Illustrations of Shakspeare, and of Ancient Manners: with Dissertations on the Clowns and Fools of Shakspeare; on a Collection of Popular Tales Entitled Gesta Romanorum; and on the English Morris dance. by Douce, Francis




[Illustration: _Published by T. Tegg Cheapside, Sept.ʳ 1839._]




















The practice, and also the necessity of explaining the writings of Shakspeare, have already been so ably defended by former commentators, that no other apology on the part of those who may elect to persevere in this kind of labour seems to be necessary than with regard to the qualifications of the writer: but as no one in this case perhaps ever thought, or at least should think, himself incompetent to the task assumed of instructing or amusing others, it may be as well, on the present occasion, to waive altogether such a common-place intrusion on the reader's time. It is enough to state that accident had given birth to a considerable portion of the following pages, and that design supplied the rest. The late Mr. Steevens had already in a manner too careless for his own reputation, and abundantly too favourable to his friend, presented to public view such of the author's remarks as were solely put together for the private use and consideration of that able critic. The former wish of their compiler has, with the present opportunity, been accomplished; that is, some of them withdrawn, and others, it is hoped, rendered less exceptionable.

The readers of Shakspeare may be properly divided into three classes. The first, as they travel through the text, appeal to each explanation of a word or passage as it occurs. The second read a large portion of the text, or perhaps the whole, uninterruptedly, and then consult the notes; and the third reject the illustrations altogether. Of these the second appear to be the most rational. The last, with all their affectation, are probably the least learned, but will undoubtedly remain so; and it may be justly remarked on this occasion, in the language of the writer who has best illustrated the principles of taste, that "the pride of science is always meek and humble compared with the pride of ignorance." He, who at this day can entirely comprehend the writings of Shakspeare without the aid of a comment, and frequently of laborious illustration, may be said to possess a degree of inspiration almost commensurate with that of the great bard himself. Mr. Steevens has indeed summed up every necessary argument in his assertion that "if Shakspeare is worth reading, he is worth explaining; and the researches used for so valuable and elegant a purpose, merit the thanks of genius and candour, not the satire of prejudice and ignorance."

The indefatigable exertions of Messrs. Steevens, Malone, Tyrwhitt, and Mason, will ever be duly appreciated by the true and zealous admirers of Shakspeare's pages. If the name of a celebrated critic and moralist be not included on this occasion, it is because he was certainly unskilled in the knowledge of obsolete customs and expressions. His explanatory notes therefore are, generally speaking, the most controvertible of any; but no future editor will discharge his duty to the public who shall omit a single sentence of this writer's masterly preface, or of his sound and tasteful characters of the plays of Shakspeare. Of all the commentators Dr. Warburton was surely the worst. His sentiments indeed have been seldom exhibited in modern editions but for the purpose of confuting them.

The wide dispersion of those materials which are essential to the illustration of inquiries like the present, will necessarily frustrate every endeavour at perfection; a circumstance that alone should teach every one discussing these difficult and obscure subjects, to speak of them with becoming diffidence. The present writer cannot flatter himself that he has uniformly paid a strict attention to this rule; the ardour of conjecture may have sometimes led him, in common with others, to forget the precepts he had himself laid down.

It may be thought by some, and even with great justice, that several of the corrections are trifling and unimportant; but even these may perhaps be endured wherever it shall be manifest that their object, and it is hoped their effect, has been to remove error and establish truth; a matter undoubtedly of some consequence in the school of criticism. One design of this volume has been to augment the knowledge of our popular customs and antiquities, in which respect alone the writings of Shakspeare have suggested better hints, and furnished ampler materials than those of any one besides. Other digressions too have been introduced, as it was conceived that they might operate in diminishing that tedium which usually results from an attention to matters purely critical; and that whilst there was almost a certainty of supplying some amusement, there might even be a chance of conveying instruction. Sometimes there has been a necessity for stepping in between two contending critics; and for showing, as in the case of many other disputes, that both parties are in the wrong.

Some excuse may seem necessary for obtruding on the reader so many passages from what Mr. Steevens has somewhere called "books too mean to be formally quoted." And yet the wisest among us may be often benefited by the meanest productions of human intellect, if, like medicinal poisons, they be administered with skill. It had escaped the recollection of the learned and accomplished commentator that he had himself condescended to examine a multitude of volumes of the above class, and even to use them with advantage to his readers in the course of his notes.

With respect to what is often absurdly denominated _black letter_ learning, the taste which prevails in the present times for this sort of reading, wherever true scholarship and a laudable curiosity are found united, will afford the best reply to the hyper-criticisms and impotent sarcasms of those who, having from indolence or ignorance neglected to cultivate so rich a field of knowledge, exert the whole of their endeavours to depreciate its value. Are the earlier labours of our countrymen, and especially the copious stores of information that enriched the long and flourishing reign of Elizabeth, to be rejected because they are recorded in a particular typography?

Others again have complained of the redundancy of the commentators, and of an affected display of learning to explain terms and illustrate matters of obvious and easy comprehension. This may sometimes have been the case; but it were easier to show that too little, and not too much, has been attempted on many of these occasions. An eminent critic has declared that "if every line of Shakspeare's plays were accompanied with a comment, every intelligent reader would be indebted to the industry of him who produced it." Shakspeare indeed is not more obscure than contemporary writers; but he is certainly much better worth illustrating. The above objectors, affectedly zealous to detect the errors of other men, but more frequently betraying their own self-sufficiency and over-weening importance, seem to forget that comments and illustrations are designed for the more ignorant class of readers, who are always the most numerous; and that very few possess the happiness and advantage of being wise or learned.

It might be thought that in the following pages exemplifications of the senses of words have been sometimes unnecessarily introduced where others had already been given; but this has only been done where the new ones were deemed of greater force or utility than the others, or where they were supposed to be really and intrinsically curious. Some of the notes will require that the _whole_ of others which they advert to, should be examined in Mr. Steevens's edition; but these were not reprinted, as they would have occupied a space much too unreasonable.

At the end of every play in which a fool or clown is introduced there will be found particular and discriminative notice of a character which some may regard as by no means unworthy of such attention.

The Dissertations which accompany this work will, it is hoped, not be found misplaced nor altogether uninteresting. The subject of the first of them, though often introduced into former notes on the plays of Shakspeare and other dramatic writers, had been but partially and imperfectly illustrated. The _Gesta Romanorum_, to which _The Merchant of Venice_ has been so much indebted for the construction of its story, had, it is true, been already disserted on by Mr. Warton with his accustomed elegance; but it will be found that he had by no means exhausted the subject. The _morris dance_, so frequently alluded to in our old plays, seemed to require and deserve additional researches.

This preface shall not be concluded without embracing the opportunity of submitting a very few hints to the consideration of all future editors of Shakspeare.

It were much to be wished that the text of an author, and more especially that of our greatest dramatic writer, could be altered as seldom as possible by conjectural emendation, or only where it is manifestly erroneous from typographical causes. The readers of Dr. Bentley's notes on Milton will soon be convinced of the inexpediency of the former of these practices, and of what little importance are the conjectures of the mere scholar, when unaccompanied by skill and judgement to direct them.

As the information on a particular subject has been hitherto frequently dispersed in separate notes, and consequently remains imperfect in each of them, would it not be more desirable to concentrate this scattered intelligence, or even to reduce it to a new form, to be referred to whenever necessary?

Although the strict restitution of the old orthography is not meant to be insisted on, nor would indeed accommodate the generality of readers, there are many instances in which it should be stated in the notes; and such will occur to every skilful editor.

Every word or passage that may be substituted in the text in the room of others to be found in any of the old editions should be printed in Italics, and assigned to its proper owner, with a reason for its preference to the originals. The mention of variations in the old copies must of course be left to an editor's discretion. No disparagement is meant to the memory or talents of one of the greatest of men, when a protest is here entered against "the text of Dr. Johnson." It is to be regretted that all editions of Shakspeare, as well as of other dramatic writers, have not marginal references to the acts and scenes of each play. Those of Bell and Stockdale are, in this respect, preeminently useful. The time and trouble that would be saved in consulting them would be very considerable.

The Edition of Shakspeare used in the compilation of this volume, and to which the pages cited refer, is the last published by Mr. Steevens himself, in fifteen volumes 8vo, 1793; but in order to facilitate a reference to most other editions, the acts and scenes of the plays are specified.






SCENE 1. Page 9.

ANT. We are _merely_ cheated of our lives----

Mr. Steevens has remarked that _merely_ in this place signifies _absolutely_. His interpretation is confirmed by the word _merus_ in Littelton's dictionary, where it is rendered _downright_.

SCENE 2. Page 10.

MIRA. ... a brave vessel, Who had, no doubt, some _noble creatures_ in her.

There is a peculiar propriety in this expression that has escaped the notice it deserved. Miranda had as yet seen no other _man_ than her father. She had perceived, but indistinctly, some living creatures perish in the shipwreck; and she supposes they might be of her father's species. Thus she afterwards, when speaking of Ferdinand, calls him _noble_.

SCENE 2. Page 11.

MIRA. ... or _e'er_ It should the good ship, &c.

This word should always be written _ere_, and not _ever_, nor contractedly _e'er_, with which it has no connection. It is pure Saxon, æꞃ. The corruption in Ecclesiastes cited in the note, is as old as the time of Henry the Eighth; but in Wicliffe we have properly "_er_ be to broke the silveren corde," and so it is given by Chaucer.

SCENE 2. Page 20.

PRO. Bore us some leagues to sea; where they prepar'd A rotten carcass of a boat, not rigg'd, Nor tackle, sail, nor mast----

The present note is more particularly offered to the admirers of ancient romances, and to which class Shakspeare himself, no doubt, belonged. It is well known that the earliest English specimen of these singular and fascinating compositions is the _Geste of king Horn_, which has been faithfully published by the late Mr. Ritson, who has given some account of a French copy in the British Museum. He did not live to know that another manuscript of this interesting romance, in the same language, is still remaining in private hands, very different in substance and construction from the other. One might almost conclude that some English translation of it existed in Shakspeare's time, and that he had in the above passage imitated the following description of the boat in which Horn and his companions were put by king Rodmund at the suggestion of Browans,

"Sire, fet il purnez un de vos vielz chalanz Metez icels valez ki jo vei ici estanz Kil naient avirum dunt aseient aidanz Sigle ne guvernad dunt il seint vaianz."

l. 58.

That is,

"Sir, said he, take one of your old boats, put into it these varlets whom I see here; let them have no oars to help them, sail nor rudder to put them in motion."

SCENE 2. Page 26.

ARI. ... sometimes I'd _divide_ And burn in many places; on the top-mast, The yards and bowsprit, would I flame distinctly, Then _meet and join_----

This is a very elegant description of a meteor well known to sailors. It has been called by the several names of the fire of _Saint Helen_, _Saint Elm_, _Saint Herm_, _Saint Clare_, _Saint Peter_, and _Saint Nicholas_. Whenever it appeared as a single flame it was supposed by the ancients to be _Helena_, the sister of Castor and Pollux, and in this state to bring ill luck, from the calamities which this lady is known to have caused in the Trojan war. When it came double it was called Castor and Pollux, and accounted a good omen. It has been described as a little blaze of fire, sometimes appearing by night on the tops of soldiers' lances, or at sea on masts and sail-yards whirling and leaping in a moment from one place to another. Some have said, but erroneously, that it never appears but _after_ a tempest. It is also supposed to lead people to suicide by drowning.

Further information on the subject may be collected from Plin. _Hist. nat._ 1. ii. c. 37. Seneca _Quæst. nat._ c. 1. Erasm. _Colloq. in naufragio._ Schotti. _Physica curiosa_, p. 1209. Menage _Dict. etym._ v. _Saint Telme._ Cotgrave _Dict._ v. _feu_, _furole_. Trevoux _Dict._ v. _furole_. _Lettres de_ Bergerac, p. 45. Eden's _Hist. of travayle_, fo. 432 b. 433 b. Camerarii _Horæ subsecivæ_ iii. 53. Cambray _Voy. dans la Finisterre_ ii. 296. Swan's _Speculum mundi_ p. 89. Shakspeare seems to have consulted Stephen Batman's _Golden books of the leaden goddes_, who, speaking of Castor and Pollux, says "they were figured like two lampes or cresset lightes, one on the toppe of a maste, the other on the stemme or foreshippe." He adds that if the light first appears in the stem or foreship and ascends upwards, it is good luck; if _either lights begin at the top-mast, bowsprit_ or foreship, and descend towards the sea, _it is a sign of tempest_. In taking therefore the latter position, Ariel had fulfilled the commands of Prospero to raise a storm.

SCENE 2. Page 28.

ARI. From the still-vext _Bermoothes_----

_The voyage of Sir George Sommers_ to the Bermudas in the year 1609 has been already noticed with a view of ascertaining the _time_ in which _The tempest_ was written; but the important particulars of his _shipwreck_, from which it is exceedingly probable that the outline of a considerable part of this play was borrowed, has been unaccountably overlooked. Several contemporary narratives of the above event were published, which Shakspeare might have consulted; and the conversation of the time might have furnished, or at least suggested, some particulars that are not to be found in any of the printed accounts. In 1610 Silvester Jourdan, an eyewitness, published _A discovery of the Barmudas, otherwise called the_ ISLE OF DIVELS: _By Sir Thomas Gates, Sir Geo. Sommers, and Captayne Newport, with divers others._ Next followed Strachey's _Proceedings of the English colonie in Virginia_ 1612, 4to, and some other pamphlets of less moment. From these accounts it appears that the Bermudas had never been inhabited, but regarded as _under the influence of inchantment_; though an addition to a subsequent edition of Jourdan's work gravely states that they are _not inchanted_; that Sommers's ship had been _split_ between two rocks; that during his stay on the island several _conspiracies_ had taken place; and that a _sea-monster in shape like a man_ had been seen, who had been so called after the _monstrous tempests_ that often happened at Bermuda. In Stowe's Annals we have also an account of Sommers's shipwreck, in which this important passage occurs, "Sir George Sommers sitting at the stearne, seeing the ship desperate of reliefe, looking every minute when the ship would sinke, hee espied land, which according to his and Captaine Newport's opinion, they judged it should be that dreadfull coast of the _Bermodes_, which iland were of all nations said and supposed to bee _inchanted and inhabited with witches and devills_, which grew by reason of accustomed monstrous thunder, storm, and _tempest_, neere unto those ilands, also for that the whole coast is so wonderous dangerous of rockes, that few can approach them, but with unspeakable hazard of _ship-wrack_." Now if some of these circumstances in the shipwreck of Sir George Sommers be considered, it may possibly turn out that _they_ are "the particular and recent event which determined Shakspeare to call his play _The tempest_,"[1] instead of "the great tempest of 1612," which has already been supposed to have suggested its name, and which might have happened after its composition. If this be the fact the play was written between 1609 and 1614 when it was so illiberally and invidiously alluded to in Ben Jonson's Bartholomew-fair.

SCENE 2. Page 30.

PRO. What is't thou can'st demand?

ARI. ... My liberty.

PRO. Before the time be out? no more.

The spirits or familiars attending on magicians were always impatient of confinement. Thus we are told that the spirit Balkin is wearied if the action wherein he is employed continue longer than an hour; and therefore the magician must be careful to dismiss him. The form of such a dismission may be seen in Scot's _Discovery of witchcraft_, edit. 1665, folio, p. 228.

SCENE 2. Page 35.

PRO. ... My _quaint_ Ariel.

Quaint here means _brisk_, _spruce_, _dexterous_. From the French _cointe_.

SCENE 2. Page 35.

CAL. As wicked dew as e'er my mother brush'd With raven's feather from unwholsome fen, Drop on you both! a south-west blow on you, And blister you all o'er!

The following passage in Batman _uppon Bartholome his booke De proprietatibus rerum_, 1582, folio, will not only throw considerable light on these lines, but furnish at the same time grounds for a conjecture that Shakspeare was indebted to it, with a slight alteration, for the name of Caliban's mother Sycorax the witch. "The raven is called corvus of CORAX ... it is said that _ravens birdes_ be fed with _deaw_ of heaven all the time that they have no black _feathers_ by benefite of age." Lib. xii. c. 10. The same author will also account for the choice which is made, in the monster's speech, of the _South-west wind_. "This _Southern wind_ is hot and moyst.... _Southern winds_ corrupt and destroy; they heat and maketh men fall into sicknesse." Lib. xi. c. 3. It will be seen in the course of these notes that Shakspeare was extremely well acquainted with this work; and as it is likely hereafter to form an article in a Shakspearean library, it may be worth adding that in a private diary written at the time, the original price of the volume appears to have been eight shillings.

SCENE 2. Page 36.

PRO. ... _urchins_ Shall, for that vast of night that they may work, All exercise on thee.

Although _urchins_ sometimes means hedge-hogs, it is more probable that in this place they denote fairies or spirits, and that Mr. Malone is right in the explanation which he has given. The present writer's former note must therefore be cancelled, as should, according to his conception, such part of Mr. Steevens's as relates to the hedge-hog. The same term both in the next act, and in the _Merry Wives of Windsor_, is used in a similar sense.

Mr. Steevens in a note on this word in the last mentioned play has observed that the _primitive_ sense of _urchin_ is a hedge-hog, whence it came, says he, to signify any thing dwarfish. There is however good reason for supposing it of Celtic origin. _Erch_ in Welsh, is _terrible_, and _urzen_, a _superior intelligence_. In the Bas Breton language _urcha_ signifies to _howl_. "_Urthinwad Elgin_," says Scot in his _Discovery of witchcraft_, p. 224, edit. 1665, "was a spirit in the days of King Solomon, came over with Julius Cæsar, and remained many hundred years in Wales, where he got the above name."

The _urchin_ or _irchin_, in the sense of a hedge-hog, is certainly derived from the Latin _ericeus_; and whoever is desirous of more information concerning the radical of _ericeus_ may be gratified by consulting Vossius's _Etymologicon_ v. _erinaceus_. With respect to the application of urchin to any thing dwarfish, for we still say a _little urchin_, this sense of the word seems to have originated rather from the circumstance of its having once signified a fairy, who is always supposed to be a diminutive being, than from the cause assigned by Mr. Steevens.

It is true that in the ensuing act Caliban speaks of Prospero's _spirits_ as attacking him _in the shape of hedge-hogs_, for which another reason will be offered presently; and yet the word in question is only one out of many used by Shakspeare, which may be best disposed of by concluding that he designed they should be taken in both or either of their senses.

In a very rare old collection of songs set to music by John Bennett, Edward Piers or Peirce, and Thomas Ravenscroft, composers in the time of Shakspeare, and entitled _Hunting_, _hawking_, _dauncing_, _drinking_, _enamoring_, 4to, no date, there are, the _fairies_ dance, the _elves_ dance, and the _urchins_ dance. This is the latter:

"By the moone we sport and play, With the night begins our day; As we friske the dew doth fall, Trip it little _urchins_ all, Lightly as the little bee, Two by two, and three by three, And about goe wee, goe wee."

SCENE 2. Page 40.

CAL. It would control my dam's God _Setebos_.

In Dr. Farmer's note it should have been added that the passage from Eden's _History of travayle_ was part of Magellan's _Voyage_; or in Mr. Tollet's, that Magellan was included in Eden's collection.

SCENE 2. Page 42.

ARI. Those are pearls, that were his eyes.

We had already had this image in King Richard the third, where Clarence, describing his dream, says:

"... in those holes Where eyes did once inhabit, there were crept (As 'twere in scorn of eyes) reflecting gems."

SCENE 2. Page 44.

MIRA ... What is't, a spirit? Lord, how it looks about! Believe me, sir, It carries a brave form.

The incident of Miranda's surprise at the first sight of Ferdinand, and of her falling in love with him, might have been suggested by some lost translation of the 13th tale in the _Cento novelle antiche_, and which is in fact the subject of _father Philip's geese_, so admirably told by Boccaccio and Lafontaine. It seems to have been originally taken from the life of Saint Barlaam in _The golden legend_.


SCENE 1. Page 54.

GON. How _lush_ and lusty the grass looks!

_Lush_, as Mr. Malone observes, has not yet been rightly interpreted. It is, after all, an old word synonymous with _loose_. In the _Promptuarium parvulorum_ 1516, 4to, we find "_lushe or slacke, laxus_." The quotation from Golding, who renders _turget_ by this word, confirms the foregoing definition, and demonstrates that as applied to grass, it means _loose or swollen_, thereby expressing the state of that vegetable when, the fibres being relaxed, it expands to its fullest growth.

SCENE 2. Page 76.

CAL. Sometime like _apes_, that moe and chatter at me And after bite me; then like _hedge-hogs_, which Lie _tumbling_ in my barefoot way----

Shakspeare, who seems to have been well acquainted with Bishop Harsnet's _Declaration of Popish impostures_, has here recollected that part of the work where the author, speaking of the supposed possession of young girls, says, "they make anticke faces, _girn, mow and mop like an ape, tumble like a hedge-hogge_, &c." Another reason for the introduction of urchins or hedge-hogs into this speech is, that on the first discovery of the Bermudas, which, as has been already stated, gave rise in part to this play, they were supposed to be "haunted as all men know with _hogs_ and hobgoblings." See Dekkar's _Strange horserace_, &c. sign. f. 3. b. and Mr. Steevens's note in p. 28.

SCENE 2. Page 77.

TRIN. A strange fish! Were I in England now (as once I was) and had but this fish painted, not a holiday fool there but would give a piece of silver: there would this monster make a man; any strange beast there makes a man: when they will not give a doit to relieve a lame beggar, they will lay out ten to see a dead Indian.

This speech happily ridicules the mania that appears to have always existed among our countrymen for beholding strange sights, however trifling. A contemporary writer and professor of divinity has been no less severe. Speaking of the crocodile, he says, "Of late years there hath been brought into England, the cases or skinnes of such crocodiles to be seene, and much money given for the sight thereof; the policy of strangers laugh at our folly, either that we are too wealthy, or else that we know not how to bestow our money." Batman _uppon Bartholome_, fo. 359 b.

SCENE 2. Page 82.

STE. This _mooncalf_.

The best account of this fabulous substance may be found in Drayton's poem with that title.

SCENE 2. Page 83.

STE. I was the _man in the moon_.

This is a very old superstition founded, as Mr. Ritson has observed, on _Numbers_ xv. 32. See _Ancient songs_, p. 34. So far the tradition is still preserved among nurses and schoolboys; but how the culprit came to be imprisoned in the moon, has not yet been accounted for. It should seem that he had not merely gathered sticks on the sabbath, but that he had _stolen_ what he gathered, as appears from the following lines in Chaucer's _Testament of Creseid_, where the poet, describing the moon, informs us that she had

"On her brest a chorle painted ful even, Bearing a bush of thorns on his backe, Which for his _theft_ might clime no ner the heven."

We are to suppose that he was doomed to perpetual confinement in this planet, and precluded from every possibility of inhabiting the mansions of the just. With the Italians Cain appears to have been the offender, and he is alluded to in a very extraordinary manner by Dante in the twentieth canto of the _Inferno_, where the moon is described by the periphrasis _Caino e le spine_. One of the commentators on that poet says, that this alludes to the popular opinion of Cain loaded with the bundle of faggots, but how he procured them we are not informed. The Jews have some Talmudical story that Jacob is in the moon, and they believe that his face is visible. The natives of Ceylon, instead of a man, have placed a hare in the moon; and it is said to have got there in the following manner. Their great Deity Budha when a hermit on earth lost himself one day in a forest. After wandering about in great distress he met a hare, who thus addressed him: "It is in my power to extricate you from your difficulty; take the path on your right hand, and it will lead you out of the forest." "I am greatly obliged to you, Mr. Hare," said Budha, "but I am unfortunately very poor and very hungry, and have nothing to offer you in reward for your kindness." "If you are hungry," returned the hare, "I am again at your service; make a fire, kill me, roast me, and eat me." Budha made the fire, and the hare instantly jumped into it. Budha now exerted his miraculous powers, snatched the animal from the flames, and threw him into the moon, where he has ever since remained. This is from the information of a learned and intelligent French gentleman recently arrived from Ceylon, who adds that the Cingalese would often request of him to permit them to look for the hare through his telescope, and exclaim in raptures, that they saw it. It is remarkable that the Chinese represent the moon by a rabbit pounding rice in a mortar. Their mythological moon Jut-ho is figured by a beautiful young woman with a double sphere behind her head, and a rabbit at her feet. The period of this animal's gestation is thirty days; may it not therefore typify the moon's revolution round the earth?

SCENE 2. Page 86.

CAL. Nor _scrape-trenchering_, nor wash-dish.

_Scraping trenchers_ was likewise a scholastic employment at college, if we may believe the illiterate parson in the pleasant comedy of _Cornelianum dolium_, where speaking of his haughty treatment of the poor scholars whom he had distanced in getting possession of a fat living, he says, "Illi inquam, qui ut mihi narrârunt, quadras adipe illitas deglubere sunt coacti, quamdiu inter academicas ulnas manent, dapsili more à me nutriti sunt, saginati imò &c." It was the office too of apprentices. In _The life of a satirical puppy called Nim_, 1657, 12mo, a citizen describes how long "he bore the water tankard, _scrap't trenchers_, and made clean shoes."


SCENE 1. Page 91.

FER. This wooden slavery, than _I would_ suffer.

The old copy reads _than to suffer_, which, however ungrammatical, is justly maintained by Mr. Malone to be Shakspeare's language, and ought therefore to be restored. Mr. Steevens objects on the score of _defective_ metre: but this is not the case; the metre, however rugged, is certainly _perfect_.

SCENE 1. Page 92.

MIRA. I am your wife, if you will marry me; If not, I'll die your maid: to be your fellow You may deny me; but I'll be your servant Whether you will or no.

Mr. Malone has cited a very apposite passage from Catullus, but Shakspeare had probably on this occasion the pathetic old poem of _The nut-brown maid_ in his recollection.

SCENE 2. Page 94.

STE. Thy eyes are almost set in thy head.

TRIN. Where should they be set else? he were a brave monster indeed, if they were set in his tail.

The curious reader may nevertheless be gratified with a ludicrous instance of _eyes set in the tail_, if he can procure a sight of the first cut in Caxton's edition of _Æsop's fables_. In the mean time he is referred to the _genuine_ chap. xx. of Planudes's life of that fabulist, which is generally omitted in the modern editions.

SCENE 2. Page 97.

CAL. What a py'd ninny's this? thou scurvy patch!

Dr. Johnson would transfer this speech to Stephano, on the ground that Caliban could know nothing of the costume of fools. This objection is fairly removed by Mr. Malone; besides which it may be remarked that at the end of the play Caliban specifically calls Trinculo a _fool_. The modern managers will perhaps be inclined for the future to dress this character in the proper habit.

SCENE 2. Page 100.

CAL. Will you _troll_ the catch----

_Troll_ is from the French _trôler_, to _lead_, _draw_, or _drag_, and this sense particularly applies to a catch, in which one part is sung after the other, one of the singers leading off. The term is _sometimes_ used as Mr. Steevens has explained it. Littelton renders _to troll along his words_, by _volubiliter loqui sive rotundè_. _Trolling_ for fish, is drawing the bait along in the water, to imitate the swimming of a real fish.

SCENE 2. Page 104.

SEB. ... in _Arabia_ There is one tree, the Phœnix' throne, _one phœnix_ At this hour reigning there.

Bartholomæus _De propriet. rerum_, speaking of _Arabia_, says, "there breedeth a birde that is called _Phœnix_;" and from what has already been said of this book, it was probably one of Shakspeare's authorities on the occasion.

SCENE 2. Page 106.

GON. Who would believe that there were mountaineers, Dewlapp'd like bulls, whose throats had hanging at them Wallets of flesh? or that there were such men, _Whose heads stood in their breasts?_

The "dewlapp'd mountaineers" are shown to have been borrowed from Maundeville's travels, and the same author doubtless supplied the other monsters. In the edition printed by Thomas Este, without date, is the following passage: "In another ile dwell men that have no heads, and their eyes are in their shoulders, _and their mouth is on their breast_." A cut however which occurs in this place is more to the purpose, and might have saved our poet the trouble of consulting the text, for it represents a complete head with eyes, nose, and mouth, placed on the breast and stomach.


SCENE 1. Page 122.

CER. Hail many-coloured messenger, that ne'er Dost disobey the wife of Jupiter; Who with thy saffron wings upon my flowers Diffusest honey-drops, refreshing showers; And with each end of thy blue bow dost crown My bosky acres----

An elegant expansion of these lines in Phaer's _Virgil. Æn._ end of book 4.

"Dame rainbow down therefore with safron wings of dropping showres. Whose face a thousand sundry hewes against the sunne devoures, From heaven descending came----"

SCENE 1. Page 131.

ARI. ... so I charm'd their ears, That calf-like, they my lowing follow'd through Tooth'd briers, sharp furzes, pricking goss and thorns Which enter'd their frail skins.

Dr. Johnson has introduced a passage from Drayton's _Nymphidia_, as resembling the above description. It is still more like an incident in the well known story of the _friar and the boy_.

"Jacke toke his pype and began to blowe Then the frere, as I trowe, Began to daunce soone; The breres scratched hym in the face And in many another place That the blode brast out, He daunced among thornes thycke In many places they dyde hym prycke, &c."

SCENE 1. Page 136.

CAL. And all be turn'd to _barnacles_, or apes.

Mr. Collins's note, it is presumed, will not be thought worth retaining in any future edition. His account of the barnacle is extremely confused and imperfect. He makes Gerarde responsible for an opinion not his own; he substitutes the name of Holinshed for that of Harrison, whose statement is not so ridiculous as Mr. Collins would make it, and who might certainly have seen the feathers of the barnacles hanging out of the shells, as the _fish barnacle_ or _Lepas anatifera_ is undoubtedly furnished with a _feathered_ beard. The real absurdity was the credulity of Gerarde and Harrison in supposing that the barnacle goose was really produced from the shell of the fish. Dr. Bullein not only believed this himself, but bestows the epithets, _ignorant_ and _incredulous_ on those who did not; and in the same breath he maintains that crystal is nothing more than ice. See his _Bulwarke of defence_, &c. 1562, Folio, fo. 12. Caliban's barnacle is the _clakis_ or tree-goose. Every kind of information on the subject may be found in the _Physica curiosa_ of Gaspar Schot the Jesuit, who with great industry has collected from a multitude of authors whatever they had written concerning it. See lib. ix. c. 22. The works of Pennant and Bewick will supply every deficiency with respect to _rational_ knowledge.


SCENE 1. Page 140.

PRO. Ye _elves_ of hills----

The different species of the fairy tribe are called in the Northern languages _ælfen_, _elfen_, and _alpen_, words of remote and uncertain etymology. The Greek ολβιος, _felix_, is not so plausible an original as the Teutonic _helfen_, _juvare_; because many of these supernatural beings were supposed to be of a mischievous nature, but all of them might very properly be invoked to assist mankind. Some of the northern nations regarded them as the souls of men who in this world had given themselves up to corporeal pleasures, and trespasses against human laws. It was conceived therefore that they were doomed to wander for a certain time about the earth, and to be bound in a kind of servitude to mortals. One of their occupations was that of protecting horses in the stable. See Olaus Magnus _de gentibus septentrionalibus_, lib. iii. cap. xi. It is probable that our fairy system is originally derived from the Fates, Fauns, Nymphs, Dryads, Deæ matres, &c., of the ancients, in like manner as other Pagan superstitions were corruptedly retained after the promulgation of Christianity. The general stock might have been augmented and improved by means of the crusades and other causes of intercourse with the nations of the East.

SCENE 1. Page 141.

PRO. ... you demy-puppets, that By moonshine do the _green-sour_ ringlets make, Whereof the ewe not bites----

_Green sour_, if the genuine reading, should be given, as in the first folio, without a hyphen; for such a _compound_ epithet will not elsewhere be easily discovered. Though a real or supposed acidity in this kind of grass will certainly warrant the use of _sour_, it is not improbable that Shakspeare might have written _greensward_, i. e. the green surface of the ground, from the Saxon ꞅƿeaꞃꝺ, skin.

SCENE 1. Page 158.

PRO. His mother was a witch; and one so strong _That could control the moon_.

So in a former scene, Gonzalo had said, "You are gentlemen of brave mettle; you would _lift the moon out of her sphere_, &c." In Adlington's translation of _Apuleius_ 1596, 4to, a book well known to Shakspeare, a marginal note says, "Witches in old time were supposed to be of such power that they could pul downe _the moone by their inchauntment_." In Fleminge's _Virgil's Bucolics_ is this line, "Charms able are from heaven high to fetch the moone adowne;" and see Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_ 1584, 4to, pp. 174, 226, 227, 250.

But all the above authorities are from the ancients, the system of modern witchcraft not affording any similar instances of its power. The Jesuit Delrio is willing to put up with any notice of this superstition among heathen writers, but is extremely indignant to find it mentioned by a Christian; contending that it exclusively belongs to the ancients. _Disquis. magic._ lib. ii. quæst. xi. The following classical references may not be unacceptable. The earliest on the list will be that in Aristophanes's _Clouds_, where Strepsiades proposes the hiring of a Thessalian witch to bring down the moon and shut her in a box that he might thus evade paying his debts by the month.

"Quæ sidera excantata voce Thessalâ _Lunamque cœlo deripit_."

Horat. _epod._ v.

"_Deripere lunam_ vocibus possum meis."

Horat. _epod._ xvii.

"Et jam _luna negat toties descendere cœlo_."

Propert. II. _el._ 28.

"Cantus et _é curru lunam deducere_ tentat Et faceret, si non ære repuisa sonent."

Tibull. I. _el._ 8. and see _el._ 2.

... "_Phœbeque serena_ Non aliter diris verborum obsessa venenis Palluit, et nigris, terrenisque ignibus arsit, Et patitur tantos _cantu depressa_ labores Donec suppositas propior despumet in herbas."[2]

Lucan vi.

"Mater erat Mycale; quam _deduxisse canendo_ Sæpe reluctanti constabat _cornua lunæ_."

Ovid. _Metam._ I. xii.

"Illa reluctantem _curru deducere lunam_ Nititur"

Ovid. _epist._ vi.

"Sic _te_ regentem frena nocturni ætheris _Detrahere_ nunquam _Thessali cantus_ queant."

Senec. _Hippolyt._ Act. 2.

"Mulieres etiam lunam deducunt."

Petron. Hadrianid. 468.

In the same author the witch Enothea, describing her power, says, "_Lunæ descendit imago, carminibus deducta meis._" p. 489.

It is said that Menanda wrote a play called _the Thessalian_, in which were contained the several incantations used by witches to draw the moon from the heavens.

So when the moon was eclipsed, the Romans supposed it was from the influence of magical charms; to counteract which, as well as those already enumerated, they had recourse to the sound of brazen implements of all kinds. Juvenal alludes to this practice when he describes his talkative woman.

"... Jam nemo tubas, nemo æra fatiget, Una laboranti _poterit succurrere lunæ_."

_Sat._ vi. 441.

And see particularly Macrob. _Saturna._ l. v. c. 19. It is not improbable that the rattling of the sistrum by the priests of Isis, or the moon, may be in some way or other connected with this practice, or have even been its origin.

In proportion to the advance of science, it will, no doubt, be found that the Greeks and Romans borrowed more than is commonly imagined from the nations of the East, where the present practice seems to have been universal. Thus the Chinese believe that during eclipses of the sun and moon these celestial bodies are attacked by a great serpent, to drive away which they strike their gongs or brazen drums; the Turks and even some of the American Indians entertain the same opinion. This is perhaps a solution of the common subject on Chinese porcelain, of a dragon pursuing a ball of fire, the symbol of the sun. The Hindoos suppose that a serpent, born from the head of a giant slain by Vishnu, is permitted by that deity to attack the sun. Krishna the Hindoo sun is sometimes represented combating this monster, whence the Greek story of Apollo and the serpent Python may have been derived.


The character of Trinculo, who in the _dramatis personæ_ is called a _jester_, is not very well discriminated in the course of the play itself. As he is only associated with Caliban and the drunken butler, there was no opportunity of exhibiting him in the legitimate character of a professed fool; but at the conclusion of the play it appears that he was in the service of the king of Naples as well as Stephano. On this account therefore, and for the reasons already offered in page 20, he must be regarded as an allowed domestic buffoon, and should be habited on the stage in the usual manner.


[1] See Malone's _Shaksp._ vol. i. part i. p. 379.

[2] The last line is a good comment on the "lunam despumari" of Apuleius speaking of the effects of magical mutterings.



SCENE 1. Page 170.

PRO. For I will be thy _beadsman_, Valentine.

A beadsman is one who offers up prayers to heaven for the welfare of another. Many of the ancient petitions to great men were addressed to them by their "poor daily orators and beadsmen." _To count one's beads_, means, in the Romish church, to offer up as many prayers to God and the Virgin Mary as the priest or some voluntary penance or obligation shall have enjoined; and that no mistake may happen in the number, they are reckoned by means of certain balls strung in a kind of chaplet, and hence in the English language termed _beads_, from the Saxon beaꝺ, a prayer. There is much difference of opinion among ecclesiastical writers as to the origin of this practice. Some ascribe its invention to Peter the hermit in the eleventh century, others to Venerable Bede, misled probably by the affinity of the name. Monsieur Fleury more rationally conceives it to be not older than the eleventh century; but the probability is, that it was imported into Europe by the crusaders, who found it among the Mahometans. The latter use it wherever their religion has been planted, and there is even reason for supposing that it originated among the natives of Hindostan. These chaplets made of beads are called _rosaries_ when they are used in prayers to the Virgin. The term _bead_, as applied to the materials of which necklaces, &c. are made, seems therefore to have been borrowed from the chaplet of rosaries in question.

SCENE 1. Page 171.

PRO. Over the boots? Nay, _give me not the boots_.

An allusion, as it is supposed, to the diabolical torture of the boot. Not a great while before this play was written, it had been inflicted in the presence of King James on one Dr. Fian, a supposed wizard, who was charged with raising the storms that the King encountered in his return from Denmark. In the very curious pamphlet which contains the account of this transaction it is stated that "hee was with all convenient speed, by commandement, convaied againe to the _torment of the bootes_, wherein he continued a long time, and did abide so many blowes in them, that his legges were crushte and beaten togeather as small as might bee, and the bones and flesh so brused, that the bloud and marrowe spouted forth in great abundance, whereby they were made unserviceable for ever." The unfortunate man was afterwards burned. But the above instrument of torture was not, as suggested in one of the notes on this occasion, "used only in Scotland;" it was known in France, and in all probability imported from that country. The following representation of it is copied from Millæus's _Praxis criminis persequendi_, Paris, 1541, folio. This instrument of torture continued to be used in Scotland so late as the end of the 17th century. See _A hind let loose_, 1687, 8vo, pp. 186, 198, in the frontispiece to which work there is an indistinct representation of the boot. It is said to have been imported from Russia by a Scotchman. See Maclaurin's _Arguments in remarkable cases_, 4to, p. xxxvii.


SCENE 1. Page 171.

VAL. ... To be In love, where scorn is bought with groans: coy looks, With heart-sore sighs; one fading moment's mirth, With twenty watchful, weary, tedious nights: If haply won, perhaps a hapless gain; If lost, why then a grievous labour won; However, but a folly bought with wit, Or else a wit by folly vanquished.

Thus explained by Dr. Johnson. "This love will end in a _foolish action_, to produce which you are long to spend your _wit_, or it will end in the loss of your wit, which will be overpowered by the folly of love;" an explanation that is in part very questionable. The poet simply means that love itself is sometimes a foolish object dearly attained in exchange for reason; at others the human judgment subdued by folly. He is speaking of love abstractedly, and not alluding to that of Proteus.

SCENE 1. Page 178.

SPEED. I thank you, you have _testern'd_ me.

Mr. Holt White's information from a passage in Latimer's sermons, that the tester was then worth _more_ than _six-pence_, is so far correct; but as an inference might be drawn from the quotation that it was actually worth _ten-pence_, it becomes necessary to state that at that time, viz. in 1550, the tester was worth _twelve-pence_. It is presumed that no accurate account of this piece of coin has been hitherto given; and therefore the following attempt, which has been attended with no small labour, may not be unacceptable.

The term, variously written, _teston_, _tester_, _testern_, and, in _Twelfth night_, _testril_, is from the French _teston_, and so called from the king's head, which first appeared on this coin in the reign of Louis XII. A. D. 1513, though the Italians seem previously to have had a coin of the same denomination. In our own country the name was first applied to the English shilling (originally coined by Henry the Seventh) at the beginning of the reign of Henry the Eighth, probably because it resembled in value the French coin above described; so that _shilling_ and _teston_ were at that time synonymous terms. Although the teston underwent several reductions in value, it appears to have been worth twelve-pence at the beginning of Edward the Sixth's reign, from three several proclamations in his second and third years for calling in, and at length annihilating, this coin, on account of the forgeries that had been committed; Sir William Sharington having falsified it to the amount of 12,000_l._, for which by an express act of parliament he was attainted of treason. In the above proclamations the testons are specifically described as "pieces of xiid commonly called testons;" and in the last of them, the possessors are allowed twelve-pence apiece on bringing them to the mint. Sir Henry Spelman, who has asserted in his glossary that the teston was reduced to nine-pence in the _first_ year of King Edward, must be mistaken. Stowe more correctly informs us that on the 9th of July 1551 (the _fifth_ year of the King's reign), the base shillings of Henry VIII. and Edward VI. were called down to _nine_-pence, and on the 17th of August following to _six_-pence. He afterwards, under the year 1559, cites a proclamation for reducing it still lower, viz. to fourpence halfpenny. We must conclude that it again rose in value as the coin became improved; for it appears from _Twelfth night_, Act II. Scene 3, that it was in Shakspeare's time the same as the six-pence, and it has probably continued ever since as another name for that coin.

SCENE 2. Page 185.

JUL. I see you have a _month's mind_ to them.

There is a great deal of quotation given in the notes, but nothing after all that amounts to an explanation of the term. It alludes to the mind or _remembrance_ days of our Popish ancestors. Persons in their wills often directed that in a _month_, or any other specific time, from the day of their decease, some solemn office for the repose of their souls, as a mass or dirge, should be performed in the parish church, with a suitable charity or benevolence on the occasion. Polydore Vergil has shown that the custom is of Roman origin; and he seems to speak of the month's mind as a ceremony peculiar to the English. _De rer. invent._ lib. vi. c. 10.


SCENE 2. Page 201.

JUL. Keep this remembrance for thy Julia's sake.

[_giving a ring._

PRO. Why then we'll make exchange; here, take you this.

JUL. And seal the bargain with a holy kiss.

This was the mode of plighting troth between lovers in private. It was sometimes done in the church with great solemnity, and the service on this occasion is preserved in some of the old rituals. To the latter ceremony the priest alludes in _Twelfth night_, Act V. Scene 1.

"A contract of eternal bond of love Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands, Attested by the holy close of lips, Strengthen'd by interchangement of your rings, &c."

SCENE 4. Page 210.

SIL. That you are welcome?

PRO. ... _No_; that you are worthless.

Dr. Johnson has here inserted the particle _no_, "to fill up the _measure_;" but the measure is not defective though the harmony is. Mr. Steevens, disputing the suggestion of a brother critic, that _worthless_ might have been designed as a trisyllable, asks whether _worthless_ in the preceding speech of Sylvia is a trisyllable? Certainly not; but he should have remembered the want of uniformity of metre in many words among the poets of this period. Thus in p. 223, lines 8 and 9, the word _fire_ is alternately used as a monosyllable and dissyllable; and where the quantity is complete, as in the present instance, the harmony is often left to shift for itself.


SCENE 1. Page 232.

DUKE. Why Phaeton, (for thou _art_ Merop's son)

It is far more likely that Shakspeare found this at the end of the first book of Golding's _Ovid's metamorphosis_, than in the authorities referred to in Mr. Steevens's note.

SCENE 1. Page 239.

LAUN. There; and _Saint Nicholas_ be thy speed.

The true reason why this Saint was chosen to be the patron of Scholars may be gathered from the following story in his life, composed in French verse by _Maitre Wace_, chaplain to Henry the Second, remaining in manuscript but never printed. It appears from a passage in Ordericus Vitalis, p. 598, that the metrical legends of Saints were sung by the Norman minstrels to the common people.

"Treis clers aloent a escole, Nen frai mie longe parole; Lor ostes par nuit les oscieit, Les cors musca, la ...[3]prenoit Saint Nicolas par Deu le sout, Sempris fut la si cum Deu plut, Les clers al oste demanda, Nes peut muscier einz lui mustra. Seint Nicolas par sa priere Les ames mist el cors ariere. Por ceo qe as clers fist tiel honor Font li clerc feste a icel jor."

That is, "Three scholars were on their way to school, (I shall not make a long story of it,) their host murdered them in the night, and hid their bodies; their ... he reserved. Saint Nicholas was informed of it by God Almighty, and according to his pleasure went to the place. He demanded the scholars of the host, who was not able to conceal them, and therefore showed them to him. Saint Nicholas, by his prayers, restored the souls to their bodies. Because he conferred such honour on scholars, they at this day celebrate a festival."

It is remarkable, that although the above story explains the common representation of the Saint, with three children in a tub, it is not to be found in that grand repertory of Monkish lies, _The Golden Legend_. It occurs, however, in an Italian life of Saint Nicholas, printed in 1645, whence it is extracted into the Gentleman's Magazine for 1777, p. 158. There is a note by Mr. Whalley on _Saint Nicholas's clerks_, as applied to _highwaymen_, in King Henry the Fourth, part the first, vol. viii. p. 418, which, though erroneously conceived, would have been more properly introduced on the present occasion. Standing where it does, the worthy author is made responsible for having converted the parish clerks of London into a nest of thieves, which he certainly never intended. Those respectable persons, finding that scholars, more usually termed clerks, had placed themselves under the patronage of Saint Nicholas, conceived that _clerks_ of any kind might have the same right, and accordingly took this saint as _their_ patron; much in the same way as the wool-combers did Saint Blaise, who was martyred with an instrument resembling a curry-_comb_, the nail-makers Saint _Clou_, and the booksellers Saint John Port-_Latin_.

SCENE 2. Page 246.

PRO. Especially against his _very_ friend.

Mr. Steevens explains _very_ to be _immediate_. Is it not rather _true, verus_? Thus Massinger calls one of his plays _A_ very _woman_. See likewise the beginning of the Nicene creed.


SCENE 2. Page 257.

HOST. ... the musick _likes_ you not.

i. e. _pleases_, in which sense it is used by Chaucer. This is the genuine Saxon meaning of the word, however it might have been corrupted in early times from its Latin original _licet_. In the next speech Julietta plays upon the word.

SCENE 2. Page 258.

SIL. What is your will?

PRO. That I may compass yours.

SIL. You have your wish; my will is even this;--

On which Dr. Johnson observes, "The word _will_ is here ambiguous. He wishes to _gain_ her _will_; she tells him, if he wants her _will_ he has it." The learned critic seems to have mistaken the sense of the word _compass_, when he says it means _to gain_. If it did, his remark would be just. But to _compass_ in this place signifies, to _perform_, _accomplish_, _take measures for doing a thing_. Thus in _Twelfth night_, Act I. Scene 2, "that were hard to _compass_;" and in _1 Hen._ VI. Act V. Scene 5, "You judge it impossible to _compass_ wonders." Accordingly Sylvia proceeds to instruct Proteus _how_ he may perform her will. _Wish_ and _will_ are here used, as in many other places, though inaccurately, as synonymous. If however Shakspeare really designed to make Proteus say that he was desirous of _gaining_ Sylvia's good will, she must be supposed, in her reply, purposely to mistake his meaning.

SCENE 2. Page 260.

SIL. But since your falshood shall _become_ you well To worship shadows, and adore false shapes.

Dr. Johnson objects to the sense of this passage, and the other commentators offer conjectural interpretations; yet surely nothing is more clear than the sense, and even the grammar may be defended. It is simply, "since your falsehood shall _adapt or render you fit_ to worship shadows." _Become_ here answers to the Latin _convenire_, and is used according to its genuine Saxon meaning.

SCENE 2. Page 260.

HOST. By my HALLIDOM, I was fast asleep.

This Mr. Ritson explains, _by my holy doom_, or _sentence at the resurrection_, from the Saxon halɩᵹꝺom; but the word does not appear to have had such a meaning. It rather signifies holiness or honesty. It likewise denoted a sacrament, a sanctuary, relics of saints, or anything holy. It seems in later times to have been corrupted into _holidame_, as if it expressed the holy virgin. Thus we have _so help me God and hollidame_. See Bullein's _Book of the use of sicke men_, 1579, in folio, fo. 2 b.

SCENE 4. Page 270.

JUL. But since she did neglect her looking-glass, And threw her _sun-expelling mask_ away.

It was the fashion at this time for the ladies to wear masks, which are thus described by the puritanical Stubs in his _Anatomie of abuses_, 1595, 4to, p. 59. "When they use to ride abroad they have _masks and visors made of velvet_ wherewith they cover all their faces, having holes made in them against their eyes, whereout they looke. So that if a man that knew not their guise before, should chaunce to meet one of them, he would think he met a monster or a Devil, for face he can shew (see) none, but two broad holes against their eyes, with glasses in them." More will be said on the subject of this mode of disguising the female face in a remark on _The merry wives of Windsor_, Act IV. Scene 2.

SCENE 4. Page 271.

JUL. ... 'twas Ariadne, passioning For Theseus' perjury and unjust flight.

A note is here inserted, "not" says its learned and classical author, "on the business of Shakspeare," but to introduce a conjecture relating to one of Guido's paintings commonly supposed to represent Ariadne as deserted by Theseus and courted by Bacchus, but which he conceives to have been intended for Bacchus's desertion of this lady for an Indian captive. An attentive examination of the print from Guido's picture will, it is presumed, incline any one to hesitate much before he shall decide on having discerned any traces of an Indian princess; and this supposed character may rather turn out to be Venus introducing the amorous Deity, attended by his followers, to Ariadne, forlorn and abandoned by Theseus in the isle of Chios, according to Ovid, or Naxos according to Lactantius. Nor is the female who accompanies Bacchus "hanging on his arm," as stated by the critic. It is impossible likewise to perceive in this figure the modest looks or demeanour of a female captive, or in the supposed Bacchus the character of a lover, insulting, according to Ovid's description, his former mistress by displaying the beauties of another. Boccaccio has very comically accounted for Ariadne's desertion by Theseus, and her subsequent transfer to Bacchus. He supposes the lady to have been too fond of the juice of the grape, and that on her continuing to indulge this propensity, she was therefore called the wife of Bacchus. See _Geneal. deor._ lib. xi. c. 29.

SCENE 4. Page 274.

JUL. Her eyes are _grey as glass_.

This was in old times the favourite colour of the eyes in both sexes:

"His eyen are _gray_ as any _glasse_."

_Romance of Sir Isenbras._

"Her eyen gray as glas."

_Romance of Libeaus desconus._

"Les iex _vairs_ et rians com un faucon."

_Roman de Guerin de Montglaive. MS._

And to come nearer to Shakspeare's time:--In the interlude of _Marie Magdalene_, a song in praise of her says, "your eyes as _gray_ as glasse and right amiable." The French term _ver_ or _vair_ has induced some of their antiquaries to suppose that it meant _green_; but it has been very satisfactorily shown to signify in general the colour still called by heralds _vair_. It is certain however that the French romances and other authorities allude occasionally to _green_ eyes.

SCENE 4. Page 274.

JUL. My substance should be _statue_ in thy stead.

In confirmation of Mr. M. Mason's note, it may be observed that in the comedy of _Cornelianum dolium_, Act I. Scene 5, _statua_ is twice used for a picture. They were synonymous terms, and sometimes a statue was called a picture. Thus Stowe, speaking of Elizabeth's funeral, says that when the people beheld "her _statue or picture_ lying upon the coffin" there was a general sighing, &c. _Annals_, p. 815, edit. 1631. In the glossary to Speght's _Chaucer_, 1598, _statue_ is explained _picture_; and in one of the inventories of King Henry the Eighth's furniture at Greenwich, several _pictures of earth_ are mentioned. These were busts in _terra cotta_ like those still remaining in Wolsey's palace at Hampton Court.


SCENE 1. Page 276.

EGL. That Silvia _at Patrick's cell_ should meet me.

The old copy reads "at _friar_ Patrick's cell," which Mr. Steevens calls a redundance, justifying his alteration by a passage in the next scene, where "At Patrick's cell" occurs. But the old reading is right, and should not have been disturbed, there being no redundance when it is judiciously read. Silvia is often used as a dissyllable, and must here be read elliptically. Besides, we had "_friar_ Patrick's cell" before in p. 263.

SCENE 4. Page 280.

VAL. And to the nightingale's complaining notes Tune my distresses, and _record_ my woes.

It has been already observed that this term refers to the _singing of birds_. It should have been added that it was formed from the _recorder_, a sort of flute by which they were taught to sing.

SCENE 4. Page 286.

JUL. How oft hast thou with perjury _cleft_ the root?

The speech had been begun with a metaphor from archery, and is here continued in the same strain. _To cleave the pin_, was to break the nail which attached the mark to the butt.

SCENE 4. Page 290.

Mr. Ritson's reply to Mr. Tyrwhitt.

However ingenious and even just the system in this reply may be, it is evident that Shakspeare was not governed by it; but, on the contrary, that he _has_ taken the liberties pointed out by Mr. Tyrwhitt. The proof is, 1. From the circumstance that none of Shakspeare's contemporaries have used similar words in such a protracted form. 2. Because he has used other words in the same manner which are not reducible to Mr. Ritson's system; such as _country_, _assembly_, &c. He never troubled himself about establishing a canon of which he was, in all likelihood, altogether ignorant; but occasionally took such liberties as his verses required. This is clearly manifested by his various use, in many instances, of the selfsame words.


The character of Speed is that of a shrewd witty servant. Launce is something different, exhibiting a mixture of archness and rustic simplicity. There is no allusion to dress, nor any other circumstance, that marks either of them as the domestic fool or jester.


[3] A word defaced in the manuscript.



SCENE 1. Page 309.

SLEN. She has brown hair, and _speaks small like a woman_.

It may be doubted whether the _real humour_ of this speech has been pointed out. Does it not consist in Slender's characterizing Ann Page by a property belonging to himself, and which renders him ridiculous? The audience would naturally smile at hearing him deliver the speech in an effeminate tone of voice.

SCENE 1. Page 314.

FAL. But not kiss'd your keeper's daughter.

This has the appearance of a fragment of some old ballad.

SCENE 1. Page 317.

PIST. He hears with ears.

EVA. The tevil and his tarn! what phrase is this, _he hears with ear_? Why it is affectations.

If, according to Mr. Henderson, Sir Hugh be justified in his censure of this phrase as a pleonasm, we must also censure the parson in his turn for having forgot that the common prayer would have furnished an example of Pistol's language. See also _Jerem._ xxvi. 11.

SCENE 1. Page 317.

SLEN. Seven groats in _mill-sixpences_, and two _Edward shovel-boards_ that cost me two shillings and twopence apiece.

These sixpences were coined in 1561, and are the first milled money used in this kingdom. The invention is due to the French, and was introduced here by a native of France, who misapplied his talents by private coining, and suffered the penalty of the law. That seven groats could be lost in sixpences must be placed to the account of Master Slender's simplicity of wit.

With respect to the _Edward shovel-boards_:--Mr. Malone's inference from the reading in the old quarto that "Slender means the broad _shilling_ of _one of our kings_," is sufficiently maintained by the other notes; but that it was the shilling of _Edward the Sixth_ there is no doubt, no _other_ Edward having coined such a piece of money. It still remains to explain how these shillings could have cost Master Slender two and twopence apiece; because, if Dr. Farmer's quotation from Folkes had gone far enough, it would have appeared that the thick shillings mentioned by that writer were _pattern-pieces_, even originally of great rarity, and never in circulation. Folkes could have seen very few of such pieces, and it would be extremely difficult at present to find a single one; whereas the common shillings of Edward the Sixth remain in great numbers. We must suppose then that the shillings purchased of the miller had been hoarded by him, and were in high preservation, and heavier than those which had been worn in circulation. These would consequently be of greater importance to a nice player at the game of shovel-board, and induce him, especially if an opulent man, to procure them at a price far beyond their original value.

SCENE 1. Page 321.

BARD. ... And so conclusions _pass'd the careires_.

We are told that this is a technical term in the _manege_; but no explanation is given. It was the same as _running a career_, or galloping a horse violently backwards and forwards, stopping him suddenly at the end of the career; "which career the more seldom it be used and with the lesse fury, the better mouth shall your horse have," says Master Blundeville in his _Arte of ryding_, b. l. 4to, where there is a whole chapter on the subject, as well as in "_The art of riding_," translated by Thomas Bedingfield from the Italian of Claudio Corte, 1584, 4to.

SCENE 1. Page 325.

SLEN. I hope upon familiarity will grow more contempt.

This is no more than a perversion of the common proverb, _Familiarity breeds contempt_. Slender's school learning had furnished him on the occasion. The phrase is still used in copy-books for children.

SCENE 1. Page 327.

SLEN. I bruis'd my shin the other day with playing at sword and dagger with a _master of fence_.

"_Master of defence_, on the present occasion, does not simply mean a professor of the art of fencing, but a person who had taken his _master's degree_ in it," says Mr. Steevens, whose readers are under great obligations to him for pointing out one of the greatest curiosities extant on the ancient science of defence, in support of his position. Yet it may be doubted whether the expression _master of defence_ does not very often, and even on the present occasion, signify merely a _professor of the art_. Numerous authorities might be adduced on this side of the question, but perhaps a single one that is apposite may suffice. In Eden's _History of travayle_, 1577, 4to, speaking of Calecut in the East Indies, he says, "they have in the citie certayne _maisters of fence_ that teach them how to use the swoord, &c." The original Latin from which Eden translates has _lanista_. Now it is not to be presumed that the last-mentioned _maisters of fence_ had taken any degree. It must be owned that the evidence of the manuscript cited by Mr. Steevens goes very far to show that none were allowed to practise as professors who had not taken a degree in some fencing school; an honour once conferred by king Edward the Sixth, and generally granted, though not till after many years' experience, by one who was himself a _master_. Yet a person who had only a _provost's_ degree might be allowed to teach, and _he_ would be termed a _master of defence_.

SCENE 3. Page 330.

HOST. What says my _bully-rook_?

Messrs. Steevens and Whalley maintain that the above term (a cant one) derives its origin from the _rook_ in the game of chess; but it is very improbable that that noble game, never the amusement of gamblers, should have been ransacked on this occasion. It means _a hectoring, cheating sharper_, as appears from _A new dictionary of the terms of the canting crew_, no date, 12mo, and from the lines prefixed to _The compleat gamester_, 1680, 12mo, in both which places it is spelt _bully-rock_. Nor is Mr. Whalley correct in stating that _rock_ and not _rook_ is the _true_ name of the chess piece, if he mean that it is equivalent to the Latin _rupes_.

SCENE 3. Page 333.

PIST. O base _Gongarian_ wight!

It is already shown that this is the same as _Hungarian_. It simply means a _gipsy_. The parts of Europe in which it is supposed that the gipsies originally appeared were Hungary and Bohemia. In Act IV. Scene 5, of this play, the host in the like cant language calls Simple a _Bohemian Tartar_; and Munster in his _Cosmography_ informs us that the Germans denominated the _gipsies Tartars_.

SCENE 3. Page 333.

FAL. I am glad I am so acquit of this _tinder box_.

There is a great deal of humour in this appellation. Falstaff alludes to Pistol's rubicund nose, which, like the above utensil, carried fire in it.

SCENE 3. Page 333.

PIST. Young ravens must have food.

Either Shakspeare or the adage, if it be one, has borrowed from scripture. See _Psalm_ cxlvii. 9. or _Job_ xxxviii. 41.

SCENE 3. Page 337. Note 4.

To the instances adduced by Mr. Steevens in this note, of particular phrases in old theatrical characters, may be added that of Murley in _Sir John Oldcastle_, who is continually prefacing his speeches with "fye paltry, paltry, in and out, to and fro upon occasion." This practice has been revived in our modern comedies.

SCENE 4. Page 347.

CAIUS. You are John Rugby, and you are Jack Rugby: come take-a your rapier, and come after my heel to de court.

It was the custom, in Shakspeare's time, for physicians to be attended by their servants when visiting their patients. This appears from the _second part_ of Stubs's _Anatomie of abuses_, sign. H. 4 b., where, speaking of physicians, he says, "For now they ruffle it out in silckes and velvets, with _their men attending upon them_, whereas many a poor man (God wot) smarteth for it." Servants also carried their masters' rapiers: "Yf a man can place a dysh, fyll a boule and _carrie his maister's rapier_, what more is or can be required at his handes?"--Markham's _Health to the gentlemanly profession of a serving-man_, sign. F. 3.


SCENE 1. Page 357.

MRS. FORD. ... to the tune of _Green sleeves_.

Another ballad with this title, and which has an equally good claim to be the one alluded to as those already quoted, may be seen in Mr. Ellis's elegant _Specimens of the early English poets_, vol. iii. p. 327, edit. 1801.

SCENE 1. Page 358.

MRS. PAGE. ... for sure, unless he knew some _strain_ in me that I know not myself----

The note seem to have wrested from this word its plain and obvious meaning of _turn_, _humour_, _tendency_, in which it is often used by Shakspeare.

SCENE 1. Page 359.

PIST. Hope is a _curtail dog_ in some affairs.

A curtail or curtal dog is placed by Howel in the vocabulary at the end of his _Dictionary of four languages_ among hunting-dogs, and is defined to be _a dog without a tail good for any service_. Yet we are not to suppose that the word uniformly signifies an animal with its tail cut off. It is in fact derived from _tailler court_, and applied to _any_ animals that are defective, man not excepted. Thus in Greene's _Quip for an upstart courtier_, a collier is made to say, "I am made a _curtall_: for the pillory hath eaten off both my _eares_," sign. E. 2. Nashe, in his _Prayse of the red herring_, speaks of the "_curtaild skinclipping pagans_." fo. 20. Dr. Stukeley, in a manuscript note in his copy of Robin Hood's garland, states that "the _curtal_ fryer of Fountain's abby is _Cordelier_, from the cord or rope which they wore round their wast, to whip themselves with. They were of the Franciscan order." But this is a mistake; and the opinion of Staveley much more probable, who, in chap. xxv. of his _Romish horseleech_, says, that in some countries where the Franciscan friars, conformably to the injunction of their founder, wore short habits, the order was presently contemned and derided, and men called them _curtailed friars_.

SCENE 2. Page 360.

FORD. Love my wife?

PIST. With _liver burning hot_.

It is here observed by Mr. Steevens, and elsewhere by Dr. Johnson, that the liver was anciently supposed to be the inspirer of amorous passions, and the seat of love. In conformity with this opinion, we are told in the English translation of Bartholomæus _De proprietatibus rerum_, lib. v. cap. 39, that "the lyver is the place of voluptuousnesse and lyking of the flesh;" and again, "the liver is a member, _hot_, &c." There is some reason for thinking that the idea was borrowed from the Arabian physicians, or at least adopted by them; for in the _Turkish tales_, an amorous tailor is made to address his wife by the titles of "thou _corner of my liver_, and soul of my life!" and in another place the king of Syria, who had sustained a temporary privation of his mistress, is said to have had "his liver, which had been _burnt up_ by the loss of her, cooled and refreshed at the sight of her." In _Twelfth night_, Fabian, speaking of Olivia's supposed letter to Malvolio, says, "This wins him, _liver and all_."

SCENE 2. Page 367, 368.

PAGE. I have heard the Frenchman hath good skill in his _rapier_.

SHAL. In these times you stand on distance, your passes stoccadoes and I know not what. I have seen the time with my long sword I would have made you four tall fellows skip like rats.

