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Enter Clown.

Clo. Yonder man is carried to prison.

Bawd. Well; what has he done?

Clo. A woman.6

Bawd. But what's his offence?

Clo. Groping for trouts in a peculiar river. Bawd. What, is there a maid with child by him? Clo. No; but there's a woman with maid by him: You have not heard of the proclamation, have you? Bawd. What, proclamation, man?

Clo. All houses in the suburbs of Vienna must be pluck'd down.

Bawd. And what shall become of those in the city? Clo. They shall stand for seed: they had gone down too, but that a wise burgher put in for them.

Bawd. But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down?9

what has be done?

Clo. A woman.] The ancient meaning of the verb to do, (though now obsolete) may be guess'd at from the following passages:

"Chiron. Thou hast undone our mother.

"Aaron. Villain, I've done thy mother." Titus Andronicus. Again, in Ovid's Elegies, translated by Marlowe, printed at Middlebourg, no date:

"The strumpet with the stranger will not do,

"Before the room is clear, and door put to."

Again, in The Maid's Tragedy, Act II, Evadne, while undressing, says,―

Dula answers,

"I am soon undone,

"And as soon done."

Hence the name of Over-done, which Shakspeare has appropriated to his bawd.


7- in a peculiar river.] i. e. a river belonging to an individual; not public property. Malone.

8 All houses in the suburbs —] This is surely too general an expression, unless we suppose, that all the houses in the suburbs were bawdy-houses. It appears too, from what the bawd says below, "But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pulled down?" that the Clown had been particular in his description of the houses which were to be pulled down. I am therefore inclined to believe that we should read here, all bawdy-houses, or all houses of resort in the suburbs. Tyrwhitt.

9 But shall all our houses of resort in the suburbs be pull'd down? This will be understood from the Scotch law of James's

Clo. To the ground, mistress.

Bawd. Why, here's a change, indeed, in the commonwealth! What shall become of me?

Clo. Come; fear not you: good counsellors lack no clients: though you change your place, you need not change your trade; I'll be your tapster still. Courage; there will be pity taken on you: you that have worn your eyes almost out in the service, you will be considered.

Bawd. What's to do here, Thomas Tapster? Let's withdraw.

Clo. Here comes signior Claudio, led by the provost to prison: and there 's madam Juliet.


The same.


Enter Provost, CLAUDIO, JULIET, and Officers; Lucio, and two Gentlemen.

Claud. Fellow, why dost thou show me thus to the world?

Bear me to prison, where I am committed.
Prov. I do it not in evil disposition,

But from lord Angelo by special charge.

Claud. Thus can the demi-god, Authority,

Make us pay down for our offence by weight.—

time, concerning buires (whores): "that comoun women be put at the utmost endes of townes, queire least perril of fire is." Hence Ursula the pig-woman, in Bartholomew-Fair: "I, I, gamesters, mock a plain, plump, soft wench of the suburbs, do!" Farmer.

So, in The Malcontent, 1604, when Altofront dismisses the various characters at the end of the play to different destinations, says to Macquerelle the bawd:


thou unto the suburbs."

Again, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:

"Some fourteen bawds; he kept her in the suburbs » See Martial, where summaniana and suburbana are applied to prostitutes. Steevens.

The licensed houses of resort at Vienna are at this time all in the suburbs, under the permission of the Committe of Chastity.

S. W.

The words of heaven;-on whom it will, it will;
On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.1

1 Thus can the demi-god, Authority,

Make us pay down for our offence by weight.

The words of heaven;-on whom it will, it will

On whom it will not, so; yet still 'tis just.] The sense of the whole is this: The demi-god Authority, makes us pay the full penalty of our offence, and its decrees are as little to be questioned as the words of heaven, which pronounces its pleasure thus,-I punish and remit punishment according to my own uncontroulable will; and yet who can say, what dost thou ?—Make us pay down for our offence by weight, is a fine expression to signify paying the full penalty. The metaphor is taken from paying money by weight, which is always exact; not so by tale, on account of the practice of diminishing the species. Warburton.

I suspect that a line is lost. Johnson.
It may be read,-The sword of heaven.
Thus can the demi-god Authority,

Make us pay down for our offence, by weight;-
The sword of heaven :-on whom, &c.

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Authority is then poetically called the sword of heaven, which will spare or punish, as it is commanded. The alteration is slight, being made only by taking a single letter from the end of the word, and placing it at the beginning.

This very ingenious and elegant emendation was suggested to me by the Reverend Dr. Roberts, Provost of Eton; and it may be countenanced by the following passage in The Cobler's Prophecy, 1594:

"In brief, they are the swords of heaven to punish." Sir W. D'Avenant, who incorporated this play of Shakspeare with Much Ado about Nothing, and formed out of them a Tragicomedy called The Law against Lovers, omits the two last lines of this speech; I suppose, on account of their seeming obscurity. Steevens.

