페이지 이미지

Which had you rather, that the moft juft law
Now took your brother's life; or, to redeem him,
Give up your body to fuch fweet uncleanness,
As fhe, that he hath ftain'd?

Ifab. Sir, believe this,

I had rather give my body than my, foul.

Ang. I talk not of your foul; our compell'd fins Stand more for number than accompt.

Ifab. How fay you?

Ang. Nay, I'll not warrant that; for I can fpeak Against the thing I fay. Answer to this:

I, now the voice of the recorded law,
Pronounce a Sentence on your brother's life:"
Might there not be a charity in fin,
To fave this brother's life?

Ifab. Pleafe you to do't,
I'll take it as a peril to my foul,
It is no fin at all, but charity..

Ang. Pleas'd you to do't at peril of your foul,
Were equal poize of fin and charity.

Ifab. That I do beg his life, if it be fin,
Heav'n, let me bear it! you, granting my fuit,
If that be fin, I'll make it my morn-pray'r
To have it added to the faults of mine,
And nothing of your answer.

Ang. Nay, but hear me:

Your fenfe purfues not mine: either, you're ignorant ; Or feem fo, craftily; and that's not good.

Ifab. Let me be ignorant, and in nothing good,

But graciously to know I am no better.

Ang. Thus Wifdom wifhes to appear moft bright, When it doth tax it felf: as thefe black mafques Proclaim an en-fhield beauty ten times louder, Than beauty could difplay'd. But mark me, To be received plain, I'll fpeak more grofs;

Your brother is to die.

Ifab. So.

Ang. And his offence is fo, as it appears
Accountant to the law upon that pain.
Ifab. True.


Ang. Admit no other way to fave his life,
(As I fubfcribe not that, nor any other,
But in the lofs of queftion,) that you his fifter,
Finding your felf defir'd of fuch a perfon,
Whofe credit with the judge, or own great Place,
Could fetch your brother from the manacles
Of the all-holding law; and that there were
No earthly mean to fave him, but that either
You must lay down the treasures of your body
To this fuppos'd, or elfe to let him fuffer;
What would you do?

Ifab. As much for my poor brother, as my self,
That is, were I under the terms of death,
Th'impreffion of keen whips I'd wear as rubies,
And strip my self to death, as to a bed

That longing I've been fick for, ere I'd yield
My body up to fhame.

Ang. Then muft your brother die.
Ifab. And 'twere the cheaper way;
Better it were, a brother dy'd at once,
Than that a fifter, by redeeming him,
Should die for ever.

Ang. Were not you then as cruel as the Sentence, That you have flander'd fo?

Ifab. An ignominious ransom, and free pardon, Are of two houfes; lawful mercy, fure,

Is nothing kin to foul redemption.

Ang. You feem'd of late to make the law a tyrant, And rather prov'd the fliding of your brother A merriment, than a vice.

Ifab. Oh pardon me, my lord; it oft falls out, To have what we would have, we fpeak not what we


I fomething do excufe the thing I hate,

For his advantage that I dearly love.

Ang. We are all frail.

Ifab. Elfe let my brother die, (13)

(13) Elfe let my Brother dye,


If not a Feodary, but only He, &c.] This is fo obfcure a Paffage, but fo fine in its Application, that it deferves to be explain'd. A Feo


If not a feodary, but only he,
Owe, and fucceed by weaknefs!
Ang. Nay, women are frail too.

Ifab. Ay, as the glaffes where they view themselves;
Which are as eafy broke, as they make forms.
Women! help heav'n; men their creation mar,
In profiting by them: nay, call us ten times frail,
For we are foft as our complexions are,
And credulous to falfe prints.

Ang. I think it well;

And from this teftimony of your own sex,
(Since, I fuppofe, we're made to be no ftronger,
Than faults may fhake our frames) let me be bold:
I do arrest your words: be That you are,

That is, a woman; if you're more, you're none. MAS
If you be one, as you are well exprefs'd

By all external warrants, fhew it now,

By putting on the deftin'd livery.

Ijab. I have no tongue but one; gentle my lord,
Let me intreat you, fpeak the former language.
Ang. Plainly conceive, I love you.

