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VINCENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
Angelo, Lord Deputy in the Duke's absence.
Escalus, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the

deputation.
Claudio, a young Gentleman.
Lucio, a Fantastick.
Two otber like Gentlemen.
* Varrius, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.
Provost.

.

A Justice.
Elbow, a simple Constable.
Froth, a foolis Gentleman.
Clown, Servant to Mrs. Over done.
Abhorson, an Executioner.
Barnardine, a dissolute Prisoner.

Isabella, Sister to Claudio.
Mariana, betrothed to Angelo.
Juliet, beloved of Claudio.
Francisca, a Nun.
Mistress Over-done, a Bawd.

Guards, Officers, and olber Attendants.

SCENE, Vienna.

• Varrius might be omitted, for he is only once spoken to, and says nothing. Johnson.

MEA

MEASURE FOR MEASURE.'

A C T I. SCENE 1,

The Duke's Palace,

Enter Duke, Escalus, and Lords,

DUKE.

SCALUS,

Escal. My Lord.
Duke. Of governmenç the properties to

unfold,
Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse ;

E

1 There is perhaps not one of Shakespeare's plays more darken. ed than this by the peculiarities of its authour, and the unkilfulness of its editors, by distortions of phrase, or negligence of tran. fcription. JOHNSON

Shakespeare took the fable of this play from the Promos and Caffandra of George Whetstone, published in 1598. See Theobald's note at the end.

A hint, like a seed, is more or less prolific, according to the qualities of the soil on which it is thrown. This story, which in the hands of Whetstone produced little more than barren infipidity, under the culture of Shakespeare became fertile of entertainment. The curious reader will find that the old play of Promos and CafJandra exhibits an almost complete embryo of Measure fur Measures yet the hints on which it is formed are lo sight, that it is nearly as impossible to detect them, as it is to point out in the acorn the future ramifications of the oak. Steevens. · The story is taken from Cintbio's Novels, Decad. 8. Novel 5.

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Since I am 3 put to know, that your own science,
Exceeds, in chat, the lists of all advice 4
My strength can give you: Then no more remains,

But 3 Since I am not to know,-) Old copy,

-put 10 know, Perhaps rightly. Johnson. I am fut 10 know, may mean, I am obliged to acknowledge.

STEEVENS. -li,7s-m ] Bounds, limits. Johnson.

Then no more remains, &c.] This is a passage which has exercised the fagacity of the editors, and is now to employ mine.

-Thin no more remains,
Put abat to your suficiency, as your worth is able,

And let i bem work.
I doubt not, but this passage, either from the impertinence of the
actors, or the negligence of the copyists, has come maimed to us.
In the first place, what an unmeasurable, inharmonious verse have
we here ; and then, how lame is the sense! What was Escalus to
put to his sufficiency? Why, his science. But his science and his
fufficiency were but one and the same thing. On what then does
the relative them depend? The old editions read thus,

Then no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,

And let them work.
Here, again, the sense is manifefly lame and defective, and as the
versification is so too, they concur to make me think, a line has
accidentally been left out. Perhaps, something like this might
supply our author's meaning.

-T ben no more remains,
But that to your sufficiency you add
Due diligency, as your worib is able ;

And let them work.
By some such supplement both the sense and measure would be
cured. But as the conjecture is unsupported by any authorities, I
have not pretended to thrust it into the text; but submit it to
judgment. They, who are acquainted with books, know, that,
where two words of a similar length and termination happen to
lie under one another, nothing is more common than for transcri-
bers to glance their eye at once from the first to the undermoft word,
and so leave out the intermediate part of the sentence.

THEOBALD.

But that your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,

Our
Since I am not to know, that your own science
Excuds, in bat, tbe lifts of all advice
My Arength can give you ; then no more remains :
Put that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,

And let them work.
To the integrity of this reading Mr. Theobald objects, and says,
What was scalus to put to bis Juffciency? wby bis science : But bis
science and sufficiency were but one and the same thing. Or what
then does the relative them depend? He will have it, therefore,
that a line has been accidentally dropp’d, which he attempts to re-
fore by due diligence. Nodum in fcirpo querit. And all for want
of knowing, that by suficiency is meant authority, the power dele-
gated by the duke to Escalus. The plain meaning of the word
being this : Put your skill in governing (says the duke) to the power
wbicb I give you to exercise it, and let obem work together.

WARBURTON. Sir Tho. Hanmer, having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a line was loft, endeavours to supply it thus.

Then no more remains,
But that to your fufficiency you join

A will to serve us, as your worrb is able.
He has by this bold conjecture undoubtedly obtained a mean-
ing, but, perhaps not, even in his own opinion, the meaning of
Shakespeare.

That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other editor, will amend the fault. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the authour wrote thus,

-Tben no more remains,
But that 10 your sufficiencies your worth is abled,

And let them work.
Then nothing remains more than to tell you, that your virtue is now in-
vifted with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let tb:re-
fore your knowledge and your virtue now work togeiher. It may easi-
ly be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an inarticulate speaker, or
inattentive hcarer, confounded with fificiency as, and how abled, a
word very unusual, was changed into able. For abled, however,
an authority is not wanting. Lear uses it in the same sense, or

nearly

B 3

1

Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember. There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp. Call

hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
What figure of us, think you, he will bear?

nearly the same, with the Duke. As for fufficiencies, D. Hamilton, in his dying speech, prays that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues and sufficiencies of his fatber. JOHNSON.

The upcommon redundancy, as well as obscurity, of this verse may be considered as some evidence of its corruption. Take away the three firf words, and the sense joins well enough with what went before. Then (says the duke) no more remains to say :

" Your sufficiency as your worth is able,

And let them work.' i. e. Your skill in government is is ability to serve me, equal to be inlegrity of your beart, and let them co-operate in your future miniftry

The versification requires that either something should be added, or something retrenched. The latter is the easier, as well as the safer task. I join in the belief, however, that a line is loft ; and whoever is acquainted with the inaccuracy of the folio, (for of this play there is no other old edition) will find this opinion justified.

STEEVENS. The deficiency may be thus supplied.

then no more remains,
But ibat to your suficiency you put
A zeal as willing as your worth is able,
And let tbem work.-

T. T.

the terms

For common juftice, you are as pregnant in,] The later editions all give it, without authority,

the terms Of juflice, and Dr. Warburton makes terms fignify bounds or limits. I rather think the Duke meant to say, that Escalus 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.

JOHNSON.

For

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