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Critical Apparatus Enter Duke as a Friar, and Provost with Claudio
Editor’s Note1

duke So then you hope of pardon from Lord Angelo?

Editor’s Note Link 2

claudio The miserable have no other medicine

Critical Apparatus3But only hope.

Critical Apparatus Link 4I've hope to live, and am prepared to die.

Editor’s Note Link 5

duke Be absolute for death; either death or life

pg 147

Editor’s Note6Shall thereby be the sweeter. Reason thus with life:

7If I do lose thee, I do lose a thing

Editor’s Note Link 8That none but fools would keep; a breath thou art

Editor’s Note Link 9Servile to all the skyey influences

Editor’s Note10That dost this habitation where thou keep'st

Editor’s Note11Hourly afflict. Merely thou art death's fool,

Editor’s Note12For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun,

13And yet run'st toward him still. Thou art not noble,

Editor’s Note14For all the accommodations that thou bear'st

Editor’s Note Link 15Are nursed by baseness. Thou'rt by no means valiant,

Editor’s Note Link 16For thou dost fear the soft and tender fork

Editor’s Note17Of a poor worm. Thy best of rest is sleep,

pg 148

Editor’s Note18And that thou oft provok'st, yet grossly fear'st

Editor’s Note19Thy death, which is no more. Thou art not thyself,

Editor’s Note20For thou exists on many a thousand grains

Editor’s Note21That issue out of dust. Happy thou art not,

22For what thou hast not, still thou striv'st to get,

Editor’s Note23And what thou hast, forget'st. Thou art not certain,

Editor’s Note24For thy complexion shifts to strange effects

Editor’s Note Link 25After the moon. If thou art rich, thou'rt poor,

Editor’s Note Link 26For like an ass, whose back with ingots bows,

27Thou bear'st thy heavy riches but a journey,

28And death unloads thee. Friend hast thou none,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 29For thine own bowels which do call thee sire,

Editor’s Note Link 30The mere effusion of thy proper loins,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 31Do curse the gout, serpigo, and the rheum

Editor’s Note Link 32For ending thee no sooner. Thou hast nor youth, nor age,

pg 149

Editor’s Note33But as it were an after-dinner's sleep

Editor’s Note34Dreaming on both, for all thy blessed youth

Editor’s Note35Becomes as agèd, and doth beg the alms

Editor’s Note Link 36Of palsied eld; and when thou art old and rich,

Editor’s Note Link 37Thou hast neither heat, affection, limb, nor beauty

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus38To make thy riches pleasant. What's in this

Editor’s Note39That bears the name of life? Yet in this life

Editor’s Note40Lie hid mo thousand deaths; yet death we fear,

Editor’s Note Link 41That makes these odds all even.

claudio I humbly thank you.

Editor’s Note42To sue to live, I find I seek to die,

Editor’s Note43And seeking death, find life. Let it come on.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus44

isabella (within) What ho! Peace here, grace, and good company.

pg 150 45

provost Who's there? Come in, the wish deserves a welcome.

Editor’s Note46

duke (to Claudio) Dear sir, ere long I'll visit you again.


claudio Most holy sir, I thank you.

Critical Apparatus Enter Isabella

isabella My business is a word or two with Claudio.


provost And very welcome. Look, signor, here's your sister.


duke (aside to Provost) Provost, a word with you.


provost As many as you please.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus52

duke Bring me to hear them speak, where I may be Critical Apparatus Link 53concealed. Exeunt Duke and Provost


claudio Now, sister, what's the comfort?


isabella Why,

56As all comforts are, most good, most good indeed.

Editor’s Note57Lord Angelo, having affairs to heaven,

Editor’s Note Link 58Intends you for his swift ambassador,

Editor’s Note Link 59Where you shall be an everlasting lieger.

Editor’s Note60Therefore your best appointment make with speed;

Editor’s Note61Tomorrow you set on.

claudio Is there no remedy?

Editor’s Note62

isabella None, but such remedy as, to save a head,

Editor’s Note Link 63To cleave a heart in twain.

pg 151 64

claudio But is there any?


isabella Yes, brother, you may live.

66There is a devilish mercy in the judge,

67If you'll implore it, that will free your life,

Editor’s Note68But fetter you till death.

claudio Perpetual durance?

Editor’s Note69

isabella Ay, just, perpetual durance; a restraint,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 70Though all the world's vastidity you had,

Editor’s Note Link 71To a determined scope.

claudio But in what nature?

Editor’s Note72

isabella In such a one as, you consenting to't,

Editor’s Note Link 73Would bark your honour from that trunk you bear,

Editor’s Note74And leave you naked.

claudio Let me know the point.

Editor’s Note75

isabella O,I do fear thee, Claudio, and I quake

Editor’s Note Link 76Lest thou a feverous life shouldst entertain,

Editor’s Note77And six or seven winters more respect

78Than a perpetual honour. Dar'st thou die?

Editor’s Note Link 79The sense of death is most in apprehension,

pg 152

Editor’s Note Link 80And the poor beetle that we tread upon

Link 81In corporal sufferance finds a pang as great

Editor’s Note82As when a giant dies.

claudio Why give you me this shame?

Editor’s Note Link 83Think you I can a resolution fetch

Editor’s Note Link 84From flowery tenderness? If I must die,

Editor’s Note Link 85I will encounter darkness as a bride,

86And hug it in mine arms.

Editor’s Note Link 87

isabella There spake my brother; there my father's grave

Link 88Did utter forth a voice. Yes, thou must die;

Editor’s Note89Thou art too noble to conserve a life

Editor’s Note Link 90In base appliances. This outward-sainted deputy,

Editor’s Note Link 91Whose settled visage and deliberate word

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus92Nips youth i' the head, and follies doth enew

pg 153

93As falcon doth the fowl, is yet a devil;

Editor’s Note94His filth within being cast, he would appear

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus95A pond as deep as hell.

claudio The prenzie Angelo?

Editor’s Note96

isabella O, 'tis the cunning livery of hell

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus97The damnedst body to invest and cover

Editor’s Note98In prenzie guards! Dost thou think, Claudio,

99If I would yield him my virginity

100Thou mightst be freed?

claudio O heavens, it cannot be.

Editor’s Note101

isabella Yes, he would give't thee, from this rank offence,

102So to offend him still. This night's the time

103That I should do what I abhor to name,

104Or else thou diest tomorrow.


claudio Thou shalt not do't.


isabella O, were it but my life,

pg 154

Editor’s Note107I'd throw it down for your deliverance

Editor’s Note Link 108As frankly as a pin.

claudio Thanks, dear Isabel.

Link 109

isabella Be ready, Claudio, for your death tomorrow.

Editor’s Note110

claudio Yes. Has he affections in him

Editor’s Note Link 111That thus can make him bite the law by the nose

Editor’s Note Link 112When he would force it? Sure it is no sin,

Link 113Or of the deadly seven it is the least.

Editor’s Note114

isabella Which is the least?

Editor’s Note115

claudio If it were damnable, he being so wise,

Editor’s Note116Why would he for the momentary trick

Editor’s Note Link 117Be perdurably fined? O Isabel—


isabella What says my brother?


claudio Death is a fearful thing.

Editor’s Note120

isabella And shamèd life a hateful.


claudio Ay, but to die, and go we know not where,

pg 155

Editor’s Note Link 122To lie in cold obstruction, and to rot,

Editor’s Note Link 123This sensible warm motion to become

Editor’s Note Link 124A kneaded clod; and the delighted spirit

Editor’s Note125To bathe in fiery floods or to reside

Editor’s Note Link 126In thrilling region of thick-ribbèd ice,

Editor’s Note Link 127To be imprisoned in the viewless winds

128And blown with restless violence round about

Editor’s Note Link 129The pendent world, or to be worse than worst

pg 156

Editor’s Note130Of those that lawless and incertain thought

131Imagine howling—'tis too horrible.

Link 132The weariest and most loathèd worldly life

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus133That age, ache, penury, and imprisonment

Editor’s Note134Can lay on nature is a paradise

Editor’s Note135To what we fear of death.

isabella Alas, alas!


claudio Sweet sister, let me live.

137What sin you do to save a brother's life,

Editor’s Note Link 138Nature dispenses with the deed so far

Editor’s Note139That it becomes a virtue.

isabella O you beast!

Editor’s Note140O faithless coward, O dishonest wretch!

Editor’s Note141Wilt thou be made a man out of my vice?

Link 142Is't not a kind of incest to take life

Link 143From thine own sister's shame? What should I think?

Editor’s Note Link 144Heaven shield my mother played my father fair,

pg 157

Editor’s Note Link 145For such a warpèd slip of wilderness

Editor’s Note Link 146Ne'er issued from his blood. Take my defiance,

147Die, perish! Might but my bending down

148Reprieve thee from thy fate, it should proceed.

Link 149I'll pray a thousand prayers for thy death,

150No word to save thee.


claudio Nay, hear me, Isabel—

isabella O fie, fie, fie!

Editor’s Note Link 152Thy sin's not accidental, but a trade.

Editor’s Note153Mercy to thee would prove itself a bawd,

154'Tis best that thou diest quickly.


claudio O hear me, Isabella—

Critical Apparatus Enter Duke as a Friar
Editor’s Note Link 156

duke Vouchsafe a word, young sister, but one word.


isabella What is your will?

Editor’s Note158

duke Might you dispense with your leisure, I would by Editor’s Note159and by have some speech with you. The satisfaction I 160would require is likewise your own benefit.

161 pg 158

isabella I have no superfluous leisure, my stay must be Editor’s Note162stolen out of other affairs; but I will attend you a while.

Critical Apparatus Link 163

duke (taking Claudio aside) Son, I have overheard what 164hath passed between you and your sister. Angelo had Editor’s Note165never the purpose to corrupt her; only he hath made an Editor’s Note Link 166assay of her virtue, to practise his judgement with the Editor’s Note Link 167disposition of natures. She, having the truth of honour Editor’s Note168in her, hath made him that gracious denial which he is Editor’s Note169most glad to receive. I am confessor to Angelo, and I 170know this to be true; therefore prepare yourself to Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 171death. Do not satisfy your resolution with hopes that are Link 172fallible: tomorrow you must die. Go to your knees, and Link 173make ready.

Editor’s Note Link 174

claudio Let me ask my sister pardon. I am so out of love 175with life that I will sue to be rid of it.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus176

duke Hold you there. Farewell. (Exit Claudio) Provost, a 177word with you.

Critical Apparatus Enter Provost

provost What's your will, father?

Editor’s Note179

duke That now you are come, you will be gone. Leave me pg 159Editor’s Note180a while with the maid. My mind promises with my habit Editor’s Note Link 181no loss shall touch her by my company.

Editor’s Note182

provost In good time.

Editor’s Note183

duke The hand that hath made you fair hath made you Editor’s Note Link 184good. The goodness that is cheap in beauty makes Editor’s Note185beauty brief in goodness, but grace, being the soul of Editor’s Note186your complexion, shall keep the body of it ever fair. Editor’s Note187The assault that Angelo hath made to you, fortune hath Editor’s Note188conveyed to my understanding; and but that frailty 189hath examples for his falling, I should wonder at Editor’s Note190Angelo. How will you do to content this substitute, and 191to save your brother?

Editor’s Note192

isabella I am now going to resolve him. I had rather my Link 193brother die by the law than my son should be un- Link 194lawfully born. But O, how much is the good Duke 195deceived in Angelo! If ever he return, and I can speak Editor’s Note196to him, I will open my lips in vain, or discover his Editor’s Note197government.


duke That shall not be much amiss. Yet, as the matter Editor’s Note199now stands, he will avoid your accusation: he made pg 160 Link 200trial of you only. Therefore fasten your ear on my Critical Apparatus Link 201advisings; to the love I have in doing good a remedy Editor’s Note Link 202presents itself. I do make myself believe that you may Editor’s Note Link 203most uprighteously do a poor wronged lady a merited 204benefit, redeem your brother from the angry law, do no 205stain to your own gracious person, and much please the 206absent Duke, if peradventure he shall ever return to 207have hearing of this business.

Editor’s Note208

isabella Let me hear you speak farther. I have spirit to do 209anything that appears not foul in the truth of my spirit.

