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A Street.

Enter LUCIO and two Gentlemen.

LUCIO. If the duke, with the other dukes, come not to composition with the king of Hungary, why, then all the dukes fall upon the king.

1 GENT. Heaven grant us its peace, but not the king of Hungary's!

2 GENT. Amen.

LUCIO. Thou concludest like the sanctimonious pirate, that went to sea with the ten commandments, but scraped one out of the table.

2 GENT. Thou shalt not steal?

LUCIO. Ay, that he razed.

1 GENT. Why, 'twas a commandment to command the captain and all the rest from their functions; they put forth to steal: There's not a soldier of us all, that, in the thanksgiving before meat, doth relish the petition well that prays for peace.

2 GENT. I never heard any soldier dislike it. LUCIO. I believe thee; for, I think, thou never wast where grace was said.

2 GENT. No? a dozen times at least.

1 GENT. What? in metre ?4

in metre?] In the primers there are metrical graces,

such as, I suppose, were used in Shakspeare's time. JOHNSON.


LUCIO. In any proportion, or in any language. 1 GENT. I think, or in any religion.

LUCIO. Ay! why not? Grace is grace, despite of all controversy: As for example; Thou thyself art a wicked villain, despite of all grace.

1 GENT. Well, there went but a pair of sheers between us."

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In any proportion, &c.] Proportion signifies measure; and refers to the question, What? in metre? WARBURTON.

This speech is improperly given to Lucio. It clearly belongs to the second Gentleman, who had heard grace 66 a dozen times

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• Grace is grace, despite of all controversy:] Satirically insinuating, that the controversies about grace were so intricate and endless, that the disputants unsettled every thing but this, that grace was grace; which, however, in spite of controversy, still remained certain. WARBURTON.

I am in doubt whether Shakspeare's thoughts reached so far into ecclesiastical disputes. Every commentator is warped a little by the tract of his own profession. The question is, whether the second gentleman has ever heard grace. The first gentleman limits the question to grace in metre. Lucio enlarges it to grace in any form or language. The first gentleman, to go beyond him, says, or in any religion, which Lucio allows, because the nature of things is unalterable; grace is as immutably grace, as his merry antagonist is a wicked villain. Difference in religion cannot make a grace not to be grace, a prayer not to be holy; as nothing can make a villain not to be a villain. This seems to be the meaning, such as it is. JOHNSON.


there went but a pair of sheers between us.] We are both of the same piece. JOHNSON.

So, in The Maid of the Mill, by Beaumont and Fletcher: "There went but a pair of sheers and a bodkin between them." STEEVENS.

The same expression is likewise found in Marston's Malcontent, 1604: "There goes but a pair of sheers bewixt an emperor and the son of a bagpiper; only the dying, dressing, pressing, and glossing, makes the difference." MALONE.

LUCIO. I grant; as there may between the lists and the velvet: Thou art the list.

1 GENT. And thou the velvet: thou art good velvet; thou art a three-pil'd piece, I warrant thee; I had as lief be a list of an English kersey, as be pil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet. Do I speak feelingly now?

LUCIO. I think thou dost; and, indeed, with most painful feeling of thy speech: I will, out of thine own confession, learn to begin thy health; but, whilst I live, forget to drink after thee.

1 GENT. I think, I have done myself wrong; have I not?

2 GENT. Yes, that thou hast; whether thou art tainted, or free.

LUCIO. Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation comes! I have purchased as many diseases under her roof, as come to

spil'd, as thou art pil'd, for a French velvet.] The jest about the pile of a French velvet, alludes to the loss of hair in the French disease, a very frequent topick of our author's jocularity. Lucio finding that the gentleman understands the distemper so well, and mentions it so feelingly, promises to remember to drink his health, but to forget to drink after him. It was the opinion of Shakspeare's time, that the cup of an infected person was contagious. JOHNSON.

The jest lies between the similar sound of the words pill'd and pil'd. This I have elsewhere explained, under a passage in Henry VIII:

"Pill'd priest thou liest." STEEvens.

Behold, behold, where madam Mitigation comes!] In the old сору, this speech, and the next but one, are attributed to Lucio. The present regulation was suggested by Mr. Pope. What Lucio says afterwards, "A French crown more," proves that it is right. He would not utter a sarcasm against himself.


2 GENT. To what, I pray?

1 GENT. Judge.

2 GENT. To three thousand dollars a-year.1 1 GENT. Ay, and more.

LUCIO. A French crown more.2


1 GENT. Thou art always figuring diseases in me: but thou art full of error; I am sound.

LUCIO. Nay, not as one would say, healthy; but so sound, as things that are hollow: thy bones are hollow; impiety has made a feast of thee.

1 To three thousand dollars a-year.] A quibble intended

between dollars and dolours. HANMER.

The same jest occurred before in The Tempest. JOHNSON.

A French crown more.] Lucio means here not the piece of money so called, but that venereal scab, which among the surgeons is styled corona Veneris. To this, I think, our author likewise makes Quince allude in A Midsummer-Night's Dream: "Some of your French crowns have no hair at all; and then you will play bare-faced." For where these eruptions are, the skull is carious, and the party becomes bald. THEOBALD.

So, in The Return from Parnassus, 1606:

"I may chance indeed to give the world a bloody nose; but it shall hardly give me a crack'd crown, though it gives other poets French crowns."

Again, in the Dedication to Gabriel Harvey's Hunt is up,



never metst with any requital, except it were some few French crownes, pil'd friers crownes," &c. STEEVENS.


thy bones are hollow;] So Timon, addressing himself to Phrynia and Timandra:

"Consumptions sow

"In hollow bones of man." STEEVENS.

Enter Bawd.

1 GENT. How now? Which of your hips has the most profound sciatica?

BAWD. Well, well; there's one yonder arrested, and carried to prison, was worth five thousand of you all.

1 GENT. Who's that, I pray thee?

BAWD. Marry, sir, that's Claudio, signior Claudio. 1 GENT. Claudio to prison! 'tis not so.

BAWD. Nay, but I know, 'tis so: I saw him arrested; saw him carried away; and, which is more, within these three days his head's to be chopped


LUCIO. But, after all this fooling, I would not have it so: Art thou sure of this?

BAWD. I am too sure of it: and it is for getting madam Julietta with child.

LUCIO. Believe me, this may be: he promised to meet me two hours since; and he was ever precise in promise-keeping.

2 GENT. Besides, you know, it draws something near to the speech we had to such a purpose.

1 GENT. But most of all, agreeing with the proclamation.

LUCIO. Away; let's go learn the truth of it. [Exeunt LUCIO and Gentlemen. BAWD. Thus, what with the war, what with the sweat,* what with the gallows, and what with po

what with the sweat,] This may allude to the sweating sickness, of which the memory was very fresh in the time of

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