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SCENE I.-A Hal in Angelo's House. Enter ANGELO, Escalus, a Justice, Provost *, Officers, and other Attendants.
Ang. We must not make a scarecrow of the law,
Setting it up to fear the birds of prey,
a The Provost is here a kind of sheriff—a keeper of prisoners.
To fear-to affright.
Their perch, and not their terror.
Ay, but yet
And pull’d the law upon you.
Another thing to fall. I not deny,
And nothing come in partial. Sir, he must die.
Where is the provost ?
See that Claudio
For that 's the utmost of his pilgrimage.
Some rise by sin, and some by virtue fall:
• Fall. The verb is here used actively. We still say to fall a tree; and probably Shakspere had this image in his mind.
Our blood. The original has our; the common reading is your. Our blood may mean, our nature-the nature of man. * In the elliptical construction of this sentence we must understand for after censure him. Pass on-condemn-adjudicate. We have the same expression in a contemporary play:
“ A jury of brokers, impanelled and deeply sworn to pass on all villains."
Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none;
Enter ELBOW, FROTH, Clown, Officers, dc. ElB. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a commonweal that
do nothing but use their abuses in common houses, I know no law; bring
Ang. How now, sir! What's your name? and what 's the matter?
Elbow; I do lean upon justice, sir, and do bring in here before your good
honour two notorious benefactors. Ang. Benefactors? Well; what benefactors are they? are they not malefactors ? ElB. If it please your honour, I know not well what they are : but precise
villains they are, that I am sure of; and void of all profanation in the
world, that good christians ought to have. Escal. This comes off well ; here's a wise officer. Ang. Go to : What quality are they of ? Elbow is your name? Why dost thou
not speak, Elbow? Clo. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow. Ang. What are you, sir ? ELB. He, sir ? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd; one that serves a bad woman; whose
house, sir, was, as they say, plucked down in the suburbs; and now she pro
fesses a hot-house, which, I think, is a very ill house too. ESCAL. How know you that? ELB. My wife, sir, whom I detest before heaven and your honour, Escal. How! thy wife ? ELB. Ay, sir; whom, I thank heaven, is an honest woman,Escal. Dost thou detest her therefore ? ElB. I say, sir, I will detest myself also, as well as she, that this house, if it
be not a bawd's house, it is pity of her life, for it is a naughty house. ESCAL. How dost thou know that, constable ? ELB. Marry, sir, by my wife; who, if she had been a woman cardinally given,
might have been accused in fornication, adultery, and all uncleanliness there.
. We print this passage as in the original. It is usually given brakes of vice. Steevens supports the emendation in two ways: first, that a brake is an instrument of torture. Holinshed, describing the rack in the Tower known by the name of the Duke of Exeter's daughter, calls it the brake. Secondly, brakes of vice may mean a thicket of vices. Letourneur translates the passage thus:-“ Il en est qui ont tous les vices, et qui ne répondent d'aucun; d'autres sont condamnés pour une faute unique.” Mr. Dyce holds that “ brakes of vice” is the true reading Those who would preserve the old reading consider that brakes of ice are fractures of ice-ice that breaks; and Tieck so translates the passage. The original has not breaks, however, bat brakes. The line is certainly full of difficulties. The verb run would lead one to believe in the correctness of the old reading; whilst, on the other hand, the employment of answer in a peculiar sense—the answer to the question enforced by torture-would lead one to believe that the interpretation of brakes as racks is correct.
Escal. By the woman's means ?
[To ANGELO. CLO. Sir, she came in great with child; and longing (saving your honour's
reverence) for stewed prunes; sir, we had but two in the house, which at that very distant time stood, as it were, in a fruit-dish, a dish of some threepence; your honours have seen such dishes; they are not China dishes, but
very good dishes Escal. Go to, go to; no matter for the dish, sir. Clo. No, indeed, sir, not of a pin; you are therein in the right: but, to the
point: As I say, this mistress Elbow, being, as I say, with child, and being great bellied, and longing, as I said, for prunes ; and having but two in the dish, as I said, master Froth here, this very man, having eaten the rest, as I said, and, as I say, paying for them very honestly ;-for, as you know,
master Froth, I could not give you three-pence again FROTH. No, indeed. Clo. Very well : you being then, if you be remembered, cracking the stones of
the foresaid prunes. FROTH. Ay, so I did, indeed. Clo. Why, very well: I telling you then, if you be remembered, that such a
one, and such a one, were past cure of the thing you wot of, unless they
kept very good diet, as I told you. FROTH. All this is true. Clo. Why, very well then. Escal. Come, you are a tedious fool : to the purpose. —What was done to
Elbow's wife, that he hath cause to complain of? Come me to what was
done to her. Clo. Sir, your honour cannot come to that yet. Escal. No, sir, nor I mean it not. Clo. Sir, but you shall come to it, by your honour's leave: And, I beseech you,
look into master Froth here, sir ; a man of fourscore pound a-year; whose
father died at Hallowmas :—Was 't not at Hallowmas, master Froth ? FROTH. All-hallownd eve. Clo. Why, very well; I hope here be truths : He, sir, sitting, as I say, in a
lower chair, sir ;—'t was in the Bunch of Grapes, where, indeed, you have a
delight to sit: Have you not? FROTH. I have so; because it is an open rooma, and good for winter. Clo. Why, very well then ;-I hope here be truths.
* Open room. This has been explained as a warm room, from the same root as oven. But oven, if Tooke's interpretation be correct, means a place heaved, raised up. We rather think that open has here nothing to do with the winter quality of the room, but that it means a common room, which is also a warm room.
Ang. This will last out a night in Russia,
When nights are longest there : I 'll take my leave,
Hoping you 'll find good cause to whip them all.
Now, sir, come on: What was done to Elbow's wife, once more?
wife. Clo. I beseech your honour, ask me. ESCAL. Well, sir : what did this gentleman to her? Clo. I beseech you, sir, look in this gentleman's face :—Good master Froth, look
upon his honour; 't is for a good purpose : Doth your honour mark his face? Escal. Ay, sir, very well. Clo. Nay, I beseech you, mark it well. ESCAL. Well, I do so. Clo. Doth your honour see any harm in his face? Escal. Why, no. Clo. I'll be supposed upon a book, his face is the worst thing about him: Good
if his face be the worst thing about him, how could master Froth do the constable's wife any harm ? I would know that of your honour. Escal. He's in the right: Constable, what say you to it ? ELB. First, an it like you, the house is a respected house; next, this is a
respected fellow; and his mistress is a respected woman. Clo. By this hand, sir, his wife is a more respected person than any of us all. ELB. Varlet, thou liest; thou liest, wicked varlet : the time is yet to come that
she was ever respected, with man, woman, or child. Clo. Sir, she was respected with him before he married with her. EscAL. Which is the wiser here? Justice or Iniquity ?-Is this true ? ELB. O thou caitiff! 0 thou varlet! O thou wicked Hannibal! I respected
with her, before I was married to her! If ever I was respected with her, or she with me, let not your worship think me the poor duke's officer :Prove this, thou wicked Hannibal, or I 'll have mine action of battery on
thee. Escal. If he took you a box o'th' ear, you might have your action of slander
too. ElB. Marry, I thank your good worship for it: What is 't your worship's
pleasure I should do with this wicked caitiff? Escal. Truly, officer, because he hath some offences in him that thou wouldst
discover if thou couldst, let him continue in his courses till thou know'st
what they are. ELB. Marry, I thank your worship for it :- Thou seest, thou wicked varlet now,
what's come upon thee; thou art to continue now, thou varlet; thou art to
continue. Escal. Where were you born, friend ?