Editor’s Note Link 210

duke Virtue is bold, and goodness never fearful. Have you 211not heard speak of Mariana, the sister of Frederick, the Editor’s Note212great soldier, who miscarried at sea?


isabella I have heard of the lady, and good words went 214with her name.

Editor’s Note215

duke She should this Angelo have married; was affianced Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus216to her oath, and the nuptial appointed. Between which Editor’s Note Link 217time of the contract and limit of the solemnity, her 218brother Frederick was wrecked at sea, having in that Link 219perished vessel the dowry of his sister. But mark how Editor’s Note Link 220heavily this befell to the poor gentlewoman. There she 221lost a noble and renowned brother, in his love toward Editor’s Note Link 222her ever most kind and natural; with him, the portion Editor’s Note Link 223and sinew of her fortune, her marriage dowry; with pg 161Editor’s Note Link 224both, her combinate husband, this well-seeming An-225gelo.


isabella Can this be so? Did Angelo so leave her?


duke Left her in her tears, and dried not one of them Editor’s Note Link 228with his comfort; swallowed his vows whole, pretend-Editor’s Note229ing in her discoveries of dishonour; in few, bestowed Editor’s Note230her on her own lamentation, which she yet wears for Editor’s Note Link 231his sake, and he, a marble to her tears, is washed with 232them but relents not.

Editor’s Note233

isabella What a merit were it in death to take this poor Editor’s Note234maid from the world! What corruption in this life, that Link 235it will let this man live! But how out of this can she Editor’s Note236avail?


duke It is a rupture that you may easily heal, and the cure 238of it not only saves your brother, but keeps you from 239dishonour in doing it.


isabella Show me how, good father.


duke This forenamed maid hath yet in her the continu-Editor’s Note242ance of her first affection. His unjust unkindness, that in Editor’s Note243all reason should have quenched her love, hath, like an 244impediment in the current, made it more violent and Editor’s Note245unruly. Go you to Angelo, answer his requiring with a Editor’s Note246plausible obedience, agree with his demands to the pg 162Editor’s Note247point. Only refer yourself to this advantage: first, that Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus248your stay with him may not be long; that the place may Editor’s Note Link 249have all shadow and silence in it; and the time answer Editor’s Note250to convenience. This being granted in course, and now Editor’s Note Link 251follows all: we shall advise this wronged maid to stead Editor’s Note252up your appointment, go in your place. If the encounter Editor’s Note253acknowledge itself hereafter, it may compel him to her 254recompense; and here, by this is your brother saved, Editor’s Note255your honour untainted, the poor Mariana advantaged, Editor’s Note Link 256and the corrupt deputy scaled. The maid will I frame Editor’s Note Link 257and make fit for his attempt; if you think well to carry Editor’s Note258this as you may, the doubleness of the benefit defends 259the deceit from reproof. What think you of it?

Editor’s Note Link 260

isabella The image of it gives me content already, and I Editor’s Note261trust it will grow to a most prosperous perfection.

Editor’s Note262

duke It lies much in your holding up. Haste you speedily 263to Angelo; if for this night he entreat you to his bed, Editor’s Note Link 264give him promise of satisfaction. I will presently to Saint pg 163Editor’s Note265Luke's; there at the moated grange resides this dejected Editor’s Note Link 266Mariana. At that place call upon me, and dispatch with 267Angelo, that it may be quickly.


isabella I thank you for this comfort. Fare you well, good 269father.

Exit Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Enter Elbow and Officers with Pompey

elbow Nay, if there be no remedy for it, but that you will 271needs buy and sell men and women like beasts, we shall Editor’s Note Link 272have all the world drink brown and white bastard.

Editor’s Note273

duke O heavens, what stuff is here?

Editor’s Note Link 274

pompey 'Twas never merry world since of two usuries the Editor’s Note275merriest was put down, and the worser allowed by order Critical Apparatus Link 276of law a furred gown to keep him warm—and furred pg 164Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 277with fox on lambskins too, to signify that craft, being Editor’s Note278richer than innocency, stands for the facing.

Editor’s Note Link 279

elbow Come your way, sir. Bless you, good father friar.

Link 280

duke And you, good brother father. What offence hath 281this man made you, sir?

Editor’s Note Link 282

elbow Marry, sir, he hath offended the law; and, sir, we 283take him to be a thief too, sir, for we have found upon Editor’s Note Link 284him, sir, a strange picklock, which we have sent to the 285deputy.

Editor’s Note286

duke Fie, sirrah, a bawd, a wicked bawd!

287The evil that thou causest to be done,

288That is thy means to live. Do thou but think

Editor’s Note Link 289What 'tis to cram a maw, or clothe a back

290From such a filthy vice; say to thyself,

Editor’s Note Link 291From their abominable and beastly touches

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 292I drink, I eat, array myself, and live.

Editor’s Note293Canst thou believe thy living is a life,

Editor’s Note Link 294So stinkingly depending? Go mend, go mend.

pg 165 Critical Apparatus295

pompey Indeed it does stink in some sort, sir, but yet, sir, I Editor’s Note296would prove—

Editor’s Note297

duke Nay, if the devil have given thee proofs for sin,

298Thou wilt prove his. Take him to prison, officer.

Editor’s Note299Correction and instruction must both work

Editor’s Note300Ere this rude beast will profit.


elbow He must before the deputy, sir, he has given him Editor’s Note302warning. The deputy cannot abide a whoremaster; if he Editor’s Note Link 303be a whoremonger and comes before him, he were as 304good go a mile on his errand.

Editor’s Note305

duke That we were all, as some would seem to be,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 306Free from our faults, as faults from seeming free!

Editor’s Note307

elbow His neck will come to your waist—a cord, sir.

Critical Apparatus Enter Lucio
Editor’s Note308

pompey I spy comfort, I cry bail! Here's a gentleman, and 309a friend of mine.

Editor’s Note310

lucio How now, noble Pompey? What, at the wheels of pg 166 Link 311Caesar? Art thou led in triumph? What, is there none of Editor’s Note312Pygmalion's images newly-made woman to be had now Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 313for putting the hand in the pocket and extracting 314clutched? What reply, ha? What sayst thou to this Editor’s Note315tune, matter, and method? Is't not drowned i' the last Editor’s Note316rain, ha? What sayst thou, trot? Is the world as it was, Editor’s Note317man? Which is the way? Is it sad, and few words? Or Editor’s Note318how? The trick of it?

Editor’s Note319

duke Still thus and thus; still worse!

Editor’s Note Link 320

lucio How doth my dear morsel, thy mistress? Procures 321she still, ha?

Editor’s Note Link 322

pompey Troth, sir, she hath eaten up all her beef, and she Editor’s Note Link 323is herself in the tub.

pg 167 324

lucio Why, 'tis good; it is the right of it; it must be so. Editor’s Note Link 325Ever your fresh whore and your powdered bawd, an Editor’s Note326unshunned consequence; it must be so. Art going to 327prison, Pompey?


pompey Yes, faith, sir.

Editor’s Note329

lucio Why, 'tis not amiss, Pompey. Farewell. Go say I Editor’s Note330sent thee thither. For debt, Pompey, or how?


elbow For being a bawd, for being a bawd.


lucio Well, then, imprison him. If imprisonment be the 333due of a bawd, why, 'tis his right. Bawd is he doubtless, Editor’s Note334and of antiquity too, bawd-born. Farewell, good Pom-335pey. Commend me to the prison, Pompey. You will turn Editor’s Note336good husband now, Pompey, you will keep the house.


pompey I hope, sir, your good worship will be my bail.

Editor’s Note Link 338

lucio No indeed will I not, Pompey, it is not the wear. I Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus339will pray, Pompey, to increase your bondage; if you Editor’s Note340take it not patiently, why, your mettle is the more.

Critical Apparatus341Adieu, trusty Pompey. Bless you, friar.


duke And you.

Editor’s Note343

lucio Does Bridget paint still, Pompey, ha?


elbow (to Pompey) Come your ways, sir, come.


pompey (to Lucio) You will not bail me then, sir?

pg 168 Editor’s Note346

lucio Then, Pompey, nor now. What news abroad, friar, 347what news?


elbow Come your ways, sir, come.


lucio Go to kennel, Pompey, go.

Critical Apparatus Exeunt Elbow and Officers with Pompey

350What news, friar, of the Duke?


duke I know none; can you tell me of any?

Editor’s Note352

lucio Some say he is with the Emperor of Russia; other 353some, he is in Rome; but where is he, think you?


duke I know not where, but wheresoever, I wish him 355well.

Editor’s Note356

lucio It was a mad fantastical trick of him to steal from Editor’s Note Link 357the state, and usurp the beggary he was never born to. Editor’s Note Link 358Lord Angelo dukes it well in his absence, he puts 359transgression to't.


duke He does well in't.

Editor’s Note Link 361

lucio A little more lenity to lechery would do no harm in Editor’s Note362him. Something too crabbed that way, friar.


duke It is too general a vice, and severity must cure it.

Editor’s Note364

lucio Yes, in good sooth, the vice is of a great kindred, it Editor’s Note Link 365is well allied; but it is impossible to extirp it quite, friar, Link 366till eating and drinking be put down. They say this Editor’s Note367Angelo was not made by man and woman after this Editor’s Note Link 368downright way of creation; is it true, think you?


duke How should he be made, then?

Editor’s Note Link 370

lucio Some report, a sea-maid spawned him. Some, that pg 169Editor’s Note371he was begot between two stockfishes. But it is certain Editor’s Note372that when he makes water his urine is congealed ice, Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 373that I know to be true. And he is a motion generative, Editor’s Note374that's infallible.

Editor’s Note375

duke You are pleasant, sir, and speak apace.

Link 376

lucio Why, what a ruthless thing is this in him, for the Editor’s Note Link 377rebellion of a codpiece to take away the life of a man! 378Would the Duke that is absent have done this? Ere he 379would have hanged a man for the getting a hundred 380bastards, he would have paid for the nursing a Editor’s Note381thousand. He had some feeling of the sport; he knew the Editor’s Note382service, and that instructed him to mercy.

Editor’s Note Link 383

duke I never heard the absent Duke much detected for Link 384women, he was not inclined that way.


lucio O sir, you are deceived.


duke 'Tis not possible.

Editor’s Note387

lucio Who, not the Duke? Yes, your beggar of fifty; and Editor’s Note Link 388his use was to put a ducat in her clack-dish. The Duke Editor’s Note Link 389had crotchets in him. He would be drunk too, that let 390me inform you.


duke You do him wrong, surely.

Editor’s Note Link 392

lucio Sir, I was an inward of his. A shy fellow was the Editor’s Note Link 393Duke, and I believe I know the cause of his withdraw-394ing.

pg 170 395

duke What, I prithee, might be the cause?

Editor’s Note396

lucio No, pardon. 'Tis a secret must be locked within the Link 397teeth and the lips. But this I can let you understand: the Editor’s Note Link 398greater file of the subject held the Duke to be wise.


duke Wise? Why, no question but he was.

Editor’s Note Link 400

lucio A very superficial, ignorant, unweighing fellow.

Editor’s Note401

duke Either this is envy in you, folly, or mistaking. The Editor’s Note Link 402very stream of his life, and the business he hath helmed, Editor’s Note Link 403must upon a warranted need give him a better procla-Editor’s Note Link 404mation. Let him be but testimonied in his own Editor’s Note Link 405bringings-forth, and he shall appear to the envious a Link 406scholar, a statesman, and a soldier. Therefore you speak Editor’s Note Link 407unskilfully, or if your knowledge be more, it is much Editor’s Note408darkened in your malice.


lucio Sir, I know him and I love him.

Editor’s Note410

duke Love talks with better knowledge, and knowledge Critical Apparatus411with dearer love.

Editor’s Note412

lucio Come, sir, I know what I know.


duke I can hardly believe that, since you know not what 414you speak. But if ever the Duke return, as our prayers are 415he may, let me desire you to make your answer before Editor’s Note416him. If it be honest you have spoke, you have courage to Editor’s Note417maintain it. I am bound to call upon you, and I pray you 418your name.

pg 171 419

lucio Sir, my name is Lucio, well known to the Duke.


duke He shall know you better, sir, if I may live to report 421you.


lucio I fear you not.


duke O, you hope the Duke will return no more, or you Editor’s Note Link 424imagine me too unhurtful an opposite—but indeed I can Editor’s Note425do you little harm. You'll forswear this again?


lucio I'll be hanged first; thou art deceived in me, friar. 427But no more of this. Canst thou tell if Claudio die 428tomorrow or no?


duke Why should he die, sir?

