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VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
Claudio, a young
Two other like Gentlemen.
* Varrius, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
An ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in
Ifabella, Sifler to Claudio.
Miftrefs Over-done, a Bard.
Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
* Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and fays nothing.
Of this Play the first known Edition is in the Folio of 1623.
Editions from which the various Readings are collected.
I. Folio 1623.
ACT I. SCENE L (1)
The Duke's PALACE.
Enter Duke, Efcalus, and Lords.
Efcal. My Lord.
Duke. Of Government the properties t'unfold, Would seem in me t'affect speech and difcourfe. Since I am not to know, that your own Science Exceeds, in that, the lifts of all advice (4) My ftrength can give you: then no more remains: (3)
*There is perhaps not one of Shakespear's plays more, darkened than this by the peculiarities of its Authour, and the unskilfulness of its Editors, by distortions of phrafe, or negligence of tranfcription.
1 The story is taken from Cinthio's Novels, Decad 8. Novel 5. POPE.
+ I. II. III. put to know. Perhaps rightly. (2) Lifts.] Bounds, Limits.
Then no more remains, &c.
This is a paffage which has exercifed the fagacity of the Editors, and is now to employ mine.
Then no more remains:
Put that to your Sufficiency, as your Worth is able,
And let them work.] I doubt not, but this Paffage, either from the Impertinence of the Actors, or the Negligence of the Copyifts, has come maim'd to us. In the first Place, what an unmeasurable, inharmonious, Verse have we here; and, then, how lame is the Senfe! What was Efcalus to put to his Sufficiency? Why, his Science. But his Science and his Sufficiency were but One and the fame Thing. On what then does the Relative them, depend? The old Editions read thus.
But that to your fufficiency, as your worth is able,
Then no more remains.
But that to your Sufficiency, as your Worth is able,
And let them work,
Here again the Senfe is manifeftly lame and defective, and as the Verfification is fo too, they concur to make me think, a Line has accidentally been left out. Perhaps, fomething like This might fupply our Author's Meaning.
-Then no more remains,
But that to your Sufficiency you add
Due Diligency, as your Worth is able;
By fome fuch Supplement both the Senfe and Measure would be Cur'd. But as the Conjecture is upfupported by any Authorities, I have not pretended to thrust it into the Text; but fubmit it to Judgment. They, who are acquainted with Books, know, that, where two Words of a fimilar Length and Termination happen to lie under one another, nothing is more common than for Tranfcribers to glance their Eye at once from the first to the andermoft Word, and fo leave out the intermediate part of the Sentence. THEOBALD.
Since I am not to know, that your own Science
My ftrength can give you then no more remains :
To the integrity of this reading, Mr. Theobald objects, and fays, What was Efcalus to put to his fufficiency! why his fcience: But bis Science and fufficiency were but one and the fame thing. On what then does the relative them depend? He will have it, therefore that a line has been accidentally dropt, which he attempts to restore by due diligence. Nodum in fcirpo quærit. And all for want of knowing, that by fufficiency is meant authority, the power delegated by the Dake to Elcalus. The plain meaning of the word being this: Put your skill in governing (fays the Duke) to the power which I give you to exercife it, and let them work together.
Sir The. Hanmer having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a lihe was loft, endeavours to fupply it thus.
-Then no more remains,
But that to your fufficiency you join
A will to ferve us, as your worth is able.
He has by this bold conjecture undoubtedly ob'ained a meaning. but, perhaps not, even in his own opinion, the meaning of Shake. Spear.
For common juftice, y'are as pregnant in, (4)
That we remember. There is our Commiflion,
What figure of us, think you, he will bear?
Then no more remains,
But that to your fufficiencies your worth is abled,-
That the paffage is more or lefs corrupt, I believe every reider will agree with the Editors. I am not convinced that a line is loft, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after fome other Editor, will: amend the fault. There was probably fome, original obfcurity in he expreffion, which gave occafion to miftake in repetition or tranicription. I therefore fufpect that the Author wrote thus,
Then nothing remains more than to tell you that your Virtue iş now invefted with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let there fore your knowledge and your virtue now work together. It may eafily be conceived how fufficiencies was, by an inarticulate fpeaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded with Jufficiency as, anhow abled, a word very unafual was changed into able. For abled, however, an authority is not wanting. Lear ufes it in the fame fenfe or nearly the fame with the Duke. As for fufficiencies, D. Hamilton, in his dying fpeech, prays that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues and fufficiencies of his father.
For common juftice you're as pregnant in.] The latter Editions all give, it, without authority, the terms of justice, and Dr. Warburton makes terms figaify bounds or limits. I rather think the Duke meant to fay, that Efcalus was pregnant, that, is, ready and knowing in all the forms of law, and among other things, in the terms or times fet apart for its administration.
(5) For you must know, we have with special soUL
Elected him our abfence to fupply.] This nonfenfe must be corrected thus,
To the hopeful execution do 1 leave you
with special ROLL
i. e. by a fpecial commiffion.
For it appears, from this fcene, that Efcalus had one commiffion and Angelo another. The Duke had before delivered Efcalus his commiffion. He now declares that defigned for Angelo: and he fays, afterwards to both,
Elected him our Abfence to fupply;
Lent him our Terror, dreft him with our Love;
Duke. Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your Grace's will, I come to know your pleasure.
There is a kind of character in thy life, (6)
Why Angelo's was called the fpecial roll was because he was in aqthority fuperior to Efcalus.
Tho' firft in question, is thy fecondary.
This Editor is, I think, right in fuppofing a corruption, but lefs happy in his emendation. I read,
We have with fpecial feal
A fpecial seal is a very natural Metonymy for a special commission.
(6) There is a kind of character in thy life, That to th' obferver, &c.]
Either this introduction has more folemnity than meaning, or it has a meaning which I cannot difcover. What is there peculiar in this, that a man's life informs the obferver of his hiftory? Might it be fuppofed that Shakespear wrote this?
There is a kind of character in thy look.