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Is thick inlaid with patines of bright gold; There's not the smallest orb, which thou be


But in his motion like an angel sings,
Still quiring to the young-ey'd cherubims:
Such harmony is in immortal souls;
But, whilst this muddy vesture of decay
Doth grossly close it in, we cannot hear it.-
Enter Musicians.

Come, ho, and wake Diana with a hymn ;
With sweetest touches pierce your mistress' ear,
And draw her home with music.


Jes. I am never merry, when I hear sweet [Music. Lor. The reason is, your spirits are attentive: For do but note a wild and wanton herd, Or race of youthful and unhandled colts, Fetching mad bounds, bellowing, and neigbing loud,

Which is the hot condition of their blood;
If they but bear perchance a trumpet sound,
Or any air of music touch their ears,
You shall perceive them make a mutual stand,
Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest gaze,
By the sweet power of music: Therefore, the poet
Did feign that Orpheus drew trees, stones, and

Since nought so stockish, hard, and full of rage,
But music for the time doth change his nature:
The man that hath no music in himself,

Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds,
Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils;
The motions of his spirit are dull as night,
And his affections dark as Erebus:
Let no such man be trusted.-Mark the music.

Enter PORTIA and NERISSA at a distance.
Por. That light we see, is burning in my hall.
How far that little candle throws his beams!
So shines a good deed in a naughty world.
Ner. When the moon shone, we did not see
the candle.

Por. So doth the greater glory dim the less: A substitute shines brightly as a king, Until a king be by; and then his state Empties itself, as doth an inland brook Into the main of waters. Music hark!

Ner. It is your music, madam, of the house. Por. Nothing is good, I see, without respect; Methinks, it sounds much sweeter than by day. Ner. Silence bestows that virtue on it, madam. Por. The crow doth sing as sweetly as the lark,

When neither is attended; and, I think,
The nightingale, if she should sing by day,
When every goose is cackling, would be thought
No better a musician than the wren.
How many things by season season'd are
To their right praise and true perfection !-
Peace, hoa! the moon sleeps with Endymion,
And would not be awak'd!

Lor. That is the voice,

[Music ceases.

Or I am much deceiv'd, of Portia.

Lor. Year husband is at hand, I hear his trumpet ;

We are no tell-tales, madam; fear you not. Por. This night, methinks, is but the day light sick,

It looks a little paler; 'tis a day,

Such as the day is, when the sun is hid.

Enter BASSANIO, ANTONIO, GRATIANO, and their Followers.

Bass. We should hold day with the Antipodes,

If you would walk in absence of the sun.
Por. Let me give light, but let me not be

For a light wife doth make a heavy husband,
And never be Bassanio so for me.

But God sort all !-You are welcome home, my lord.

Bass. I thank you, madam: give welcome to my friend.-"

This is the man, this is Antonio,

To whom I am so infinitely bound.

Por. You should in all sense be much bound to him,

For, as I hear, he was much bound for you.
Ant. No more than I am well acquitted of.
Por. Sir, you are very welcome to our house:
It must appear in other ways than words,
Therefore I scant this breathing courtesy.
[GRATIANO and NERISSA seem to talk apart.
Gra. By yonder moon, I swear, you do me

In faith, I gave it to the judge's clerk :
Would he were gelt that had it, for my part,
Since you do take it, love, so much at heart.
Por. A quarrel, ho, already? what's the

Gra. About a hoop of gold, a paltry ring
That she did give me; whose posy was
For all the world, like cutler's poetry
Upon a knife, Love me, and leave me not.

Ner. What, talk you of the posy, or the value?
You swore to me, when I did give it you,
That you would wear it till your hour of death:
And that it should lie with you in your grave:
Though not for me, yet for your vehement oaths,
You should have been respective + and have
kept it.

Gave it a judge's clerk !-but well I know, The clerk will ne'er wear hair on his face that bad it.

Gra. He will, an if he live to be a man.
Ner. Ay, if a woman, live to be a man.
Gra. Now, by this hand, I gave it to a youth,-
A kind of boy; a little scrubbed boy,
No higher than thyself, the judge's clerk;
A prating boy, that begg'd it as a fee;
I could not for my heart deny it him.
Por. You were to blame, I must be plain
with you,

To part so slightly with your wife's first gift;
A thing stuck on with oaths upon your finger,
And riveted so with faith unto your flesh.

Por. He knows me, as the blind man knows I gave my love a ring, and made him swear

the cuckoo,

By the bad voice.

Lor. Dear lady, welcome home.