Editor’s Note Link 430

lucio Why? For filling a bottle with a tundish. I would the Editor’s Note Link 431duke we talk of were returned again; this ungenitured Editor’s Note432agent will unpeople the province with continency. Editor’s Note Link 433Sparrows must not build in his house-eaves, because Editor’s Note434they are lecherous. The Duke yet would have dark deeds 435darkly answered; he would never bring them to light. 436Would he were returned! Marry, this Claudio is con-Editor’s Note Link 437demned for untrussing. Farewell, good friar, I prithee Editor’s Note438pray for me. The Duke—I say to thee again—would eat Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus439mutton on Fridays. He's now past it, yet—and I say to Link 440thee—he would mouth with a beggar though she smelt Editor’s Note Link 441brown bread and garlic. Say that I said so. Farewell.

pg 172 Editor’s Note442

duke No might nor greatness in mortality

Editor’s Note Link 443Can censure scape; back-wounding calumny

Editor’s Note Link 444The whitest virtue strikes. What king so strong

Editor’s Note445Can tie the gall up in the slanderous tongue?

446But who comes here?

Critical Apparatus Enter Escalus, Provost, and Officers with Mistress Overdone

escalus Go, away with her to prison.


mistress overdone Good my lord, be good to me; your 449honour is accounted a merciful man. Good my lord!

Editor’s Note450

escalus Double and treble admonition, and still forfeit in Editor’s Note451the same kind? This would make mercy swear and play 452the tyrant.

Editor’s Note453

provost A bawd of eleven years' continuance, may it 454please your honour.

Editor’s Note455

mistress overdone My lord, this is one Lucio's informa-Editor’s Note456tion against me. Mistress Kate Keepdown was with child Editor’s Note457by him in the Duke's time, he promised her marriage. Editor’s Note458His child is a year and a quarter old come Philip and pg 173Editor’s Note459Jacob. I have kept it myself, and see how he goes about 460to abuse me.

Editor’s Note461

escalus That fellow is a fellow of much licence; let him be 462called before us. Away with her to prison—go to, no Critical Apparatus463more words. Exeunt Officers with Mistress Overdone Editor’s Note464Provost, my brother Angelo will not be altered, Claudio 465must die tomorrow. Let him be furnished with divines, 466and have all charitable preparation. If my brother Editor’s Note467wrought by my pity, it should not be so with him.


provost So please you, this friar hath been with him, and Editor’s Note469advised him for the entertainment of death.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus470

escalus Goode'en, good father.


duke Bliss and goodness on you.


escalus Of whence are you?


duke Not of this country, though my chance is now

Editor’s Note Link 474To use it for my time. I am a brother

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 475Of gracious order, late come from the See

476In special business from his Holiness.

Editor’s Note477

escalus What news abroad i' the world?

Editor’s Note478

duke None, but that there is so great a fever on goodness Editor’s Note479that the dissolution of it must cure it. Novelty is only in pg 174Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus480request, and it is as dangerous to be aged in any kind of Critical Apparatus481course as it is virtuous to be inconstant in any Editor’s Note Link 482undertaking. There is scarce truth enough alive to make 483societies secure, but security enough to make fellow-Editor’s Note484ships accursed. Much upon this riddle runs the wisdom 485of the world. This news is old enough, yet it is every 486day's news. I pray you, sir, of what disposition was the 487Duke?

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 488

escalus One that above all other strifes contended especi-Editor’s Note489ally to know himself.


duke What pleasure was he given to?

Link 491

escalus Rather rejoicing to see another merry than merry Editor’s Note492at anything which professed to make him rejoice. A Editor’s Note493gentleman of all temperance. But leave we him to his 494events, with a prayer they may prove prosperous, and 495let me desire to know how you find Claudio prepared. I Editor’s Note Link 496am made to understand that you have lent him visita-497tion.

Editor’s Note Link 498

duke He professes to have received no sinister measure 499from his judge, but most willingly humbles himself to Editor’s Note500the determination of justice. Yet had he framed to pg 175 Link 501himself, by the instruction of his frailty, many deceiving Editor’s Note502promises of life, which I by my good leisure have 503discredited to him, and now is he resolved to die.

Editor’s Note504

escalus You have paid the heavens your function, and 505the prisoner the very debt of your calling. I have Editor’s Note Link 506laboured for the poor gentleman to the extremest shore 507of my modesty, but my brother-justice have I found so Editor’s Note508severe that he hath forced me to tell him he is indeed 509justice.

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus Link 510

duke If his own life answer the straitness of his proceed-511ing, it shall become him well; wherein if he chance to 512fail, he hath sentenced himself.


escalus I am going to visit the prisoner. Fare you well.

Critical Apparatus514

duke Peace be with you.

Exeunt Escalus and Provost

Editor’s Note515He who the sword of heaven will bear

Editor’s Note Link 516Should be as holy as severe;

Editor’s Note517Pattern in himself to know,

Editor’s Note518Grace to stand, and virtue, go;

pg 176

Editor’s Note519More nor less to others paying

Link 520Than by self-offences weighing.

521Shame to him whose cruel striking

522Kills for faults of his own liking;

523Twice treble shame on Angelo,

Editor’s Note Link 524To weed my vice and let his grow!

525O what may man within him hide,

Editor’s Note526Though angel on the outward side!

Editor’s Note527How may likeness made in crimes,

Editor’s NoteCritical Apparatus528Making practice on the times

Editor’s Note529To draw with idle spiders' strings

Link 530Most ponderous and substantial things!

Editor’s Note531Craft against vice I must apply:

532With Angelo tonight shall lie

533His old betrothèd, but despisèd;

Editor’s Note Link 534So disguise shall by the disguisèd

pg 177

Link 535Pay with falsehood false exacting,

Editor’s Note536And perform an old contracting.