The notes on these speeches are at variance on a supposed anachronism committed by Shakspeare in introducing the _rapier_ in the time of Henry the Fourth. The same weapon is likewise found in _Richard II._ Act IV. Scene 1, where the controversy is renewed; and therefore it will be proper in considering this question to state the evidence and arguments in both places. It is maintained on one side that the _rapier_ was not used in England before the reign of Elizabeth; and in support of this opinion a passage from Carleton's _Thankful remembrance of God's mercy_ is offered; which, being only a second-hand and inaccurate statement from Darcie's _Annals of Elizabeth_, is not deserving of further notice. Darcie himself informs us that one Rowland York (who appears to have betrayed Deventer to the Spaniards in 1587) was the _first_ that brought into England "that wicked and pernicious fashion to fight in the fields in duels with _a rapier called a tucke_ onely for the thrust, &c." On this passage it may be remarked, that the _rapier_ is not _generally_ spoken of, but only a particular sort, the _tucke for the thrust_. On the same side Stowe is next cited, who mentions that the mode of fighting with the sword and buckler was frequent with all men till that of _the rapier and dagger_ took place, when _suddenly the general quarrel of fighting abated_, which began about the 20th of Elizabeth (1578). Now here the date seems rather applicable to the cessation of the very popular combats with sword and buckler, and the substitution only, and, as it will presently appear, the revival of the rapier and dagger, as a more limited manner of fighting, from its superior danger. There is another passage in Stowe, p. 869, which not being already cited, and throwing some light on the nature of the rapier, may deserve notice. The historian relates that "Shortly after (referring to the 12th or 13th year of Elizabeth) began _long tucks_ and _long rapiers_, and he was held the greatest gallant that had the deepest ruffe and longest rapier: the offence to the eye of the one, and the hurt unto the life of the subject that came by the other, caused her majesty to make proclamation against them both, and to place selected grave citizens at every gate to cut the ruffes, and breake the rapiers points of all passengers that exceeded a yeard in length of their rapiers, and a nayle of a yeard in depth of their ruffes." But this is likewise no evidence in favour of the _general_ introduction of the _rapier_ in the reign of Elizabeth, as Stowe merely refers to the _long foining or thrusting rapier_. The last quotation on this side of the question is from Bulleine's _Dialogue between soarnesse and chirurgi_, 1579, where the _long foining rapier_ is also mentioned as "a _new_ kind of instrument to let blood withall."

On the opposite side, Mr. Ritson produces a quotation from Nashe's _Life of Jacke Wilton_, who lived in the reign of Henry the Eighth, to show that _rapiers_ were used at that period. This sort of evidence might appear, on a first view, inadmissible, on the ground that Nashe had committed an error, very common with Shakspeare, in ascribing a custom of his own time to a preceding one, if it were not supported by the manuscript cited by Mr. Steevens in vol. iii. p. 327, in which, but not in the quotation from it, it appears that the _rapier_ actually was in use in the time of Henry the Eighth; and therefore it is impossible to decide that this weapon, which, with its name, we received from the French, might not have been known as early as the reign of Henry the Fourth, or even of Richard the Second. Shallow's ridicule of _passes and stoccadoes_ seems more objectionable, and may possibly deserve the appellation of anachronism. It is not a little remarkable that the _rapier_ was an article of exportation from this country in Cromwell's time. See _Oliverian acts_, A.D. 1657.

SCENE 1. Page 369.

FORD. Though Page be a secure fool, and stands so firmly on _his_ wife's frailty, yet I cannot put off _my_ opinion so easily: she was in his company, &c.

This speech is surely not so obscure as the notes seem to consider it. Ford says that _Page_ makes a firm stand with respect to, or on the question of, _his_ wife's frailty. What follows better deserves explanation, because the grammatical construction of the last sentence is, that _Page's_ wife was in Falstaff's company; whereas Ford means to say, "I cannot put off _my_ opinion, i. e. of _my own wife_, so easily; as _she_ was in Falstaff's company," &c. The emphasis should be laid on the words _his_ and _my_, and then the whole will be far more intelligible.

SCENE 2. Page 375.

FAL. Your _cat-a-mountain_ looks.

A term borrowed from the Spaniards, who call the wild cat _gato-montes_.

SCENE 2. Page 375.

FAL. Your _red lattice_ phrases.

Mr. Steevens, speaking of this external mark of an alehouse, says, "Hence the present chequers." But in reality the _lattice_ is the younger of the two, as the reference in the note to the Pompeii plate in _Archæologia_ demonstrates. Although the Romans were not acquainted with the game of chess, they certainly were with such a one as required a board with squares; and in all probability this sign of a house of entertainment where table games were played, has been handed down to us from the ancients. The resemblance of _lattice_ work, or _laths_ crossing each other, to a chess or backgammon board, might induce some ignorant painters to exhibit the former; but the _chequers_ have once more reassumed their station. Nor was _red_ always the colour; for, in the cant language of jolly fellows, a red or _blue_ lattice was termed _a free school for all comers_. See Heywood's _Philocothonista_, 1635, 4to.

SCENE 2. Page 376.

QUICK. There is one mistress Ford, sir:--I pray come a little nearer this ways:--I myself dwell with master Doctor Caius.

FAL. Well, on: mistress Ford, you say----

Is it not more natural that Falstaff should, in this first instance, repeat the dame's own words, and say, "Well, one mistress Ford, you say."

SCENE 2. Page 389.

FORD. ... an Irishman with my _aqua vitæ_ bottle----

_Irish aqua vitæ_ was certainly _usquebaugh_, and not _brandy_, as Mr. Malone has observed; but Ford is here speaking of _English aqua vitæ_, which was very different from the other so called from the Irish words _uisge_, aqua, and _beatha_, vita. That the curious reader may judge for himself, and at the same time be furnished with the means of indulging any wish that he may have for tasting the respective sorts in their genuine form, the following receipts for making them are subjoined:--The first is from a manuscript monkish common-place book, written about the reign of Henry the Sixth. "For to make water of lyff, that ys clepyd aqua vitæ. Take and fylle thy violle fulle of lyes of stronge vine, and put therto these powdrys. First powder of canel, powder of clowes, powdyr of gyngevir, powdyr of notemugys, powder of galyngale and powdyr of quibibis, poudyr of greyn de parys, poudyr of longe pepyr, powdyr of blacke pepir, carewey, cirmowitteyn, comyn, fenyl, smallache, persile, sawge, myntys, rewe, calamente, origaun, one ounce or more or lesse as ye lykyth; stampe hem a lytill for it will be bettyr, and put hem to these powdrys, than set thy glas on the fyre set on the hovel and kepe it wel that the eyre come not owte and set ther undyr a viole and kepe the watyr." The next is from _Cogan's Haven of health_, 1612, 4to, chap. 222. "To make aqua vitæ. Take of strong ale, or strong wine, or the lees of strong wine and ale together, a gallon or two as you please, and take half a pound or more of good liquorice, and as much annise seedes; scrape off the bark from the liquorice, and cut it into thin slices, and punne the annise grosse, and steepe altogether close covered twelve houres, then distill it with a limbecke or serpentine. And of every gallon of the liquor you may draw a quart of reasonable good _aqua vitæ_, that is of two galons two quarts. But see that your fire be temperate, and that the heade of your limbecke bee kept colde continually with fresh water, and that the bottome of your limbecke bee fast luted with rye dough, that no ayre issue out. The best ale to make _aqua vitæ_ of, is to be made of wheate malte, and the next of cleane barley malte, and the best wine for that purpose is sacke." The last is a receipt for making "Usquebath, or Irish aqua vitæ. To every gallon of good aqua composita, put two ounces of chosen liquorice bruised and cut into small peeces, but first cleansed from all his filth, and two ounces of annis seedes that are cleane and bruised; let them macerate five or six days in a wodden vessell, stopping the same close, and then draw off as much as will runne cleere, dissolving in that cleere aqua vitæ five or sixe spoonefulls of the best malassoes you can get: Spanish cute if you can get it, is thought better than malassoes: then put this into another vessell, and after three or foure dayes (the more the better) when the liquor hath fined itselfe, you maie use the same: some adde dates and raisins of the sun to this receipt; those grounds which remaine you maie redistill and make more aqua composita of them, and of that aqua composita you maie make more _usquebath_."--Plat's _Delightes for ladies_, 1611, 24to. It is to be observed, that _aqua composita_ is wine of any kind distilled with spices and sweet herbs. _Brandy_, or _burnt_ wine, seems first to occur in Skinner's _Etymologicon_, 1671, under the name of _Brandewin_, from the Dutch or German, and soon after in its present form; yet _aqua vitæ_ was continued a long while afterwards.

SCENE 3. Page 395.

HOST. _Cry'd game_, said I well?

The evidence, and indeed the sense, in favour of the phrase to _cry aim_, preponderates so greatly, that one cannot hesitate in discarding the nonsensical expression of _cry'd game_, which derives not the least support from any of Mr. Steevens's quotations. The probability is very great that there was an error of the press, and that the words should have been printed according to the orthography of the time, "Cry'd I _ayme_, said I well?" A _g_ might easily have crept in instead of a _y_.


SCENE 1. Page 398.

SIM. Marry, sir, the _city-ward_----

"The old editions read _pittie-ward_, the modern editors _pitty-wary_," says Mr. Steevens, who in this edition has abandoned the best part of a former note where he had proposed to read _petty-ward_, which is the right word, and of the same import as the old one. That such a word formerly existed is demonstrable from its still remaining as a proper name, and near Wimbledon is a wood so called, probably from the owner. Mr. Steevens mistakes in supposing _ward_ to mean _towards_ in this instance, where it is put for the division of a city; nor does his quotation from William of Worcester assist him. The _via de Petty_ and the _Pyttey gate_ might be named after the hundred of Pyttey in Somersetshire. In Lyne's Map of Cambridge, 1574, we find the _petticurie_.

SCENE 1. Page 399.

EVANS. I will knog his _urinals_ about his knave's costard----

This utensil was the usual concomitant of physicians in former times, as appears from most of the frontispieces to old medical books and other ancient prints.

SCENE 2. Page 410.

HOST. ... he smells April and May.

The same as if he had said he smells of _youth and courtship_, symbolized by these months, the former of which in old calendars is described in these lines:

"The next vi yere maketh foure and twenty, And fygured is to joly Apryll; That tyme of pleasures man hath moost plenty Fresshe and lovyng his lustes to fulfyll----"

and the latter in the following:

"As in the month of Maye all thyng is in myght, So at xxx yeres man is in chyef lykyng; Pleasaunt and lusty, to every mannes syght, In beaute and strength to women pleasyng."

SCENE 2. Page 412.

HOST. I will to my honest knight Falstaff, and drink _canary_ with him.

FORD. I think I shall drink-in _pipe-wine_ first with him; I'll make him dance.

It may be doubted whether the exact meaning of this cluster of puns has already been given. Mr. Tyrwhitt says he cannot understand the phrase _to drink in pipe-wine_, and suggests that Shakspeare might have written _horn-pipe wine_. Now Ford terms canary _pipe-wine_, both because the _canary_ dance is performed to a tabor and _pipe_, and because the canary _bird_ is said to _pipe_ his tunes. Ford is speaking of Falstaff, not of Page, as Mr. Tyrwhitt's note implies when it refers to horns. He says he will make him pipe and dance too.

SCENE 3. Page 414.

MRS. FORD. How now, my _eyas-musket_?

There was no reason for disturbing the etymology of this word given by Dr. Warburton, by substituting that of Dame Juliana Bernes, which for ingenuity and veracity may be well classed with many of those in _Isidore of Seville_, or _The golden legend_. Take an example from the latter. "Felix is sayd of _fero fers_, that is to saye, to bere, and of this word _lis_, _litis_, whiche is as moche to say as stryfe, for he bare stryfe for the fayth of our lorde." Turberville tells us that "the first name and terme that they bestowe on a falcon is an _eyesse_, and this name doth laste as long as she is in the eyrie and for that she is taken from the _eyrie_." This is almost as bad as the lady abbess's account. _Eyrie_ is simply the nest or _eggery_, and has no connexion with the name of the bird. _Eyas_ or _nias_, is a term borrowed from the French _niais_, which means any young bird in the nest, _avis in nido_. It is the first of five several names by which a falcon is called during its first year. The best account of this bird is in _La fauconnerie de Charles d'Arcussa de Capre, seigneur d'Esparron_, 1643, 4to. A _musket_ is a sparrow-hawk, and is derived from the French _mouchet_, and the latter probably from _musca_, on account of its diminutive form. The humour therefore lies in comparing the page to a young male sparrow-hawk, an emblem of his tender years and activity.


SCENE 2. Page 448.

MRS. FORD. ... and her _muffler_ too.

It would oppress the reader by citing authorities to prove that the muffler was a contrivance of various kinds to conceal a part of the face, and that even a _mask_ was occasionally so denominated. From an examination of several ancient prints and paintings, it appears that when the muffler was made of linen, it only covered the lower part of the face; such it was in the present instance, for the old woman of Brentford would not want to conceal her eyes. It is otherwise in _King Henry V._ Act III. Scene 1, where Fortune's _blindness_ is described, and there a linen bandage would be meant, but perhaps not very correctly called a muffler. The term is connected with the old French _musser_ or _muçer_, to hide, or with _amuseler_, to cover the _museau_ or _mufle_, a word which has been indiscriminately used for the mouth, nose, and even the whole of the face; hence our _muzzle_. It was enacted by a Scotish statute in 1457, that "na woman cum to kirk, nor mercat, with her face _mussaled_ or covered that scho may not be kend." Notwithstanding this interposition of the legislature, says Mr. Warton, the ladies of Scotland continued _muzzled_ during three reigns; and he cites Sir David Lyndsay's poem _In contemptioun of syde taillis_, in which the author advises the king to issue a proclamation that the women should show their faces as they did in France. _Hist. of Eng. poetry_, ii. 324.

The annexed cuts exhibit different sorts of mufflers. The first and third figures are copied from Jost Amman's _Theatrum mulierum_, Francof. 1586, 4to; the second, from Speed's Map of England, is the _costume_ of an English countrywoman in the reign of James I.; the fourth is from an old German print; and the others from Weigel's _Habitus præcipuorum populorum_, Nuremb. 1577, folio; a work which, for the beauty of the wood-cuts, has never been surpassed.


In the reign of Charles I. the ladies wore masks which covered the eye-brows and nose, holes being left for the eyes. Sometimes, but not always, the mouth was covered, and the chin guarded with a sort of muffler then called a _chin-cloth_; these were chiefly used to keep off the sun. See Hollar's print of _Winter_. The velvet masks probably came from France, as they are mentioned in the _Book of values of merchandize imported_, under the administration of Oliver Cromwell. There was another sort called _visard masks_, that covered all the face, having holes only for the eyes, a case for the nose, and a slit for the mouth. They were easily disengaged, being held in the teeth by means of a round bead fastened in the inside. These masks were usually made of leather, covered with black velvet. Randle Holme, from whose _Academy of armory_, book iii. c. 5, their description is extracted, adds, that the devil invented them, and that none about court except w----s, bawds, and the devil's imps, used them, being ashamed to show their faces.

SCENE 2. Page 450.

PAGE. Why this _passes_!----

The word had been already explained by Warburton in p. 329. Page, astonished at Ford's conduct, says it _exceeds every thing_. Such is the sense in the New Testament, "the love of Christ, which _passeth_ knowledge," _Ephes._ iii. 19. The French often use _passer_ in the same manner; and in _Hamlet_ we have this expression, "I have that within which _passeth_ show."

SCENE 2. Page 452.

FORD. ... his wife's _leman_.

Mr. Steevens derives it from the Dutch, a language whence we have borrowed few, if any words. The term is of Saxon origin, and _leveman_ can be traced to an Anglo-Norman period. This was afterwards contracted into _leman_. The etymology is perhaps from leoꝼe, amabilis, and man, homo. The latter in Saxon denoted both man and woman; so that _leman_ was formerly applied to both sexes as a _person beloved_.

SCENE 2. Page 455.

MRS. PAGE. ... in the way of _waste_----

This expression is from the same _law_ manufactory referred to by Mr. Ritson in the preceding note. The incident in the present scene, of Falstaff's threshing in the habit of a woman, might have been suggested by the story of the beaten and contented cuckold in Boccaccio's _Decameron_, day 7. ver. 7.

SCENE 5. Page 466.

SIMP. Pray you, sir, was't not the _wise woman of Brentford_?

Mr. Steevens cites _Judges_ v. 29, on this occasion: but the _wise ladies_ there were of a very different character from the old woman of Brentford, even according to the Hebrew text: see the Vulgate and Septuagint versions, where the expression is still more remote. The subject of these wise women will be resumed in a note on _Twelfth night_, Act III. Scene 4.


SCENE 1. Page 475.

FAL. Hold up your head, and _mince_.

The word is properly explained by Mr. Steevens. Thus in _Isaiah_ iii. 16, "walking and _mincing_ as they go." Wicliffe has "with their feet in curious goyng;" and Tindale, "tryppyng so nicely with their feet." _To mince_ is likewise to walk in a stately, or, as Littelton expresses it, _Junonian_ step.

SCENE 2. Page 477.

SLEN. I come to her in white, and cry _mum_, she cries, _budget_.

The word _mumbudget_, here divided, is used by Nashe in his _Have with you to Saffron Walden_, where, speaking of Gabriel Harvey, he says, "no villaine, no atheist, no murderer, but hee hath likened me too, for no other reason in the earth, but because I would not let him go beyond me, or _be won to put my finger in my mouth and crie mumbudget_ when he had baffuld mee in print throughout England." To _play mumbudget_, is rendered _demeurer court, ne sonner mot_, in Sherwood's _English and French dictionary_, 1632, folio. _Mumchance_ is silence; and a _mummery_ was a silent masquerade. _Mumbudget_ may be _silence in a budget_, a something _closed_ or stopped up, Fr. _bouché_.

SCENE 4. Page 479.

MRS. PAGE.... hard by _Herne's oak_----

The tree in Windsor forest referred to in Mr. Steevens's note, was said, on newspaper authority in 1795, to have been cut down by his majesty's order, on account of its being totally decayed.

SCENE 5. Page 490.

PIST. _Vile_ worm!

Old copy _vild_, which Mr. Malone shows to have been the _old_ pronunciation. It may be added that it is likewise the _modern_ in some of the provinces.

SCENE 5. Page 492.

[_Stage direction._] "During this song, the fairies _pinch_ Falstaff."

In the old collection of songs already cited in p. 7, there is one entitled "The fayries daunce," which bearing some resemblance to that by Shakspeare, may be entitled to the reader's notice:

"Dare you haunt our hallowed greene? None but fayries here are seene. Downe and sleepe, Wake and weepe, Pinch him black, and pinch him blew, That seekes to steale a lover true. When you come to heare us sing, Or to tread our fayrie ring, Pinch him black, and pinch him blew, O thus our nayles shall handle you."

SCENE 5. Page 500.

PAGE. What cannot be eschew'd must be embrac'd.

This is either a proverbial saying now lost, or borrowed from one of the following, "What cannot be altered must be borne not blamed;" "What cannot be cured must be endured."



SCENE 1. Page 8.

DUKE. How will she love, when the rich _golden shaft_ Hath kill'd the flock of all affections else That live in her.

This _golden shaft_ was supplied either from a description of Cupid in Sidney's _Arcadia_, book ii., or from Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, translated by Golding, 4to, fo. 8, where, speaking of Cupid's arrows, he says,

"_That causeth love_ is all of _golde_ with point full sharp and bright. That chaseth love, is blunt, whose steele with leaden head is dight."

Milton seems to have forgotten that Love had only _one_ shaft of _gold_. See _Parad. Lost_, iv. 1. 763.

SCENE 2. Page 11.

CAP. ... she hath abjur'd the company And sight of men.

This necessary and justifiable change in the _ordo verborum_ from the reading in the old copy, and to which Mr. Steevens lays claim, had been already made by Sir Thomas Hanmer.

SCENE 3. Page 21.

SIR TO. ... Wherefore have these gifts a _curtain_ before them? are they like to take dust, like mistress Mall's picture?

Mr. Malone's conjecture that curtains were at this time frequently hung before pictures of value, is further supported in Scene 5 of this Act, where Olivia, in unveiling her face, mentions the practice. In Deloney's _Pleasant history of Jack of Newbery_, printed before 1597, it is recorded that "in a faire large parlour, which was wainscotted round about, Jacke of Newbery had fifteene faire pictures hanging, _which were covered with curtaines of greene silke_, frienged with gold, which he would often shew to his friends and servants."

SCENE 3. Page 23.

SIR AND. Taurus? that's _sides and heart_.

SIR TO. No, sir, it is _legs and thighs_.

Both the knights are wrong in their astrology, according to the almanacs of the time, which make Taurus govern _the neck and throat_. Their ignorance is perhaps intentional.

SCENE 5. Page 31.

SIR TO. ... How now, _sot_?

There is great humour in this ambiguous word, which applies equally to the fool and the knight himself, in his _drunken condition_.


SCENE 3. Page 51.

CLOWN. How now, my hearts? Did you never see _the picture of we three_?

The original picture, or sign as it sometimes was, seems to have been two _fools_. Thus in Shirley's _Bird in cage_, Morello, who counterfeits a _fool_, says, "_We be three of old_, without exception to your lordship, only with this difference, I am the wisest fool." In Day's comedy of _Law tricks_, 1608, Jul. says, "appoint the place prest." To which Em. answers, "At the _three fools_." Sometimes, as Mr. Henley has stated, it was two asses. Thus in Beaumont and Fletcher's _Queen of Corinth_, Act III. Scene 1,

"NEAN. He is another _ass_, he says, I believe him.

UNCLE. _We be three_, heroical prince.

NEAN. Nay then we must have the _picture_ of 'em, and the word _nos sumus_."

SCENE 3. Page. 53.

CLO. I did impeticos thy gratility.

This is undoubtedly the true reading, for the reason assigned by Mr. Malone. From the discordant notes on the passage, a question has arisen whether the fool means to say that he had put the six-pence into his own petticoats, or given it to his petticoat companion, his _leman_. Mr. Steevens has observed that "petticoats were not _always_ a part of the dress of fools, though they were of idiots;" and on this assertion, coupled with another by Dr. Johnson, that "fools were kept in long coats to which the allusion is made," Mr. Ritson maintains that "it is a very gross mistake to imagine that this character (_i. e._ our clown's) was habited like an _idiot_." Now it is very certain, that although the idiot fools were generally dressed in petticoats, the allowed fool was occasionally habited in like manner, as is shown more at large in another part of this volume; which circumstance, though it may strengthen the opinion that the clown has alluded to his own dress, by no means decides the above question, which remains very equally balanced.

SCENE 3. Page 63.

SIR TO. Dost thou think because thou art virtuous, there shall beno more _cakes and ale_?

The holiday cakes referred to in Mr. Letherland's note were the yule or Christmas cakes; those on the lying-in of the Virgin; cross-buns, and twelfth cakes. Mr. Lysons, in his account of Twickenham, mentions an ancient custom of dividing two great cakes in the church on Easter-day among the young people. This was regarded as a superstitious relic; and it was ordered by the parliament in 1645, that the parishioners should forbear that custom, and instead thereof buy loaves of bread for the poor of the parish.

SCENE 4. Page 70.

DUKE. And the _free_ maids that weave their threads with bones.

The private memoirs of Peter the wild boy, if they could be disclosed, would afford the best comment on the above disputed epithet, as applied to the _websters_ in question.

SCENE 4. Page 71.

CLO. And in _sad cypress_ let me be laid.

Mr. Steevens has in this edition cancelled a brother commentator's note, which ought on every account to have been retained, and has himself attempted to show that a _shroud_ and not a _coffin_ of cypress or cyprus is intended. It is no easy matter, from the ambiguity of the word, to decide the question. The cypress tree was used by the ancients for funeral purposes, and dedicated to Pluto. As it was not liable to perish from rottenness, it appears to have been used for coffins. See Mr. Gough's Introduction to _Sepulchral monuments_, p. lxvi. In Quarles's _Argalus and Parthenia_, book iii., a knight is introduced, whose

"... horse was black as jet, His furniture was round about beset With branches, slipt from the _sad cypresse tree_."

In further behalf of the wood, it may be worth remarking that the expression _laid_ seems more applicable to a coffin than to a shroud, in which a party may with greater propriety be said to be _wrapped_; and also that the shroud is afterwards expressly mentioned by itself. It is nevertheless very certain that the fine linen called Cyprus, perhaps from being originally manufactured in the island of that name, was used for shrouds. In the churchwardens' accounts of St. Mary's, Cambridge, mention is made of _a sypyrs kyrcher belonging to the cross_. In this instance there being the figure of a dead body on the cross, the cyprus was designed as a shroud.

SCENE 5. Page 88.

MAL. By my life, this is my lady's hand: these be her very C's, her U's, and her T's, and thus makes she her great P's.

Mr. Ritson having with great probability supplied the _whole_ direction of the letter, there seems to be no foundation left for Blackstone's conjecture. Malvolio had no motive for any _coarse_ allusion. With respect to the instance of the letter in _All's well that ends well_ not being recited literally by Helen, it must be recollected that there was no reason for making her do so, as she talks in _blank verse_; and it would therefore have been improper that she should have given more than the _substance_ of the letter.

SCENE 5. Page 93.

MAL. ... and wish'd to see thee _cross-gartered_.

Of this fashion but few vestiges remain; a circumstance the more remarkable, as it must have been at one time extremely common among the beaux in Elizabeth's reign. In the English edition of Junius's _Nomenclator_, 1585, 12mo, mention is made of "hose garters, going _acrosse_, or over-thwart, both above and below the knee." In the old comedy of _The two angrie women of Abingdon_, 1599, 4to, a _serving-man_ is thus described:

"... hee's a fine neate fellow, A spruce slave, I warrant ye, he'ele have His cruell _garters crosse about the knee_."

SCENE 5. Page 94.

MAL. I will be _point-de-vice_ [_device_].

As the instances of this expression are of rare occurrence, those which follow are offered as likely to be useful to the author of any future work that may resemble the well-planned, but unfinished glossary of _obsolete and provincial words_ by the late Dr. Boucher. In the interlude of _The nature of the four elements_, Sensuality, one of the _dramatis personæ_, promises a banquet

"Of metys that be most delycate, Which shall be in a chamber feyre Replete with sote and fragrāt eyre Prepared _poynt-deryse_."

In _Newes from the North_, 1579, 4to, mention is made of "costly banqueting houses, galleries, bowling-allees, straunge toies of _point-devise_ and woorkmanship," sign. G. In an old and very rare satirical poem against married ladies, entitled, _The proude wyves paternoster that wold go gaye, and undyd her husbande and went her waye_, 1560, 4to, one of the gossips recommends her companion to wear

"Rybandes of sylke that be full longe and large, With tryangles _trymly made poyntdevyse_."

Some further account of this piece may not be unacceptable. It is described in Laneham's _Letter from Killingworth_ as forming part of Captain Cox the mason's curious library. In the appendix to Baker's _Biographia dramatica_, p. 433, a play under the same title is mentioned as entered on the Stationers' books in 1559; but from the correspondence in the date, it was, most likely, the present work, which cannot be regarded as a dramatic one. It describes the hypocritical behaviour of women at church, who, instead of attending to their devotions, are more anxious to show their gay apparel. One of these, observing a neighbour much better clothed than herself, begins her _paternoster_, wherein she complains of her husband's restrictions, and prays that she may be enabled to dress as gaily as the rest of her acquaintance. She afterwards enters into conversation with a female gossip, by whose mischievous instigation she is seduced to rebel against her husband's authority. In consequence of this, the poor man is first entreated, next threatened, and finally ruined. The author of this poem is not the first who has irreligiously made use of the present vehicle of his satire. One of the old Norman minstrels had preceded him in _The usurer's paternoster_, which Mons. Le Grand has inserted among his entertaining _fabliaux_, and at the same time described some other similar compositions.

But to return to _point-device_:--There was no occasion for separating the two last syllables of this term, as in the quotation from Mr. Steevens's text, nor is it done when it occurs elsewhere in his edition. It has been properly stated that _point-device_ signifies _exact, nicely finical_; but nothing has been offered concerning the etymology, except that we got the expression from the French. It has in fact been supplied from the labours of the needle. _Poinet_ in the French language denotes a _stitch_; _devisé_ any thing _invented_, _disposed_, or _arranged_. _Point-devisé_ was therefore a particular sort of patterned lace worked with the needle; and the term _point-lace_ is still familiar to every female. They had likewise their _point-coupé_, _point-compté_, _dentelle au point devant l'aiguille_, &c., &c. The various kinds of needle-work practised by our indefatigable grandmothers, if enumerated, would astonish even the most industrious of our modern ladies. Many curious books of patterns for lace and all sorts of needle-work were formerly published, some of which are worth pointing out to the curious collector. The earliest on the list is an Italian book under the title of _Esemplario di lavori: dove le tenere fanciulle & altre donne nobile potranno facilmente imparare il modo & ordine di lavorare, cusire, raccamare, & finalmente far tutte quelle gentillezze & lodevili opere, le quali pò fare una donna virtuosa con laco in mano, con li suoi compasse & misure. Vinegia, per Nicolo D'Aristotile detto Zoppino_, MDXXIX. 8vo. The next that occurs was likewise set forth by an Italian, and entitled, _Les singuliers et nouveaux pourtraicts du seigneur Federic de Vinciolo Venitien, pour toutes sortes d'ouvrages de lingerie_. Paris, 1588, 4to. It is dedicated to the queen of France, and had been already twice published. In 1599 a second part came out, which is much more difficult to be met with than the former, and sometimes contains a neat portrait, by Gaultier, of Catherine de Bourbon, the sister of Henry the Fourth. The next is _Nouveaux pourtraicts de point coupé et dantelles en petite moyenne et grande forme, nouvellement inventez et mis en lumiere. Imprimé à Montbeliard_, 1598, 4to. It has an address to the ladies, and a poem exhorting young damsels to be industrious; but the author's name does not appear. Vincentio's work was published in England, and printed by John Wolf, under the title of _New and singular patternes and workes of linnen, serving for paternes to make all sortes of lace, edginges and cut-workes. Newly invented for the profite and contentment of ladies, gentilwomen, and others that are desireous of this art._ 1591, 4to. He seems also to have printed it with a French title. We have then another English book of which this is the title: _Here foloweth certaine Patternes of Cut-workes: newly invented and never published before. Also sundry sortes of spots, as flowers, birdes and fishes, &c. and will fitly serve to be wrought, some with gould, some with silke, and some with crewell in coullers: or otherwise at your pleasure. And never but once published before. Printed by Rich. Shorleyker._ No date, in oblong 4to. And, lastly, another oblong quarto entitled _The needles excellency, a new booke wherin are divers admirable workes wrought with the needle. Newly invented and cut in copper for the pleasure and profit of the industrious._ Printed for James Boler, &c. 1640. Beneath this title is a neat engraving of three ladies in a flower garden, under the names of Wisdom, Industrie, and Follie. Prefixed to the patterns are sundry poems in commendation of the needle, and describing the characters of ladies who have been eminent for their skill in needle-work, among whom are Queen Elizabeth and the Countess of Pembroke. These poems were composed by John Taylor the water poet. It appears that the work had gone through twelve impressions, and yet a copy is now scarcely to be met with. This may be accounted for by supposing that such books were generally cut to pieces, and used by women to work upon or transfer to their samplers. From the dress of a lady and gentleman on one of the patterns in the last mentioned book, it appears to have been originally published in the reign of James the First. All the others are embellished with a multitude of patterns elegantly cut in wood, several of which are eminently conspicuous for their taste and beauty.

It is therefore apparent that the expression _point-devise_ became applicable, in a secondary sense, to whatever was uncommonly exact, or constructed with the nicety and precision of _stitches made or devised by the needle_.


SCENE 1. Page 97.

VIO. Dost thou live by thy _tabor_?

This instrument is found in the hands of fools long before the time of Shakspeare. With respect to _the sign of the tabor_ mentioned in the notes, it might, as stated, have been _the designation of a musick shop_; but that it was _the sign of an eating-house kept by Tarleton_ is a mistake into which a learned commentator has been inadvertently betrayed. It appears from Tarleton's _Jests_, 1611, 4to, that he kept a tavern in Gracious [Gracechurch] street, at the sign of the _Saba_. This is the person who in our _modern_ bibles is called the _queen of Sheba_, and the sign has been corrupted into that of the _bell-savage_, as may be gathered from the inedited metrical _romance of Alexander_, supposed to have been written at the beginning of the fourteenth century by Adam Davie, who, in describing the countries visited by his hero, mentions that of _Macropy_ (the _Macropii_ of Pliny), and adds,

"In heore[4] lond is a cité On of the noblest in Christianté[5]; Hit hotith[6] _Sabba_ in langage. Thennes cam _Sibely savage_, Of al theo world theo fairest quene, To Jerusalem, Salamon to seone[7] For hire fairhed[8], and for hire love, Salamon forsok his God above."

_Sibely savage_, as a proper name, is another perversion of _si belle sauvage_; and though the lady was supposed to have come from the remotest parts of Africa, and might have been as black as a Negro, we are not now to dispute the superlative beauty of the mistress of Salomon, here converted into a Savage. It must be admitted that the queen of Sheba was as well adapted to a sign as the wise men of the East, afterwards metamorphosed into the three kings of Cologne.

Mr. Pegge, in his _Anecdotes of the English language_, p. 291, informs us that a friend had seen a lease of the Bell Savage inn to _Isabella Savage_; "which," says he, "overthrows the conjectures about a bell and a savage, _la belle sauvage_, &c." It is probable that the learned writer's friend was in some way or other deceived. The date of the instrument is not mentioned; and if the above name really appeared in the lease, it might have been an accidental circumstance at a period not very distant. Mr. Pegge was likewise not aware that the same sign, corrupted in like manner, was used on the continent.

SCENE 2. Page 109.

SIR TO. Go write it in a martial hand; be _curst_ and _brief_.

Of the latter sentence Dr. Johnson has not given the exact explanation. It alludes to the proverb, "A curst _cur_ must be tied _short_."

SCENE 4. Page 120.

SIR TO. What, man! defy the Devil: consider, he's an _enemy_ to mankind.

It was very much the practice with old writers, both French and English, to call the Devil, _the enemy_, by way of pre-eminence, founded perhaps on the words of Christ in _Luke_ x. 19. Thus at the beginning of the _Roman de Merlin, MS._ "Mult fu iriez _li anemis_ quant nre sires ot este en anfer;" and see other examples in Barbasan's glossary to the _Ordene de chevalerie_, 1759, 12mo, in v. _Anemi_. The cause of the Devil's wrath in the above instance, was the liberation of Adam, Noah, and many other saints and patriarchs from the purgatorial torments which they had endured. In a most curious description of hell in _Examples howe mortall synne maketh the synners inobedyentes to have many paynes and doloures within the fyre of hell_, b. l. no date, 12mo, the Devil is thus referred to: "Come than after me, and I shal shewe unto the _the ryght cursed enemye_ of humayne lygnage." And again, "About _the enemy_ there were so many devyls and of cursed and myserable soules that no man myght beleve that of all the worlde from the begynnynge myght be yssued and brought forth so many soules." Sometimes he was called the _enemy of hell_, as in Larke's _Boke of wisdome_, b. l. no date, 12mo, where it is said that "_the enemye of hell_ ought to be doubted of every wise man." This note may serve also in further explanation of the line in _Macbeth_, Act III. Scene 1,

"Given to the common _enemy_ of man."

It is remarkable that the Devil should be likewise called _the enemy of mankind_ in the East. See Gladwin's _Persian moon-shee_, part ii. p. 23.

SCENE 4. Page 120.

FAB. Carry his water to _the wise woman_.

Here may be a direct allusion to one of the two ladies of this description mentioned in the following passage from Heywood's play of _The wise woman of Hogsdon_; "You have heard of _Mother Notingham_, who for her time was prettily well skill'd in _casting of waters_: and after her, _Mother Bombye_." The latter is sometimes alluded to by Gerarde the Herbalist, who, speaking of the properties of vervain, says, "you must observe _mother Bumbies_ rules to take just so many knots or sprigs, and no more, least it fall out so that it do you no good, if you catch no harme by it." _Historie of plants_, p. 581.

Lilly's comedy of _Mother Bombie_ is well known. The several occupations of these impostors are thus described in the above play by Heywood: "Let me see how many trades have I to live by: First, I am _a wise-woman_, and a fortuneteller, and under that I deale in physicke and forespeaking, in palmistry, and recovering of things lost. Next, I undertake to cure madd folkes. Then I keepe gentlewomen lodgers, to furnish such chambers as I let out by the night: Then I am provided for bringing young wenches to bed; and, for a need, you see I can play the match-maker. Shee that is but one, and professeth so many, may well be tearmed _a wise-woman_, if there bee any." Such another character was _Julian of Brentford_, mentioned in the _Merry wives of Windsor_. These persons were sometimes called _cunning_ and _looming_ women.

SCENE 4. Page 121.

SIR TO. Come, we'll have him in a _dark room_, and bound. My niece is already in the belief that he is _mad_.

The reason for putting Malvolio into a _dark room_ was to make _him_ believe that he was _mad_; for a _madhouse_ seems formerly to have been called a _dark-house_. In the next act Malvolio says, "Good Sir Topas, do not think I am _mad_, they have laid me here in _hideous darkness_." And again, "I say this _house is dark_." In Act V. he asks, "Why have you suffer'd me to be imprison'd, kept in _a dark-house_?" In _As you like it_, Act III. Scene 1, Rosalind says that "love is a _madness_, and deserves as well _a dark-house_ and a whip, as madmen do." Edward Blount, in the second dedication to his _Hospitall of incurable fooles_, 1600, 4to, a translation from the Italian, requests of the person whom he addresses to take on him the office of patron or treasurer to the hospital; and that if any desperate censurer shall stab him for assigning his office or place, he presently take him into _the dark ward_: and in the same work, certain idle fools are consigned to the _darksome guesthouse of their madness_.

SCENE 4. Page 124.

OLI. I have said too much unto a heart of stone, and laid mine honour too unchary _on't_.

This is the reading of the old copy, which has been unnecessarily disturbed at Theobald's suggestion by substituting _out_. It might be urged that _laying honour out_ is but an awkward phrase. The old text simply means, I have _placed_ my honour too incautiously _upon_ a heart of stone. The preceding note had shown that adjectives are often used adverbially by Shakspeare.

SCENE 4. Page 127.

SIR TO. He is a knight, dubb'd with _unhack'd rapier_, and on _carpet_ consideration.

The original word is _unhatch'd_, and if any alteration be admitted it should be _an hatch'd_, for the first reason assigned in Mr. Malone's ingenious note. Sir Toby says that his brother knight was no hero dubbed in the field of battle, but a carpet knight made at home in time of peace with a sword of ceremony richly _gilt or engraved_. In _Don Quixote_, the damsel whom Sancho finds wandering in the streets of Barataria disguised as a man, is furnished with "a very faire _hatched_ dagger," chap. 49 of Shelton's translation. In _The tragical history of Jetzer_, 1683, 18mo, mention is made of "a sword richly _hatcht_ with silver." Thus much in support of the above slight alteration of the old reading. The second conjecture of Mr. Malone, that _unhatcht_ might have been used in the sense of _unhack'd_, deserves much attention; but there was no necessity for introducing the latter word into the text. To _hatch_ a sword has been thought to signify to _engrave_ it; but it appears from Holme's _Academy of armory_, B. iii. p. 91, that "_hatching_, is _to silver or gild_ the hilt and pomell of a sword or hanger."

With respect to _carpet_ knights, they were sometimes called knights of the _green cloth_. For this information we are also indebted to Holme, who, in his above cited work, B. iii. p. 57, informs us that "all such as have studied law, physic, or any other arts and sciences whereby they have become famous and serviceable to the court, city, or state, and thereby have merited honour, worship, or dignity, from the sovereign and fountain of honour; if it be the King's pleasure to knight any such persons, seeing they are not knighted as soldiers, they are not therefore to use the horseman's title or spurs; they are only termed simply _miles et milites, knights of the carpet or knights of the green cloth_, to distinguish them from knights that are dubbed as soldiers in the field; though in these our days they are created or dubbed with the like ceremony as the others are, by the stroak of a naked sword upon their shoulder, with the words, _Rise up Sir T. A. knight_."


SCENE 1. Page 136.

CLO. I am afraid this great _lubber the world_ will prove a cockney.

A typographical corruption seems to have crept into this place from similitude of sound; but a very slight alteration will restore the sense. The clown is speaking of _vent_ as an affected word; and we should therefore read "this great _lubberly word_ will prove a cockney," i. e. will turn out to be cockney language.

SCENE 2. Page 140.

CLO. For as _the old hermit of Prague_----

Not the celebrated heresiarch Jerome of Prague, but another of that name born likewise at Prague, and called _the hermit of Camaldoli_ in Tuscany.

SCENE 2. Page 141.

CLO. Say'st thou that _house_ is dark?

This Mr. Malone conceives to be _a pompous appellation for the small room_ in which Malvolio was confined; but it seems to be merely the designation of a madhouse. See the preceding note on Act III. Scene 4, p. 121.


SCENE 1. Page 157.

PRIEST. A contract of eternal bond of love Confirm'd by mutual joinder of your hands, Attested by the holy close of lips, Strengthened by interchangement of your rings; And all the ceremony of this compact Seal'd in my function, by my testimony.

It will be necessary, for the better illustration of these lines, to connect them with what Olivia had said to Sebastian at the end of the preceding act:

"Now go with me, and with this holy man, Into the chantry by: there _before him_ And underneath that consecrated roof _Plight me the full assurance of your faith_; That my most jealous and too doubtful soul May live at peace. He shall conceal it Whiles you are willing it shall come to note; What time we will our _celebration_ keep According to my birth."

Now the whole has been hitherto regarded as relating to _an actual marriage_ that had been solemnized between the parties; whereas it is manifest that nothing more is meant than a _betrothing_, _affiancing_ or _promise of future marriage_, anciently distinguished by the name of _espousals_, a term which was for a long time confounded with _matrimony_, and at length came exclusively to denote it. The form of betrothing at church in this country, has not been handed down to us in any of its ancient ecclesiastical service books; but it is to be remembered that Shakspeare is here making use of foreign materials, and the ceremony is preserved in a few of the French and Italian rituals.

The custom of betrothing appears to have been known in ancient times to almost all the civilized nations among whom marriage was considered as a sacred engagement. Our northern ancestors were well acquainted with it. With them the process was as follows: 1. _Procatio_, or wooing. 2. _Impetratio_, or demanding of the parents or guardian. 3. The conditions of the contract. All these were sealed by joining the right hands, by a certain form of words, and a confirmation before witnesses. The length of the time between espousals and marriage was uncertain, and governed by the convenience of the parties; it generally extended to a few months. Sometimes in cases of necessity, such as the parties living in different countries, and where the interference of proxies had been necessary, the time was protracted to three years. The contract of the affiancing party was called _handsaul_; (whence our _hansel_) of the agreeing party, _handfastening_. See Thorlacius _De borealium veterum matrimonio_, 1785, 4to, pp. 33, 42. Vincent de Beauvais, a writer of the 13th century, in his _Speculum historiale_, lib. ix. c. 70, has defined _espousals_ to be _a contract of future marriage_, made either by a simple promise, by earnest or security given, by a ring, or by an oath. During the same period, and the following centuries, we may trace several other modes of betrothing, some of which it may be worth while to describe more at large.

I. The interchangement of rings.--Thus in Chaucer's _Troilus and Creseide_, book 3.

"Sone after this they spake of sondry things As fill to purpose of this aventure, And playing _enterchaungeden her rings_ Of which I can not tellen no scripture. But well I wot, a broche of gold and assure In which a rubie set was like an herte Creseide him yave, and stacke it on his sherte."

When espousals took place at church, rings were also interchanged. According to the ritual of the Greek church, the priest first placed the rings on the fingers of the parties, who afterwards exchanged them. Sometimes the man only gave a ring. In the life of Saint Leobard, who is said to have flourished about the year 580, written by Gregory of Tours he gives a ring, a kiss, and a pair of shoes to his affianced. The ring and shoes were a symbol of securing the lady's hands and feet in the trammels of conjugal obedience; but the ring of itself was sufficient to confirm the contract. In _The miracles of the Virgin Mary_, compiled in the twelfth century by a French monk, there is a story of a young man who, falling in love with an image of the Virgin, inadvertently placed on one of its fingers a ring which he had received from his mistress, accompanying the gift with the most tender language of respect and affection. A miracle instantly took place, and the ring remained immoveable. The young man, greatly alarmed for the consequences of his rashness, consulted his friends, who advised him by all means to devote himself entirely to the service of the Madonna. His love for his former mistress prevailing over their remonstrances: he married her; but on the wedding night the newly-betrothed lady appeared to him, and urged her claim with so many dreadful menaces that the poor man felt himself compelled to abandon his bride, and that very night to retire privately to a hermitage, where he became a _monk_ for the rest of his life. This story has been translated by Mons. Le Grand in his entertaining collection of _fabliaux_, where the ring is called a _marriage ring_: but this is probably a mistake in the translator, as appears from several copies of the above _Miracles_ that have been consulted. The giving of rings was likewise a _pledge of love_ in cases where no marriage could possibly happen. In The _lay of Equitan_, a married woman and her gallant exchange rings,

"Par lur anels sentresaísirent Lur _fiaunce_ sentreplevirent."

In a romance written by Raimond Vidal, a Provençal poet of the thirteenth century, a knight devotes himself to the service of a lady, who promises him a kiss in a year's time when she shall be married. They ratify the contract by an exchange of rings. Mr. Steevens has on the present occasion introduced a note, wherein a ludicrous superstition is mentioned, in order to prove that "in our ancient _marriage ceremony_, the man received as well as gave a ring." But the passage which he cites from Lupton is wrongly translated from Mizaldus, who only speaks of _the_ marriage ring: and so it is in Scott's _Discovery of witchcraft_, fo. 82. edit. 1584, 4to, where a similar receipt is given. Mr. Steevens was indeed convinced of this by the author of these observations, and in a note on _All's well that ends well_ has retracted his opinion. No instance has occurred where rings were _interchanged_ at a _marriage_.

II. The kiss that was mutually given. When this ceremony took place at church, the lady of course withdrew the veil which was usually worn on the occasion; when in private, the drinking of healths generally followed.

III. The joining of hands. This is often alluded to by Shakspeare himself. See a note in the _Winter's tale_, p. 17, Steevens's edition, 1793.

IV. The testimony of witnesses. That of the priest alone was generally sufficient, though we often find many other persons attending the ceremony. The words "there before him," and "he shall conceal it," in Olivia's speech, sufficiently demonstrate that betrothing and not marriage is intended; for in the latter the presence of the priest alone would not have sufficed. In later times, espousals in the church were often prohibited in France, because instances frequently occurred where the parties, relying on the testimony of the priest, scrupled not to live together as man and wife; which gave rise to much scandal and disorder. Excesses were likewise often committed by the celebration of espousals in taverns and alehouses, and some of the synodal decrees expressly enjoin that the parties shall not get drunk on these occasions.

The ceremony, generally speaking, was performed by the priest demanding of the parties if they had entered into a contract with any other person, or made a vow of chastity or religion; whether they had acted for each other, or for any child they might have had, in the capacity of godfather or godmother, or whether they had committed incontinence with any near relation of the other party; but the latter questions might be dispensed with at the discretion of the priest. Then this oath was administered--"You swear by God and his holy saints herein and by all the saints of Paradise, that you will take this woman whose name is N. to wife within forty days, if holy church will permit." The priest then joined their hands, and said,--"And thus you affiance yourselves;" to which the parties answered,--"Yes, sir." They then received a suitable exhortation on the nature and design of marriage, and an injunction to live piously and chastely until that event should take place. They were not permitted, at least by the church, to reside in the same house, but were nevertheless regarded as man and wife independently of the usual privileges: and this will account for Olivia's calling Cesario "husband;" and when she speaks of "keeping _celebration_ according to her birth," it alludes to _future marriage_. This took place in a reasonable time after betrothing, but was seldom protracted in modern times beyond forty days. So in _Measure for measure_, Claudio calls Julietta his _wife_, and says he got possession of her bed upon a true _contract_. The duke likewise, in addressing Mariana who had been _affianced_ to Angelo, says, "he is your _husband_ on a pre-contract."

Before we quit the subject, it may be necessary to observe that betrothing was not an essential preliminary to marriage, but might be dispensed with. The practice in this respect varied in different times and places. The desuetude of espousals in England seems to have given rise to the action at law for damages on breach of promise of marriage. And thus much may suffice for a general idea of this ancient custom; the legal niceties must be sought for in the works of the civilians.

SCENE 1. Page 159.

SIR TO. Then he's a rogue. After a _passy-measure_, or a _pavin_, I hate a drunken rogue.

Florio, in his Italian dictionary, 1598, has "_passamezzo_, a _passameasure_ in dancing, a cinque pace;" and although the English word is corrupt, the other contributes to show a part, at least, of the figure of this dance, which is said to have consisted in making several steps round the ball-room and then _crossing it in the middle_. Brantôme calls it "le _pazzameno_ d'Italie," and it appears to have been more particularly used by the Venetians. It was much in vogue with us during Shakspeare's time, as well as the _Pavan_; and both were imported either from France, Spain, or Italy. In a book of instructions for the lute, translated from the French by J. Alford, 1568, 4to, there are two _passameze_ tunes printed in letters according to the lute notation.

As to the _Pavan_, there is some doubt whether it originally belongs to Spain or Italy. _Spanish pavans_ are certainly mentioned by Ben Jonson in the _Alchymist_, and by Brantôme in his _Dames illustres_, who adds that he had seen it danced by Francis I. and his sister, the celebrated Margaret of Navarre, and also by Mary Queen of Scots. There is good reason, however, for thinking the term is Italian, and derived from the city of _Padua_, where the dance is said to have been invented. Massa Gallesi, a civilian of the sixteenth century, calls it _saltatio Paduana_. In a catalogue of books that were exposed to sale at Frankfort fair, from 1564 to 1592, the following are mentioned: "Chorearum molliorum collectanea omnis fere generis tripudia complectens, utpote _Padoanas_, _passemezos_, allemandas, galliardas, branles, et id genus alia, tam vivæ voci quam instrumentis musicis accommodata. Antverpiæ, 1583, 4to." "Cantiones _Italicæ_ quas _Paduana_ Itali vocant, quatuor vocum. Venetiis, 1565, 4to." "Sixti Kargen, renovata cythara, hoc est, novi et commodissimi exercendæ cytharæ modi, constantes cantionibus musicis, _passomezo_, _podoanis_, gaillardis, Alemanicis et aliis ejusmodi pulchris exemplis, ad tabulaturam communem redactis. Argentorati, 1575, et Moguntiæ, 1569, folio." In Alford's _Instructions for the lute_, above mentioned, there is a _Paduane_ and a _Pavane_. Randle Holme, in his _Academy of armory_, 1688, folio, book iii. c. 3, speaking of the _Pavan_ as a tune, describes it as "the height of composition made only to delight the ear: be it of 2, 3, 4, 5, or 6 parts [it] doth commonly consist of three straines, each straine to be played twice over." In an old MS. collection of lessons for the virginals, there is one called "Dr. Bull's _melancholy_ pavin." Mr. Tyrwhitt, therefore, is right in supposing that a jovial blade like Sir Toby would be naturally averse to these grave dances, and the dullness of the tunes belonging to them.

SCENE 1. Page 162.

DUKE. One face, one voice, one habit and two persons; A natural _perspective_, that is, and is not.

The several kinds of perspective glasses that were used in Shakspeare's time, may be found collected together in Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_, 1584, 4to, book xiii. ch. 19. They cannot be exceeded in number by any modern optician's shop in England. Among these, that alluded to by the Duke is thus described: "There be glasses also wherein one man may see another man's image, and not his own." It is to be observed that a _perspective_ formerly meant a _glass_ that assisted the sight in any way.

SCENE 1. Page 169.

MAL. And made the most notorious _geck_, and gull.

Dr. Johnson rightly explains geck, a fool. It is so in all the Northern languages. In Saxon, ᵹæc is a cuckow, whence _gouk_, _gawk_, and _gawky_. Mr. Steevens's quotations seem to exhibit the word in another sense, viz. a _mock_ or _mockery_.


The clown in this play is a domestic or hired fool, in the service of Olivia. He is specifically termed "an _allowed_ fool," and "Feste the jester, a fool that the lady Olivia's father took much delight in." Malvolio likewise speaks of him as "a set fool." Of his dress it is impossible to speak correctly. If the fool's expression, "I will _impeticoat_ thy gratility," be the original language, he must have been habited accordingly. Mr. Ritson has asserted that he has neither coxcomb nor bauble, deducing his argument from the want of any allusion to them. Yet such an omission may be a very fallacious guide in judging of the habit of this character on the stage. It must, however, be admitted, that where this happens there can be no clue as to the precise manner in which the fool was dressed.


[4] their.

[5] The mention of the region of Christianity is a whimsical anachronism as connected with the story of Alexander; but we must do our author the justice to admit that in _his_ time the Ethiopians were Christians.

[6] is called.

[7] to see.

[8] fairness, beauty.



SCENE 1. Page 180.

DUKE. ... Then no more remains, But that to your _sufficiency_, as your worth is able, And let them work.

_Sufficiency_ is, no doubt, _ability_, and not _authority_, as Warburton conceives; and this shows that there is an omission in the speech of what the duke would have added concerning the authority which he meant to delegate. The most rational addition is that suggested by Mr. Tyrwhitt. It is remarkable that Dr. Johnson should contend for the introduction of a line of _thirteen_ syllables!

SCENE 1. Page 186.

DUKE. _Mortality_ and _mercy_ in Vienna Live in thy _tongue_ and _heart_.

That is, "I delegate to thy tongue the power of pronouncing sentence of death, and to thy heart the privilege of exercising mercy." These are words of great import, and ought to be made clear, as on them depends the chief incident of the play.

SCENE 2. Page 191.

LUCIO. Behold, behold, &c.

This speech should have been given to the _first gentleman_, in order to correspond with the note, which is probably right.

SCENE 2. Page 191.

LUCIO. A _French crown_ more.

The quotations already given sufficiently exemplify the meaning; yet that which follows being remarkably illustrative, is offered in addition. "More seeming friendship [is] to be had in _an house of transgression_ for a _French crown_, though it be a _bald one_, than at Belinsgate for a boxe o' th'eare." _Vox graculi, or Jack Dawe's prognostication_, 1623, 4to, p. 60.

SCENE 2. Page 192.

I. GENT. How now, which of your _hips_ has the most profound _sciatica_?

A most appropriate question to the bawd. The author of the facetious Latin comedy of _Cornelianum dolium_ has named one of Cornelius's strumpets _Sciatica_. She thus speaks of herself; "In lectulo meo ægrè me vertere potui; podagram, chiragram, et _hip_-agram (si ita dicere liceat) nocte quotidie sensi."

SCENE 2. Page 195.

BAWD. What's to do here, _Thomas_ Tapster?

Why does she call the clown by this name, when it appears from his own showing that his name was _Pompey_? Perhaps she is only quoting some old saying or ballad.

SCENE 3. Page 201.

CLAUD. ... for in her youth There is a _prone_ and speechless dialect.

One of the old significations of this word appears to have been _easily moving_, which is evidently the sense required in this place. See Cotgrave's _Dictionary_, in _prone_.

SCENE 4. Page 203.

DUKE. Where youth and cost and witless bravery _keeps_.

Mr. Reed's explanation of this word as used for _dwells_, is confirmed by another passage in this play, Act IV. Scene 1.

"... a breath thou art That dost this _habitation_ where thou _keep'st_ Hourly afflict."

SCENE 5. Page 208.

LUCIO. _For that, which_ if myself might be his judge, He should receive his punishment in thanks.

It has been conceived that there is here a transposition at the press for "that for which." The emendation is more grammatical than _harmonious_; but the expression is quite in Shakspeare's manner. A few pages further on we have this similar phraseology:

"Whether you had not sometime in your life Err'd in this point _which now you censure him_."

SCENE 5. Page 211.

LUCIO. Your brother and his _lover_.

This term was applied to the female sex not only in Shakspeare's time, but even to a very late period. Lady Wortley Montagu in a letter to her husband, speaking of a young girl who forbade the bans of marriage at Huntingdon, calls her _lover_. See her works, vol. i. p. 238.


SCENE 1. Page 216.

ESCAL. Let us be keen, and rather cut a little Than _fall_ and bruise to death.

On the very plausible authority of a passage in _As you like it_, where the executioner is said to "fall his axe," the present metaphor has been supposed to refer also to the punishment of decapitation. If it be so, there is a manifest impropriety in the expression "cut a little," as we are not to imagine that Escalus would intend to chop off a criminal's hand, or to deprive him of his ears; both modes of punishment, which though frequently practised in the reign of Elizabeth, seem exclusively adapted to a community of barbarians. May not the metaphor be rather borrowed from the cutting down of timber, and Escalus mean to say, "Is it not better to lop off a few branches, than to _fall_ the whole tree?"

SCENE 1. Page 217.

ANG. The jury, passing on the prisoner's life May, in the sworn twelve, have a thief or two, &c.

We have here one of Shakspeare's trips; an English jury in a German court of justice.

SCENE 1. Page 223.

CLO. Your honours have seen such dishes; they are not _China dishes_, but very good dishes.

We must not conclude with Mr Steevens that a _China dish_ was such an uncommon thing in the age of Shakspeare. In the first act of Massinger's _Renegado_, this article is mentioned, together with crystal glasses and pictures, as composing the furniture of a broker's shop; and it appears from other authorities that China dishes were used at banquets. During the reign of Elizabeth several Spanish carracks were taken, a part of whose cargoes was _China ware of porcelaine_. The recent seizure by Philip II. of Portugal and its colonies led to this sort of commerce in the East Indies. In Minsheu's _Spanish dialogues_, 1623, folio, p. 12, _China mettall_ is explained to be "the fine dishes of earth painted, such as are brought from Venice." It is very probable that we had this commodity by means of our traffic with Italy, which also supplied the term _porcelaine_. China ware was so called from its resemblance to the polished exterior of the _concha Veneris_ or some other similar shell, which, for reasons that cannot here be given, was called _porcellana_. The curious reader may find a clue by consulting Florio's Italian dictionary, 1598, under the word _porcile_. In the time of Cromwell a duty of twenty shillings was paid on every dozen _China dishes_ under a quart, and of sixty on those of a quart and upwards. See _Oliverian acts_, A. D. 1657.

SCENE 2. Page 238.

ISAB. ... spare him, spare him; He's not prepar'd for death! Even for our kitchens We kill the fowl _of season_.

She means "not _before_ it is in season; not _prematurely_, as you would kill my brother."

SCENE 2. Page 240.

ISAB. Could great men thunder As Jove himself does, Jove would ne'er be quiet, For ev'ry pelting petty officer Would use his heaven for thunder; nothing but thunder.

This fine sentiment, which nevertheless contains a very obvious fault in the mode of expressing it, appears to have been suggested by the following lines in Ovid's _Tristia_, lib. ii., that Shakspeare might have read in Churchyard's translation:

"Si quoties peccant homines sua fulmina mittat Jupiter, exiguo tempore inermis erit."

SCENE 2. Page 240.

ISAB.. Merciful heaven! Thou rather with thy sharp and sulphurous bolt Split'st the unwedgeable and gnarled oak, Than the soft myrtle.

There is much affinity between the above lines and these in Persius, sat. ii.:

"Ignovisse putas, quia, cum tonat, ocyus ilex Sulfure discutitur sacro, quam tuque domusque?"

But although there were two or three editions of that author published in England in the reign of Elizabeth, he does not appear to have been then translated.

SCENE 2. Page 243.

ISAB. ... prayers from _preserved_ souls, From fasting maids, whose minds are dedicate To nothing temporal.

Here is no metaphor from _preserved fruits_, as Warburton fancifully conceives. _Preserved_ is used in its common and obvious acceptation. Isabella alludes to the prayers of her fellow nuns in addition to her own.

SCENE 2. Page 246.

ANG. O cunning _enemy_, that, to catch a saint, With saints dost bait thy hook!

_Enemy_ is here used for the _Devil_. See before in p. 62, 63.

SCENE 4. Page 260.

ISAB. ... Sir, believe this, I had rather give my body than my soul.

It is Isabella's purpose to give an evasive or ambiguous answer to Angelo's strange question, and she accordingly does so. Or, if it have any meaning, it may be "I would even consent to your terms if I could save my soul, or if my soul did not thereby incur perdition."


SCENE 1. Page 272.

DUKE. ... merely thou art _Death's fool_; For him thou labour'st by thy flight to shun, And yet run'st toward him still.

And in _Pericles_, Act III. Scene 2, "to please the _fool and death_." One note may serve for both these passages.

Dr. Warburton had conceived an allusion in the first speech to certain characters of _death and the fool_ in the old _moralities_, in which, most unquestionably, they are not to be found, at least, in any which now remain. It is in this place that the latter part of Mr. Steevens's note on the passage in _Pericles_ should have been introduced, with the following additional circumstances that had probably escaped the learned commentator's recollection; that his informant concerning the skeleton character at the fair remembered also to have seen another personage in the habit of a fool: and that arriving when the performances at the booth were finished for the evening, he could not succeed in procuring a repetition of the piece, losing thereby the means of all further information on the subject. It is therefore probable that the remainder of Dr. Warburton's note is correct, although he may have erred in his designation of this mummery. What connection the subject in question has with the old initial letter of _death and the fool_, and the _dance of death_, is shown in a note to _Love's labour lost_, vol. v. p. 316, and in another on the passage in _Pericles_, both of which should have been incorporated with the present.

Mr. Ritson, in correcting a remark made by the ingenious continuator of Ben Jonson's _Sad shepherd_, has inaccurately stated that the figures in the initial letter were "actually copied from the margin of an old missal." The letter that occurs in Stowe's _Survey of London_, edit. 1618, 4to, is only an enlarged but imperfect copy from another belonging to a regular dance of death used as initials by some of the Basil printers in the sixteenth century, and which, from the extraordinary skill that accompanies their execution, will ever rank amongst the finest efforts in the art of engraving on blocks of wood or metal. Most of the subjects in this dance of death have undoubtedly been supplied by that curious pageant of mortality which, during the middle ages, was so great a favourite as to be perpetually exhibited to the people either in the sculpture and painting of ecclesiastical buildings, or in the books adapted to the service of the church: yet some of them but ill accord with those serious ideas which the nature of the subject is calculated to inspire. In these the artist has indulged a vein of broad and satirical humour which was not wholly reserved for the caricaturists of modern times; and in one or two instances he has even overleaped the bounds of decency. The letter in Stowe's _Survey_ is the only one that appears to have been imitated from the above alphabet; and as it throws some light on that part of the Duke's speech which occasioned the present note, it is here very accurately copied. It is to be remembered that in most of the old _dances of death_ the subject of the fool is introduced: and it is, on the whole, extremely probable that some such representation might have suggested the image before us.


SCENE 1. Page 285.

CLAUD. ... and the delighted spirit To bathe in _fiery floods_, or to reside In thrilling regions of _thick-ribbed ice_; To be imprison'd in the viewless winds, And _blown with restless violence_ round about The pendant world; or to be worse than worst Of those that lawless and incertain thoughts Imagine _howling_!----

It is difficult to decide whether Shakspeare is here alluding to the pains of hell or purgatory. May not the whole be a mere poetical rhapsody originating in the recollection of what he had read in books of Catholic divinity? for it is very certain that some of these were extremely familiar to him. Among them he might have seen a compilation on the pains of hell, entitled _Examples howe mortall synne maketh the synners inobedyentes to have many paynes and dolours within the fyre of hell_; black letter, no date, 12mo, and chiefly extracted from that once popular work, the _Sermones discipuli_, which contains at the end a promptuary of examples for the use of preachers. From this little volume it may be worth while to select the following passage, as according in some degree with the matter of Claudio's speech:--"he tolde that he sawe in hell a torment of an _yzye ponde_ where the soules the whiche therin were tormented cryed so horryble that they were herde unto heven," sign. B. iij. "And the sayde beest was upon a ponde full of _strong yse_, the which beest devoured the soules within his wombe in suche maner that they became as unto nothynge by the tormentes that they suffred. Afterwarde he put them out of his wombe _within the yse of the sayde ponde_," sign. G. iij. "The caytyve was in syke wyse, for she myght not helpe herself, the whiche herde terryble cryes and _howlynges of soules_," sign. H. And again, "And the devyll was bounde by every joynture of all his membres with great chaynes of yron and of copre brennyng. And of great torment and vehement woodnes whereof he was full he turned hym from the one syde unto the other, and stretched out his handes in the multytude of the sayde soules, and toke them, and strayned them in lykewyse as men may do a clustre of grapes in theyr handes for to make the wyne come forth. And in such maner he strayned them that he eyther brake theyr heedes, or theyr fete, or handes, or some other membres. Afterward _he syghed and blewe and dysperpeled the sayde soules_ into many of the tormentes of the fyre of hell," sign. H. iiij.