Por. We have been praying for our husbands' welfare,

Which speed, we hope, the better for our words.
Are they return'd?

Lor. Madam, they are not yet;
But there is come a messenger before,
To signify their coming.

Por. Go in, Nerissa,

Give order to my servants that they take
No note at all of our being absent hence;
Nor you, Lorenzo;-Jessica, nor you.

[A tucket sounds.

A small flat dish, used in the administration of the Eucharist---or, according to Warburton, plates of gold borne in heraldry. t A flourish on a trumpet.

Never to part with it; and here he stands;
I dare be sworn for him, he would not leave it,
Nor pluck it from his finger, for the wealth
That the world masters. Now, in faith, Gratiano,
You give your wife too unkind a cause of grief;
An 'twere to me, I would be mad at it.

Bass. Why, I were best to cut my left hand And swear, I lost the ring defending it. [off,


Gra. My lord Bassanio gave his ring away Unto the judge that begg'd it, and, indeed, Deserv'd it too; and then the boy, his clerk, That took some pains in writing, he begg'd mine: And neither man nor master, would take aught But the two rings.

Por. What ring gave you, my lord?
Not that, I hope, which you receiv'd of me.
Bass. If I could add a lie unto a fault,

Verbal, complimentary form.

+ Regardfu

I would deny it; but you see, my finger
Hath not the ring upon it, it is gone.

Por. Even so void is your false heart of truth.
By heaven I will ne'er come in your bed
Until I see the ring.

Ner. Nor I in your's, Till again see mine.

Bass. Sweet Portia,

If you did know to whom I gave the ring,
If you did know for whom I gave the ring,
And would conceive for what I gave the ring,
And how unwillingly I left the ring,
When naught would be accepted but the ring,
You would abate the strength of your displea-


Por. If you had known the virtue of the ring,
Or half her worthiness that gave the ring,
Or your own honour to contain the ring,
You would not then have parted with the ring.
What man is there so much unreasonable,
If you had pleas'd to have defended it
With any terms of zeal, wanted the modesty
To urge the thing held as a ceremony ?
Nerissa teaches me what to believe;

I'll die for't, but some woman had the ring.
Buss. No, by mine honour, madam, by my

No woman had it, but a civil doctor,

Which did refuse three thousand ducats of me,
And begg'd the ring; the which I did deny him,
And suffer'd him to go displeas'd away;
Even he that had held up the very life

Ant. I once did lend my body for his wealth ; Which, but for him that had your husband's ring, [To PORTIA.

Had quite uniscarried: 1 dare be bound again,
My soul upon the forfeit, that your lord
Will never more break faith advisedly,

Por. Then you shall be his surety: Give him

And bid him keep it better than the other.
Ant. Here, lord Bassanio; swear to keep this

Bass. By heaven, it is the same I gave the

Por. I had it of him: pardon me, Bassanio; For by this ring the doctor lay with me.

Ner. And pardon me, my gentle Gratiano; For that same scrubbed boy, the doctor's clerk, In lieu of this, last night did lie with me.

Gra. Why, this is like the mending of highways

In summer, where the ways are fair enough ; What are we cuckolds, ere we have deserv'd it?

Por. Speak not so grossly.-You are all

Here is a letter, read it at your leisure;
It comes from Padua, from Bellario,
There you shall find, that Portia was the doctor;
Nerissa there, her clerk: Lorenzo here
Shall witness, I set forth as soon as you,
And but even now return'd; I have not yet
Enter'd my house.-Antonio, you are welcome;

Of my dear friend. What should I say, sweet And I have better news in store for you,
lady ?

I was enforc'd to send it after him;

I was beset with shame and courtesy ;

My honour would not let ingratitude

So much besmear it: Pardon me, good lady;
For, by these blessed candles of the night,

Had you been there, I think you would have

The ring of me to give the worthy doctor.

Por. Let not that doctor e'er come near my

Since he hath got the jewel that I lov'd,
And that which you did swear to keep for me,
I will become as liberal as you :

I'll not deny him any thing I have,
No, not my body, nor my husband's bed:
Know him I shall, I am well sure of it:

Lie not a night from home; watch me, like
Argus :

If you do not, if I be left alone,

Now, by mine honour, which is yet my own,
I'll have that doctor for my bedfellow.

Ner. And I his clerk; therefore be well ad-

How you do leave me to mine own protection.
Gra. Well, do you so let me not take him

For, if I do, I'll mar the young clerk's pen.
Ant. I am the unhappy subject of these

Por. Sir, grieve not you; You are welcome

Bass. Portia, forgive me this enforced

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Than you expect: unseal this letter soon;
There you shall find, three of your argosies
Are richly come to harbour suddenly:

You shall not know by what strange accident
I chanced on this letter.