The very ingenious emendation proposed by Dr. Roberts, is yet more strongly supported by another passage in the play before us, where this phrase occurs, Act III, sc. last:

"He who the sword of heaven will bear,
"Should be as holy, as severe."

Yet I believe the old copy is right. Malone.

Notwithstanding Dr. Roberts's ingenious conjecture, the text is certainly right. Authority, being absolute in Angelo, is finely styled by Claudio, the demi-god. To this uncontroulable power the poet applies a passage from St. Paul to the Romans, ch. ix, v. 15, 18, which he properly styles, the words of heaven: "for he saith to Moses, I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy,' &c. And again: "Therefore hath he mercy on whom he will have mercy," &c. Henley.

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Lucio. Why, how now, Claudio? whence comes this restraint?

Claud. From too much liberty, my Lucio, liberty: As surfeit is the father of much fast,

So every scope by the immoderate use
Turns to restraint: Our natures do pursue,
(Like rats that ravin down their proper bane)2
A thirsty evil; and when we drink, we die.3

Lucio. If I could speak so wisely under an arrest, I would send for certain of my creditors: And yet, to say the truth, I had as lief have the foppery of freedom, as the morality of imprisonment.-What's thy of fence, Claudio?


Claud. What, but to speak of would offend again.
Lucio. What is it? murder?

Claud. No.

Lucio. Lechery?

Claud. Call it so.

Prov. Away, sir; you must go.

Clard. One word, good friend :-Lucio, a word with [Takes him aside,


It should be remembered, however, that the poet is here speaking not of mercy, but punishment. Malone.

Mr. Malone might have spared himself this remark, had he recollected that the words of St. Paul immediately following, and to which the &c. referred, are "and whom he will be bardeneth." See also the preceding verse. Henley.

2 Like rats that ravin down their proper bane,] To ravin was formerly used for eagerly or voraciously devouring any thing : so in Wilson's Epistle to the Earl of Leicester, prefixed to his Discourse upon Usurye, 1572: "For these bee the greedie cor, moraunte wolfes indeed, that ravyn up both beaste and man."

Reed, Ravin is an ancient word for prey. So, in Noah's Flood, by Drayton:


"As well of ravine, as that chew the cud."



when we drink, we die.] So, in Revenge for Honour, by

"Like poison'd rats, which when they 've swallowed
"The pleasing bane, rest not until they drink;
"And can rest then much less, until they burst."


as the morality-] The old copy has mortality. It was Gorrected by Sir William D'Avenant. Malone.

Lucio. A hundred, if they 'll do you any good.-Is lechery so look'd after?

Claud. Thus stands it with me:-Upon a true contract,

I got possession of Julietta's bed; 5

You know the lady; she is fast my wife,
Save that we do the denunciation lack
Of outward order: this we came not to,
Only for propagation of a dower
Remaining in the coffer of her friends;
From whom we thought it meet to hide our love,
Till time had made them for us.


But it chances,

The stealth of our most mutual entertainment,

With character too gross, is writ on Juliet.
Lucio. With child, perhaps?

Claud. Unhappily, even so.

And the new deputy now for the duke,—
Whether it be the fault and glimpse of newness ;*

5 I got possession of Fulietta's bed, &c.] This speech is surely too indelicate to be spoken concerning Juliet, before her face; for she appears to be brought in with the rest, though she has nothing to say.. The Clown points her out as they enter; and yet, from Claudio's telling Lucio, that he knows the lady, &c. one would think she was not meant to have made her personal appearance on the scene. Steevens.

The little seeming impropriety there is, will be entirely removed, by supposing that when Claudio stops to speak to Lucio, the Provost's officers depart with Julietta. Ritson.

Claudio may be supposed to speak to Lucio apart. Malone. this we came not to,

6 66

"Only for propagation of a dower


"Remaining in the coffer of her friends;] This singular mode of expression certainly demands some elucidation. sense appears to be this. "IVe did not think it proper publicly to celebrate our marriage; for this reason, that there might be no bindrance to the payment of Fulietta's portion which was then in the hands of her friends; from whom, therefore, we judged it expedient to conceal our love till we had gained their favour." Propagation being here used to signify payment, must have its root in the Italian word pagare. Edinburgh Magazine for November, 1786.

I suppose the speaker means-for the sake of getting such a dower as her friends might hereafter bestow on her, when time had reconciled them to her clandestine marriage. Steevens. Perhaps we should read-only for prorogation. Malone.

7 the fault and glimpse of newness;] Fault and glimpse have so little relation to each other, that both can scarcely

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