The following lines from the sixth book of Phaer's Virgil might have furnished some materials on the occasion:

"... some _hie in ayer_ doth hang in pinnes Some fleeting ben in _floods_, and deepe in gulfes themselves they tier Till sinnes away be _washt, or clensed cleer with purgin fire_."

In the old legend of _Saint Patrick's purgatory_ mention is made of a lake of ice and snow, into which persons were plunged up to their necks; and in the _Shepherd's calendar_, chap, xviii. there is a description of hell as "the rewarde of them that kepen the X comaundements of the Devyll," in in which these lines occur:

"... a _great froste_ in a water rounes And after a _bytter wynde_ comes Whiche gothe through the soules with yre; Fendes with pokes pulle theyr flesshe ysondre, They fyght and curse, and eche on other wonder."

Chaucer, in his _Assemblie of foules_, has given an abridgement of Cicero's dream of Scipio; and speaking of souls in hell, he says:

"And breakers of the lawe, sothe to saine And likerous folke, after that they been dede _Shull whirle about the world_ alway in paine Till many a world be passed."

It was not until the seventh century that the doctrine of purgatory was confirmed, when "they held that departed souls expiated their sins by _baths_, _ice_, _hanging in the air_, &c.," says a curious writer on this subject. See Douglas's _Vitis degeneris_, 1668, 12mo, p. 77.

With respect to the much contested and obscure expression of _bathing the delighted spirit in fiery floods_, Milton appears to have felt less difficulty in its construction than we do at present; for he certainly remembered it when he made Comus say,

"... one sip of this Will _bathe_ the drooping _spirits in delight_ Beyond the bliss of dreams."

SCENE 2. Page 295.

ELB. Bless you good _father friar_.

DUKE. And you good _brother father_.

Mr. Tyrwhitt remarks that _father friar_ is a blunder, and so indeed the Duke from his answer seems to consider it. Yet friars have often been addressed in this way; and a few pages further Escalus calls the Duke _father_, who had just been introduced to him as a _friar_. The Duke, indeed, soon after uses the term _brother_ when speaking of himself. Whilst the passage quoted by Mr. Steevens gives support to Mr. Tyrwhitt's observation that _friar_ is a corruption of the French _frere_, it seems to disprove his assertion that Elbow's phrase is erroneous.

SCENE 2. Page 298.

LUCIO. What, is there none of _Pygmalion's images, newly made woman_, to be had now, for putting the hand in the pocket, and extracting it clutch'd?

None of the explanations of this speech are satisfactory, but least of all such part of a note by the author of these remarks, as refers to the _picklock_, which has been better accounted for by Mr. Ritson. It is probable, after all, that Lucio simply means to ask the clown if _he has no newly-coined money wherewith to bribe_ the officers of justice, alluding to the portrait of the queen.

SCENE 2. Page 308.

ESCAL. This would make mercy _swear and play the tyrant_.

The old belief certainly was that tyrants in general swore lustily; but here seems to be a particular allusion to the character of Herod, in the mystery of _The slaughter of the innocents_, formerly acted by the city companies in their pageants, and of which those for Chester and Coventry are still preserved in the British Museum. In this curious specimen of our early drama, Herod is made to swear by Mahound, by cockes blood, &c. He is uniformly in a passion throughout the piece; and this, according to the stage direction, "Here Erode ragis," is exemplified by some extraordinary gesticulation. See the notes of Messrs. Steevens and Malone on a passage in _Hamlet_, Act III. Scene 2.

SCENE 2. Page 310.

DUKE. ... and now is he _resolved_ to die.

Mr. Reed has certainly adduced an instance which proves that _resolved_ occasionally means _satisfied_, and we still talk of resolving difficulties, or a question in arithmetic; but in the passage before us it seems rather to signify _resolute_, _firm_, _determined_. Thus the allegorical romance of _Le chevalier deliberé_ was translated into English in the reign of Queen Elizabeth, under the title of _The resolved gentleman_; and into Spanish by that of _Il cavalero determinado_.


SCENE 1. Page 318.

ISAB. And that I have _possess'd_ him.

In the same sense Shylock says

"I have _possess'd_ your grace of what I purpose."

It were better that Shakspeare should be thus made his own commentator where it can be done, than that he should be explained by quotations from other authors.

SCENE 1. Page 319.

DUKE. ... volumes of report Run with these false and most contrarious _quests_ Upon thy doings.

It is presumed that the sense of _messengers_ annexed to this word by Mr. Ritson cannot be maintained, but that the very line he refers to establishes it to be _searches_, _inquiries_. Mr. Malone's note is, of the others, the most satisfactory. The Duke alludes to the false and various conclusions that result from investigating the actions of men high in office. There is an old pamphlet with the whimsical title of _Jacke of Dover, his quest of inquiry, or his privy search for the veriest foole in England_, 1604, 4to.

SCENE 1. Page 321.

DUKE. Sith that the justice of your title to him Doth _flourish_ the deceit.

That is, _decorate an action that would otherwise seem ugly_. Two metaphors have already been suggested; a third remains to be stated. _Flourish_ may, perhaps, allude to the ornaments that embellish the _ancient_ as well as modern books of penmanship. There are no finer specimens of beautiful writing extant than some of the reign of Elizabeth, who herself wrote a very elegant Italian hand in the early part of her life.

SCENE 2. Page 322.

PROV. ... and your deliverance with an _unpitied_ whipping; for you have been a notorious bawd.

Mr. Steevens makes _unpitied_, _unmerciful_; it is rather _a whipping that none shall pity_, for the reason that immediately follows.

SCENE 2. Page 334.

PROV. Pardon me, good father, it is against my oath.

This is a very different provost from one of whom Fabian in his _Chronicle_, p. 187, relates the following story: "In the thyrde yere of the reigne of this Philip, _the provost of Paris_, having in his prison a Picard, a man of greate riches, whiche for felony or like crime, was judged to be hanged. The sayde provost for great benefit to him done and payment of great summes by the sayd Pycard, tooke an other poore innocent man, and put him to death, in steede of the sayd Pycarde. Of the whiche offence whan due proofe of it was made before the kynges counsayle, the sayde provoste for the same dede was put unto like judgement."

SCENE 3. Page 335.

CLO. First, here's young master Rash, he's in for _a commodity of brown paper and old ginger_.

The nefarious practice of lending young men money in the shape of goods which are afterwards sold at a great loss, appears to have been more prevalent in the reign of Elizabeth than even at present. It is very strongly marked in Lodge's _Looking glasse for London and Englande_, 1598, where a usurer being very urgent for the repayment of his debt is thus answered, "I pray you, sir, consider that my losse was great by the commoditie I tooke up; you know, sir, I borrowed of you forty pounds, whereof I had ten pounds in money, and thirtie pounds in _lute strings_, which when I came to sell againe, I could get but five pounds for them, so had I, sir, but fifteene pounds for my fortie: In consideration of this ill bargaine, I pray you, sir, give me a month longer." But this sort of usury is much older than Shakspeare's time, and is thus curiously described in one of the sermons of Father Maillard, a celebrated preacher at Paris at the end of the fifteenth century, and whose style very much resembles that of John Whitfield. "Quidam indigens pecunia venit ad thesaurarium supra quem fuerunt assignata mille scuta; dicit thesaurarius, Ego dabo tibi, sed pro nunc non habeo argentum; sed expectes usque ad quindecim dies. Pauper dicit, Non possum expectare; respondet thesaurarius, Dabo tibi unam partem in argento et alia in mercantiis: et illud quod valebit centum scuta, faciet valere ducenta. Hic est usura palliata." _Sermo in feriam_, iiii. _de passione_.

SCENE 3. Page 337.

CLO. ... _ginger_ was not much in request, for the old women were all dead.

This spice was formerly held in very great repute, and especially among elderly persons. Sir Thomas Elyot in his _Castle of health_, 1580, 12mo, says, it comforts the head and stomach, and being green and well confectioned, quickens remembrance, if it be taken in a morning fasting. Henry Buttes, who wrote a whimsical book entitled _Dyet's dry dinner_, 1599, 12mo, speaks much in its praise, and says that being condite with honey it "warmes olde mens bellyes." In Ben Jonson's masque of _The metamorphosed gipsies_, a country wench laments the being robbed of "a dainty race of _ginger_;" and in the old play of _The famous victories of Henry the fifth_, a clown charges a thief with having "taken the great race of ginger, that bouncing _Besse_ with the jolly buttocks should have had." In Beaumont and Fletcher's _Knight of the burning pestle_, the citizen's wife gives a man who had been soundly beaten some _green ginger_ to comfort him. Ginger was used likewise to spice ale. In Lodge's _Looking glasse for London and England_, the clown says, "Ile tell you, sir, if you did taste of the ale, all _Ninivie_ hath not such a cup of ale, it floures in the cup, sir, by my troth I spent eleven pence, besides _three rases of ginger_." The numerous virtues of this root are likewise detailed in Vennor's _Via recta ad vitam longam_.

SCENE 3. Page 342.

PROV. One _Ragozine_, a most notorious pirate.

Some attempt to elucidate this name has been made in the first note to the Merchant of Venice, into which it is rather improperly introduced. Mr. Heath had supposed that _Ragozine_ was put for _Ragusan_, _i. e._ a native of the city of _Ragusa_ on the gulf of Venice, famous for its trading vessels; but it was incumbent on that gentleman to have shown that the inhabitants of the above city were _pirates_. This however would have been extremely difficult, if not impossible; for, on the contrary, Rycaut, in his _State of the Ottoman empire_, has expressly declared that the _Ragusans_ never offered injury; but that, on receiving any, they very patiently supported it. Wherever Shakspeare met with the name of _Ragozine_, it should seem to be a _metathesis_ of the French _Argousin_, or the Italian _Argosino_, _i. e._ an officer or lieutenant on board a galley; and, as Menage conjectures, a corruption of the Spanish _Alguasil_. See Carpentier, _Suppl. ad gloss. Dufresne_, under the word _Argoisillo_.


SCENE 1. Page 358.

ISAB. ... but let your reason serve To make the truth appear, where it seems hid; _And hide the false, seems true_.

The apparent difficulty in the last line proceeds from its elliptical construction; yet the meaning is sufficiently obvious. Isabella requests of the Duke to exert his reason _to discover_ truth where it seems hid, and _to suppress_ falsehood _where it_ has the semblance of truth. _Hide_ is, doubtless, a licentious word, but was used for the reason suggested by Mr. Malone.

SCENE 1. Page 375.

LUCIO. Show your sheep-biting face, and be _hang'd an hour_.

There would have been little reason for dissenting from Mr. Henley's ingenious note, in which he supposes that this expression refers to the _pillory_, but for the subsequent remark by Lucio, "this may prove worse than _hanging_." It seems therefore more probable that "hang'd an hour" alludes to the _time_ usually allotted for torturing the miserable object of the barbarous punishment by suspension, which is justly execrated by Randle Holme as "a dog's death," and always excites in the spectator a strange mixture of ludicrous and shocking sensations. It dishonours the living more than it degrades the criminal. The Turkish bowstring were much less offensive to the feelings of humanity: but the more solemn and decorous infliction of death, (if inflicted it must be,) would, as in military cases, be the stroke of the bullet, provided such a measure could be adopted without offending the soldier's honour. The pre-eminent mercy of the English law disdains to augment the horrors of premature dissolution by personal pain and torture; its object is to prevent or diminish the commission of the crime. On this principle, one could wish that, on the close of the usual necessary and consolatory preparation for death, some mode of stupefying the offender were adopted; that no sensation of torture on his part might be felt, nor any other on that of the spectator, than a satisfaction that the sentence of the law had been fulfilled. For this digression no apology can be necessary. As to Mr. Daines Barrington's supposition, that "the criminal was _suspended in the air by the collistrigium or stretch-neck_," a very little reflection will suffice to show that it is founded in error. Such a process would in _half an hour's_ time most effectually prevent a repetition of the ceremony. The _collistrigium_ was so called from the _stretching out or projection of the neck_ through a hole made in the pillory for that purpose, or through an iron collar or _carcan_ that was sometimes attached to the _pillar_ itself. No punishment has been inflicted in so many different ways as that of the pillory; and therefore the following varieties of it have been thought worth exhibiting.




The first is from a manuscript of the Chronicle of Saint Denis, in the British Museum, Bibl. Reg. 16. G. vi. It was written in the thirteenth century. The second occurs in a manuscript of Froissart, preserved in the same collection. The third is copied from a print in Comenius's _Orbis pictus_, and furnishes a specimen of the _carcan_, the woman being confined to the pillar by an iron ring or collar. The fourth is from a table of the standard of ancient weights and measures in the exchequer, and shows the mode of punishing a forestaller or regrator in the time of Henry the Seventh. The fifth exhibits Robert Ockam in the pillory for perjury. The fact happened in the reign of Henry the Eighth, but the cut is copied from Fox's _Martyrs_, published long afterwards. The sixth and last figure represents an ancient pillory that formerly stood in the market-place of the village of Paulmy in Touraine. It is copied from a view of the castle of Paulmy in Belleforest's _Cosmographie universelle_, 1575, folio. Not long since there was remaining in the Section des halles at Paris an old hexangular building of stone, with open Gothic windows, through which appeared an iron circle or _carcan_, with holes for placing the hands and necks of several persons at the same time, in like manner as in the first and last figures. There is an engraving of it in Millin's _Antiquités nationales_, tom. iii. no. 34.

SCENE 1. Page 378.

DUKE. Being criminal in _double_ violation Of sacred chastity, and of promise-breach.

Mr. Malone thinks _double_ refers to Angelo's conduct to _Mariana_ and Isabel; but surely, however inaccurate the expression, it alludes to Angelo's _double_ misconduct to _Isabella_, in having attempted _her_ chastity, and violated his promise with respect to her brother. Thus in _Promos and Cassandra_:

"Thou wycked man, might it not thee suffice By worse than force to spoyle her chastitie, But heaping sinne on sinne against thy othe, Hast cruelly her brother done to death."

In Cinthio Giraldi's novel, it is "Vous avez commis _deux crimes_ fort grans, l'un d'avoir diffamé cette jeune femme, par telle tromperie que l'on peut dire que vous l'avez forcée: l'autre d'avoir fait mourir son frere contre la foy à elle donnée." Transl. by Chappuys, 1584.

SCENE 1. Page 385.

DUKE. Thy slanders I forgive; and therewithal Remit thy other _forfeits_: Take him to prison.

Mr. Steevens has refined too much in supposing this word to mean _carnal offences_. It is simply _penalties_. The Duke remits all Lucio's offences except the injury done to the woman, and he is ordered to remain in prison until he marry her. _Forfeit_ was also used in the French sense of the word, _crime_, _transgression_.


The clown in this play officiates as the tapster of a brothel; whence it has been concluded that he is not a domestic fool, nor ought to appear in the dress of that character. A little consideration will serve to show that the opinion is erroneous, that _this_ clown is _altogether_ a domestic fool, and that he should be habited accordingly. In Act II. Scene 1, Escalus calls him a _tedious fool_, and _Iniquity_, a name for one of the old stage buffoons. He tells him that he will have him _whipt_, a punishment that was very often inflicted on fools. In _Timon of Athens_ we have a _strumpet's fool_, and a similar character is mentioned in the first speech in _Antony and Cleopatra_. But if any one should still entertain a doubt on the subject, he may receive the most complete satisfaction by an attentive examination of ancient prints, many of which will furnish instances of the common use of the domestic fool in brothels. In _Twelfth Night_, Act IV. Scene 1, Sebastian mistakes the clown for such a character as that before us, and calls him a _foolish Greek_, a term that is very happily explained by Dr. Warburton, whose note both communicates and receives support on the present occasion.


Three sources whence the plot of this play might have been extracted, have already been mentioned, viz. Whetstone's _Heptameron_, 1582, 4to; his _Promos and Cassandra_, 1578, 4to; and novel 5, decad. 8, in Cinthio Giraldi. It is probable that the general outline of the story is founded on fact, as it is related, with some variety of circumstance, by several writers, and appears to have been very popular. It has therefore been thought worth while to point out the following works in which it occurs.

In Lipsii _Monita et exempla politica_, Antverp. 1613, 4to, cap. viii. Charles the bold duke of Burgundy causes one of his noblemen to be put to death for offending in the manner that Angelo would have done; but he is first compelled to marry the lady. This story has been copied from Lipsius into Wanley's _Wonders of the little world_, book iii. ch. 29, edit. 1678, folio; and from Wanley into that favourite little chap book, Burton's _Unparalleled varieties_, p. 42. See likewise _The spectator_, No. 491. This event was made the subject of a French play by Antoine Maréchal, called _Le jugement équitable de Charles le hardy_, 1646, 4to. Here the offender is called Rodolph governor of Maestrick, and by theatrical licence turns out to be the duke's own son. Another similar story of Charles's upright judgment may be found in the third volume of Goulart's _Thrésor d'histoires admirables_, 1628, 8vo, p. 373.

Much about the time when the above events are supposed to have happened, Olivier le Dain, for his wickedness surnamed the Devil, originally the barber, and afterwards the favourite of Louis XI., is said to have committed a similar offence, for which he was deservedly hanged. See Godefroy's edition of the _Memoirs of Philip de Comines_, Brussels, 1723, 8vo, tom. v. p. 55.

At the end of Belleforest's translation of Bandello's novels, there are three additional of his own invention. The first of these relates to a captain, who, having seduced the wife of one of his soldiers under a promise to save the life of her husband, exhibited him soon afterwards _through the window of his apartment_ suspended on a gibbet. His commander, the marshal de Brissac, after compelling him to marry the widow, adjudges him to death. The striking similitude of a part of this story to what Mr. Hume has related of colonel Kirke, will present itself to every reader, and perhaps induce some to think with Mr. Ritson, (however they will differ in _his mode_ of expressing the sentiment,) that Mr. Hume's narration is "an impudent and barefaced lie." See _The quip modest_, p. 30. A defence also of Kirke may be seen in the _Monthly magazine_, vol. ii. p. 544. Yet though we may be inclined to adopt this side of the question, it will only serve to diminish, in a single instance, the atrocities of that sanguinary monster.

In Lupton's _Siuqila. Too good to be true_, 1580, 4to, there is a long story of a woman, who, her husband having slain his adversary in a duel, goes to the judge for the purpose of prevailing on him to remit the sentence of the law. He obtains of her, in the first place, a large sum of money, and afterwards the reluctant prostitution of her person, under a solemn promise to save her husband. The rest, as in Belleforest's novel.

In vol. i. of Goulart's _Thrésor d'histoires admirables_, above cited, there are two stories on this subject. The first, in p. 300, is of a citizen of Como in Italy, who in 1547 was detained prisoner by a Spanish _captain_ on a charge of murder. The wife pleads for him as before, and obtains a promise of favour on the same terms. The husband recommends her compliance, after which the Spaniard beheads him. Complaint is made to the _Duke of Ferrara_, who compels the captain to marry the widow, and then orders him to be hanged. The other, in p. 304, is of a provost named _La Vouste_, whose conduct resembles that of the other villain's, with this addition; he says to the woman, "I promised to restore your husband; I have not kept him, here he is." No punishment is inflicted on this fellow.

The last example to be mentioned on this occasion occurs in Cooke's _Vindication of the professors and profession of the law_, 1646, 4to, p. 61. During the wars between Charles the Fifth and Francis the First, one Raynucio had been imprisoned at Milan for betraying a fort to the French. His wife petitions the governor Don Garcias in his favour, who refuses to listen but on dishonourable terms, which are indignantly rejected. The husband, like Claudio in _Measure for measure_, at first commends the magnanimity of his wife, and submits to his sentence; but when the time for his execution approaches, his courage fails him, and he prevails on his wife to acquiesce in the governor's demands. A sum of ten thousand crowns is likewise extorted from the unhappy woman, and she receives in return the dead body of her husband. The Duke of Ferrara, Hercules of Este, who was general for the Emperor, is informed of the circumstance. He first persuades the governor to marry the lady, and then orders him to be beheaded.

Towards the conclusion of this play Dr. Johnson has observed, that "every reader feels some indignation when he finds Angelo spared." This remark is rigorously just, and calculated to satisfy those moralists who would have preferred the catastrophe in some of the preceding stories. But in the construction of a play theatrical effect was to be attended to; on which ground alone the poet may be defended. The other charge against him in Dr. Johnson's note is doubtless unfounded, and even laboriously strained. Shakspeare has been likewise hastily censured by a female writer of great ingenuity, for almost every supposed deviation from the plot of Cinthio's novel, and even for adhering to it in sparing Angelo.[9] It might however be contended, that, if our author really used this novel,[10] he has, with some exceptions, exerted a considerable degree of skill and contrivance in his alterations; and that he has consequently furnished a rich and diversified repast for his readers, instead of serving up the simple story in the shape of such a tragedy as might have suited a Greek audience, but certainly would not have pleased an English one in his time. In the novel, the sister, when she solicits mercy for her brother's murderer and her own seducer, (in the play Angelo is neither but in intention,) justly urges that _excess of justice becomes cruelty_. He therefore who would refuse mercy to Angelo for an intentional offence, has no right to censure him for severity to Claudio who had committed a real one. In the novel, the sister is actually seduced, and her brother murdered; and yet she pleads for the offender. In the play, though Isabella believes her brother to be dead, she reconciles herself to the sad event, inasmuch as she knows that he suffered by course of law, as well as by the cruelty of Angelo, from whose iniquity she herself has happily escaped. She is stimulated to solicit this man's life, from the suggestion and situation of her friend the innocent Mariana, who would have felt more distress from the death of Angelo, than the other parties discontent from his acquittal. The female critic has likewise observed that "_Measure for measure_ ought not to be the title, since justice is not the virtue it inculcates." But surely, if Angelo had died, it would have been _outmeasuring measure_; as it is, the administration of justice is duly balanced, and both he and Claudio are equally punished in imagination. The Duke too, who knew all the circumstances, deserves credit for some ingenuity in his arrangements to protect the innocent, and, if not rigidly to punish the guilty, at least to save a sinner. Nor will any one contend that Angelo has escaped punishment: the agonizing state of uncertainty in which he long remained after the mock sentence, the bitter reproof of his colleague, and the still severer language of the Duke, will, it is to be hoped, conduce to satisfy every feeling and humane spectator of this fine play, that the poet has done enough to content even the rigorous moralist, and to exemplify, in his own divine words, that "earthly power doth then seem likest heaven's, when mercy seasons justice."


[9] Dr. Johnson in his dedication to the above lady's work, speaking of Shakspeare, says, "he lived in an age when the minds of his auditors were not accustomed to balance probabilities, or to examine nicely the proportion between causes and effects. It was sufficient to recommend a story that it was far removed from common life, that its changes were frequent, and its close pathetic." How much at variance is all this with the sentiments that follow on our play, and how it serves to mark the folly and absurdity of hireling dedications!

[10] It may well be doubted whether Shakspeare ever saw the story as related by Cinthio. There was not, as far as we know at present, any English translation of it in his time. He might indeed have seen the French version by Gabriel Chappuys, printed at Paris, 1583, 8vo; but it is certain that his chief model for the plot was the old play of _Promos and Cassandra_, a circumstance unknown to Mrs. Lenox. All must admit that the mode of saving the deputy's life is much better managed by Shakspeare than by Whetstone.



SCENE 1. Page 395.

Enter LEONATO....

This is the name of the injured lady's father in the novel of Belleforest which Mr. Steevens supposes to have furnished the plot of the play; a circumstance that tends very much to prove the justness of that gentleman's opinion.

SCENE 1. Page 396.

MESS. Without a _badge_ of bitterness.

See a future note on _The taming of the shrew_, Act IV. Scene 1.

SCENE 1. Page 397.

BEAT. He _set up his bills_ here in Messina.

This mode of expression will admit of a little more illustration than it has already received. The practice to which it refers was calculated to advertise the public of any matters which concerned itself or the party whose bills were set up; and it is the more necessary to state this, because the passages which have been used in explanation might induce the reader to suppose that challenges and prize-fightings were the exclusive objects of these bills. This however was not the case. In Northbrooke's _Treatise against dicing, dauncing, vaine plaies, &c._, 1579, 4to, a work much resembling that extremely curious volume Stubbes's _Anatomie of abuses_, we are told that they used "to _set up their billes_ upon postes certain dayes before, to admonish the people to make resort unto their _theatres_, that they may thereby be the better furnished, and the people prepared to fill their purses with their treasures." In the play of _Histriomastix_, a man is introduced setting up _text billes for playes_; and William Rankins, another puritanical writer against plays, which he calls _the instruments of Satan_, in his _Mirrour of monsters_, 1587, 4to, p. 6, says, that "players by _sticking of their bils_ in London, defile the streetes with their infectious filthines." Mountebanks likewise set up their bills. "Upon this scaffold also might bee mounted a number of _quacksalving emperickes_, who arriving in some country towne, clap up their _terrible billes_ in the market place, and filling the paper with such horrible names of diseases, as if every disease were a divell, and that they could conjure them out of any towne at their pleasure." Dekkar's _Villanies discovered by lanthorne and candle-light, &c._, 1616, 4to, sign. H. Again, in _Tales and quick answeres_, printed by Berthelette, b. l. n. d. 4to, a man having lost his purse in London "_sette up bylles_ in divers places that if any man of the cyte had founde the purse and woulde brynge it agayn to him he shulde have welle for his laboure. A gentyllman of the Temple _wrote under one of the byls_ howe the man shulde come to his chambers and told where." It appears from a very rare little piece entitled _Questions of profitable and pleasant concernings talked of by two olde seniors, &c._, 1594, 4to, that Saint Paul's was a place in which these bills or advertisements were posted up. Thomas Nashe in his _Pierce Pennilesse his supplication to the divell_, 1595, 4to, sign. E. speaks of the "maisterlessemen that _set up theyr bills in Paules for services_, and such as paste up their papers on every post, for arithmetique and writing schooles:" we may therefore suppose that several of the walks about Saint Paul's cathedral then resembled the present Royal Exchange with respect to the business that was there transacted; and it appears indeed, from many allusions in our old plays, to have been as well the resort of the idle, as the busy. The phrase of _setting up bills_ continued long after the time of Shakspeare and is used in a translation of Suetonius published in 1677, 8vo, p. 227.

SCENE 1. Page 399.

BEAT. ... challenged him at the _bird-bolt_.

In further exemplification of this sort of arrow, the following representations have been collected. A very sagacious _modern_ editor of King James's _Christ's kirk on the green_ has stated that the line "the bolt flew o'er the bire" is a metaphor of a _thunderbolt_ flying over the cowhouse!


SCENE 1. Page 412.

BENE. Prove that ever I lose more blood with love, &c.

There is a covert allusion in this speech that will not admit of a particular explanation. Debauchees imagine that wine recruits the loss of animal spirits. _Love_ is used here in its very worst sense, and the whole is extremely gross and indelicate.


SCENE 1. Page 429.

BEAT. ... that I had my good wit out of _the hundred merry tales_.

From the unfortunate loss of these _Merry tales_, a doubt has arisen from whence they were translated, it being pretty clear that they were not originally written in English. Two authorities have been produced on this occasion, the _Cent nouvelles nouvelles_, and the _Decameron_ of Boccaccio.

Mr. Steevens is an advocate for the first of these, and refers to an edition of them mentioned by Ames. This, it is to be presumed, is the _Hundred merry tales_ noticed under the article for James Roberts. To this opinion an objection has been taken by Mr. Ritson, on the ground that _many_ of the tales in the _Cent nouvelles nouvelles_ are "very tragical, and none of them calculated to furnish a lady with good wit." Now it appears that out of these hundred stories _only five are tragical_, viz. novels 32, 47, 55, 56, and 98. In the old editions they are entitled _Comptes plaisans et recreatiz pour deviser en toutes compaignies_, and _Moult plaisans á raconter par maniere de joyeuseté_.

Mr. Reed has "but little doubt that Boccace's _Decameron_ was the book here alluded to." If this gentleman's quotation from Guazzo's _Civile conversation_, 1586, be meant to establish the existence of the above work in an English dress it certainly falls short of the purpose; because it is no more than a translation of an author, who is speaking of the _original Decameron_. But there is a more forcible objection to Mr. Reed's opinion, which is, that the first _complete_ English translation of Boccaccio's novels was not published till 1620, and after Shakspeare's death. The dedication states indeed, that _many_ of the tales had long since been published; but this may allude to those which had appeared in Painter's _Palace of pleasure_, or in some other similar work not now remaining. There are likewise two or three of Boccaccio's novels in Tarlton's _Newes out of purgatory_, which might be alluded to in the above dedication, if the work which now remains under the date of 1630 was really printed in 1589, as may be suspected from a license granted to Thomas Gubbin. There seems to have been some prior attempt to publish the _Decameron_ in English, but it was "recalled by my Lord of Canterbury's commands." See a note by Mr. Steevens prefixed to _The two gentlemen of Verona_. There is a remarkable fact however that deserves to be mentioned in this place, which is, that in the proem to Sacchetti's _Novelle_, written about the year 1360, it appears that Boccaccio's novels had been _then_ translated into English, not a single vestige of which translation is elsewhere to be traced.

A third work that may appear to possess some right to assert its claim on the present occasion is the _Cento novelle antiche_, which might have been translated before or in Shakspeare's time, as it has been already shown in a note on the story of _Twelfth night_ that he had probably seen the 13th novel in that collection. It may likewise be worth mentioning that Nashe in his _Pappe with an hatchet_, speaks of a book then coming out under the title of _A hundred merrie tales_, in which Martin Marprelate, _i. e._ John Penry, and his friends were to be satirized.

On the whole, the evidence seems to preponderate in favour of the _Cent nouvelles nouvelles_. As the _greatest portion_ of this work consists of _merry stories_, there is no impropriety in calling it _The hundred merry tales_; the term _hundred_ being part of the original title, and the epithet _merry_ in all probability an addition for the purpose of designating the _general quality_ of the stories. The _Decameron_ of Boccaccio, which contains more tragical subjects than the other, is called in the English translation _A hundred_ PLEASANT _novels_.

Whatever the _hundred merry tales_ really were, we find them in existence so late as 1659, and the entire loss of them to the present age might have been occasioned by the devastation in the great fire of London.

SCENE 1. Page 432.

BENE. Come, will you go with me?

CLAUD. Whither?

BENE. Even to _the next willow_, about your own business, Count. What fashion will you wear the _garland_ of?

It was the custom for those who were _forsaken in love_ to wear willow garlands. This tree might have been chosen as the symbol of sadness from the verse in psalm 137, "We hanged our harps upon the willows, in the midst thereof;" or else from a coincidence between the _weeping_ willow and falling _tears_. Another reason has been assigned. The _Agnus castus_ or _vitex_, was supposed by the ancients to promote chastity, "and the willow being of a much like nature," says an old writer, "it is yet a custom that he which is deprived of his love must wear a willow garland." Swan's _Speculum mundi_, chap. 6. sect. 4. edit. 1635. Bona, the sister of the king of France, on receiving news of Edward the Fourth's marriage with Elizabeth Grey, exclaims, "In hope he'll prove a widower shortly, I'll wear a _willow garland_ for his sake." See _Henry the Sixth_, part iii. and Desdemona's willow song in _Othello_, Act IV. Two more ballads of a similar nature may be found in Playford's _Select ayres_, 1659, folio, pp. 19, 21.

SCENE 1. Page 438.

BEAT. Civil as an _orange_, and something of _that_ jealous complexion.

This reading of the older copy has been judiciously preferred to _a_ jealous complexion. _Yellow_ is an epithet often applied to jealousy by the old writers. In _The merry wives of Windsor_, Nym says he will possess Ford with _yellowness_. Shakspeare more usually terms it _green-eyed_.

SCENE 3. Page 447.

BENE. ... now will he lie ten nights awake, _carving the fashion of a new doublet_.

The print in Borde of the Englishman with a pair of shears, seems to have been borrowed from some Italian or other foreign picture in ridicule of our countrymen's folly. Coryat, in his _Crudities_, p. 260, has this remark; "we weare more phantasticall fashions than any nation under the sunne doth, the French onely excepted; which hath given occasion both to the Venetian and other Italians to brand the Englishman with a notable marke of levity, by painting him starke naked with a paire of shears in his hand, _making his fashion of attire_ according to the vaine invention of his braine-sicke head, not to comelinesse and decorum." Purchas, in his _Pilgrim_, 1619, 8vo, speaks of "a naked man with sheeres in one hand and cloth in the other," as a general emblem of fashion. Many other allusions to such a figure might be cited, but it was not peculiar to the English. In _La geographie Françoise_, by P. Du Val d'Abbeville, 1663, 12mo, the author, speaking of the _Frenchman's_ versatility in dress, adds, "dans la peinture des nations on met pres de luy _le cizeau_."

The inconstancy of our own countrymen in the article of dress is described in the following verses from John Halle's _Courte of vertue_, 1565, 12mo.

"As fast as God's word one synne doth blame They devyse other as yll as the same, And this varietie of Englyshe folke, Dothe cause all wyse people us for to mocke.

For all discrete nations under the sonne, Do use at thys day as they fyrst begonne: And never doo change, but styll do frequent, Theyr old guyse, what ever fond folkes do invent.

But we here in England lyke fooles and apes, Do by our vayne fangles deserve mocks and japes, For all kynde of countreys dooe us deryde, In no constant custome sythe we abyde For we never knowe howe in our aray, We may in fyrme fashion stedfastly stay."

Randle Holme complained that in his time (1680) Englishmen were as changeable as the moon in their dress, "in which respect," says he, "we are termed the Frenchmen's apes, imitating them in all their fantastick devised fashions of garbs." _Acad. of armory_, book iii. ch. 5.

SCENE 3. Page 452.

CLAUD. _Stalk on, stalk on_, the fowl sits.

It has been already shown that the _stalking bull_ was equally common with the stalking _horse_. It was sometimes used for decoying partridges into a _tunnelling net_, or cage of net work, in the form of a tun, with doors. The process is described at large, with a print, in Willughby's _Ornithology_, 1678, folio, p. 34, where an account is also given of the _stalking-horse_, _ox_, _stag_, &c.

Howel in his _Vocabulary_, sect. xxxv. seems to have mistaken the _tun_ or net into which the birds were driven, for the stalking bull itself. Sometimes, as in hunting the wolf, an artificial bush and a wooden screen were used to stalk with. See Clamorgan, _Chasse du loup_, 1595, 4to, p. 29.

SCENE 3. Page 455.

LEON. She tore the letter into a thousand _halfpence_.

Mr. Theobald explains this "into a thousand pieces of the same bigness," as if Beatrice had torn the letter by rule and compass. Mr. Steevens more properly supposes halfpence to mean _small pieces_; but his note would have been less imperfect if he had added that the halfpence of Elizabeth were of _silver_, and about the size of a modern silver penny.


SCENE 1. Page 469.

D. PEDRO. ... the little _hangman_ dare not shoot at him.

Dr. Farmer has illustrated this term by citing a passage from Sidney's _Arcadia_; but he has omitted a previous description in which Cupid is metamorphosed into a strange old monster, sitting on a _gallows_ with a crown of laurel in one hand, and a purse of money in the other, as if he would persuade folks by these allurements _to hang_ themselves. It is certainly possible that this might have been Shakspeare's prototype; we should otherwise have supposed that he had called Cupid a hangman metaphorically, from the remedy sometimes adopted by desparing lovers.

SCENE 4. Page 488.

MARG. Clap us into _light o'love_.

When Margaret adds that this tune "goes without a burden," she does not mean that it never had words to it, but only that it wanted a very common appendage to the ballads of that time. The name itself may be illustrated by the following extract from _The glasse of man's follie_, 1615, 4to. "There be wealthy houswives, and good house-keepers that use no starch, but faire water: their linnen is white, and they looke more Christian-like in small ruffes, then _Light of love_ lookes in her great starched ruffs, looke she never so hie, with eye-lids awrye." This anonymous work is written much in the manner of Stubbes's _Anatomie of abuses_, and for the same purpose.


SCENE 1. Page 510.

BENE. Tarry, sweet Beatrice.

BEAT. _I am gone, though I am here._ There is no love in you--Nay, I pray you let me go.

Though three explanations have been already offered, there is room for further conjecture. From the latter words of Beatrice it is clear that Benedick had stopped her from going. She may therefore intend to say that notwithstanding she is detained by force, she is in reality absent; her heart is no longer Benedick's.


SCENE 1. Page 524.

LEON. His _May of youth_, and bloom of _lustyhood_.

An allusion to these lines in the old calendars that describe the state of man:

"As in the month of _Maye_ all thyng is in myght So at xxx yeres man is in chyef lykyng. Pleasaunt and _lusty_, to every mannes syght In beaute and strength, to women pleasyng."

In the _Notbrowne mayde_ we have the expression _lusty May_. Capel's edit. p. 6. Roger Ascham, speaking of young men, says; "It availeth not to see them well taught in yong yeares, and after when they come to _lust and youthfull dayes_, to give them licence to live as they _lust_ themselves." _Scholemaster_, 1571, fo. 13. See a former note in p. 45.

SCENE 1. Page 529.

CLAUD. If he be, [angry] he knows how to turn his girdle.

Mr. Holt White's ingenious note may be supported by the following passage in Carew's _Survey of Cornwall_, 1602, 4to. p. 76: the author is speaking of wrestling. "This hath also his lawes, of taking hold onely above girdle, wearing a girdle to take hold by, playing three pulles, for tryall of the mastery, &c."

SCENE 4. Page 554.

BENE. Prince, thou art sad; get thee a wife, get thee a wife; there is no _staff_ more reverend than one _tipp'd with horn_.

In this comparison the prince is the staff, and the question is what sort of a one is here alluded to. Messrs. Steevens, Reed, and Malone, conceive it to be the staff used in the ancient trial by wager of battle; but this seems to have but small claim to be entitled _reverend_. On the contrary, as the combatants were of the meaner class of people, who were not allowed to make use of edged weapons, the higher ranks usually deciding the business by hired champions, it cannot well be maintained that much, if any, reverence belongs to such a staff. It is possible, therefore, that Shakspeare, whose allusions to _archery_ are almost as frequent as they are to cuckoldom, might refer to the _bowstaff_, which was usually tipped with a piece of horn at each end, to make such a notch for the string as would not wear, and at the same time to strengthen the bow, and prevent the extremities from breaking. It is equally possible that the walking-sticks or staves used by _elderly_ people might be intended, which were often headed or _tipped_ with a cross piece of _horn_, or sometimes amber. They seem to have been imitated from the _crutched_ sticks, or _potences_, as they were called, used by the friars, and by them borrowed from the celebrated _tau_ of St. Anthony. Thus in _The Canterbury tales_, the Sompnour describes one of his friars as having "a scrippe and _tipped staf_," and he adds that

"His felaw had _a staf tipped with horn_."

In these instances the epithet _reverend_ is much more appropriate than in the others.

* * * * *

Mrs. Lenox, assuming, with the same inaccuracy as had been manifested in her critique on _Measure for measure_, that Shakspeare borrowed his plot from Ariosto, proceeds to censure him for "poverty of invention, want of judgment, and wild conceits," deducing all her reasoning from false premises. This is certainly but a bad method of _illustrating_ Shakspeare.



SCENE 1. Page 6.

EGE. Happy be Theseus, our renowned _duke_.

This is in reality no "misapplication of a modern title," as Mr. Steevens conceived, but a legitimate use of the word in its primitive Latin sense of _leader_; and so it is often used in the Bible. Not so the instance adduced of _sheriffs of the provinces_, which might have been avoided in our printed bibles. Wicliffe had most properly used _prefectis_. Shakspeare might have found _Duke_ Theseus in the _book of Troy_, or in Turbervile's _Ovid's Epistles_. See the argument to that of Phædra to Hippolytus.

SCENE 1. Page 9.

THE. You can endure the livery of a _nun_, For aye to be in shady _cloister_ mew'd.

The threatening to make a nun of poor Hermia is as whimsical an anachronism as any in Shakspeare.

SCENE 1. Page 13.

LYS. Making it _momentany_ as a sound.

_Momentany_ and _momentary_ were indiscriminately used in Shakspeare's time. The former corresponds with the French _momentaine_.


SCENE 1. Page 30.

FAI. And I serve the fairy queen, _To dew her orbs upon the green_.

Mr. Steevens in the happy and elegant remark at the end of his note on the last line, has made a slight mistake in substituting _Puck_ for the _fairy_. When the damsels of old gathered the May dew on the grass, and which they made use of to improve their complexions, they left undisturbed such of it as they perceived on the fairy-rings; apprehensive that the fairies should in revenge destroy their beauty. Nor was it reckoned safe to put the foot within the rings, lest they should be liable to the fairies' power.

SCENE 1. Page 32.

_Puck._ But they do _square_.

Dr. Johnson has very justly observed that to _square_ here is to quarrel. In investigating the reason, we must previously take it for granted that our verb _to quarrel_ is from the French _quereller_, or perhaps both from the common source, the Latin _querela_. Blackstone has remarked that the glaziers use the words _square_ and _quarrel_ as synonymous terms for a pane of glass, and he might have added for the instrument with which they cut it. This, he says, is somewhat whimsical; but had he been acquainted with the reason, he might have been disposed to waive his opinion, at least on the present occasion. The glazier's instrument is a _diamond_, usually cut into such a _square_ form as the _supposed diamonds_ on the French and English cards, in the former of which it is still properly called _carreau_, from its _original_. This was the _square_ iron head of the arrow used for the cross-bow. In English it was called a _quarrel_, and hence the glazier's diamond and the pane of glass have received their names of _square_ and _quarrel_. Now we may suppose without straining the point very violently, that these words being evidently synonymous in one sense, have corruptedly become so in another; and that the verb _to square_, which correctly and metaphorically, even at this time, signifies _to agree_ or _accord_, has been carelessly and ignorantly wrested from its true sense, and from frequent use become a legitimate word. The French have avoided this error, and to express a meaning very similar to that of _to quarrel_ or _dispute_, make use of the word _contrecarrer_.

SCENE 1. Page 37.

PUCK. The wisest aunt telling the saddest tale, Sometime for three-foot stool mistaketh me; Then slip I from her bum, down-topples she.

The celebrated duchess of Newcastle, in a poem of some fancy, entitled _The queen of fairies_, makes Puck or hobgoblin the queen of fairies' fool, and alludes to the above prank in the following lines:

"The goodwife sad squats down upon a stool, Not at all thinking it was Hob the fool, And frowning sits, then Hob gives her a slip, And down she falls, whereby she hurts her hip."

The above dame is a farmer's wife who has been scolding because she was unable to procure any butter or cheese, and at Puck's holding up the hens' rumps to prevent their laying eggs too fast.

With respect to the word _aunt_, it has been usually derived from the French _tante_; but the original Norman term is _ante_. See examples in Carpentier _Suppl._ ad Ducang. v. _avuncula_. So the author of the old and excellent farce of _Maistre Patelin_,

"Vostre belle ante, mourut-elle?"

SCENE 2. Page 39.


Mr. Tyrwhitt's remark that the Pluto and Proserpine of Chaucer were the true progenitors of Oberon and Titania, may be perfectly true; but the name of Oberon as king of the fairies, must have been exceedingly well known from the romance of Huon of Bourdeaux, in which this Oberon makes a very conspicuous figure.

SCENE 2. Page 41.

TITA. Met we on hill, in dale, forest or mead, By paved fountain.

Milton, doubtless, had these lines in recollection when he wrote,

"To hill or valley, fountain or fresh shade."

_Par. lost_, b. v. l. 203.

SCENE 2. Page 41.

TITA. _To dance our ringlets_ to the whistling wind.

An allusion to what the country people call _fairy rings_, which they suppose to be the tracks of the dances of those diminutive beings.

SCENE 2. Page 43.

TITA. The _nine mens morris_ is fill'd up with mud.

This game was sometimes called _the nine mens merrils_, from _merelles_ or _mereaux_, an ancient French word for the jettons or counters, with which it was played. The other term _morris_ is probably a corruption suggested by the sort of _dance_ which in the progress of the game the counters performed. In the French _merelles_ each party had three counters only, which were to be placed in a line in order to win the game. It appears to have been the _Tremerel_ mentioned in an old fabliau. See Le Grand _Fabliaux et contes_, tom. ii. p. 208.

Dr. Hyde thinks the morris or merrils was known during the time that the Normans continued in possession of England, and that the name was afterwards corrupted into _three mens morals_, or _nine mens morals_. If this be true, the conversion of _morals_ into _morris_, a term so very familiar to the country people, was extremely natural. The doctor adds, that it was likewise called _nine-penny_, or _nine-pin miracle_, _three-penny morris_, _five-penny morris_, _nine-penny morris_, or _three-pin_, _five-pin_, and _nine-pin morris_, all corruptions of _three-pin_, &c. _merels_. Hyde _Hist. Nerdiludii_, p. 202.

SCENE 2. Page 44.

TITA. The _human mortals_ want their winter here.

In the controversy respecting the immortality of fairies, Mr. Ritson's ingenious and _decisive_ reply in his _Quip modest_ ought on every account to have been introduced. A few pages further Titania evidently alludes to the _immortality_ of fairies, when, speaking of the changeling's mother, she says, "but she, _being mortal_, of that boy did die." Spenser's fairy system and his pedigree were allegorical, invented by himself, and not coinciding with the popular superstitions on the subject. _Human mortals_ is merely a pleonasm, and neither put in opposition to _fairy mortals_, according to Mr. Steevens, nor to _human immortals_, according to Ritson; it is simply the language of a fairy speaking of men.

A posthumous note by Mr. Steevens has not contributed to strengthen his former arguments, as the authors therein mentioned do not, strictly speaking, allude to the sort of fairies in question, but to spirits, devils, and angels. Shakspeare, however, would certainly be more influenced by popular opinion than by the dreams of the casuists. There is a curious instance of the nature of fairies, according to the belief of more ancient times, in the romance of Lancelot of the lake. "En celui temps," (the author is speaking of the days of king Arthur,) "estoient appellees faees toutes selles qui sentremettoient denchantemens et de charmes, et moult en estoit pour lors principalement en la Grande Bretaigne, et savoient la force et la vertu des paroles, des pierres, et des herbes, parquoy _elles estoient tenues en jeunesse et en beaulte_, et en grandes richesses comme elles devisoient." This perpetual youth and beauty cannot well be separated from a state of immortality. Nor would it be difficult to controvert the sentiments of those who have maintained the mortality of _devils_, by means of authorities as valid as their own. The above interesting romance will furnish one at least that may not be unacceptable. Speaking of the birth of the prophet and enchanter Merlin, it informs us that his mother would not consent to the embraces of any man who should be visible; and therefore it was by some means ordained that a _devil_ should be her lover. When he approached her, to use the words of the romance, "la damoiselle le tasta et sentit quil avoit le corps moult bien fait; non pourtant les dyables n'ont ne corps ne membres que l'en puisse veoir ne toucher, _car spirituelle chose ne peut estre touchée, et tous diables sont choses spirituelles_." The fruit of this amour was Merlin; but he, being born of woman, was but a semi-devil, and subject to mortality. A damsel with whom he had fallen in love, prevailed on him to disclose some of his magical arts to her, by means of which she deceived him, and preserved her chastity by casting him into a deep sleep whenever he importuned her. The romance adds, "si le decevoit ainsi _pource qu'il estoit mortel_; mais s'il eust este _du tout dyable_, elle ne l'eust peu decepvoir; car ung dyable ne peut dormir."

SCENE 2. Page 45.

TITA. Therefore the moon, _the governess of floods_, _Pale_ in her anger, _washes all the air_, That rheumatic diseases do abound.

Thus in Newton's _Direction for the health of magistrates and studentes_, 1574, 12mo, we are told that "the moone is _ladie of moysture_;" and in Hamlet, Act I. Scene 1, she is called "the _moist_ star." In Bartholomæus _De propriet. rerum_, by Batman, lib. 8. c. 29, the moon is described to be "mother of all _humours_, minister and _lady of the sea_." But in Lydgate's prologue to his _Storie of Thebes_, there are two lines which Shakspeare seems closely to have imitated;

"Of Lucina the moone, _moist and pale_, That many _showre fro heaven_ made availe."

The same mode of expression occurs in Parkes's _Curtaine drawer of the world_, 1612, 4to, p. 48: "the centinels of the season ordained to marke the _queen of floods_ how she lends her borrowed light." This book deserves to be noticed for the good sense which it contains, and the merit of some occasional pieces of poetry.

SCENE 2. Page 50.

OBE. I do but beg a little changeling boy To be my _henchman_.

Of all the opinions concerning the origin of this word, that of Sir William Spelman alone can be maintained. If instead of deriving it from the _German_, he had stated that it came to us through the _Saxon_ Henᵹeꞅꞇ, a _horse_, his information had been more correct. Although in more modern times the pages or henchmen might have walked on foot, it is very certain that they were originally _horsemen_, according to the term. Thus in Chaucer's _Floure and the leafe_:

"And every knight had after him _riding_ Three _henshmen_, on him awaiting."

If the old orthography _henxmen_ had not been unfortunately disturbed, we should have heard nothing of the conjectures about _haunch_ and _haunch_-men.

SCENE 2. Page 58.

Enter DEMETRIUS, _Helena following him_.

However forward and indecorous the conduct of Helena in pursuing Demetrius may appear to modern readers, such examples are very frequent in old romances of chivalry, wherein Shakspeare was undoubtedly well read. The beautiful ballad of the Nut-brown maid might have been more immediately in his recollection, many parts of this scene having a very strong resemblance to it.

SCENE 2. Page 61.

HEL. I'll follow thee, and _make a heaven of hell_.

Imitated by Milton:

"The mind is its own place, and in itself Can make a _heav'n of hell_, a hell of heaven."

_Par. lost_, b. i. l. 254.

SCENE 2. Page 62.

OBE. Quite overcanopied with _lush_ woodbine.

See what has been already said on this word in p. 8; the meaning is the same as there. Theobald's amendment from _luscious_ was probably in conformity with that passage; and the printers of the old editions not comprehending the meaning of _lush_, which even in their time was an antiquated word, ignorantly, as well as unharmoniously, substituted _luscious_.

SCENE 3. Page 68.

HER. ... in human modesty Such separation, as, may well be said, Becomes a virtuous bachelor and a maid.

That is, "_let there be_ such separation," &c. A comma should be placed after _modesty_.


SCENE 1. Page 77.

QUIN. When you have spoken your speech, enter into that _brake_.

It is submitted that _brake_ cannot _in this instance_ signify _a large extent of ground, overgrown with furze_, but merely the hawthorn bush or _tyring-house_ as Quince had already called it.

SCENE 1. Page 83.

BOT. Nay I can _gleek_ upon occasion.

Again, in _Romeo and Juliet_, Act IV. Scene 5:

"1. MUS. What will you _give us_?

_Pet._ No money, on my faith; but the _gleek_."

On which consult Mr. Steevens's posthumous note in Mr. Reed's last edition.

Mr. Pope had justly remarked that to _gleek_ is to _scoff_. In some of the notes on this word it has been supposed to be connected with the card game of _gleek_; but it was not recollected that the Saxon language supplied the term Glɩᵹ, _ludibrium_, and doubtless a corresponding verb. Thus _glee_ signifies _mirth_ and _jocularity_; and _gleeman_ or _gligman_, a minstrel or _joculator_. _Gleek_ was therefore used to express a stronger sort of joke, a _scoffing_. It does not appear that the phrase _to give the gleek_ was ever introduced in the above game, which was borrowed by us from the French, and derived from an original of very different import from the word in question.

SCENE 1. Page 84.

TITA. And light them at the fiery glow-worms _eyes_.

Dr. Johnson's objection to the word eyes, has been very skilfully removed by Mr. Monck Mason; but this gentleman appears to have misconceived the meaning of Shakspeare's most appropriate epithet of _ineffectual_, in the passage from _Hamlet_. The glow-worm's fire was _ineffectual_ only at the approach of morn, in like manner as the light of a candle would be at mid-day.

SCENE 1. Page 88.

OBE. What night-_rule_ now about this haunted grove?

Mr. Steevens has properly explained _night-rule_. _Rule_ in this word has the same meaning as in the Christmas lord of mis-_rule_, and is a corruption of _revel_, formerly written _reuel_.

SCENE 2. Page 89.

PUCK. An _ass's nowl_ I fixed on his head.

The receipt for making a man resemble an ass, already given in a former note, must give place to the following in Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_, b. 13. c. xix. "Cutt off the head of a horsse or an asse (before they be dead), otherwise the vertue or strength thereof will be the lesse effectuall, and make an earthern vessell of fit capacitie to conteine the same, and let it be filled with the oile and fat thereof; cover it close, and dawbe it over with lome: let it boile over a soft fier three daies continuallie, that the flesh boiled may run into oile, so as the bare bones may be seene: beate the haire into powder, and mingle the same with the oile; and annoint the _heads of the standers by_, and they shall seem to have horsses or _asses_ heads."

SCENE 2. Page 95.

OBE. All fancy-sick she is, and pale of _cheer_.

Mr. Steevens deduces this word from the Italian _cara_; but it is from the old French _chere_, face. Lydgate finishes the prologue to his _Storie of Thebes_ with these lines:

"And as I coud, with a pale _cheare_, My tale I gan anone, as ye shall heare."

SCENE 2. Page 103.

HEL. So with two seeming _bodies_, but one _heart_; Two of the _first_, like coats in heraldry, Due but to one, and crowned with one crest.

It may be doubted whether this passage has been rightly explained, and whether the commentators have not given Shakspeare credit for more skill in heraldry than he really possessed, or at least than he intended to exhibit on the present occasion. Helen says, "we had two seeming bodies, but only one heart." She then exemplifies her position by a simile--"we had _two of the first_, i. e. _bodies_, like the double coats in heraldry that belong to man and wife as _one person_, but which, like our _single heart_, have but _one crest_."

SCENE 2. Page 112.

PUCK. And yonder shines _Aurora's harbinger_, At whose approach, ghosts, wandering here and there, Troop home to church-yards.

Aurora's harbinger is Lucifer, the morning star.

"Now the bright morning star, _day's harbinger_, Comes dancing from the East----"[11]

It was the popular belief that ghosts retired at the approach of day. Thus the spirit of Hamlet's father exclaims,

"But soft, methinks I scent the morning air."

In further illustration see a subsequent note on _Hamlet_, Act I. Scene 1.

SCENE 2. Page 117.

HEL. And, sleep, that sometime shuts up sorrow's eye.

Again, in Macbeth:

"Sleep, that knits up the ravell'd sleave of care." #/


SCENE 1. Page 145.

PHILOST. ... I have heard _it_ over, And it is nothing, nothing in the world; Unless you can find sport in their _intents_, Extremely stretch'd, and conn'd with cruel pain, To do you service.

Dr. Johnson suspects a line to be lost, as he "knows not what it is to _stretch_ and _con_ an _intent_;" but it is surely not _intents_ that are _stretch'd and conn'd_ but the _play_, of which Philostrate is speaking. If the line

"Unless you can find sport, &c."

were printed in a parenthesis, all would be right. Mr. Steevens, not perceiving this, has endeavoured to wrest from the word _intents_, its plain and usual meaning, and would unnecessarily convert it to _attention_, which might undoubtedly be _stretch'd_, but could not well be _conn'd_.

SCENE 1. Page 148.

PHILOST. The prologue is _addrest_.

We have borrowed this sense of the word (_ready_) from the French _adressé_.

SCENE 1. Page 157.

MOON. This lantern doth the _horned_ moon present.

But why _horned_? He evidently refers to the _materials_ of which the _lantern_ was made.

SCENE 2. Page 168.

PUCK. By the triple _Hecat's team_.

By this team is meant the chariot of the moon, said to be drawn by two horses, the one black, the other white. It is probable that Shakspeare might have consulted some translation of Boccaccio's _Genealogy of the gods_, which, as has been already remarked, appears to have occasionally supplied him with his mythological information. As this is the first time we meet with the name of _Hecate_ in our author, it may be proper to notice the error he has committed in making it a word of two syllables, which he has done in several other places, though in one (viz. I. _Henry Sixth_, if he wrote that play) it is rightly made a trisyllable:

"I speak not to that railing Hĕcătē."

Act III. Scene 2.

His contemporaries have usually given it properly. Thus Spenser in the _Fairy queen_,

"As Hĕcătē, in whose almighty hand."

B. vii. Canto 6.

Ben Jonson has, of course, always been correct. Mr. Malone observes, in a note on _Macbeth_, Act III. Scene 5, that Marlowe, though a scholar, has used the word _Hecate_ as a dissyllable. It may be added that Middelton and Golding have done the same; the latter in his translation of Ovid, book vii. has used it in both ways.

SCENE 2. Page 168.

PUCK. I am sent with broom before, To sweep the dust behind the door.

In confirmation of Dr. Johnson's remark that fairies delight in cleanliness, two other poems shall be quoted. The first is the _Fairy queen_, printed in Percy's Ancient Ballads, iii. 207, edit. 1775.

"But if the house be swept, And from uncleanness kept, We praise the household maid," &c.

The other is the _Fairies farewell_, by Bishop Corbet, printed also in Percy's collection, iii. 210, from his _Poetica stromata_, 1648, 18mo. It is also in a preceding edition of the bishop's poems, 1647, 18mo.

"Farewell rewards and fairies! Good housewives now may say; For now foule sluts in dairies Doe fare as well as they: And though they sweepe their hearths no less Than mayds were wont to doe, Yet who of late for cleanliness Finds sixepence in her shoe?"

SCENE 2. Page 170.

OBE. To the best _bride bed_ will we, Which by us shall _blessed_ be.

Mr. Steevens remarks that the ceremony of blessing the bed was observed at the marriage of a _princess_. It was used at _all_ marriages. This was the form, copied from the Manual for the use of Salisbury. "Nocte vero sequente cum sponsus et sponsa _ad lectum pervenerint_, accedat sacerdos et benedicat thalamum, dicens: Benedic, Domine, thalamum istum et omnes habitantes in eo; ut in tua pace consistant, et in tua voluntate permaneant: et in amore tuo vivant et senescant et multiplicentur in longitudine dierum. Per Dominum.--Item _benedictio super lectum_. Benedic, Domine, hoc _cubiculum_, respice, quinon dormis neque dormitas. Qui custodis Israel, custodi famulos tuos in hoc lecto quiescentes _ab omnibus fantasmaticis demonum illusionibus_: custodi eos vigilantes ut in preceptis tuis meditentur dormientes, et te per soporem sentiant: ut hic et ubique defensionis tuæ muniantur auxilio. Per Dominum.--Deinde fiat benedictio _super eos in lecto_ tantum cum Oremus. Benedicat Deus corpora vestra et animas vestras; et det super vos benedictionem sicut benedixit Abraham, Isaac, et Jacob, Amen.--His peractis _aspergat eos aqua benedicta_, et sic discedat et dimittat eos in pace." We may observe on this strange ceremony, that the purity of modern times stands not in need of these holy aspersions to lull the senses and dissipate the illusions of the Devil. The married couple would, no doubt, rejoice when the benediction was ended. In the French romance of _Melusine_, the bishop who marries her to Raymondin blesses the nuptial bed. The ceremony is there represented in a very ancient cut, of which a copy is subjoined. The good prelate is sprinkling the parties with holy water. Sometimes during the benediction the married couple only _sat_ upon the bed; but they generally received a portion of consecrated bread and wine. It is recorded in France, that on frequent occasions the priest was improperly detained till the hour of midnight, whilst the wedding guests rioted in the luxuries of the table, and made use of language that was extremely offensive to the clergy, and injurious to the salvation of the parties. It was therefore, in the year 1577, ordained by Pierre de Gondi, archbishop of Paris, that the ceremony of blessing the nuptial bed should for the future be performed in the day time, or at least _before supper_, and in the presence only of the bride and bridegroom, and of their nearest relations.


There is a singularity in this cut which may well excuse a short digression. This is the _horned_ head-dress of the bride, a fashion that prevailed in England during the reign of Henry the Sixth, and for a short time afterwards. Lydgate has left us an unpublished ditty, in which he complains of it. As it is, like most of his other poetry, very dull and very tedious, a couple of stanzas may suffice; each concludes with a line to recommend the _casting away of these horns_.

"Clerkys recorde by gret auctorite, Hornys were yove to beestys for diffence; A thyng contrary to femynyte To be made sturdy of resistence. But arche wyves egre in ther violence, Fers as tygre for to make affray, They have despyt and ageyn conscience Lyst nat of pryde ther _hornys cast away_.

Noble pryncessys, this litel shoort ditee Rewdly compiled lat it be noon offence To your womanly merciful pitie, Thouh it be rad in your audience; Peysed ech thyng in your just advertence, So it be no displesaunce to your pay, Undir support of your patience Yevyth example _hornys to cast away_."

_Harl. MS._ No. 2255.

In France, this part of female dress was a frequent subject of clerical reprehension. Nicholas de Claminges, a doctor of the Sorbonne, and contemporary with Lydgate, compares it to the horns of oxen. "Tenduntur hinc et inde mira et inaudita deformitate gemina cornua bipedali prope intervallo à se distantia, majorique latitudine caput fœmineum diffundunt quam bubalinum longitudine distenditur. Auro ac gemmis omnia rutilant. Stibio et cerusa pinguntur facies; patent colla; nudantur pectora." Nicolai de Clemangiis _opera_, Lugd. Batavor. 1613, 4to, p. 144. And again, in his letters, "quid de _cornibus_ et caudis loquar, quas illic jam vulgo matronæ gestant, qua in re naturam videntur humanam reliquisse, bestialemque sibi ultro adscivisse. Adde quod _in effigie cornutæ fœminæ Diabolus plerumque pingitur_." We cannot but admire the pious writer's ingenuity in the latter declaration, and how well it was calculated to terrify the ladies out of this preposterous fashion.

SCENE 2. Page 171.

OBE. With this field-dew _consecrate_ Every fairy take his gait; And _each several chamber bless_, Through this palace with sweet peace.

Thus in the _Merry wives of Windsor_, Act V. Scene 5:

"Search Windsor castle, elves, within and out: Strew good luck, ouphes, on every sacred room."

In the first line of Oberon's speech there seems to be a covert satire against holy water. Whilst the popular confidence in the power of fairies existed, they had obtained the credit of occasionally performing much good service to mankind; and the great influence which they possessed gave so much offence to the holy monks and friars, that they determined to exert all their power to expel the above imaginary beings from the minds of the people, by taking the office of the fairies' benedictions entirely into their own hands. Of this we have a curious proof in the beginning of Chaucer's admirable tale of the _Wife of Bath_:

"I speke of many hundred yeres ago; But now can no man see non elves mo, For now the grete charitee and prayeres Of limitoures and other holy freres That serchen every land and every streme. As thikke as motes in the sonne beme, _Blissing halles, chambres, kichenes, and boures, Citees and burghes, castles highe and toures, Thropes and bernes, shepenes and dairies, This maketh that ther ben no faeries: For ther as wont to walken was an elf, Ther walketh now the limitour himself_."

The other quotation from Chaucer, which Mr. Steevens has given, is not to the present purpose. The _fairies' blessing_ was to bring _peace_ upon the house of Theseus; the _night-spell_ in the _Miller's tale_, is pronounced _against the influence of elves_, and those demons, or evil spirits, that were supposed to occasion the night-mare, and other nocturnal illusions. As this is a subject that has never been professedly handled, it may be worth while to bring together a few facts that relate to it; to do it ample justice would require an express dissertation.

A belief in the influence of evil spirits has been common to all nations, and in the remotest periods of the human history. The gross superstitions of the middle ages, which even exceeded those in Pagan times, had given birth to a variety of imaginary beings, who were supposed to be perpetually occupied in doing mischief to mankind. The chief of these were the _Incubus_, or _night-mare_, and certain _fairies of a malignant nature_. It therefore became necessary to check and counteract their operations by spells, charms, and invocations to saints. Some of these have been preserved. The lines given to Mad Tom in _Lear_, beginning

"Saint Withold footed thrice the wold,"

is one of them; and in the notes belonging to it, as well as in those by Mr. Tyrwhitt on the _Canterbury tales_, vol. iv. 242, others have been collected. To these may be added the following in Cartwright's play of _The Ordinary_, Act III. Scene 1:

"Saint Francis, and Saint Benedight, Blesse this house from wicked wight, From the night-mare and the goblin, That is hight _good fellow Robin_. Keep it from all evil spirits, Fayries, weezels, rats and ferrets, From curfew time To the next prime."

This indeed may be rather considered as satirical, but it is a parody on those which were genuine. Sinclair, in his _Satan's invisible world discovered_, informs us that "At night, in the time of popery, when folks went to bed, they believed the repetition of this following prayer was effectual to preserve them from danger, and the house too."

"Who sains the house the night, They that sains it ilka night. Saint Bryde and her brate, Saint Colme and his hat, Saint Michael and his spear, Keep this house from the weir; From running thief, And burning thief; And from an ill Rea, That be the gate can gae; And from an ill weight, That be the gate can light Nine reeds about the house; Keep it all the night, What is that, what I see So red, so bright, beyond the sea? 'Tis he was pierc'd through the hands, Through the feet, through the throat, Through the tongue; Through the liver and the lung. Well is them that well may Fast on Good-friday."

As darkness was supposed to be more immediately adapted to the machinations of these malicious spirits, it was natural that, on retiring to rest, certain prayers should be chosen to deprecate their influence, which was often regarded as of a _particular kind_. To this Imogen alludes when she exclaims,

"To your protection I commend me, Gods! From fairies, and the _tempters of the night_ Guard me, beseech ye!"

_Cymbeline_, Act II. Scene 2.

So Banquo in _Macbeth_:

"Restrain in me the _cursed thoughts that nature Gives way to in repose_."

An ancient hymn by Saint Ambrose goes to the same point:

"Procul recedant somnia Et noctium phantasmata: Hostemque nostrum comprime Ne _polluantur corpora_."

The demon who was supposed to have particular influence in these nocturnal illusions, was Asmodeus, the lame devil of whom Mons. Le Sage has made such admirable use. In expelling him, the sign of the cross was most efficacious; a very old practice on similar occasions, as we learn from the following lines in Prudentius:--

"Fac, cum _vocante somno Castum petis cubile_ Frontem, locumque cordis _Crucis_ figura signes. Crux pellit omne crimen, Fugunt crucem tenebræ: Tali dicata signo Mens fluctuare nescit. Procul, ô procul _vagantum Portenta somniorum_, Procul esto pervicaci Præstigiator astu."

Relics of saints, images of the holy Virgin, sanctified girdles, and a variety of other amulets were resorted to on the same occasion, exhibiting a lamentable proof of the imbecility of human nature.

SCENE 2. Page 172.

PUCK. _Give me your hands_, if we be friends.

Thus in the _epilogue_ to Stubbes's excellent play of _Senile odium_,

"... jam _vestræ quid valeant manus_ Nimis velim experiri: ab illis enim vapulare, munus erit."


[11] It has not been recollected to what poet these lines belong.



SCENE 1. Page 181.

KING. Let fame, that all hunt after in their lives, Live register'd upon our _brazen tombs_.

It was the fashion in Shakspeare's time, and had been so from the thirteenth century, to ornament the tombs of eminent persons with figures and inscriptions on _plates of brass_: to these the allusion seems rather to be made, than to monuments that were entirely of brass, such being of very rare occurrence.

SCENE 1. Page 182.

_Long._ Fat paunches have lean pates.

From the Latin _pinguis venter non gignit sensum tenuem_. See Ray's _Proverbs_. The rest of Longaville's speech, "and dainty bits," &c. merely repeats the same sentiment for the sake of a rhime.

SCENE 1. Page 183.

BIRON. If study's gain be _thus_, and this be so.

Mr. Ritson would read, _If study's gain be this_. There is no occasion for any change. _Thus_ means _after this manner_; but the poet would not write _this_, in order to avoid a cacophony.

SCENE 1. Page 191.

KING. This _child of fancy_, that Armado hight, For interim to our studies shall relate, In high-horn words, the worth of many a knight From _tawny_ Spain, lost in the world's debate.

The context seems to indicate that _child of fancy_ is here used precisely in the sense in which Milton applied it to Shakspeare, from whom he probably borrowed it. The meaning of this controverted speech may be as follows: "this child of _invention_ shall relate to us, in his bombastic language, the worthy deeds of many a Spanish knight which are now forgotten amidst those topics that engage the attention of mankind." The expression _tawny Spain_ may refer to the Moors in that country; for although they had been expelled from thence almost a century before the time of Shakspeare, it was allowable on the present occasion to refer to the period when they flourished in Spain; or he might only copy what he found in the original story of the play.

SCENE 2. Page 198.

ARM. Why, sadness is one and the self same thing, dear _imp_.

This word, which is well explained by Mr. Ritson, was often, as in the present instance, used to _pages_. Thus Urquhart in his _Discovery of a jewel_, &c. p. 133, calls a person of this description "a hopeful youth and tender _imp_ of great expectation."

SCENE 2. Page 200.

MOTH ... the _dancing horse_ will tell you.

The best account of Banks and his famous horse Morocco is to be found in the notes to a French translation of Apuleius's _Golden ass_ by Jean de Montlyard, Sieur de Melleray, counsellor to the Prince of Condé. This work was first printed in 1602, 8vo, and several times afterwards. The author himself had seen the horse, whose master he calls a _Scotishman_, at Paris, where he was exhibited in 1601, at the Golden Lion, Rue Saint Jaques. He is described as a _middle-sized bay English gelding, about 14 years old_. A few quotations from the work itself may not be unacceptable. "Son maistre l'appelle _Moraco_.... Nous avons vu son maistre l'interroger combien de francs vaut l'escu: et luy, donner trois fois du pied en terre. Mais chose plus estrange, parce que l'escu d'or sol et de poids vaut encor maintenant au mois de Mars 1601, plus que trois francs: l'Escossois luy demanda combien de sols valoit cest escu _outre_ les trois francs; et Moraco frappa quatre coups, pour denoter les quatre sols que vaut lescu de surcroist." In which remark the counsellor shows himself less sagacious than the horse he is describing. He proceeds: "Après un infinité de tours de passe-passe, il luy fait danser les _Canaries_ avec beaucoup d'art et de dexterité." The rest of the numerous tricks performed by this animal are much the same as those practised by the horses educated under the ingenious Mr. Astley. We also learn from this French work, that the magistrates, conceiving that all this could not be done without the aid of magic, had some time before imprisoned the master, and put the horse under sequestration; but having since discovered that every thing was effected by mere art and the making of signs, they had liberated the parties and permitted an exhibition. The Scotchman had undertaken to teach any horse the same tricks in a twelvemonth. It is said that both the horse and his master were afterwards burned at Rome as magicians; nor is this the only instance of the kind. In a little book entitled _Le diable bossu_, Nancy, 1708, 18mo, there is an obscure allusion to an English horse, whose master had taught him to know the cards, and which was burned alive at Lisbon in 1707; and Mr. Granger, in his _Biographical history of England_, vol. iii. p. 164, edit. 1779, has informed us that within his remembrance a horse which had been taught to perform several tricks was, with his owner, put into the Inquisition. The author of the life of Mal Cutpurse, 1662, 12mo, mentions her "fellow humourist _Banks the vintner in Cheapside_, who taught his horse to dance and shooed him with silver." In the eighth book of Markham's _Cavalarice or the English horseman_, 1607, 4to, there is a chapter "how a horse may be taught to doe and tricke done by _Bankes his curtall_." It is extremely curious, and towards the end throws light upon the second line of Bastard's epigram quoted by Mr. Steevens.

SCENE 2. Page 203.

ARM. _Green_, indeed, is the colour of _lovers_.

_Green eyes_, _jealousy_, and _the willow_, have been mentioned as the subjects of this allusion; but it is, perhaps, to _melancholy_, the frequent concomitant of love. Thus in _Twelfth night_, "And with a _green_ and yellow _melancholy_;" certainly in that instance, the effect of love.

SCENE 2. Page 206.

DULL. She is allowed for the _day_-woman.

See more on the word _dey_ in Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition of _The Canterbury tales_, iii. 287, who supposes that a _dey_ originally meant a day labourer, however it came afterwards to be applied to the _dairy_: yet this conjecture must give way to Dr. Johnson's statement that _day_ is an old word for milk. The doctor has not indeed produced any authority, and the original Saxon word seems lost; but in the Swedish language, which bears the greatest affinity to our own of any other, as far as regards the Teutonic part of it, _dia_ signifies _to milk_, and _deie_, in Polish, the same. _Die_, in Danish, is _the breast_. The nearest Saxon word that remains is _diende_, _sucklings_; and there can be no doubt that we have the term in question from some of our northern ancestors. The _dey_ or dairy maid is mentioned in the old statutes that relate to working people; and in that of 12 Ric. II. the annual wages of this person are settled at six shillings.


SCENE 1. Page 221.

PRIN. Good wits will be jangling: but gentles agree.

These alliterative and anapæstic lines are in the manner of Tusser, who has many such; for example,

"At Christmas of Christ many carols we sing."

It will be admitted that the construction of this sort of verse is rather less adapted to a court than a cottage; but it is presumed that none will be inclined to find Shakspeare guilty of such poetry, which a good deal resembles the halfpenny book style of

"Here's N. with a nag that is prancing with pride, And O. with an owl hooping close by his side."

SCENE 1. Page 222.

BOVET. His heart like an agate with your print impressed.

An allusion either to the figures of the human face often found in agates and other stones, or to an engraved gem.


SCENE 1. Page 225.

MOTH. Master, will you win your love with a French _brawl_.

The word _brawl_ in its signification of a dance is from the French _branle_, indicating a shaking or swinging motion. The following accounts of this dance may be found more intelligible than that cited from Marston. It was performed by several persons uniting hands in a circle, and giving each other continual shakes, the steps changing with the tune. It usually consisted of three _pas_ and a _pied-joint_, to the time of four strokes of the bow; which being repeated was termed a _double brawl_. With this dance balls were usually opened. _Le branle du bouquet_ is thus described in _Deux dialogues du nouveau langage François, Italianizé_, &c. Anvers, 1579, 24mo:--"Un des gentilhommes et une des dames, estans les premiers en la danse, laissent les autres (qui cependant continuent la danse) et se mettans dedans la dicte compagnie, _vont baisans par ordre toutes les personnes qui y sont_: à sçavoir le gentil-homme les dames, et la dame les gentils-hommes. Puis ayans achevé leurs baisemens, au lieu qu'ils estoyent les premiers en la danse, se mettent les derniers. Et ceste façon de faire se continue par le gentilhomme et la dame qui sont les plus prochains, jusques à ce qu'on vienne aux derniers."--P. 385. It is probably to this dance that the puritan Stubbes alludes in the following words: "for what clipping, what culling, what _kissing and bussing, what smouching and slabbering one of another_: what filthy groping and unclean handling is not practised every where in these dauncings? Yea the very deed and action itselfe which I will not name for offending chaste eares, shall bee purtrayed and shadowed foorth in their bawdy gestures of one to another."--_Anatomie of abuses_, p. 114, edit. 1595, 4to. And John Northbrooke, another writer _ejusdem farinæ_, in his invective called _A treatise wherein dicing, dauncing, vaine plaies or enterludes_, &c. 1579, 4to, exclaims that "the Pagans were better and more sad than wee be, they never knewe this newe fashion of dauncing of ours, and uncleanely handling and groping, and _kissings_, and a very kindling of lechery: whereto serveth all that _bassing_, as were pigeons the birdes of Venus?" And again; "they daunce with disordinate gestures, and with monstrous thumping of the feete, to pleasant soundes, to wanton songues, to dishonest verses, maidens and matrons are groped and handled with unchaste hands, _and kissed and dishonestly embraced_," fo. 64, 66. Amidst a great variety of _brawls_ mentioned in the very curious treatise on dancing by Thoinot Arbeau, entitled _Orchesographie_, Lengres, 1588, 4to, there is a _Scotish brawl_, with the music, which is here given as a specimen of an old Scotish tune.


The facetious macaronic poet Antony Sablon, or de Arena, whose work Camden says he "kept as a jewel," has left the following description of a brawl:--

_Modus dansandi branlos._

"Ipse modis branlos debes dansare duobus, Simplos et duplos usus habere solet. Sed branlos duplos, passus tibi quinque laborent. Tres fac avantum, sed reculando duos, Quattuor in mensura ictus marchabis eundo, Atque retornando quattuor ipse dabis."

This dance continued in fashion in our own country so late as the year 1693, when Playford published a book of tunes in which a _brawl_ composed by Mons. Paisable occurs; and see many of the little French pieces in the _Theatre de la foire_, 1721.

SCENE 1. Page 225.

MOTH. _Canary_ it with your feet.

The _canary_ was another very favourite dance. In the translation of Leo's _Description of Africa_, by Pory, 1600, folio, there is an additional account of the _Canary islands_, in which the author, speaking of the inhabitants, says, "They were and are at this day delighted with a kind of dance which they use also in Spain, and in other places, and because it took originall from thence, it is called _the Canaries_." Thoinot Arbeau likewise mentions this opinion, but is himself, in common with some others, inclined to think that the dance originated from a ballet composed for a masquerade, in which the performers were habited as kings and queens of Morocco, or as savages with feathers of different colours. He then describes it as follows:--A lady is taken out by a gentleman, and after dancing together to the cadences of the proper air, he leads her to the end of the hall; this done he retreats back to the original spot, always looking at the lady. Then he makes up to her again, with certain steps, and retreats as before. His partner performs the same ceremony, which is several times repeated by both parties, with various strange fantastic steps, very much in the savage style. This dance was sometimes accompanied by the castagnets. The following _Canary_ tune is from Arbeau.


SCENE 1. Page 236.

COST. Guerdon,--O sweet guerdon!

Mr. Steevens deduces this word from the middle age Latin _regardum_. It is presumed that few, if any, words are derived from the Latin of that period, which itself was rather corrupted by the introduction of terms from the living languages of Europe Latinized by the Monkish writers. _Guerdon_, as used by us, is immediately from the French: not equivalent, as some have imagined, with _don_ de _guerre_, but formed from the Teutonic _werd_ or _wurth_, i. e. _price_, _value_.

SCENE 1. Page 237.

BIRON. This _wimpled_, whining, purblind, wayward boy.

If, as Mr. Steevens observes, the advocates for Shakspeare's learning, on a presumption that he might have been acquainted with the Roman _flammeum_, or seen the celebrated gem of the marriage of Cupid and Psyche, had applauded the choice of his epithet, it is certain they would have shown very little skill or critical judgment on the occasion. By _wimpled_, Shakspeare means no more than that Cupid was hood-winked, alluding to the usual representation in paintings where he is exhibited with a bandage over his eyes. It may be observed here that the blindness of the God of love is not warranted by the authority of any ancient classic author, but appears to have been the invention of some writer of the middle ages; not improbably Boccaccio, who in his _Genealogy of the Gods_ gives the following account: "Oculos autem illi fascia tegunt, ut advertamus amantes ignorare quo tendant; nulla eorum esse indicia, nullæ rerum distinctiones, sed sola passione duci."--Lib. ix. c. 4.

The oldest English writer who has noticed the blindness of love is Chaucer, in his translation of the _Roman de la rose_:

"The God of love, _blind as stone_."

But this line is not in the French original. Shakspeare himself has well accounted for Cupid's blindness:

"Love looks not with the eyes, but with the mind, And therefore is wing'd Cupid painted blind."

_M. N. Dream_, Act I. Scene 1.

SCENE 1. Page 240.

BIRON. And I to be a corporal of the field.

Dr. Farmer's quotation of the line from Ben Jonson, "As corporal of the field, maestro del campo," has the appearance, without perhaps the intention, of suggesting that these officers were the same: this, however, was not the fact. In Styward's _Pathway to martiall discipline_, 1581, 4to, there is a chapter on the office of _maister of the campe_, and another on _the electing and office of the foure corporalls of the fields_; from which it appears that "two of the latter were appointed for placing and ordering of shot, and the other two for embattailing of the pikes and billes, who according to their worthinesse, if death hapneth, are to succeede the great sergeant or sergeant major."

SCENE 1. Page 241.

BIRON. ... like a _German clock_.

Such part of Mr. Steevens's note as relates to the invention of clocks may, in a future edition, be rendered more correct by consulting Beckman's _History of inventions_. It is certain that we had clocks in England before the reign of Elizabeth; but they were not in general use till that time, when most, if not all, of them were imported from Germany. These clocks resembled what are still made for the use of the lower classes of people by several ingenious Germans established in London.

SCENE 1. Page 242.

BIRON. Some men must love my lady, and some Joan.

Alluding to the homely proverb, "Joan's as good as my lady in the dark:" and in Markham's _Health to the gentlemanly profession of serving men_, sign. I. 3, we have, "What hath Joan to do with my lady?"


SCENE 1. Page 243.

PRIN. ... my friend, where is the bush That we must stand and play the murderer in?

The practice of ladies shooting at deer in this passage alluded to, is of great antiquity, as may be collected from Strutt's _Sports and pastimes of the people of England_, p. 9. The old romances abound with such incidents; but one of the most diverting is recorded in _The history of prince Arthur_, part 3, chap. cxxiv. where a lady huntress wounds Sir Lancelot of the Lake, instead of a deer, in a manner most "comically tragical."

SCENE 1. Page 246.

COST. God-dig-you-den all.

"A corruption," says Mr. Malone very justly, "of God give you good even." Howel, at the end of his _Parley of the beasts_, has an advertisement relating to orthography, in which, after giving several examples that the French do not speak as they write, he observes that "the English come not short of him (the Frenchman); for whereas he writes, _God give you good evening_, he often saies, _Godi_, _godin_." But the whole of what Howel has said on this subject is unfairly pillaged from _Claude de Sainliens_, or, as he chose to call himself in this country, _Hollyband_; who after very successfully retorting a charge made by the English, that Frenchmen do not sound their words as they spell them, is nevertheless content to admit that his countrymen do _sometimes_ err, as when they say _avoo disné_, for _avez vous disné_? See his treatise _De pronuntiatione linguæ Gallicæ_, Lond. 1580, 12mo, p. 81. This person was a teacher of languages in London, and wrote several ingenious works, among which is the _first_ French and English dictionary, 1580, and 1593, 4to; afterwards much amplified by Randle Cotgrave, and by him rendered the best repertory of old French that is extant. It is in other respects an extremely valuable work.

SCENE 1. Page 49.

BOVET. A phantasm, a _Monarcho_.

Another trait of this person's character is preserved in Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_, edit. 1584, p. 54, where, speaking of the influence of melancholy on the imagination, he says, "the Italian, whom we call here in England _the Monarch_, was possessed of the like spirit or conceipt." This conceit was, that all the ships which came into port belonged to him.

SCENE 2. Page 526.


A part of Mr. Steevens's note requires the following correction:--Florio's _First fruites_ were _printed_ in 1578, 4to, by Thomas Dawson. In 1598 he dedicated his Italian and English dictionary to Roger Earl of Rutland, Henry Earl of Southampton, and Lucy Countess of Bedford. As to the edition of 1595, mentioned by Mr. Steevens, does it really exist, or has not too much confidence been placed in the elegant but inaccurate historian of English poetry? See vol. iii. p. 465, note (h).

SCENE 2. Page 262.

HOL. _Dictynna_, goodman Dull; _Dictynna_, goodman Dull.

It is possible, as Mr. Steevens has remarked, that Shakspeare might have found Diana's title of _Dictynna_ in Golding's Ovid; but there is reason for supposing that he had seen an English translation of Boccaccio's _Genealogy of the Gods_, though we have it not at present. E. Kerke, in his notes on Spenser's _Shepherd's calendar_, quotes this work; yet he might have used the original. From the same source it was possible for Shakspeare to have acquired the present information, as well as what other mythology he stood in need of. The Latin dictionaries of Eliot and Cooper would likewise supply him with similar materials.

SCENE 3. Page 274.

BIRON. Thou mak'st the _triumviry_, the corner-cap of society, _The shape of love's Tyburn_ that hangs up simplicity.

An allusion to the gallows of the time, which was occasionally _triangular_. Such a one is seen in some of the cuts to the first edition of Holinshed's _Chronicle_, and in other ancient prints.

SCENE 3. Page 276.

BIRON. By earth she is _but corporal_; there you lie.

This is Theobald's alteration from the old reading, which was, "She is not, Corporal, there you lie," and has been adopted by the modern editors from its apparent ingenuity. A little attention may serve to show that no change was necessary, and that the original text should be restored. Theobald says that Dumain had _no post in the army_, and asks what wit there is in calling him corporal. The answer is, As much as there had already been in Biron's calling himself _a corporal of Cupid's field_; a title equally appropriate to Dumain on the present occasion. To render the matter still clearer, it may be observed that Biron does not give the lie to Dumain's assertion that his mistress was a _divinity_, as presumed by the amended reading, but to that of her being _the wonder of a mortal eye_. Dumain is answered sentence by sentence.

SCENE 3. Page 276.

DUM. Her amber hairs for foul have amber _coted_.

Mr. Steevens's explanation of _coted_, and of the whole line, is inadmissible. _Foulness_ or _cloudiness_ is no criterion of the _beauty_ of amber. Mr. Malone has partly explained _coted_, by _marked_, but has apparently missed the sense of it here when he adds _written down_. Mr. Mason has given the true construction of the line, but he mistakes the meaning of _coted_, which, after all, merely signifies to _mark_ or _note_. The word is from the French _coter_, which, in like manner as Mr. Malone has well observed of the English term, is the old orthography of _quoter_. The grammatical construction is, "her amber hairs have marked or shown that [real] amber is foul in comparison of themselves."

SCENE. 3. Page 291.

LONG. Some tricks, some _quillets_, how to cheat the Devil.

The objection to Warburton's derivation of _quillet_ from the _French_ is, that there is no such term in the language: nor is it exclusively applicable to law-chicane, though generally so used by Shakspeare. It strictly means a _subtilty_, and seems to have originated among the schoolmen of the middle ages, by whom it was called a _quidlibet_. They had likewise their _quodlibets_ and their _quiddities_. From the schoolmen these terms were properly enough transferred to the lawyers. Hamlet says, "Why may not that be the scull of a lawyer? where be his _quiddits_ now, his _quillets_, his cases, his tenures and his tricks?" The conjectures of Peck, and after him of Dr. Grey in a note to Hudibras, seem to merit but little attention.

SCENE 3. Page 294.

BIRON. Still climbing trees in the _Hesperides_.

An error is here laid to Shakspeare's charge, of which he is not perhaps guilty. The expression _trees in the Hesperides_ must be regarded as elliptical, and signifies _trees in the gardens of the Hesperides_. Shakspeare is seldom wrong in his mythology, and, if he had doubted on the present occasion, the dictionaries of Eliot or Cooper would have supplied him with the necessary information. The first quotation in the note from Greene, is equally elliptical; for this writer was too good a scholar to have committed the mistake ascribed to Shakspeare: so that the passage, instead of convicting the latter, does in reality support him. As to the other quotation from _Orpheus and Eurydice_, the learned critic himself lays but little stress on it; or indeed might, on reconsideration, be disposed to think the expression correct. It would not be difficult to trace instances in modern authors of the use of _Hesperides_ for _gardens of the Hesperides_. See Lempriere's excellent classical dictionary, edit. 1792, 8vo.


SCENE 1. Page 302.

HOL. His humour is lofty, his discourse peremptory, his _tongue filed_.--

Mr Steevens has remarked that Chaucer, Skelton, and Spenser are frequent in their use of this phrase, but he has offered no explanation. It signifies _polished language_; thus Turbervile, in his translation of _Ovid's epistles_, makes Phyllis say to her lover--

"Thy many smooth and _filed_ wordes Did purchase credites place."

SCENE 1. Page 306.

ARM. ... a sweet touch, a quick _venew_ of wit.

The _cut and thrust_ notes on this occasion exhibit a complete _match_ between the two great Shakspearean _maisters of defence_. "A venew," says Mr. Steevens, "is the technical term for a _bout_ (or _set-to_, as he had before called it in vol. iii. p. 317,) at the fencing school." On the other hand, Mr. Malone maintains that "a venue is _not_ a _bout_ at fencing, but a _hit_;" and his opponent retorts on the ground of _positiveness_ of denial. As the present writer has himself been an amateur and practitioner of the noble science of defence, he undertakes on this occasion the office of umpire between the sturdy combatants.

The quotations adduced on either side are not calculated to ascertain the clear and genuine sense of the word _venew_, and it is therefore necessary to seek for more decisive evidence respecting its meaning. Howel in his _Lexicon tetraglotton_, 1660, mentions "a veny in fencing; venue, _touche_, toca;" and afterwards more fully in his vocabulary, sect. xxxii. "A foin, _veny_, or stoccado; la botta; la _touche_, le _coup_." In Sir John Harrington's _Life of Dr. Still_, is the following expression, "he would not sticke to warne them in the arguments to take heede to their answers, like a perfect fencer that will tell afore-hand in which button he will give the _venew_." _Nugæ antiquæ_, vol. ii. p. 158, edit. 1804, by Park. In Ben Jonson's _Every man in his humour_, Act I. Scene 5, Bobadil, in answer to Master Matthew's request for _one venue_, says, "Venue! fie: most gross denomination as ever I heard; O, the _stoccata_, while you live, sir, note that." On this passage, Mr. Reed, in a note on the play of _The widow's tears_, Dodsley's _Old plays_, vol. vi. 152, observes that "the word appears to have been out of fashion with the fantastic gallants of the time very early." Its occurrence however so late as the time in which Howel's dictionary was published seems to render this ingenious remark very questionable, and suggests another explanation of Bobadil's wish to change the word, namely, his coxcombly preference of the terms of the Spanish and Italian schools of fencing to those used in the English, which, it is presumed, were more immediately borrowed from our Gallic neighbours. That the terms _stoccado_ and _imbrocato_ denoted a _hit_ or thrust, may be collected from many passages in Vincent Saviolo's _Use of the rapier and dagger_, 1595, 4to; and in Florio's Italian dictionary, 1598, folio, _stoccata_ is rendered, _a foyne, a thrust given in fence_; and _tocco, a venie at fence, a hit_. All the above circumstances considered, one should feel inclined to adjudge the palm of victory to Mr. Malone.

It is however remarkable enough that Mr. Steevens is accidentally right in defining a _venew_ a _bout_, without being aware of the signification of the latter word. Florio renders _botta_, a _blowe_, a _stroake_. In the best of all the ancient French treatises on the art of fencing, entitled _Traicté sur l'espée seule, mere de toutes armes_, &c., by Henry De Sainct Didier, Paris, 1573, 4to, it is said, "_bottes_ en Napollitain, vaut autant à dire, que _coups_ en François." He then mentions five sorts of _bottes_, viz. _maindrette_, _renverse_, _fendante_, _estoccade_, and _imbroucade_. Nevertheless the word _bout_ had been used in the sense of a _set-to_ in Shakspeare's time. In _The first part of King Henry the Sixth_, Act I. Scene 5, Talbot says to the Pucelle, "I'll have a _bout_ with thee." It retained, however, its original meaning long afterwards. Howel, and Sherwood likewise in his English dictionary at the end of Cotgrave have "a boute, coup," and so it is defined by Skinner: but the following passage from the account given by Sir Thomas Urquhart in his singular book entitled _A discovery of a most exquisite jewel found in the kennel of Worcester streets_, &c. 1652, 12mo, of the combat between the admirable Crichton and the celebrated Mantuan duellist, will put the matter beyond all doubt. "Then was it that to vindicate the reputation of the duke's family and to expiate the blood of the three vanquished gentlemen, he alonged a _stoccade de pied ferme_; then recoyling, he advanced another thrust, and lodged it home; after which retiring again, his right foot did beat the cadence of the blow that pierced the belly of this Italian, whose heart and throat being hit with the two former stroaks, these _three franch bouts_ given in upon the back of other ... by them he was to be made a sacrifice of atonement for the slaughter of the three aforesaid gentlemen who were wounded in the very same parts of their bodies by other such _three venees_ as these." The same mode of expression is also used by the same writer in a subsequent account of a duel between Francis Sinclair, a natural son of the Earl of Caithness, and a German, at Vienna; where it was agreed that he who should give the other the first _three bouts_, should have a pair of golden spurs, in the event of which combat Sinclair "gave in two _venees_ more than he was obliged to."

On the whole therefore it appears that _venew_ and _bout_ equally denote a _hit_ in fencing; that both Mr. Steevens and Mr. Malone are right in this respect; but that the former gentleman is inaccurate in supposing a _venew_ to mean a _set-to_, and the latter equally so in asserting that "a _venew_ is _not_ a _bout_."

SCENE 1. Page 311.

DULL. I will play on the tabor to the worthies, and let them dance the _hay_.

This dance was borrowed by us from the French. It is classed among the _brawls_ in Thoinot Arbeau's _Orchesographie_, already mentioned in page 135.

SCENE 2. Page 312.

ROS. For he hath been five thousand years a boy.

KATH. Ay, and a shrewd unhappy gallows too.

This description of Cupid is borrowed from some lines in Sidney's _Arcadia_, B. ii. See them already quoted on another occasion by Dr. Farmer in _Much ado about nothing_, Act III. Scene 2.

SCENE 2. Page 316.

ROS. That he should be my _fool_, and I his _fate_.

Dr. Warburton's conclusion that _fate_ here signifies _death_ is not satisfactory. Death would be an awkward character for Rosaline to assume, but that of _dame fortune_ infinitely more natural.

It must be owned that destiny and fortune are, strictly speaking, very different characters; yet they have sometimes been confounded. Even Pindar, as Pausanias observes, has made fortune one of the _Parcæ_. In _Julius Cæsar_, the expression, "he is but fortune's _knave_," seems to resemble the present, and to mean, "he is the servant of fortune and _bound to obey her_." Shakspeare is very fond of alluding to the _mockery_ of fortune. Thus we have

"O I am fortune's fool."

_Romeo and Juliet._

"Ye fools of fortune."

_Timon of Athens._

"I am the natural fool of fortune."

_King Lear._

In the last of which passages a pointed allusion is made to the _idiot fool_. Sir J. Suckling uses the same expression in his play of _The goblins_; and Hamlet speaks of "the fools of nature," precisely in the same sense.

SCENE 2. Page 327.

BOVET. Fleeter than arrows, _bullets_, wind, thought, swifter things.

The word _bullets_ is doubtless an interpolation in the manuscript by some ignorant person who thought it more appropriate than _arrows_, on account of the substitution of fire-arms for archery. It might very properly be omitted in the text, without any diminution of editorial accuracy.

SCENE 2. Page 330.

BOVET. Fair ladies mask'd are roses in their bud; Dismask'd their damask sweet commixture shown, Are _angels vailing clouds_, or roses blown.

Of the several explanations here offered of _vailing_, Dr. Johnson's is the best. The poet compares a lady unmasking to an angel dispelling the clouds in his descent from heaven to earth. The term is from the old French _avaler_ to _put_ or _let down_; the true etymology of which appears in the phrase _à mont et à val_, from top to bottom, from _mountain_ to _valley_, which very often occurs in old romances. In that of the _Saint Graal_, MS. we have "et avalerent aval le vessel." In Spenser's _Shepherd's calendar_, under January, "By that the welked Phœbus gan _availe_."

SCENE 2. Page 339.

BIRON. _Three pil'd_ hyperboles.

So in Fennor's _Compter's commonwealth_, 1617, 4to, p. 14, we have "_three pil'd_, huge Basilisco oaths, that would have torne a roring-boyes eares in a thousand shatters."

SCENE 2. Page 345.

COST. You cannot _beg us_, sir.

It has been already stated that it was not the next relation only who begged the wardship of _idiots_ in order to obtain possession of their property, but any person who could make interest with the sovereign to whom the legal guardianship belongs. Frequent allusions to this practice occur in the old comedies. In illustration of it, Mr. Ritson has given a curious story, which, as it is mutilated in the authority which he has used, is here subjoined from a more original source, a collection of tales, &c., compiled about the time of Charles the First, preserved among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 6395. "The Lord North begg'd old Bladwell for a foole (though he could never prove him so), and having him in his custodie as a lunaticke, he carried him to a gentleman's house, one day, that was his neighbour. The L. North and the gentleman retir'd awhile to private discourse, and left Bladwell in the dining roome, which was hung with a faire hanging; Bladwell walking up and downe, and viewing the imagerie, spyed a foole at last in the hanging, and without delay drawes his knife, flyes at the foole, cutts him cleane out, and layes him on the floore; my L. and the gentl. coming in againe, and finding the tapestrie thus defac'd, he ask'd Bladwell what he meant by such a rude uncivill act; he answered Sʳ. be content, I have rather done you a courtesie than a wrong, for if ever my L. N. had seene the foole there, he would have begg'd him, and so you might have lost your whole suite." The same story, but without the parties' names, is related in Fuller's _Holy state_, p. 182. Powel, in his _Attourney's academy_, 1630, 4to, says, "I shall neede to give you this monitorie instruction touching an _ideot_; that you be assured that yourselfe is somewhat the wiser man before you goe about to _beg him_, or else never meddle with him at all, lest you chance to play at handy-dandy, which is the guardian or which is the foole? and the case alter, _è converso_, _ad conversum_." In _A treatise of taxes_, 1667, 4to, p. 43, there is the following passage: "Now because the world abounds with this kind of fools, (Lottery fools,) it is not fit that every man that will may cheat every man that would be cheated; but it is rather ordained that the sovereign should have the guardianship of these fools, _or that some favourite should beg the sovereign's right of taking advantage of such men's folly, even as in the case of lunatics and ideots_." To this practice too, Butler alludes, in _Hudibras_, part iii. canto I, l. 590.

"Beg one another idiot To guardians, ere they are begot."

Mr. Justice Blackstone, in treating of idiots, has spoken of it; and adds in a note, that the king's power of delegating the custody of them to some subject who has interest enough on the occasion, has of late been very rarely exerted.

SCENE 2. Page 350.

BIRON. The Pedant, the Braggart, the Hedge-priest, the Fool And the boy:-- Abate a throw at _novum_; and the whole world again, Cannot prick out _five_ such, take each one in his vein.

The game of _novum_ or _novem_, here alluded to, requires further illustration to render the _whole_ of the above passage intelligible. It is therefore necessary to state that it was _properly_ called _novum quinque_, from the two principal throws of the dice, nine and five; and then Biron's meaning becomes perfectly clear, according to the reading of the old editions. The above game was called in French _quinquenove_, and is said to have been invented in Flanders.

SCENE 2. Page 351.

Pageant of the nine worthies.

The _genuine_ worthies were Joshua, David, Judas Maccabeus, Hector, Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bulloigne, or sometimes in his room Guy of Warwick. Why Shakspeare, in the _five_ of them only whom he has introduced by name, has included Hercules and Pompey, remains to be accounted for. It was a great pity to omit, on this occasion, the very curious specimen of an ancient pageant given by Mr. Ritson, who, in stating that nothing of the kind had ever appeared in print, seems to have forgotten the pageants of Dekker, Middleton, and others, a list of which may be found in Baker's _Biographia dramatica_, vol. ii. 270.

SCENE 2. Page 353.

BIRON. Your nose _smells_ no, in this, most _tender smelling_ knight.

He is addressing, or rather ridiculing Alexander. Plutarch in his life of that hero relates, on the authority of Aristoxenus, that his skin "had a marvellous good savour, and that his breath was very sweet, in so much that _his body had so sweet a smell_ of itselfe that all the apparell he wore next unto his body, tooke thereof a passing delightfull savour, as if it had been perfumed." This Shakspeare had read in Sir Thomas North's translation.

SCENE 2. Page 353.

COST. Your lion, that holds his _poll-ax_ sitting, &c.

The clown's Cloacinian allusion to the arms of Alexander is a wilful _blunder_, for the purpose of introducing his subsequent joke about Ajax. These are the arms themselves copied from the _Roman des neuf preux_, Abbeville, 1487, folio, showing that the chair is not a chaise-perçée.


The modern _patent Bramahs_ were in Shakspeare's time called _Ajaxes_. Thus in _The hospitall of incurable fooles_, 1600, 4to, fo. 7: "Whoever saw so many odd mechanicks as are at this day, who not with a geometricall spirite like Archimedes, but even with arte surpassing the profoundest Cabalistes, who instead of a pigeon loft, place in the garrets of houses, _portable_ and commodious _Ajaxes_." The marginal explanation comes _closer_ to the point. Again, "the Romans might well be numbered amongst those three-elbowed fooles in adoring Stercutio for a God, shamefully constituting him a patron and protector of _Ajax_ and his commodities," fo. 6.

SCENE 2. Page 360.

COST. I will not fight with a _pole_, like a _northern man_.

On this passage Dr. Farmer says, "_Vir borealis_, a clown, See glossary to Urry's Chaucer." The Doctor's notes are generally clear and instructive, but in this instance he is obscure. It is presumed that he intends to refer the reader to the word _borel_ in Urry's glossary, where it is properly explained _a clown_. Whether _borel_ be derived from _borealis_ may be questioned; but Shakspeare in all probability was unacquainted with this word and its etymology. Does he not refer to the particular use of the quarter staff in the Northern counties?

SCENE 2. Page 367.

PRIN. As _bombast_, and as lining to the time.

_Bombast_ is from the Italian _bombagia_, which signifies all sorts of cotton wool. Hence the stuff called _bombasine_. The cotton put into ink was called _bombase_. "Need you any inke and _bombase_?" Hollyband's _Italian schole-maister_, 1579, 12mo, sign. E. 3.


The clown in this play is a mere country fellow. The term _fool_ applied to him in Act V. Scene 2, means nothing more than a _silly fellow_. He has not sufficient simplicity for a natural fool, nor wit enough for an artificial one.

It will probably be discovered at some future time that this play was borrowed from a French novel. The _dramatis personæ_ in a great measure demonstrate this, as well as a palpable Gallicism in Act IV. Scene 1, viz. the terming a _letter_ a _capon_.



SCENE 1. Page 397.

SALAR. There, where your _argosies_, with portly sail Like signiors and rich burghers _of_ the flood, Or as it were the _Pageants_ of the sea, Do overpeer the petty traffickers.

Argosies are properly defined to be "ships of great burthen," and so they are described almost wherever they are mentioned. Mr. Steevens has quoted Rycaut's _Maxims of Turkish polity_, to show that the term originated in a corruption of _Ragosies_, i. e. ships of _Ragusa_. However specious this may appear, it is to be observed that Rycaut, a writer at the end of the seventeenth century, only states it as _a matter of report_, not as a _fact_; and he seems to have followed the slight authority of Roberts's _Marchant's map of commerce_. If any instance shall be produced of the use of such a word as _ragosie_, the objection must be given up. In the mean time it may be permitted to hazard another opinion, which is, that the word in question derives its origin from the famous ship _Argo_: and indeed Shakspeare himself appears to have hinted as much; for the story of Jason is twice adverted to in the course of this play. On one of these occasions Gratiano certainly alludes to Antonio's argosie when he says,

"We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece."

Act III. Scene 2.

Gregory of Tours has more than once made use of _Argis_ to express a ship generally. With respect to _Ragozine_, it has been contended in a former note, page 89, that this name ought not to have been introduced in the discussion of the present subject.

Mr. Steevens remarks that both ancient and modern editors have hitherto been content to read "burghers _on_ the flood;" and, on the authority of a line in which we have "burghers _of a city_," he has substituted "burghers _of_ the flood." He might have been less inclined to this new reading, had he recollected that the "signiors and rich burghers _on_ the flood" are the Venetians, who may well be said to live _on_ the sea. It would be difficult to discover who are the signiors and burghers _of_ the flood, unless they be whales and porpoises.

In calling argosies _the pageants of the sea_, Shakspeare alludes to those enormous machines, in the shapes of castles, dragons, ships, giants, &c., that were drawn about the streets in the ancient shows or pageants, and which often constituted the most important part of them.

SCENE 1. Page 399.

SALAN. Now, by _two-headed Janus_.

Dr. Warburton's note may well be spared in all future editions. If Shakspeare have shown a knowledge of the antique, which he might have obtained from his dictionary at school, the Doctor has, unluckily, on this occasion proved himself less profound in it than Shakspeare, or he would not have ventured to assert that the heads of Janus were those of Pan and Bacchus, Saturn and Apollo, &c. It is presumed that these heads will continue to perplex the learned for many generations.

SCENE 2. Page 410.

POR. If a _throstle_ sing.

Notwithstanding the apparent difference in opinion between Messrs. Steevens and Malone respecting this bird, they are both right. The throstle is only a variety of the thrush, as will be seen by consulting Mr. Pennant's Account of English birds. In _The new general history of birds_, 1745, 12mo, there is an account of "the song-thrush, or throstle;" and see Randle Holme's _Academy of armory_, book ii. ch. 12, no. lxxiii.

SCENE 3. Page 413.


His stage dress should be _a scarlet hat lined with black taffeta_. This is the manner in which the Jews of Venice were formerly distinguished. See Saint Didier _Histoire de Venise_. In the year 1581 they wore _red caps_ for distinction's sake, as appears from Hakluyt's _Voyages_, p. 179, edit. 1589. Lord Verulam, in his Essay on usury, speaking of the witty invectives that men have made against usury, states one of them to be "that usurers should have _orange-tawny bonnets_, because they do _Judaize_."

SCENE 3. Page 414.

SHY. He lends out money gratis, and brings down The rate of usance here with us in Venice.

"It is almost incredyble what gaine the Venetians receive by the usury of the Jewes, both pryvately and in common. For in everye citee the Jewes kepe open shops of usurie, taking gaiges of ordinarie for xv in the hundred by the yere; and if at the yeres ende the gaige be not redemed, it is forfeite, or at the least dooen away to a great disadvantage: by reason whereof the Jewes are out of measure wealthie in those parties."--Thomas's _Historye of Italye_, 1561, 4to, fo. 77.

SCENE 3. Page 416.

SHY. He stuck them up before the _fulsome_ ewes.

_Fulsome_ has, doubtless, the same signification as the preceding epithet _rank_, the physical reason for its application being very generally known. "Ικτιδος _pellis_. Proverbium apud Germanos in vilissimum quodque et maxime _fœtidum_ scortum. Nam Ictis, id est sylvestris mustela cum graviter exarserit, male olet." Erasmi _Adagia_. Spenser makes one of his shepherds speak thus of a kid:

"The blossoms of lust to bud did beginne And spring forth _ranckly_ under his chinne."

_Fulsome_ is from the Gothic _fuls_, i. e. _foul_, _fœtid_. That it sometimes had another root, viz. _full_, is manifest from the line in Golding's _Ovid_, whose expression "fulsome dugs" is in the original "_pleno_ ubere," but is of no service on the present occasion, though quoted by Mr. Steevens.

SCENE 3. Page 418.

SHY. About my money and my _usances_.

Mr. Steevens asserts that _use_ and _usance_ anciently signified _usury_, but both his quotations show the contrary. Mr. Ritson very properly asks whether Mr. Steevens is not mistaken; and Mr. Reed, maintaining that he is right, adduces a passage which _proves_ him to be _wrong_. A gentleman, says Wylson, borrowed 1000 pounds, running still upon _usury_ and _double usury_. "The merchants termyng it _usance_ and _double usance_, by _a more clenly name_," i. e. _interest_, till he owed the usurer five thousand pounds, &c. The sense was obscured by the omission of an important comma after the word _name_. Mr. Malone's note was quite adequate to the purpose of explanation.

SCENE 3. Page 421.

SHY. ... seal me there Your single bond; and in _a merry sport_, If you repay me not, &c.

Thus in the ballad of _Gernutus_:

"But we will have _a merry jeast_ For to be talked long; You shall make me _a bond_, quoth he. That shall be large and strong."


SCENE 1. Page 423.

MOR. But let us make incision for your love, To prove whose blood is _reddest_, his, or mine.

Dr. Johnson's observation that "red blood is a traditionary sign of courage" derives support from our English Pliny, Bartholomew Glantville, who says, after Isidorus, "_Reed_ clothes ben layed upon deed men in remembrance of theyr _hardynes_ and _boldnes_, whyle they were in theyr bloudde." On which his commentator Batman remarks: "It appereth in the time of the Saxons that the manner over their dead was a _red_ cloath, as we now use black. The _red_ of _valiauncie_, and that was over kings, lords, knights and valyaunt souldiours."

SCENE 2. Page 426.

LAUN. Do not run; scorn _running with thy heels_.

Mr. Steevens calls this _absurdity_, and introduces a brother critic, Sir Hugh Evans, who had maintained that "he hears with ears" was _affectations_: both the parties had forgotten their Bible. As to the proposed alteration "_withe_ thy heels," it might be asked, who ever heard of a person _binding_ his _own heels_ to prevent running? Mr. Malone has well defended the consistency of Launcelot's speech. It may be added that in _King Richard II._ Act V. Scene 3, we have "_kneel_ upon my _knees_."

SCENE 2. Page 427.

LAUN. Well, my _conscience_ says--Launcelot, budge not; budge, says the _fiend_; budge not, says my _conscience_.

It is not improbable that this curious struggle between Launcelot's conscience and the fiend might have been suggested by some well-known story in Shakspeare's time, grafted on the following Monkish fable. It occurs in a collection of apologues that remain only in manuscript, and have been severally ascribed to Hugo of Saint Victor, and Odo de Sheriton or Shirton, an English Cistercian Monk of the 12th century. "Multi sunt sicut mulier delicata et pigra. Talis vero mulier dum jacet mane in lecto et audit pulsari ad missam, cogitat secum quod vadat ad missam. Et cum _caro_, quæ pigra est, timet frigus, respondet et dicit, Quare ires ita mane, nonne scis quod clerici pulsant campanas propter oblationes? dormi adhuc; et sic transit pars diei. Postea iterum _conscientia pungit eam_ quod vadat ad missam. Sed _caro_ respondet, et dicit, Quare ires tu tam cito ad ecclesiam? certè tu destrueres corpus tuum si ita manè surrexeris, et hoc Deus non vult ut homo destruat seipsum; ergo quiesce et dormi. Et transit alia pars diei. Iterum _conscientia pungit eam_ quod vadat ad ecclesiam; sed _caro_ dicit, Ut quid ires tam cito? Ego bene scio quod talis vicina tua nondum vadit ad ecclesiam; dormi parum adhuc. Et sic transit alia pars diei. Postea _pungit eam conscientia_; sed _caro_ dicit, Non oportet quod adhuc vadas, quia sacerdos est curialis et bene expectabit te; attende et dormi. Et sic dormiendo transit tempus. Et tamen ad ultimum verecundia tacita atque coacta, surgit et vadit ad ecclesiam, et invenit portas clausas." Then follows the moral of the fable, in which the church is repentance, the bells the preachers. The lazy flesh prevails over conscience, till, on the approach of death, fear dictates the sending for the priest. An imperfect confession of sins takes place; the party dies, and the miserable soul finds the gates of heaven shut.

SCENE 5. Page 443.

SHY. The _patch_ is kind enough.

It has been supposed that this term originated from the name of a fool belonging to Cardinal Wolsey, and that his parti-coloured dress was given to him in allusion to his name. The objection to this is, that the motley habit worn by fools is much older than the time of Wolsey. Again, it appears that _Patch_ was an appellation given not to one fool only that belonged to Wolsey. There is an epigram by Heywood, entitled _A saying of Patch my Lord Cardinal's foole_; but in the epigram itself he is twice called _Sexten_, which was his real name. In a manuscript life of Wolsey, by his gentleman usher Cavendish, there is a story of another fool belonging to the Cardinal, and presented by him to the King. A marginal note states that "this foole was callid _Master Williames_, owtherwise called _Patch_."[12] In Heylin's _History of the reformation_, mention is made of another fool called _Patch_, belonging to Elizabeth. But the name is even older than Wolsey's time; for in some household accounts of Henry the Seventh, there are payments to a fool who is named _Pechie_, and _Packye_. It seems therefore more probable on the whole that fools were nick-named _Patch_ from their dress; unless there happen to be a nearer affinity to the Italian _pazzo_, a word that has all the appearance of a descent from _fatuus_. This was the opinion of Mr. Tyrwhitt in a note on _A midsummer night's dream_, Act III. Scene 2. But although in the above instance, as well as in a multitude of others, a _patch_ denotes a fool or simpleton, and, by corruption, a clown, it seems to have been occasionally used in the sense of _any low or mean person_. Thus in the passage in _A midsummer night's dream_ just referred to, Puck calls Bottom and his companions _a crew of patches_, _rude mechanicals_, certainly not meaning to compare them to pampered and sleek buffoons. Whether in this sense the term have a simple reference to that class of people whose clothes might be pieced or _patched_ with rags; or whether it is derived from the Saxon verb pæcan, to deceive by false appearances, as suggested by the acute and ingenious author of _The diversions of Purley_, must be left to the reader's own discernment.

SCENE 7. Page 450.

MOR. ... They have in England A coin that bears the figure of an Angel Stamped in gold; but that's _insculp'd upon_; But here an angel in a golden bed Lies all _within_.

To _insculp_, as Mr. Steevens has observed, means _to engrave_, but is here put in opposition to it, and simply denotes to _carve in relief_. The angel on the coin was _raised_; on the casket _indented_. The word _insculp_ was however formerly used with great latitude of meaning. Shakspeare might have caught it from the casket story in the _Gesta Romanorum_, where it is rightly used: "the third vessell was made of lead, and thereupon was _insculpt_ this posey, &c."

SCENE 7. Page 450.

MOR. _Gilded tombs_ do worms infold.

The old editions read _gilded timber_; and however specious the alteration in the text, on the ground of redundancy of measure or defect in grammar, it might have been dispensed with. _To infold_ is _to inwrap or contain any thing_; and therefore, unless we conclude that _do_ is an error of the press for _doth_, we must adopt the other sense, however ungrammatically expressed, and suppose the sentiment to be, that _timber though fenced or protected with gilding in still liable to the worm's invasion_. The lines cited by Mr. Steevens from the _Arcadia_ supports the original reading, as do the following from Silvester's _Works_, edit. 1633, p. 649:

"Wealth on a cottage can a palace build, New paint old walls, and _rotten timber guild_."

SCENE 8. Page 453.

SALAR. And for the Jew's bond, which he hath of me, Let it not enter in your _mind of love_.

Dr. Johnson suspects a corruption. Mr. Langton would place a comma after _mind_. The expression seems equivalent to a _loving_ or affectionate _mind_, a mind made up of love.

SCENE 9. Page 458.

AR. What's here? the portrait of a blinking ideot, Presenting me a schedule.

This idea suggests the story of a Jew apothecary, who, to ridicule the Mayersbachs of his time, placed in the front of his shop the figure of a grinning fool holding out an urinal. See Pancirollus _De rebus deperditis_, lib. ii. tit. 1.


SCENE 1. Page 465.

SHY. It was my _turquoise_.

If the reason last assigned in Mr. Steevens's note for the value which Shylock professes for the turquoise be entitled to any preference, the information whereon it rests must be referred to the right owner, who is Anselm de Boot, Nicols being only the translator of his work.

SCENE 2. Page 469.

POR. ... he makes a _swan-like_ end. Fading in musick.

That the swan uttered musical sounds at the approach of death was credited by Plato, Chrysippus, Aristotle, Euripides, Philostratus, Cicero, Seneca, and Martial. Pliny, Ælian, and Athenæus, among the ancients, and Sir Thomas More, among the moderns, treat this opinion as a vulgar error. Luther believed in it. See his _Colloquia_, par. 2, p. 125, edit. 1571, 8vo. Our countryman Bartholomew Glantville thus mentions the singing of the swan: "And whan she shal dye and that a fether is pyght in the brayn, then she syngethe, as Ambrose sayth," _De propr. rer._ 1. xii. c. 11. Monsieur Morin has written a dissertation on this subject in vol. v. of the _Mem. de l'acad. des inscript._ There are likewise some curious remarks on it in Weston's _Specimens of the conformity of the European languages with the Oriental_, p. 135; in Seelen _Miscellanea_, tom. i. 298; and in Pinkerton's _Recollections of Paris_, ii. 336.

SCENE 2. Page 472.

BASS. Nor none of thee, thou _pale and common drudge_ 'Tween man and man.

The greatest part of the current coin being of _silver_, this metal is here emphatically called the common drudge in the more frequent transactions among men.

SCENE 2. Page 472.

BASS. Thy _plainness_ moves me more than eloquence.

However elegant this emendation by Dr. Warburton, it must yield to the decisive reasoning of Dr. Farmer and Mr. Malone, in favour of _paleness_, which ought to have been adopted in the text.

SCENE 2. Page 474.

BASS. Fair Portia's _counterfeit_?

A further illustration occurs in the beginning of Lilie's dedication to his _Euphues_, "Parasius drawing the _counterfeit_ of Hellen, made the attire of her head loose." In Littelton's _English and Latin dictionary_, we have "A counterfeit of a picture, _ectypum_."

SCENE 2. Page 480.

GRA. We are the Jasons, we have won the fleece.

The meaning is "Antonio with his _argosie_ is not the successful Jason; we are the persons who have won the fleece." See the note in p. 153.

SCENE 2. Page 480.

POR. ... else nothing in the world Could turn so much the constitution Of any _constant_ man.

This word occasionally signified _grave_, as in the present instance. In Withall's _Shorte dictionarie_, 1599, 4to, fo. 105, we have "sadde, _grave_, constant,--_gravis_." So in _Twelfth night_, when Malvolio is under confinement, he says, "I am no more mad than you are; make the trial of it in any _constant question_."


SCENE 1. Page 501.

SHY. Why he a _swollen_ bagpipe.

We have here one of the too frequent instances of _conjectural_ readings; but it is to be hoped that all future editors will restore the original _woollen_, after weighing not only what has been already urged in its support, but the additional and accurate testimony of Dr. Leyden, who in his edition of _The complaynt of Scotland_, p. 149, informs us that the Lowland bagpipe commonly had the bag or sack covered with _woollen cloth_ of a green colour, a practice which, he adds, prevailed in the northern counties of England.

SCENE 1. Page 506.

BASS. Why dost thou _whet thy knife_ so earnestly?

This incident occurs in the ballad of _Gernutus_, whence there is reason to suppose it was borrowed. In 1597 was acted at Cambridge a Latin play called _Machiavellus_, in which there is a Jew, but very unlike Shylock. He is a shrewd intriguing fellow of considerable humour, who, to obtain possession of a girl, puts a number of tricks on the Machiavel of the piece, and generally outwits him. In one scene he overhears his rival despairing of success with the father of his mistress, and expressing a wish that he had some instrument wherewith to put an end to his misery. On this he lays a _knife_ in his way, but first takes care _to whet it_. To _The merchant of Venice_ or to _Gernutus_ the Latin play was indebted. If to the former, then Shakspeare's play must have been acted before 1597; if to the latter, it strengthens the above conjecture that he borrowed from the ballad. Should Gosson's _Jew shown at the Bull_ ever make its appearance, all would be set right.

SCENE 1. Page 507.

GRA. And, whilst thou _lay'st_ in thy unhallow'd dam.

Is not this a very common misprint for _lay'dst_, where the preterite is intended?

SCENE 1. Page 509.

POR. But mercy is above this scepter'd sway, It is enthroned in the hearts of _kings_, It is _an attribute to God_ himself, And earthly power doth then show likest God's When _mercy_ seasons justice.

This beautiful sentiment accords very much with the following speech made by Sir James Melvil to the queen of Scots, and printed in his _Memoirs_, p. 149, edit. 1752, 8vo. These, however, were not published till a considerable time after his death. "For as princes are called divine persons, so no _prince_ can pretend to this title, but he who _draws near the nature of God_ by godliness and good government, being slow to vengeance, and _ready to forgive_."

SCENE 1. Page 518.

GRA. Had I been judge thou should'st have had _ten_ more To bring thee to the gallows.

We had already had an English trial by jury at Vienna. See p. 78. Here we have one at Venice.


SCENE 1. Page 523.

LOR. Stood Dido with a willow in her hand.

On this passage Mr. Steevens founds an argument that Shakspeare _was no reader of the classics_. It is true that no classical authority for the above circumstance relating to Dido can be found, and that other instances of our poet's errors in classical matters might be adduced; but this will not prove his ignorance of Greek and Roman writers. On the contrary, do not the numerous quotations from them in the notes of his commentators afford sufficient testimony that he had read many ancient authors through the medium of English translations? If this had not been the case, to what end has the useful and interesting list of such translations been drawn up and published by the above learned critic? Wherever Shakspeare met with the image in question, it has reference to the popular superstitions relating to the willow, which will be more fully illustrated in some remarks on a passage in Othello.

SCENE 1. Page 529.

LOR. You shall perceive them make a mutual _stand_, Their savage eyes turn'd to a modest _gaze_.

This is spoken of young _colts_, but the speech is only a poetical amplification of a phrase that seems more properly to belong to _deer_. In the _Noble arte of venerie or hunting_, ascribed to Turbervile, the author or translator, speaking of the hart, says, "when he stayeth to looke at any thing, then he _standeth at gaze_;" and again, "he loveth to hear instruments and assureth himselfe when he heareth a flute or any other sweete noyse. He marvelleth at all things, and taketh pleasure to _gaze_ at them." See likewise Holland's translation of _Pliny_, tom. i. p. 213.

SCENE 1. Page 530.

LOR. The man that hath no musick in himself, Nor is not mov'd with concord of sweet sounds, Is fit for treasons, stratagems, and spoils; The motions of his spirit, &c.

Had the sentiments in the note on this passage been expressed by Dr. Johnson, disorganized as he was for the enjoyment of music, it would not have been matter to wonder at: but that such a man as Mr. Steevens, whose ordinary speech was melody, and whose correct and elegant ear for poetical concord is so frequently manifested in the course of his Shakspearean labours, should have shown himself a very Timon in music, can only be accounted for by supposing that he regarded the speech in question as a libel on his great colleague's organization. He has here assumed a task, which Dr. Johnson would for obvious reasons have declined; and with the feeble aid of an illiberal passage from Lord Chesterfield's _Letters_, has most disingenuously endeavoured to cast an odium on a science which from its intimate and natural connexion with poetry and painting, deserves the highest attention and respect. He that is happily qualified to appreciate the _better parts_ of music, will never seek them in the society so emphatically reprobated by the noble lord, nor altogether in the way he recommends. He will not lend an ear to the vulgarity and tumultuous roar of the tavern catch, or the delusive sounds of martial clangour; but he will enjoy this heavenly gift, this exquisite and soul-delighting sensation, in the temples of his God, or in the peaceful circles of domestic happiness: he will pursue the blessings and advantages of it with ardour, and turn aside from its abuses.

The quotation which Mr. Steevens has given from Peacham, is in reality an _encomium_ on music as practised in the time of Shakspeare. It indicates that gentlemen then associated with their equals only in the pursuit of this innocent recreation; and the same writer would have furnished many other observations that tend to place the science of music in an amiable, or at least in a harmless point of view. Mr. Steevens might have also recollected that Cicero has called it "Stabilem thesaurum, qui _mores_ instituit, componitque, ac mollit irarum ardores." It will be readily conceded that Shakspeare has overcharged the speech before us, and that it by no means follows that a man who is unmusical must be a traitor, a Machiavel, a robber; or that he is deserving of no confidence. This, however, is all that should have occupied the commentator's notice; and herein his castigation would have been really meritorious. The Italians too have a proverb that is equally reprehensible: "Whom God loves not, that man loves not music." Let such extravagancies be consigned to the censure they deserve!

SCENE 1. Page 542.

GRA. ... The first _intergatory_ That my Nerissa shall besworn on----

This word being nothing more than a contraction of _interrogatory_, should be elliptically printed, _inter'gatory_.


There is not a single circumstance through the whole of this play which constitutes Lancelot an _allowed fool or jester_; and yet there is some reason for supposing that Shakspeare intended him as such, from his being called _a patch_, a _fool_ of Hagar's offspring, and in one place _the_ fool. It is not reasonable, however, to conclude that a person like Shylock would entertain a domestic of this description; and it is possible that the foregoing terms may be merely designed as synonymous with the appellation of _clown_, as in _Love's labour's lost_. On the whole, we have here a proof that Shakspeare has not observed that nice discrimination of character in his clowns for which some have given him credit.


The present subject, notwithstanding it has been already discussed with considerable labour and ingenuity, may still be said to rest in much obscurity. This has partly arisen from some confusion in the mode of stating the information conveyed in the several notes wherein it has been discussed. To render this position the more intelligible, it will be necessary to say a few words on each commentator's opinion: and first on that of Dr. Farmer. He states that the _story_ was taken from an old translation of the _Gesta Romanorum, first printed_ by Wynkyn de Worde; and that Shakspeare has closely copied some of the language. The Doctor's use of the word _story_ is not consistent with his usual accuracy, because, in what follows, he speaks only of the incident of the caskets, which forms in reality but _a part of the story_. It is much to be wished, for reasons which will hereafter appear, that Dr. Farmer had been more particular in his account of the edition of the _Gesta Romanorum_ which he says was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, none such having, after much inquiry, been discovered; and it is to be feared that he had trusted to a previous statement of his friend the accomplished and elegant historian of English poetry, whose accuracy is unhappily known to have been by no means commensurate with his taste. The Doctor's assertion, that Shakspeare "closely copied some of the language," cannot be maintained until it be first ascertained if any use had been made of the _Gesta Romanorum_ by the author of the old play of the _Jew_, mentioned by Gosson, and also in what particulars Shakspeare followed him. It is proper to take notice in this place of the mistake that has been committed by those who speak of Shakspeare's _imitations_ of the sources of this play, and who forget that one on the same subject had already appeared, and which might have furnished him with the _whole_ of the plot. It is however probable that he improved it by means of other novels, as will be seen hereafter.

The next critic to be noticed is the truly learned and judicious Mr. Tyrwhitt. He informs us that the _two principal incidents_ of this play occur in the _Gesta Romanorum_, and produces some extracts from a _Latin manuscript_ of that work in the British museum. Admitting that the incident of the _caskets_ might have been taken from the _English Gesta Romanorum_, as mentioned by Dr. Farmer, he cautiously gives it as his opinion that both the stories in the _Gesta Romanorum_ quoted by himself are the remote originals of Shakspeare's play; for he had also forgotten the elder drama mentioned by Gosson. He thinks, however, that the bond story might have come to Shakspeare from the _Pecorone_, but suspects on the whole that he followed some hitherto unknown novelist, who had saved him the trouble of working up the two stories into one. Aware also that Shakspeare's small acquaintance with the Latin language would scarcely enable him to consult the manuscript _Gesta Romanorum_, he has very properly used the expression _remote originals_; and the rather, because he had probably examined the printed English editions without finding the story of the bond, which would hardly have escaped the diligent researches of Dr. Farmer, had it really been there. The fact however is, that the bond story did exist in English long before Shakspeare's time, and it is extremely probable that the original author of the _Jew_ used some English _Gesta Romanorum_ for the _whole_ of his plot. There is more stress to be laid on this opinion so far as it regards the original dramatist, because it seems most probable that Shakspeare, on account of the closer resemblance of the story in the _Pecorone_ to _his_ incident of the bond, had, with great advantage, made use of some translation of it now irrecoverably lost. For this reason, with all due respect for Mr. Tyrwhitt's opinion, it is improbable that Shakspeare followed some unknown novelist _who had saved him the trouble of working up the two stories into one_; unless it be conceded that such person was the author of the elder play.

The last opinion to be noticed is that of Dr. Johnson; and he remarks that the modern translator of the _Pecorone_ thought the incident of the caskets was borrowed from Boccaccio. This shall be examined presently. The Doctor thinks, however, that Shakspeare had some other novel in view, a conjecture which Mr. Malone very properly supports by a reference to Dr. Farmer's note.

In offering some additional observations on the stories that are connected with the _Merchant of Venice_, it will be necessary, for the purpose of avoiding confusion, to speak separately of the two main incidents on which that play is constructed.


The novel of Boccaccio that has been cited on this occasion, together with some other tales that resemble it, have, it is conceived, no manner of connexion with the play. The curious reader will find one of these stories, and perhaps the most ancient of them, in the lives of Barlaam and Josaphat, as related in the Golden legend, though compiled at a period much anterior to that amusing work. Another is in Gower's _Confessio amantis_, fo. 96, edit. 1532; and a third in the same work, fo. 96, verso. The latter has been related in a more ample and ingenious manner in the _Cento novelle antiche_, nov. 65.

In chap. 109 of _the Latin printed copy_ of the _Gesta Romanorum_, a very different work from that referred to by Dr. Farmer and Mr. Tyrwhitt, there is the following story: A smith had lost a chest of money, which being carried by the sea to the shores of a distant country, was taken up by an inn-keeper, who, not suspecting that it contained any thing, threw it carelessly aside. Having occasion one day for some fuel to warm his guests, he broke up the chest, and finding the money, laid it by safely, till some one should arrive to claim it. The smith soon afterwards appeared; and having publicly declared his loss, the inn-keeper resolved to ascertain if it were the will of Providence that he should make restitution. He therefore caused three pasties to be made; the first he filled with earth, the second with dead men's bones, and the third with money. He then invited the smith to dinner, and gave him the choice of the pasties. The smith fixed on those with the earth and bones, and relinquished the other. The host now concluded that it was not the will of Heaven that he should restore the money; he therefore called in the blind and the lame, opened the other pasty in their presence, and divided the treasure between them.

But the work to which the play stands immediately indebted, is a _Gesta Romanorum_ in English, _never printed in Latin_, and of which the earliest edition that could be procured on the present occasion was printed by Thomas Est, in 1595, 12mo, and several times afterwards. The latter part only of the 32nd history has been used. This has already been given in English by Dr. Farmer, and in Latin by Mr. Tyrwhitt. It has undoubtedly furnished the author of the play with the incident of the caskets; but he has transposed the mottoes of the gold and silver ones, and substituted another for that of lead.


The character of Leti as an historian warrants an opinion that _his_ story is a mere fabrication, grafted on one of those that he had met with on the same subject. The tale itself is most probably of Eastern origin. Besides that given by Mr. Malone from Ensign Munro's manuscript, a similar one is related in Gladwin's _Persian Moonshee_, story 13; and another likewise from an oriental source, in the _British magazine_ for 1800, page 159.

In Tyron, _Recueil de plusieures plaisantes nouvelles_, &c., Anvers, 1590, 18mo, a Christian borrows 500 ducats of a Jew at Constantinople, on condition of paying two ounces of flesh for usury. At the expiration of the term the Christian refuses to pay more than the principal. The matter is brought before the Emperor Solyman, who orders a razor to be brought, and admonishes the Jew not to cut off more or less than the two ounces on pain of death. The Jew gives up the point. The same story occurs in _Roger Bontemps en belle humeur_; in the _Tresor des recreations_, Douay, 1625, 18mo, p. 27; in _Doctæ nugæ Gaudensij Jocosi_, 1713, 12mo, p. 23; in the _Courier facetieux_, Lyon, 1650, 8vo, p. 109; in the _Chasse ennuy_, Paris, 1645, 18mo, p. 49; in Corrozet _Divers propos memorables_, &c., 1557, 12mo, p. 77, of which work there is an English translation under the title of _Memorable conceits of divers noble and famous personages of Christendome_, &c., 1602, 24mo; in _Apophthegmes, ou La recreation de la jeunesse_, p. 155. It agrees also with the story related by Gracian in his _Hero_. See Steevens's _Shakspeare_, V. 515.

It has been imitated by Antony Munday in his _Astræpho, being the third part of Zelauto, or The fountaine of fame_, 1580, 4to. This writer had found it in Silvayn's _Orator_, which, as we have already seen, he translated. Instead of the cutting off a pound of flesh, it is agreed that one of the party's eyes shall be pulled out. Besides the ballad of _Gernutus the Jew of Venice_, printed in Dr. Percy's Reliques, there is another less ancient, under the title of _The cruel Jew's garland_, in which the story is varied, and with some ingenuity.

A part of the novel in the _Pecorone_ is most likely of Oriental origin, and might have been transmitted to Ser Giovanni from the same source that supplied Boccaccio and many of the French minstrels with their stories, viz. the crusades.

As the Bond Story in the _Gesta Romanorum_ is not known to exist at present in any printed edition, though it might in Shakspeare's time, and as the Latin original mentioned by Mr. Tyrwhitt _has never been printed_, it is therefore offered to the reader's notice, and will afford besides an interesting specimen of ancient English. It occurs in a manuscript preserved in the Harleian collection, No. 7333, written in the reign of Henry the Sixth. The language is of the same period.

"Selestinus reignid a wyse emperoure in Rome, and he had a faire dowter; and in his tyme ther was a knyᵹte that lovid this dowter, but he thowte in himselfe that he dud al in veyne, for he thouᵹt as forsothe that the emperoure wolde not late him to have hir, for he was unworthi therto; nevertheles he thought yf he myght be any wey have love of the damiselle it were inowe to me. He yede ofte tyme to the damisell and aspied hir wille; and she said to him ayene that he travaylid al in veyne, for trowist thow, quod she, with thi deseyvable of faire wordes to begile me? Nay sir, be my soule, hit shal not be so. Thenne saide the kniᵹte, What shal I yeve to the and late me lye by the a nyght? Not thowh thou woldest yeve me an C marke of florens, quod she, thou shalt not lye by me a nyght. Then hit shal be as thou wilte, quod he. What dude he but purveyde him of so muche mony, s. an C. marke of floreyns, and yaf hir. Whenne nyght come the kniᵹte enterid into the bed of the mayde, and anoon he was aslepe, and she dude of hir harnes, and come and laye downe by him. So the kniᵹte laye slepynge al the nyght. On the morow she ros, and did on hir clothis, and wishe hir hondes. And the kniᵹte awoke of his slepe, and thenne he said, Come hedir to me that I may do my wille with the. Nay, by the helth of my fadir, that wolle I not, quod she; for frende, I do the no wronge. Thow accordiste with me that I shulde lye with the al nyght, and so it is idon; for I lay by the al nyght, and thou sleptest and preferdest me no solace, and therrfore blame thi selfe, and not me. And the kniᵹte was hevy, and seide, What shal I yeve to the and lete me lygge by the another nyght? As much, quod she, as thou did afor, and no lesse. I assente, seide he. And the kniᵹte yede and solde alle his movable goodes, and made redy an C. marke of floreynse. But se now a marvelouse case; for right as hit was the furste nyght, so hit was in the secounde. Thenne the kniᵹte mervaylid mor thanne man may suppose, and hevy he was, and saide, Allas, for now have I spend al my godes withoute spede; and therfore thow I shulle dye therefor I woll make another ende, how moch shall I yeve the, and late us be togeder the thirde nyght, quod the kniᵹte to the damisell. Sothely, she saide, yf thou have me, as thou paide afore, _fiat voluntas tua_. I assent, quod he, thou shalte have thin askynge and thi wille. The kniᵹte yede into fer contree, til he come to a grete citee, in the whiche wer many marchaunts and many philesophers, amonge the wiche was master Virgile the philesopher. Then the kniᵹte yede to a grete marchaunt, and saide, I have [nede] of monye, and yf thou wolt lende me an C marke unto a certeyne day, I wolle ley to the al my londes undir this conducion that if I holde not my day thow shalt have my londes for evere. Thenne seyde the marchaunt, Der frend, I sette not so muche be thi londes, but yf thow wolt make this covenaunt, that I shal sey to the, I wolle fulfill thi wille. This saide he I am redy to do thi wille, yf thou wolt do my petucion. Thenne, seide he, when this covenaunt is made that I shalle seye unto the, thenne I shalle fulfille thyne askynge; and the covenaunt shalle be this, that thou make to me a charter of thine owne blood, in conducion that yf thowe kepe not thi day of payment, hit shalle be lefulle to me for to draw awey alle the flesh of thi body froo the bone with a sharp swerde, and yf thow wolt assent herto, I shalle fulfille thi wille. The kniᵹte lovid the damisell so moch that he grauntid al this, and made a charter of his owne bloode, and selid it, and after the selyng this marchaunt toke him the money that he askid. When he had the moneye, he thoute to him selfe, yf I gete my wylle by this moneye, I am but dede; nay, nay, it may not be so. When he harde tell of the grete name of maister Virgile, he yede to him, and seide, Gode sir, I have previ counseill to speke a twene us too, and I beseche yow of your wise counseill in this cas. Sey on, quod Virgile, and I shalle telle the aftir my discrecion. Sir, I love the dowter of the emperoure more than ye wolle trowe, and I accordid with her for a certen sum of money. I have be disceyvid two nyghts in swiche maner; and tolde alle the cas as welle as he coude, and sir nowe I have borowed of a marchaunt so much moneye for the same cas to be fulfillid, and undir this conducion, that yf I holde not my day of payment, hit shalle thenne be lefulle to him to helde of alle the skynne of my body with his swerde, and then I am but dede, and therfor sir, I am com to you to have counsaill and wyt how I may bothe have helpe ayenste swiche a parill, and also to have the love of that lovely lady. Thou hast made a lewde covenaunt, seide Virgile, for as a man bindithe him with his owne wille, right so he shall be servid be lawe of the emperoure; and therefore thou shalt do wysely for to kepe the day of thi payment alle things lefte. And towchinge the damesell I shall yeve the a tale of truthe. Bitwene her shete and her coverlyte of hir bed is a letter of swiche vertu, that whoso ever gothe with hir to bed, he shall anon falle into a dede slepe; and he shalle not wake til time that hit be put awey: and therfor when thou comest to hir bed, seche a twene the shete and the coverlyte, and thow shalt fynde the letter; and when thow hast founde hit caste hit fer from the bedde, and then entre into the bed, for thou shalte not slepe til tyme that thow haste doon thi wille with the damiselle, and that shalle torne to the gret honour and joye. The kniᵹte toke his leve at Virgile, and thonkid him moche of his hie counseill and yede to the damysell, and yafe hir the monye. When nyᵹt come the kniᵹt enterid the chaumber, and preveli putte his honde bitwene the coverlite and the shete, and there he fonde the letter; and whenne he hadde hit he caste hit fer fro the bedde, and lay downe and feynid as he hadde islepte, and thenne the damiselle knowing that he had yslepte as he dude afor, she caste of hir clothis, and went to bedde. Anon the kniᵹte sette hande to hir as is the maner of bed, and she perceyved that, and prayd him of grace, and to save hir maydinhede, and I shall dobble al the monye that thow hast yevin to me and yeve it to the.... And aftur he lovid hir so muche that he drow so moche to hir compane that he forᵹate the marchaunt and the day of payment was passid by the space of xiiii dayes. And as he lay in a certen nyght in his bed, hit come to his mynde the day that he made to the marchaunt, and alle his bowells wer storid therewithe, and thenne said to her, Alas woman that ever I saw the, for I am but dede. I borowed for thi love swiche a some of mony for to pay at a certeyne day bi this conducion, that yf I pay not at my day he shall have full power for to hilde of the fleshe of my body without contradiccion; and now my day is passid fourtenyte ago, so hih I sette myn hert in the. Then seide she, Sorowithe not so moche, gothe to him, and debbelithe the mony to him, and yf he wolle not, aske howe moche he wolle have, and I shalle paye it. Tho was the kniᵹte comfortid. He yede to the citee, and there he mette with the marchaunt in the stret, and lowly he saluid him. Tho saide the marchaunt, So sey I not to the. Thenne seyde the kniᵹte, Sir, for the trespas that I have made ayenste youre convencion I wolle dowble the payment. Naye seide the marchaunt, that spake we not of, I wolle have right as thou dudest bynde the to me. Aske of me, quod the knight, as much mony as thou wolte, and thowe shalt be paide for my trespas. It is veyne that thow spekist, quod the marchaunt, for thowhe thou geve to me al the gode of thi citee, I wolle have the covenaunt I holde, and non othere wolle I have of the than as the charter asselid makith mencioun of; and anon he made the kniᵹt to be itake and lad to the castell, and sette him in a safe ward, abyding the justice. When the juge was come and satte in the dome, the kniᵹt come to barr among other prisoners, and the marchaunt shewid his lettire afor the juge. Anoon as the juge sawe there his owne dede, he said to alle that stode aboute, Sirs, ye know welle it is the law of the emperour that yf enye man bynde him by his owne freewille he shal resseyve as he servithe, and therefore this marchaunt shalle have covenaunt as lawe wolle. Now in al this tyme the damysell his love had sent kniᵹts for to aspie and enquer how the law was pursued ayenst him, and whenne she harde telle that the lawe passid ayenst him, she kytte of al the longe her of hir hede, and cladde hir in precious clothing like to a man, and yede to the palys there as hir lemon was to be demyd, and saluyd the justice, and all they trowid that she had be a kniᵹte; and the juge enquerid of what contree she was, and what she had to do ther. She said, I am a kniᵹte, and come of fer contree, and her tithings that there is a kniᵹte amonge yowe that shuld be demid to dethe for an obligacion that he made to a marchaunt, and therefor I am come to deliver him. Thenne the juge said, It is lawe of the emperoure that who so ever byndethe him with his owne propre wille and consent withoute enye constraynynge he shulde be servid so ayene. When the damisell harde this she turnid to the marchaunt and saide, Der frende, what profite is it to the that this kniᵹte that stondithe her redy to the dome be slayne? it wer [better] to the to have monye than to have him slayne. Thou spekest al in veyne, quod the marchaunt, for withoute doute I wolle have the lawe sithe he bonde him so frely, and therefor he shalle have noon other grace than lawe wolle, for he come to me, and I not to him. I desirid him not thereto ayenste his wille. Thenne saide she, I praye the howe moche shall I yeve to have my petucion? I shalle yeve the thi monye double, and yf that be not plesynge to the, aske of me what thou wolte, and Thou shalt have. Then saide he, thow harde me never seye but that I wolde have my covenaunte kept. Sothely, seyde she, and thou shalt trowe me afor your [you] sir juge, and afor yowe alle, I sey now sir juge ywithe a right wisdome of that that I shal seye to yowe; ye have ihard howe moche I have proferid this marchaunt for the lyf of this kniᵹte, and he forsakithe all, and askithe the lawe, and that likith me moche; and therfore lordinges that beye her, herithe me what I shalle seye. Ye knowithe welle that the kniᵹt bonde him never by letter but that the marchaunt shulde have power to kutte his fleshe fro the boons, but there was no covenaunt made of sheding of blode, thereof was nothing ispoke, and therefor late him set hond on him anoon, and yf he shede ony bloode with his shavinge of the fleshe forsothe then shalle the kynge have goode lawe upon him. And when the marchaunt harde this he said, Yef me my monye, and I foryeve my accion. Fforsothe, quod she, thou shalt not have oo penye, for afor al this companye I proferid to the al that I myght, and thou forsoke hit, and saydist with a lowde wyse, I shalle have my covenaunte; and therfor do thi beste with him, but loke that thow shede no blode I charge the; for it is not thin, ne no covenaunt was thereof. Thenne the marchaunt seynge this yede away confus. And so was the Kniᵹt's lyf savid, and no penye ipayde. And she yede home ayene, and dude of that clothinge, and clothid hit as she was afor like to a woman. And the kniᵹte yede home ayene, and the damisell turnid and met him, and askid howe he had ispedde, as thowhe she had not knowen therof. A, lady, quod he, this day was I in poynt to be dede for thy love, but as I was in point to be dampned, there come in sodeynlye a knite, a fair and well ishape, the whiche I saw never afor, and he delivirid me by his exellent wisdom bothe from dethe and eke from payment of moneye. Thenne were thowhe, quod she, unkynde that woldest nat bidde that kniᵹte to mete, that so faire had savid the. He aunswerde therto, and saide that he come sodeinly and sodenly yede. Thenne seide she, Knowiste thow him if thou seye him? Yee, quod he, right wele. She yede up and cladde hir as she dide afore, and then she yede forthe. And the kniᵹte knew her thenne wele, and for joye fel doune upon hire, and said, Blessid be thow, and the houre in the whiche I fyrste knew the. And he wepte, and aftir he weddid hir and livid and deyde in the service of God, and yelde to God goode sowlis."

On the whole, then, it is conceived that the outline of the _bond story_ is of Oriental origin;[13] that the author of the old play of _The Jew_, and Shakspeare in his Merchant of Venice, have not confined themselves to one source only in the construction of their plot; but that the _Pecorone_, the _Gesta Romanorum_, and perhaps the old _Ballad of Gernutus_, have been respectively resorted to. It is however most probable that the original play was indebted chiefly, if not altogether, to the _Gesta Romanorum_, which contained both the main incidents; and that Shakspeare expanded and improved them, partly from his own genius, and partly, as to the bond, from the _Pecorone_, where the coincidences are too manifest to leave any doubt. Thus, the scene being laid at Venice; the residence of the lady at Belmont; the introduction of a person bound for the principal; the double infraction of the bond, viz., the taking more or less than a pound of flesh and the shedding of blood, together with the after-incident of the ring, are common to the novel and the play. The whetting of the knife might perhaps have been taken from the _Ballad of Gernutus_. Shakspeare was likewise indebted to an authority that could not have occurred to the original author of the play in an English form; this was, Silvayn's _Orator_, as translated by Munday. From that work Shylock's reasoning before the senate is evidently borrowed; but at the same time it has been most skilfully improved.

The frequent allusions to the _different Gesta Romanorum_ may have excited a wish to be more familiarly acquainted with that singular and interesting work; but as the discussion of the subject in this place would have augmented the tediousness of the note, it has been thought better to make the attempt in a separate dissertation, where it is hoped that any obscurity in the preceding remarks will be removed.

It is much to be lamented that this exquisitely beautiful drama can neither be read nor performed, without exciting in every humane and liberal mind an abhorrence of its professed design to vilify an ancient and respectable, but persecuted, nation. It should be remembered that contempt and intolerance must naturally excite hatred; that to provoke revenge is, in fact, to become responsible for the crimes it may occasion; that to those who would degrade and oppress us, it is but justice to oppose craft; and that nature has supplied even the brute creation with the means of resisting persecution. It will be readily conceded that there happily exist in the present moment but few remains of the illiberal prejudices complained of, the asperity of which has been greatly mitigated by the laudable and successful exertions of a modern dramatic writer, to whom the Jewish people are under the highest obligations.


[12] It may be worth remarking that the historian Stowe has made great use of this curious and valuable Life of Wolsey, without naming the author. It has been several times printed, but the manuscript copies have greatly the advantage in fullness and accuracy.

[13] If the horrible incident of the cutting off the flesh had not occurred in the several Oriental stories that have been mentioned, one should have supposed that it had been suggested by that atrocious decemviral law of the Twelve Tables, which empowered a creditor to mangle the living body of his debtor without fear of punishment for cutting more or less than the magistrate allowed. For the honour of the Roman law, it is not recorded that the above inhuman decree was ever enforced.



SCENE 2. Page 16.

CEL. This is not fortune's work neither, but _nature's_, who perceiving our _natural_ wits too dull to reason of such Goddesses, hath sent this _natural_ for our whetstone.

It must be observed that Touchstone is here called a _natural_ merely for the sake of alliteration and a punning jingle of words; for he is undoubtedly an artificial fool.

SCENE 2. Page 29.

LE BEAU. More suits you to conceive, _than me_ to speak of.

The old copy had, _than I_. These grammatical errors in the use of the personal pronoun should either be _uniformly_ corrected or left entirely to themselves. Mr. Steevens in p. 9, note 7, seems to regard them as the anomalies of the play-house editors; but Mr. Malone, probably with more reason, is inclined to place them to the author's own account. If the present correction by Mr. Rowe be retained in future editions, we ought not to find such expressions as "hates nothing more than _he_," p. 14; "no child but _I_," p. 15, and _who_ for _whom_ perpetually.


SCENE 1. Page 37.

DUKE S. Which like the toad, ugly and venomous, Wears yet a precious _jewel_ in his head.

What that stone which many people suppose to come from the head of a toad really was, would be no easy task at present to determine. Various conjectures have made it the _bsatrachites_, _chelonites_, _brontia_, _ceraunia_, _glossopetra_, &c. Neither is it certain that the text alludes to a _stone_; for Gesner informs us that in his time, and _in England more particularly_, the common people made superstitious uses of a _real jewel_ that always could be found in a toad's head, viz., its _forehead bone_. To obtain this they severed the animal in two parts, and exposed it to be devoured by ants; by which means it presently became a skeleton. The above author carefully distinguishes this bone from the toadstone, and from Pliny's bone mentioned in Mr. Steevens's note. He has likewise with great industry, as on all occasions, collected much that relates to the subject of the toadstone. See his work _De quadrup. ovipar._ p. 65. It must be owned that better naturalists than Shakspeare believed in the common accounts of the toadstone. Batman in his edition to the article relating to the _botrax_ or _rubeta_ in Bartholomæus _De propr. rerum_, informs us that "some toads that breed in Italy and about Naples, have in their heads a stone called a _crapo_, of bignes like a big peach, but flat, of colour gray, with a browne spot in the midst _said to be of vertue_. In times past they were much worne, and used in ringes, as the forewarning against venime." Another learned divine who is often very witty, but on this occasion perfectly grave, has told us that "some report that the toad before her death sucks up (if not prevented with sudden surprisal) the precious stone (as yet but a jelly) in her head, grudging mankind the good thereof."--Fuller's _Church history_, p. 151. In a medical work too we are informed that "in the head of a greate tode there is a stone, which stone being stampt and geven to the pacyent to drinke in warme wine, maketh him to pise the stone out incontinent," &c.--Lloyd's _Treasure of helth_, pr. by Copland, n. d. 12mo. The notion of jewels in the heads of animals is very widely spread. Mr. Wilkins has informed us that it is a vulgar notion in India that some species of serpents have precious stones in their heads. _Hectopades_, p. 302. The best account of the different sorts of toadstones, so far as regards the illustration of the above superstitious notions, is in Topsell's _History of serpents_, 1608, folio, p. 188.

SCENE 1. Page 39.

1. LORD. To the which place a poor sequester'd stag Did come to languish ... ... and _the big round tears_ Cours'd one another down his innocent nose In piteous chase.

The stag is said to possess a very large secretion of tears. "When the hart is arered, he fleethe to a ryver or ponde, and roreth cryeth and _wepeth_ when he is take."--Bartholomæus _De propriet. rerum_, 1. xviii. c. 30. Batman, in his commentary on that work, adds, from Gesner, that "when the hart is sick and hath eaten many serpents for his recoverie, he is brought unto so great a heate, that he hasteth to the water, and their covereth his body unto the very eares and eyes, at which time _distilleth many teares_ from which the [Bezoar] stone is gendered," &c. The translator of _The noble arte of Venerie_ makes the hart thus address the hunter:

"O cruell, be content, to take in worth my _teares_, Which growe to gumme, and fall from me; content thee with my heares, Content thee with my hornes, which every yeare I mew, Since all these three make medicines, some sicknesse to eschew. My _teares_ congeal'd to gumme, by peeces from me fall, And thee preserve from pestilence, in pomander or ball. Such wholesome _teares_ shedde I, when thou pursewest me so."

Compare also Virgil's description of the wounded stag in the seventh book of the Æneid.

SCENE 2. Page 43.

DUKE. And let not search and inquisition _quail_ To bring again these foolish runaways.

"To _quail_," says Mr. Steevens, "is to _faint_, to sink into dejection;" and so it certainly is, but not in this instance; for neither search nor inquisition could very well faint or become dejected. They might indeed _slacken_, _relax_, or _diminish_, and such is really the present meaning of the word. Thus "Hunger cureth love, for love _quaileth_ when good cheare faileth."--_The choise of change_, 1585, 4to, sign. L. i. _To quail_ is also used in the several senses of to _sink_, _abate_, _deaden_, _enfeeble_, _press down_, and _oppress_; all of which might be exemplified from the writings of authors contemporary with Shakspeare, and some of them from his own. It seems to be a modification of to quell, i. e. to destroy altogether, to kill, from the Saxon cƿellan.

SCENE 2. Page 54.

JAQ. But that they call compliment, is like the encounter of two _dog-apes_.

Bartholomæus, speaking of apes, says, "some be called _cenophe_; and be lyke to an _hounde_ in the face, and in the body lyke to an _ape_."--Lib. xviii. c. 96.

SCENE 5. Page 55.

JAQ. Ducdáme, ducdáme, ducdáme.

The stanza which the facetious old squire sang before Dr. Farmer has occurred in the following shape; but where is the Œdipus who shall unfold the connexion of either with Jaques's song?

"O _damy_ what makes my _ducks_ to die? What can ail them, Oh! They eat their victuals and down they lie, What can ail them, Oh!"

SCENE 7. Page 66.

JAQ. ... All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players.

Mr. Steevens refers to the _totus mundus exerceat histrioniam_ of Petronius, with whom probably the sentiment originated; but this author had not been translated in Shakspeare's time. The play of _Damon and Pythias_, which Mr. Malone has cited, might have furnished the observation. There are likewise two other probable sources that are worthy of notice on this occasion. The first is Withal's _Short dictionarie in Latine and English_, several times printed in the reign of Elizabeth, where in fo. 69 of the edit. 1599, is the following passage: "This life is a certain enterlude or _plaie_. _The world is a stage_ full of chang everie way, _everie man is a plaier_." The other is Pettie's translation of Guazzo's _Civile conversation_, 1586, 4to, where one of the parties introduces the saying of some philosopher "that this _world_ was a _stage_, we the _players_ which present the comedie." Shakspeare had himself used nearly the same language in the first act of _The merchant of Venice_:

"I hold the world, but as the world, Gratiano, A stage, where every man must play a part."

A portion of Jaques's speech has been imitated in some lines by Thomas Heywood among the commendatory verses prefixed to his _Actors vindication_, 1658, 4to:

"The world 's a theater, the earth a stage, Which God and nature doth with actors fill; All men have parts, and each man acts his own," &c.

SCENE 7. Page 66.

JAQ. And one man in his time plays many parts, _His acts being seven ages_.

A print of the seven ages of men like those referred to by Messrs. Henley and Steevens may be seen in Comenius's _Orbis pictus_, tit. xxxvii., in which are found _the infant_, _the boy_, and _the decrepid old man_: the rest of Shakspeare's characters seem to be of his own invention. There is a division of the seven ages of man in Arnolde's _Chronicle_, fo. lix. verso, agreeing, except in the arrangement of years, with that given by Mr. Malone from _The treasury of ancient and modern times_.

SCENE 7. Page 69.

JAQ. _Sans_ teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans every thing.

This word, introduced into our language as early as the time of Chaucer, has sometimes received on the stage a French pronunciation, which in the time of Shakspeare it certainly had not. The old orthography will serve to verify this position:

"I none dislike, I fancie some, But yet of all the rest, _Sance_ envie, let my verdite passe, Lord Buckhurst is the best."

Turbervile's verses before his _Tragical tales_, 1587, 4to.


SCENE 2. Page 82.

ROS. I'll graff it with you, and then I shall graff it with a medlar: then it will be the _earliest_ fruit in the country, for you'll be rotten ere you be half ripe, and that's the right virtue of the medlar.

On this Mr. Steevens observes that Shakspeare had little knowledge of gardening, the medlar being one of the latest fruits, and uneatable till the end of November. But is not the charge, at least in this instance, unfounded; and has not the learned commentator misunderstood the poet's meaning? It is well known that the medlar is only edible when _apparently_ rotten. This is what Shakspeare calls its _right virtue_. If a fruit be fit to be eaten when rotten and _before it be ripe_, it may in one sense be termed _the earliest_. The inaccuracy seems to be in making the medlar rotten before it is ripe, the rottenness being, as it is conceived, the ripeness.

SCENE 2. Page 93.

ORL. I pray you, mar no more of my verses with reading them ill-favouredly.

This very much resembles the _sed male cum recitas, incipit esse tuum_, in one of Martial's epigrams, lib. i. ep. 39, of which the following translation was made by Timothy Kendall, in his _Flowers of epigrammes_, 1577, 12mo:

"The booke which thou doest read, it is Frende Fidentinus myne; _But when thou ill doest read it, then Beginns it to bee thyne_."

SCENE 4. Page 111.

CEL. He hath bought a pair of _cast_ lips of Diana: a nun of winter's sisterhood kisses not more religiously; the very ice of chastity is in them.

Theobald explains _cast_ lips "a pair _left off_ by Diana." It is not easy to conceive how the goddess could _leave off_ her lips; or how, being left off, Orlando could purchase them. Celia seems rather to allude to a statue _cast in plaister or metal_, the lips of which might well be said to possess _the ice_ of chastity.

As to the "nun of winter's sisterhood," Warburton might have contented himself with censuring the dullness of Theobald. His own _sisterhoods of the seasons_ are by much too refined and pedantic, and in every respect objectionable. Shakspeare poetically feigns a new order of nuns, most appropriate to his subject, and wholly devoid of obscurity.

SCENE 5. Page 115.

SIL. ... The common executioner _Falls not the axe_ upon the humbled neck.

There is no doubt that the expression _to fall the axe_ may with propriety refer to the usual mode of decapitation; but if it could be shown that in the reign of Elizabeth this punishment was inflicted in England by an instrument resembling the French guillotine, which though merciful in the discharge of its office, has justly excited abhorrence from the number of innocent victims that have suffered by it, the expression would perhaps seem rather more appropriate. Among the cuts to the first edition of Holinshed's chronicle such a machine is twice introduced; and as it does not appear that in either instance there was any cause for the particular use of it, we may reasonably infer that it was at least sometimes adopted. Every one has heard of the _Halifax gibbet_, which was just such another instrument, and certainly introduced into that town, for reasons that do not appear, long before the time in which Holinshed was printed. It is said that the Earl of Morton, the Scotish regent, saw it at Halifax, and that he introduced it into Scotland, where it was used for a considerable time afterwards.[14] In that country it was called _the maiden_, and Morton himself actually suffered by it, when condemned as an accomplice in the murder of Lord Darnley. In the best edition of Holinshed, Thynne's continuation of Hector Boethius's history is printed, in which there is an account of the conference between the Earl and the Ministers of Edinburgh, under the title of _The examination and answers of the Earl of Morton before his death, but after his condemnation_. Thynne seems to say that the above account was delivered over to him, but he has omitted to state the particulars. In a manuscript of this conference, written at the time, and in the possession of the author of these observations, it is called _The some of all the conferrence that was betweene the Earle Morton and John Dury and Mr. Walker the same daye that he suffered which was the 2 June 1581_, and differs in several places from the other. In both, at the end, there is an account of the Earl's last moments, in which it is stated (the MS. being here quoted) that he "layde his head _under the axe_, his handes being unbounde, Mr. Walker cried in his eare, Lord Jesus receive thy spirite, he saide Jesus receive my sowle, which wordes he was speaking while _the axe fell on his necke_." This extract would alone be sufficient to decide on the mode in which Morton was beheaded; but in the MS. there is a neat drawing of the machine itself, resembling the cut in the earliest edition of Holinshed, except that in the latter the axe is suspended to the top of the frame by a string which the executioner cuts with a knife, whilst in the other, a peg, to which the string is attached, is drawn out of one of the sides.

It may be worth adding that in _King Henry VI. part 2_, Eleanor says to her husband the duke of Gloucester,

"But be thou mild, and blush not at my shame, Nor stir at nothing, till the axe of death _Hang over thee_----"

SCENE 5. Page 118.

ROS. ... What though you have _more_ beauty (As by my faith, I see no more in you Than without candle may go dark to bed)

The old copy reads _no beauty_. Mr. Malone substitutes _mo_, i. e. _more_, and supports his alteration by making Rosalind allow that Phœbe had _more_ beauty than her lover; but she soon afterwards asserts the contrary in the most positive terms. The omission of the disputed monosyllable, which in the old copy might have caught the compositor's eye in the ensuing line and occasioned the mistake, will certainly correct the present redundancy in the line, and perhaps restore the author's original language. _As_ in the next line appears to have the power of _though_; a word that could not be used on account of its introduction in the preceding line.


SCENE 1. Page 130.

ROS. I will laugh like a _hyen_, and that when thou art inclined to _sleep_.

"He commeth to houses _by night_, and feineth _mannes voyce_ as he maye," &c.--Bartholomæus _De propriet. rer._ lib. xviii. c. 61. _De Hiena_.

SCENE 3. Page 142.

OLI ... for 'tis The royal disposition of that beast, To prey on nothing that doth seem as dead.

This property of the lion, whether true or false, was acknowledged by our forefathers. Thus in "_The choise of change containing the divinitie, philosophie, and poetrie_," &c., 1585, 4to, a work evidently constructed on the model of the Welsh triads, we find the following passage: "three things shew that there is a great clemencie in lions; _they will not hurt them that lie groveling_," &c. Bartholomæus says, "their mercie is known by many and oft ensamples: _for they spare them that lye on the ground_." Shakspeare again alludes to the lion's generosity in _Troilus and Cressida_, Act V. Scene 3:

"Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you Which better fits a lion than a man."


SCENE 2. Page 152.

ROS. By my life, I do; which I tender dearly, though I say I am a magician.

Of the two constructions of this speech, that by Mr. Steevens seems deserving of the preference; but the grounds on which it stands require examination. A statute against witchcraft was made in the first year of king James. Now if, as Dr. Warburton conceives, it is to this that Rosalind alludes, the play must have been written after 1603. Mr. Malone, whose opinion is supported by very solid reasons, thinks it was written in 1600; and therefore to reconcile the explanation given by Mr. Steevens, we must suppose that the foregoing allusion is to some prior statutes of Henry the Eighth and Elizabeth, which punished those who practised witchcraft with death.

SCENE 2. Page 154.

ROS. I will satisfy you if ever I _satisfy'd_ man.

The context seems to require that we should read _satisfy_; and it was the genius of Shakspeare's age to write so.


Touchstone is the domestic fool of Frederick the duke's brother, and belongs to the class of witty or allowed fools. He is threatened with the whip, a mode of chastisement which was often inflicted on this motley personage. His dress should be a party-coloured garment. He should occasionally carry a bauble in his hand, and wear asses' ears to his hood, which is probably the head dress intended by Shakspeare, there being no allusion whatever to a cock's head or comb. The three-cornered hat which Touchstone is made to wear on the modern stage is an innovation, and totally unconnected with the genuine costume of the domestic fool.


[14] See Hume's hist. of the houses of Douglas and Angus, 1644, folio, p. 356. There are good reasons for supposing that the instrument in question was invented in Germany.


In the _dramatis personæ_ of this play the "gentle astringer" is omitted, who, though he says but little, has a better claim to be inserted than Violenta, who says nothing. Mr. Steevens remarks that her name was borrowed from an old _metrical history_ entitled _Didaco and Violenta_; but Shakspeare more probably saw it in the running title of Painter's _Palace of pleasure_, whence he got his plot of this play, and where the above history occurs in _prose_. The title is borrowed from a proverbial saying much older than the time of Shakspeare. Knyghton has preserved some of the speeches of Jack Straw and his brother insurgents; and in that of Jack Carter we have this expression: _for if the ende be wele than is alle wele_. The orations of these heroes were made up of proverbial saws, a proof of the great influence they must have had with the common people. See the _Decem scriptores_ by Twysden, col. 2637.


SCENE 1. Page 187.

LAF. A fistula, my Lord.

What Mr. Steevens calls the _inelegance_ of the king's disorder is not to be placed to Shakspeare's account; for it is specifically mentioned both in Painter's story of _Giletta_, and in Boccaccio himself. It is singular that the learned critic should not have remembered this.

SCENE 1. Page 188.

COUNT. Where an unclean mind carries virtuous qualities, there commendations go with pity; they are virtues and traitors too.

The explanations of this speech appear to be too refined; and Dr. Warburton's, as usual, particularly so. The meaning is simply this:--_where strong and useful talents are combined with an evil disposition, we feel regret even in commending them; because, in such a mind, however good in themselves, their use and application are always to be suspected_.

SCENE 3. Page 217.

CLO. A _prophet_ I madam.

A reconsideration of these words have suggested the necessity of cancelling _both_ the notes, for the clown is not a _natural_, but an _artificial_ fool.

SCENE 3. Page 224.

HEL. Indeed, my mother! or were you _both our mothers_.

This strange and faulty language deserved notice. It should have been, _or were you so to both_.


SCENE 1. Page 234.

BER. I shall stay here the _forehorse to a smock_ Creaking my shoes on the plain masonry Till honour be brought up, and _no sword worn, But one to dance with_.

He means that he shall remain at home to _lead out ladies_ in the dance, till honour, &c. In _Titus Andronicus_, Act II. Scene 1, Demetrius speaks of _a dancing rapier_. The custom of wearing swords in the dancing schools is exemplified in a curious story related in _Newes from the North_, 1579, 4to, where "Pierce Plowman sheweth how his neighbour and hee went to the tavern and to _the dauncing schoole_ and what hapned there," in these words: "Now was there one man of our company that was as deaf as a doore naile. When we were come into the schoole; the musitions were playing and one dauncing of a galiard, and even at our entring hee was beginning a trick as I remember of sixteens or seventeens, I doo not very wel remember, but wunderfully hee leaped, flung and took on, which the deaf man beholding, and not hearing any noyse of the musick, thought verily that hee had been stark mad and out of his wit, and of pure pittie and compassion ran to him and caught him in his armes and held him hard and fast. The dauncer not knowing his good meaning, and taking it to the wurst, and having _a dagger_ drew it out, and smot the man a great blowe upon the hed, and brake his hed very sore." Another illustration of the subject is too interesting from the picture of ancient manners which it exhibits to stand in need of any apology for its insertion. It is from Stafforde's _Briefe conceipt of English pollicy_, 1581, 4to. "I thinke wee were as much dread or more of our enemies, when our gentlemen went simply and our serving men plainely, without cuts or gards, bearing their heavy swordes and buckelers on their thighes insted of cuts and gardes and _light daunsing swordes_; and when they rode carrying good speares in theyr hands in stede of white rods, which they cary now more like ladies or gentlewomen then men; all which delicacyes maketh our men cleane effeminate and without strength."

SCENE 2. Page 249.

CLO. As Tib's rush for Tom's forefinger.

The covert allusion mentioned by Mr. Ritson is, in all probability, the right solution of this passage; but the practice of marrying with a rush ring may admit of some additional remarks. Sir John Hawkins had already, in a very curious and interesting note, illustrated the subject; and it must appear very extraordinary that _one of the subsequent notes_ should question the practice of marrying with a rush ring, on the grounds that _no authority_ had been produced in support of it. This must therefore be explained. The fact is, that the author of the doubts had never seen Sir John Hawkins's _entire_ note, which had originally appeared in the edition of 1778, but was injudiciously suppressed in that of 1785. In the edition of 1790 there is only a brief and general statement of Sir John's opinion, and this led to the doubts expressed. In 1793 Mr. Steevens restores a note which he had already cancelled, and _with all its authorities before him_, permits them to be questioned; but there are many who will comprehend his motive.

The information from Du Breul (not Breval, as misprinted) _Theâtre des antiquitez de Paris_. 1612. 4to, is worth stating more at large. The author tells us that in the official court of the church of Saint Marinus, those who have lived unchastely are conducted to the church by two officers, in case they refuse to go of their own accord, and there married by the curate with a _rush ring_. They are likewise enjoined to live in peace and friendship, thereby to preserve the honour of their friends and relations, and their own souls from the danger they had incurred. This is only practised where no other method of saving the honour of the parties and their connexions can be devised. A modern French writer remarks on this ceremony; "pour faire observer, sans doute, au mari, combien etoit _fragile la vertu_ de celle qu'il choisissait."

With respect to the constitutions of the bishop of Salisbury in 1217, which forbid the putting of _rush rings_ on women's fingers, there seems to be an _error_ in the reason for this prohibition as stated by Sir John Hawkins, but for which he is not perhaps responsible. He says it is insinuated by the bishop, "that there were some people weak enough to believe, that what was thus done in jest, was a real marriage." The original words, as in Spelman's _councils_, are these: "ne dum jocari se putat, honoribus matrimonialibus se _abstringat_." Now unless we read "_adstringat_" there is a difficulty in making sense of the passage, which seems to mean, _least, whilst he thinks he is only practising a joke, he may be tying himself in the matrimonial noose_. It is to be observed that this consequence was not limited to the deception of putting _a rush ring only_ on the woman's finger, but any ring whatever, whether of vile or of precious materials.

In Greene's _Menaphon_ is this passage: "Well, 'twas a good worlde when such simplicitie was used, sayes the old women of our time, when a _ring of a rush_ would tie as much love together as a gimmon of golde." But _rush rings_ were sometimes innocently used. Thus in Spenser's _Shepherds calendar_, eclog. xi. mention is made of "the knotted _rush rings_, and gilt rosemaree" of the deceased shepherdess. Again in Fletcher's _Two noble kinsmen_, Act iv.;

"... _Rings_ she made Of _rushes_ that grew by, and to 'em spoke The prettiest posies: _thus our true love's ty'd; This you may loose, not me_; and many a one."

_Tib_ and _Tom_ were names for any low or vulgar persons, and they are usually mentioned together in the same manner as _Jack_ and _Gill_, &c. In the morality of _Like will to like quoth the devil to the collier_, Nicholas Newfangle says,

"By the mas for thee he is so fit a mate As _Tom_ and _Tib_ for Kit and Kate."

In the old song of _The shepheard's holyday_, we have,

"Jetting Gill, Jumping Will, O'r the floore will have their measure; Kit and Kate There will waite, _Tib_ and _Tom_ will take their pleasure."

Thomas Drant in his translation of Horace's _Arte of poetrye_, 1567, 4to, has Englished _fricti ciceris et nucis emptor_, by _Tom and Tib_, &c.; and in _A satyr against Satyrs, or St. Peter's vision transubstantiated_, 1680, 4to, are these lines:

"O' th same bead-string with fryar hang'd a nun, What, would not you have _Tib_ to follow _Tom_?"

SCENE 3. Page 257.

HEL. To each of you one fair and virtuous mistress Fall, when love please! _marry to each, but one!_

Mr. Tyrwhitt regards the latter exclamation as ludicrous, in consequence of Helena's limitation of _one_ mistress to each lord, and would therefore give it to Parolles. Mr. Mason, on the contrary, is of opinion that the words _but one_, mean _except one_; that the person excepted is Bertram, whose mistress Helena hoped she herself should be; and that she makes the exception out of modesty, as otherwise it would extend to herself. Of these two opinions the first is the most probable, deriving considerable support from the _one_ in the preceding line; for if Shakspeare had meant _except one_, he would have written "_a_ fair and virtuous mistress." Helena's exception as stated by Mr. Mason might indeed have been made on the score of modesty so far as regarded her beauty; but she could not with propriety admit that she had no _virtue_.

SCENE 3. Page 257.

LAF. I'd give bay _Curtal_.

Mr. Steevens should have added that this was a proper name for a horse, as well as an appellation for a dock'd one. "Their knavery is on this manner; they have always good geldings and trusty, which they can make _curtailes_ when they list, and againe set too large tailes, hanging to the fetlockes at their pleasure."--_Martin Marhall's apologie to the belman of London_, 1610, sign. G. _Curtail_ is not from _cur_ and _tail_, as stated in some dictionaries, but from the French _tailler court_.


SCENE 6. Page 298.

2. LORD. If you give him not _John Drum's entertainment_.

The meaning of this phrase has been very well ascertained, but its origin remains to be traced. Is it a metaphor borrowed from the _beating_ of a drum, or does it allude to the drumming a person out of a regiment? There can be no reference to a real person, because in many old writers we find both _Jack_ and _Tom_ Drum.


SCENE 3. Page 323.

1. LORD. _Hoodman_ comes!

An allusion to the game of blindman's buff, formerly called _hoodman blind_.

SCENE 3. Page 326.

PAR. He was whipp'd for getting the _sheriff's fool_ with child.

Mr. Ritson will not admit this to be a fool kept by the sheriff for diversion, but supposes her one of those idiots whose care, as he says, devolved on the sheriff when they had not been begged of the king on account of the value of their lands. Now if this was the law, the sheriff must have usually had more than one idiot in his custody; and had Shakspeare alluded to one of these persons, he would not have chosen so definite an expression as that in question; he would rather have said, "_a_ sheriff's fool." Female idiots were retained in families for diversion as well as male, though not so commonly; and there would be as much reason to expect one of the former in the sheriffs household as in that of any other person. It is not impossible that our author might have in view some real event that had just happened.

SCENE 3. Page 327.

BER. I know his brains are forfeit to the next _tile_ that falls.

In Whitney's _Emblems_, a book certainly known to Shakspeare, there is a story of three women who threw dice to ascertain which of them should first die. She who lost affected to laugh at the decrees of fate, when _a tile suddenly falling_, put an end to her existence.

SCENE 3. Page 329.

PAR. ... a dangerous and lascivious boy, who is _a whale to virginity_.

This is an allusion to the story of _Andromeda_ in old prints, where the monster is very frequently represented as a _whale_.

SCENE 3. Page 333.

PAR. For a _quart d'ecu_ he will sell the fee simple of his salvation.

The quart d'ecu, or as it was sometimes written _cardecue_, was a French piece of money first coined in the reign of Henry III. It was the fourth part of the _gold_ crown, and worth fifteen sols. It is a fact not generally known, that many foreign coins were current at this time in England; some English coins were likewise circulated on the continent. The French crown and its parts passed by weight only.

SCENE 4. Page 339.

HEL. All's well that ends well: still _the fine's a crown_.

In _King Henry VI. part 2._ Act V. we have "la fin couronne les œuvres." Both phrases are from the Latin _finis coronat opus_. In this sense we still use the expression to _crown_, for to _finish_ or _make perfect_. _Coronidem imponere_ is a metaphor well known to the ancients, and supposed to have originated from the practice of finishing buildings by placing a crown at their top as an ornament; and for this reason the words _crown_, _top_ and _head_ are become synonymous in most languages.

There is reason for believing that the ancients placed a crescent at the beginning, and a crown, or some ornament that resembled it, at the end of their books. In support of the first usage we have a poem by Ausonius entitled CORONIS which begins in this manner:

"Quos legis à prima deductos _menide_ libri."

And of the other, these lines in Martial, lib. x. ep. 1:

"Si nimius videor, seraque _coronide_ longus Esse liber: legito pauca, libellus ero."

The mark which was used in later times for the _coronis_ has been preserved in the etymologies of Isidore, lib. i. c. 20. It is this, [Illustration]; and in some manuscripts of that writer [Illustration] and [Illustration]. In other places it has these forms, [Illustration].

SCENE 5. Page 343.

CLO. But sure, he is _the prince of the world_.

The Devil is often called so by Saint John.


SCENE 2. Page 349.

PAR. Good Monsieur _Lavatch_.

"This," says Mr Steevens, "is an undoubted and perhaps _irremediable_ corruption of some French word." Yet the name is obviously _La vache_, which, whether really belonging to the clown or not, seems well adapted to such a character.

SCENE 2. Page 351.

CLO. Here is a _pur_ of fortune's sir, or of fortune's cat.

The text is perfectly intelligible, and requires no conjectural amendment. The clown calls Parolles's letter a _pur_; because, like the purring of the sycophant cat, it was calculated to procure favour and protection.


He is a domestic fool of the same kind as Touchstone.



SCENE 1. Page 386.

SLY. Therefore, _paucas pallabris_.

Perhaps these words are part of an old Spanish proverb, corresponding with the Portuguese, "A o hom entendedor _poucas palavras_," i. e. to an intelligent man, few words. Most of the modern European languages have a proverb like our "word to the wise." In Ben Jonson's _Masque of Augures_, Vangoose is made to exclaim "hochos-pochos, _paucos palabros_."

SCENE 1. Page 394.

LORD. And when he says he is ----, say that he dreams.

Of the various modes of filling up this blank suggested in the notes, that of Dr. Johnson, who would insert _sly_, is the most probable. Mr. Steevens asks, "how should the Lord know the beggar's name to be Sly?" This is very true; yet Shakspeare might as well forget himself in this place as he certainly did a few pages afterwards, where he makes the Lord's servant talk of _Cicely_ Hacket, &c.


SCENE 1. Page 414.

KATH. I pray you, sir, is it your will To make a _stale_ of me amongst these _mates_.

She means to say, "do you intend to make a strumpet of me among these companions?" but the expression seems to have been suggested by the chess-term of _stale mate_, which is used when the game is ended by the king being alone and unchecked, and then forced into a situation from which he is unable to move without going into check. This is a dishonourable termination to the adversary, who thereby loses the game. Thus in Lord Verulam's twelfth essay, "They stand still like a _stale_ at chess, where it is no _mate_, but yet the game cannot stir."

SCENE 2. Page 427.

PET. Be she as foul as was Florentius' love.

Dr. Farmer's note might have been omitted, as it refers to a story which has no manner of connection with that to which Petruchio alludes.

SCENE 2. Page 436.

PET. Tush, tush, _fear_ boys with _bugs_.

To _fear_ is to frighten. In Mathews's _Bible_, psalm xci. v. 5, is thus rendered: "Thou shalt not nede to be afraied for any _bugs_ by night." In the Hebrew it is "_terror_ of the night;" a curious passage, evidently alluding to that horrible sensation the night-mare, which in all ages has been regarded as the operation of evil spirits. Thus much seemed necessary in explanation or defence of the above most excellent old translation, which we have retained with very little change in the language; for the expression, from its influence on a modern ear, might have been liable to a very ludicrous construction. The word _bug_ is originally Celtic, _bŵg_, a ghost or goblin, and hence _bug-bear_, _boggerd_, _bogle_, _boggy-bo_, and perhaps _pug_, an old name for the Devil. _Boggy-bo_ seems to signify the _spirit_ Bo, and has been thought, with some probability, to refer to a warrior of that name, the son of Odin, and of great celebrity among the ancient Danes and Norwegians. His name is said to have struck his enemies with terror, and might have been used by the nurses of those times to frighten children, as that of Marlborough was in France on the same occasion. It is remarkable that the Italian women use _bau bau_, for this purpose, and the French _ba-bo_. It should seem as if _bug_ had been metaphorically applied to the _cimex_, that insect being in all respects _a terror of the night_. Nor was the word used in this sense till late in the seventeenth century, the old names for the house bug being, _wall-louse_, _wig-louse_, _chinch_, _punie_, and _puneez_; the two last from the French.


SCENE 1. Page 442.

KATH. And, for your love to her, _lead apes in hell_.

It is perhaps an ill-natured, though a very common, presumption, that the single state of old maids originates either in prudery or in real aversion to the male sex, and that consequently they deserve some kind of punishment in the next world. It is therefore not a matter of wonder that some of our waggish forefathers, impressed with this idea, should have maintained that these obdurate damsels would be condemned to lead apes in the inferior regions, instead, as Mr. Steevens has ingeniously suggested, of children; or perhaps with a view to compel them to bestow such attention on these deformed animals as they had formerly denied to men. So in Rabelais' hell, Alexander the great is condemned, for his ambition, to mend old stockings, and Cleopatra, for her pride, to cry onions.

It is said that homicides and adulterers were in ancient times compelled by way of punishment to lead an ape by the neck, with their mouths affixed in a very unseemly manner to the animal's tail. The fact is mentioned in the early Latin dictionary entitled _Vocabularius breviloquus_, and in the _Catholicon_ of Johannes Januensis, both printed at the end of the fifteenth century, under the article _anulus_. It is added, that the above punishment being found too opprobrious was commuted for wearing a ring on the finger, which the higher classes caused to be made of gold or silver; and this is further stated to have been the reason why the general practice of wearing rings declined. After all it may be a mere fabrication for the purpose of introducing an etymology of the word _annulus_, that cannot here be repeated.

SCENE 1. Page 450.

HOR. And, _twangling Jack_.

It is the author's desire to withdraw a former note on this passage, which, as well as a few others of a confidential nature, was not intended for publication. To _twangle_ means to make any sharp shrill noise on a stringed instrument, as a bad player would do. A _Jack_ denotes a low or mean person, and is occasionally used as a term of reproach. Thus Horatio is afterwards called "swearing _Jack_." _Twangling Jack_ may sometimes allude to that little machine in harpsichords and spinnets in which the quill is placed that strikes the wires. The _jangling Jack_ mentioned in Mr. Steevens's note is not connected with the other. He is a mere _prating fellow_. Thus in Drant's translation of Horace's ninth satire, 1567, 4to:

"A _prater_ shal becom his death, Therefore, let him alwayes, If he be wise, shun _jangling jackes_, After his youthful dayes."

SCENE 1. Page 461.

GRE. My hangings all of _Tyrian tapestry_.

Whether the purple of Tyre be here alluded to is doubtful. There is a Turkish city of some celebrity in Natolia called Tiria, where, according to the account of Paul Lucas, carpets are manufactured; and in the _Comedy of errors_, Act IV. Scene 1, mention is made of _Turkish tapestry_.


SCENE 1. Page 470.

LUC. ... for, _but_ I be deceiv'd.

Mr. Malone has well explained this word as meaning _unless_, in which sense it is often used by Shakspeare. It is the Saxon buꞇon, _nisi_. Sometimes it was used with _if_, as "I wol breake thy heed _but if_ thou get the hense;" from Terence's "Diminuam ego tibi caput, _nisi_ abis," Udall's _Floures from Latine_, 1533, 12mo.

SCENE 2. Page 487.

PET. Go to the feast, revel and _domineer_.

So in Tarlton's _Jests_, "T. having been _domineering_ very late at night with two of his friends." In these instances to _domineer_ is to _bluster_.

SCENE 2. Page 487.

PET. She is my goods, my chattels; she is my house, My houshold stuff, my field, my barn, My horse, my ox, my ass, my any thing.

In the anonymous play of _A knacke to knowe a knave_, 1594, one of the old men says, "My house? why, 'tis my goods, my wyfe, my land, my horse, my ass, or any thing that is his." If Mr. Malone's conjecture respecting the date of _The taming of the shrew_ be well founded, it is difficult to say whether Shakspeare is the borrower, in this instance, or not.


SCENE 1. Page 494.

CRU. ... their _blue coats_ brushed----

Thus in Nashe's _Have with you to Saffron Walden, or Gabriell Harvey's hunt is up_, when this foul-mouth'd writer has accused his adversary Harvey of defrauding Wolfe his printer of thirty-six pounds, he adds, that he borrowed of him a _blue coat_ for his man; "and yet Wolfe did not so much as _brush_ it, when he lent it him, or presse out the print where the _badge_ had been." In another place, alluding to the same transaction, he states that Wolfe "lent him one of his prentises for a serving creature to grace him, clapping an old _blue coate_ on his backe, which was one of my Lord of Harford's liveries (he pulling the _badge_ off)."

The practice of giving liveries to menial servants has not originated in modern times. It is mentioned in some of the statutes made in the reign of Richard the Second. In that of Edward the Fourth the terms _livery_ and _badge_ appear to have been synonymous, the former having no doubt been borrowed from the French language, and signifying a thing _delivered_. The badge consisted of the master's device, crest, or arms, on a separate piece of cloth, or sometimes silver, in the form of a shield, fastened to the left sleeve. Greene, in his _Quip for an upstart courtier_, speaking of some serving men, says, "their cognizance, as I remember, was a peacocke without a tayle." In queen Elizabeth's time the nobility gave silver badges, as appears from Hentzner's _Travels_, p. 156, edit. Norimb. 1612, 4to. "Angli magnifici domi forisque magna assectantium famulorum agmini secum trahunt, quibus in _sinistro brachio scuta ex argento facta_ appendunt." But this foolish extravagance was not limited to persons of high rank. Fynes Moryson, speaking of the English apparel, informs us that "the servants of _gentlemen_ were wont to weare _blew coates_, with their masters badge of silver on the left sleeve, but now they most commonly weare clokes garded with lace, all the servants of one family wearing the same liverie for colour and ornament:" we are therefore to suppose that the sleeve badge was left off in the reign of James I. Yet the badge was at one time so general an accompaniment to a blue coat, that when any thing wanted its usual appendage, it was _proverbially_ said to be _like a blue coat without a badge_.

The custom of clothing persons in liveries and badges was not confined to menial servants. Another class of men called _retainers_, who appear to have been of no small importance among our ancestors, were habited in a similar manner. They were a sort of servants, not residing in the master's house like other menial domestics, but attending occasionally for the purpose of ostentation, and _retained_ by the annual donation of a livery consisting of a hat or hood, a badge, and a suit of clothes. As they were frequently kept for the purpose of maintaining quarrels and committing other excesses, it became necessary to impose heavy penalties on the offenders, both masters and retainers. In process of time they were licensed. Strype complains of the too great indulgence of queen Mary in this respect. "She granted," says he, "more by half in her short five years than her sister and successor in thirteen. For in all that time there were but fifteen licenses of retainer granted, whereas queen Mary had granted nine and thirty. She was more liberal also in yielding the number of retainers to each person, which sometimes amounted to two hundred. Whereas Q. Elizabeth never yielded above an hundred to any person of the greatest quality, and that rarely too. But Bishop Gardiner began that ill example, who retained two hundred men: whereas under Q. Elizabeth the Duke of Norfolk retained but an hundred; and Parker, archbishop of Canterbury, but forty." He has added a list of the persons to whom Mary granted licenses, and the number of persons retained. _Eccl. memorials_, iii. 479.

Nor did these retainers always consist of men of low condition. The entertaining author of a book entitled _A health to the gentlemanly profession of serving men, or the serving man's comfort_, 1598, 4to, (to whom these notes have occasionally been indebted, and who with good reason is supposed to have been Jervis Markham,) has certainly alluded to them in the following curious passage, wherein he is consoling the objects of his labour: "Amongst what sort of people should then this serving man be sought for? Even the duke's sonne preferred page to the prince, the earles seconde sonne attendant upon the duke, the knights seconde sonne the earles servant, the esquires sonne _to weare the knightes lyverie_, and the gentlemans sonne the esquiers serving man: Yea I know at this day, gentlemen younger brothers, that weares their elder brothers _blew coate_ and badge, attending him with as reverend regard and duetifull obedience, as if he were their prince or soveraigne." Let us congratulate ourselves that we no longer endure such insolent aggressions, the result of family pride and ignorance, and which had been too often permitted to degrade the natural liberties and independence of mankind. The excellent old ballad of _Times alteration_, has the following illustrative stanza of the coats and badges in question:

"The nobles of our land Were much delighted then, To have at their command A crew of lusty men; Which by their coats were known Of tawny, red or blue, With crests on their sleeves shown, When this old cap was new."

Before we dismiss the present subject, it will be necessary to observe that the _badge_ occurs in all the old representations of posts or messengers. On the latter of these characters it may be seen in the 52nd plate of Mr. Strutt's first volume of _The dress and habits of the people of England_, where, as in the most ancient instances, the badge is affixed to the girdle; but it is often seen on the shoulder, and even on the hat or cap. These figures extend as far back as the thirteenth century, and many old German engravings exhibit both the characters with a badge that has sometimes the device or arms of the town to which the post belongs. He has generally a spear in his hand, not only for personal security, but for repelling any nuisance that might interrupt his progress. Among ourselves the remains of the ancient badge are still preserved in the dresses of porters, firemen, and watermen, and perhaps in the shoulder-knots of footmen. The blue coat and badge still remain with the parish and hospital boys. The following figure of a person of a higher class with a badge, is copied from the view of Windsor in _Braunii civitates orbis terrarum_, 1573.


SCENE 1. Page 496.

PET. Where be these knaves? what no man _at door_.

Although _door_ might in the _middle_ of a line be pronounced as a dissyllable, it is submitted that it cannot, with any propriety, at the _end_. It were better to suppose an omission at the press, and read "at _the_ door."

SCENE 2. Page 506.

TRA. That teacheth tricks _eleven and twenty_ long.

We have here a very uncommon and perhaps unique expression; but it seems to mean no more than that the tricks were of an extraordinary kind. _Eleven and twenty_ is the same as _eleven score_, which signified a great length or number as applied to the exertions of a few or even of a single person. Thus in the old ballad of _The low country soldier_,

"Myself and seven more We fought _eleven score_."

SCENE 3. Page 513.

KATH. Why then the beef, and let the mustard rest, &c.

This part of the dialogue was in all probability suggested by the following whimsical story in _Wits, fittes and fancies_, 1595, 4to:--"A clowne having surfeited of beefe, and being therewith extreame sicke, vow'd never whiles he liv'd to eat beefe more, if it pleas'd God he might escape for that once: Shortlie after having his perfect health again, he would needs have eaten beefe, and his sister putting him in mind of his vow, hee answered: True (sister) not without mustard (good L.) not without mustard." This is not the only use that Shakespeare has made of this curious book, which was, in part, translated from a Spanish work, entitled _La floresta Spagnola_, by Anthony Copley, who was the author of a poem printed at the end, called _Love's owle: In dialogue-wise betweene love and an olde man_. Of this poem Copley thus speaks in his dedication: "As for my _Loves owle_, I am content that Momus turne it to a tennis-ball if he can, and bandy it quite away: namelie, I desire M. _Daniel_, M. _Spencer_, and other the Prime Poets of our time, to pardon it with as easie a frowne as they please, for that I give them to understand, that an Universitie Muse never pend it, though humbly devoted thereunto."

SCENE 3. Page 514.

PET. And all my pains is _sorted to no proof_.

This is explained by Dr. Johnson, "and all my labour has _proved_ nothing." It rather means, "all my labour is _adapted_ to no _approof_," or "I have taken all this pains without _approbation_." _Approof_ is used by Shakspeare in this sense, and should be here printed with an apostrophe, _'proof_.

SCENE 4. Page 529.

BION. Take your assurance of her _cum privilegio ad imprimendum solum_.

This is not the only instance in which our poet has borrowed his broad metaphors from the typographical art.

In _The winter's tale_, Act V. Scene 1, we have, "Your mother was most true to wedlock, prince; for she did _print_ your royal father off, conceiving you."

* * * * *

To the stories already mentioned in the notes to this play as resembling that of the _induction_, the following are to be added:--1. _The sleeper awakened_, in the Arabian nights. This is probably the original of all the rest. 2. A similar incident in the story of _Xailoun_ in the _Continuation of the Arabian nights_. 3. In _The apophthegms of King James, King Charles, the marquess of Worcester_, &c., 1658, 12mo, there is the story of an old bachelor named _Thomas Deputy_, who at the marriage of Edward Lord Herbert taking a fancy to one of the bride's waiting-maids, was persuaded by the old Marquess of Worcester to marry her at the same time. Thomas, being overpowered on this occasion with the joy he felt from the liberal donations of the noble assistants at the wedding, and also with the good wine that was freely circulated, became altogether incapable of consummating his marriage; and the Marquess, after relating to the company "the story of the begger who was made to believe he did but dream of the happiness that was really acted," determined to make the experiment in the person of old Thomas, and accordingly ordered that he "should be disrobed of his new wedding garment, the rest of his fine cloaths taken from him, and himself carried unto his old lodging in the porter's lodge, and his wife to respite the solemnization of the marriage bed untill his comportment should deserve so fair an admission: which was done accordingly. The next morning made the experiment to answer the height of all their expectations; for news was brought unto the Marquesse, all the rest of the lords and ladies standing by, that _Thom._ took all yesterdayes work but for a dream, or at least seemed to do so, to humour the fancy." 4. Winstanley, in his _Historical rarities_, 1684, 8vo, has a story of Aladine the Persian, called the old man of the mountain, who built a magnificent palace near a city called _Mulebet_, and filled it with every sort of luxury and delight. "Hither he brought all the lusty youths he could light on, casting them into prison, where they endured much sorrow and woe. And when he thought good, he caused a certain drink to be given them, which cast them into a dead sleep: then he caused them to be carried into divers chambers of the said palaces, where they saw the things aforesaid as soon as they awaked; each of them having those damsels to minister meats and excellent drinks, and all varieties of pleasures to them, insomuch, that the fools thought themselves to be in paradise indeed. Having enjoyed this happiness a whole day, they were in a like sleep conveyed to their irons again; after which, he caused them to be brought into his presence, and questioned where they had been; which answered, by your grace, in paradise, and recounted all the particulars before mentioned." Winstanley has also given the story of Philip duke of Burgundy. 5. A similar incident in the penny history of _The frolicksome courtier and the jovial tinker_.