Notes Settings


Critical Apparatus as a Friar] davenant; Enter Duke, Claudio, and Prouost. f
Editor’s Note
3.1.1 of for
Editor’s Note
2–3 The miserable … hope a variant on a proverb found in Erasmus and elsewhere, 'Hope preserves the afflicted' (see Smith 155 and Tilley H602)
Editor’s Note
2 medicine cure, remedy
Critical Apparatus
3.1.3–4 But … die ] capell; prose in f
Critical Apparatus
4 I've] rowe; I'haue f
Editor’s Note
5 Be absolute for death Accept with complete certainty that you must die
Editor’s Note
6 Reason … life Strictly speaking, the rest of the passage is a series of arguments offered by the Duke to Claudio, so that he can use them to counter the claims of life, personified as thee and thou. But we cannot avoid also reading the lines as direct address by the Duke, with thou as Claudio.
Editor’s Note
8 keep primarily in the sense 'continue to have' (opposite to lose in the previous line); but also having such implications as 'defend', 'watch over', 'maintain'
breath (a) a breathing, and hence living, being; (b) something unsubstantial and transitory, a trifle (OED 3d). See Tilley/Dent B641.1.
Editor’s Note
9 Servile to slavishly controlled by
skyey issuing from the sky; referring both to the weather and to emanations from heavenly bodies, thought at the time to have a powerful effect on human behaviour
Editor’s Note
10 dost usually taken as relating back to influences, which then become the subject of afflict. This makes good sense, and singular verbs with plural subjects are common in Elizabethan English; but no editor has produced a clear parallel for dost as a plural verb, so that it could refer back to breath, in which case it would be the breath or spirit which torments the body (compare Marvell's poem, 'A Dialogue between the Soul and Body').
habitation dwelling-place, used here figuratively for the body (compare Sonnet 95.10, and 2 Henry IV 1.3.89)
keep'st reside, dwell
Editor’s Note
11 Merely utterly, completely
death's fool This has been related to illustrations of the Dance of Death in which the Fool is one of Death's victims, as in a broadsheet of 1569 entitled 'The Dance and Song of Death' (STC 6222). But it probably has a simpler meaning, 'tricked or made to appear foolish by death'; compare 'fortune's fool', Romeo 3.1.136, and 'time's fool', Sonnet 116.9, and 1 Henry IV 5.4.80.
Editor’s Note
12–13 For him … still You desperately struggle to run away from death, but in fact you are continually running towards it
Editor’s Note
14 accommodations The closest sense in OED is 6, 'conveniences, appliances' (earliest quotation from 1616), but the context of 'Unaccommodated man … a poor, bare, forked animal' in Lear 3.4.100–1 suggests that Shakespeare is particularly thinking here of clothing and personal adornment. The word became fashionable in the early 17th c., and Jonson sneered at it as one of the 'perfumed terms of the time' in Discoveries, l. 2275.
bear'st carry about, wear
Editor’s Note
15 Are nursed by baseness have base or unworthy origins. Here again Lear 3.4.97–9 provides a gloss: 'Thou owest the worm no silk, the beast no hide, the sheep no wool, the cat no perfume'.
Editor’s Note
16 fork forked tongue of a poisonous snake (OED lc, first recorded use)
Editor’s Note
17 worm snake (see previous note), not grave-worm, since the passage as a whole deals with the fear of death rather than with what happens after death; the man who thinks himself brave will be terrified of dying because of a snake-bite.
Thy best … sleep sleep is the best and fullest way of resting yourself
Editor’s Note
18 provok'st call upon, invite
grossly (a) excessively; (b) stupidly
Editor’s Note
19 no more no more or worse than sleep; the same point is made in Hamlet 3.1.62–3 (see the Arden edition by Harold Jenkins, 3.1.61 n.). Lines 17–19 may be indebted to a passage in Cicero's Tusculan Disputations 1.38, which uses the same arguments.
not thyself The context suggests a meaning such as 'not self-sufficient' or 'not wholly of one substance'.
Editor’s Note
20 exists on continue to live by consuming a certain kind of diet (though OED does not record the phrasal verb, and the earliest example of sense 4, 'maintain an existence', is from 1790). For the form of exists see the note on splits at 2.2.118.
grains of wheat or similar food
Editor’s Note
21 issue out of dust grow out of the earth. Some commentators see an allusion to the dust from which Adam was created, Genesis 2: 7, but exists on and issue out of point more strongly to the consumption of vegetable food.
Editor’s Note
23 certain (a) fixed in behaviour or opinions, consistent; (b) reliable, trustworthy
Editor’s Note
24 complexion disposition, temperament
shifts alters
to strange effects ?in very odd ways, with extraordinary results
Editor’s Note
25 After (a) in obedience to; (b) in imitation of. The moon was supposed to influence human behaviour, and was also a symbol of changefulness (Tilley M1111).
Editor’s Note
26–8 like … thee The closest parallel is in Caesar 4.1.21–7, 'He shall but bear them as the ass bears gold, | To groan and sweat under the business, | Either led or driven as we point the way; | And having brought our treasure where we will, | Then take we down his load, and turn him off, | Like to the empty ass, to shake his ears | And graze in commons'. Compare also the proverb, 'The ass though laden with gold still eats thistles' (Tilley A360).
Editor’s Note
26 ingots bars or slabs of gold and silver
Critical Apparatus
29 thee sire] f4; thee, fire f
Editor’s Note
29 bowels offspring, children (OED sb.1 5; Shakespeare's only use in this sense)
call thee sire address you as father, regard you as their begetter
Editor’s Note
30 mere possibly in the sense 'pure, unmixed' (OED a.2 1c); the child will be completely and genuinely his own, but it will none the less wish him dead
effusion literally 'pouring out', hence 'issue, product'
loins the reproductive parts of the body
Critical Apparatus
31 serpigo] rowe; Sapego f
Editor’s Note
31 serpigo a general term for creeping or spreading skin diseases
rheum any form of watery discharge, catarrh. In Kinsmen 5.6.8, gout and rheum are given as characteristic diseases of old age
Editor’s Note
32–8 Thou hast … pleasant The general sense of these lines is: You never live fully and contentedly in the present, because youth lacks money to enjoy its pleasures and age lacks the ability to extract pleasure from its money
Editor’s Note
33 after-dinner after the midday meal, in the early afternoon (a period of drowsy stasis which is neither morning nor evening)
Editor’s Note
34 blessed happy, fortunate (but obviously used ironically)
Editor’s Note
35 as agèd sometimes regarded as corrupt and emended, but the rest of the line suggests that it may mean 'as though the young man were an old beggar dependent on other people's charity'
Editor’s Note
36 palsied eld old people afflicted by palsy, which produces paralysis or involuntary tremors. Compare 'wrinkled eld', Troilus 2.2.103, and 'superstitious idle-headed eld', Merry Wives 4.4.35.
Editor’s Note
37 heat ardour, energy
affection with a range of senses: emotion, passion, love. To some extent the meanings of heat and affection overlap, and both words can have strong sexual connotations.
limb full use of the various parts of the body
beauty i.e., you are ugly and repulsive through age
Critical Apparatus
38 in] pope; yet in f
Editor’s Note
38 What's in this F's yet in this phrase is superfluous and metrically clumsy, and may be a compositorial anticipation of the next line's Yet in this. It also seems unlikely that Shakespeare would want to use yet three times in three successive lines.
Editor’s Note
39 bears the name of life is worthy of being called 'life'
this life this so-called 'life', full of misery
Editor’s Note
40 mo thousand mo means 'more in number', and this turns thousand into a plural, so that the phrase means 'thousands more'. Compare 'many thousand' in Winter's Tale 1.2.207, and 2 Henry IV 2.3.66.
Editor’s Note
41 makes these odds all even Commentators suggest that this could be a direct translation from various passages in Seneca's writings, but seem to have ignored OED odds sb. 1, which gives 'to make odds even' as a stock phrase, with three examples from Scottish writings of the 16th c., and glosses it as 'to equalize or level inequalities, to adjust or do away with differences'. There is also a hint of the proverbial idea of death as the leveller of all things (Smith 54 and Tilley D143).
Editor’s Note
42–3 To sue … life echoing the famous paradox found four times in the New Testament, as in Matthew 10: 39, 'He that will save his life shall lose it, and he that loseth his life for my sake shall save it'
Editor’s Note
42 To sue to live in pleading for my life
Editor’s Note
43 it death
come on come towards me (used to refer to the onset of a hostile army, as in Caesar 5.1.13)
Critical Apparatus
44 within] capell; not in f
Editor’s Note
44 good company may you enjoy good companionship
Editor’s Note
46 sir Mason's emendation to son is plausible; the Duke addresses Claudio as 'Son' at l. 163 below, and Julietta as 'daughter' at 2.3.30.
Critical Apparatus
47.1 Enter Isabella] dyce; after l.43 in f
Critical Apparatus
52 me to hear them] malone; them to heare me f
Editor’s Note
52–3 where I may be concealed F has no stage-direction. Lever (Introduction, p. xxvi) argues that the Duke and Provost should merely retire to the back of the stage, but concealed suggests that he is not visible, and it is better for Claudio and Isabella to receive the undistracted attention of the audience, which will readily assume that the Duke is somehow able to hear what is going on.
Critical Apparatus
53 Exeunt … Provost ] davenant; not in f; Exeunt f2
Editor’s Note
57 affairs to business in
Editor’s Note
58 Intends Intends to choose or appoint (OED 19)
Editor’s Note
59 lieger resident or permanent ambassador
Editor’s Note
60 appointment preparation, both worldly and spiritual
Editor’s Note
61 set on begin your journey
Editor’s Note
62–3 such remedy … twain the sort of remedy that will save a head from execution by breaking someone else's heart
Editor’s Note
63 cleave … in twain split into two parts. Winny argues that this is a form of death, but Hamlet 3.4.147, 'O Hamlet, thou hast cleft my heart in twain !', shows that the phrase means 'break the heart, cause intense anguish'.
Editor’s Note
68 Perpetual durance life imprisonment
Editor’s Note
69 just exactly so
restraint perhaps with a slight ambiguity: (a) imprisonment; (b) spiritual or moral confinement (because Claudio could never escape from shame and horror at the means used to save his life)
Critical Apparatus
70 Though] rowe; Through f
Editor’s Note
70 Though all … had Even if you were free to travel to any part of the globe
vastidity an irregular variant of vastity, 'vastness'; OED records no other example before 1812
Editor’s Note
71 determined limited, restricted
in what nature of what sort (Claudio, who assumes that Isabella refers to a legal punishment, is puzzled by her cryptic remarks)
Editor’s Note
72 you consenting if you consent
Editor’s Note
73 bark strip away (as though stripping bark from a tree)
trunk (a) body; (b) tree-trunk; and possibly (c) stem, family from which he is descended
Editor’s Note
74 naked exposed to hostile view, dishonoured
Editor’s Note
75 quake tremble for fear
Editor’s Note
76 feverous feverish, restless
entertain the most probable sense seems to be OED 14c, 'cherish in the mind'
Editor’s Note
77 respect esteem, value
Editor’s Note
79 sense painful awareness
apprehension anticipation. Compare Smith 57, 'The fear of death is worse than death itself', and Nashe, The Unfortunate Traveller (1594, M2), 'the fear of death's looks are more terrible than his stroke'.
Editor’s Note
80–2 the poor beetle … dies Isabella is trying to comfort her brother, and must intend to say that the death-sufferings of a giant are no more or worse than those of a small beetle, which dies suddenly when trodden on. But a pang as great inevitably invites a contrary reading: death is equally horrible to all beings, large or small. Perhaps Shakespeare intended this ambiguity to hint at the implausibility of her argument.
Editor’s Note
82 Why … shame? Why do you treat me in this humiliating way?
Editor’s Note
83 resolution determination, steadiness of mind
Editor’s Note
84 Bowery wordy, full of flowers of speech
tenderness combining (a) compassion, attempts at consolation, with (b) softness, effeminacy (since the word was often associated with women, as in Coriolanus 5.3.130)
Editor’s Note
85 encounter OED v. 6 glosses as 'go to meet', but it can also mean 'confront in battle' and 'engage with sexually' (compare l. 252 below). Compare ll. 85–6 with Isabella's own speech at 2.4.100–4, and Antony 4.15.99–101, 'I will be | A bridegroom in my death, and run into't | As to a lover's bed',
Editor’s Note
87 my father's grave This praise of Claudio as worthy of his father (see 2.1.7) unobtrusively prepares for Isabella's violent reversal of attitude at ll. 144–6.
Editor’s Note
89 conserve preserve from destruction
Editor’s Note
90 appliances OED includes this under sense 1, 'compliance, subservience', but it is more likely to mean 'medicines applied to a disease', as in Hamlet 4.3.10, and Pericles Sc. 12.84.
outward-sainted giving an outward appearance of holiness
Editor’s Note
91 settled visage fixed expression of the face (indicating that he is not given to changing his mind)
deliberate word precise and careful way of talking
Critical Apparatus
92 enew] keightley; emmew f
Editor’s Note
92 Nips … i' the head This phrase appears to refer to the way in which a bird of prey seizes its victim by the back of the neck and in effect paralyses it; hence the figurative sense (OED nip. v.1 3b), 'to give a decisive or final check to'. See also Tilley/Dent H272.1.
follies OED, folly sb.1 3b, glosses as 'lewd actions or desires'; compare the Old Testament usage, 'she hath wrought folly in Israel, by playing the whore in her father's house' (Deuteronomy 22: 21), echoed in Othello 5.2.141. As the word follows youth, however, the sense of 'foolish behaviour' is also present.
