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This play is in the graver part elegant and easy, and in some of the lighter scenes exquisitely humorous. Ague-cheek is drawn with great propri ety, but his character is, in a great measure, that of natural fatuity, and is therefore not the proper prey of a satirist. The soliloquy of Malvolio is truly comic; he is betrayed to ridicule merely by his pride. The marriage of Olivia, and the suc ceeding perplexity, though well enough contrived to divert on the stage, wants credibility, and fails to produce the proper instruction required in the drama, as it exhibits no just picture of life.


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Vincentio, duke of Vienna.

Angelo, lord deputy in the duke's absence. Escalus, an ancient lord, joined with Angelo in the deputation.

Claudio, a young gentleman.

Lucio, a fantastic.

Two other like gentlemen.

Varrius, a gentleman, servant to the duke.

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Elbow, a simple constable.

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.

Juliet, beloved by Claudio.

Francisca, a nun.

Mistress Over-done, a bawd.

Lords, gentlemen, guards, officers, and other at


Scene, Vienna.



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, Would seem in me to affect speech and discourse; Since I am put to know that your own science, Exceeds, in that, the lists of all advice

My strength can give you: then no more remains
But that to your sufficiency, as your worth is able,
And let them work. The nature of our people,
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.

[Exit an attendant.
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
Of our own power: what think you of it?
Escal. If any in Vienna be of worth
To undergo such ample grace and honour,
(1) Bounds.
(2) Full of.

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Look, where he comes.

Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I come to know your pleasure.

There is a kind of character in thy life,
That, to the observer, doth thy history
Fully unfold: thyself and thy belongingsl
Are not thine own so proper,2 as to waste
Thyself upon thy virtues, them on thee.
Heaven doth with us, as we with torches do;
Not light them for themselves: for if our virtues
Did not go forth of us, 'twere all alike

As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
But to fine issues :3 nor nature never lends
The smallest scruple of her excellence,
But, like a thrifty goddess, she determines
Herself the glory of a creditor,

Both thanks and use.4 But I do bend my speech
To one that can my part in him advertise;
Hold therefore, Angelo;

In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Mortality and mercy in Vienna

Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
Though first in question, is thy secondary:
Take thy commission.


Now, good my lord,

Let there be some more test made of my metal, Before so noble and so great a figure

Be stamp'd upon it.


No more evasion:

We have with a leaven'd and prepared choice Proceeded to you; therefore take your honours. Our haste from hence is of so quick condition, That it prefers itself, and leaves unquestion'd

(1) Endowments. (2) So much thy own property. (3) For high purposes. (4) Interest.

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