Ifab. My brother did love Juliet;

And you tell me, that he fhall die for it.

Ang. He fhall not, lfabel, if you give me love. Ifab. I know, your virtue hath a licence in't, Which feems a little fouler than it is, man

To pluck on others.

Ang. Believe me, on mine Honour,

My words exprefs my purpose.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Ifab. Ha! little Honour to be much believ'd,

dary was One, that, in the Times of Vaffalage, held Lands of the chief Lord, under the Tenure of paying Rent and Service: which Tenures were call'd Feuda amongst the Goths. This being premifed, let us come to a Paraphrafe of our Author's Words. "We are all frail, fays Angelo; yes, replies Ifabella; if all Mankind were not Feodaries, who owe what they have to this Tenure of Imbecillity, and who fucceed each other by the fame Tenure, as well as my Brother, I would give "him up. "And the comparing Mankind, (who, according to fome Divines, lye under the Weight of Original Sin,) to a Feodary, who owes Suit and Service to his Lord, is, I think, one of the most beautiful Allufions imaginable.

Mr. Warburton.

And most pernicious purpose! feeming, feeming !I will proclaim thee, Angelo; look for't:

Sign me a prefent Pardon for my brother,

Or, with an out-stretch'd throat, I'll tell the world
Aloud, what man thou art.

Ang. Who will believe thee, Ifabel?

My unfoil'd Name, th' Auftereness of my Life,
My Vouch against you, and my Place i'th' State
Will fo your accufation over-weigh,
That you shall ftifle in your own report,
And smell of calumny. I have begun;
And now I give my sensual race the rein.
Fit thy consent to my fharp appetite,
Lay by all nicety, and prolixious blushes,
That banish what they fue for: redeem thy brother
By yielding up thy body to my will:
Or else he must not only die the death,
But thy unkindness fhall his death draw out
To ling'ring fufferance. Answer me to morrow;.
Or by th'affection that now guides me moft,
I'll prove a tyrant to him. As for you,

Say what you can; my falfe o'erweighs your true.

[Exit. Ifab. To whom should I complain? did I tell this, Who would believe me? O moft perilous mouths, That bear in them one and the felf-fame tongue, Either of condemnation or approof;

Bidding the Law make curtfie to their Will,
Hooking both right and wrong to th' appetite,
To follow, as it draws. I'll to my brother.
Tho' he hath fall'n by prompture of the blood,
Yet hath he in him fuch a mind of honour,
That had he twenty heads to tender down
On twenty bloody blocks, he'd yield them up;
Before his fifter fhould her body stoop
To fuch abhorr'd pollution.

Then, Ifabel, live, chafte; and, brother, dies
More than our brother is our chastity.

I'll tell him yet of Angelo's requeft;

And fit his mind to death, for his foul's Reft. [Exit.


[blocks in formation]

O, then you hope of pardon from lord Angelo?
Claud. The miferable have no other medicine,
But only Hope: I've hope to live, and am

par'd to die.


Duke. Be abfolute for death: or death, or life, Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life; (14) If I do lofe thee, I do lofe a thing,

That none but fools would reck; a breath thou art,
Servile to all the skiey influences;

That doft this habitation, where thou keep'ft,
Hourly afflict; meerly thou art death's fool;
For him thou labour'ft by thy flight to fhun,

And yet runn'ft tow'rd him ftill. Thou art not noble;
For all th' accommodations, that thou bear'ft,
Are nurs'd by baseness: thou'rt by no means valiant;
Reafon thus with Life;


If I do lofe thee, I do lofe a Thing

That none but Fools would keep.] But this Reading is not only contrary to all Senfe and Reafon; but to the Drift of this moral Difcourfe. The Duke, in his affum'd Character of a Friar, is endeavouring to infill into the condemn'd Prifoner a Refignation of Mind to his Sentence; but the Senfe of the Lines, in this Reading, is a direct Perfwafive to Suicide! I make no Doubt, but the Poet wrote,

That none but Fools would reck.

i. e. care for, be anxious about, regret the Lofs of.

Mr. Warburton.

And the Word is very frequent with our Author. 2 Gent, of Verona i

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]
« 이전계속 »