enew f's emmew might be a form of enmew or immew, 'mew up, keep in confinement', but this is a very rare word, with only one example in OED, and the context shows that enew, 'drive into the water', is much more appropriate. This is a technical term of falconry: 'if … the fowl for fear of your hawk will spring and fall again into the river … and so lie still and dare not arise, ye shall say then your hawk hath enewed the fowl into the river', The Book of Saint Albans (1486, D2).
Editor’s Note
94 cast OED gives 69 senses for cast v.; the two most relevant are (a) 'cast up, vomit' (OED 25), a usage sometimes occurring in falconry when the bird needs to purge itself, and (b) 'dig or clear out (a ditch or the like), throwing the soil up on the edges' (OED 29, quoting such illustrative phrases as 'casting the ponds' and 'I will not drain the fen, or stand casting the pond'). Sense (b) is predominant: the depth of Angelo's wickedness will not be revealed until the obscuring mud or filth is dredged out, and we perceive how much there is of it. But the ambiguity may have been present in Shakespeare's mind, thus providing a transition from falconry to cleaning out ponds.
Critical Apparatus
95 98 prenzie] f; princely f2; precise knight
Editor’s Note
95 as deep as hell a stock formula (Tilley/Dent H397.1)
prenzie meaning obscure; see fuller discussion in Appendix A
Editor’s Note
3.1.95–8 F's prenzie at 3.1.95 and 98 is the most puzzling crux in the play. There are two main arguments for emendation. One is that the word is not recorded elsewhere and its meaning has to be inferred from the context. The second is that whoever prepared the text for the Second Folio of 1632 found the word unsatisfactory and emended it to princely. (It might be noticed that such forms as prence, prense, 'prince', and prencelie, 'princely', are fairly common in 16th-c. Scots; see vol. 6 of A Dictionary of the Older Scottish Tongue, ed. A. J. Aitken and J. Stevenson. But it is difficult to explain how and at what stage such a form might have found its way into the text.) On the other hand, the word occurs twice, which makes it seem less likely to be an accidental blunder. Crane used the -zie form in words like lazie, drowzie, and greazie; the letters are very clearly formed and could hardly be misread by a compositor. Any mistake must have occurred while Crane was copying from his original, but though Crane sometimes made errors he did not write gibberish. The most favoured emendation among modern editors is precise, in the same sense as at 1.3.50; while this would fit line 95, it would be inappropriate as applied to clothing in line 98. Furthermore, it is hard to see why a relatively common word, used three times earlier in the play in its normal spelling, should suddenly be twice misread in such an odd way. Numerous conjectural emendations have been put forward, but none is wholly satisfactory, and it is best to let the F reading stand.
Editor’s Note
96–8 'tis … guards it is a cunning trick of the devil to cover and disguise the wickedest people in richly decorated garments so that they appear respectable
Editor’s Note
96 livery gift of clothing by a man of wealth and position to his retainers and servants (here by the devil to his followers). The word may also have the implication found elsewhere in Shakespeare of 'characteristic appearance': 'youth's proud livery', Sonnet 2.3, and 'sorrow's livery', Lucrece 1222.
Critical Apparatus
97 damnedst] f2; damnest f
Editor’s Note
97 Invest clothe, adorn
Editor’s Note
98 guards contrasting facings or trimmings on the front of a garment As these were often of rich fabrics like velvet, the word occurs in contexts where the writer is attacking extravagance and ostentation
Dost thou think could you believe it
Editor’s Note
101–2 he would … still He would give you, as a result of the vile deed I am to perform, the power to continue committing offences against him as a magistrate. (Isabella may be assuming that Claudio could get away with future misbehaviour because he could blackmail Angelo.)
Editor’s Note
101 rank offence Compare Hamlet 3.3.36, 'O, my offence is rank! It smells to heaven'.
Editor’s Note
107 deliverance release from prison
Editor’s Note
108 frankly freely, unreservedly
Editor’s Note
110 affections See 2.1.10 n.
Editor’s Note
111 bite … by the nose treat with contempt (OED nose sb. 9e). Compare 'snap (bite) off one's nose' (Tilley N241) and, in Measure, 'pluck by the nose', 1.3.29 and 5.1.340–1. An exact parallel is in Dekker's Satiromastix 5.2.199, 'to bite every motley-head vice by the nose'.
Editor’s Note
112 force OED v.1 9b glosses as 'enforce', but gives this as the only example. There seems to be an ironic undercurrent of other meanings, such as 'violate, ravish' and 'constrain by force'.
Editor’s Note
112–13 Sure … least Proverbial; see 'Lechery is no sin' (Tilley/Dent L173.1), and the medieval quotations assembled under L167 in Whiting, such as Piers Plowman, B version, 3.58 (in a discussion of lechery), 'It is sin of the seven soonest released', and the anonymous play Mankind (c. 1475), l. 699, There are but six deadly sins; lechery is none'. As might be expected, Elizabethan moralists bitterly attacked such notions, which were usually spoken by disreputable characters.
Editor’s Note
114 Which is the least? Perhaps intended to be contemptuous; by definition all the deadly sins led to damnation, and could not be graded in an order of seriousness.
Editor’s Note
115–17 If it were … fined If it is a sin leading to damnation, why would Angelo, who is so wise, want to be damned for a brief pleasure?
Editor’s Note
116 trick with a range of meanings; (a) feat of dexterity (the sexual act); (b) trifle, caprice; (c) cheat, illusion
Editor’s Note
117 perdurably fined everlastingly punished
Editor’s Note
120 shamèd life Compare Smith 55, 'An honourable death is better than a shameful life', and Tilley H576. The sentiment was expressed by Seneca and Juvenal, and by numerous English writers from the Middle Ages onward (see Whiting D239).
Editor’s Note
122 cold obstruction OED glosses this as 'stoppage or cessation of the vital functions; the condition of the body in death'. Obstruction certainly refers to something impeding the movement of blood in Twelfth Night 3.4.19–20 ('This does make some obstruction in the blood, this cross-gartering'), but in the present context of lie and rot the phrase may refer to the constriction caused by pressure of earth on the buried corpse.
Editor’s Note
123 sensible primarily in OED's sense 7, 'endowed with the faculty of sensation', but also with hints of senses 8, 'having acute powers of sensation; sensitive' and 1, 'perceptible by the senses'
warm motion a brilliant synecdoche for the living human body, warm-blooded and capable of movement
Editor’s Note
124 kneaded In view of delighted (see next note), Abbott, 375, seems right in suggesting that kneaded means 'kneadable' rather than 'which has been kneaded'; one of the many horrors of death is that the shapely human body turns into a formless clay-like substance which it is possible to manipulate at will.
delighted having the capacity to experience delight or give it to others. For the use of the suffix -ed in this sense see G. V. Smithers, Shakespeare Survey 23 (Cambridge, 1970), p. 31. OED compares a quotation from 1600 given under delightful, 2, 'too chilling a doctrine for our delightful dispositions'. For unshunned as meaning 'unshunnable' see l. 326 below.
Editor’s Note
125–31 To bathe … horrible This passage draws on a long and complex tradition, of mixed biblical, classical, and patristic origin, describing the pains of the afterworld. For a brief account of this tradition see J. E. Hankins, Backgrounds of Shakespeare's Thought (Hamden, 1978), pp. 49–60.
Editor’s Note
125 fiery floods perhaps an allusion to the 'lake of fire, burning with brimstone' given as a place of punishment in Revelation 19: 20, or to the burning river Phlegethon, described in Virgil's Aeneid 6.550–1, and mentioned as a place of torture for 'damned ghost[s]' in Spenser's Faerie Queene 2.6.50.
Editor’s Note
126 thrilling piercing, causing shivering or shuddering (OED thrilling ppl. a. 1b)
thick-ribbèd piled or compressed into ridges; apparently a Shakespearian coinage, though the phrase 'ribs of ice' can be found in Jonson's Catiline 1.1.214, and in l. 30 of a poem, 'The Expostulation' (To make the doubt clear that no woman's true …'), printed as Donne's in 1633 and as Jonson's in 1640
Editor’s Note
127–9 To be imprisoned … world Compare 'Blow me about in winds', Othello 5.2.286. The concept may derive ultimately from a passage in Cicero's Dream of Scipio, a work which survived only as quoted by Macrobius, 'For the souls of those who have given themselves up to the pleasures of the body, and have become as it were the slaves of the body, and who at the instigation of desires subservient to pleasure have broken the laws of gods and men, when they have left their bodies fly around the earth itself, and do not return to this place except after many ages of torment' (trans. D. S. Brewer in his edition of Chaucer's The Parlement of Foulys, 1972, p. 137). Cicero influenced ll. 78–84 of Chaucer's poem, and possibly Dante's description of the carnal sinners continually blown about by a stormy wind, Inferno 5.28–45.
Editor’s Note
127 viewless invisible
Editor’s Note
129 pendent hanging or floating unsupported in space
Editor’s Note
130–1 those … howling Mary Lascelles (Shakespeare's Measure for Measure, 1953, p. 166) has argued that the thought is lawless because those howling are undergoing the pains of purgatory, and Protestantism explicitly repudiated the doctrine of purgatory. But Shakespeare uses howling to refer to the cries of the damned in Romeo 3.3.47–8 ('O friar, the damnèd use that word in hell. | Howling attends it') and Hamlet 5.1.237. The parallels quoted above suggest that Claudio is consistently referring to the pains of damned souls, and worse than worst implies that ll. 130–1 form a climax to this list of punishments and refer to the most horrible agonies of hell. Lawless may mean 'uncontrolled, freely speculating' rather than 'illegal': the frenzied imaginations of those about to die lead them to think that they can hear the screams of the damned souls who are being actively tortured by devils.
Editor’s Note
130 incertain uncertain, wavering
Critical Apparatus
133 penury] f2; periury f
Editor’s Note
133 ache used collectively in its strongest and widest sense: all the various kinds of pain suffered by the body
Editor’s Note
134 nature here meaning 'the vital or physical powers of man' (OED 6), whereas at l. 138 below it means 'natural feeling or affection' (9e) or possibly the personified figure of nature (11b), acting as a kind of judge
Editor’s Note
135 To compared to
Editor’s Note
138 dispenses with excuses, pardons
Editor’s Note
139 beast clearly enough a term of abuse, but it should perhaps be noted that in Shakespeare beast is often contrasted with man, implying behaviour lacking the rational control that distinguishes men from beasts ('a beast that wants discourse of reason', Hamlet 1.2.150)
Editor’s Note
140 faithless treacherous
dishonest (a) dishonourable, shameful; (b) lewd
Editor’s Note
141 made a man The primary meaning seems to be 'given good fortune or prosperity' (OED man sb.1 7); compare All is True (Henry VIII) 5.4.64, 'Thou hast made me now a man'. But in this context made can mean 'procreated' (as in Richard II 1.2.22–4, 'That bed, that womb, | That mettle, that self mould that fashioned thee, | Made him a man'), so there is a hint that Angelo would give Claudio life by begetting him on his sister.
Editor’s Note
144 shield This can mean both 'forbid' and 'protect' (as at 5.1.119), but the former gives a much more powerful and grammatically consistent reading: 'Heaven forbid that my mother was faithful to my father when you were conceived, because you cannot possibly be his true issue'. In the intensity of her revulsion Isabella would like to be able to regard her brother as a bastard.
Editor’s Note
144 fair according to the rules, without cheating; but a sexual implication is clearly present (compare the context of play false in Errors 2.2.145, where it clearly means 'commit adultery')
Editor’s Note
145 warpèd slip of wilderness The phrase consistently works on two levels, the horticultural and moral: warped can be applied to a plant growing in a contorted way, or to a morally distorted person ('thy warped soul', Dekker, Satiromastix 4.3.225); slip is a shoot or cutting from a plant, or a scion or descendant ('Brave slip, sprung from the great Andronicus', Titus 5.1.9); wilderness can refer to a plant growing wild, or to wildness of character, licentiousness (OED 5b, only quotation given).
Editor’s Note
146 Take my defiance OED glosses the phrase as a declaration of aversion or contempt (defiance 5, only quotation), but it could have its stronger military sense of a declaration of war ('Then take my king's defiance from my mouth', K. John 1.1.21); Isabella no longer regards him as her brother and proclaims her open enmity to him.
Editor’s Note
152 accidental happening by chance, occasional
trade 'habitual practice' or possibly even 'profession, livelihood', which would give a powerful irony: 'you're trying to make a living by illicit sin'
Editor’s Note
153 prove itself turn out to be (in that it would allow him to continue sinning). Under bawd sb.1, sense b, OED quotes a parallel from 1607: 'The mercy of God … is made … a bawd to all manner of ungodliness'; compare also Richard II 5.3.65, 'So shall my virtue be his vice's bawd'.
Critical Apparatus
155.1 Enter … Friar ] f2 (Duke steps in); not in f
Editor’s Note
156 Vouchsafe grant
Editor’s Note
158 dispense with forgo, do without
Editor’s Note
158–9 by and by The phrase could mean 'immediately' or 'before long, soon'; probably the latter is intended.
Editor’s Note
159–60 The satisfaction … benefit You would be doing a favour to yourself as well as me by granting my request
Editor’s Note
162 attend This could mean 'listen to', but is more likely in the context to mean 'wait for'.
