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Attorney'd at your service."
For that he knew you, might reproach your life,
Oh, give me pardon, That I, your vassal, have employ'd and pain'd Your unknown sovereignty!
You are pardon'd, Isabel:
I do, my lord.
I crave no other, nor no better man.
Mari. Oh my good lord!-Sweet Isabel, take
Lend me your knees, and, all my life to come,
Re-enter ANGELO, MARIANA, FRIAR PETER, and Her brother's ghost his paved bed would break,
Duke. For this new-married man approaching
Whose salt imagination yet hath wrong'd
Being criminal, in double violation
Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach
We do condemn thee to the very block
Sweet Isabel, do yet but kneel by me :
Hold up your hands, say nothing,—I'll speak all.
Duke. He dies for Claudio's death.
His act did not o'ertake his bad intent;
Where Claudio stoop'd to death, and with like That perish'd by the way: thoughts are no subjects;
Intents but merely thoughts.47
Merely, my lord.
Duke. Your suit's unprofitable; stand up, I
I have bethought me of another fault.—
Provost, how came it Claudio was beheaded
It was commanded so.
47. Intents but merely thoughts. Even this nobly magnanimous speech of Isabella's has been misinterpreted by prejudiced critics, and turned against her. Yet surely the benign forbearance, the spirit of justice, the strictly equitable distinction between intention and act in guilt, that Shakespeare has here put into her mouth who is the embodiment of virtue and purity in this play, might serve to enthrone her in our regard as one of the finest-souled women among his heroines. In so passing a point as that line of the provost's, "I thought it was a fault, but knew it not," the poet has carried on the moral he inculcates in this play, the nice shades of distinction between motive and act, thought and deed, error and guilt, mistake and sin, together with their due degrees of rebuke, retribution, and punish
Pardon me, noble lord:
I thought it was a fault, but knew it not;
Duke. Prov. His name is Barnardine, Duke. I would thou hadst done so by Claudio.Go fetch him hither; let me look upon him.
[Exit PROVOST. Escal. I am sorry one so learned and so wise As you, Lord Angelo, have still appear'd, Should slip so grossly, both in the heat of blood, And lack of temper'd judgment afterward.
Ang. I am sorry that such sorrow I procure : And so deep sticks it in my penitent heart, That I crave death more willingly than mercy; 'Tis my deserving, and I do entreat it.
Re-enter PROVOST, with BARNARDINE, CLAUDIO muffled, and Juliet.
Duke. Which is that Barnardine ?
But, for those earthly faults," I quit them all;
Prov. This is another prisoner that I sav'd, Who should have died when Claudio lost his head; As like almost to Claudio as himself.
Duke. [To ISABELLA.] If he be like your brother, for his sake
Is he pardon'd; and, for your lovely sake,
48. Earthly faults. Faults committed against earthly laws. 'I quit them all" means 'I acquit you of them all.' The duke's extension of " mercy to provide for better times to come" to this hardened sinner, affords a grand lesson on the duty of sparing for repentance those who have been made criminals by gaolteaching and neglectful rulers.
49. Your evil quits you well. This sentence bears comprehensive interpretation: it is equivalent to 'your course of evil leaves you befittingly;' 'the fear you have suffered acquits you of your misdeeds;' and 'you receive in requital good for evil.'
50. Trick. Thoughtless practice; idle fashion.
Well, Angelo, your evil quits you well: 49
I find an apt remission in myself;
And yet here's one in place I cannot pardon.—
One all of luxury, an ass, a madman;
Lucio. Faith, my lord, I spoke it but according to the trick.50 If you will hang me for it, you may; but I had rather it would please you I might be whipped.
Duke. Whipp'd first, sir, and hang'd after.-
And he shall marry her: the nuptial finish'd,
Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a bad woman! Your highness said even now, I made you a duke: good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a gull.
Duke. Upon mine honour, thou shalt marry her. Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal Remit thy other forfeits."-Take him to prison; And see our pleasure herein executed. Lucio. Marrying a slut, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.
Duke. Slandering a prince deserves it.
[Exeunt Officers with LUCIO. She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.Joy to you, Mariana!-Love her, Angelo:
I have confess'd her, and I know her virtue.— Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much good
There's more behind that is more gratulate.52_
Whereto if you'll a willing ear incline,
What's mine is yours, and what is yours is mine.— So, bring us to our palace; where we'll show What's yet behind, that's meet you all should know. [Exeunt.
51. Forfeits. May here mean fines, penalties; or misdeeds, transgressions. French, forfaits. The context, "thy slanders I forgive," seems to warrant the latter interpretation. 52, There's more behind that is more gratulate. late" is here used for 'subject of congratulation.' We take this line to refer to the duke's intention of espousing Isabella; with which his mind is so much occupied, that he reverts to it three times in the course of this last speech ;-first, by the above line; second, by the words "Dear Isabel," &c.; third, by the concluding line of the play. Moreover, this iteration is a skilful resource of the dramatist to impress that intention of the duke's upon the audience, or readers.
COMEDY OF ERRORS.'
SCENE 1.-A ball in the DUKE'S Palace.
Thy substance, valu'd at the highest rate, Cannot amount unto a hundred marks;
Enter DUKE, ÆGEON, Gaoler, Officers, and other Therefore, by law thou art condemn'd to die.
Ege. Proceed, Solinus, to procure my fall,
Come to the bay of Ephesus, he dies,
1. The first known copy of this play is in the 1623 Folio. There is allusion to it in the "Palladis Tamia" of Meres, 1598, which shows its first appearance to have been prior to that date; and, indeed, internal evidence manifests its having been one of Shakespeare's earliest compositions. The source of its plot is found in the "Menæchmi" of Plautus, of which it is supposed some English translation fell into Shakespeare's hands; but we, who are not sceptics as to his knowledge of Greek and Latin, can well believe that he met with the original comedy among his school classics while still a lad. Latin was a more general accomplishment in Elizabeth's day than it is at present; and even in the Stratford grammar-school it was most probably taught among other studies. If, as we
Ege. Yet this my comfort, when your words are done,
My woes end likewise with the evening sun.
Duke. Well, Syracusan, say, in brief, the cause Why thou departed'st from thy native home, And for what cause thou cam'st to Ephesus.
Ege. A heavier task could not have been impos'd
Than I to speak my griefs unspeakable :