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Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1858, by
RICHARD GRANT WHITE.
In the Clerk's Office of the District Court for the Southern District of
MEASURE FOR MEASURE. Measure for Measure occupies twenty-four pages in the folio of 1623; viz., from p. 61 to p. 84, inclusive, in the division of Comedies. It is there divided into Acts and Scenes and is followed by a list of the Dramatis Personæ under the head, “ The names of all the Actors.” From this list, however, Varrius and the Justice are omitted : above it is “ The Scene Vienna.”
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
of this play made to his hand in the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone which was published in 1578, but never acted. Whetstone founded his upon the fifth Novel of the eighth Decade of Giraldi Cinthio's Hecatommithi, a collection of tales similar to Boccaccio's Decamerone, and in which also Shakespeare found the tale upon which he constructed his Othello. The course of the story in Cinthio's novel is indicated with sufficient particularity in its long title, which is as follows: " Juriste is sent by the Emperor Maximilian to Inspruch, where he causes a young man, who has violated a virgin, to be arrested, and condemns him to death : his sister endeavours to free him : Juriste holds out hopes to the lady that he will marry her and liberate her brother : she lies with him, and the same night Juriste causes the young man's head to be struck off, and sends it to his sister. She complains to the Emperor, who causes Juriste to marry the lady; after which he orders him to be put to death: the lady saves him, and lives with him most lovingly.” *
Whetstone himself published in 1582 a book of tales similar to that of Cinthio, which he called the Heptameron of Civil Discourses, and one of these tales he founded on Cinthio's story of Juriste. The following argument, prefixed to his play of Promos and Cassandrast gives a very good description of the course of its incidents, but is defective in two or three points important to the student of Shakespeare :
* “ Juriste e mandato da Massimiano, Imperadore, in Ispruchi, ove fa prendere un giovane, violatore di ina vergine e condannalo à morte : la sorella cerca di liberarlo : Juriste da speranza alla donna di pigliarla per moglie, e di darle libero il fratello : ella con lui si giace, e la notte istessa Juriste få tagliar al giovane la testa, e la manda alla sorella. Ella ne fà querela all' Imperadore, il quale få sposare ad Juriste la donna; poscia lo fà dare ad essere ucciso. La donna lo libera, e con lui si vive amorevolissimamente."
† “ The right excellent and famous Historye of Promos and Cassandra, divided into Commical Discourses: In the fyrste Parte is showne the unsufferable abuse of a lewdo Magistrate, the vertuous behaviours of a chaste Ladye, the uncontrowled leawdeness of a favoured Curtisan, and the undeserved Estimation of a pernicious Parasyte : In the second Parte is discoursed the perfect Magnanimitye of a noble Kinge, in checking Vice and favouringe Vertue : Wherein is showne the Ruyne and Overthrowe of dishonest Practises, with the Advauncement of upright Dealing."
“ In the Cytie of Julio (sometime under the dominion of Corvinus, King of Hungarie and Boemia) there was a law, that what man so ever committed Adultery, should lose his head, and the woman offender should weare some disguised apparell, during her life, to make her infamouslye noted. This severe lawe, by the favour of some mercifull magistrate, became little regarded, untill the time of Lord Promos auctority: who, convicting a yong Gentleman named Andrugio of incontinency, condemned both him, and his minion, to the execution of this statute. Andrugio had a very vertuous and beawtiful Gentlewoman to his Sister, named Cassandra : Cassandra, to enlarge her brothers life, submitted an humble petition to the Lord Promos : Promos regarding her good behaviours, and fantasying her great beawtie, was much delighted with the sweete order of her talke: and doying good, that evil might come thereof, for a time he repryved her brother : but, wicked man, tourning his liking unto unlawfull lust, he set downe the spoile of her honour raunsome for her Brothers life : chaste Cassandra, abhorring both him and his sute, by no persuasion would yeald to this raunsome. But, in fine, wonne with the importunitye of her Brother, (pleading for life,) upon these conditions she agreede to Promos. First that he should pardon her brother, and after marry her. Promos as feareless in promisse, as carelesse in performance, with sollemne vowe, sygned her conditions : but worse then any Infydel, his will satisfyed, he performed neither the one nor the other : for to keepe his aucthoritye, unspotted with favour, and to prevent Cassandrae's clamors, he commaunded the Gayler secretly to present Cassandra with her brother's head. The Gayler, (touched) with the outeryes of Andrugio, abhorrying Promos lewdenes, by the providence of God, provyded thus for his safety. He presented Cassandra with a felons head newlie executed, who (being mangled, knew it not from her brother's, by the Gaylor, who was set at libertie) was so agreeved at this trecherye, that at the pointe to kyl herselfe, she spared that stroke to be avenged of Promos. And, devisyng a way, she concluded to make her fortunes knowne unto the kynge. She (executinge this resolution) was so highly favoured of the king, that forthwith he
Both Whetstone's tale and Cinthio's are printed in Collier's Shakespeare's Library.