Critical Apparatus
163 taking … aside ] oxford; not in f
Editor’s Note
165 only he hath he has merely
Editor’s Note
166 assay trial, test. In Whetstone's Heptameron (1582, N3v), Cassandra, the equivalent of Isabella, imagines when Promos first tries to seduce her that he 'used this speech but to try her behaviour'.
Editor’s Note
166–7 practise … natures ?exercise his skill as a judge of human nature
Editor’s Note
167 truth in OED's sense 4, 'honesty, integrity'; cf. l. 209 below
Editor’s Note
168 gracious (a) righteous, full of grace; (b) happy, fortunate
Editor’s Note
169 I am confessor to Angelo clearly a lie (and at 4.3.126 he pretends that another friar, unnamed, is Angelo's confessor). But his previous remarks about Angelo are also untrue; the Duke puts things in this way partly in an attempt to restore harmonious relations between brother and sister (because Claudio will no longer believe that Isabella is refusing to save his life) and partly because he feels, with some justification, that it would be unwise at this stage to give Claudio the impression that a solution has been found to his problems.
Critical Apparatus
171 satisfy] f; falsify hanmer
Editor’s Note
171 satisfy your resolution ?maintain your firmness of mind, comfort yourself
Editor’s Note
174 Let … pardon F makes no provision of any kind for Claudio to do this, but the director can let him do so (see Introduction, p. 30). In Peter Brook's Stratford production of 1950 the Duke shook his head in refusal, and in Adrian Noble's Stratford production of 1983 Claudio tried to approach his sister but was pulled away by prison guards.
Critical Apparatus
176 Exit Claudio] capell; not in f; Exit f2 (after l. 175)
Editor’s Note
176 Hold you there remain in that state of mind
Critical Apparatus
177.1 Enter Provost] dyce; not in f
Editor’s Note
179 now … gone Critics dislike this little touch (Lever calls it 'deliberately fatuous'). But it may be self-consciously deliberate, part of the mannered and antithetical prose-style of this section of the scene. As a stage-manœuvre it is not absurd: the Duke has not yet decided to take the Provost into his confidence, and does not want him to overhear the arrangement with Isabella.
Editor’s Note
180 My mind … habit both my inward intention and outward appearance as a friar give assurance that
Editor’s Note
181 touch injure, harm
Editor’s Note
182 In good time a stock phrase expressing approbation or agreement; roughly equivalent to 'certainly' or 'very well'. According to OED (time sb. 6c, section d) the phrase commonly has a note of irony or incredulity, but that can hardly be present here.
Editor’s Note
183–4 The hand … good a contradiction of the proverb, 'Beauty and chastity seldom meet' (Tilley B163), as in As You Like It 1.2.36–7, 'those that she [Fortune] makes fair she scarce makes honest'
Editor’s Note
184–5 The goodness … goodness The exact nature of the antithesis is not fully clear. Goodness may mean both 'moral virtue' and 'high quality, excellence', and cheap in Shakespeare commonly means 'held cheap, despised'. If so, the meaning would be in effect 'if a beautiful woman despises virtue her beauty will prove to be of poor quality and not long-lasting'.
Editor’s Note
185 grace moral excellence implanted by Cod
soul essential, fundamental quality ('brevity is the soul of wit', Hamlet 2.2.91)
Editor’s Note
186 complexion possibly with a wider sense than in l. 24 above: 'the distinctive combination of qualities granted you at your creation'
Editor’s Note
187 assault disreputable attack on a woman's chastity, as in Cymbeline 1.4.59, 1.6.151, and 3.2.8
Editor’s Note
188–9 frailty … falling in the records of frailty we can find other examples of Angelo's kind of behaviour. There is no need to make this a specific allusion to the fall of the angels, or of Adam.
Editor’s Note
190 substitute someone exercising deputed authority; not necessarily contemptuous in tone (in Richard II 1.2.37–8, the king is described as 'God's substitute, | His deputy appointed in his sight')
Editor’s Note
192 resolve answer
Editor’s Note
196 discover reveal, expose
Editor’s Note
197 government 'personal moral conduct' (OED 2b) as well as 'political rule' (1a)
Editor’s Note
199 avoid make void, refute (a legal term)
Critical Apparatus
201 advisings; … good ‸ ] pope; aduisings, … good ; f
Editor’s Note
202 do make myself believe have persuaded myself, am convinced
Editor’s Note
203 uprighteously apparently a Shakespearian coinage not found elsewhere, a mixture of 'uprightly' and 'righteously'
Editor’s Note
208–9 spirit … spirit courage … soul
Editor’s Note
210 Virtue is bold a variant on the proverb 'Innocence is bold' (Tilley 182), as in First Part of the Contention (2 Henry VI) 4.4.58–9
Editor’s Note
212 miscarried died by accident
Editor’s Note
215 She used as equivalent to 'her' (a common construction; see OED she 4a, and Abbott 211, and compare 5.1.528). The nominative form is used because Shakespeare wants it to act as subject to the next phrase in the sentence.
Editor’s Note
215–16 affianced to her oath Eccles regards this as nonsense, and accepts F2's emendation of oath to by oath (with Angelo as subject). But affianced may mean 'pledged' (OED affiance v. 1), or the phrase may be a justifiable licence: 'she was betrothed to her promise, which she still regards as valid, not to Angelo who abandoned her'. The construction may be similar to 'bestowed her on her own lamentation' (i.e. married her to her sorrow) at ll. 229–30.
Critical Apparatus
216 oath] f; by oath f2
Editor’s Note
216 nuptial appointed wedding arranged
Editor’s Note
217 limit appointed time (the earliest example quoted in OED 2f, but found also in Richard III 3.3.7, and Richard II 1.3.145)
Editor’s Note
220 heavily grievously, painfully
Editor’s Note
222 natural full of brotherly affection
portion This commonly means 'dowry, marriage portion', but as dowry is used in the next line it probably means 'her share of the family estate' (OED 2).
Editor’s Note
223 sinew main strength, most powerful factor
Editor’s Note
224 combinate a rare and puzzling word; in the only other Elizabethan usage recorded in OED it is clearly equivalent to 'combined'. OED rather cautiously agrees with Johnson in glossing it here as 'betrothed, promised, settled by contract', though in a different context it might have suggested that Angelo had actually married Mariana.
well-seeming with a speciously good appearance; also used in Romeo 1.1.176
Editor’s Note
228 swallowed retracted (compare the modern usage 'to swallow one's words')
whole without any attempt to chew them, without hesitation
Editor’s Note
228–9 pretending … dishonour falsely alleging that she had been found out in sexual misconduct. Clearly a hypocritical excuse for Angelo to break off his contract, though the real reason was financial. See 5.1.218–23.
Editor’s Note
229 in few in few words, in short
Editor’s Note
229–30 bestowed … lamentation married her to her grief
Editor’s Note
230 wears possibly with a double meaning: (a) is dressed in (as though she were wearing mourning); (b) carries about in her heart (compare Hamlet 3.2.70–1, 'I will wear him | In my heart's core, ay, in my heart of heart')
Editor’s Note
231 a marble hard, unresponsive
Editor’s Note
233 What … in death how praiseworthy death would be
Editor’s Note
234 What … life how corrupt life is
Editor’s Note
236 avail benefit herself
Editor’s Note
242 unjust faithless, dishonest
Editor’s Note
243–5 like an Impediment … unruly Compare Two Gentlemen 2.7.25–6, 'The current that with gentle murmur glides, | Thou know'st, being stopped, impatiently doth rage'; a form of the proverb, 'The stream stopped swells the higher' (Tilley S929).
Editor’s Note
245 requiring request, demand
Editor’s Note
246 plausible affable, ingratiating (OED 2b); the word at the time did not necessarily imply 'specious, deceptive', but the context seems to suggest it
Editor’s Note
246–7 to the point to the smallest detail
Editor’s Note
247 refer commit, entrust (perhaps in this context meaning 'throw yourself on his mercy, ask him to grant you these favourable circumstances')
Critical Apparatus
248–9 place … time ] lever; time … place f
Editor’s Note
248–9 place … time This transposition of F, suggested by Ridley, improves the sense: shadow and silence are more appropriate to a place, and Isabella could more reasonably demand that the time should be convenient to her than the place. A similar shift occurred at l. 52 above, though the two passages were set by different compositors.
Editor’s Note
249–50 answer to convenience suit Isabella's convenience
Editor’s Note
250 in course in due course
Editor’s Note
251–2 stead up fulfil, go instead of someone else (OED v. 3, only example quoted)
Editor’s Note
252 encounter See l. 85 n. above.
Editor’s Note
253 acknowledge itself reveal itself, become publicly known (perhaps by Mariana becoming pregnant)
Editor’s Note
253–4 to her recompense to make reparation or compensation to her
Editor’s Note
255 advantaged benefited
Editor’s Note
256 scaled weighed as in scales; compare Coriolanus 2.3.249, 'Scaling his present bearing with his past'. There may be an allusion to Daniel 5: 27, 'thou art weighed in the balance and art found too light'.
frame direct, put in the right frame of mind
Editor’s Note
257 fit prepared, ready
attempt attack on her honour (OED 3b)
think well consider it a good idea
Editor’s Note
257–8 carry this as you may manage this affair as skilfully as you can
Editor’s Note
258 doubleness to the two women, Isabella and Mariana. The word is ambiguous ('twofold quality' and 'duplicity, deceitfulness') and a hint of the latter meaning is perhaps also present ('a beneficial trickery').
Editor’s Note
260 image idea, description by the Duke
Editor’s Note
261 perfection completion, fulfilment
Editor’s Note
262 It lies … up the success of the trick largely depends on your skill In performing it
Haste you speedily a tautology, but one which is common in Shakespeare: 'all the speedy haste you may', Richard III 3.1.60; 'all swift haste', Troilus 1.1.116; 'all swift speed', Richard II 5.1.54. See also 4.1.7 and 4.2.110 n.
Editor’s Note
264 satisfaction gratification, the granting of his wishes
presently immediately
Editor’s Note
264–5 Saint Luke's 'Saint Luke's church' is mentioned in Shrew 4.5.15.
Editor’s Note
265 moated grange 'an outlying farm-house with barns, etc. belonging to a religious establishment' (OED grange 2b); moated could mean (a) surrounded by a moat, or (b) equipped with a fish-pond (OED moat sb.1 2). The quotations given in OED and Eccles indicate that a grange was typically thought of as a lonely and isolated place: Mariana is nursing her grief in seclusion. If she has no money, it is possible that she has been given lodging at the grange as a charity by a religious institution; she leaves it to get married, so that her destiny is somewhat like Isabella's.
dejected (a) cast down by fortune; (b) low-spirited, melancholy
Editor’s Note
266 dispatch make arrangements rapidly
Critical Apparatus
269.1 Enter … Pompey ] Enter Elbow, Clowne, Officers. f
Editor’s Note
269.1 Enter … Most later editors follow Pope in indicating a fresh scene at this point, on the assumption that the action has now moved from the inside to the outside of the prison. But the setting could be at some place inside the prison where an interview could take place, and also where fresh prisoners could be brought in. (It has not been in Claudio's cell, because he goes out at l. 176.) It is true that Lucio casually wanders in at l. 307, but he does so again at 4.3.146, another prison scene. The Duke remains on stage to provide linkage, and all recent productions have played Act 3 in one continuous sweep without causing any problems to the audience.
Editor’s Note
272 brown and white bastard a sweet Spanish wine, but with an obvious play of meaning: (a) red and white wine; (b) dark and fair-skinned illegitimate children
Editor’s Note
273 stuff nonsense, rubbish
Editor’s Note
274 'Twas never merry world since the world ceased to be a cheerful place as soon as (a stock phrase; see OED merry adj. 1b, and Tilley/Dent W878.1)
two usuries (a) prostitution (compare ?Tourneur, The Revenger's Tragedy 4.4.102–3, 'To prostitute my breast to the duke's son, | And put myself to common usury'); (b) money-lending
Editor’s Note
275 merriest most enjoyable
put down suppressed, abolished
Editor’s Note
275–6 allowed … warm F has a semicolon after law which most editors have removed. Lever retains it on the grounds that 'no legal regulation ever mentioned such a gown for usurers'. But Pompey is not a legal historian, and his point is made symbolically; the bawds and whores are punished, but the usurer is legally condoned, so that he becomes rich and wears expensive clothing.
order of law A statute of 1570 restricted permissible interest on loans to 10 per cent; some moralists were distressed by this because they felt that usury should be banned completely. There may also be an allusion to the abolition in 1603 of the sumptuary laws controlling types of clothing worn by different classes of society, with the result that anyone who could afford to do so could wear ostentatiously rich clothing.
Critical Apparatus
276 law‸ ] capell; Law; f
Critical Apparatus
277 on] rann; and f
Editor’s Note
277 fox fox-fur (but obviously invoking the unscrupulous cunning traditionally associated with the animal). There is a reference to 'fox-furred usurers' in a little pamphlet of 1604, The Meeting of Gallants at an Ordinary, C4 (STC 17781) and similar phrases occur elsewhere.
craft craftiness, deceit
Editor’s Note
278 richer (a) wealthier; (b) a costlier fabric
stands for the facing facing is trimming on the outside of a garment, and stands for presumably means 'represents, acts as'. If so, the phrase could imply that the usurer presents a crafty face to the world. But there may be a joke here which is now lost; compare Herrick's epigram 'Upon Crab': 'Crab faces gowns with sundry furs; 'tis known, | He keeps the fox-fur for to face his own'.
Editor’s Note
279 Come your way come on
Editor’s Note
