« AnteriorContinuar »
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
ACT I. SCENE I.
An Apartment in the DUKE's Palace.
Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants.
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
Since I am put to know,] May mean, I am compelled to acknowledge. So, in King Henry VI. Part II. Sc. I. :
had I first been put to speak my mind." Again, in Drayton's Legend of Pierce Gaveston :
• My limbs were put to travel day and night." STEEVENS.
lists —) Bounds, limits. Johnson, So, in Othello :
“ Confine yourself within a patient list." Again, in Hamlet :
“The ocean, over-peering of his list —" STEEVENS.
And let them work.) To the integrity of this reading Mr. Theobald objects, and says, What was Escalus to put to his sufficiency? why, his science : But his science and sufficiency were but one and the same thing. On what then does the relative them depend ? He will have it, therefore, that a line has been accidentally dropped, which he attempts to restore thus :
Our city's institutions, and the terms *
“But that to your sufficiency you add
“ Due diligence, as your worth is able," &c. Nodum in scirpo quærit. And all for want of knowing, that by sufficiency is meant authority, the power delegated by the Duke to Escalus. The plain meaning of the word being this : Put your skill in governing (says the Duke) to the power which I give you to exercise it, and let them work together. WARBURTON.
Sir Thomas Hanmer having caught from Mr. Theobald a hint that a line was lost, endeavours to supply it thus :
Then no more remains,
“ A will to serve us, as your worth is able.” He has, by this bold conjecture, undoubtedly obtained a meaning, but, perhaps, not even in his own opinion, the meaning of Shakspeare.
That the passage is more or less corrupt, I believe every reader will agree with the editors. I am not convinced that a line is lost, as Mr. Theobald conjectures, nor that the change of but to put, which Dr. Warburton has admitted after some other editor, (Rowe,] will amend the fault. There was probably some original obscurity in the expression, which gave occasion to mistake in repetition or transcription. I therefore suspect that the author wrote thus :
Then no more remains,
“ And let them work."
your virtue is now invested with power equal to your knowledge and wisdom. Let therefore your knowledge and your virtue now work together.' It may easily be conceived how sufficiencies was, by an inarticulate speaker, or inattentive hearer, confounded with sufficiency as, and how abled, a word very unusual, was changed into able. For abled, however, an authority is not wanting. Lear uses it in the same sense, or nearly the same, with the Duke. As for sufficiencies, D. Hamilton, in his dying speech, prays that Charles II. may exceed both the virtues and sufficiencies of his father. Johnson.
Then no more remains, “ But that sufficiency, as worth is able,
“ And let them work.” Then no more remains to say, but that your political skill is on a par with your private integrity, and let these joint qualifications exert themselves in the public service,
“ But that sufficiency to your worth is abled,” i. e. a power equal to your deserts.
The uncommon redundancy, as well as obscurity, of this verse,
As art and practice hath enriched any
may be considered as evidence of its corruption. Take away the second and third words, and the sense joins well enough with what went before. “Then (says the Duke) no more remains to say,
“ But your sufficiency as your worth is able,
“ And let them work." i. e. “ Your skill in government is, in ability to serve me, equal to the integrity of your heart, and let them co-operate in your future ministry.”
The versification requires that either something should be added, or something retrenched. The latter is the easier, as well as the safer task. I join in the belief, however, that a line is lost; and whoever is acquainted with the inaccuracy of the folio, (for of this play there is no other old edition,) will find my opinion justified.
STEEVENS. Some words seem to be lost here, the sense of which, perhaps, may be thus supplied :
Then no more remains,
“ And let them work." TYRWHITT. A phrase similar to that which Mr. Tyrwhitt would supply, occurs in Chapman's version of the sixth Iliad:
enough will is not put “ To thy abilitie.” Steevens. I agree with Warburton in thinking that by sufficiency the Duke means authority, or power; and, if that he admitted, a very slight alteration indeed will restore this passage-the changing the word is into be. It will then run thus, and be clearly intelligible :
Then no more remains, “But that your own sufficiency, as your worth, be able,
“ And let them work.” That is, you are thoroughly acquainted with your duty, so that nothing more is necessary to be done, but to invest
you with power equal to your abilities. M. Mason.
Then no more remains, “ But that to your sufficiency
as your worth is able, “ And let them work.” I have not the smallest doubt that the compositor's eye glanced from the middle of the second of these lines to that under it in the MS. and that by this means two half lines have been omitted. The very same error may be found in Macbeth, edit. 1632 :
which, being taught, return,
From which we would not have you warp.-Call
- which, being taught, return,
“ Cummends the ingredients of our poison'd chalice," &c. Again, in Much Ado about Nothing, edit. 1623, p. 103 :
And I will break with her. Was't not to this end,” &c. instead of
“ And I will break with her, and with her father,
“ And thou shalt have her. Was't not to this end,” &c. Again, in Romeo and Juliet, folio, 1623 :
“ And hither shall he come, and that very night
“ Shall Romeo," &c. instead of
“ And hither shall he come, and he and I
“ Shall Romeo," &c. The following passage, in King Henry IV. Part I. which is constructed in a manner somewhat similar to the present when corrected, appears to me to strengthen the supposition that two half lines have been lost :
“ Send danger from the east unto the west,
“ And let them grapple." Sufficiency is skill in government; ability to execute his office. “And let them work," a figurative expression ; “ Let them ferment." Malone.
the terms ] Terms mean the technical language of the courts. An old book called Les Termes de la Ley, (written in Henry the Eighth's time,) was in Shakspeare's days, and is now, the accidence of young students in the law. BLACKSTONE.
the terms For common justice, you are as PREGNANT in,] The later editions all give it, without authority
“Of justice," and Dr. Warburton makes terms signify bounds or limits. I rather think the the Duke meant to say, that Escalus was pregnant, that is, ready and knowing in all the forms of the law, and, among other things, in the terms or times set apart for its administration.
Johnson. The word pregnant is used with this signification in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611, where a lawyer is represented reading :
« In tricessimo primo Alberti Magni —
“ 'Tis very cleare—the place is very pregnant." i. e. very expressive, ready, or very big with apposite meaning,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
[Erit an Attendant. What figure of us think you he will bear ? For you must know, we have with special soul Elected him our absence to supplyo; Lent him our terror, drest him with our love; And given his deputation all the organs Of our own power : What think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth To undergo such ample grace and honour, It is lord Angelo.
Look, where he comes.
the proof is most pregnant.” Steevens. 6 For you must know, we have with SPECIAL SOUL
Elected him our absence to supply ;] By the words with special soul elected him, I believe, the poet meant no more than that he was the immediate choice of his heart. A similar expression occurs in Troilus and Cressida :
with private soul,
for several virtues
“With so full soul, but some defect," &c. Steevens. Steevens has hit upon the true explanation of the passage ; and might have found a further confirmation of it in Troilus and Cressida, where, speaking of himself, Troilus says:
ne'er did young man fancy “ With so eternal, and so fix'd a soul.” To do a thing with all one's soul, is a common expression.
M. Mason. - we have with special soul —” This seems to be only a translation of the usual formal words inserted in all royal grants :“ De gratia nostra speciali, et ex mero motu—," MALONE.