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As doth that orbed continent the fire
That severs day from night.
Give me thy hand;
Vio. The captain, that did bring me first on shore,
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,
Here at my house, and at my proper cost.
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.
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.
Escal. My lord.
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
My strength can give you: Then no more remains
Our city's institutions, and the terms
For common justice, you are as pregnant in,
As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp.-Call hither,
I say, bid come before us Angelo.
What figure of us think you he will bear?
For you must know, we have with special soul
Elected him our absence to supply;
Lent him our terror, drest him with our love;
And given his deputation all the organs
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will,
I come to know your pleasure.
There is a kind of character in thy life,
[Exit an Attendant.
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd.
But to fine issues: nor nature never lends
Both thanks and use.
But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise;
In our remove, be thou at full ourself:-
Live in thy tongue and heart: Escalus,
Now, good my lord, Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure
We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice
Yet, give leave, my lord,
That we may bring you something on the way.
Nor need you, on mine honor, have to do
With any scruple: your scope is as mine own:
So to enforce, or qualify the laws
As to your soul seems good. Give me your hand;
But do not like to stage me to their eyes:
That does affect it. Once more, fare you well.
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
Touching that point.
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;
Believe not that the dribbling dart of love
Can pierce a complete bosom: why I desire thee
More grave and wrinkled than the aims and ends
May your grace speak of it? Duke. My holy sir, none better knows than you How I have ever lov'd the life removed;
And held in idle price to haunt assemblies,
Where youth, and costs, and witless bravery keeps.
(A man of stricture, and firm abstinence,)
My absolute power and place here in Vienna,
Duke. We have strict statutes, and most biting laws,
That goes not out to prey: Now, as fond fathers
Becomes more mock'd, than fear'd, so our decrees,
The baby beats the nurse, and quite athwart
Goes all decorum.
It rested on your grace
To unloose this tied-up justice, when you pleas'd:
I do fear, too dreadful: