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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 succeeding 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.
Vincentio, duke of Vienna.
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.
Elbow, a simple constable.
Clown, servant to Mrs. Over-done.
Abhorson, an executioner.
Isabella, sister to Claudio.
Mistress Over-done, a bawd.
Lords, gentlemen, guards, officers, and other at
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
SCENE I.—An apartment in the Duke's palace. Enter Duke, Escalus, Lords, and attendants.
Duke. Of government the properties to unfold,
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.
Look, where he comes.
Ang. Always obedient to your grace's will, I cr to know your pleasure.
As if we had them not. Spirits are not finely touch'd,
Both thanks and use.4 But I do bend my speech
In our remove, be thou at full ourself;
Live in thy tongue and heart: Old Escalus,
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.
Duke. 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.