

JOHNSON. 171. To qualify——] To temper, to moderate, as we say wine is qualified with water. JOHNSON

So, in Othello :

" I have drank but one cup to-night, and that was Craftily qualified too."

STEEVENS. 171. were he meal'd] Were he sprinkled; were he defiled. A figure of the same kind our author uses in Macbeth :

« The blood-bolter'd Banquo." JOHNSON. So, in the Philosophers Satires, by Robert Anton:

" As if their perriwigs to death they gave
To meale them in some gastly dead man's

STEEVENS. Mealed is mingled, compounded from the French mesler.


that spirit's possest with haste,
That wounds the unresisting postern with these

strokes.] The line is irregular, and the unresisting postern so strange an expression, that want of measure, and want of sense, might justly raise suspicion of an error; yet none of the latter editors seem to have supposed the place faulty, except Sir Thomas Hanmer, who reads:

-the unresting postern, The three folios have it:

-unsisting postern,


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out of which Mr. Rowe made unresisting, and the rest followed him.

JOHNSON. 188. -siege of justice,] i. e. seat of justice, Siege, Fr. So, Othello :

I fetch my

“ From men of royal siege."


Enter a Messenger.
Duke. This is his lordship's man.

Prov. And here comes Claudio's pardon.] The Provost has just declared a fixed opinion that the execution will not be countermanded; and yet, upon the first appearance of the Messenger, he immediately gliesses that his errand is to bring Claudio's pardon. It is evident, I think, that the names of the speakers are misplaced. If we suppose the Provost to say :

This is his lordship’s man,
it is very natural for the Duke to subjoin,

And here comes Claudio's pardón.
The Duke might believe, upon very reasonable
grounds, that Angelo had now sent the pardon. It
appears that he did so, from what he says to himself,
while the Provost is reading the letter :
This is his pardon; purchas’d by such sin.-

TYRWHITT. When, immediately after the Duke had hinted his expectation of a pardon, the Provost sees the Mes. senger, he supposes the Duke to have known something, and changes his mind. Either reading may serve equally well.

JOHNSON. one that is a prisoner nine years old.] i.e.

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adds, diver diver

the he

That has been confined these nine years. So, in Hamlet, Ere we were two days old at sea, a pirate of very warlike preparation," &c. MALONE.

236. desperately mortal.] This expression is obscure. Sir Thomas Hanmer reads, inortally desperate. Mortally is in low conversation used in this sense, but I know not whether it was ever written. I am inclined to believe, that desperately mortal means desperately mischievous. Or desperately mortal, may mean a man likely to die in a desperate state, withont reflection or repentance.

JOHNSON. -and tie the beard ; -] The Revisal recommends Mr. Simpson's emendation, die the beard ; but the present reading may stand. Perhaps it was usual to tie up the beard before decollation. Sir T. More is said to have been ludicrously careful about this ornament of his face. It should, however, be remembered, that it was the custom to die beards. So, in the old comedy of Ram Alley, 1611:

« What colour'd beard comes next by the window?
“ A black man's, I think.

“ I think, a red; for that is most in fashion." Again, in the Silent Woman : « I have fitted my divine and canonist, dyed their beards and all."

Again, in the Alchemist : -he had dy'd his beard, and all."

STEEVENS, A beard tied would give a very new air to that face, which had never been seen but with the beard loose, long, and squalid,


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269. -to be so barb’d] The old copy reads-50 bar'd.

STEEVENS. There was no necessity for changing the old reading. On the contrary it agrees better with the context than that by which it is displaced.

HENLEY. 270. -you know the course is common.] P. Mathieu, in his Heroyke Life and Deplorable Death of Henry the Fourth of, France, says, that Ravilliac, in the midst of his tortures, lifted up his head, and shook a spark of fire from his beard. “ This unprofitable care, he adds, to save it being noted, afforded matter to divers to praise the custome in Germany, Swisserland, and divers other places to shave off, and then to burn all the haire from all parts of the bodies of those who are convicted for any notorious crimes." Grimston's Translation, 4to. 1612, p. 181.

296. —nothing of what is writ.] We should read -here writ--the Duke pointing to the letter in his hand.

WARBURTON. 297. --the unfolding star calls up the shepherd :]

“ The star, that bids the shepherd fold,
“ Now the top of heaven doth hold.”

Milton's Comus,

STEEVENS. “ So doth the evening star present itself « Unto the careful shepherd's gladsome eyes, " By which unto the fold he leads his flock." Marston's Insatiate Countess, 1613.




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