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And let him learn to know, when maidens sue,
Isab. l'll see what I can do.
Isab. I will about it strait ;
Lucio. I take my leave of you.
ACT II. SCENE I.
ANGELO's HOUS E.
W Setting it up to fears the birds of prey,
Escal. Ay, but yet
3 —would owe them.] To owe fignifies in this place, as in mang others, to possess, to have. Steevens.
4 - the mother] The abbess, or prioress. JOHNSON. s t o fear the birds of prey,] To fear is to offright, to terrify. So in The Merchant of Venice,
"—this aspect of mine
Than fall, and bruise to death. Alas! this gentleman,
Ang. 'Tis one thing to be tempted, Escalus,
justice, That justice seizes on. What know the laws, That thieves do pass on thieves? 8'Tis very pregnant,
6 Tban fall, and bruise to death.-] I should rather read, fell, i. e. frike down. So in Timon of Athens,
All, fave thee, I fell with curses. Warburton. Fall is the old reading, and the true one. Shakespeare has used the same expression in the Comedy of Errors,
· " -as easy may'st thou fall
"A drop of water.
“ the executioner
STEIVENS. 7 Lit but your honour know,-) To know is here to examine, to take cognisance. So in Midjummer-Nighi's Dream,
Therefore, fair Hermia, question your de fires;
Know of your truth, examine will your blood. Johnson. 8- 'tis very pregnant, [ 'Tis plain that we must act with bad as with good; we punish the faults, 4s we take the advantages, that lie in our way, and what we do not see we cannot note.
The jewel that we find, we stoop and take it,
Ang. See, that Claudio
all! ? Some rife by fin, and some by virtue fall :
* For I bave had ] That is, because, by reason that I have had faults. Johnson.
9 Some rife, &c.] This line is in the first folio printed in Italics as a quotation. All the folios read in the next line, Some run from brakes of ice, and answer none.
JOHNSON. The old reading is perhaps the true one, and may mean, fome run away from danger, and stay 10 answer none of their faults, whilf others are condemned only on account of a single frailty. If this be the true reading, it should be printed,
Some run from breaks (i.e. fractures] of ice, &c. Since I wrote this, I have found reason to change my opinion. A brake anciently meant not only a sharp. bit, a snaffle, but also the inclosure into which farriers put such unruly horses as will not permit themselves to be shod without confinement. This, in some places, is called a smith's brake. In this last sense, Ben Jonsoņ oses the word in his Und rwoods,
“ And not think he had eat a stake,
And, Some run through brakes of vice, and answer none; And some condemned for a fault alone.
Enter Elbow, Froth, Clown, and Officers. Elb. Come, bring them away: if these be good people in a common-weal, that do nothing but use iheir abuses in common houses, I know no law: bring them away.
Ang. How now, fir! What's your name? and what's the matter?
Elb. If it please your honour, I am the poor duke's constable, and my name is Elbow; I do lean upon justice, fir, 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. 9 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 ?
Clown. He cannot, sir; he's out at elbow.
And, for the former sense, see the Silent Woman, act iv. Again, for the latter sense, Bully d'Ambois, by Chapman.
“Or, like a strumpet, learn to set my face
“ In an eternal brake.” Again, in The Opportunity, by Shirley, 1640.
• He is fallen into some brake, some wench has tied him by " the legs.” I offer these quotations, which may prove of use to some more fortunate conjecturer; but am able myself to derive very little from them to suit the passage' before us. Steevens.
9 This comes off well ;] This is nimbly spoken; this is volubly uttered. JOHNSON,
Elb. He, fir? a tapster, sir; parcel-bawd'; one that serves a bad woman; whose house, fir, was, as they fay, pluck'd down in the suburbs ; and now she profeffes a hot-house ? ; which, I think, is a very ill house too.
Escal. How know you that?
Elbow. My wife, sir, whom I deteft 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 uncleanness there,
Escal. By the woman's means?
Elb. Ay, sir, by mistress Over-done's means:3 but as she spit in his face, so she defy'd him.
Clown. Sir, if it please your honour, this is not fo.
Elb. Prove it before these varlets here, thou honourable man, prove it. :
A tapsier, fir; parcel bawd;] This we should now express by saying, he is half-tapster, half-bawd. Johnson.
? Jise frofeles a bot-boufe ;] A bot-bouse is an English niame for a bagnia.
Where lartly harbour'd many a famous whore,
And slill be a whore-house. Ben. Jonson. JOHNSON. 3 Ay, fir, by mistress Over-done's means :) Here seems to have been fome mention made of Froth, who was to be accused, and some words therefore may have been lost, unless the irregularity of the narrative may be better imputed to the ignorance of the conItable. Johnson.