The author of the story in the Tatler might have used a novel in the _Piacevoli notti_ of Straparola, nott. 8, fab. 2. and the outline of the _Taming of the shrew_ may be found in a Spanish work entitled _El conde Lucanor_, 1643, 4to, composed by Don Juan Manuel, nephew to Ferdinand the fourth king of _Castile_.

The character of Petruchio bears some resemblance to that of Pisardo in Straparola's _Novels_, night 8, fab. 7.



SCENE 2. Page 27.

LEON. And his pond fish'd by his next neighbour.

This is not the only gross and offensive metaphor of the kind that our poet has used. In _Measure for measure_, we have "groping for trouts in a peculiar river."

SCENE 2. Page 30.

LEON. ... I have trusted thee Camillo, With all the nearest things to my _heart_---- ... wherein, priest-like thou _Hast cleans'd my bosom_.

So in Macbeth we have,

"_Cleanse the stuff'd bosom_ of that perilous stuff, Which weighs upon the _heart_."

SCENE 2. Page 39.

CAM. ... If I could find example Of thousands that had struck anointed kings And _flourish'd after_, I'd not do't.

If, as Mr. Blackstone supposes, this be an allusion to the death of the queen of Scots, it exhibits Shakspeare in the character of a cringing flatterer accommodating himself to existing circumstances, and is moreover an extremely severe one. But the perpetrator of that atrocious murder _did flourish_ many years afterwards. May it not rather be designed as a compliment to King James on his escape from the Gowrie conspiracy, an event often brought to the people's recollection during his reign, from the day on which it happened being made a day of thanksgiving? See _Osborne's traditional memoyres_, and the almanacks of the time under the 5th of August.

SCENE 2. Page 41.

POL. In whose success we are _gentle_.

So in Act V. Scene 2, the old shepherd says, "we must be gentle now we are gentlemen." What our ancestors conceived to be the true definition of a gentleman may be seen at large in _The booke of honor and armes_, 1594, 4to, book iii. In Morgan's _Sphere of gentry_, the silly author has gravely stated that _Jesus Christ_ was a _gentleman_ and bore arms. Of the latter assertion he has given no proof, though he might have adduced a sort of armorial bearing made up from the implements of the passion, and often exhibited as such in some of the _horæ_ and other service books of the church, before the reformation. Such a coat of arms was likewise used as a stamp on the covers of old books, with the motto REDEMPTORIS MUNDI ARMA. _Gentle gentlemen_ is an alliteration that is very frequent in writers of the age of Shakspeare. In the preface to Gerard Leigh's _Accedence of armorie_, 1597, 4to, three sorts of _ungentiles_ are described, "the first whereof are _gentle ungentle_. Such be they as wil rather sweare armes then beare armes. Who of negligence stop mustard pots with their fathers pedegrees, or otherwise abuse them. The second sort are _ungentle gentlemen_, who being enhaunced to honor by their fathers, on whom (though it were to their owne worship) yet can they not keepe so much money from the dice, as to make worshipful obsequies for their sad fathers with any point of armory. The third sort, and worst of all, are neither _gentle ungentle_, or _ungentle gentile_, but verie stubble curs, and be neither doers, sufferers, or wel speakers of honors tokens."

SCENE 2. Page 42.

CAM. I am appointed _him_ to murder you.

"_i. e._" says Mr. Steevens, "I am the person appointed to murder you." This is certainly the meaning, but the grammatical construction is, "I am appointed the person to murder you." The lines quoted from _King Henry VI._ are ungrammatical, and not, as is conceived, an exemplification of the foregoing passage.

SCENE 2. Page 42.

POL. ... and my name _Be yok'd with his that did betray the best_.

Mr. Henderson's conjecture that Judas is here meant is certainly well founded. A clause in the sentence against excommunicated persons was, "let them _have part with Judas that betrayed Christ_. Amen;" and this is here imitated.


SCENE 3. Page 73.

LEON. And _lozel_, thou art worthy to be hang'd.

The derivation of _lozel_ cited from Verstegan is arbitrary, and deduced from a mere resemblance of sound. The word has been apparently corrupted from the Saxon _lorel_, used by Chaucer for a worthless fellow. See Mr. Tyrwhitt's glossary. The corruption may have originated in the similitude of the letters _r_ and _z_ in ancient manuscripts.


SCENE 2. Page 82.

HER. ... since he came, With what encounter so uncurrent I Have strain'd to appear thus.

Dr. Johnson, not understanding these lines, "with the licence of all editors," pronounces them unintelligible. However strange the language may appear in the mouth of a lady, there is hardly a doubt that it is a metaphor taken from tilting. Hermione means to say, _I appeal to your own conscience whether since Polixenes came, I have made any violent or irregular encounter unlike that of a fair courser_; or, in plainer terms, _whether I have deviated from the paths of honour and_ forcibly _obtruded myself on this tribunal_. Those who made an encounter at justs were called _runners_; and were said, occasionally, to _run foul_. This may serve to explain what is meant by _uncurrent_.


SCENE 2. Page 107.

AUT. When daffodils begin to peer, &c.

Mr. Steevens, to give himself an opportunity of introducing a neat retort on an attack which his favourite author had sustained, has quoted a remark by Dr. Burney that Autolycus "is the _true ancient minstrel_, as described in the old fabliaux." With great deference to this learned and elegant writer, the observation is inaccurate. Autolycus has nothing in common with the character of a minstrel but the singing of a song or two. He is a mere _rogue_, assuming various shapes, and is specifically called so in the _dramatis personæ_; but it will not surely be contended that all rogues were minstrels, because a cruel and illiberal statute has made all minstrels rogues. It is true that Autolycus declares he had been an _ape-bearer_; but this was no part of the minstrel profession in Shakspeare's time, though it had been so formerly. As this circumstance however has not been noticed, or at least very slightly, by any of the writers on the subject of the ancient minstrels, it may be worth while to exhibit the following curious story from the second book of _The dialogues of Saint Gregory_, who lived in the sixth century. At the celebration of the feast of Saint Proculus the martyr, a nobleman named Fortunatus having prevailed on Bishop Boniface to eat with him after celebrating the service of the day, it happened that before the holy prelate had pronounced the usual benediction at table, _a minstrel leading an ape and playing on a cymbal_ arrived. This very much discomposed the good bishop, who exclaimed, Alas! alas! the wretched man is dead; behold, I have not yet opened my lips to praise God, and he is here with his ape and playing on his instrument. He then desired the servants to carry some victuals to the unhappy man, which when he had eaten, a stone fell from the house top and killed him.

SCENE 2. Page 109.

AUT. The lark that _tirra-lirra_ chants.

The tire-lire was not, it seems, peculiar to the lark. In Skelton's _Colin Cloute_ we have,

"... howe Cupide shaked His darte and bente hys bowe, For to shote a _crowe_, At her _tyrly tyrlowe_."

And in one of the Coventry pageants there is the following old song sung by the shepherds at the birth of Christ, which is further remarkable for its use of the very uncommon word _endenes_, from the Saxon enꝺenehꞅꞇ, _the last_.

"As I out rode this endenes night, Of three joli shepherds I sawe a syght, And all aboute there fold a stare shone bright: They sang _terli terlow_, So mereli the sheppards there pipes can blow."

SCENE 2. Page 111.

AUT. My father named me Autolycus, &c.

It is necessary on this occasion to lay before the reader Dr. Warburton's own words. "Mr. Theobald says, _the allusion is unquestionably to Ovid_. He is mistaken. Not only the allusion, but the whole speech is taken from Lucian, who appears to have been one of our poet's favourite authors, as may be collected from several places of his works. It is from _his discourse on judicial astrology_, where Autolycus talks much in the same manner, &c."

Now if any one will take the trouble of comparing what Ovid and Lucian have respectively said concerning Autolycus, he will, it is presumed, be altogether disposed to give the preference to Theobald's opinion. Dr. Warburton must have been exclusively fortunate in discovering that _the whole speech is taken from Lucian_; that he was _one of our poet's favourite authors_; and that, in the _dialogue_ alluded to, _Autolycus talks much in the same manner_. He must have used some edition of Lucian's works vastly preferable to those which now remain. The reader will be pleased to consult the eleventh book of Ovid's _Metamorphoses_, in the translation (if he have it) by Golding.

SCENE 2. Page 113.

CLOWN. ... _three-man_ songmen all.

"They have also _Cornish three-mens_ songs, cunningly contrived for the ditty, and pleasantly for the note." Carew's _Survey of Cornwall_, fo. 72.

SCENE 2. Page 113.

CLOWN. ... but one Puritan amongst them, and he sings psalms to hornpipes.

An allusion to a practice, common at this time among the Puritans, of burlesquing the _plein chant_ of the Papists, by adapting vulgar and ludicrous music to psalms and pious compositions.

SCENE 3. Page 123.

PER. For you there's _rosemary_, and rue; _Grace_ and _remembrance_ be to you both.

The following lines are from a song entitled, _A nosegaie alwaies sweet for lovers to send for tokens of love at newyere's tide, or for fairings, as they in their minds shall be disposed to write_, printed in Robinson's _Handefull of pleasant delites_, 1584, 16mo:--

"Rosemarie is for remembrance, Betweene us daie and night, Wishing that I might alwaies have You present in my sight."

This plant, as being thought to strengthen the memory, was therefore _given to friends_, as in the present instance. See Parkinson's _Flower garden_, p. 426. Thus Ophelia says to her brother, "There's rosemary; that's for remembrance, _pray you, love, remember_." The reason for calling rue _herb of grace_ is best explained in the notes on a subsequent speech of Ophelia. See vol. xv. p. 276.

SCENE 3. Page 124.

PER. ... and streak'd gilliflowers, Which some call nature's bastards: of that kind Our rustick garden's barren; and I care not To get slips of them.

POL. Wherefore, gentle maiden, Do you neglect them?

PER. For I have heard it said, There is an art which in their piedness, shares With great creating nature.

The solution of the riddle in these lines that has embarrassed Mr. Steevens is probably this: the gilly-flower or carnation is streaked, as every one knows, with white and red. In this respect it is a proper emblem of a _painted_ or immodest woman, and therefore Perdita declines to meddle with it. She connects the gardener's _art_ of varying the colours of the above flowers with the art of painting the face, a fashion very prevalent in Shakspeare's time. This conclusion is justified by what she says in her next speech but one.

SCENE 3. Page 126.

PER. The marigold, that goes to bed with the sun And with him rises weeping.

"So upon occasions past, David found it true that he should not have bene heretofore at any time, and therefore professeth, that, for the time to come, he would be no _marigold-servant of God, to open with the sun, and shut with the dewe_."--Prime's _Consolations of David applied to Queene Elizabeth: in a sermon preached in Oxford the 17 of November_, 1588, 12mo. Lord Howard, in his _Defensative against the poyson of supposed prophecies_, 1583, 4to, says that "_the marie-golde_ dooth close and open with the sunne, &c."

SCENE 3. Page 131.

PER. ... I'll swear for 'em.

Dr. Johnson would transfer this speech to the king, and Mr. Ritson would read "swear for _one_," or at least have some alteration; but in reality no change is necessary. Florizel had just said, "so _turtles_ pair that never mean to part," on which Perdita very naturally observes, "I'll swear for 'em." This is no more than a common phrase of acquiescence, as we likewise say, "I'll _warrant_ you."

SCENE 3. Page 137.

AUT. ... poking-sticks of steel.

To Mr. Steevens's curious note on these implements for stiffening the ruffs formerly worn by persons of both sexes, it may be worth adding that this fashion being carried to a great extremity, became the subject of many satirical prints. One of the oldest was engraved in 1580, by Matthias Quad, and represents the Devil's ruff-shop, he being called the _kragen-setzer_ or _ruff-setter_. A young gallant has brought his mistress to have her ruff set. The Devil is engaged in this operation whilst an assistant is heating fresh poking-sticks in a brasier. Another print of this sort by Galle, is copied from a design by Martin de Vos, and entitled _Diaboli partus superbia_. It has this inscription relating to the _poking-sticks_: "Avec ces fers chauds qu'on vous icy appreste, En enfer puny seras, O layde beste." Other prints represent several monkeys habited in ruffs, and busily employed in poking and starching them, &c.

SCENE 3. Page 138.

CLOWN. _Clamour_ your tongues, and not a word more.

The word is difficult, and, it is feared, likely to afford nothing but conjecture.

Dr. Warburton asserts that the phrase is from ringing; that to clamour bells is to repeat the stroke quicker than before, previously to _ceasing_ them. On the contrary, Dr. Grey maintains that to clamour bells is a _continued_ ringing, and Mr. Malone, with great probability, suspects that what Warburton has said is _gratis dictum_. Dr. Johnson says that "to clam a bell is to cover the clapper with felt, which drowns the blow, and hinders the sound;" and Mr. Nicholls, that _a good clam_ is a peal of all the bells at once. According to the treatise on ringing in _The school of recreation_, 1684, 12mo, "_clamming_ is when each concord strikes together, which being done true, the 8 will strike but as four bells, and make a melodious harmony." The accounts of bell-clamming are therefore so discordant that it seems but fair to give up entirely this sense of the word.

The clown evidently wishes to keep the damsels' tongues from wagging. Now to _clam_, _clem_, or _cleam_ are provincial words, signifying to glue together or fasten with glue, and, metonymically, to starve by contraction. Thus,

"... my entrails Are _clam'd_ with keeping a continual fast."

Massinger's _Roman actor_.

And we still use _clammy_, for sticking together. All the Northern languages have an equivalent term. The Germans have _klemmen_, to tie, and in the old Icelandic we find _klæmman_ in the same sense. Ihre, _Lexicon Suio-Goth_. In Saxon clam, ligamen, clæmɩnᵹ, a stiffening. Somner _Gloss_. Littelton has _to clamm_, or hunger-starve, and Rider to _clamme_, to _stop_. The latter is indeed more to the present purpose than any or all of the others: because by supposing, what is extremely probable, an error of the press, all will be set right. On the other hand, _clamour_ is the reverse of what is required. Thus in _Macbeth_, Act II. Scene 3, we have, "The obscure bird _clamour'd_ the live-long night," and we are not to suppose that Shakspeare could have used the same word in senses so extremely opposite.

SCENE 3. Page 148.

Re-enter servant, with twelve rusticks habited like _satyrs_. They _dance_, and then exeunt.

In the old collection of songs set by Thomas Ravenscroft and others, already quoted in p. 11, there is one called _The satyres daunce_. It is for four voices, and as follows:--

"Round a round, a rounda, keepe your ring To the glorious sunne we sing; Hoe, hoe!

He that weares the flaming rayes, And the imperiall crowne of bayes, Him, with him, with shoutes and songs we praise. Hoe, hoe!

That in his bountee would vouchsafe to grace The humble sylvanes and their shaggy race."

SCENE 3. Page 154.

SHEP. Some hangman must put on my shroud, and lay me _Where no priest shovels in dust_.

i. e. _I must be buried as a common malefactor, out of the pale of consecrated ground, and without the usual rites of the dead_; a whimsical anachronism, when it is considered that the old shepherd was a Pagan, a worshipper of Jupiter and Apollo. But Shakspeare seldom cares about blending the manners of distant ages.

Dr. Farmer has remarked that the _priest's_ office above mentioned might be remembered in Shakspeare's time, which is very probable: the mention of it here is one of the numerous instances of his intimate acquaintance with the ceremonies of the Romish church. Before the introduction of the new form of burial service by Edward the Sixth, it was the custom for the priest to throw earth on the body in the form of a cross, and then to sprinkle it with holy water; but this was not done _in pronouncing_ the words _earth to earth_, according to a learned commentator: that part of the ceremony was postponed till after a psalm had been sung, the body being previously covered up. An antiphone next followed; and then the priest said these words: "I commend thy soul to God the father omnipotent: earth to earth, ashes to ashes, dust to dust," &c.


SCENE 1. Page 182.

FLO. ... Good my lord, She came from _Libya_.

_Perdita_ is here transformed into a _Moor_; and although this play among others affords the most unequivocal proofs of Shakspeare's want of skill in the science of geography, it is at least possible that an error of the press has substituted _Libya_ for _Lydia_ or _Lycia_.

SCENE 2. Page 194.

CLOWN. _Give me the lie_, do; and try whether I am not now a _gentleman born_.

This is a satire on certain ridiculous punctilios very much in use at this time. Thus in _The booke of honor and armes_, 1590, 4to, "In saying _a gentleman borne_, we meane he must be descended from three degrees of gentry, both on the mother's and father's side." The same work has many particulars relating to the circumstances in which _the giving the lie_ is to be resented. See likewise Vincent Saviolo _On honor and honorable quarrels_, book ii.


He is a mere country booby.

* * * * *

The observation by Dr. Warburton, that _The winter's tale_ with all its absurdities is very entertaining, though stated by Dr. Johnson to be just, must be allowed at the same time to be extremely frigid. In point of fine writing it may be ranked among Shakspeare's best efforts. The absurdities pointed at by Warburton, together with the whimsical anachronisms of Whitson pastorals, Christian burial, an emperor of Russia, and an Italian painter of the fifteenth century, are no real drawbacks on the superlative merits of this charming drama. The character of Perdita will remain for ages unrivalled; for where shall such language be found as she is made to utter?



SCENE 1. Page 228.

DRO. E. Will you come _home_? quoth I; my gold, quoth he.

The word _home_, which the metre requires, is said to have been suggested by Capell, but it had been already adopted by Sir Thomas Hanmer.

SCENE 2. Page 234.

ANT. S. If you will jest with me, know my _aspéct_.

Mr. Steevens explains this, _study my countenance_. It seems rather to be an astrological phrase, and to mean, _ascertain whether my aspect be malignant or benign_. He had just before mentioned the sun. Thus in _1 Henry IV._ Act I. Scene 1, "Malevolent to you in all _aspécts_."

SCENE 2. Page 241.

ADR. Thou art an _elm_ my husband, I a _vine_; If aught possess thee from me, it is dross, Usurping Ivy, briar or idle moss.

So in _A midsummer night's dream_, Act IV. Scene 1, "The female _ivy_ so enrings the barky fingers of the _elm_." There is something extremely beautiful in making the vine the lawful spouse of the elm, and the _parasite_ plants here named its _concubines_.


SCENE 1. Page 248.

DRO. S. _Mome_, malthorse, capon, coxcomb, idiot, patch!

Sir J. Hawkins would derive _mome_ from the French _momon_, the challenge at dice made by a mummer or silent person disguised in masquerade. It more probably came to us from one of those similar words that are found in many languages signifying something foolish. _Momar_ is used by Plautus for a fool, whence the French _mommeur_. The Greeks too had μομος and μορμος in the same sense.

SCENE 2. Page 257.

ANT. S. Less in your knowledge and your grace, you show not, Than _our earth's wonder, more than earth divine_.

This play abounds so much in anachronisms, that there will be no impropriety in supposing the above simile to have been designed as a compliment to the reigning sovereign. Pronounced with emphasis, it would not fail to make a due impression on the audience.


SCENE 3. Page 280.

DRO. S. What, have you got _the picture of old Adam new apparell'd_?

Here seems to be an allusion to some well-known contemporary painting, perhaps of a sign. "Adam whom God dyd fyrst create, made the fyrst _lether coates_ for himself and his wyfe Eve our old mother, leavyng thereby a patron to al his posterite of that crafte." Polydore Vergil _de rer. invent._ translated by Langley, fo. lxix. Similar instances had before occurred in _the picture of we three_, and _Mistress Mall_.



SCENE 1. Page 327.

ALL. _Paddock_ calls.

Mr. Steevens has remarked that "in Shakspeare a paddock certainly means a toad." Indeed it _properly_ does everywhere; and when applied to the frog, seems either to have been mistakenly used, or to have signified the _rubeta_ or _rana bufo_, a frog of a venomous kind. The word comes to us from the Saxon Paꝺa, and a toad is still called by a similar term in most of the Teutonic languages. It may be likewise observed that witches have nothing to do with frogs, an animal always regarded as perfectly harmless, though perhaps not more so in reality than the unjustly persecuted toad.

SCENE 2. Page 331.

SOLD. And fortune on his damned _quarrel_ smiling.

The old copy has _quarry_, which Dr. Johnson has changed to _quarrel_, a reading that had already been adopted by Hanmer. Chance may hereafter determine that _quarry_ was an _occasional_ mode of orthography, _euphoniæ gratiâ_, as we find _perrie_ for _perril_. See Howard's _Defensative against the poyson of supposed prophesies_, 1583, 4to, sig. A iij. The word too which expresses a square-headed arrow and a pane of glass is written both _quarry_ and _quarrel_.

SCENE 2. Page 335.

DUN. Dismay'd not this Our captains, Macbeth and Banquo?

SOLD. Yes.

Mr. Steevens, adverting to the apparent defect of metre in the last line, concludes that some word has been omitted in the old copy; and Hanmer reads, _brave_ Macbeth, &c. No other change is necessary than in orthography; for Shakspeare had, no doubt, written _capitaynes_, a common mode of spelling the word in his time; and the fault lay either in the printer or transcriber for the press.

SCENE 2. Page 339.

ROSSE. Till that Bellona's _bridegroom_, lapt in proof.

Shakspeare is here accused of ignorantly making Bellona wife to the _God of war_; but, strictly speaking, this is not the case. He has not called Macbeth, to whom he alludes, the _God of war_; and there seems no great impropriety in _poetically_ supposing that a warlike hero might be _newly married_ to the Goddess of war. Mr. Steevens's objection appears to have been founded on a conclusion that Shakspeare meant to compare Macbeth to Mars, and that of the other learned and ingenious critic, on the impropriety of considering Bellona as a married goddess.

SCENE 3. Page 341.

1. WITCH. _Aroint_ thee witch!

The reference to Hearne's print from an old calendar, in his edition of Fordun, is very appositely introduced by Dr. Johnson in illustration of _aroint_; but his explanation of the print is in many respects erroneous. He is particularly mistaken in supposing it to represent _Saint Patrick visiting hell_; for it is manifestly the very trite subject of Christ delivering souls from purgatory, often painted by Albert Durer and other ancient artists. The Doctor neglected to examine not only the inscription on the print, but Hearne's own account of it; and his eye having accidentally caught the name of Saint Patrick, of whom Hearne had been speaking, his imagination suggested the common story of the visit to purgatory (not hell). There is no doubt that _aroint_ signifies _away_! _run_! and that it is of Saxon origin. The original Saxon verb has not been preserved in any other way, but the glossaries supply _ryne_ for running; and in the old Islandic, _runka_ signifies _to agitate_, _to move_. Mr. Grose is certainly wrong in his explanation of the proverb, "_Rynt_ you witch! quoth Besse Locket to her mother," when he says it means "by your leave, stand handsomely." See his _Provincial glossary_.

SCENE 3. Page 353.

BAN. Or have we eaten of the _insane_ root, That takes the _reason_ prisoner?

Mr. Steevens conceives that _hemlock_ is the root in question; whilst Mr. Malone, after noticing the trouble which the commentators have given themselves, introduces a quotation from Plutarch's life of Antony, ("which," says he, "our author must have diligently read,") that leads him to conclude the name to have been unknown even to Shakspeare himself. There is however another book which has in the course of these notes been shown to have been also read and even studied by the poet, and wherein, it is presumed, he actually found the _name_ of the above root. This will appear from the following passage: "_Henbane_ ... is called _Insana_, mad, for the use thereof is perillous; for if it be eate or dronke, it breedeth madnesse, or slow lykenesse of sleepe. Therefore this hearb is called commonly _Mirilidium_, for it taketh away wit and _reason_." Batman _Uppon Bartholome de propriet. rerum_, lib. xvii. ch. 87.

SCENE 5. Page 373.

ATTEN. One of my fellows had the speed of him; Who _almost dead for breath_, had scarcely more Than would make up his message.

LADY M. Give him tending, He brings great news. _The raven himself is hoarse That croaks the fatal entrance of Duncan._

The last lines may appear less difficult, if the reader will suppose that at the moment in which the attendant finishes his speech, the raven's voice is heard on the battlements of the castle; when Lady Macbeth, adverting to the situation in which the messenger had just been described, most naturally exclaims, "the raven _himself_ is hoarse," &c. _Entrance_ must be here pronounced as a trisyllable, which is better than to read Dŭncān.

SCENE 5. Page 374.

LADY M. Under my battlements. Come _come_ you spirits.

The second _come_ has been added by Mr. Steevens. On this it may be permitted to remark, that although Shakspeare's versification is unquestionably more smooth and melodious than that of most of his contemporaries, he has on many occasions exhibited more carelessness in this respect than can well be accounted for, unless by supposing the errors to belong to the printers or editors. If the above line was defective, many others of similar construction are still equally so; as for example, this in p. 378,

"This ignorant present, and I feel now,"

which Mr. Steevens strangely maintains to be complete, though undoubtedly as discordant to the ear as the other. Both, strictly speaking, have the full number of syllables; a mode of construction which it is to be feared our elder poets regarded as sufficient in general to give perfection to a line.

SCENE 6. Page 384.

DUN. We cours'd him at the heels, and had a purpose To be his _purveyor_.

The duty of the purveyor, an officer belonging to the court, was to make a general provision for the royal household. It was the office also of this person to travel before the king whenever he made his progresses to different parts of the realm, and to see that every thing was duly provided. The right of purveyance and pre-emption having become extremely oppressive to the subject, was included, among other objects of regulation, under the stat. of 12 Car. II.

SCENE 7. Page 395.

LADY M. But screw your courage to the _sticking-place_.

Mr. Steevens has suggested two metaphors, neither of which seems to advance the explanation. If it could be shown that the stop of a pile-driver, or the bed of a violin peg were ever called _sticking-places_, one might indeed suspect a miserable pun: but it is submitted that all the metaphor lies in the _screwing_. Another learned commentator states that Davenant misunderstood the sense when he supposed that _stabbing_ is alluded to; and yet there are grounds for thinking his opinion correct. Lady Macbeth, after remarking that the enterprise would not fail if her husband would but exert his courage to the commission of the _murder_, proceeds to suggest the particular manner in which it was to be accomplished. In short, if there be a metaphor, abstractedly considered, it signifies nothing; for what would be the use of Macbeth's courage, if, according to Mr. Steevens, _it were to remain fast in that sticking-place from which it was not to move_? The Scots have a proverb, "_Sticking_ goes not by strength, but by guiding of the gooly," _i. e._ the knife.


SCENE 1. Page 401.

BAN. This diamond he greets your wife withal, By the name of most kind hostess; _and shut up In measureless content_.

As the last sentence stands, it is at once ungrammatical and obscure; and neither Mr. Steevens's construction of _shut up_ in the sense of _to conclude_, as referring to the speaker, nor Hanmer's reading _and is shut up_, as connected with Duncan, will render it intelligible. It should seem as if Banquo meant to say that the king was immured in happiness; but then it is obvious that some preceding words have been lost.

SCENE 3. Page 428.


_Duff_ in the Erse language signifies a captain; _Macduff_, the son of a captain.

SCENE 3. Page 433.

MACD. Shake off this downy sleep, death's counterfeit.

This simile has been elsewhere used by Shakspeare. Thus in _Cymbeline_, he calls sleep _the ape of death_. In _A midsummer night's dream_, he has _death counterfeiting sleep_. It might indeed from its extreme obviousness have occurred to writers of weaker imagination than our poet; yet as he is known to have borrowed so much, it is not impossible that he might in this instance have been indebted to Marlow's translation of a line in Ovid's _Elegies_, book ii. el. 9:

"Foole what is sleepe, but image of cold death?"

or to another version of the same line in Cardanus's _Comfort_:

"Is not our sleepe (O foole) of death an image playne?"

Whoever will take the trouble of reading over the whole of Cardanus's second book as translated by Bedingfield, and printed by T. Marshe, 1576, 4to, will soon be convinced that it had been perused by Shakspeare.

SCENE 3. Page 438.

MACB. ... _their daggers Unmannerly breech'd_ with gore.

Mr. Steevens's explanation must be objected to. Finding that the _lower end_ of a cannon is called its _breech_, he concludes that the _hilt_ or _handle_ of a dagger must be here intended by the like appellation. But is not this literally to mistake the _top_ for the _bottom_? It is conceived that the present expression, though in itself something _unmannerly_, simply means _covered as with breeches_. The idea, uncouth and perhaps inaccurate as it is, might have been suggested from the resemblance of daggers to the legs and thighs of a man. The sentiments of Dr. Farmer on this, as on all occasions, are ingenious, and deserving of the highest respect; but it is hardly possible that Shakspeare could have been deceived in the way he states. To give colour to his opinion, he is obliged in his quotation from Erondell's _French garden_ to print the word _master's_ as a genitive case singular, in order to apply the pronoun _their_ to _daggers_; but without the aid of the French text, the word _their_ is _in the original_ equally applicable to _masters_. Indeed the subsequent mention of stockings, hose and garters, would have satisfied a person of much less penetration than Shakspeare, that _breeches_ were there intended as an article of dress.

The above conjecture that the term _breech'd_ might signify _cover'd_, suggests the mention of a circumstance from which it may on the whole be thought to derive support.

It is well known that some ridicule has been cast on one of our translations of the Bible from the Genevan French edition, on account of the following words, "And they sewed fig-tree leaves together and made themselves _breeches_," Gen. iii. 7; whence it has been called the _Breeches Bible_, and sometimes sold for a high price. It is generally conceived that this peculiarity belongs exclusively to the above Bible, but it is a mistake. The Saxon version by Ælfric has ⁊ ꞅɩƿoꝺon ꝼɩcleaꝼ ⁊ ƿoꞃhꞇon hɩm ƿæꝺbꞃec, _and sewed fig-leaves and worked them_ WEED-BREECH_, or cloaths for the breech_. Wicliffe also translates "and maden hem _breechis_;" and it is singular that Littelton in his excellent dictionary explains _perizomata_, the word used in the Vulgate, by _breeches_. In the manuscript French translation of Petrus Comestor's commentary on the Bible, made by Guiars des Moulins in the thirteenth century, we have "couvertures tout autressint comme unnes petites _braies_."


SCENE 4. Page 476.

MACB. ... Get thee gone; to-morrow We'll hear, _ourselves again_.

i. e. _when I have recovered from my fit, and am once more myself._ It is an ablative absolute. _Ourselves_ is much more properly used than _ourself_, the modern language of royalty.

SCENE 4. Page 482.

MACB. If trembling I _inhibit_ thee, protest me The baby of girl.

Every partaker of the rational _Diversions of Purley_ will here call to mind what has been advanced on the subject of this difficult and much contested passage; but with all the respect and admiration that are due to their profound and ingenious writer, will he feel himself altogether satisfied? It were to be wished that not only the above grammarian but another gentleman not less eminently qualified to illustrate any subject he undertakes, had favoured us with some example of the _neutral_ use of _inhabit_ in the sense of _to house_ or _remain at home_. Until this be done, or even then, it may be boldly said, and without much difficulty maintained, that _inhibit_, in point of meaning, was Shakspeare's word. Nor is it a paradox to affirm that _inhabit_, the _original_ reading, is also right; because this may be only one of the numerous instances during the former unsettled state of orthography, where the same word has been spelled in different ways. Mr. Malone has already supplied instances of _inhabit_ for _inhibit_ in a passage from _All's well that ends well_, in all the folios except the first, and another from Stowe's _Survey of London_. In the edition of the _Shepherd's calendar_, printed without date by Wynkyn de Worde in 4to, there is this sentence in chap. xxi.: "Correccyon is for to _inhabyte_ & defende by the bridle of reason all errowres," &c. Later editions have _inhibit_. Are we then to suppose that _all_ these examples are typographical mistakes, rather than a varied orthography?

The difficulty remains to extract a sense from _inhibit_ adapted to the occasion. Mr. Steevens has justly said, "to inhibit is to _forbid_;" but this cannot be the present signification. A man cannot well be said to _forbid_ another who has challenged him. He might indeed _keep back or hesitate_ in such a case, which is the _neutral_ sense now offered, but it must be confessed with nearly the same diffidence in its accuracy which has been expressed as to that of the others.

With respect to the punctuation, it is conceived, that considering the mode in which these plays were published, the authority of Shakspeare is almost out of the question; and therefore a judicious modern editor is entitled to use a great deal of discretion in corrections of this kind. In the present instance there is no great objection to the old pointing, though the comma should seem better _after_ "inhibit," and may render the line more emphatic. "If trembling, I keep back, _then_ protest me," &c. After all, this is one of the many instances in which the real meaning of the author cannot be satisfactorily obtained.

SCENE 5. Page 490.


Mr. Tollett has already vindicated Shakspeare from the supposed impropriety of introducing Hecate among _modern_ witches. The fact seems to be, that acquainted, as he has elsewhere shown himself to have been, with the classical connection which this deity had with witchcraft, but knowing also, as Mr. Tollett's quotation from Scot indicates, that _Diana_ was the name by which she was invoked in modern times, he has preferred the former rather than the latter name of the goddess, for reasons that were best known to himself.

That there existed during the middle ages numerous superstitions relating to a connection that witches were imagined to have had with Diana, it will be no difficult task to prove. From an ecclesiastical statute, promulgated during the reign of Louis II., king of France, it appears that certain mischievous women professed their belief in that goddess, obeying her as their mistress; and that accompanied by her and a great multitude of other females, they travelled over immense spaces of the earth at midnight, mounted upon various animals. Many other ecclesiastical regulations, and some of the councils, notice these superstitions, and denounce very severe vengeance against those persons who were thought to practise them. In one we find the following declaration: "Nulla mulier se nocturnis equitare cum _Diana_ dea Paganorum, vel cum _Herodiade_ seu _Benzoria_ et innumera mulierum multitudine profiteatur; hæc enim dæmoniaca est illusio."--Ducange, _Gloss._ v. Diana. These witches sometimes assembled at the river Jordan, the favourite spot of Diana or Herodias. The Jesuit Delrio very gravely denies the possibility of the above pranks, remarking that there is in reality no Diana, and that Herodias the dancer, whom he here confounds with her daughter, is at present in hell. _Disquisit. magic._ lib. ii. quæst. 16. Eccard, in his preface to Leibnitz's _Collectanea etymologica_, relates that in a journey through Misnia in Saxony, he discovered traces of the German _Hecate_ among the peasants in their _frauholde_ or _frau faute_, i. e. _lady fate_. John Herold or Herolt, a German friar of the fifteenth century, in one of his Sermons exclaims against those "qui deam, quam quidam _Dianam_ nominant, in vulgari _die fraurve unhold_ dicunt cum suo exercitu ambulare."--_Sermones discipuli_, serm. xi. He states this practice to have taken place at Christmas time. See likewise Carpentier _Suppl. ad Ducangii glossar_. v. holda. His majesty King James the First, author of that most sapient work entitled _Dæmonologie_, informs his readers that the spirits whom the gentiles called _Diana and her wandering court_, were known among his countrymen by the name of _pharie_. Other appellations of this personage are likewise to be met with, as _Hera_, _Nicneven_, and _Dame Habunde_; all as the chief or queen of the witches, whom she generally accompanied in their nocturnal dances and excursions through the air.

For the name of _Herodias_ it is not easy to account. It may not be deemed a very extravagant conjecture, that the common people had converted Herod's wife into a witch from their abhorrence of her cruelty towards Saint John the Baptist; for the old mysteries have preserved to us the indignant manner in which they treated Pontius Pilate. The circumstance too of her daughter's dancing, compared with the predilection of witches for that amusement, might contribute to the idea. The learned Schiller thinks that _Herodias_ was the same as _Juno_. He founds this opinion on the testimony of Gobelinus Persona, a Monk of Paderborn in the fifteenth century, who in his general history of the world had asserted that the Saxons worshipped Juno under the Greek name of _Hera_, and that the common people still believed in the flight of the _lady Hera_ through the air about the time of Christmas; a superstition which seems to have been derived from an older notion, that Juno presided over that element. Ducange imagined he had found the name in _Hera Diana_; but he has not brought forward any instance of the use of such an expression. With respect to _Benzoria_ or _Bensozia_, very little is known. Carpentier, in his Supplement to Ducange's glossary, conjectures that she was designed for the daughter of Herodias, and to assist in the magic dances. It is not improbable that this character is in some way or other connected with the Irish _Banshee_ or _Benshi_, a kind of fairy. In these subjects we can perceive many corruptions which it is impossible to account for.

Dr. Leyden, in p. 318 of the glossary to his edition of _The complaynt of Scotland_, mentions the "gyre carling, the queen of fairies, the great hag _Hecate_, or mother witch of peasants," and cites Polwart's _Flyting of Montgomery_ for "_Nicneven_ and her nymphs." In the fragment of an old Scotish poem in Lord Hyndford's manuscript, in strict conformity with what has been just advanced concerning _Juno_, she is termed "quene of Jowis." See _Ancient Scot. poems_, 1768, p. 231.

As _Dame Habunde_ or _Abunde_ has been classed among the names given to the president of the witches, it becomes necessary to take some further notice of her, though a character of an opposite description to those already mentioned. She appears to have been _the genuine queen of fairies_, and of a most innocuous and benevolent disposition, bestowing happiness and _abundance_ on all her votaries. In the passage before mentioned in Gobelinus Persona, _Hera_ is spoken of as conferring temporal abundance; and although she is represented as flying through the air, it is not by night, nor accompanied by others. Ducange has therefore improperly assimilated her to Diana and her tribe of mischief, and of course his etymology of _Herodias_ is rendered very improbable. In an ancient fabliau by Haisiau, never _entirely_ printed, _Dame Abunde_ is thus introduced:

"Ceste richesce nus abonde Nos lavon de par _Dame Avonde_."

She is also mentioned in the works of William Auvergne, bishop of Paris, in the fourteenth century, as a spirit enriching the houses that she visited. Delrio adds, that on her coming with the rest of the _good ladies_, the superstitious old women used to provide plenty of victuals for them, leaving all the dishes and wine-vessels uncovered to prevent any obstruction to their getting at the food, and expecting on the occasion nothing but plenty and prosperity. See _Disquisit. magic._ 1. ii. quæst. 27. sect. 2. In the life of Saint Germain, bishop of Auxerre, we find these dames paying their respects to the holy man; and as the story is misrepresented in its most material part by Caxton's translation of the _Golden legend_, it shall be given from a valuable manuscript of the same work much older than his time. "Narratio. In a tyme he was herboured in a place wher men made redy the borde for to go to dyner aftir he had soupid, and he was gretli merveiled, and asked for whom the borde was sette aᵹen; and thei seide for _the good women that walke by nyᵹte_; and than Seinte Germayne ordeyned that nyᵹte to be waked. And than at a certeyn hour gret multitude of feendis come to the borde in liknesse of men and of women. And than Germayn comaundid him that thei shold not passe thens, and than he awoke al the meyne, and asked yf thei knewe eny of thoo persones, and they seide that thei wer her neyᵹebores, and than he sente to her housis, and thei wer alle founde in bedde, and than thei alle had gret merveile and thouᵹte wel that thei were feendis that had so longe scorned hem."

The _Samogitæ_, a people formerly inhabiting the shores of the Baltic, and who remained idolaters so late as the fifteenth century, believed in the existence of a sort of demi-fairies about a palm high, with beards, whom they called _Kaukie_. To these little beings they made an offering of all kinds of food to avert their displeasure. They likewise invoked a deity called _Putscet_ to send them the _Barstuccæ_ to live with them and make them fortunate. To effect this, they placed every night in the barn a table covered with bread, butter, cheese, and ale; and if these were taken away before morning, they looked for good fortune, but if left, for nothing but ill luck. See Lasicius _De diis Samagitarum_, 1615, 4to, pp. 51, 55. A similar superstition prevailed in England, and is thus recorded in Browne's _Britannia's pastorals_, book i. song 2.

"Within one of these rounds was to be seene A hillocke rise, where oft the _Fairie queene_ At twy-light sate, and did command her elves To pinch those maids that had not swept their shelves: And further, if by maidens oversight, _Within doores water were not brought at night_; _Or if they spread no table, set no bread_, They should have nips from toe unto the head: And for the maid that had perform'd each thing, She in the water-paile bad leave a ring."

Mr. Bell, in his _Description of the condition and manners of the Irish peasantry_, relates that the fairies or _good people_ were supposed to enter habitations after the family retired to rest, to indulge in sportive gambols, and particularly to wash themselves in clean water; but if there were no water in the house, to play some mischievous tricks in revenge.

Fairies were also, from their supposed place of residence, denominated _waternymphs_, in the Teutonic languages, _wasserfrauwen_, _wassernixen_, _nocka_, _necker_, and _nicker_, terms, excepting the first, manifestly connected with the Scotish _nicneven_, and most probably with our _old nick_. Very great confusion seems to have arisen in the change of sex and appellation among these supernatural beings. This may have been occasioned by the numerous Pagan superstitions to which the common people were still attached long after the promulgation of Christianity, as well as from their excessive ignorance and credulity, which led them to convert the deities of the heathens into phantoms of their own creation. Thus Diana and Minerva were degraded into witches, and Mercury became the prince of fairies. Neptune was metamorphosed into a _water-fairy_, of whom a most curious account is preserved in the _Otia imperii_ of Gervase of Tilbury, published in Leibnitz's _Scriptores rerum Brunsvic._ p. 980, and partly copied into Mr. Tyrwhitt's edition of Chaucer's Canterbury tales, vol. iv. 268. It seems probable that the name of Neptune is merely disguised in the Scotish _Nicneven_. Some of the Teutonic glossaries render the word _necker_ by _dæmon aquaticus, Neptunus_. A further account of him may be found in Wormii _Monumenta Danica_, p. 17, and in Keysler _Antiquitat. select. septentr._ p. 261, where the etymology of _necker_, viz. from the Latin _necare_, strengthens the preceding conjecture as to that of _Nicneven_, and resolves it into the _destroying or dæmoniacal Neptune_. The reader may likewise consult Wachter's _German glossary_ under the word _necker_, where it would have been of some use to the learned author to have known that this mischievous fairy was remarkable for drowning people, and was called _Nocka_, the Danish term, as he states on another occasion, for _suffocating_. Nor would the contrast of character between this being and the _beneficent queen of fairy_ amount to any solid objection against the proposed etymology. Whoever may attempt an investigation of the fairy system will be sure of finding the greatest disorder and confusion; nor is it possible at this time to offer any reason that will be quite satisfactory why different qualities were ascribed to beings of similar names by different people. We must rest contented with possession of the fact. Thus _Dame Abunde_ has been made to preside over the _white nymphs_, _white ladies_, or _witte wyven_, who all appear to have been of a mischievous disposition, committing nocturnal depredations on men and cattle, but more particularly on pregnant women and infants, whom they shut up in their subterraneous abodes, from which groans and lamentations, and occasionally melodious sounds were often heard to issue. See Kempius _De orig. Frisiæ_, p. 341. Ben Jonson in his _Sad shepherd_ makes the _white faies_ to reside in stocks of trees.

But let us now return from this digression to the subject of Hecate or Diana. Under the reign of Hadrian, Saint Taurinus is said to have converted the inhabitants of Evreux in Normandy to the Christian faith, but this was not accomplished until the Devil had been fairly expelled from Diana's temple in the above city. For this purpose, he was with great solemnity enjoined to appear in the presence of all the people, who, as heathens, were extremely terrified, especially as the evil spirit came forth under the form of an Ethiopian, dark as soot, with a long beard, and fire issuing from his mouth. An angel then tied his hands behind him and led him away. This dæmon is believed still to remain at Evreux, frequently appearing to the inhabitants, but is said to be perfectly harmless. He is called _Goblin_ by the common people, who believe that he is restrained from mischief by the merits of Saint Taurinus. The reason why he was not at once consigned to the infernal regions, is, that at the command of the holy bishop he assisted in destroying the idols of the city; but he is supposed to have received sufficient punishment in beholding those persons in a state of salvation, whom during his power he had insultingly regarded as his victims. See Ordericus Vitalis, p. 555. In England it appears that the common people not only feared Diana as a witch, but that they had on many occasions paid her reverential honours as a goddess. This is confirmed by the remains of such animals as were used in her sacrifices, and also by her own images found on rebuilding Saint Paul's cathedral. These have been particularly described in Dr. Woodward's letter to Sir Christopher Wren in the eighth volume of Leland's _Itinerary_; from which circumstance the doctor very plausibly inferred that a Roman temple of Diana had been formerly erected on this spot. There is preserved a most curious sermon by Saint Maximus bishop of Turin in the fifth century, replete with the superstitions that existed in his time relating to the worship of Diana; nor can it be controverted that she was equally reverenced in this country long after the introduction of Christianity, when we find from the testimony of Richard Sporling, a Monk of Westminster in 1450, and a diligent collector of ancient materials, that during the persecution of Diocletian the inhabitants of London sacrificed to Diana, whilst those of Thorney, now Westminster, were offering incense to Apollo. Sir William Dugdale records that a commutation grant was made in the reign of Edward I., by Sir William Le Baud, to the dean and canons of Saint Paul, of a doe in winter on the day of the saint's conversion, and of a fat buck in summer on that of his commemoration, to be offered at the high altar, and distributed among the canons. To this ceremony Erasmus has alluded in his book _De ratione concionandi_, when he describes the custom which the Londoners had of going in procession to St. Paul's cathedral with a deer's head fixed upon a spear, accompanied with men blowing hunting-horns. Mr. Strype likewise, in his _Ecclesiastical memorials_, vol. iii. p. 378, has preserved a notice of the custom as practised in Queen Mary's time, with this addition, that the priest of every parish in the city arrayed in his cope, and the bishop of London in his mitre, assisted on the occasion. Camden had likewise seen it when a boy, and had heard that the canons of the cathedral attended in their sacred vestments, wearing garlands of flowers on their heads. As to Mr. Selden's _witty conceit_ on the subject, which bishop Gibson inclines to adopt, it is enough to allude to it, being most certainly unworthy of a serious confutation.

Some of the above remarks have been offered as hints only for a more ample investigation of the fairy superstitions of the middle ages, _so far as they are connected with the religion of the ancient Romans_; a subject of intrinsic curiosity, and well deserving the attention of those who may feel interest in the history of the human mind.


SCENE 1. Page 497.

1. WITCH. Thrice the _brinded cat_ hath mew'd.

Dr. Warburton has adduced classical authority for the connexion between Hecate and this animal, with a view to trace the reason why it was the agent and favourite of modern witches. It may be added, that among the Egyptians the cat was sacred to Isis or the Moon, their Hecate or Diana, and accordingly worshipped with great honour. Many cat idols are still preserved in the cabinets of the curious, and the sistrum or rattle used by the priests of Isis is generally ornamented with the figure of a cat with a crescent on its head. We know also that the Egyptians typified the Moon by this animal, as the Chinese and some of the people of India do now by the rabbit; but the cause is as likely to remain a mystery as their hieroglyphic mode of writing. Some of the ancients have amused themselves with guessing at the reason. They have supposed that the cat became fat or lean with the increase or wane of the Moon; that it usually brought forth as many young as there are days in a lunar period; and that the pupils of its eyes dilated or contracted according to the changes of the planet.

SCENE 1. Page 503.

3. WITCH. ... slips of yew.

The reason for introducing this tree is, that it was reckoned poisonous. See Batman _Uppon Bartholome_, 1. xvii. c. 161.

SCENE 1. Page 505.

MACB. Though you untie the winds, and let them fight Against the churches.

The influence of witches over the winds had been already discussed by Mr. Steevens in a former note on Act I. Scene 3, and it might be well supposed that their formidable power would be occasionally directed by these mischievous beings against _religious edifices_. It is therefore by no means improbable that in order to counteract this imaginary danger, the superstitious caution of our ancestors might have planted the yew-tree in their church-yards, preferring this tree not only on account of its vigour as an evergreen, but as independently connected, in some now forgotten manner, with the influence of evil powers. Accordingly in a statute made in the latter part of the reign of Edward I., to prevent rectors from cutting down trees in church-yards, we find the following passage: "verum arbores ipsæ, _propter ventorum impetus ne ecclesiis noceant_, sæpe plantantur." This is at least sufficient for the purpose of disproving what has been so often asserted respecting the plantation of yews in church-yards for the purpose of making bows; for although these weapons were sometimes made of English yew, the more common materials employed were elm and hazel, either on account of the comparative scarcity of English yew, or more probably from its inadequacy, in point of toughness, for constructing such bows as our robust and skilful archers were famed for using. Indeed modern experience has proved the truth of the latter supposition; and therefore, whenever yew was used for making the best sort of bows, it was of foreign growth: many of our ancient statutes very carefully provide for the importation of that commodity, which appears to have been chiefly Italian, with other merchandise.

SCENE 1. Page 506.

1. WITCH. ... grease that's sweaten From the murderer's gibbet.

Apuleius in describing the process used by the witch, Milo's wife, for transforming herself into a bird, says that "she cut the lumps of flesh of such as were hanged." See Adlington's translation, p. 49, edit. 1596, 4to, a book certainly used by Shakspeare on other occasions.

SCENE 3. Page 540.

ROSSE. ... to relate the manner, Were, on the _quarry_ of these murder'd deer, To add the death of you.

"_Quarry_," says Mr. Steevens, "is a term used both in hunting and falconry. In both sports it means the game after it is killed." So far this is just, and serves _partly_ to explain the passage before us, as well as this in _Coriolanus_, Act I. Scene 1:

"And let me use my sword, I'd make a _quarry_ With thousands of these quarter'd slaves, as high As I could pitch my lance."

What follows respecting the etymology of the word may not appear quite so correct. Mr. Steevens cites the MS. _Mayster of game_, in which the old English term _querre_ is used for the _square_ spot wherein the dead game was deposited. It is simply the French _carré_, but not, as Mr. Steevens conceived, the origin of _quarry_. It is necessary to state that _quarry_ not only signified the game that was killed, but, in falconry, the bird that was pursued or sought after. The same term is used to express the flight of the hawk after its prey. In these senses it is probable that the word has been formed from the French _querir_, _to seek after_, and that the game sought after would be called in that language _querie_, whence our English _quarrie_, the old and correct orthography. The more modern French term in falconry for pursuing the game is _charrier_. See René François, _Essay des merveilles de nature_, 1626, 4to, p. 48.

It is conceived therefore that in both the passages in Shakspeare _quarry_ signifies the spot or _square_ in which the heaps of dead game were placed. Not so in the quotation from Massinger's _Guardian_; for there _quarry_ is evidently the bird pursued to death.


SCENE 5. Page 570.

MACB. The way to _dusty_ death.

Perhaps no quotation can be better calculated to show the propriety of this epithet than the following grand lines in _The vision of Pierce Plowman_, a work which Shakspeare might have seen:

"_Death_ came drivynge after, and all to _dust_ pashed Kynges and kaysers, knightes and popes."

Scriptural language and a passage in the burial service might have likewise suggested the epithet.



SCENE 1. Page 19.

BAST. _Good den_, sir Richard.

SEE former note, p. 139.

SCENE 1. Page 26.

BAST. ... _Basilisco_ like.

This braggadocio character must have been very popular, as his oaths became proverbial. Thus in Fennor's _Compter's commonwealth_, 1617, 4to, we have, "three-pil'd, huge _Basilisco_ oaths that would have torn a roring-boyes eares in a thousand shatters."


SCENE 1. Page 39.

ELL. His mother shames him so, poor boy, he weeps.

CONST. Now shame upon you, whether _she_ does, or no!

Mr. Ritson proposes to read, _whether_ he _does or no_! i. e. _whether he weeps or not_; and he adds that Constance, so far from admitting, expressly denies that she shames him. It may be answered, that this reading is _equally_ objectionable; for Constance admits also that her son wept. In either case there is ambiguity; but the words as they stand are infinitely more natural, and even defensible, according to common usage.

SCENE 1. Page 44.

K. JOHN. Have brought a _countercheck_ before your gates.

Mr. Steevens thinks this one of the _old_ terms used at chess, but none such occurs in any of the treatises on that game. It is presumed to be simply a military word. Thus the Bastard afterwards asks, "shall a silken wanton brave our fields and find no _check_?" and we still say, "the enemy has received a _check_."

SCENE 1. Page 47.

K. PHI. Command the rest to stand.--_God, and our right_!

An English motto is here improperly put into the mouth of a Frenchman. Richard the First is said to have originally used DIEU ET MON DROIT.

SCENE 2. Page 64.

K. PHI. ... Young princes close your hands

AUST. _And your lips too_; for, I am well assur'd, That I did so, when I was first assur'd.

The kiss was a part of the ceremony of affiancing. Thus in _Twelfth night_:

"A contract of eternal bond of love, Attested by the _holy close of lips_."

See the note in page 67.


SCENE 4. Page 107.

CONST. And _buss_ thee as thy wife.

In former times there was no vulgarity in this word, as the two first quotations by Mr Steevens demonstrate; but he is peculiarly unfortunate in his last example, which may without detriment be omitted in future editions. The singular vulgarity of Stanihurst's language cannot with propriety be used to exemplify the undegraded use of any word whatever.

No further proof of the justice of this remark is necessary than the mention of his "dandiprat cockney Cupido," or the "_blubbering_ Andromache," whom he describes as "stuttering and stammering to _fumble_ out an answer to her sweeting delicat Hector;" and numerous expressions of a similar nature occur in his eccentric translation of the pure and elegant Virgil. _To buss_ is either from the French _baiser_, or from some radical word common to both languages, and was formerly written _bass_. Thus Stanihurst, whom it may be allowable to quote on this occasion;

"That when Queen Dido shall col thee and smacklye _bebasse_ thee:"

And the duke of Orleans, in one of his love poems written in the time of King Henry the Fifth;

"Lend me your praty mouth madame I wis dere hart to _basse_ it swete."

SCENE 4. Page 115.

PAND. No natural exhalation in the sky, No _scape_ of nature, no distempered day, No common wind, no customed event, But they will pluck away his natural cause, And call them meteors, prodigies and signs, Abortives, presages, and tongues of heaven.

The old copy reads _scope_ of nature. The alteration was made by Pope, and plausibly commented on by Warburton, who seems to have influenced Mr. Malone to adopt it. The speaker's design is to show that all the _common effects of nature_ which he mentions would be _perverted_ by the people; but an _escape_ of nature would be very _properly_ deemed _an abortive_. The original reading is therefore correct; nor could an apter word have been selected. Thus in _King Henry the Fourth, Part I._:

"And curbs himself even of his _natural scope_."


SCENE 2. Page 128.

PEMB. If what in _rest_ you have, in right you hold.

Mr. Steevens would read _wrest_, which he explains to be _violence_. But surely "the murmuring lips of discontent" would not insinuate that John was an usurper; because the subsequent words, "in right you hold," would then be contradictory. One could not say, "if, being an usurper, you reign by right." The construction may therefore be more simple: "If the power you now possess in _quiet_ be held by right, why should your fears," &c. The explanation given by Mr. Malone might have sufficed.

SCENE 2. Page 137.

K. JOHN. It is the curse of kings to be attended By slaves that take their humours for a warrant To break within the bloody house of life.

Mr. Malone ingeniously conceives this to be a covert apology for Elizabeth's conduct to the queen of Scots; yet it may be doubted whether any such apology would be thought necessary during the life of Elizabeth. May it not rather allude to the death of the earl of Essex? If this conjecture be well founded, it will serve to ascertain the date of the composition of the play, and to show that Meres had mistaken the older piece for Shakspeare's.

SCENE 2. Page 139.

K. JOHN. Or turn'd an eye of doubt upon my face, _As_ bid me tell my tale in express words.

_And_, and _or_, have been proposed instead of _as_, but without necessity. The words are elliptical in Shakspeare's manner, and only mean, "or turn'd _such_ an eye of doubt _as_ bid me," &c.

SCENE 3. Page 142.

SAL. Two long days journey lords, _or e'er_ we meet.

Dr. Percy has judiciously remarked that _ever_ or _e'er_ in this phrase is a useless augmentative, _or_ being of itself equivalent to _before_. The corruption is not much older than Shakspeare's time. In some of the editions of Cranmer's Bible, _Ecclesiastes_ xii. 6 is rendered, "_Or ever_ the silver lace be taken away, and _or ever_ the golden well be broken." In others the second _ever_ is omitted. Wicliffe's translation, an invaluable monument of our language, has it, "_er_ be to broke the silveren corde," &c. This is pure Saxon æꞃ or eꞃ; and so is our modern _ere_, often erroneously spelled _e'er_, as a supposed contraction of _ever_. Yet in Chaucer's time it had become _or_;

"For, par amour, I loved hir first _or_ thou."

Knight's tale, v. 1155.

though some copies, both manuscript and printed, read _er_ in this place as well as in others. Mr. Steevens seems properly to object to the orthography of _ore_.


SCENE 1. Page 155.

BAST. Away then, with good courage; yet I know, Our party may well meet a _prouder_ foe.

Mr. Steevens has noticed Dr. Johnson's misconception of this passage; yet it may be doubted whether he has sufficiently simplified the meaning, which is, "yet I know that our party is fully competent to engage a more _valiant_ foe." _Prouder_ has in this place the signification of the old French word _preux_.



SCENE 2. Page 272.

K. RICH. That when the searching eye of heaven is hid Behind the globe, _and_ lights _the lower world_.

The slight but necessary emendation of _and_ for _that_ ascribed to Johnson, had already been made by Hanmer. _Lower world_ simply means _lower hemisphere_.

SCENE 2. Page 279.

K. RICH. Our lands, our lives, and all are Bolingbroke's, And nothing can we call our own, but death.

This resembles Wolsey's speech;

"To the last penny 'tis the king's; my robe And my integrity to heav'n, is all I dare now call my own."

SCENE 2. Page 279.

K. RICH. And that small _model_ of the barren earth.

_Model_ or _module_, for they were the same in Shakspeare's time, seems to mean in this place, a _measure_, _portion_, or _quantity_.

SCENE 2. Page 280.

K. RICH. ... For within the hollow crown That rounds the mortal temples of a king Keeps death his court; and there the antick sits, Scoffing his state, and _grinning_ at his pomp.

Some part of this fine description might have been suggested from the seventh print in the _Imagines mortis_, a celebrated series of wooden cuts which have been improperly attributed to Holbein. It is probable that Shakspeare might have seen some spurious edition of this work; for the great scarcity of the original in this country in former times is apparent, when Hollar could not procure the use of it for his _copy_ of the dance of death. This note, which more properly belongs to the present place, had been inadvertently inserted in the first part of _Henry the Sixth_. See Act IV. Scene 7, in Mr. Steevens's edition.

SCENE 3. Page 283.

NORTH. Your grace mistakes me; only to be brief Left I his _title_ out.

YORK. The time hath been, Would you have been so brief with him, he would Have been so brief with you, to shorten you, For _taking so the head_, your whole head's length.

"_To take the head_," says Dr. Johnson, "is to act without restraint; to take undue liberties." It is presumed it rather means to take away or omit the sovereign's _chief_ and usual _title_; a construction which considerably augments the play on words that is here intended.




SCENE 1. Page 357.

K. HEN. To be commenced in _stronds_ afar remote.

This antiquated word, signifying _shores_, seems to have been entitled to some notice by the editors, as it cannot be familiar to every reader. We have now, perhaps accidentally, restored the original Saxon ꞅꞇꞃanꝺ.

SCENE 1. Page 357.

K. HEN. No more the thirsty _Erinnys_ of this soil Shall daub her lips with her own childrens blood.

The original reads _entrance_, which is supported by Mr. Malone and also by Mr. Ritson, to whose authorities might be added the line in Spenser's _Shepherds calendar_;

"Quenching the _gasping furrowes thirst_ with rayne."

The present reading was ingeniously suggested by Mr. Mason, and has been adopted by Mr. Steevens, who, vigorously maintaining its propriety, throws the gauntlet of defiance to all adversaries: but let us not be appalled!

To the assertion that a just and striking personification is all that is wanted on this emergency, the answer is, that we have it already. _Soil_ is personified; they are _her_ lips, and _her_ children that are alluded to. With respect to _Erinnys_, notwithstanding the examples of typographical errors that are adduced, it is highly improbable that it should have been mistaken for _entrance_, a word which has three letters that are wanting in the other. Again, are the instances common, or rather do they exist at all, where the _capital letter_ of a proper name has been lost in a corruption? And, lastly, to turn in part Mr. Steevens's own words against himself, it is not probable that Shakspeare would have "opened his play with a speech, the fifth line of which is obscure enough to demand a series of comments thrice as long as the dialogue to which it is appended;" or, it may be added, which contained a name of such unfrequent occurrence, and certainly unintelligible to the greatest part of the audience.

It is often expected, though perhaps rather unreasonably, that where an opinion is controverted, a _better_ should be substituted; yet it does seem just that something at least, in value equal or nearly so, should be produced, and on this ground the following new reading is very diffidently offered:

"No more the thirsty _entrails_ of this soil."

In _Titus Andronicus_ we have the expression, "the ragged _entrails of this pit_." And in the _Third part of King Henry VI._,

"What, hath thy fiery heart so _parch'd_ thine _entrails_?"

Nothing that has been here advanced is calculated to maintain that the name of _Erinnys_ must have been obscure to Shakspeare. One or two quotations have been already given from authorities that might have supplied him, to which the following shall now be added:

"_Erinnis_ rage is growen so fel and fearce."

_Last part of the mirour for magistrates_, 1578, fo. 153.

"On me, ye swarth _Erinnyes_, fling the flames."

Turbervile's _Ovid's epistles_, sign. K. ij.

SCENE 2. Page 367.

FAL. ... not by Phœbus,--he, _that wandering knight so fair_.

Falstaff, with great propriety, according to vulgar astronomy, calls the sun _a wandering knight_, and by this expression evidently alludes to some hero of romance. Now though the _knight of the sun_ mentioned by Mr. Steevens, was doubtless a great wanderer, he was not more so than others of his profession; and therefore it is possible that Falstaff may refer to another person particularly known by the name of _the wandering knight_, and the hero of a spiritual romance translated in Shakspeare's time from the French by William Goodyeare, under the last-named title. It may be worth mentioning that in all probability John Bunyan used this work in the composition of his _Pilgrim's progress_.

SCENE 2. Page 376.

FAL. 'S blood, I am as melancholy as a _gib cat_.

Captain Grose in his _Dictionary of the vulgar tongue_ informs us that a _gib cat_ is so called from _Gilbert_, the northern name for a _he cat_; and this is corroborated by the manner in which Chaucer has used the word in question;

"I mean but gyle, and follow that, For right no more than _Gibbe our cat_ That awaiteth mice and rattes to killen."

_Rom. of the rose._

The original French has "dam _Thibert_ le chas," which proves that _Gib_ was a proper name in Chaucer's time, whatever change it may have since undergone in its feline application. We see too the reason why a _gib_ is a _male_ cat. The melancholy of this animal has been sufficiently explained. Another quality belonging to him is thus ironically mentioned in the anonymous play of _The politick whore_, 1680; "as _modest_ as a _gib-cat_ at midnight."

SCENE 2. Page 381.

POINS. What says sir John _Sack-and-sugar_?

In aid of Mr. Malone's conjecture that sack was so called as being a _dry_ wine, _vin sec_, it may be remarked that the old orthography was _secke_ and not _sack_. Dr. Boorde in his _Regimente of health_, 1562, 12mo, calls it so. In Hollyband's _French schoolemaister_, 1619, 12mo, we have "_secke_, du vin sec." Again, "Some of you chaplaines, get my lorde a cup of _secke_, to comfort his spirites." Ponet's _Treatise of politike power_, 1556, 12mo; and Cotgrave in his _Dictionary_, makes _sack_ to be _vin sec_. This plausible etymology might have been wholly relied on, if an ingenious female traveller in speaking of the Tatar _koumis_, a preparation of mare's milk, had not informed us that she could not choose to partake of it out of the goatskin _sacks_ in which it is carried "as the Spaniards," says she, "do their wine; which, by the by, is a practice so common in Spain, _as to give the name of sack_ to a species of sweet wine once highly prized in Great Britain."--Guthrie's _Tour through the Crimea_, 1802, 4to, page 229. More stress is to be laid on this matter from a remarkable coincidence mentioned by Isidore of Seville, in his _Etymologies_, book iii. ch. 4, where he states _saccatum_ to be a liquor made from water and the dregs of wine passed through a sack. See also Ducange _Gloss._ v. _Saccatum_, and Carpentier's supplement, v. _Saquatum_.