279–80 father friar … brother father friar means 'brother', so the Duke is returning Elbow's absurd form of address to him.
Editor’s Note
282 he hath offended the law Elbow is pompous and literal-minded: 'he has offended the law, not me'.
Editor’s Note
284 picklock Elbow naively assumes that Pompey is a thief or burglar, but as he is a bawd the locks he picks are those on chastity belts intended to prevent women from being unfaithful (so editors assert; lock meaning 'chastity belt' occurs in Jonson's Volpone 2.5.57, and Middleton's A Chaste Maid in Cheapside 4.4.4–5, but no parallel has yet been found for picklock in this specific sense).
Editor’s Note
286 sirrah a contemptuous form of address
Editor’s Note
289 maw stomach, belly
Editor’s Note
291 abominable offensive, loathsome. The word is spelt abhominable in F; according to OED this is the normal spelling throughout the First Folio, and reflects what was mistakenly thought to be the etymology of the word, ab homine, 'away from man, inhuman'.
touches sexual contacts; see 5.1.141 n. and compare Othello 4.2.87, 'foul unlawful touch'
Critical Apparatus
292 eat, array] theobald; eate away f
Editor’s Note
292 array dress, clothe. The emendation is supported by l. 289 above, and compare Jonson, Epigram 12, 'On Lieutenant Shift', ll. 5–6: 'By that one spell he lives, eats, drinks, arrays | Himself'.
Editor’s Note
293 thy living is a life your livelihood is an admirable way of life
Editor’s Note
294 depending (a) relying for maintenance on such a sordid occupation; (b) dependent, servile
Editor’s Note
294 mend reform yourself, behave better
Critical Apparatus
295–6 Indeed … prove ] pope; two lines, dividing after sort, sir f
Editor’s Note
296–8 prove … prove prove by argument … turn out to be (a prey to the devil). The Duke picks up Pompey's word and gives it a different meaning.
Editor’s Note
297 proofs for sin There may be a connection with the kind of idea found in Donne's The Progress of the Soul, l. 118, 'Arguing is heretic's game': a wish to argue in defence of evil is in itself a proof of corruption.
Editor’s Note
299 Correction punishment, probably in the form of corporal punishment, a whipping
work operate, take effect
Editor’s Note
300 rude uncivilized, barbarous
Editor’s Note
302–3 whoremaster … whoremonger Elbow appears to be making a distinction, but according to OED both words mean 'one who has dealings with whores, fornicator'.
Editor’s Note
303–4 he were … errand a proverbial phrase ('I will go twenty miles on your errand first', Tilley M927), but its exact implications are not fully clear, and editors gloss it in various ways. Perhaps it means 'it would be better for him to be doing something else (because if he comes up before Angelo he will be severely punished)'.
Editor’s Note
305–6 That … seeming free a difficult couplet. As it follows Elbow's simple-minded comparison of the whoremaster Pompey and the rigidly virtuous Angelo, Dover Wilson is probably right in arguing that the Duke contrasts Angelo's hypocrisy in virtue with Pompey's honesty in sin: 'would that all men were as free from sin as Angelo seems, or as Pompey is free from hypocrisy'.
Critical Apparatus
306 Free from] f2; From f
Editor’s Note
306 Free from F2's emendation does not radically alter the sense, but it does improve the rhythm, which ought to be regular in a rhyming couplet of this type.
from seeming free an inversion: free from 'seeming' or hypocrisy
Editor’s Note
307 come to arrive at the condition of (in having a cord or rope round it)
cord (a) girdle worn by the Duke round his friar's robes; (b) hangman's rope
Critical Apparatus
307.1 Enter Lucio] alexander; after l. 306 in f
Editor’s Note
308 cry entreat, call for
Editor’s Note
310–11 at the wheels of Caesar in disgrace, being led as a prisoner behind Caesar's chariot in a triumphal procession. Compare 2.1.236–7.
Editor’s Note
312 Pygmalion's images newly-made woman beautiful young women whose looks are so unspoiled that they appear to have come into existence only recently (and would thus be very successful as prostitutes). The story of Pygmalion's statue transformed into a live woman by Venus is told in Ovid's Metamorphoses, Book 10.
Editor’s Note
312–14 to be had … clutched perhaps an elaborate way of saying 'to be had for money': 'to be obtained by putting your hand in your pocket and taking it out clutching money'
Critical Apparatus
313 extracting] f; extracting it rowe
Editor’s Note
313 extracting Many editors have followed Rowe in inserting it after extracting; this clarifies the sense, but there are various circumstances in which Shakespeare does not use it where we should expect it in modern English (Abbott 404) and this may well be one of them.
Editor’s Note
315 tune, matter, and method Some earlier editors asserted that at tune Lucio should chink a purseful of money. But the last four lines of Lucio's speech seem to be basically an extravagant and repetitive way of saying 'What have you got to say for yourself?', and these three terms can all have a rhetorical significance: tune is the style or 'tone' of a discourse, matter its subject-matter, and method its order or disposition. Lucio's sentence would thus mean 'What do you reply to my way of putting it?'
Editor’s Note
315–16 Is't not … rain This sounds a colloquial saying, but no exact parallel has yet been discovered. Probably the it of Is't refers to Pompey's answer, and drowned i' the last rain may mean 'lost, destroyed, as farm animals are drowned when heavy rain causes floods'. The ward in Middleton's Women Beware Women 3.3.154–5 refers to a 'ballad … of the lamentable drowning of fat sheep and oxen'.
Editor’s Note
316 trot elsewhere applied to an ugly old woman, a hag, as in Shrew 1.2.78–9, 'an old trot with ne'er a tooth in her head'
Is the world as it was perhaps another way of saying 'How goes the world with thee?', Richard III 3.2.92, but obviously a piece of brutal mockery
Editor’s Note
317 Which is the way? How are you going to answer me?
sad, and few words sadly and briefly (because you are unhappy)
Editor’s Note
318 trick way, manner
Editor’s Note
319 thus and thus equivalent to 'in minute detail'; see OED thus adv. 1e and Tilley/Dent TT13. The Duke's speech might be glossed as 'he keeps on spinning out his words, getting steadily more spiteful'.
Editor’s Note
320 morsel titbit, here applied to a woman, as in Antony 1.5.30–1, 'I was | A morsel for a monarch'
Editor’s Note
322 eaten up all her beef (a) eaten up her supplies of salted beef; (b) used up or worn out another kind of flesh, the prostitutes in her establishment
Editor’s Note
323 tub (a) the barrel in which beef is stored; (b) the 'powdering-tub' of Henry V 2.1.73, used for treating venereal disease with the fumes of cinnabar or mercuric sulphide. The engraved title-page of Cornelianum Dolium, a Latin comedy by 'T. R.' published in 1638, shows a man Standing in a large wooden tub to undergo this treatment (see the Introduction p. 10).
Editor’s Note
325 Ever … bawd the healthy young prostitute always turns into the diseased elderly bawd
powdered with a play on words: (a) preserved with salt (contrasted with fresh, as with fresh or salted meat); (b) undergoing treatment for venereal disease; (c) wearing cosmetics
Editor’s Note
326 unshunned unshunnable, unavoidable (for the grammatical form compare kneaded and delighted, l. 124 n. above)
Editor’s Note
329–30 say I sent thee thither This could imply that Lucio informed on Pompey to get a reward (see ll. 455–6 below), or it may refer to Lucio's refusal to supply Pompey with bail.
Editor’s Note
330 For debt a spiteful touch; Lucio knows perfectly well why Pompey is going to prison
Editor’s Note
334 of antiquity for many years
bawd-born probably 'son of a bawd', and hence born into his profession (only use in Shakespeare ; not recorded in OED)
Editor’s Note
336 good husband OED, husband 5, gives this as a stock phrase: 'one who manages his affairs with skill and thrift; a saving, frugal, or provident man'.
keep the house stay indoors (OED house sb.1 17d); ostensibly a compliment ('you will live quietly and economically') but obviously an insult in the light of Pompey's imprisonment
Editor’s Note
338 wear current fashion
Critical Apparatus
339–40 bondage; … patiently, ] theobald; bondage‸ … patiently : f
Editor’s Note
339 bondage in the most literal sense, chains used to keep him a prisoner
Editor’s Note
340 your mettle is the more playing on the common Elizabethan mettle/metal ambiguity: (a) you will show your courage more clearly; (b) you will receive more metal (in the form of shackles)
Critical Apparatus
341 Adieu … friar ] pope; two lines, dividing after Pompey f
Editor’s Note
343 paint wear cosmetics
Editor’s Note
346 Then … nor now a kind of play on then as (a) therefore, consequently, and (b) in the past
What news abroad a stock phrase; compare l. 477 below, Richard Duke of York (3 Henry VI) 2.1.95, and Richard III 1.1.135
abroad current in the outside world
Critical Apparatus
349.1 Exeunt … Pompey ] rowe; not in f; Exeunt f2
Editor’s Note
352–3 other some some others
Editor’s Note
356 fantastical fanciful, irrational
steal from steal away from
Editor’s Note
357 usurp the beggary not an indication that Lucio sees through the Duke's disguise (if this was so, his exposure of the Duke at 5.1.352–6 would fall completely flat); he despises the Duke for leaving Vienna incognito, in a way quite unworthy of his high birth
Editor’s Note
358 dukes it plays the part of the Duke
Editor’s Note
358–9 puts transgression to't harasses evildoers, makes life difficult for them
Editor’s Note
361 lenity mildness
Editor’s Note
362 crabbed harsh, severe
Editor’s Note
364 of a great kindred belonging to a large family, having many relatives
Editor’s Note
365 is well allied has powerful allies and relations
extirp extirpate, root out
Editor’s Note
367 after according to
Editor’s Note
368 downright straightforward, normal
Editor’s Note
370 sea-maid mermaid
spawned used contemptuously for 'gave birth to'
Editor’s Note
371 stockfishes a name for cod and other fishes cured by splitting open and drying hard in the air without salt (OED); here the type of something cold and sexless
Editor’s Note
372 congealed ice The phrase seems tautologous, but is perhaps part of Lucio's extravagance: 'it comes out as hard ice-pellets'.
Critical Apparatus
373 generative] f; ungenerative theobald
Editor’s Note
373 motion generative sexless puppet as far as generation is concerned. Some editors emend generative to ungenerative, by analogy with ungenitured at l. 431 below.
Editor’s Note
374 infallible certain
Editor’s Note
375 pleasant facetious
speak apace chatter idly
Editor’s Note
377 codpiece a bagged appendage to the front of the close-fitting hose or breeches worn by men from the 15th to the 17th c: often conspicuous and ornamented (OED). Here equivalent to the male genitals.
Editor’s Note
381 feeling of feeling for, response to
Editor’s Note
382 service See 1.2.109 n.
Editor’s Note
383–4 detected for women accused of lechery
Editor’s Note
387 beggar of fifty beggarwoman 50 years old
Editor’s Note
388 use habit, custom
ducat gold coin issued by several countries, of varying value
clack-dish an alternative form of clap-dish, a wooden dish with a lid carried and clacked by beggars as an appeal for contributions. A sexual innuendo has been suggested, and Lever comments that 'the Duke's secret charities are made by Lucio into occasions for slander'.
Editor’s Note
389 crotchets whimsical fancies
Editor’s Note
392 inward intimate friend
shy cautious, reserved. Compare 5.1.55, where it is applied to Angelo (these are Shakespeare's only uses of the word).
Editor’s Note
393–4 withdrawing departure
Editor’s Note
396 must that must
Editor’s Note
398 greater file of the subject the greater part or majority of the Duke's subjects
Editor’s Note
400 unweighing unthinking, lacking in judgement
Editor’s Note
401 envy malice
Editor’s Note
402 stream course, direction
helmed steered, guided
Editor’s Note
403 upon a warranted need if there should be a genuine need for the Duke to defend his reputation (implying that he does not regard the present occasion as a serious challenge)
Editor’s Note
403–4 proclamation public statement concerning him, assessment
Editor’s Note
404 testimonied in judged by the evidence of
Editor’s Note
405 bringings-forth recorded in OED under bringing vbl. sb., but not glossed; only example quoted. Bring forth can mean 'give birth to children' and 'create poetry' (as in the Sonnets, 38.11, 72.13, and 103.1), so the phrase appears to mean 'creations, achievements'.
Editor’s Note
405–6 a scholar, a statesman, and a soldier The Duke regards himself as conforming to a Renaissance ideal in being simultaneously a man of learning and a man of action. Compare Merchant 1.2.110, and Hamlet 1.5.145 and 3.1.154.
Editor’s Note
407 unskilfully ignorantly
Editor’s Note
408 darkened in blackened, made evil, by
Editor’s Note
410–11 Love … love If you truly loved him you would know him better, and if you really knew him you would love him more
Critical Apparatus
411 dearer] hanmer; deare f
Editor’s Note
412 I know what I know I know what I'm talking about (a proverbial phrase, Tilley K173)
Editor’s Note
416 honest sincere, truthful
Editor’s Note
417 call upon you summon you to testify to the truth of what you have said
Editor’s Note
424 unhurtful weak, powerless
opposite opponent
Editor’s Note
424–5 but indeed … harm The Duke suddenly remembers that he is supposed to be a friar.
Editor’s Note
425 forswear repudiate, swear that you have not said it
again on another occasion
Editor’s Note
430 tundish funnel (but with an obvious double meaning)
Editor’s Note
431 ungenitured lacking genitals (only example in OED)
Editor’s Note
432 agent deputy, substitute
unpeople depopulate
Editor’s Note
433–4 Sparrows … lecherous Sparrows were proverbially lecherous (Tilley S715).
Editor’s Note
434–5 dark deeds darkly answered sexual acts, performed in darkness, accounted for in private, not subjected to public trial. For dark deeds compare 'deed of darkness', Pericles Sc. 19.37, and 'act of darkness', Lear, 3.4.81.
Editor’s Note
