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O my lord,
Be 't not in thy care; go,
[Exeunt. SCENE V.
The same. The Senate-House.
The Senate sitting. Enter ALCIBIADES, attended.
1 Sen. My lord, you have my voice to it; the fault 's, Bloody; 'tis necessary he should die: Nothing emboldens sin so much as mercy,
2 Sen. Most true; the law shall bruise him.8 Alcib. Honour, health, and compassion to the senate!
The first folio reads:
Lucius, Lucullus, and Sempronius Vllorxa : all,
I'll once more feast the rascals. Regularity of metre alone would be sufficient to decide in favour of the present text, which, with the second folio, rejects the for. tuitous and unmeaning aggregate of letters-Ullorxa. This Ul. lorxa, however, seems to have been considered as one of the “in. estimable stones, unvalued jewels,” which "emblaze the forehead" of that august publication, the folio, 1623; and has been set, with becoming care, in the text of Mr. Malone. For my own part, like the cock in the fable, I am content to leave this gem on the stercoraceous spot where it was discovered. -Ullorxa (a name unacknowledged by Athens or Rome) must (if meant to have been introduced at all) have been a corruption as gross as others that occur in the same book, where we find Billingsgate in. stead of Basing-stoke; Epton instead of Hyperion; and an ace instead of Até. Types, indeed, shook out of a hat, or shot from a dice-box, would often assume forms as legitimate as the proper names transmitted to us by Messieurs Hemings, Condell and Co. who very probably did not accustom themselves to spell even their own appellations with accuracy, or always in the same manner.
Steevens. shall bruise him.] The old copy reads--shall bruise 'em. The same mistake bas happened often in these plays. In a subsequent line in this scene we have in the old copy-with him, instead of --with 'em. For the correction, which is fully justified by the context, I am answerable. Malone.
Sir Thomas Hanmer also reads--bruise him. Steevens.
1 Sen. Now, captain?
Alcib. I am an humble suitor to your virtues;
setting his fate aside,] i. e. putting this action of his, which was pre-determined by fate, out of the question. Steevens.
1 He is a man, &c.] I have printed these lines after the original copy, except that, for an honour, it is there, and honour. All the latier editions deviate unwarrantably from the original, and give the lines thus :
He is a man, setting his fault aside,
Nor did he soil &c. Johnson. This licentious alteration of the text, with a thousand others of the same kind, was made by Mr. Pope. Malone. 2 And with such sober and unnoted passion
He did behave his anger, ere 'twas spent, &c.] Unnoted for common, bounded. Behave, for curb, manage. Warburton. I would rather read:
and unnoted passion He did behave, ere was his anger spent. Unnoted'passion means, I believe, an uncommon command of his passion, such a one as bas not hitherto been observed. Behare his anger may, however, be right. In Sir W. D'Avenant's play of The Just Italian, 1630, behave is used in as singular a manner:
“How well my stars behave their influence." Again:
You an Italian, sir, and thus • Behave the knowledge of disgrace!” In both these instances, to behave is to manage. Steevens.
“ Unnoted passion,” I believe, means a passion operating inwardly, but not accompanied with any external or boisterous ap
i Sen. You undergo too strict a paradox, 3 Striving to make an ugly deed look fair: Your words have took such pains, as if they labour'd To bring manslaughter into form, set quarrelling Upon the head of valour; which, indeed, Is valour sbegot, and came into the world When sects and factions were newly born: He 's truly valiant, that can wisely suffer The worst that man can breathe ; and make his wrongs His outsides; wear them like his raiment, carelessly;
pearances; so regulated and subdued, that no spectator could mote, or observe, its operation.