Whatever has been said in the course of the scattered notes concerning Falstaff's _sack_ is so confused and contradictory, that it will be the duty of a future editor, either to concentrate them for the purpose of enabling the reader to deduce his own inference; or, rejecting them altogether in their present form, to extract from the materials they supply, the best opinion he may be able to form. There are two principal questions on the subject: 1. Whether sack was known in this country in the time of Henry the Fourth? 2. Whether it was a dry or a sweet wine when this play was written? The first is very easily solved; for there appears to be no mention of it till the 23rd year of Henry the Eighth, when a regulation was made that no malmseys, romineis, _sackes_ nor _other sweet_ wines, should be sold for more than three-pence a quart. The other question is full of difficulties, and the evidence relating to it very contradictory. We see it was a _sweet_ wine before Shakspeare's time, a circumstance that may be noticed as adverse to the etymology of _sec_. But if it was sweet, whence the use of sugar, which we do not find to have been added to other sweet wines? The testimony of Dr. Venner proves that sack was drunk either with or without sugar, _according to the palate_. The quality of this wine, originally sweet and luscious, might have undergone a change, or else some other _Spanish_ wine less saccharine in its nature might have obtained the name of sack.

SCENE 2. Page 385.

POINS. ... and _sirrah_, I have cases of buckram, &c.

Mr. Malone has in this and some other places maintained that _sirrah_ was not used as a term of disrespect in Shakspeare's time; but the learned commentator would probably have revised his opinion had he recollected the quarrel between Vernon and Basset in the first part of Henry the Sixth, where, in the most opprobrious manner, _sirrah_ is answered by _villain_. It seems to have been used much in the same way as at present, sometimes expressing anger and contempt, yet more frequently in a milder way when addressed to children and servants. It was even applied to women.

SCENE 3. Page 399.

HOT. And if the Devil come and _roar_ for them.

This line would be highly relished by an audience accustomed in Shakspeare's time to "Satan's chaunt," on some of the minor stages. On the theatrical _roaring_ of the Devil, see the notes of Messrs. Steevens and Malone in _King Henry V._ Act IV.

SCENE 3. Page 403.

WOR. As to o'er-walk a current, roaring loud, On the unsteadfast footing of a spear.

He seems to allude to the practice of making a bridge by means of a sword or a spear sometimes adopted by the heroes of ancient chivalry. See _Lancelot of the lake_, and other similar romances. Such an incident is represented on an ivory chest engraved in the first volume of Mr. Carter's _Specimens of ancient sculpture and painting_.

SCENE 3. Page 407.

HOT. And that same _sword-and-buckler_ prince of Wales.

To convey to the reader a complete idea of a sword-and-buckler man of Shakspeare's time, the following print of a young Englishman is exhibited. It is taken from the collection of dresses designed by Titian, and said to have been engraved on wood by his brother Cesar Vecelli, the editor of which remarks that the English youths then made great use of the sword and buckler. A similar figure occurs in the frontispiece to Cranmer's Bible, designed by Holbein, which has been most unfaithfully copied in Lewis's _History of the translations of the bible_. Mr. Strutt has given more correct copies of the man with the buckler in his _Manners and customs of the inhabitants of England_, vol. iii. pl. xii. and in his _Dress and habits of the people of England_, pl. cxxxviii.


The subject receives much illustration from a passage in _Stowe's chronicle_, p. 869, edit. 1634: "Untill about the twelfe or thirteenth yeere of Queene Elizabeth the auncient English fight of sword and buckler was onely had in use: the bucklers then being but a foote broad, with a pike of foure or five inches long. Then they began to make them full halfe ell broad with sharpe pikes ten or twelve inches long wherewith they meant either to breake the swords of their enemies, if it hit upon the pike, or els suddenly to run within them and stabbe, and thrust their buckler with the pike, into the face, arme or body of their adversary; but this continued not long. Every haberdasher then sold bucklers." The above historian had, no doubt, good authority for what he says respecting the length of the _pike_; but it is certain that in the eighth year of Elizabeth a proclamation was issued by which no person was permitted to wear any sword or rapier that should exceed the length of one yard and half a quarter in the blade, nor any dagger above the length of twelve inches in the blade, _nor any buckler with a point or pike exceeding the length of two inches_. The mode of wearing the buckler at the back may be seen in the cut p. 209.

SCENE 3. Page 407.

HOT. I'd have him poison'd with a pot of ale.

Mr. Steevens suggests that this speech has reference to the prince of Wales's pot companions, and Dr. Grey to the manner of King John's death. It will indeed suit either of those circumstances. But this remark has been principally made for the purpose of correcting an error of long standing with respect to what has been generally called _Caxton's chronicle_. Dr. Grey, relying perhaps on Bale or Nicolson, has inaccurately cited Caxton's _Fructus temporum_ for the account of King John's death; yet this work was never printed by Caxton under that title. It was professedly compiled by a schoolmaster of Saint Alban's, and originally printed in that city in 1483. In this form it is properly called _The Saint Alban's chronicle_, and is in fact a republication of one attributed to Caxton, with some additions at the beginning and end. The original often occurs in manuscript both in French and English; and, from the evidence of an ancient note in one copy preserved among the Harleian manuscripts, appears to have been composed by a monk of Glastonbury, named Douglas, who in the early part of it has copied Geoffrey of Monmouth. This work has been commonly ascribed to Caxton, and is often cited, even by old writers, under the name of _his_ chronicle, though he only made a trifling addition by a continuation to his own time. It is likewise supposed to have been _originally printed_ by him, but this is in all probability a mistake; for there is an edition undoubtedly printed by William Machlinia without date, which had escaped the observation of the correct and industrious Herbert. The type is the same as that used in the _Speculum Christiani_. This is presumed to be the prior edition which is spoken of in the prologue to that which Caxton printed in 1480, and there is no proof whatever that he printed any edition before that year.


SCENE 3. Page 436.

LADY PER. Of _basilisks_, of cannon, _culverin_.

In the note we are only told that "a _basilisk_ is a cannon of a particular kind." It is well known that there was a serpent so called, perhaps an imaginary one; and this animal with others of a like nature being sculptured on the ancient pieces of artillery, supplied them with the various appellations of _serpentines_, _culverines_, (from the French _couleuvre_,) _flying dragons_, &c. Of these the _basilisk_ was the largest. It was sometimes called a _double culverine_, and was much used about the middle of the sixteenth century, especially by the Turks. It must have been of a prodigious size, as it carried a ball of near two hundred pounds weight. Coryat mentions that he saw in the citadel of Milan "an exceeding huge basiliske which was so great that it would easily contayne the body of a very corpulent man."--_Crudities_, p. 104, quarto edition. Father Maffei, in his History of the Indies, relates that Badur, king of Cambay, had at the siege of Chitor four basilisks of so large a size that each was drawn by a hundred yoke of oxen, so that the ground trembled beneath them.

SCENE 3. Page 438.

LADY PER. In faith _I'll break thy little finger, Harry_.

This "token of amorous dalliance" is more particularly exemplified in an ancient song, entitled _Beware my lyttyl fynger_, reprinted by Mr. Ritson from Sir John Hawkins's History of music.

As the learned historian has not stated whence he procured this piece, it may be worth adding that it occurs in a small oblong quarto volume of songs with music, printed, according to appearance, by Wynkyn de Worde, in 1530; but as it varies in some instances from the reading in Sir John's work it is possible that he might have used some other authority.

SCENE 4. Page 442.

P. HEN. I am no proud Jack, like Falstaff; but a _Corinthian_, a lad of mettle.

The celebrity of Lais, the Corinthian courtezan, is said to have occasioned the proverb cited in Mr. Steevens's note, because from the extravagance of the lady's demands _every one could not afford to go to Corinth_, which, says Taverner, in his _Proverbs or adagies of Erasmus_, 1569, 12mo, is of like sense with our English proverb, _Every man may not be a lord_. We are told by Strabo that the temple of Venus at Corinth was furnished with a thousand young girls who performed the rites of the goddess. In short, that city appears to have been so notorious for its luxury, that ancient writers are full of allusions on this subject. See particularly Aristophanes's _Plutus_, Act I. Scene 2, and Saint Paul's first epistle to the _Corinthians_, ch. v. verse 1. This may serve to explain why _wenchers_ were called _Corinthians_.

SCENE 4. Page 444.

FRAN. Anon, anon, sir.

This was the _coming, sir_, of the waiters in Shakspeare's time. In _Summer's last will and testament_, Harvest says, "Why, friend, I am no _tapster_ to say, _anon, anon, sir_."

SCENE 4. Page 461.

P. HEN. Thou _knotty-pated_ fool.

Although it certainly stands thus in the old copy, the word should be changed without scruple to _nott-pated_, _i. e._ polled or cropped. The prince had a little before bestowed the same epithet on the drawer. In this place it may refer to the practice of nicking or cropping naturals.

SCENE 4. Page 461.

FAL. What upon compulsion? No; were I at the _strappado_, or all the racks in the world, I would not tell you on compulsion.

As the _strappado_ has been elsewhere improperly defined "a chastisement by blows," under an idea that a strap was used on the occasion, it may be necessary to take further notice of it on this occasion. It _was_ a military punishment, by which the unfortunate sufferer was most inhumanly tortured in the following manner:--a rope being fastened under his arms, he was drawn up by a pulley to the top of a high beam, and then suddenly let down with a jerk. The consequence usually was a dislocation of the shoulder blade. Representations of this nefarious process may be seen in Breughel's print of _The punishments of the law_; in one of Gerini's fine _Views of Florence_, and in Callot's _Miseries of war_. The term is evidently taken from the Italian _strappare_, to pull or draw with violence. At Paris there was a spot called _l'estrapade_ in the fauxbourg St. Jaques, where soldiers received this punishment. The machine, whence the place took its name, remained fixed like a perpetual gallows.

SCENE 4. Page 468.

FAL. ... he of Wales, that gave _Amaimon_ the bastinado.

_Amaimon_, king of the East, was one of the _principal devils_ who might be bound or restrained from doing hurt from the third hour till noon, and from the ninth hour till evening. See Scot's _Discovery of witchcraft_, B. xv. ch. 3.


SCENE 1. Page 487.

GLEN. The front of heaven was full of fiery shapes Of burning _cressets_.

A cresset light was the same as a beacon light, but occasionally portable. It consisted of a wreathed rope smeared with pitch and placed in a cage of iron like a trivet, which was suspended on pivots in a kind of fork. The light sometimes issued from a hollow pan filled with combustibles. The term is not, as Hanmer and others have stated, from the French _croissette_, a little cross, but rather from _croiset_, a cruet or earthen pot; yet as the French language furnishes no similar word for the cresset itself, we might prefer a different etymology. Our Saxon glossaries afford no equivalent term, but it may perhaps exhibit a Teutonic origin in the German _kerze_, a light or candle, or even in the French _cierge_, from _cereus_, because the original materials were of wax. Stowe the historian has left us some account of the marching watches that formerly paraded many of the streets of London, in which he says that "the whole way ordered for this watch extended to two thousand three hundred taylors yards of assize, for the furniture wherof with lights there were appointed _seven hundred cressets_, five hundred of them being found by the companies, the other two hundred by the chamber of London. Besides the which lights every constable in London, in number more than two hundred and forty, had his _cresset_, the charge of every _cresset_ was in light two shillings fourepence, and every _cresset_ had two men, one to beare or hold it, another to beare a bagge with light, and to serve it: so that the poore men pertaining to the _cressets_, taking wages, besides that every one had a strawne hat, with a badge painted, and his breakfast in the morning, amounted in number to almost two thousand."--_Survay of London_, 1618, 4to, p. 160. The following representations of _ancient cressets_ have been collected from various prints and drawings.


SCENE 1. Page 492.

HOT. And cuts me from the best of all my land, A huge half-moon, a monstrous _cantle_.

The word in its _strict_ sense, signifies a _small_ piece of any thing, but here a portion or parcel. The French have _chanteau_ and _chantel_, from the Latin _quantulum_.

SCENE 1. Page 494.

GLEN. ... I framed to the harp Many an English ditty, lovely well, And gave _the tongue_ a helpful ornament, A virtue that was never seen in you.

"Glendower means," says Mr. Ritson, "that he graced his _own_ tongue with the art of singing." This is surely wrong. The meaning is, that, by setting the English ditties to Welsh music, he had embellished the language in a manner that Hotspur had never done, the roughness of his speech affording neither poetry nor music. _Tongue_ was rightly explained by Dr. Johnson, _the English language_.

SCENE 1. Page 499.

MORT. ... that pretty Welsh Which thou pourest down from these _swelling heavens_ I am too perfect in; and but for shame, In such a parley would I answer thee.

According to Mr. Steevens, _swelling heavens_ are prominent _lips_. Are they not _eyes swollen with tears_? Glendower had just said that his daughter wept; and Mortimer tells his wife that he would answer the melting language of her eyes, if it were not _for shame_.

SCENE 2. Page 508.

P. HEN. By smiling _pick-thanks_.

A pick-thank is one who gathers or collects favour, thanks, or applause, by means of flattery. "Cave ne _falsam gratiam_ studes inire." Terence; which is thus Englished by Udall in his _Floures for Latine spekynge_, 1533, 12mo, fo. 137:--"Beware that thou desire not to _pyke_ or to have a _thanke_ of me undeserved."

SCENE 3. Page 522.

FAL. I never see thy face, but I think upon hell-fire.

Falstaff's wit at the expense of poor Bardolph's ruby face is inexhaustible. The same subject is treated with considerable humour in the following passage in Melton's _Astrologaster_, 1620, 4to: "But that which most grieves me, is, most of the varlets belonging to the citie colledges (I meane both the prodigious compters) have _fierie red faces_, that they cannot put a cup of Nippitato to their _snowts_, but with the extreme heat that doth glow from them, they make it cry hisse again, as if there were a gadd of burning steele flung into the pot," &c.

SCENE 3. Page 528.

FAL. There's no more truth in thee, than in a _drawn fox_.

The quotation from Olaus Magnus does not support Mr. Steevens's assertion that the fox when _drawn_ out of his hole was supposed to counterfeit death; for it is stated by that writer, and indeed by others, that he uses this device when hungry, to attract the birds, who mistake him for carrion. The following passage from Turbervile's _Noble arte of venery or hunting_ is offered, but with no great confidence, as a possible illustration of the phrase in question: "Foxes which have been beaten have this _subtletie_, to _drawe_ unto the largest part of the burrow where three or foure angles meete together, and there to stand at baye with the terriers, to the ende they may afterwardes shift and goe to which chamber they list."

SCENE 3. Page 535.

P. HEN. Go bear this letter to lord John of Lancaster, &c.

The first seven lines of this speech are undoubtedly prose, and should be so printed, like the preceding speeches of the Prince. No correct ear will ever receive them as blank verse, notwithstanding the efforts that have been or shall be made to convert them into metre.


SCENE 1. Page 543.

VER. All plum'd like _estridges_, that _wing_ the wind Bated like eagles having lately bath'd:

The evident corruption or mutilation in these lines, has rendered any attempt to explain them a task of great difficulty. It will be necessary in the first place to ascertain the exact sense of the word _estridge_; and although it is admitted that the _ostrich_ was occasionally so denominated by our old writers, it is by no means certain that this bird is meant in the present instance. It may seem a very obvious comparison between the feathers of a crested helmet and those of the ostrich; and had the expression _plum'd like estridges_ stood _singly_, no doubt whatever could have arisen. It is what follows that occasions the difficulty.

The old copies read, _with the wind_: now if the ostrich had been here alluded to, the conjectural substitution of _wing_ would have been absolutely requisite; but the line which follows cannot by any possible construction be made to apply to that bird. It relates altogether to falconry, a sport to which Shakspeare is perpetually referring. Throughout the many observations on these difficult lines, it has been quite overlooked that _estridge_ signifies a _goshawk_. In this sense the word is used in _Antony and Cleopatra_, Act III. Scene 2:

"And in that mood [of fury] the dove will peck the _estridge_."

There is likewise a similar passage in the third part of _King Henry VI._, which may serve as a commentary on the above line:

"So cowards fight, when they can fly no further; So _doves_ do peck the _faulcon's_ piercing talons."

It would be absurd to talk of a dove pecking an ostrich; the allusion is to the practice of flying falcons at pigeons. Thus Golding in his translation of _Ovid's metamorphoses_, fo. 9:

"With flittering feather sielie _doves_ so from the _gosshawk_ flie."

The manor of Radeclyve in Nottinghamshire was held by the service of "mewing a goshawk;" in the original charter, "mutandi unum _estricium_" In the romance of _Guy earl of Warwick_ we have,

"_Estrich falcons_, of great mounde."

Falconers are often called _ostregers_ and _ostringers_ in the old books of falconry, and elsewhere. _Estridge_ for _ostrich_ or _ostridge_ is a corrupt spelling that crept into the language at the commencement of Queen Elizabeth's reign, and it appears that after that period the two words were very often confounded together, and used one for the other.

The explanation of _to bate_, as cited from _Minsheu_ in one of the notes, cannot apply to _ostriches_, though it does, very properly, to a bird of prey like the falcon.

After all, there is certainly a line lost, as Mr. Malone has very justly and ingeniously conjectured; but the place should rather seem to have been _after_ the word _bath'd_, than _before_. The sense of the old copies, as to what remains, will then be tolerably perspicuous:

"All plum'd like estridges, that with the wind Bated, like eagles having lately bath'd * * * * * * *"

_i. e._ plumed like falcons, which, their feathers being ruffled with the wind, like eagles that have recently bathed, _make a violent fluttering noise_; the words in Italics being here conjecturally offered as something like the sense of the omitted line.

SCENE 1. Page 546.

VER. I saw young Harry with his _beaver on_.

There are two other passages in Shakspeare's plays that relate to the _beaver_, which it will be best to insert here for the purpose of avoiding confusion, and to afford likewise the means of assembling together the various and discordant opinions of the commentators. These are, 1. in _King Henry IV._ Part II. Act IV. Scene 1, "their beavers _down_;" and 2. in _Hamlet_, Act I. Scene 2, "he wore his beaver _up_."

In the first of these passages Dr. Warburton would read _with his beaver up_; and he remarks that "the _beaver_ is only the visiere of the helmet, which, let down, covers the face. When the soldier was not upon action, he wore it _up_, so that his face might be seen, but when upon [in] action, it was let down to cover and secure the face." All this is correct, except that the beaver is certainly not the visor.

Dr. Johnson says, "there is no need of all this note; for beaver may be a helmet." This too is very just; the beaver, a part only of the helmet strictly speaking, is frequently used to express a helmet generally. Thus, in the first scene of the third part of _King Henry VI._, "I cleft his _beaver_ with a downright blow." The latter part of the doctor's note was unnecessary, and its inference apparently wrong.

Mr. Malone remarks that "Dr. Warburton seems not to have observed, that Vernon only says, he saw _young Harry_, not that he saw his _face_." But surely, Dr Warburton having contended for the reading _beaver up_, could not have misconceived Vernon's meaning as above.

Dr. Lort contents himself with distinguishing and explaining the beaver and visor. He is however wrong in stating that the beaver was _let down_ to enable the wearer to drink.

Mr. Malone's second note relating to _Hamlet_, will be considered in the third passage.

In the second passage, Mr. Malone remarks that the _beaver_ "is confounded both here and in _Hamlet_ with visor, or used for _helmet_ in general," but that "Shakspeare is not answerable for any confusion on this subject, as he used _beaver_ in the same sense in which it was used by all his contemporaries." The latter part of this note applies very justly to the first passage, _beaver on_, where it is used generally for a _helmet_, but not to the present; _beavers down_ being perfectly accurate. It is submitted that the former part of the note, which relates to a supposed confusion both here and in Hamlet between _beaver_ and _visor_, is not quite accurate, as may hereafter appear.

In the third passage Mr. Malone says, "though _beaver_ properly signified that part of the helmet which was _let down_, to enable the wearer to drink, Shakspeare always uses the word as denoting that part of the helmet which, when raised up, exposed the face of the wearer; and such was the popular signification of the word in his time. In Bullokar's _English expositor_, 8vo, 1616, _beaver_ is defined thus:--'In armour it signifies that part of the helmet which may be _lifted up_ to take the breath more freely.'" On this passage Mr. Malone had also before remarked that Shakspeare confounded the _beaver_ and _visor_; for in _Hamlet_ Horatio says that he saw the old king's face, because he wore his _beaver up_; and yet the learned commentator inadvertently quotes Bullokar's definition, which is adverse to his own opinion. Another observation that suggests itself on Mr. Malone's note on _Hamlet_ is, that Shakspeare does _not always_ use _beaver_ to denote that part of the _helmet_ which, when raised up, exposed the face of the wearer; because we have just seen that he _sometimes_, as other writers do, applies it to the _whole_ of the helmet.

And lastly, as to preceding notes; the present writer had, in defending Shakspeare's accuracy, expressed himself in most faulty and inaccurate terms, when he said that "the beaver was as often made to lift up as to let down." A great deal of confusion has arisen from the want of due attention to these words.

There is a chance that the reader, unless he have paid more attention to what has already been stated than it perhaps deserves, may have got into a labyrinth; from which it shall be the endeavour of the rest of this note to extricate him.

In the first place, no want of accuracy whatever is imputable to Shakspeare.

The _beaver_ of a helmet is frequently used by writers, improperly enough, to express the helmet itself. It is in reality the lower part of it, adapted to the purpose of giving the wearer an opportunity of taking breath when oppressed with heat, or, without putting off the helmet, of taking his repast. As it was _raised up_ for this purpose, it could of course be _let down_ again; but it could not be _let down_ on either of the before-mentioned occasions. The _visiere_ or _visor_ was another moveable part in the front of a helmet, and placed above the beaver in order to protect the upper part of the face; and being perforated with many holes, afforded the wearer an opportunity of _discerning_ objects: and thence its name. It was made also to _lift up_ when the party either wanted more air, or was desirous of seeing more distinctly. It was perhaps never down but in actual combat; whilst the beaver would be thrown up or _kept_ down at the wearer's discretion, without much difference, except that in battle it would be closed, and at meals, or for additional coolness, thrown up. In short, the visor or beaver could only be _let down_ after they had been already lifted up; and when a writer speaks of their being _down_, it is generally meant that the helmet is closed.

To exemplify the above remarks, correct representations of a real helmet and its parts are here given. See likewise Grose's _Treatise on ancient armour_, plates 10, 26, 30.

Fig. 1. The helmet closed.

Fig. 2. The visor thrown up, the beaver down.

Fig. 3. The visor and beaver thrown up.

Fig. 4. The visor detached.

Fig. 5. The beaver detached.



SCENE 1. Page 567.

P. HEN. Of fickle changelings, and poor discontents, Which gape and _rub the elbow_, at the news Of hurly burly innovation.

The _itching of the elbow_, according to popular belief, denoted an approaching change of some kind or other.

SCENE 4. Page 587.

HOT. ... and life _time's fool_.

Mr. Steevens could not very easily have supported his opinion, that the allusion here is to the fool in the ancient farces, or in the representations called the _Dance of death_; a character which has been altogether misconceived in the course of the annotations on Shakspeare. Dr. Johnson's interpretation is much more natural and intelligible, and the allusion is certainly to the common or domestic fool, who was retained for the express purpose of affording _sport_ to his still more foolish employers. In this sense our author uses _death's fool_, _fortune's fool_, and _fate's fool_.

SCENE 5. Page 589.

P. HEN. _Embowel'd_ will I see thee by and by.

An ingenious commentator on Mr. Mason's supplement to Dr. Johnson's dictionary, (see the _Monthly magazine_, vol. xii. p. 299,) has disputed the usual sense of _embowel'd_ in this speech, on the ground that the prince would not be guilty of such _brutality_ as to see Falstaff _eviscerated_; and he therefore contends that the meaning is, _put into the bowels of the earth_. But surely the prince designs no more than that Falstaff's body shall be embalmed in the usual manner. When the knight rises, he exclaims, "if thou embowel me to day, I'll give you leave to _powder me_, and eat me to-morrow," evidently alluding to the practice of evisceration and subsequent treatment of a dead body by strewing aromatics over it for preservation. If the body were to be _put into the bowels of the earth_, as the commentator contends, Falstaff's "eat me to-morrow" would manifestly be an absurd expression. That the present writer may not be suspected of plagiarism on this occasion, he feels himself obliged to lay claim to the above opinion in answer to the commentator, as it appeared in the before-mentioned periodical publication.

But the following curious extract from the arraignment of Hugh Le Despenser, the favourite of Edward II., will set the question at rest for ever: "_Hugh_ contraytour este trove, par quoy vous agardent touz lez bonez gentz de realme, meyndrez et greyndres, ryches et povrez par comun assent, que vous come larone estes trove, par quey vous serrez pendue. Et contreytour estez trove, par quey vous serrez _treynez_[15] et quarterecez, et envoye parmy le realme. Et pur ceo que vous fuistez utlage par nostre seignour le roy et par commune assent, et estez revenue en courte sanz garrant, vous serrez decollez. Et pur ceo que vous abbestatez et procurastez discorde entre nostre seignour le roy et la royne et lez altrez del realme, si serret _enbouelleez_, et puis ils serront ars. Retrayez vous traytour, tyrant reneyee, si alez vostre juyse prendre. Traytour malveys et attaynte." In English. "_Hugh Le Despencer_, you have been found an arch-traitor, for which cause all good people of the realm, great and small, rich and poor, by common consent, award you a convicted felon; _therefore you shall be hanged_. And forasmuch as you have been found a traitor, _you shall be drawn and quartered, and [your limbs] dispersed throughout the kingdom_. And having been outlawed by our lord the king, and by common assent, you have unwarrantably returned into court; _and therefore you shall be beheaded_. And because you have procured and abetted discord between our lord the king, and the queen, and others of the realm, _you shall be embowelled, and [your bowels] afterwards burnt_. Begone traitorous renegade tyrant, and await the execution of your sentence. Wicked and attainted traitor!"--Knighton, inter _Historiæ Anglicanæ decem scriptores_, col. 2549.

The author of _Aulicus coquinariæ_, 1650, speaking of the opening of King James the First's body, has these words: "The next day was solemnly appointed for _imbowelling_ the corps, in the presence of some of the counsell, all the physicians, chirurgions, apothecaries, and the Palsgrave's physician."

We got this word from the _old_ French _eboeler_, the orthography of which at once declares its meaning. With us it might perhaps be more properly written _ebowel_, if the ear were not likely to be offended by the change.

* * * * *

Foote has borrowed some hints from Falstaff's speeches, in his admirably drawn character of Mother Cole. Among others take the following:--"Now am I, if a man should speak truly, little better than one of the wicked. I must give over this life, and I will give it over." He immediately changes his praying into pursetaking. See particularly the beginning of the third scene in the third act. Our English Aristophanes seems to have been likewise indebted to a story related in Lord Bacon's _Apophthegms_, of an old bawd who on her death-bed was interrogated by a customer whether a wench whom she had provided for him was in all respects as she had promised; to which she answered, _that she was; and further left it to him to judge with what comfort and confidence she could expect to meet her Saviour, if she should leave the world with a lie in her mouth_.


[15] This word may serve to correct a mistake in a note in _King Richard III._, Act V. Scene 2, by Dr. Johnson, who had supposed that _drawn_ was the same as _exenterated_.




SCENE 1. Page 11.

TRA. Up to the _rowel head_.

Dr. Johnson had either forgotten the precise meaning of the word _rowel_, or has made choice of inaccurate language in applying it to the _single spiked spur_ which he had seen in old prints. The former signifies the moveable spiked _wheel_ at the end of a spur, such as was actually used in the time of Henry the Fourth, and long before the other was laid aside. Shakspeare certainly meant the spur of his own time.

SCENE 1. Page 13.

NORTH. Even such a man so faint so spiritless, So dull, so dead in look, so _woe-begone_, Drew Priam's curtain in the dead of night, &c.

Dr. Bentley's proposed substitution of _Ucalegon_ for _woe-begone_, is a most striking example of the uselessness of learning when unaccompanied with judgment to direct it. Where too had the doctor found that Ucalegon drew Priam's curtain? and, it may be added, where did Shakspeare find that any one did so? It is not very uncommon for our poet to forget his reading, and make events change places. Thus a little further on, he has confounded Althea's firebrand with Hecuba's; and it is not improbable that in the present instance he might have misapplied the vision of Hector to Æneas so finely described in the second book of the Æneid.

SCENE 3. Page 46.

HAST. The _duke_ of Lancaster and Westmorland.

Mr. Malone's note on this anachronism would be more perfect if this slight addition were made to it, "and then not duke of _Lancaster_ but of _Bedford_." Mr. Ritson seems to have traced the source of Shakspeare's error in calling prince John of Lancaster _duke_ of Lancaster, in Stowe's _Annales_; but he has omitted to remark that even then Shakspeare had forgotten that prince John was not the _second_ son of Henry the Fourth. The blunder of the industrious historian is unaccountable. See the seal of Henry the Fifth as prince of Wales and duke of Lancaster in Sandford's _Genealogical history_.


SCENE 1. Page 49.

HOST. A hundred mark is a long _loan_ for a poor lone woman to bear.

The old copy reads long _one_, and the above alteration has, on the suggestion of Theobald, been very improperly and unnecessarily made. The hostess means to say that a hundred mark is a long _mark_, that is _score_, _reckoning_, for her to bear. The use of mark in the singular number in familiar language admits very well of this equivoque.

SCENE 2. Page 64.

PAGE. Marry, my Lord, Althea dream'd she was delivered of a firebrand.

Dr. Johnson has properly noticed the error concerning Althea's firebrand. This mythological fable is _accurately_ alluded to in _2 Henry VI._ Act I. Scene 1; a circumstance that may perhaps furnish an additional argument, though a slight one, that that play was not written by Shakspeare.

SCENE 4. Page 91.

PIST. Have we not _Hiren_ here.

The notes on this expression have left it a matter of doubt whether Pistol is speaking of his sword or of a woman; but the fact is, after all, that the word Hiren was purposely designed by the author to be ambiguous, though used by Pistol with reference _only_ to his sword. When the hostess replies, "There's none such here, do you think I would deny her?" she evidently conceives that he is calling for some wench. Pistol, not regarding her blunder, _continues to handle his sword, and in his next speech_ reads the motto on it--SI FORTUNA ME TORMENTA, SPERATO ME CONTENTA. It is to be observed that most of the ancient swords had inscriptions on them, and there is no doubt that if diligent search were made, the one before us, in a less corrupted state, would be found. In the mean time the reader is presented with the figure of an old French _rapier_, in the author's possession, on which these lines are engraved: SI FORTUNE ME TOURMENTE L'ESPERANCE ME CONTENTE.


In further illustration, the following story from _Wits, fits and fancies_, 1614, 4to, is added:--"Haniball Gonsaga being in the low countries overthrowne from his horse by an English captaine, and commanded to yeeld himselfe prisoner: _kist his sword_ and gave it the Englishman saying: _Si fortuna me tormenta, il speranza me contenta_." Part of this story had already been quoted by Dr. Farmer, but not for a similar purpose.

SCENE 4. Page 94.

FAL. Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a _shove-groat_ shilling.

Mr. Steevens supposes the _shove-groat_ shilling to have been used in the game of shovel-board, by which he seems to infer that the games of _shove-groat_ and _shovel-board_ were the same; but this is apparently a mistake. The former was invented during the reign of Henry the Eighth; for in the statutes of his 33rd year, chap. ix., it is called a _new_ game. It was also known by the several appellations of _slide-groat_, _slide-board_, _slide-thrift_, and _slip-thrift_, the first of which was probably adopted from the game being originally played with the silver groats of the time, then nearly as large as modern shillings. When the broad shillings of Edward the Sixth were coined, they were substituted for the groats in this game, and used also at that of _shovel-board_, which seems to have been only a variation of the other on a larger scale. Nothing has occurred to carry it beyond the time of Henry the Eighth; and from the want of such a term as a _shovel-groat_, it is probably not older than the reign of Edward the Sixth, who first coined the shilling piece. _Shovel-board_ is already too well known to require any description of it in this place; but of the other little seems recorded, or not sufficient to discover the manner in which it was played. Holinshed, or rather Stanihurst, in his history of Ireland, speaking of a mandate for the execution of the Earl of Kildare in the reign of Henry the Eighth, says, that "one night when the lieutenant and he for their disport were playing at _slidegrote_ or _shofleboorde_, sodainly commeth from the Cardinall (Wolsey) a mandatum to execute Kyldare on the morrow. The earle marking the lieutenant's deepe sigh, By S. Bryde, Lieutenant, quoth he, there is some made game in that scrole; but fall how it will, _this throwe is for a huddle_." Here the writer has either confounded the two games, or might only mean to state that the Earl was playing at one or the other of them. Rice the puritan, in his _Invective against vices_, black letter, no date, 12mo, speaks of "paysed [weighed] _groates_ to plaie at slip-thrifte;" and in another place he asks whether God sent Adam into Paradise to play at it. There is a modern game called _Justice Jervis_, which is supposed by Mr. Strutt, who has described it at large, to bear some resemblance to _shove-groat_. See his _Sports and pastimes_, p. 225.

SCENE 4. Page 94.

PIST. Why then let grievous, ghastly, gaping _wounds Untwine the sisters three_. Come _Atropos_, I say!

This is manifestly in ridicule of Sackvile's _Complaynt of Henry Duke of Buckingham_, in _The mirour for magistrates_:

"Where eke my graundsire, Duke of Buckingham Was _wounded_ sore, and hardly scapt untane. But what may boote to stay the _sisters three_? When _Atropos_ perforce will cut the _thred_."

Stanzas 5 and 6.

SCENE 4. Page 96.

PAGE. The musick is come, sir.

FAL. Let them play;--play, sirs.

This music was, in all probability, that belonging to one of those dances called _passameasures_; and it appears to have afterwards travelled by some means or other to _Barbadoes_: for Ligon, in his entertaining account of that island, where he was in 1647, tells us that he heard it played there by an _old fellow_. Ligon, no doubt, remembered it on the stage, and it is very likely to have been the _original_ music of Shakspeare's time; but the above writer has very ignorantly supposed it to have been "a tune in great esteem in Harry the Fourth's dayes."

SCENE 4. Page 98.

FAL. Drinks off candles ends for _flap-dragons_; and _rides the wild mare_ with the boys.

A _flap-dragon_ is a sport among choice spirits, by putting nuts or raisins into a bowl of brandy, which being set on fire, the nuts are snatched out hastily and swallowed, the party usually burning his mouth and fingers. In this way men formerly drank healths to their mistresses. It is likewise a Christmas gambol among young people, at which, instead of brandy, spirits of wine are used. It is sometimes called _slap-dragon_ and _snap-dragon_. In _The laws of drinking_, 1617, 12mo, p. 147, a person is said to be "as familiar as _slap-dragons_ with the _Flemming_."

_Riding the wild mare_, is another name for the childish sport of _see-saw_, or what the French call _bascule_ and _balançoire_.

SCENE 4. Page 100.

FAL. ... and breeds no bate with telling of _discreet_ stories.

Dr. Warburton would most unnecessarily read _indiscreet_. Mr. Steevens supposes that "by _discreet stories_ is meant what suspicious masters and mistresses of families would call _prudential information_; i. e. what ought to be known, and yet is disgraceful to the teller." But Poins, of whom Falstaff is speaking, had no masters or mistresses; and if it be recollected with what sort of companions he was likely to associate, Falstaff's meaning will appear to be, that _he excites no censure for telling them modest stories_; or in plain English, that he tells them nothing but _immodest_ ones.

SCENE 4. Page 102.

FAL. What stuff wilt have a _kirtle_ of?

Notwithstanding this word has excited as much conjecture as almost any other in the language, it will still admit of discussion. _Kirtel_ is pure Saxon, and signifies, generally, a _covering_, i. e. over all the other garments; in which sense it will always be found to have been [properly] used. In Littelton's Dictionary it is Latinized _supparum_. See likewise Ducange's _Glossary_, and a multitude of other authorities. Hence probably _covercle_. From the circumstance of its occurring as often in the sense of a long as of a short garment, it is more probable that the root of the word should denote that which _covers_, simply, than something that is _short_, _curtus_. In one of the notes, Cotgrave is cited as making _kirtle_ and _petticoat_ synonymous; but this definition is at variance with the line in the comedy of _Ignoramus_,

"Gownos, silkcotos, _kirtellos_ et _peticotos_."

It is admitted, however, that this word has been used with great latitude of meaning. Randle Holme makes it the same with the apron.

SCENE 4. Page 104.

FAL. Ha! a bastard son of the king's?--And art not thou _Poins his brother_?

Mr. Ritson explains this _the brother of Poins_. But where is the use of asking the _prince_ such a question? It must be remembered that the prince and Poins have just made their appearance, and Falstaff has a question for _each_. The sense therefore is, "Art not thou Poins, the brother of this bastard?"


SCENE 2. Page 135.

BULL. ... here is four _Harry ten shillings_ in French crowns for you.

This is an anachronism; there were no coins of ten shillings value in the reign of Henry the Fourth. Shakspeare's _Harry ten shillings_ were those of Henry the Seventh or Eighth, but he thought these might do for any other Harry.

SCENE 2. Page 140.

SHAL. I was then Sir Dagonet in Arthur's show.

The question whether Shallow represented Sir Dagonet at Mile-end green, or Clement's inn, although it has been maintained on either side with great plausibility, must ever remain undecided; but Mr. Malone's acute and ingenious conjecture that _Arthur's show_ was an _exhibition of archery_, and not an _interlude_, will no longer admit of any doubt. The truth of both these positions will appear from the following circumstances: In 1682 there was published "A remembrance of the worthy _show_ and shooting by the Duke of Shoreditch and his associates the worshipful citizens of London upon Tuesday the 17th of September 1583, set forth according to the truth thereof to the everlasting honour of the game of shooting in the long bow. By W. M." in p. 40 of which book is this passage: "The prince of famous memory King Henry the Eighth, having red in the chronicles of England, and seen in his own time how armies mixed with good archers have evermore so galled the enemy, that it hath been great cause of the victory, he being one day _at Mile-end when prince Arthur and his knights were there shooting_ did greatly commend the game, and allowed thereof, lauding them to their encouragement." One should be very much inclined to suppose this decisive of the first question, and that these _shows_ were usually held at _Mile-end_; but this is by no means the case. The work proceeds to state that King Henry the Eighth, keeping at one time a princely court at Windsor, caused sundry matches to be made concerning shooting with the long bow; at which one Barlo, who belonged to his majesty's guard, remaining to shoot, the king said to him, "Win thou all, and thou shalt be duke over all archers." Barlo drew his bow and won the match; whereat the king being pleased, commended him for his good archery; and the man dwelling in Shoreditch, the king named him _Duke of Shoreditch_. One of the successors to this duke appointed a _show_ on the 17th of September 1583, to be held in Smithfield and other parts of the city, which is here very circumstantially described; and among many other curious particulars it is mentioned that the citizens and inhabitants of Fleetbridge, &c. followed with a _show_ worth beholding of seemly archers; "then the odd devise of _Saint Clements parish_, which but ten days before had made the same _show_ in their own parish, in setting up the queen's majesties stake in Holborn fields, which stakemaster Knevit, one of the gentlemen of her majesties chamber, gave unto them at his cost and charges; and a _gunn_ worth three pound, made of gold, to be given unto him that best deserved it by shooting in a peece at the mark which was set up on purpose at Saint Jame's wall." This however was not solely a shooting with fire-arms, but also with bows: for in the account of the _show_ itself, which immediately follows, men bearing "shields and shafts" are mentioned, and "a worthy _show of archers following_." In the continuation of the description of the Smithfield _show_, mention is made of "the baron _Stirrop_, whose costly stake will be in memorys after he is dead, now standing at _Mile-end_;" and again, "And this one thing is worthy of memory: that upon the day of _Prince Arthur's shooting_, which was five weeks before this show, the duke, willing to beautifie the same in some seemly sort, sent a buck of that season by the marquess _Barlo_, (the name of this person was kept up long after his decease,) accompanied with many goldsmiths, who coming in satten dublets and chains of gold about their bodies, with horns at their backs, did all the way wind their horns, and presented the same to _prince Arthur_, who was at his tent, which was at _Mile-end-green_."

We see therefore that Shakspeare having _both these shows_ in his recollection, has made Shallow, a talkative simpleton, refer to them indistinctly, and that probably by design, and with a due attention to the nature of his character. What Shallow afterwards says about the management of the _little quiver fellow's_ piece, or _caliver_, will not weigh in either scale; because in all these _shows_ there were musketeers. In that at Smithfield the feryers marched, consisting of "one hundred handsome fellowes with _calivers_ on their necks, all trimly decked with white feathers in their hats." _Maister Thomas Smith_, who in Mr. Malone's note is said to have personated Prince Arthur, was "chiefe customer to her majesty in the port of London;" and to him Richard Robinson, a translator of several books in the reign of Elizabeth, dedicated his _Auncient order, societie and unitie laudable of Prince Arthure and his knightly armory of the round table, with a threefold assertion frendly in favour and furtherance of English archery at this day_, 1583, 4to. Such part of this work as regards Prince Arthur is chiefly a translation from the French, being a description of the arms of the knights of the round table; the rest is a panegyric in verse by Robinson himself in praise of archery. It appears from the dedication that King Henry VIII. confirmed by charter to the citizens of London, the "famous order of knightes of prince Arthur's round table or society: like as in his life time when he sawe a good archer in deede, he chose him and ordained such a one for a knight of the same order." Hearne says this book was so scarce in his time that he could never get a copy of it. See preface to Leland's _Collectanea_, p. liii.

Whatever part Sir Dagonet took in this show would doubtless be borrowed from Mallory's romance of the _Mort Arture_, which had been compiled in the reign of Henry VII. What there occurs relating to Sir Dagonet was extracted from the excellent and ancient story of _Tristan de Leonnois_, in which Dagonet is represented as the fool of king Arthur. He is sometimes dressed up in armour and set on to attack the knights of Cornwall, who are uniformly described as cowards. It once happened that a certain knight, who for a particular reason had been called _Sir Cotte mal taillée_ by Sir Kay, king Arthur's seneschal, was, at the instance of Sir Kay, attacked by poor Dagonet; but the latter was very soon made to repent of his rashness and thrown over his horse's crupper. On another occasion Tristan himself, in the disguise of a fool, handles Sir Dagonet very roughly; but he, regardless of these tricks of fortune, is afterwards persuaded to attack Mark the king of Cornwall, who is in reality a coward of the first magnitude. Mark, supposing him to be Lancelot of the lake, runs away, and is pursued by the other; but the persons who had set on Sir Dagonet, becoming apprehensive for the consequences, followed them, as "they would not," says the romance, "for no good, that Sir Dagonet were hurt; for king Arthur loved him passing well, and made him knight with his owne hands." King Mark at length meets with another knight, who, perceiving his cowardice, attacks Dagonet and tumbles him from his horse.

In the romance of _Sir Perceval li Gallois_, Kay, the seneschal of Arthur, being offended with Dagonet for insinuating that he was not the most valorous of knights, kicks him into the fire. So much for the hero personated by Master Justice Shallow.

SCENE 2. Page 146.

FAL. ... this _Vice's_ dagger----

To each of the proposed etymologies of _Vice_ in the note there seem to be solid objections.

Hanmer's derivation from the French _visdase_, is unsupported by any thing like authority. This word occurs in no ancient French writer as a theatrical character, and has only been used by modern ones in the sense of ass or fool, and then probably by corruption; there being good reason to suppose that it was originally a very obscene expression. It is seldom, if ever, that an English term is made up from a French one, unless the thing itself so expressed be likewise borrowed; and it is certain that in the old French moralities and comedies there is no character similar to the _Vice_.

Mr. Warton says it is an abbreviation of _device_, because in the old dramatical shows this character was nothing more than a _puppet moved by machinery_, and then originally called a _device_. But where is the proof of these assertions, and why should _one puppet in particular_ be termed a _device_? As to what he states concerning the name of the smith's machine, the answer is, that it is immediately derived from the French _vis_, a screw, and neither probably from _device_; for the machine in question is not more a device than many other mechanical contrivances. Mr. Warton has likewise informed us that the vice had appeared as a puppet _before_ he was introduced into the early comedies; but it would be no easy task to maintain such an opinion. Nor is it by any means clear that Hamlet, in calling his uncle a _vice_, means to compare him to a _puppet_ or _factitious_ image of majesty; but rather simply to a _buffoon_, or, as he afterwards expresses it, a _king of shreds and patches_. The puppet shows had, probably, kings as well as _vices_ in their dramas; and Hamlet might as well have called his uncle at once, a _puppet king_.

What Mr. Steevens has said on this subject in a note to _Twelfth night_, vol. iv. 146, deserves a little more consideration. He states, but without having favoured us with proof, that the vice _was always acted in a mask_; herein probably recollecting that of the modern Harlequin, the _illegitimate_ successor to the old vice. But the mask of the former could have nothing to do with that of the latter, if he really wore any. Admitting however that he might, it is improbable that he should take his name from such a circumstance; and even then, it would be unnecessary to resort, with Mr. Steevens, to the French word _vis_, which, by the bye, never signified a _mask_, when our own _visard_, i. e. a covering for the _visage_, would have suited much better.

A successful investigation of the origin and peculiarities of this singular theatrical personage would be a subject of extreme curiosity. The etymology of the word itself is all that we have here to attend to; and when the _vicious_ qualities annexed to the names of the above character in our old dramas, together with the mischievous nature of his general conduct and deportment, be considered, there will scarcely remain a doubt that the word in question must be taken _in its literal and common acceptation_. It may be worth while just to state some of these curious appellations, such as _shift_, _ambidexter_, _sin_, _fraud_, _vanity_, _covetousness_, _iniquity_, _prodigality_, _infidelity_, _inclination_; and many others that are either entirely lost, or still lurk amidst the impenetrable stores of our ancient dramatic compositions.


SCENE 3. Page 174.

COLE. I am a knight, sir; and my name is _Colevile of the dale_.

"At the king's coming to _Durham_, the Lord Hastings, _Sir John Colevile of the dale_, &c., being convicted of the conspiracy, were _there_ beheaded."--Holinshed, p. 530.

The above quotation has not been appositely made by Mr. Steevens. It appears very soon afterwards in this scene that _Colevile_ and his confederates were sent by prince John to _York_ to be beheaded.

It is to be observed that there are two accounts of the termination of the archbishop of York's conspiracy, _both_ of which are given by Holinshed, who likewise states that on the archbishop and the earl marshal's submission to the king and to his son prince John, there present, "their troupes skaled and fledde their wayes, but being pursued, many were taken, many slain, &c., the archbishop and earl marshal were brought to Pomfret to the king, who from thence went _to Yorke whyther the prisoners were also brought and there beheaded_." It is this account that Shakspeare has followed, but with some variation; for the names of Hastings and Colevile are not mentioned among those who were so beheaded at York.

Mr. Ritson, in an additional note, says it is not clear that _Hastings and Colevile_ were taken prisoners in _this_ battle; meaning, it is presumed, the skirmishes with "the scattered stray" whom prince John had ordered to be pursued, including Hastings and Colevile. It is however _quite clear_ from the testimony of the parliament rolls, that _they were taken prisoners_ in their flight from _Topcliffe_, on the borders of _Galtree forest_, where they had made head against the king's army, and were dispersed by prince John and the earl of Westmoreland.

SCENE 3. Page 176.

FAL. ... if you do not all shew like _gilt two-pences_ to me----

He means to say, "you will seem no more in comparison to me than a gilt twopence does to a coin of real gold." It was the practice to gild the smaller pieces of silver coin in the reign of Elizabeth.

SCENE 3. Page 178.

FAL. ... 'twere better than your _dukedom_.

Mr. Ritson justly observes that prince John had no dukedom, and in a former note pointed out a passage in Stowe's annals which had misled Shakspeare. The annalist repeated his error, strange as it is, in the account of the conspiracy. Holinshed always names prince John properly.


SCENE 1. Page 207.

SHAL. By _cock and pye_, sir, you shall not away to night.

This oath has been supposed to refer to the sacred name, and to that service book of the Romish church which in England, before the reformation, was denominated a _pie_; but it is improbable that a volume with which the common people would scarcely be acquainted, and exclusively intended for the use of the clergy, could have suggested a popular adjuration.

It will, no doubt, be recollected, that in the days of ancient chivalry it was the practice to make solemn vows or engagements for the performance of some considerable enterprise. This ceremony was usually performed during some grand feast or entertainment, at which a roasted peacock or pheasant, being served up by ladies in a dish of gold or silver, was thus presented to each knight, who then made the particular vow which he had chosen, with great solemnity. When this custom had fallen into disuse, the peacock nevertheless continued to be a favourite dish, and was introduced on the table in a _pie_, the head, with gilded beak, being proudly elevated above the crust, and the splendid tail expanded. Other birds of smaller value were introduced in the same manner, and the recollection of the old peacock vows might occasion the less serious, or even burlesque, imitation of swearing not only by the bird itself but also by the _pie_; and hence probably the oath _by cock and pie_, for the use of which no very old authority can be found. The vow to the peacock had even got into the mouths of such as had no pretensions to knighthood. Thus in _The merchant's second tale, or the history of Beryn_, the host is made to say,

"_I make a vowe to the pecock_ there shal wake a foul mist."

There is an alehouse sign of the _cock and magpie_, which seems a corruption of the _peacock pie_. Although the latter still preserved its genuine appellation of _the cock and pie_, the magic art of modern painters would not fail to produce a metamorphosis like that which we have witnessed on many other occasions.

SCENE 1. Page 211.

FAL. ... if to his men, I would _curry_ with Master Shallow----

_To curry_ is the same as to _curry favour_, to flatter, to please. _To curry_, in its genuine acceptation, is, as every one knows, to rub or dress leather, in French _courroyer_, from _cuir_; and in this sense it was applied to rubbing down a horse's hide, a process that conveys a sensation of pleasure to the animal. The rest of the phrase is corrupt, as will appear from the ancient orthography, which is, to curry _favel_. Thus in the old story _How a merchande dyd hys wyfe betray_, we have,

"There sche _currayed favell_ well;"

and in the prologue to _The merchant's tale of Beryn_, in Urry's Chaucer, p. 597,

"As though he had lerned _cury favel_ of some old frere."

Now the name of _Favel_ was anciently given to yellow-coloured horses, in like manner as _Bayard_, _Blanchard_, and _Lyard_ were to brown, white, or gray. One of Richard the First's horses was so called, as we learn from Robert of Brunne's _Chronicle_, p. 175:

"Sithen at Japhet [Jaffa] was slayn _fauvelle_ his stede, The romance tellis grete pas ther of his douhty dede:"

and see Warton's _Hist. of Engl. poetry_, vol. i. p. 161. It must be obvious, therefore, that the phrase _to curry favel_ was a metaphorical expression adopted from the stable.

Puttenham informs us that moderation of words tending to flattery, or soothing, or excusing, is expressed by the figure _paradiastole_, "which therefore," says he, "nothing improperly we call _curry favell_, as when we make the best of a thing," &c.--_Arte of English poesie_, p. 154. There is likewise a proverb, "He that will in court dwell, must needes _currie fabel_;" the meaning of which was not well understood, even in the time of Elizabeth; for Taverner speaking of it says, "Ye shal understand that fabel is an olde Englishe worde, and signified as much as favour doth now a dayes."--_Proverbes or adagies gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus_, 1569, 18mo, fo. 44. Much about this time began the corruption from _favel_ to _favour_, of which an example may be seen in Forrest's translation of _Isocrates_, 1580, 4to, fo. 23.

It is necessary to add that _favel_ is also an old word that expresses _deceit_, from the French _favele_, fabula; and is so used by Skelton: but this will not invalidate the foregoing etymology. As to Skinner's derivation of _curry favour_ from the French _querir faveur_,--if an equivalent phrase had existed in the French language, it might at least have been plausible: but there is no instance of _cury_, or rather _curray_, the proper word, being used alone in the sense of _to seek_; nor does it appear from _ancient_ authority that _favel_ ever denoted _favour_.

SCENE 2. Page 217.

CH. JUST. And struck me in my very seat of justice.

In a note on this passage, the anachronism of continuing Gascoine chief justice in the reign of Henry the Fifth has been adverted to. The fault is properly to be ascribed to the author of the old play of _Henry the Fifth_, from which Shakspeare inadvertently adopted it.

SCENE 3. Page 229.

SIL. And dub me knight.

The following addition to the ceremony of dubbing topers knights _on their knees_ in Shakspeare's time, from a contemporary pamphlet, may not be unacceptable: "The divell will suffer no dissensions amongst them untill they have executed his wil in the deepest degree of drinking, and made their sacrifice unto him, and most commonly that is done _upon their knees being bare_. The prophaneness whereof is most lamentable and detestable, being duely considered by a Christian, to think that that member of the body which is appointed for the service of God is too often abused with the adoration of a harlot, or a base drunkard, as I myself have been (and to my griefe of conscience) may now say have in presence, yea and amongst others, been an actor in the business, when _upon our knees_, after healthes to many private punkes, a health have been drunke to all the whoores in the world."--Young's _England's bane_, or the _description of drunkennesse_, 1617, quarto.

SCENE 4. Page 238.

DOL. You _blue-bottle_ rogue.

This allusion to the dress of the beadle is further confirmed by the _two beadles in blew gownes_ who are introduced in the fourth act of the old play of _Promos and Cassandra_, which at the same time furnishes additional illustration of Mr. Steevens's remark on the strumpet's dress, as Polina is there exhibited doing penance in a _blue habit_.

SCENE 5. Page 241.

1. GROOM. More rushes, more rushes.

Dr. Bullein, who speaks much in general commendation of the rush for its utility, informs us, that "rushes that grow upon dry groundes be good to strew in halles, chambers and galleries, to walke upon, _defending apparell, as traynes of gownes and kertles from dust_. Rushes be olde courtiers, and when they be nothing worth, then they be cast out of the doores; so be many that do treade upon them."--_Bulwarke of defence_, 1579, fol. 21. The _length_ of the _kirtle_ is here ascertained, and Mr. Malone's account of it in this respect fully confirmed. See his note in Act II. Scene 4, of this play.

SCENE 5. Page 248.

CH. JUST. Go, carry Sir John Falstaff to the Fleet.

Every body will agree with Dr. Johnson in the impropriety of Falstaff's cruel and unnecessary commitment to prison. The king had already given him a fit admonition as to his future conduct, and banished him to a proper distance from the court. We must suppose therefore that the chief justice had far exceeded his royal master's commands on this occasion, or that the king had repented of his lenity. The latter circumstance would indeed augur but unfavourably of the sovereign's future regard to justice; for had he not himself been a partaker, and consequently an encourager, of Falstaff's excesses? On the stage this scene may very well be spared. The audience will be better pleased at the poor knight's retiring with his companions under the impression that the king's behaviour to him has been necessarily disguised. No one will wish to see him _punished_.


Page 263.

CHORUS. O for a muse of fire, &c.

"This," says Dr. Warburton, "goes upon the notion of the Peripatetic system, which imagines several heavens, one above another; the last and highest of which was one of fire." We have here one of the very best specimens of the doctor's flights of fancy. Shakspeare, in all probability, knew nothing of the Peripatetic philosophy; he simply wishes for poetic fire, and a due portion of inventive genius. The other explanation by Dr. Johnson seems likewise too refined.

Page 264.

CHORUS. ... Can this cock-pit hold The vasty fields of France? or may we cram Within this wooden O, the very casques That did affright the air at Agincourt?

Dr. Johnson has elsewhere remarked that Shakspeare was fully sensible of the absurdity of showing battles on the theatre, which, says he, is never done but tragedy becomes a farce. The whole of this chorus receives considerable illustration from a passage in Sir Philip Sidney's _Defence of poesie_, where, speaking of the inartificial management of time and place in the theatres of his time, he thus proceeds: "where you shall have Asia of the one side and Affricke of the other, and so many other under-kingdoms, that the player when he comes in, must ever begin with telling where hee is, or else the tale will not be conceived. Now shall you have three ladies walke to gather flowers, and then we must beleeve the stage to bee a garden. By and by we heare newes of shipwracke in the same place, then we are too blame if we accept it not for a rocke. Upon the backe of that comes out a hidious monster with fire and smoke, and then the miserable beholders are bound to take it for a cave: _while in the meane time two armies flie in, represented with foure swordes and bucklers, and then what hard hart will not receive it for a pitched field?_ Now of time they are much more liberal. For ordinarie it is that two young princes fall in love, and after many traverses she is got with child, delivered of a faire boy; he is lost, groweth a man, falleth in love, and is ready to get another child; and all this in two houres space: which how absurd it is in sence, even sence may imagine: and art hath taught, and all ancient examples justified, and at this day the ordinary players in Italie will not erre in." These remarks might with great propriety be applied to the play before us, to the _Winter's tale_, to _Pericles_, and some others of Shakspeare's dramas. In France, the contemporary playwrights were commonly more observant of the unities, though many charges to the contrary might be brought against them.


SCENE 2. Page 277.

K. HEN. Therefore take heed how you impawn _our_ person, How you awake the sleeping sword of war.

Dr. Johnson would read _your person_, and then explain it, "take heed how you pledge your honour, &c. in support of bad advice." The archbishop might indeed pledge his _opinion_ in this case; but _person_ must in all events belong to the _king_. It was he who had the prerogative of making war; and as the impawning of a thing is generally attended with a risk of its future loss, so the king may here allude to the danger of his own person, which, from the practice at that time of sovereigns to engage in battle, might not be inconsiderable.

SCENE 2. Page 281.

CANT. ... Also king Lewis the _tenth_.

Shakspeare having here adopted _Holinshed's error_ in substituting Lewis the _Tenth_ for Lewis the _Ninth_, Mr. Malone has faithfully discharged his editorial duty in permitting it to remain. It was sufficient to point out the mistake in a note; and therefore Mr. Ritson's genealogy, designed to vindicate the text, but _manifestly erroneous_, should be omitted.

SCENE 2. Page 291.

CANT. They have a king, and officers of _sorts_.

_Sorts_, if the true reading, rather means _portions_ or _companies_, than _of different kinds_, according to Mr. Steevens; and such is the sense of the word in Mr. Reed's quotation, "drummes and _sortes_ of musicke," though adduced in support of Mr. Steevens. In that much disputed verse 13 of the 68th psalm, the Greek word _cleros_, very strangely introduced into the _Vulgate translation_, is rendered by Wicliffe _sortis_; and in another old translation, _lottes_.

SCENE 2. Page 295.

K. HEN. ... or else our grave Like Turkish mute, shall have a tongueless mouth, Not worship'd with a _waxen_ epitaph.

The question is whether _paper_, the reading of the quarto, or _waxen_ of the folio, should be adopted. Mr. Malone very justly remarks that the passage has been misunderstood, and, not finding any construction of waxen that agrees with the sense required, seems disposed to give the preference to _paper_ of which epithet he has offered a very ingenious explanation. The alteration in the folio was doubtless occasioned by some dissatisfaction with the former word, and made with a view to improvement: but no satisfactory meaning can be gathered from the term _waxen_, as connected with the noun _wax_; and the passages adduced by Mr. Steevens afford a sense entirely opposite to what is required. It seems to have been forgotten that _waxen_ is the participle to _wax_, to grow, to increase, to _expand_. Thus in _Hamlet_, Act I. Scene 3, we have,

"... but as this temple _waxes_, The inward service of the mind and soul _Grows_ wide withall----"

In _A Mids. N. Dream_, Act II. Scene 1,

"And then the whole quire hold their lips and loffe, And _waxen_ in their mirth----"

In _Titus Andronicus_, Act III. Scene 1,

"Who marks the _waxing_ tide _grow_ wave by wave."

A _waxen_ epitaph may be therefore a _long_ or _protracted_ one, such as a king would expect.

SCENE 2. Page 298.

K. HEN. Tell him he hath made a match with such a _wrangler_, That all the courts of France will be disturb'd With _chaces_.

Dr. Johnson informs us that _chace_ is a term at tennis. It is _often_, not always, necessary to know more of a term than that it belongs to some particular science. A _chace_ at tennis then is that spot where a ball falls, beyond which the adversary must strike his ball to gain a point or chace. At lawn tennis it is the spot where the ball leaves off rolling. We see therefore why the king has called himself a _wrangler_.


Page 304.

CHOR. And by their hands this grace of kings must die (If hell and treason hold their promises,) Ere he take ship for France, and in Southampton. Linger your patience on; and well digest The abuse of distance, while we force a play. The sum is paid; the traitors are agreed; The king is set from London; and the scene Is now transported, gentles, to Southampton.

An unnecessary transposition of these _most plain and intelligible_ lines has been offered by Dr. Johnson, on _his_ supposition that every one who reads them "looks about for a meaning which he cannot find." In confirmation of their original arrangement, we learn from Stowe and Holinshed, the historians whom Shakspeare followed, and Dr. Johnson perhaps never thought worth consulting, that the plot against the king was laid by the conspirators at Southampton: a circumstance that is weakened, if not altogether cancelled, by the proposed alteration. See a speech by King Henry in the ensuing act.

SCENE 1. Page 314.

PIST. No; to the _spital_ go, And from the powdering tub of infamy Fetch forth the _lazar kite of Cressid's kind_ Doll Tear-sheet, she by name----

This alludes to the punishment of Cressida for her falsehood to Troilus. She was afflicted with the leprosy, "like a _Lazarous_" and sent to the "spittel hous." See Chaucer's _Testament of Creseide_.

SCENE 2. Page 324.

K. HEN. If that same dæmon, that hath gull'd thee thus, Should with his _lion gait_ walk the whole world----

This very uncommon comparison of the devil to a lion seems to have been suggested by 1 Pet. v. 8. "The devil as a roaring _lion walketh about_, seeking whom he may devour."

SCENE 3. Page 329.

QUICK. 'A made a finer end, and went away, an it had been any _christom_ child.

It was the ancient practice at baptism not only to use water, but oil, which from the Greek was denominated chrism, whence the name of the _chrisome_ or white cloth in question. The priest first made the sign of the cross with the holy oil on the child's breast and between the shoulders, saying, "I anoint thee with the oil of health, in Christ Jesus our lord, that thou mayest inherit eternal life. Amen." After the usual immersion in water, he made another cross on its head with the oil. Then the chrisome was put on, the priest asking at the same time the child's name, and saying, "Receive this white, pure and holy vestment which thou shalt wear before the tribunal of our lord Jesus Christ that thou mayest inherit eternal life. Amen." This chrisome might be used a second time on a similar occasion, and then it was not to be applied to any common use, but brought back and deposited in the church. The _chrisome_ was an emblem of the Christian purity communicated by baptism, and which it was expected the party should maintain during life; and it might also, as Ducange conjectures, have been used for the purpose of preventing the oil from running off. It was sometimes ornamented with a sort of crown worked in crimson thread, alluding to the passion of Christ, and the crown or reward of eternal life obtained by his sacrifice. It was to be worn seven days, being taken off on the eighth, as symbolical of the seven ages of man's life; or, according to others, of the passage from the sabbath of mortal life to that of eternity. It was also thought to refer to the influence of the seven planets. The above ceremony took place _before_ the reformation; afterwards several changes were made. The use of oil was omitted, and the chrisome worn by the child till the mother's purification by the ceremony of churching, when it was returned to the church. If the child died before the latter rite, it was buried in the chrisome; and this is probably the reason why children were called chrisoms in the bills of mortality. Dame Quickly simply compares the manner of Falstaff's exit to that of a young infant.


SCENE 5. Page 369.