437 untrussing untying the lower garments; also used to mean 'relieving oneself, passing water', so Lucio may mean 'undressing' or 'relieving himself'
Editor’s Note
438–9 eat mutton on Fridays break the ecclesiastical laws that forbade the eating of meat on Friday; but with a pun on mutton as 'prostitute' (OED 4)
Critical Apparatus
439 now] f; not hanmer
Editor’s Note
439 now Hanmer and other editors emended to not, but this ruins Lucio's final crashing insult: the Duke is now impotent, so full sexuality is a thing of the past, but he would still mouth (kiss in a repulsive way) a filthy old beggarwoman.
Editor’s Note
441 brown bread coarse bread made from rye or rye and wheat; according to Lever it rapidly turned musty and affected the breath. Eccles quotes an exact parallel from Thomas Powell's Art of Thriving (1635, p. 93), 'if the clown be predominant, he will smell all brown bread and garlic'.
Editor’s Note
442–3 No might … scape neither political power, nor nobility of character, among human beings can escape hostile criticism
Editor’s Note
443 back-wounding ?given to wounding or stabbing in the back; perhaps equivalent to back-biting, 'slandering behind one's back'
Editor’s Note
443–4 calumny … virtue a proverbial idea (Tilley E175), but Shakespeare likes to link these particular words: compare Hamlet 1.3.38, 'Virtue itself scapes not calumnious strokes', and Winter's Tale 2.1.75–6, 'calumny will sear | Virtue itself'
Editor’s Note
444 so strong is so strong that he
Editor’s Note
445 tie the gall up a kind of transference: 'tie up the tongue so that it cannot express its gall or bitterness'
Critical Apparatus
446.1–2 and … Overdone ] theobald; and Bawd f
Editor’s Note
450–1 forfeit in the same kind liable to punishment for the same offence (that she has repeatedly been warned not to commit)
Editor’s Note
451–2 play the tyrant usually interpreted as 'indulge in noisy rant like the tyrants in medieval and early Elizabethan drama', but it might simply mean 'inflict savage punishment'
Editor’s Note
453 continuance perhaps with the sense of 'persistence' (OED 3a); the Provost wants to stress that she has stubbornly plied her trade over a long period
Editor’s Note
455–6 Information a legal term (OED 5): a complaint or charge against a person lodged with a court or magistrate. The complainant would often receive a share of any fine imposed, and the term suggests that Lucio is an informer who gets money by betraying his associates to the law.
Editor’s Note
456 Keepdown possibly a joking name to indicate her profession: 'one who keeps on lying down'
Editor’s Note
457 in the Duke's time Mistress Overdone's speech implies that the Duke has been absent for more than a year, not merely a couple of days.
Editor’s Note
458–9 come Philip and Jacob next 1 May, the day of St Philip and St James. It was also May Day, a time of rituals and festivities which frequently led to sexual licence; presumably the child was conceived on this occasion.
Editor’s Note
459–60 goes about to abuse tries to slander
Editor’s Note
461 licence unrestrained behaviour, licentiousness
Critical Apparatus
463 Exeunt … Overdone ] rowe; not in f
Editor’s Note
464 brother fellow-officer (compare brother-justice at l. 507 below)
Editor’s Note
467 wrought by my pity administered Justice with the same degree of pity that I feel
Editor’s Note
469 entertainment acceptance, willingness to undergo
Critical Apparatus
470 Goode'en] This edition; Good'euen f
Editor’s Note
470 Goode'en F's unusual spelling-form, which recurs at 4.3.147 but not elsewhere in the Folio, appears to derive from Crane. In his transcripts of Middleton's A Game at Chess Crane sometimes expanded contractions but retained the apostrophe (e.g. writing you'are for Middleton's you're). It is therefore probable that the copy of Measure he was working from had a contracted form at this point. (Compare prithee at 1.2.61.)
Editor’s Note
474 for my time ?for the time being
Critical Apparatus
475 See] theobald; Sea f
Editor’s Note
475 See Holy See, Rome. F's spelling Sea is also used for the other three occurrences of the word in the Folio, and is common in the period (OED see sb.1 2c).
Editor’s Note
477 news abroad In Marston's The Malcontent, 1.3.17–22, Pietro asks Malevole 'what's the common news abroad?' and Malevole replies with a series of cynical generalizations.
Editor’s Note
478–9 there is … cure it Presumably both uses of it refer back to goodness: 'goodness is so ill that it can get rid of its sickness only by dying'.
Editor’s Note
479 Novelty used contemptuously: 'newness for its own sake, the latest thing'. Nashe makes the same complaint, 'in all things men haste unto novelties, and run to see new things, so that whatsoever is not usual, of the multitude is admired', The Anatomy of Absurdity, 1589, E1v.
Editor’s Note
479–80 only in request the only thing in demand
Critical Apparatus
480 it] f3; as it f
Editor’s Note
480–2 it is … undertaking it is as dangerous to your reputation to persist in a particular kind of behaviour as it is considered virtuous to be shifting and unreliable in any action you undertake. The antithesis is not very powerful, in that both halves of the sentence say much the same thing, but attempts to defend F readings (as it is as and constant) are strained and implausible.
Editor’s Note
480 aged in a metaphorical sense not recorded in OED: persistent, constant
Critical Apparatus
481 inconstant] hudson; constant f
Editor’s Note
482–4 There is scarce … accursed Most commentators argue for a financial implication in the second half of the sentence, with security meaning 'financial pledge guaranteeing a loan' and fellowship meaning, in Lever's gloss, 'corporation formed for trading ventures'. But the play on secure and security may be slightly different, with secure meaning 'safe, reliable' and security meaning 'foolish optimism, ignorant belief that all is well' (OED 3 and Macbeth 3.5.32): 'there is hardly enough trustworthiness or reliability around to make it safe to associate with other people, but there is enough foolish confidence to make such associations accursed (because the rogues will take advantage of this naïvety)'.
Editor’s Note
484 upon this riddle according to this paradox
Critical Apparatus
488–9 One … himself ] capell; two lines, dividing after strifes f
Editor’s Note
488 strifes objectives to be striven for, efforts
Editor’s Note
489 know himself The maxim 'know thyself' originated in Greek thought, was taken up by Roman moralists, and was repeated Innumerable times in the Middle Ages and Renaissance (see Smith 167, Whiting K100, and Tilley K175). Christianity welcomed the phrase because it inculcated the duty of severe and strenuous self-examination.
Editor’s Note
492 professed intended
Editor’s Note
493–4 his events the outcome of his activities
Editor’s Note
496–7 lent him visitation made him a visit (visitation is Shakespeare's normal word for 'visit', which he never uses as a noun)
Editor’s Note
498 professes declares, affirms
sinister measure unjust punishment
Editor’s Note
500 determination verdict
framed devised, invented
Editor’s Note
502 by my good leisure a stock phrase (OED leisure 5c) implying that the Duke went about it deliberately and patiently
Editor’s Note
504–5 You have … calling a somewhat laborious way of saying 'you have completely fulfilled your responsibilities as a priest both to God and to the prisoner'
Editor’s Note
506–7 to the extremest shore of my modesty shore is used figuratively for 'limit': 'as far as I could possibly go without becoming impudent to my superior'
Editor’s Note
508–9 indeed justice justice itself, the personified figure of Justice. Compare 2 Henry IV 5.2.101, 'You are right Justice, and you weigh this well' (this is the reading of both Q and F, though many modern editors add a comma after right).
Critical Apparatus
510–12 If … himself ] pope; four lines, dividing after life, proceeding, and fail f
Editor’s Note
510 answer the straitness correspond to the strictness
Critical Apparatus
514 Exeunt … Provost ] capell; not in f; Exit f2
Editor’s Note
515–36 He who … contracting For a general discussion of this passage see Appendix A. Its literary and dramatic function is considered in the Introduction, p. 52.
Editor’s Note
515 the sword of heaven The sword is an emblem, not of warfare, but of legal authority to punish wrongdoers; compare 'the deputed sword', 2.2.60, Whetstone's An Heptameron of Civil Discourses (1582, O2v), 'the sword of justice, appointed to chasten the lewd', and 2 Henry IV 5.2.86–7, 102, and 112–16. There may be an allusion to Romans 13:4 (in a passage urging respect for the 'powers that be'): 'if thou do evil, fear, for he beareth not the sword for nought; for he is the minister of God to take vengeance on him that doeth evil'. The fact that the sword is of divine origin suggests that the Duke has no theoretical objection to capital punishment.
Editor’s Note
3.1.515–36 Many earlier commentators disliked this passage of gnomic couplets, and considered it a reviser's interpolation. But it is hard to see why a reviser would want to add something of this kind, and though the writing is sometimes so compressed as to be obscure (as in line 518), and a couplet may have dropped out between lines 528 and 529, all modern editors accept it as authentic. As Lever notes (pp. 93–4), the speech falls into four parts; if a couplet is missing, each section was originally six lines long. Lines 515–20 generalize about the behaviour expected from a ruler, and lines 521–6 rebuke Angelo for failing to live up to this pattern. Lines 527–30 are puzzling (see the separate discussion below), but seem to be a return to generalization. In the final section the Duke reverts to the predicament in front of him, and justifies his method of dealing with Angelo.
Editor’s Note
516 as holy as severe presumably 'holy in equal proportion to his severity', implying that he can be as severe as he wishes provided that he has the right degree of holiness. To some extent this is a generalized form of the Duke's earlier speech at ll. 510–12.
Editor’s Note
517 Pattern … know he should be able to find a pattern or model of virtuous behaviour by looking into himself
Editor’s Note
518 Grace … go stand and go are used as a stock pair of verbs in Elizabethan English, with stand meaning 'remain steadily upright, support oneself erect' and go meaning 'move about on one's legs'. In Part 2 of Thomas Lupton's Siuqila (1581, V4) the story is told of a girl who spends all night tied to a tree: 'I unbound her, who was so frozen with the cold that then she could neither go nor stand', and under stand v. 9, OED quotes from 1592, 'the old man … by cold taken at that being in the hole was never after able to go or stand'. The line thus means 'he must have divine grace to keep him morally upright, and virtue to provoke him into action'. For a similar paraphrase see Abbott 504.
Editor’s Note
519–20 More … weighing paying out, or inflicting, neither more nor less punishment to others than is determined by weighing up the amount of evil in himself (a negative way of putting the idea expressed in l. 516)
Editor’s Note
524 my vice Several editors gloss this as 'the vice of other people' but there is an antithesis between my and his, and the phrase is surely more powerful as a reference to the Duke (the vice he allowed to exist through failing to enforce the law properly). Lines 521–2 lead up to ll. 523–4: 'it is shameful when someone inflicts the death-penalty for vices he is sympathetic to, but it is several times more shameful for Angelo to weed out the vice for which I was responsible and at the same time to let his own vice flourish'.
Editor’s Note
526 angel on the outward side Compare 'outward-sainted deputy', l. 90 above; there is an obvious play on Angelo's name. Lines 521–6 indicate that what the Duke most objects to in Angelo is his hypocrisy, not his severity.
Editor’s Note
527–30 How may … things For discussion of these lines see Appendix A.
Editor’s Note
There has been much editorial tinkering with these lines, but no emendation is fully convincing, and if a couplet has dropped out we shall never recover the complete sense. The separate parts can be given some meaning: likeness made in crimes seems to mean 'a resemblance caused by having committed the same crime as someone else' (apparently referring to Angelo and Claudio); Making practice on the times means 'practising deceit on those around him' (the repetition of made and Making is somewhat clumsy); and the final couplet means literally 'to pull along heavy weights with a cobweb' and figuratively 'to use flimsy and spurious devices to produce momentous consequences'. It is impossible, however, to put all this together in a coherent and logical unity.
Critical Apparatus
528 Making] f; Make my oxford
Critical Apparatus
528–9] hiatus indicated by lever; not in f
Editor’s Note
528 practice deceit, trickery
Editor’s Note
529 strings threads of a spider's web. Charlton Hinman is mistaken in his assertion that a variant uncorrected form, stings, can be found in the Elizabethan Club copy of F in Yale University Library (Introduction to the Norton Facsimile of The First Folio of Shakespeare, London, 1968, p. xxi). In fact the Yale copy has a crease in the page which has swallowed up a number of letters; see my note in SQ 39 (1988), 360.
Editor’s Note
531 apply with a hint of its medical sense; 'put on (as though to a wound), use as a remedy'
Editor’s Note
534–5 So disguise … exacting The general sense of the couplet is fairly clear, but as the Duke, Mariana, and Angelo either are or will be in some sort of disguise it is not certain how far the audience is intended to make personal identifications. Probably disguise is best taken as an abstraction: 'disguise (as a form of trickery) will, by means of a disguised person (Mariana), repay with deception Angelo's treacherous and disloyal exaction from Isabella'. The verbal balance (disguise … disguised, falsehood false) is another aspect of the play's concern with measure for measure.
Editor’s Note
536 perform fulfil, bring to completion
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