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As doth that orbed continent the fire
A gentleman, and follower of my lady's.
My lord, so please you, these things further thought on,
One day shall crown the alliance on't, so please you,
Duke. Madam, I am most apt to embrace your offer.Your master quits you;-[TO VIOLA.]—and, for your service done him,
So much against the mettle of your sex,
So far beneath your soft and tender breeding,
A sister?-you are she.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
The outline of this Play is taken from a novel of Cinthio, the Italian novelist and tragic author, to whom Shakspeare was likewise indebted for the story of Othello.
Measure for Measure, presents us with one of the most perfect of our author's female characters in the person of Isabella. Dr. Blake says, of this beautiful creation, that "Piety, spotless purity, tenderness combined with firmness, and an eloquence the most persuasive, unite to render her singularly interesting and attractive." Of the general excellence of this Drama, Mr. Verplanck justly remarks, that "there is no composition, of the same length, in the language, which has left more of its expressive phrases, its moral aphorisms, its brief sentences, crowded with meaning, fixed on the general memory, and embodied by daily use in every form of popular eloquence, argument, and literature."
Our extracts, though necessarily brief, will be found to embody the principal striking beauties of this truly impressive composition.
VICENTIO, Duke of Vienna.
ANGELO, lord deputy in the Duke's absence.
ESCALUS, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation.
LUCIO, a fantastic.
Two other like gentlemen.
VARRIUS, a gentleman, servant to the Duke.
THOMAS, PETER, two friars.
ELBOW, a simple constable.
ISABELLA, sister to Claudio.
Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other Attendants.
The Duke of Vienna, determines to examine in person, the condition of his people. To do this effectually he purposes to resign, for a period, his government into the ker ping of Lord Angelo, and Escalus, and in disguise to mix with his subjects and learn their actual condition, and ascertain whether the laws are faithfully administered.
SCENE I.—An Apartment in the Duke's Palace. Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Attendants. Duke. Escalus,—
Escal. My lord.
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold, Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse; Since I am put to know, that your own science Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice
My strength can give you: Then no more remains
For common justice, you are as pregnant in,
That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp.-Call hither,
What figure of us think you he will bear?
Lent him our terror, drest him with our love;
Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure.
[Exit an Attendant.
There is a kind of character in thy life,
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd.
But to fine issues: nor nature never lends
But I do bend my speech
To one that can my
Live in thy tongue and heart: Escalus,
Now, good my lord,
No more evasion:
Yet, give leave, my lord, That we may bring you something on the way. Duke. My haste may not admit it;
Nor need you, on mine honor, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own:
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
Ang. The heavens give safety to your purposes!
Escal. I shall desire you, sir, to give me leave
A power I have; but of what strength and nature
Ang. "Tis so with me :-Let us withdraw together
And we may soon our satisfaction have
I'll wait upon your honor.
The Duke proceeds to a Monastery in the city, and assumes the disguise of a Friar.
Enter DUKE, and Friar THOMAS.
Duke. No; holy father; throw away that thought ;
May your grace speak of it?
(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)
Fri. Gladly, my lord.
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers
And liberty plucks justice by the nose,
It rested on your grace