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The obscurity in this passage arises from the jingle and double meaning of ' security” in the first instance it implies - safety, protection; in the second, confidence, implicit trust. 334. “ How may likeness made in crimes,
Making practice on the times,” &c. How may a specious appearance, framed in villany, making practice, i. e. working deceitfully on the times, &c. Instances are not wanting of this use of the word practice, as in King Lear:
This act persuades me, “That this remotion of the duke and her, “ Is practice only."
ACT IV. SCENE I.
My most stay." The adverb, thus taking the station of an adjective, has already been remarked as uncouth phraseology
Happily, “ You something know ; “ Happily” for “ haply” occurs in other places, as in The Taming of the Shrew, Act 4, Scene 4:
“ And happily we might be interrupted.” 356. “ Insensible of mortality, and desperately
I believe the meaning is—free from the common and natural abhorrence of death, and prepared for a state of annihilation.
367. “What if we do omit.”
The disorder of the metre in many parts of this play appears to be incorrigible ; but sometimes, as here, it is easily repaired by dismissing a useless word:
“Just of his colour, what if we omit
“ This reprobate till he were well inclin’d.” They must omit him, (or the hanging him) a great while before the prisoner would be well inclined to submit :--but “inclined” here means
disposed” or “ prepared” for death, by religious exercises. 368. “ I am your free dependant."
i. e. Your willing servant."
Makes me unpregnant, “ And dull to all proceedings.”
“ Makes me unpregnant,” means, I believe, dispossesses me of my clear judgment. Hamlet uses the word in a similar sense :
But I, “A dull and muddy-metled rascal, peak “ Like John-a-dreams, unpregnant of my cause, “ And can say nothing."
“ Yet reason dares her ?-no." I am not satisfied with any of the attempts that have been made to explain this passage. I believe the meaning is :- How might this injured lady reproach me, if shame and delicacy did not restrain her fongue; yet reason, i. e. a just reflection on the cruel wrong she has suffered, as well as on the enormous guilt of the offender, must give her boldness sufficient for the accusation; yet no—that same reason and reflection, perceiving how I am fortified by my place and character against her charge, will teach her how ineffectual it would be: our poet would not scruple to write “dares” for makes daring. 377.
With dangerous sense.' With a feeling of his wrongs that might suggest a dangerous revenge: dangerous sense is formidable indignation.
By so receiving.” I think we should read:
“ For so receiving."
SCENE VI. 379.“ To speak so indirectly, I am loth."
Without the warrant or direction of truth, or it may be, deviating from the direct course of truth.
ACT V. SCENE I.
383. “Upon a wrong'd, I'd fain have said, a
maid. Perhaps we should read: Upon a wronged—I would fain say maid." Or else, Upon a wrong'd—1 fain would have said maid.”
Vail your regard." Let it stoop :-thus in Çoriolanus :
If he have
power, Then vail your ignorance." 385. “ If she be mad, (as I believe no other,) “ Her madness hath the oddest frame of
“As e'er I heard in madness.” Mr. Malone supposes that the author wrote “ ne'er”' instead of" e'er:” but this, though it may be sense, is very harsh: if the pronoun " that” be substituted for the conjunction as, which, indeed, concord requires, (the third line being redundant, and merely parenthetical) the sentence would be correct. 386..“ Do not banish reason for inequality." Dr. Johnson's interpretation of this passage is
, I believe, the right one; if in the comment the Duke had made on Isabella's language and deportment, he had charged her with incoherence or inequality, then, indeed, Mr. Malone's conjec
ture might be just ; but as, on the contrary, the speech of the lady is remarked for its consistency, I cannot help thinking that she conjures the Duke not to let rank and high place suppress or supersede the pleadings of humble innocence. - Let
your reason serve “ To make the truth appear, where it seems hid ; “Not hide the false, seems true.”
Perspicuity must always give place to the charm of a jingle; the plain sense is, employ your reason to take off the veil that now obscures the truth, and not to continue the deception by which falshood assumes the character of truth.
His purpose surfeiting." Mr. Steevens proposes to read “ forfeiting"— but the text is right: the purpose implied is not the release of Claudio, but the enjoyment of Isabella. Duke.
This is most likely." Isab. “0, that it were as like as it is true."
I believe Isabella means, O that my story were, indeed, what you seem to think it, an invention only of mine! that it were as much a false resemblance as it is a reality. 393. “ In this I'll be impartial; be you judge
' Of your own cause." Notwithstanding the passages produced by Dr. Farmer, to shew that " impartial” was sometimes used to express “ partial,” I cannot think that it is the case in the present instance. “I'll be impartial,” means, I believe, “ I'll be indiffer