The old copy reads-He did behoove &c. which does not afford any very clear meaning. Behave, which Dr. Warburton interprets, manage, was introduced by Mr. Rowe. I doubt the text is not yet right. Our author so very frequently converts nouns into verbs, that I have sometimes thought he might have written “ He did behalve his anger,”-i. e. suppress it. So, Milton:
yet put he not forth all his strength, “ But check'd it mid-way." Berave, however, is used by Spenser, in his Fairy Queen, B. I, c. iii, in a sense that will suit sufficiently with the passage before
“But who his limbs with labours, and his mind
“ Behaves with cares, cannot so easy miss." To behave certainly had formerly a very different signification from that in which it is now used. Cole, in bis Dictionary, 1679, renders it by tracto, which he interprets to govern, or manage,
Malone. On second consideration, the sense of this passage, (however perversely expressed on account of rhyme,) may be this: “He managed his anger with such sober and unnated passion (i. e. suffering, forbearance,? before it was spent, [i. e. before that dispo. sition to endure the insult he had received, was exhausted,] that it seemed as if he had been only engaged in supporting an argument he had advanced in conversation. Passion may as well be used to signify suffering, as any violent commotion of the mind: and that our author was aware of this, may be inferred from his in. troduction of the Latin phrase "hysterica passio,” in King Lear, See also Vol. XIV, p. 11, n. 7. Steevens.
3 You undergo too strict a paradox,] You undertake a parados too hard. Fohnson.
- that man can breathe;] i. e. can utter. So afterwards:
" You breathe in vain." Malone. Again, in Hamlet:
“Having ever seen, in the prenominate crimes,
And ne'er prefer his injuries to his heart,
Alcib. My lord,
You cannot make gross sins look clear; To revenge is no valour, but to bear.
Alcib. My lords, then, under favour, pardon me,
threatnings?) Old copy-threats. This slight, but judicious change, is Sir Thomas Hanmer's. In the next line but one, he also added, for the sake of metre,—but Steevens.
what make we
Fohnson. 7 And th' ass, more captain than the lion; &c.] Here is another arbitrary regulation, (the omission of-captain] the original reads thus :
what make we
If wisdom &c.
what make we
if bearing carry it;] Dr. Johnson, when he proposed to connect this hemistich with the following line instead of the preceding words, seems to have forgot one of our author's favourite propensities. I have no doubt that the present arrangement is right.
Mr. Pope, who rejected whatever he did not like, omitted the words-more captain. They are supported by what Alcibiades has already said:
Loaden with irons, wiser than the judge,
“My lords, then, under favour, pardon me,
“ If I speak like a captain and by Shakspeare's 66th Sonnet, where the word captain is used with at least as much harshness as in the text:
“ And captive good attending captain ill.” Again, in another of his Sonnets:
“ Like stones of worth they thinly placed are,
“Or captain jewels in the carkanet.” Dr. Johnson with great probability proposes to read felon instead of fellow. Malone.
The word captain has been very injudiciously restored. That it cannot be the author's is evident from its spoiling what will otherwise be a metrical line. Nor is his using it elsewhere any proof that he meant to use it here. Ritson.
I have not scrupled to insert Dr. Johnson's emendation, felon, for fellow, in the text; but do not perceive how the line can become strictly metrical by the omission of the word-captain, unless, with Sir Thomas Hanmer, we transpose the conjunctionand, and read:
The ass inore than the lion, and the felon, Stcevens.
sin's extremest gust;] Gust, for aggravation. Warburton. Gust is here in its common sense; the utmost degree of appetite for sin. Fohnson.
I believe gust means rashness. The allusion may be to a sudden gust of wind. Steevens. So we say, it was done in a sudden gust of passion. Malone.
by mercy, 'tis most just.] By mercy is meant equity. But we must read:
'tis made just. Warburton. Mercy is not put for equity. If such explanation be allowed, what can be difficult? The meaning is, I call mercy herself to witness, that defensive violence is just. Fohnson.
The meaning, I think, is, Homicide in our own defence, by a merciful and lenient interpretation of the laws, is considered as justifiable. Malone.
Dr. Johnson's explanation is the more spirited; but a passage in King John should seem to countenance ihat of Mr. Malone:
« Some sins do bear their privilege on earth,
6 And so doth your's .." Stecvens, VOL, XV.