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Fully unfold: Thyself and thy belongings
Are not thine own so proper, as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.'
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike

As if we had them not.


Spirits are not finely

sary pomp of this introduction. He has the same thought in Henry IV. P. II. which affords some comment on this passage before us:

"There is a history in all men's lives,

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Figuring the nature of the times deceas'd:

"The which observ'd, a man may prophecy

"With a near aim, of the main chance of things
"As yet not come to life," &c.


On considering this passage, I am induced to think that the words character and history have been misplaced, and that it was originally written thus:

There is a kind of history in thy life,

That to the observer doth thy character
Fully unfold.

This transposition seems to be justified by the passage quoted by Steevens from The Second Part of Henry IV. M. MASON.


thy belongings-] i. e. endowments. MALONE.

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


them on thee.] The old copy reads they on thee. The emendation was made by Sir T. Hanmer. STEEVENS.

-for if our virtues &c.]

"Paulum sepultæ distat inertiæ

"Celata virtus." Hor. THEOBALD.

Again, in Massinger's Maid of Honour:

"Virtue, if not in action, is a vice,

"And, when we move not forward, we go backward."

Thus, in the Latin adage-Non progredi est regredi.



But to fine issues:3 nor nature never lends⭑
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,

Both thanks and use." But I do bend my speech To one that can my part in him advértise;o


to fine issues:] To great consequences; for high purposes. JOHNSON.

— nor nature never lends-] Two negatives, not em ployed to make an affirmative, are common in our author. So, in Julius Cæsar:

"There is no harm intended to your person,

"Nor to no Roman else."

she determines

Herself the glory of a creditor,


Both thanks and use.] i. e. She (Nature) requires and allots to herself the same advantages that creditors usually enjoy,thanks for the endowments she has bestowed, and extraordinary exertions in those whom she hath thus favoured, by way of interest for what she has lent.

Use, in the phraseology of our author's age, signified interest of money. MALONE.

6 I do bend my speech

To one that can my part in him advértise ;] 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 my office, which I have delegated to him. My part in him advertise; i. e. who knows what appertains to the character of a deputy or viceroy. Can advertise my part in him; that is, his representation of my person. But all these quaintnesses of expression the Oxford editor seems sworn to extirpate; that is, to take away one of Shakspeare's characteristic marks; which, if not one of the comeliest, is yet one of the strongest. So he alters this to

To one that can, in my part me advertise.

A better expression, indeed, but, for all that, none of Shakspeare's. WARburton.

I know not whether we may not better read—

One that can, my part to him advertise.

One that can inform himself of that which it would be otherwise my part to tell him. JOHNSON.

Hold therefore, Angelo;'


In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna

Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary:
Take thy commission.


Now, good my lord, Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure

Be stamp'd upon it.


No more evasion:

To advertise is used in this sense, and with Shakspeare's accentuation, by Chapman, in his version of the eleventh Book of the Odyssey:

"Or, of my father, if thy royal ear

"Hath been advértis'd—” STEEVENS.

I believe, the meaning is-I am talking to one who is himself already sufficiently conversant with the nature and duties of my office;-of that office, which I have now delegated to him. So, in Timon of Athens:

"It is our part, and promise to the Athenians,

"To speak with Timon." MALONE.

"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 to him. He concludes with Take thy commission. STEEVENS.

If a full point be put after therefore, the Duke may be understood to speak of himself. Hold therefore, i. e. Let me therefore hold, or stop. And the sense of the whole passage may be this.-The Duke, who has begun an exhortation to Angelo, checks himself thus: "But I am speaking to one, that can in him [in or by himself] apprehend my part [all that I have to say]; I will therefore say no more [on that subject]." He then merely signifies to Angelo his appointment. TYRWHITT.

-first in question,] That is, first called for; first appointed.


We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours.
Our haste from hence is of so quick condition,
That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd
Matters of needful value. We shall write to you,
As time and our concernings shall impórtune,
How it goes with us; and do look to know
What doth befall you here. So, fare
To the hopeful execution do I leave you
your commissions.



you well:

Yet, give leave, my lord,

That we may bring you something on the way."

DUKE. My haste may not admit it;

Nor need you, on mine honour, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own;2
So to enforce, or qualify the laws,

As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
I'll privily away: I love the people,

But do not like to stage me to their eyes:3

We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice-] Leaven'd choice is one of Shakspeare's harsh metaphors. His train of ideas seems to be this: I have proceeded to you with choice mature, concocted, fermented, leavened. When bread is leapened it is left to ferment: a leavened choice is, therefore, a choice not hasty, but considerate; not declared as soon as it fell into the imagination, but suffered to work long in the mind. Thus explained, it suits better with prepared than levelled.



bring you something on the way.] i. e. accompany you. So, in A Woman kill'd with Kindness, by Heywood, 1617: "She went very lovingly to bring him on his way to horse." And the same mode of expression is to be found in almost every writer of the times. REED.


of power.


your scope is as mine own ;] That is, your amplitude JOHNSON.

to stage me to their eyes:] So, in one of Queen

Though it do well, I do not relish well
Their loud applause, and aves vehement;
Nor do I think the man of safe discretion,
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
ANG. The heavens give safety to your purposes!

ESCAL. Lead forth, and bring you back in happiness.

DUKE. I thank you: Fare you well.

[Exit. ESCAL. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave To have free speech with you; and it concerns me To look into the bottom of my place:

A power I have; but of what strength and nature I am not yet instructed.

ANG. 'Tis so with me:-Let us withdraw to


And we may soon our satisfaction have

Touching that point.


I'll wait upon your honour.


Elizabeth's speeches to parliament, 1586: "We princes, I tel you, are set on stages, in the sight and viewe of all the world,” &c. See The Copy of a Letter to the Right Honourable the Earle of Leycester, &c. 4to. 1586. STEEVENS.

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