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ANG.

Dispose of her

To some more fitter place; and that with speed.

Re-enter Servant.

SERV. Here is the sister of the man condemn'd, Desires access to you.

ANG.

Hath he a sister?

PROF. Ay, my good lord; a very virtuous maid, And to be shortly of a sisterhood,

If not already.

ANG.

See

you,

Well, let her be admitted.

[Exit Servant.

the fornicatress be remov'd;

Let her have needful, but not lavish, means;
There shall be order for it.

Enter Lucio and ISABELLA.

PROV. Save

your

honour ! 2

[Offering to retire.

ANG. Stay a little while.3-[To ISAB.] You are welcome: What's your will?

* Save your honour!] Your honour, which is so often repeated in this scene, was in our author's time the usual mode of address to a lord. It had become antiquated after the Restoration; for Sir William D'Avenant, in his alteration of this play, has substituted your excellence in the room of it. MALONE.

3

Stay a little while.] It is not clear why the Provost is bidden to stay, nor when he goes out. JOHNSON.

The entrance of Lucio and Isabella should not, perhaps, be made till after Angelo's speech to the Provost, who had only announced a lady, and seems to be detained as a witness to the purity of the deputy's conversation with her. His exit may he fixed with that of Lucio and Isabella. He cannot remain longer, and there is no reason to think he departs before. RITSON,

ISAB. I am a woeful suitor to your honour, Please but your honour hear me.

ANG.

Well; what's your suit? ISAB. There is a vice, that most I do abhor, And most desire should meet the blow of justice; For which I would not plead, but that I must; For which I must not plead, but that I am

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.*

ANG,

Well; the matter?

ISAB. I have a brother is condemn'd to die: I do beseech you, let it be his fault,

And not my brother.

PROV.

Heaven give thee moving graces!

Stay a little while, is said by Angelo, in answer to the words, "Save your honour;" which denoted the Provost's intention to depart. Isabella uses the same words to Angelo, when she goes out, near the conclusion of this scene. So also, when she offers to retire, on finding her suit ineffectual; "Heaven keep your honour!" MALONE.

4 For which I must not plead, but that I am

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] This is obscure; perhaps it may be mended by reading:

For which I must now plead; but yet I am

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.

Yet and yt are almost undistinguishable in an ancient manuscript. Yet no alteration is necessary, since the speech is not unintelli gible as it now stands. JOHNSON.

For which I must not plead, but that I am

At war, 'twixt will, and will not.] i. e. for which I must not plead, but that there is a conflict in my breast betwixt my affec tion for my brother, which induces me to plead for him, and my regard to virtue, which forbids me to intercede for one guilty of such a crime; and I find the former more powerful than the latter. MALONE.

5

let it be his fault,

And not my brother.] i. e. let his fault be condemned, or extirpated, but let not my brother himself suffer. MALONE,

ANG. Condemn the fault, and not the actor of it! Why, every fault's condemn'd, ere it be done: Mine were the very cipher of a function, To find the faults, whose fine stands in record, And let go by the actor.

ISAB. O just, but severe law! I had a brother then.-Heaven keep your honour!

[Retiring.

LUCIO. [TO ISAB.] Give't not o'er so: to him again, intreat him;

Kneel down before him, hang upon his gown;
You are too cold: if you should need a pin,
You could not with more tame a tongue desire it:
To him, I say.

ISAB. Must he needs die?

ANG.

Maiden, no remedy.

ISAB. Yes; I do think that you might pardon

him,

And neither heaven, nor man, grieve at the

ANG. I will not do't.

ISAB.

mercy,

But can you, if you would?

ANG. Look, what I will not, that I cannot do. ISAB. But might you do't, and do the world no wrong,

To find the faults,] The old copy reads-To fine, &c.

STEEVENS.

To fine means, I think, to pronounce the fine or sentence of the law, appointed for certain crimes. Mr. Theobald, without necessity, reads find. The repetition is much in our author's manner. Malone.

Theobald's emendation may be justified by a passage in King Lear:

"All's not offence that indiscretion finds,
"And dotage terms so." STEEVens.

If so your heart were touch'd with that remorse" As mine is to him?

ANG.

He's sentenc'd; 'tis too late.

[To ISABELLA.

LUCIO. You are too cold.

8

ISAB. Too late? why, no; I, that do speak a word,
May call it back again: Well believe this,"
No ceremony that to great ones 'longs,

Not the king's crown, nor the deputed sword,
The marshal's truncheon, nor the judge's robe,
Become them with one half so good a grace,
As mercy does. If he had been as you,
And you as he, you would have slipt like him;
But he, like you, would not have been so stern.
ANG. Pray you, begone.

ISAB. I would to heaven I had your potency, And you were Isabel! should it then be thus? No; I would tell what 'twere to be a judge, And what a prisoner.

7

LUCIO. Ay, touch him: there's the vein. [Aside.

touch'd with that remorse-] Remorse, in this place,

as in many others, signifies pity.

So, in the fifth Act of this play:

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My sisterly remorse confutes my honour, "And I did yield to him."

Again, in Heywood's Iron Age, 1632:

"The perfect image of a wretched creature,

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His speeches beg remorse."

See Othello, Act III. STEEVEns.

May call it back again :] The word back was inserted by the editor of the second folio, for the sake of the metre.

MALONE.

Surely, it is added for the sake of sense as well as metre.

STEEVENS.

• Well believe this.] Be thoroughly assured of this. THEOBALD.

ANG. Your brother is a forfeit of the law, And you but waste your words.

ISAB. Alas! alas! Why, all the souls that were,' were forfeit once; And He that might the vantage best have took, Found out the remedy: How would you be, If he, which is the top of judgment, should But judge you as you are? O, think on that; And mercy then will breathe within your lips, Like man new made.2

ANG. Be you content, fair maid; It is the law, not I, condemns your brother: Were he my kinsman, brother, or my son,

It should be thus with him;-he must die to-morrow.

1 - all the souls that were,] This is false divinity. We should read-are. WARBURTON.

I fear, the player, in this instance, is a better divine than the prelate. The souls that WERE, evidently refer to Adam and Eve, whose transgression rendered them obnoxious to the penalty of annihilation, but for the remedy which the Author of their being most graciously provided. The learned Bishop, however, is more successful in his next explanation. HENLEY.

2 And mercy then will breathe within your lips,

Like man new made.] This is a fine thought, and finely expressed. The meaning is, that mercy will add such a grace to your person, that you will appear as amiable as a man come fresh out of the hands of his Creator. WARBURTON.

I rather think the meaning is, You will then change the severity of your present character. In familiar speech, You would be quite another man. JOHNSON.

And mercy then will breathe within your lips,

Like man new made.] You will then appear as tender-hearted and merciful as the first man was in his days of innocence, immediately after his creation, MALONE.

I incline to a different interpretation: And you, Angelo, will breathe new life into Claudio, as the Creator animated Adam, by "breathing into his nostrils the breath of life." HOLT WHITE,

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