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(As I have heard him swear himself, there's one
Lucio. I beseech your highness, do not marry me to a whore! Your highness said even now, I made you a duke; good my lord, do not recompense me in making me a cuckold. Duke. Upon mine honour thou shalt marry
her. Thy slanders I forgive: and therewithal Remit thy other forfeits 48 :—Take him to prison: And see our pleasure herein executed.
Lucio. Marrying a punk, my lord, is pressing to death, whipping, and hanging.
Duke. Sland'ring a prince deserves it. She, Claudio, that you wrong'd, look you restore.Joy to you, Mariana !—love her, Angelo; I have confess’d her, and I know her virtue.Thanks, good friend Escalus, for thy much good
There's more behind, that is more gratulate 49.
49 i. e.
48 • Remit thy other forfeits. Dr. Johnson says, forfeits mean punishments, but is it not more likely to signify misdoings, transgressions, from the French forfait ? Steevens's Note affords instances of the word in this sense.
e. more to be rejoiced in. As Steevens rightly explained it. Dr. Johnson's proposed arrangement of the text is very plausible ; for it is evident, from the context, that this gratulation which is yet behind relates to Isabel, and not to Escalus, as Mason had imagined. In the Dedication to 'Lambarde’s Archeion,' which is dated 1591, the word occurs in this sense: 'to gratulate unto you that honourable place whereunto you are right worthily advanced. Reward must be a very unusual meaning of the word, for gratulatio is explained in Hutton's Dictionary, 1583, ‘Rejoysing in ones behalfe: gratulation, thankes giving.'
The head of Ragozine for Claudio's;
The novel of Giraldi Cinthio, from which Shakspeare is supposed to have borrowed this fable, may be read in Shakspeare Illustrated, elegantly translated, with remarks, which will assist the inquirer to discover how much absurdity Shakspeare has admitted or avoided. · I cannot but suspect that some other had new-modelled the novel of Cinthio, or written a story which in some particulars resembled it, and that Cinthio was not the author whom Shakspeare immediately followed. The Emperor in Cinthio is named Maximine: the Duke, in Shakspeare's enumeration of the persons of the drama, is called Vincentio. This appears a very slight remark; but since the Duke has no name in the play, nor is ever mentioned but by his title, why should he be called Vincentio among the persons, but because the name was copied from the story, and placed superfluously at the head of the list by the mere habit of transcription? It is therefore likely that there was then a story of Vincentio, Dake of Vienna, different from that of Maximine, Emperor of the Romans.
Of this play, the light or comick part is very natural and pleasing, but the grave scenes, if a few passages be excepted, have more labour than elegance. The plot is rather intricate than artful. The time of the action is indefinite; some time, we know not how much, must have elapsed between the recess of the Duke and the imprisonment of Claudio; for he must have learned the story of Mariana in his disguise, or he delegated his power to a man already known to be corrupted.* The unities of action and place are sufficiently preserved. JOHNSON.
* The Duke probably had learnt the story of Mariana in some of his former retirements, ‘having ever loved the life removed.' And he had a suspicion that Angelo was but a seemer, and therefore stays to watch him.
Much Ado about Nothing.
PRELIMINARY REMARKS. It is said that the main plot of this play is derived from the story of Ariodante and Ginevra, in the fifth book of Ariosto’s Orlando Furioso. Something similar may also be found in the fourth canto of the second book of Spenser's Faerie Queene; but a novel of Bandello's, copied by Belleforest in his Tragical Histories, seems to have furnished Shakspeare with the fable. It approaches nearer to the play in all particulars than any other performance hitherto discovered. No translation of it into English has, however, yet been met with.
The incidents of this play produce a striking effect on the stage, where it has ever been one of the most popular of Shakspeare's Comedies. The sprightly wit-encounters between Benedick and Beatrice, and the blundering simplicity of those inimitable men in office Dogberry and Verges relieve the serious parts of the play, which might otherwise have seemed too serious for comedy. There is a deep and touching interest excited for the innocent and much injured Hero, whose justification is brought about by one of those temporary consignments to the grave, of which Shakspeare appears to have been fond. In answer to Steevens's objection to the same artifice being made use of to entrap both the lovers, Schlegel observes that 'the drollery lies in the very symmetry of the deception. Their friends attribute the whole effect to themselves; but the exclusive direction of their raillery against each other is a proof of their growing inclination.'
This play is supposed to have been written in 1600, in which year it was first published.