Ant. I am dumb.

Bass. Were you the doctor, and I knew you not?

Gra. Were you the clerk, that is to make me cuckold?

Ner. Ay; but the clerk that never means to do it,

Unless he live until he be a man.

Bass. Sweet doctor, you shall be my bed-

When I am absent, then lie with my wife.
Ant. Sweet lady, you have given me life, and

For here I read for certain, that my ships
Are safely come to road.

Por. How now, Lorenzo?

My clerk hath some good comforts too for you.
Ner. Ay, and I'll give them him without a
There do I give to you, and Jessica, [fee.-
From the rich Jew, a special deed of gift,
After his death, of all he dies possess'd of.
Lor. Fair ladies, you drop mianna in the way
Of starved people.

Por. It is almost morning,
And yet, I am sure, you are not satisfied
Of these events at full: Let us go in;
And charge us there upon intergatories,
And we will answer all things faithfully.

Gra. Let it be so: The first intergatory
That my Nerissa shall be sworn on, is,
Whether till the next night she had rather stay,
Or go to bed now, being two hours to-day:
But were the day come, I should wish it dark,
That I were couching with the doctor's clerk.
Well, while I live, I'll fear no other thing
So sore, as keeping safe Nerissa's ring.

• Advantage.




THE fable of this play (written in 1603) was taken from the Promos and Cassandra of George Whetstone. That production is described as very meagre and insipid, though forming a complete embryo of Measure for Measure; and if the genius of Shakspeare enabled him to avoid the faults of his modelist, by imparting a greater degree of interest to his own drama, it did not give him strength to resist the besetting sin of his pieces---an indulgence in obscenity, buffoonery, and quibble. Some portion of this would naturally result from the indelicate and improbable incident which he took for the ground-work of his plot. Such an occurrence could only be wrought into a catastrophe, by the introduction of agents whom morality condemus, and by the use of allusions at which modesty revolts. But neither the necessities of the story, nor the purposes of entertainment, can justify such a strange admixture of pathetic contingencies and unmeaning trifles---of ennobling sentiment and disgusting ribaldry as are exhibited in this piece. Still the moral is of excellent application; since there are few situations of life in which delegated authority is not capable of abuse. Satire may fail in restraining tyranny, and precept in correcting intolerance; but they teach mankind the ne cessity of caution in conferring power, by shewing "the fantastic tricks" which mortals are prone to play, when "dressed in a little authority," and entrusted with" the thunder of Jove." Though Shakspeare wrote to gratify monarchs, he never descended to palliate oppression; and in the scene between Angelo and Isabella, where the latter pleads for her brother's life, the reader will meet with another eloquent vindication of the principles of justice and humanity---differing from the speech of Portia, on a somewhat similar occasion, but excellently opposed to that mild and dispassionate appeal, by the cutting and indignant sarcasm with which it lashes "the insolence of office." Dr. Johnson animadverts upon the peculiarities of the play, and thus decides upon its merits: "The light or comic part is very natural and pleasing; but the grave scenes (a few passages excepted) have more labour than elegance. The plot is more intricate than artful."

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ESCALUS, an ancient Lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation.

CLAUDIO, a young Gentlemen.

LUCIO, a Fantastic.

Two other like Gentleman.

FROTH, a Foolish Gentleman.
CLOWN, Servant to Mrs. Over-done.
ABHORSON, an Executioner.
BARNARDINE, a dissolute Prisoner.

ISABELLA, Sister to Claudio.
MARIANA, betrothed to Angelo.

VARRIUS, a Gentleman, Servant to the Duke.JULIET, beloved by Claudio,





Lords, Gentlemen, Guards, Officers, and other Attendunts.

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ELBOW, a simple Constable.

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But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,

DUKE'S And let them work. The nature of our people,

Our city's institutions, and the terms

Enter DUKE, ESCALUS, Lords, and Atten- For common justice, you are as pregnant + in,

Duke. Escalus,

Escal. My lord.


As art and practice hath enriched any
That we remember: There is our commission,
From which we would not have you warp.-
Call bither,

Duke. Of government the properties to un-I say, bid come before us Angelo.


Would seem in me to affect speech and dis

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[Exit an Attendant.
What figure of us think you he will bear?
Elected him our absence to supply;
For you must know, we have with special scal

Leut him our terror, drest him with our love;

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