BOUR. They bid us--to the English dancing schools, And teach _lavoltas high_, and swift corantoes.

The _lavolta_, as the name implies, is of Italian origin. The man _turns_ the woman round several times, and then assists her in making a _high_ spring or cabriole. This dance passed from Italy into Provence and the rest of France, and thence into England. Monsieur Bodin, an advocate in the parliament of Paris, and a very savage and credulous writer on demonology, has gravely ascribed its importation from Italy into France, to the power of witches. The _naiveté_ with which that part of the _lavolta_ which concerns the management of the lady in making the _volta_ is described by Thoinot Arbeau, an author already quoted, is extremely well worth transcribing, particularly as the book is seldom to be met with. "Quand vouldrez torner, laissés libre la main gaulche de la damoiselle, et gettés vostre bras gaulche sur son dos, en la prenant et serrant de vostre main gaulche par le faulx du corps au dessus de sa hanche droicte, et en mesme instant getterez vostre main droicte au dessoubz de son busq pour layder à saulter quand la pousserez devant vous avec vostre cuisse gaulche: Elle de sa part mettra sa main droicte sur vostre dos, ou sur vostre collet, et mettra sa main gaulche sur sa cuisse pour tenir ferme sa cotte ou sa robbe, affin que cueillant le vent, elle ne monstre sa chemise ou sa cuisse nue: Ce fait vous ferez par ensemble les tours de la _volte_, comme cy dessus a esté dit: Et après avoir tournoyé par tant de cadances qu'il vous plaira, restituerez la damoiselle en sa place, ou elle sentira (quelque bonne contenance qu'elle face) son cerveau esbranlé, plain de vertigues et tornoyements de teste, et vous n'en aurez peult estre pas moins: Je vous laisse à considerer si cest chose bien seante à une jeusne fille de faire de grands pas et ouvertures de jambes: et si en ceste volte l'honneur et la santé y sont pas hazardez et interessez." And again: "Si vous voulez une aultre fois dancer la volte à main droicte, vous fauldra mettre vostre main droicte sur le doz de la damoiselle, et la main gaulche soubz son busq, et en la poussant de la cuisse droicte soubz la fesse, torner le revers de la tabulature cy dessus. Et nottez qu'il y a dexterité à empoigner et serrer contre vous la damoiselle, car il faut ce faire en deux mesures ternaires, desmarchant sur la premiere mésure pour vous planter devant elle, et sur la fin de la deuxieme mésure, luy mettant l'une des mains sur la hanche, et l'aultre soubs le busq pour à la troisième mésure commencer à torner selon les pas contenus en la tabulature."

SCENE 6. Page 379.

PIST. Die and be damn'd; and _figo_ for thy friendship.

The practice of thrusting out the thumb between the first and second fingers to express the feelings of insult and contempt has prevailed very generally among the nations of Europe, and for many ages been denominated _making the fig_, or described at least by some equivalent expression. There is good reason for believing that it was known to the ancient Romans. Winckelman in his letter from Herculaneum has described a bronze satyr as actually making the fig with his fingers, and such a character is among the engravings in the king of Naples's magnificent publication on the antiquities of the above city. The upper part of a similar bronze in a private collection is here copied in the last figure below. It is more likely that _making the fig_ was borrowed from this Roman custom, than from another with which it has been sometimes confounded. This is the _infamis digitus_ of Persius; or the thrusting out the middle finger, on that account called _verpus_. In many private as well as public collections of Roman antiquities there are still preserved certain figures in bronze, ivory, coral, and other materials, of the following forms.

These however are well known to have been used as amulets against fascination in general, but more particularly against that of the _evil eye_. They are sometimes accompanied with the common symbol of Priapus, but often consist of it exclusively. The connexion which this phallic figure had with the above-mentioned superstition is known to every classical reader. The introduction of the crescent or moon is not so easily explained. If these amulets were borrowed from the Egyptians, as some have supposed, the crescent may denote the influence of Isis or Venus, and the two symbols united may represent nature, or what the Hindus intend by their sacred Lingam: but every thing on this subject must be conjectural, the very essence of it being mysterious.


The Italian _fica_ seems more intimately and etymologically connected with the obscure disease known to the Romans by the name of _ficus_; a term, with its appendages, rather to be conceived than fully explained in this place. It has afforded matter for some of Martial's Epigrams. In one of these he thus dashes his mirth against an unlucky sinner:

"Gestari junctis nisi desinis, Ædyle, capris, Qui modo ficus eras, jam caprificus eris."

lib. iv. ep. 52.

In another he instructs those who delight in the chase how to avoid this affliction:

"Stragula succincti venator sume veredi: Nam solet a nudo surgere ficus equo."

lib. xiv. ep. 86.

And lastly, he thus expresses himself immediately to the present purpose:

"Ut pueros emeret Labienus, vendidit hortos: Nil nisi ficetum nunc Labienus habet."

lib. xii. ep. 32.

No one who has lived among Italians will fail to perceive the force of these quotations as applied to the feelings excited by this most offensive gesticulation, which is justly held in the greatest abhorrence. Whether it be abstractedly a symbol of the _ficus_ itself, and, in the use, connected with the very worst of its causes; whether it be the genuine remains of a custom actually known among the Romans; or whether a corruption of the _infamis digitus_, must be left to every one's own determination. The complicated ambiguity of the word _fica_ must be likewise attended to; and whoever is at a loss on this occasion may consult the _early_ Italian dictionaries.

The author of these remarks, pursuing the opinions of others, had already offered another explanation, viz. the story of the Milanese revolt against the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. This he desires to withdraw, as resting on the very weak authority of Albert Crantz, a credulous, and comparatively modern, historian; neither is it probable that an incident so local would have spread so widely throughout Europe. Again, whoever will take the trouble of comparing the Hebrew word _techor_ with the story itself, will feel very much inclined to reject the whole as a fabrication.

The earliest Italian authority for the use of this phrase is the _Inferno_ of Dante. In the twenty-fifth canto are the following lines:

"Al fine delle sue parole, il ladro Le mani alzò, con ambeduo _le fiche_ Gridando: togli Dio, ch'a te le squadro."

The miscreant who utters this blasphemy, refines on the gesticulation, and doubles the measure of it. It is also to be found in Sacchetti's hundred and fifteenth novel, and in the _Cento novelle antiche_, nov. 55.

Villani, in his Chronicle, relates that in 1228 the inhabitants of Carmignano insulted the Florentines by setting up a statue on a rock with the hand making the _fig_, and turned towards the city of Florence. Pope Paul II. made a law against this insult, which punished the offending party by a fine of twenty soldi.

In France the use of it may be traced to a very early period. It occurs in a satire by Guyot de Provins, a poet of the twelfth century. The Spaniards, in all probability, got it from the Romans. They use the phrase _higa para vos_ as a term of contemptuous insult and also as a spell against the consequences of satirical applause. See _Menckenii dissertationes_, p. 52. Amulets against fascination, or the evil eye, are still used in Spain by women and children, precisely in the same manner as formerly among the Romans. These are made of ivory, but more frequently of jet. A figure of one of the latter, from an original, is here exhibited.


It furnishes a very extraordinary combination of subjects: figures of the holy Virgin and the infant Jesus; the _manus lasciva_ or phallic hand; and a lunar crescent. It is indeed an obvious remnant of the ancient Roman amulet, the potency of which is strengthened by the addition of a Christian mystery. These things are said to be sometimes met with in nunneries, but the use which is there made of them does not seem generally known. One of these modern hands, well carved in ivory, and converted to the purpose of a snuff-box, was lately picked up by a curious traveller in Russia.

A very learned Spaniard, Ramirez de Prado, the author of a commentary on Martial and other ingenious works, adopting the opinion of Doctor Francis Penna Castellon, has fallen into a strange error respecting the etymology of _higa_. Speaking of it as well known among the Spanish women and children, he derives the name from _iynx_, the bird called the wryneck, concerning which the ancients had certain superstitions. From the _Pharmaceutria_ of Theocritus, it appears to have been regarded as a love philtre. The similitude of sound has doubtless contributed to this error. See Laurentij Ramirez de Prado ΠΕΝΤΗΚΟΝΤΑΡΧΟΣ, 1612, 4to, p. 248.

The Germans, the Dutch, and perhaps other Northern nations, possess equivalent terms; and it is remarkable that in those languages the signification of the Roman _ficus_, as a disease, has been preserved. How the phrase of _making the fig_ first came into the English language does not appear; it may perhaps be found only in translation. The Saxons had a term for the _ficus_, which they called ꝼɩc-aðle. With us the expression has happily dwindled altogether into a more innocent meaning. _Not to care a fig for one_, literally applies to the fruit so called, according to modern acceptation. In this sense it is sometimes used by Shakspeare, who makes Pistol say, "A _fico_ for the phrase."--_M. Wives of Windsor._ "And _figo_ for thy friendship."--_Henry the Fifth._ Again, in the _Second Part of Henry the Sixth_, we have, "A _fig_ for Peter." And in _Othello_, "Virtue? a _fig_!" In the _Second Part of Henry the Fourth_, Pistol says,

"When Pistol lies _do this_; and _fig me_, like The bragging Spaniard."

Here the phrase seems accompanied by some kind of gesticulation, which might either be the thrusting out of the thumb, or the putting of it into the mouth so as to press out the cheek, another mode of insult that perhaps originally alluded to the _ficus_, by presenting something like its form. Thus in Lodge's _Wit's miserie_, "Behold I see contempt marching forth, giving mee the _fico with his thombe in his mouth_."

In the present play, ancient Pistol, after spurting out his "_figo_ for thy friendship," as if he were not satisfied with the _measure_ of the contempt expressed, more emphatically adds, "the fig of _Spain_." This undoubtedly alludes to the poisoned figs mentioned in Mr. Steevens's note, because the quartos read, "the fig of Spain _within thy jaw_," and "the fig within thy _bowels and thy dirty maw_." Or, as in many other instances, the allusion may be twofold; for the _Spanish fig_, as a term of contempt only, must have been very familiar in England in Shakspeare's time, otherwise the translator of Della Casa's _Galateo_ would not, in the passage cited by Mr. Reed, have used such an expression, when it was neither in his original nor in Dante; a very strong circumstance in favour of Mr. Reed's opinion.

On the whole, there is no other way of extricating ourselves from the difficulties and ambiguities that attend the present subject, than by supposing some little confusion of ideas in our poet's mind, a weakness not more uncommon with him than with many of his commentators. Or, his phraseology might have been inaccurate; and it is to be feared that too much time and conjecture have been frequently expended on passages originally faulty, and which it might have been sufficient to have stated as such, to the exclusion of further comment or useless explanation.


Page 399.

CHO. The armourers accomplishing the knights, With busy hammers closing _rivets_ up.

This does not solely refer to the business of rivetting the plate armour before it was put on, but as to the part when it was on. Thus the top of the cuirass had a little projecting bit of iron, that passed through a hole pierced through the bottom of the casque. When both were put on, the smith or armourer presented himself, with his rivetting hammer, _to close the rivet up_, so that the party's head should remain steady notwithstanding the force of any blow that might be given on the cuirass or helmet. This custom more particularly prevailed in tournaments. See _Varietés historiques_, 1752, 12mo, tom. ii. p. 73.

SCENE 2. Page 424.

GRAND. Their horsemen sit like _fixed candlesticks_, With torch-staves in their hands.

This fashion is of great antiquity, being mentioned in Homer's description of the palace of Alcinous. _Odys_. book 7.

"Youths forg'd of gold, at every table there, Stood holding flaming torches, that in night Gave through the house, each honour'd guest his light."

It is likewise thus alluded to in Lucretius, lib. ii.

"Si non aurea sunt juvenum simulacra per ædeis Lampadas igniferas manibus retinentia dextris, Lumina nocturnis epulis ut suppeditentur."

The practice might originate in a supposed indelicacy of placing candlesticks on a table. Gregory of Tours relates a story of a French nobleman named Rauching, who disgraced himself by an act of wanton and excessive cruelty. When a servant _held a candle before him_ at his supper, he made him uncover his legs, and drop the burning wax on them; if the man offered to move, the cruel master was ready with his sword to run him through; and the more the unfortunate sufferer lamented, the more his persecutor convulsed himself with savage laughter. Gregor. Turon. _Hist._ lib. v. cap. 3.

The favourite forms of these inanimate _candle-holders_ were those of armed warriors. Sometimes they were hairy savages, a fool kneeling on one knee, &c.

SCENE 4. Page 439.

PIST. Quality, call you me?--Construe me, art thou a gentleman?

The old copy reads _qualitee, calmie custure me_, and has been corrected or rather _corrupted anew_ into its present form. The proposed reading of Mr. Malone deserves a decided preference, as founded on the ingenious conjecture that Pistol is quoting, as he has elsewhere done, the fragment of an old ballad. It is exceedingly probable that, whenever chance shall disclose this ballad, we shall find in it this whole line,

"Calen, o custure me, art thou a gentleman."

Calen may be some proper name; the ballad itself may be provincial, and _custure_ the representative of _construe_. Nothing is more probable than that _calmie_ should be a misprint of _calen o_.

SCENE 4. Page 441.

FR. SOL. ... ayez pitié de _moy_!

PIST. _Moy_ shall not serve, I will have forty _moys_.

FR. SOL. O pardonnez _moy_!

PIST. Say'st thou me so? is that a _ton of moys_?

Dr. Johnson says that "_moy_ is a piece of money, whence moi-d'or, or moi of gold." But where had the doctor made this discovery? His etymology of _moidor_ is certainly incorrect. _Moidore_ is an English corruption of the Portuguese _moeda d'ouro_, i. e. _money_ of gold; but there were no moidores in the time of Shakspeare.

We are therefore still to seek for Pistol's _moy_. Now a _moyos_ or _moy_ was a measure of corn; in French _muy_ or _muid_, Lat. _modius_, a bushel. It appears that 27 moys were equal to a last or two _tons_. To understand this more fully, the curious reader may consult Malyne's _Lex mercatoria_, 1622, p. 45, and Roberts's _Marchant's Mapp of commerce_, 1638, chap. 272.

SCENE 4. Page 442.

FR. SOL. Est il impossible d'eschapper la force de ton _bras_?

PIST. _Brass_, cur. Thou damned and luxurious mountain goat, Offer'st me _brass_.

A question having arisen concerning the pronunciation of the French word _bras_ in the time of Shakspeare, it was observed in a former note that some remarks by the Rev. Mr. Bowle, in another place, had contributed at least to leave the matter open to discussion. That gentleman has certainly offered some evidence from Pasquier, that in the _middle_ of words the _s_ was pronounced where now it is silent; but on the other hand there is positive proof that the contrary practice prevailed in 1572, when De la Ramée published his French grammar. At page 19, he says, "Premierement nous sommes prodigues en lescripture de _s_, _sans la prononcer_ comme en _maistre_, _mesler_, _oster_, _soustenir_." This writer has expatiated on the difficulty which foreigners have in pronouncing the French language on account of its orthography, and offered a new mode by which it may be avoided. In the course of this specimen, he has, fortunately for the present occasion, printed the word _bras_ without the _s_, (see p. 61,) and thereby supplied the means of deciding the present question, which, after all, was scarcely worth a controversy. Whoever wrote this dialogue was unacquainted with the true pronunciation of the French language, as Mr. Malone has already remarked, and framed Pistol's reply accordingly. In Eliot's _Orthoepia Gallica_, 1593, 4to, mentioned in Dr. Farmer's note, there is a passage which seems to have escaped the doctor's notice. In page 61, the author directs the sentence "vous avez un _bras_ de fer," to be pronounced "voo-za-ve-zewn _bra_ de fer."

SCENE 5. Page 448.

BOUR. Let him go hence, and with his cap in hand, Like a base pander, hold the chamber door, &c.

This is an allusion to the conduct of Pandarus when he introduced Troilus to his niece Cressida's chamber. See the story as related by Chaucer.


Page 470.

CHOR. ... Like a mighty _whiffler_, 'fore the king Seems to prepare his way.

Some errors have crept into the remarks on this word which require correction. It is by no means, as Hanmer had conceived, a corruption from the French _huissier_. He was apparently misled by the resemblance which the office of a whiffler bore in modern times to that of an usher. The term is undoubtedly borrowed from _whiffle_, another name for a _fife_ or small flute; for whifflers were originally those who preceded armies or processions as fifers or pipers. Representations of them occur among the prints of the magnificent triumph of Maximilian I. In a note on _Othello_, Act III. Scene 2, Mr. Warton had supposed that _whiffler_ came from what he calls "_the old_ French _viffleur_;" but it is presumed that that language does not supply any such word, and that the use of it in the quotation from Rymer's _fœdera_ is nothing more than a vitiated orthography. In process of time the term _whiffler_, which had always been used in the sense of a _fifer_, came to signify any person who went before in a procession. Minsheu, in his _Dictionary_, 1617, defines him to be a club or staff-bearer. Sometimes the whifflers carried white staves, as in the annual feast of the printers, founders, and ink-makers, so curiously described in Randle Holme's _Academy of armory_, book iii. ch. 3, where one of them is stated to have carried in his right hand a great bowl of white wine and sugar. Another mistake occurs in Mr. Warton's note, when he says, that "by degrees the word _whiffler_ hence acquired the metaphorical meaning which it at present obtains in common speech, and became an appellation of contempt." This is by no means the case, for _whiffler_, in its sense of a _babbler_, _trifler_, or _versatile person_, is pure Saxon, ƿæꝼleꞃe, _blatero_.




SCENE 1. Page 506.

BED. And with them scourge the bad revolting stars, That have _consented_ unto Henry's death.

IT is conceived that most readers, after perusing the several notes on these lines, will be of opinion that some further elucidation is necessary. The first attempt should be to ascertain the respective significations of the words _concent_ and _consent_, which can only be effected by an attention to their Latin etymology.

_Concent_, in its simple and primitive acceptation, is nothing more than a _singing together harmoniously_; but because in such harmony there is an _agreement_ of sounds, the word was sometimes metaphorically used to express _concord or agreement generally_. _Consent_ never means _union of sounds_, but _agreement generally_, or an union of _sense_ or _opinion_. Cicero has most carefully distinguished them when he says, "Ubi enim perspecta vis est rationis ejus qua causæ rerum atque exitus cognoscuntur, mirus quidam omnium quasi _consensus_ doctrinarum, _concentusque_ reperitur."--De oratore, lib. iii. Among English writers, the similitude in sound and an inattention to orthography have contributed to their common and promiscuous use.

Mr. Steevens inclines to the meaning above given of _concent_, and yet he adopts _consent_ in his text; nor are his instances uniform. Thus in the quotation from Cicero _De nat. deorum_, concentus simply means _concord_ or _agreement_. In the passage from Milton, _consent_ evidently denotes the same thing. The rest of his quotations relate to _musical concent_.

Mr. Mason, in his own words, assents to Mr. Steevens's explanation; yet his instances are all unfortunately calculated to illustrate the other sense of _barely agreeing_.

The books of Elizabeth's time indiscriminately use both modes of orthography. Thus we have, "Broughton's _concent_ of Scripture," for _consent_; though, as is shown already, either will serve for _agreement_.

In the two passages cited by Mr. Steevens from Spenser, the orthography varies, though the meaning is evidently the same, i. e. _musical concent_. His expectations will be often disappointed who shall seek an exact meaning from some particular mode of orthography in ancient writers. There does not perhaps exist a more fallible rule; and it was reserved for the superior accuracy of modern times to affix any thing like uniformity of spelling, and consequently of sense, to our language.

It is impossible at this time to collect precisely what the author of the lines in question intended. The only guide we have is the passage quoted by Mr. Malone from another part of this play, "You all _consented_ unto Salisbury's death." Yet, had the poet written _concented_, the sense in both places might be, _you all acted in concert, or jointly in unison, to accomplish the death, &c._ This accords with the following passage in _Pericles_, Act I. Scene 1:--

"The Senate house of planets _all did sit_ To knit in her their best perfections."

An opportunity here presents itself of remarking how injudiciously we have discarded the more expressive and legitimate term _consort_, as a company of musicians playing together, for the new-fangled Italian _concert_. The other would be vulgar to a modern ear, and is now marked in our dictionaries as a _corrupt spelling_.


SCENE 1. Page 584.

MAY. The bishop's and the duke of Gloster's men, _Forbidden late to carry any weapon_, Have fill'd their pockets full of _pebble stones_, &c.

This fact is borrowed, with some variation, from Stowe or Fabian. "Men being forbidden to bring swords or other weapons, brought great battes and staves on their neckes; and when _those weapons were inhibited them_, they took _stones_ and plomets of lead, &c."

SCENE 1. Page 587.

WAR. Sweet king!--the bishop hath a _kindly gird_.

Mr. Steevens has on this occasion, for the sake of the last word, introduced two notes which might very well have been spared. There is no doubt that Warwick means to say that the young king has given Winchester a gentle reproof. This is the plain and obvious meaning of _gird_. Dr. Johnson is wide, very wide, of the mark.


SCENE 3. Page 645.

PUC. You speedy helpers, that are substitutes Under the lordly _monarch of the north_, Appear.

The _monarch of the North_ was Zimimar, one of the four principal devils invoked by witches. The others were, Amaimon king of the East, Gorson king of the South, and Goap king of the West. Under these devil kings were devil marquesses, dukes, prelates, knights, presidents and earls. They are all enumerated, from Wier _De præstigiis dæmonum_, in Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_, book xv. c. 2 and 3.




SCENE 2. Page 20.

DUCH. With _Margery Jourdain_, the cunning witch.

It appears from Rymer's _Fœdera_, vol. x. p. 505, that in the tenth year of King Henry the Sixth, _Margery Jourdemayn_, John Virley clerk, and friar John Ashwell, were, on the ninth of May 1433, brought from Windsor by the constable of the castle, to which they had been committed for sorcery, before the council at Westminster, and afterwards, by an order of council, delivered into the custody of the Lord Chancellor. The same day it was ordered by the lords of council that whenever the said Virley and Ashwell should find security for their good behaviour they should be set at liberty, and in like manner that Jourdemayn should be discharged on her husband's finding security. This woman was afterwards burned in Smithfield, as stated in the play and also in the chronicles.


SCENE 3. Page 64.

PET. Here Robin, an if I die, I give thee my _apron_.

Minsheu and others conceived that this word was derived from _afore one_, an etymology that perfectly accords with the burlesque manner of Dean Swift. It has been also deduced from the Greek words προ and περι; the Latin _porro_ and _operio_, &c. &c. Skinner, with more plausibility, has suggested the Saxon aꝼoꞃan. After all, _an apron_ is no more than a corruption of _a napron_, the old and genuine orthography. Thus in _The mery adventure of the pardonere and tapstere_:

"... and therwith to wepe She made, and with her _napron_ feir and white ywash She wypid soft hir eyen for teris that she outlash As grete as any mylstone----"

_Urry's Chaucer_, p. 594.

We have borrowed the word from the old French _naperon_, a large cloth. See Carpentier _Suppl. ad Cangium_, v. _Naperii_. So _napkin_, which has perplexed our dictionary-makers, is only a _little_ cloth, from _nappe_.

SCENE 3. Page 66.

HOR. Hold Peter, hold; I confess treason.


The real names of these combatants were _John Daveys_ and _William Catour_, as appears from the original precept to the sheriffs still remaining in the Exchequer, commanding them to prepare the barriers in Smithfield for the combat. The names of the sheriffs were Godfrey Boloyne and Robert _Horne_; and the latter, which occurs in the page of Fabian's chronicle that records the duel, might have suggested the name of _Horner_ to Shakspeare. Stowe is the only historian who has preserved the servant's name, which was _David_. Annexed to the before mentioned precept is the account of expenses incurred on this occasion, duly returned into the Exchequer. From this it further appears that the erection of the barriers, the combat itself, and the subsequent execution of the armourer, occupied the space of six or seven days; that the barriers had been brought to Smithfield in a cart from Westminster; that a large quantity of sand and gravel was consumed on the occasion, and that the place of battle was strewed with rushes. Mr. Steevens has inferred from the above record that _the armourer was not killed by his opponent, but worsted, and immediately afterwards hanged_. This, however, is in direct contradiction to _all_ the historians that have mentioned the circumstance, who, though they differ in some particulars, are certainly agreed as to the death of the accused by the hands of his servant. Halle's words are, "whose _body_ was drawen to Tyborn and there hanged and beheaded;" a mode of expression which, though ambiguous, seems rather to refer to the previous death of the party. Fabian, Grafton, Stowe, and Holinshed, state that he was slain. It is possible that Mr. Steevens, in making the above inference, conceived that because the man was hanged he must necessarily have been alive at the time of his execution: but the _mercy_ of the law on this occasion certainly made no such distinction; and _the dead body of the vanquished was equally adjudged to the punishment of a convicted traitor, in order that his posterity might participate in his infamy_. Indeed, the record itself seems decisive; for it states that the dead man was watched _after the battle was done_, and this probably means before it was conveyed to Tyborn for execution and decapitation. The same rule was observed in cases of appeal for murder, as we learn from the laws or assizes of Jerusalem made there in the fourteenth century; by which he that was _slain_ or vanquished from cowardice in the field of battle, was adjudged to be _drawn and hanged_; his horse and arms being given to the constable. See Thaumassiere _Assises de Jerusalem_, ch. 104, and Selden's _Duello_, p. 30. The hanging and beheading were confined to cases of murder and treason; in a simple affair of arms the vanquished party was only disarmed and led forth ignominiously from the lists.

Since this note was written, the whole of the curious record in the Exchequer has been printed in Mr. Nicholls's valuable and interesting work entitled, "_Illustrations of the manners and expences of antient times in England_", 1797, 4to. As intimately connected with the present subject, the following extract cannot fail of being acceptable. It is taken from Gaguin, _Gestes Romains_, printed at Paris by Ant. Verard, without date, in folio, a volume of extreme rarity, and is part of the ceremony of an appeal for treason as regulated by Thomas Duke of Gloucester, high constable to Richard the Second. "Et si la dicte bataille est cause de traison, celluy qui est vaincu et desconfit sera desarmé dedans les lices, et par le commandement du conestable sera mis en un cornet et en reprehencion de luy sera traisné hors avec chevaulx du lieu mesme ou il est ainsi desarmé parmy les lices jusques au lieu de justice, ou sera decolé ou pendu selon lusaige du pays, laquelle chose appartient au mareschal veoir par fournir par son office, et le mettre a execution," fo. 148:--that is, "If the said battle be on account of treason, he that is vanquished and discomfited shall be disarmed within the lists, and by the authority of the constable put into a little cart; then having received a proper reprimand he shall be drawn by horses from the spot where he has been disarmed, through the lists, to the place of public execution, and there hanged or beheaded according to the custom of the country: which matter the marshal, by virtue of his office, is to see performed and executed."


SCENE 1. Page 74.

SUF. I think, I should have told your _grace's_ tale.

On this expression Dr. Johnson remarks that "_majesty_ was not the settled title till the time of King James the First." In a note to vol. i. p. 97, of the lives of _Leland, Hearne, and Wood_, it is said that our kings had not the title of _majesty_ in the reign of Henry the Eighth; and another note in Dr. Warburton's edition of the Dunciad, b. iv. l. 176, states that James was the first who assumed the title of _sacred majesty_; all which information is unsupported by authority.

On the other hand, Camden more correctly says, that "_majesty_ came hither in the time of King Henry the Eighth, as _sacred majesty_ lately in our memory."--_Remains concerning Britain_, p. 198, edit. 1674, 8vo. Selden, referring to this passage, wishes it to be understood so far as it relates to the title being "commonly in use and properly to the king applied," because he adduces an instance of the use of _majesty_ so early as the reign of Henry the Second. In a letter from queen Elizabeth to Edward the Sixth, she signs "Your _majesties_ humble sister," and addresses it "To the kinges _most excellent majestie_."--Harl. MS. No. 6986. In the same volume is a most extraordinary letter in Italian to Elizabeth, beginning, "Serenissima et _sacratissima maesta_," which shows that Camden, who wrote what he says above early in 1603, must rather refer to Elizabeth than James the First.

The use of _majesty_ is ascribed by the learned authors of the _Nouveau traité de diplomatique_ to Gondemar king of the Visigoths, and to the kings of Lorraine in the seventh century; but in France it is not traceable before the year 1360, about which time Raoul de Presle, in the dedication to his translation of Saint Augustin _De civitate Dei_, thus addresses Charles the Fifth: "si supplie à vostre _royalle majesté_." It was however but sparingly used till the reign of Louis XI. In the treaty of Créssy the emperor Charles V. is called _imperial majesty_, and Francis I. _royal majesty_. In that of Château Cambresis, Henry II. is entitled _most christian majesty_, and Philip II. _catholic majesty_. Pasquier has some very curious remarks in reprobation of the use of _majesty_. See _Recherches de la France_, liv. viii. ch. 5.

Both Camden and Selden agree that the title of _Grace_ began about the time of Henry the Fourth, and of _excellent Grace_ under Henry the Sixth.

SCENE 1. Page 91.

YORK. ... I have seen him Caper upright like a wild _Mórisco_, Shaking the bloody darts as he his bells.

However just Dr. Johnson's explanation of Morisco may be in an etymological point of view, it is at least doubtful whether it mean in this place a real or even personated _Moor_. Nothing more may be intended than simply a performer in a morris dance. It may be likewise doubted whether in the English morris dance, a single Moorish character was ever introduced. The quotation from Junius is extremely perplexing; yet it must be remembered that he was a foreigner, and speaking perhaps conjecturally.

SCENE 2. Page 96.

K. HEN. ... Come, _basilisk_, And kill the innocent gazer with thy _sight_.

Bartholomæus, with whom it has been shown that Shakspeare was well acquainted, speaking of the basilisk or cockatrice, says, "In his _sight_ no fowle nor birde passeth harmelesse, and though he be farre from the foule, yet it is burnt and devoured by his mouth.... Plinius also sayth there is a wilde beast called Catobletas [which is] great noyeng to mankinde: _for all that see his eyen should dye anone, and the same kinde hath the cockatrice_."--_De propriet. rer._ lib. xviii. c. 16. The same property is also mentioned by Pliny of the basilisk, but Holland's translation was not printed till after this play was written. It is true that if Shakspeare did not write the lines in question, the original author might have used a Latin Pliny.

SCENE 2. Page 103.

WAR. Oft have I seen a _timely-parted_ ghost.

It has been very plausibly suggested that _timely-parted_ signifies _in proper time_, as opposed to _timeless_; yet in this place it seems to mean _early_, _recently_, _newly_. Thus in _Macbeth_, Act II. Scene 3,

"He did command me to call _timely_ on him."

Again, in _The unfaithful lover's garland_,

"Says he, I'll rise; says she, I scorn To be so _timely parted_."

Porter, in his comedy of the _Two angry women of Abingdon_, 1599, 4to, seems to have had Warwick's speech in view when he wrote these lines:

"Oft have I heard a _timely married_ girl That _newly_ left to call her mother mam, &c."

SCENE 2. Page 105.

WAR. But see, his face is black and full of blood.

The accounts given by the English historians of the Duke of Gloucester's death are very discordant and unsatisfactory. They relate that he was smothered between feather-beds; that he was found dead in his bed; that a red hot spit was thrust through him; and that he died of grief. There is another account of this event, which, as it seems to have been quite unnoticed in our histories, and may deserve as much attention as either of the foregoing, shall here be given.

George Chastellain, a celebrated soldier, poet, and historian, was by birth a Flemming, and is said to have been in the service of Philip duke of Burgundy. He travelled into various countries, and wrote an account of what he had seen, under the title of _The wonderful occurrences of his time_. Speaking of his visit to England, he says,

"Passant par Angleterre Ie veis en grant tourment Les seigneurs de la terre S'entretuer forment Avec un tel deluge Qui cueurs esbahissoit Que a peine y eut refuge Ou mort n'apparoissoit. Ung nouveau roy creerent Par despiteux vouloir Le viel en debouterent Et son legitime hoir Qui fuytif alla prendre Descosse le garand, De tous siécles le mendre Et le plus tollerant."

This alludes to the flight of Henry the Sixth into Scotland. In another place he speaks as an eye witness of the death of duke Humphrey, and relates that _he was strangled in a cask of wine_, adding also the reason,

"Par fortune senestre Veiz a l'oeil vifvement Le grant _duc de Clocestre_ Meurdrir piteusement _En vin plein une cuve Failloit que estranglé fust, Cuydant par celle estuve, Que la mort ny parut_."

What credit he may deserve may be worth the inquiry of some future historian. His work in general will strike every reader as a strange mixture of veracity and credulity.

The above singular mode of inflicting death seems to have prevailed about this time; for we find not long afterwards another instance of it in the execution of George duke of Clarence, who, as is generally agreed, was drowned in a butt of Malmsey wine. He appears to have chosen the manner of his death, on which Mr. Hume makes the following observation: "A whimsical choice, which implies that _he had an extraordinary passion for that liquor_."[16] It should rather be inferred that the punishment in question was more frequent than is commonly known, and made use of for culprits of rank and eminence when dispatched in secret. Jean Molinet, the continuator of the above work of Chastellain, has thus described this event:

"Jay veu _duc de Clarence_ Bouté en une tour Qui queroit apparence De regner a son tour; De mort preadvisee _Le roy le feist noyer Dedans mallevoisee Pour le moins ennuyer_."

SCENE 2. Page 116.

Q. MAR. Away! though parting be a fretful _corrosive_.

A learned commentator has stated that this word was _generally_ written _corsive_ in Shakspeare's time, and he has indeed proved that it was so written _sometimes_. The fact is, it was written as at present in prose, and in poetry either way, as occasion required. Thus Drant in his translation of _Horace's satyres_, 1566, 4to:

"Wote you not why? _corrosyve_ style Is _corsey_ to the eye."

In the text it should be printed _cor'sive_.

SCENE 3. Page 116.

K. HEN. O beat away the busy meddling fiend That lays strong siege unto this wretch's soul.

It was the belief of our pious ancestors, that when a man was on his death-bed the devil or his agents attended in the hope of getting possession of the soul, if it should happen that the party died without receiving the sacrament of the eucharist, or without confessing his sins. Accordingly in the ancient representations of this subject, and more particularly in those which occur in such printed services of the church as contain the vigils or office of the dead, these _busy meddling fiends_ appear, and with great anxiety besiege the dying man; but on the approach of the priest and his attendants, they betray symptoms of horrible despair at their impending discomfiture. In an ancient manuscript book of devotions, written in the reign of Henry the Sixth, there is a prayer addressed to Saint George, with the following very singular passage: "Judge for me whan the moste hedyous and damnable dragons of helle shall be redy to take my poore soule and engloute it in to theyr infernall belyes."

Shakspeare, who in many instances has proved himself to have been well acquainted with the forms and ceremonies of the Romish church, has, without doubt, on the present occasion availed himself of the above opinion. Whether this had happened to that pre-eminent painter, who, among the numerous monuments of his excellence that have immortalized himself and done honour to his country, has depicted the last moments of Cardinal Beaufort with all the powers of his art, cannot now be easily ascertained. He has been censured for personifying the fiend, on the supposition that the poet's language is merely figurative; with what justice this note may perhaps assist in deciding. Some might disapprove the renovation of Popish ideas; whilst others, more attentive to ancient costume, and regardless of popular or other prejudices, might be disposed to defend the painter on the ground of strict adherence to the manners of the times.

The reader may not be displeased at being introduced to a more intimate acquaintance with the _ancient_ mode of representing a dying man as above referred to. It is copied from a print in a later edition of the _Ars moriendi_, one of those books on which the citizens of Haarlem found their claim to the invention of printing; whereas it is in fact no more than a collection of wooden engravings made for pious purposes, and explained by writing cut on the same blocks, and by no means a real specimen of the above art. To this is added another exhibition of the same subject, but very superior in point of art. It is copied from an engraving in wood by an unknown artist of considerable merit; and from the striking resemblance which it bears to the picture of our great painter above alluded to, much cannot be hazarded in supposing that he might have taken some hints from it, as it is well known that he collected many prints with the view of making such use of preceding excellence as the most exalted genius will ever condescend to do.

The Greeks, when persons were dying, drove away evil spirits by placing at the door branches of bramble or buckthorn. They likewise made a noise by beating brazen vessels for the same purpose.




SCENE 2. Page 139.

CADE. ... the _three-hoop'd_ pot shall have ten hoops.

The note here is not sufficiently explanatory. The old drinking pots, being of wood, were bound together, as barrels are, with hoops; whence they were called _hoops_. Cade promises that every can which now had three hoops shall be increased in size so as to require ten. What follows in the notes about "burning of cans," does not appear to relate to the subject.

SCENE 2. Page 140.

SMITH. The clerk of Chatham.

This person is a nonentity in history, and in all probability a character invented by the writer of the play. It is presumed that few will be inclined to agree with Mr. Ritson in supposing him to have been Thomas Bayly, _a necromancer at Whitechapel_, and Cade's bosom friend.

SCENE 7. Page 161.

CADE. Then break into his son in law's house, Sir _James_ Cromer.

Mr. Ritson cites William of Worcester to show that this sheriff's name was _William_. The author of the play, if wrong, may be justified by the examples of Halle, Grafton, Stowe, in his early editions, and Holinshed, who call him _James_. Fabian, as if doubtful, leaves a blank for Crowmer's Christian name. As to the fact itself, the evidence of William of Worcester, a contemporary writer, is entitled to the preference. Fuller's list of the sheriffs of Kent likewise makes the name _William_.

SCENE 10. Page 173.

CADE. I think this word sallet was born to do me good: for many a time, but for a _sallet_, my brain-pan had been cleft with a brown bill.

The notes on this occasion may admit of correction as well as curtailment. It is possible that we have borrowed _sallet_ from the French _salade_, in the sense of a helmet: but the original word is the old Teutonic _schale_, which signifies generally _a covering_. Hence _shell_, _scale_, _scull_, _shield_, &c. Wicliffe does not use _brain-pan_ for scull, in Judges ix. 53, as Mr. Whalley supposes, but _brain_, simply.


[16] One should almost suppose that the historian had recollected Cyrano de Bergerac's dream of a visit to the infernal regions, where he saw the Duke of Clarence, "who," says he, "_voluntarily drowned himself in a barrel of Malmsey_, seeking for Diogenes, in hopes of getting half his tub to lodge in."




SCENE 1. Page 223.

EXE. Here comes the queen whose looks _bewray_ her anger.

Although the word _bewray_ has received very proper illustration on the present and other occasions, it remains to observe that its simple and original meaning was to _discover_ or _disclose_; that it has been confounded with _betray_, which is used, though not exclusively, for _to discover for bad or treacherous purposes_, a sense in which bewray is never _properly_ found. Of this position take the following proof: "If you do so, saide the other, then you ought to let me knowe what so ever you know your selfe: unlesse you thinke that yourself will _bewray_ yourself, except you doubt yourself will deceive yourself, and unlesse you thinke that yourself will _betray_ your self."--Lupton's _Siuqila_, 1580, 4to, sign. L 4. b.

SCENE 1. Page 224.

Q. MAR. _Rather_ than made that savage duke thine heir.

The note which follows Mr. Steevens's was _not_ inadvertently introduced by that gentleman, though it certainly should not have been retained _as the text now stands_.

SCENE 4. Page 242.

Q. MAR. [Putting a _paper_ crown on his head.]

Mr. Ritson has not shown, as he conceived he had, that the preceding commentator was _certainly mistaken_: for the author of the play, if he be accountable for the stage direction, could not have "followed history with the utmost precision," when he makes _queen Margaret_ put a _paper_ crown on York's head; whereas Holinshed, the black-letter chronicler whom Mr. Ritson should have first consulted, and who only follows Whethamstede, relates that a garland of _bulrushes_ was placed on York's head; which was afterwards stricken off and presented to the queen. Nor is there historical evidence that the queen herself put on the crown. Shakspeare has continued the same error in _King Richard the Third_, where he makes Gloucester say to queen Margaret,

"The curse my noble father laid on thee When thou didst crown his noble brows with _paper_."

He was therefore, in this instance, misled by the author of _King Henry the Sixth_; or he must have written the queen's speech himself.

SCENE 4. Page 244.

YORK. Whose tongue more poisons than the adder's tooth.

Again in _Cymbeline_, Act III. Scene 4;

"Whose tongue outvenoms all the worms of Nile."


SCENE 2. Page 310.

L. GREY. But, mighty lord, this merry inclination Accords not with the _sadness_ of my suit.

The following is offered as a very select instance of the use of _sadness_ for _seriousness_. It is from Tom Coriat's speech that he made to a Mahometan who had called him an infidel. "But I pray thee tell me thou Mahometan, dost thou in _sadness_ call me _Giaur_? That I doe, quoth he. Then quoth I, in very _sober sadness_ I retort that shameful word in thy throate."

SCENE 2. Page 314.

GLO. Like to a chaos, or an _unlick'd bear-whelp_.

The common opinion which Dr. Johnson mentions of the bear bringing forth unformed lumps of animated flesh, and afterwards licking them into proper shape, has been very properly exposed and confuted by Sir Thomas Brown in his _Enquiries into vulgar errors_, book iii. ch. 6. His adversary Ross, in his _Arcana microcosmi_, p. 115, has attempted a solution of this matter, by stating it as a fact that bears bring forth their young deformed and mis-shapen, by reason of the thick membrane in which they are wrapped, that is, covered over with a mucous and phlegmatick matter. This, he says, the dam contracts in the winter time, by lying in hollow caves without motion, so that to the eye the cub appears like an unformed lump. The above mucilage is afterwards licked away by the dam, and the membrane broken, whereby that which before seemed to be unformed appears now in its right shape. And this, he contends, against Dr. Brown, is all that the ancients meant. See more on the subject of the old opinion in Bartholomæus _De proprietat. rerum_, lib. xviii. c. 112.


SCENE 7. Page 359.

GLO. For many men that _stumble at the threshold_.

To understand this phrase rightly, it must be remembered that some of the old thresholds or steps under the door, were, like the hearths, raised a little, so that a person might stumble over them unless proper care was taken. A very whimsical reason for this practice is given in a curious little tract by Sir Balthazar Gerbier, entitled, _Councel and advice to all builders_, 1663, 24mo, in these words, "A good surveyour shuns also the ordering of doores with _stumbling-block-thresholds_, though our forefathers affected them, perchance to perpetuate the antient custome of bridegroomes, when formerly at their return from church [they] did use to lift up their bride, and to knock their head against that of the doore, for a remembrance, that they were not to passe the threshold of their house without their leave."


SCENE 7. Page 403.

CLAR. What will your grace have done with Margaret? Reignier her father, to the king of France Hath pawn'd the Sicils and Jerusalem, And hither have they sent _it_ for her ransom.

Unless there be some omission in this speech, it must either be regarded as improperly elliptical, or as ungrammatical. _It_ refers to the sum of money borrowed by Margaret's father, which is mentioned by the French historians to have been fifty thousand crowns. The author of the play followed Holinshed.

* * * * *

The right accentuation of Hĕcătē, as well as the proper description of Althea's torch, which Shakspeare, in _King Henry the Fourth_, had misrepresented, are additional arguments that he did _not_ write the whole of these plays; but that they were composed by some person who had more classical knowledge, but infinitely less genius than our author.



SCENE 1. Page 461.

GLO. _He capers_ nimbly in a lady's chamber To the lascivious pleasing of a lute.

The question with Dr. Johnson is, whether it be _war_ that capers, or _York_; and he justly remarks that if the latter, the antecedent is at an almost forgotten distance. The amorous temper of Edward the Fourth is well known; and there cannot be a doubt that by _the lascivious pleasing of a lute_, he is directly alluded to. The subsequent description likewise that Richard gives of himself is in comparison with the _king_. Dr. Johnson thought the image of _war capering_ poetical; yet it is not easy to conceive how _grimvisag'd war_ could _caper in a lady's chamber_.

SCENE 1. Page 462.

GLO. Cheated of feature by _dissembling_ nature.

The poet by this expression seems to mean no more than that nature had made for Richard features _unlike_ those of other men. To dissemble, both here and in the passage quoted from _King John_, signifies the reverse of to _resemble_, in its active sense, and is not used as _dissimulare_ in Latin.


SCENE 3. Page 540.

2 CIT. Ill news by'r lady; _seldom comes the better_.

Well might the author of the book quoted by Mr. Reed say "that proverb indeed is auncient," as will appear from the following curious account of its origin extracted from a manuscript collection of stories compiled about the time of king Henry the Third:--

"Quidam abbas dedit monachis suis tria fercula. Dixerunt monachi, Iste parum dat nobis. Rogemus Deum ut cito moriatur. Et sive ex hac causa, sive ex alia, mortuus est. Substitutus est alius, qui eis tamen dedit duo fercula. Irati monachi contristati dixerunt, Nunc magis est orandum, quia unum ferculum subtractum est, Deus subtrahat ei vitam suam. Tandem mortuus est. Substitutus est tertius, qui duo fercula subtraxit. Irati monachi dixerunt, Iste pessimus est inter omnes, quia fame nos interficit; rogemus Deum quod cito moriatur. Dixit unus monachus, Rogo Deum quod det ei vitam longam, et manu teneat eum nobis. Alii admirati querebant quare hoc diceret; qui ait, Vide quod primus fuit malus, secundus pejor, iste pessimus; timeo quod cum mortuus fuerit alius pejor succedet, qui penitus nos fame perimet. Unde solet dici, _Seilde comed se betere_."

SCENE 4. Page 546.

Q. ELIZ. A _parlous_ boy.

"Parlous," says Mr. Steevens, "is keen, shrewd." Mr. Ritson is of a different opinion, and thinks it a corruption of _perilous_, dangerous. Both parties are right; but it is probably used here as _perilous_, in like manner as the nurse in _Romeo and Juliet_ talks of "a _parlous_ knock," and as it is also to be taken in _A midsummer night's dream_, where Mr. Steevens had properly explained it; and the instance which he has given on the present occasion does, in fact, corroborate his former note. _Parlous_ is likewise made synonymous with _shrewd_ by Littelton. See his Latin dict. v. _importunus_. In Middleton's play of _The changeling_, we have "a _parlous_ fool," i. e. _shrewd_, "he must sit in the fourth form at least." Yet a few pages further the same word is as clearly used for _perilous_. After all there is little or no difference in the senses of it, for in shrewdness there is certainly peril. He that meets with a _shrew_, may well be said to be _in danger_. Some might think that this word is the same as _talkative_, in which case it must have been borrowed from the French; but that language does not furnish an adjective of the kind. The original corruption was _perlious_. Thus in an unpublished work by William of Nassyngton, a poet of the fifteenth century, who wrote on the Lord's prayer, &c., we have, "Methinks this maner is _perlious_."


SCENE 1. Page 561.

YORK. Uncle, my brother mocks both you and me; Because that I am little, like an _ape_, He thinks that you should _bear me on your shoulders_.

Mr. M. Mason contends that this is simply an allusion to Richard's deformity, and is not inclined to admit the propriety of Dr. Johnson's supposition that York means to call his uncle a _bear_. From a quotation given by the former gentleman, it is clear that Shakspeare, when alluding to Richard's deformity, mentions his _back_; and it is therefore probable that he would have used the same term in the present instance, had he adverted to the duke's shape. For this reason Dr. Johnson's opinion seems preferable; yet something more might have been intended. The practice of keeping apes or domestic monkeys was formerly much more common than at present. Many old prints and paintings corroborate this observation,[17] and in some the monkey appears chained to a large globe or roller of wood, which, whilst it permitted the animal to shift his situation, prevented him from making his escape. It is almost unnecessary to add that the monkey, as the intimate companion of the domestic fool, would often get upon his shoulders. There is a fine picture, by Holbein, of Henry the Eighth and some of his family, which by favour of his majesty now decorates the meeting room of the Society of Antiquaries. In it is an admirable portrait of Will Somers, the king's fool, with a monkey clinging to his neck, and apparently occupied in rendering his friend William a very essential piece of service, wherein this animal is remarkably dexterous, the fool reclining his head in a manner that indicates his sense of the obligation. York may therefore mean to call his uncle a fool, and this, after all, may be the _scorn_ that Buckingham afterwards refers to.

Every one is acquainted with the propensity of the monkey to climbing upon other animals. Gervase Markham in his _Cavalerice_, a treatise on horsemanship, already referred to, devotes a chapter to inform his readers "how a horse may be taught to doe any tricke done by _Bankes_ his curtall," in which he says, "I will shew you by the example of two or three trickes, how you shall make your horse to doe any other action as well as any dog or _ape_ whatsoever, except it be _leaping upon your shoulders_." The curious reader may find more illustration of the subject in the specimen of Dr. Boucher's _Supplement to Johnson's dictionary_, article _ape_; but the learned and ingenious author was certainly mistaken in supposing that fools carried the _representations of apes on their shoulders_, and probably in what he says concerning the origin of the phrase of putting an _ape_ in a man's hood.


SCENE 2. Page 621.

K. RICH. Because that like a _Jack_, thou keep'st the _stroke_.

At Horsham church, in Sussex, there was a figure dressed in scarlet and gold, that struck the quarters. He was called _Jack o' the clock-house_. The French term for this kind of automaton is _jaquemar_, the etymology of which is very fanciful and uncertain.


SCENE 1. Page 660.

BUCK. _Holy_ king Henry----

This epithet is not applied without good reason. King Henry the Sixth, though never actually canonized, was regarded as a saint, and miracles were supposed to have been performed by him. In some of our church service-books before the Reformation, there are prayers which are said to have been of his composition, and one in particular that is addressed to him is entitled, "A prayer to _holy_ king Henry."

SCENE 3. Page 665.

K. RICH. Besides, the king's name is a tower of strength.

Borrowed from _Proverbs_, xviii. v. 10. "The _name_ of the Lord is _a strong tower_."

SCENE 3. Page 667.

CATE. ... It's supper time, my lord; It's _nine_ o'clock.

"A supper at so late an hour as nine o'clock in the year 1485," says Mr. Steevens, "would have been a prodigy." It certainly would, and even at the time when this play was written, the period to which the criticism more justly belongs. In either instance there was a reason for preferring the text of the quarto copy, and yet the unnecessary alteration is retained.

SCENE 3. Page 688.

K. RICH. This and Saint George _to boot_.

Dr. Johnson is undoubtedly right against both his opponents, one of whom has adduced the phrase _St. George to borrow_, unintentionally in support of him. _To borrow_ is no more a verb than _to boot_; it means _as a pledge or security_, _borrow_ being the Saxon term for _a pledge_. The phrase is an invocation to the saint to act as a protector. _Saint George to thrive_ is evidently a misconceived paraphrase of the old mode of expression, by improperly changing the substantive to a verb. Holinshed, in the speech of Richard before the battle, introduces "_St. George to borrowe_."

SCENE 3. Page 690.

K. RICH. Long kept in Bretagne at our _mother's_ cost.

It has already been stated by Dr. Farmer that the mistake here of _mother_ for _brother_ must be placed to the account of the book which Shakspeare followed, viz. Holinshed's chronicle; but the doctor has omitted to notice that in the _first edition_ of Holinshed the word is rightly printed _brother_. It is no otherwise worth while to mention this fact, than that it points out the particular edition of the above historian which Shakspeare used. Nothing can be more judicious nor decisive than Mr. Malone's argument for retaining the historical errors of Shakspeare, and Mr. Ritson's desire of changing the text does not correspond with those principles of accuracy on which he laid so much stress.

SCENE 3. Page 691.

K. RICH. A _milksop_, &c.

This is from Holinshed, "To begyn with the earle of Richmonde capitayne of this rebellion, he is a _Welsh milksoppe_," &c.


[17] See the fine frontispiece by Coriolano to Vesalius's Anatomy.



SCENE 1. Page 21.

BUCK. ... but this top-proud fellow (Whom from the flow of gall I _name not_, but From _sincere motions_)

Dr. Johnson explains _sincere motions_ to be _honest indignation_; and, for _name not_, would substitute _blame not_. But is not the following the plain sense, without any alteration? "this top-proud fellow, whom I call so, not from an excess of bitterness, but from a genuine _impulse_ of the mind."

SCENE 1. Page 26.

BUCK. I am the shadow of poor Buckingham, Whose figure even this instant cloud puts on, By dark'ning my clear sun.

It is no easy matter on some occasions to comprehend the precise meaning of Shakspeare's metaphors, which are often careless and confused; and of this position the present lines are, doubtless, an example. We have here a double comparison. Buckingham is first made to say that he is but a shadow; in other terms, a dead man. He then adverts to the _sudden_ cloud of misfortune that overwhelms him, and, like a shadow, obscures his prosperity.

SCENE 3. Page 42.

CHAM. Is it possible the spells of France should juggle Men into such strange _mysteries_?

Dr. Johnson's explanation is much too fanciful. Mysteries are _arts_, and here _artificial fashions_.


SCENE 2. Page 71.

NOR. I'll venture one _heave_ at him.

The first folio reads "I'll venture one; _have_ at him," and this, except as to the punctuation, is right. _Have at you_ was a common phrase; it is used by Surrey in the ensuing act, and afterwards by Cromwell.

SCENE 2. Page 73.

CAM. ... which so griev'd him, [Doctor Pace] That he ran mad and died.

This is from Holinshed. "Aboute this time the king received into favor doctor Stephen Gardiner, whose service he used in matters of great secrecie and weighte, admitting him in the room of Doctor Pace, the which being continually abrode in ambassades, and the same oftentymes not much necessarie, by the Cardinalles appointment, at length he toke such greefe therwith, that he fell out of his right wittes."

SCENE 3. Page 75.

ANNE. ... 'tis a sufferance panging As soul and body's severing.

Of the parallel passages already cited, this is not the least so, from _Measure for measure_;

"... in _corporal sufferance_ feels a _pang_ as great As when a giant dies."

SCENE 4. Page 98.

[_they rise to depart._

Mr. Ridley's note is very judiciously introduced to get rid of the interpolated stage direction inserted by some of the editors, and to account for the king's apostrophe to Cranmer. He might have adduced an earlier exemplification of his remark from the ensuing scene, where Norfolk asks, _when Cranmer returns_? The archbishop of Canterbury, who attends the procession to Blackfriars, was William Warham.


SCENE 2. Page 112.

SUF. ... I persuade me, from her Will fall some blessing to this land, which shall In it be memoriz'd.

This is, no doubt, a compliment to queen Elizabeth.

SCENE 2. Page 126.

SUR. ... I'll startle you Worse than the sacring bell, when the brown wench Lay kissing in your arms, lord cardinal.

Was there any Skeltonical tradition to this effect in Shakspeare's time, or has he only taken a hint from one of the articles against Wolsey, which is conceived in the following terms? "Also the said Lord Cardinall did call before him Sir John Stanly knight which had taken a farm by Covent seal of the Abbot of Chester and afterwards by his power and might contrary to right committed the said Sir John Stanly to the prison of Fleet by the space of a year unto such time as he compelled the said Sir John to release his Covent seal to one Leghe of Adlington, which married one Lark's daughter, _which woman the said Lord Cardinall kept, and had with her two children_," &c.

SCENE 2. Page 127.

SUR. First, that, without the king's assent, or knowledge, You wrought to be a legate; by which power You maim'd the jurisdiction of all bishops.

We have here in substance the first of the articles exhibited by the lords of the privy council and two of the judges against Wolsey. They had been unfaithfully recorded in some of our histories, but were at length printed by Lord Coke from the originals in his fourth Institute, chap. 8.

SCENE 2. Page 127.

NOR. Then, that, in all you writ to Rome, or else To foreign princes, _Ego et rex meus_ Was still inscrib'd; in which you brought the king To be your servant.

The nature of this supposed offence has been apparently misconceived by Shakspeare and others whom he might have followed. The original article against Wolsey, states, that "the Lord Cardinall of his presumptuous mind, in divers and many of his letters and instructions sent out of this realme to outward parts had joyned himself with your Grace, as in saying and writing, _The king and I would ye should do thus. The king and I doe give unto you our hearty thankes_. Whereby it is apparent that he used himself more like a fellow to your Highnes, then like a subject." Wolsey's crime therefore was not in degrading the king beneath himself, but in assuming a degree of consequence that seemed to place him on a level with his sovereign. The offensive language when put into Latin would be more striking and apt to deceive; but the idiom of the language required the above arrangement of the words.

SCENE 2. Page 128.

SUF. Then that without the knowledge Either of king or council, when you went Ambassador to the emperor, you made bold To carry into Flanders the great seal.

SUR. Item, you sent a large commission To Gregory de Cassalis, to conclude, Without the king's will, or the state's allowance, A league between his highness and Ferrara.

Both these charges seem included in the third article. "Also the said Lord Cardinall being your ambassador in France, sent a commission to Sir Gregory de Cassalis under your great seale in your grace's name to conclude a treaty of amity with the Duke of Ferrara, without any commandment or warrant of your highnes, nor your said highnesse advertised or made privy to the same."

SCENE 2. Page 129.

SUF. That out of mere ambition you have caus'd Your holy hat to be stamp'd on the king's coin.

An absurd and frivolous allegation against the unfortunate Cardinal, being the substance of the fortieth article. The episcopal privileges of coining money had been long established, and were conceded in this reign to Bainbrigge and Lee the predecessor and successor of Wolsey, as well as to the archbishops of Canterbury, Warham and Cranmer. But the great offence was placing the _Cardinal's hat_ under the king's arms, "which like deed," says the article, "hath not been seen to be done by any subject within your realm before this time." It may be asked how could it, Wolsey being the only English cardinal to whom the privilege of striking money had been granted? Nor could there be any substantial reason for regarding the cardinal's hat as more offensive than the bishop's mitre, which had already appeared on the coins of Durham.

SCENE 2. Page 129.

SUF. Lord Cardinal, the king's further pleasure is,-- Because all those things, you have done of late By your power legatine within this kingdom, Fall into the compass of a _præmunire_,-- That therefore such a writ be sued against you.

The poet was under the necessity of introducing the _præmunire_ immediately after the articles; but we learn from Cavendish that "Maister Cromwell inveighed against the byll of articles with such wittie persuasions and depe reasons that the same could take none effect. _Then were his enemyes constrained to indite him in a_ PREMUNIRE," &c.

SCENE 2. Page 131.

WOL. And when he falls, he falls like _Lucifer_.

Manifestly borrowed from that fine passage in _Isaiah_, xiv. ver. 12: "How art thou _fallen_ from heaven, O _Lucifer_, son of the morning!"

SCENE 2. Page 135.

WOL. And sleep in _dull cold_ marble.

Mr. Gray seems to have remembered this line in his _elegy_,--

"Or flattery sooth the _dull cold_ ear of death."

SCENE 2. Page 137.

WOL. Had I but serv'd my God with half the zeal I serv'd my king, he would not in mine age Have left me naked to mine enemies.

Dr. Johnson remarks, that "this sentence was really uttered by Wolsey." The _substance_ of it certainly was. The words themselves have been preserved in the valuable Life of Wolsey by _George_ Cavendish his gentleman usher, which Shakspeare might have used either in Stowe's chronicle or in manuscript; for several copies are still remaining that were transcribed in the reign of Elizabeth. Mr. Malone has already taken due notice of their very superior value, and of the omissions and interpolations in the printed editions. In the latter, the work has been abridged of many details of great curiosity with respect to the manners of the times. A new and correct edition would be well deserving of the patronage of an enlightened public. The real words uttered by Wolsey were these; "Yf I hadd served God as diligently as I have done the kinge, he wolde not have geven me over in my graye heares."


SCENE 3. Page 193.

MAN. ... and hit that woman, who cry'd out, _Clubs_!

It has been observed, in illustration of this practice of crying out _clubs_, that it was usually adopted in any quarrel or tumult in the streets; but it remains to point out the persons that were so called, because the watchmen's weapon was the _bill_. Stowe informs us, that "when prentizes and journeymen attended upon their masters and mistresses in the night, they went before them carrying a lanthorne and candle in their hands, and a _great long club on their neckes_."--_Annales_, p. 1040, edit. 1631. The frequency of this exclamation in nocturnal quarrels might in process of time adapt the expression to general occasion.

SCENE 4. Page 199.

It is submitted that the stage exhibition of Elizabeth's christening should be conducted according to the curious and circumstantial details of the manner in which it was really performed, to be found in Halle's _Chronicle_, and copied from him by Stowe into his _Annales_.



... Priam's six-gated city.

In this, as well as in Dr. Farmer's subsequent note, it might have been better to have quoted Caxton's translation of the _Recuyles or destruction of Troy_, instead of _Lydgate_. In the edition of 1607 of the former work, which, in all probability, is that used by the author of the play, the gates of Troy are thus named; _Dardan_, _Timbria_, _Helias_, _Chetas_, _Troyen_, _Antenorides_. These are nearer to the text than those in the other quotation from Lydgate, whose work the author does not seem to have consulted. Should the curious reader be desirous of seeing the manner in which Troy was formerly represented, he may be gratified by an inspection of it in its full glory; the gates inscribed with their names, and fortified with portcullises, in the edition of Jaques Milot's _Mystere de la destruction de Troye_, Lyon, 1544, folio; or in Raoul le Fevre's _Recueil des hystoires Troyennes_, Lyon, 1510, folio. This was also a favourite subject in old tapestry, a very fine and ancient specimen of which remained a long time in the painted chamber that separates the two houses of parliament, till it was removed during the repairs of Saint Stephen's chapel for the accommodation of the Irish members. A copy of it was fortunately taken by that ingenious artist, Mr. John Carter, draughtsman to the Society of Antiquaries.


SCENE 1. Page 223.

TRO. Thou lay'st in every gash that love hath given me The _knife_ that made it.

When poets speak of the wounds inflicted by love, they generally make the instrument to be an _arrow_; how a _knife_ came here to be introduced is not easy to account for. Is it possible that our author has transposed the old saying that _a knife cuts love_?

SCENE 3. Page 245.

NEST. ... and, anon, behold The strong-ribb'd bark through liquid mountains cut, Bounding between the two moist elements, Like _Perseus' horse_.

Mr. Steevens, admitting the curiosity of his colleague's note on this passage, is unwilling to allow that its design to prove the horse of Perseus a ship, and not an animal, has been accomplished. The learned editor observes, that "Shakspeare would not have contented himself with merely comparing one ship to another;" and that "unallegorized _Pegasus_ might be fairly stiled _Perseus'_ horse, because the heroism of _Perseus_ had given him existence." That one thing is compared to another which resembles it, can surely be no solid objection to the justice of a comparison; and though the birth of the unallegorized Pegasus was doubtless the result of Perseus's bravery in conquering Medusa, it was incumbent on the objector to have demonstrated how this _horse of Perseus_ had "bounded between two moist elements," to have made good the poet's comparison. There can be no doubt that the author of the simile has alluded to the fact concerning the _ship_ Pegasus adduced by Mr. Malone; and every thing leads to the supposition that he used the _authority_ of Caxton's Troy book, though, as will be seen presently, _that_ was not the most ancient of the kind.

It is undoubtedly a well justified poetical license to compare a ship to a horse, on account of its speed. In the translation of an old Celtic ballad called _The maid's tragedy_, the monarch who pursues the flying damsel is sometimes said to traverse the waves on _an enchanted steed_; "which," say the Edinburgh reviewers, "probably arises from some equivocal expression in the original, as the Scalds term a ship the rider, and sometimes the horse of the ocean."--_Edinb. review_, 1805, p. 439.

Mr. Malone has stated in the beginning of his valuable note, that "we nowhere hear of Perseus's horse;" and that "Pegasus was the property not of Perseus but of Bellerophon." This is not quite accurate. It is certain that _Ovid_ has _not_ mounted Perseus on any horse in his combat with the monster which was to devour Andromeda; and therefore it is matter of wonder that the mythological dictionary of Chompré, and particularly that most excellent one by Lempriere, should positively affirm that he has. This error has been likewise adopted by other writers. But though classic authority be wanting that Perseus made use of a horse, Boccaccio, in his _Genealogia Deorum_, lib. xii. c. 25, has quoted Lactantius as saying, that when Perseus undertook his expedition against Gorgon, at the instance of king Polydectus, he was accompanied by the winged horse Pegasus, but not that he used him in delivering Andromeda. Boccaccio adds that others were of opinion that he had a _ship_ called Pegasus. The liberties which the old French translators of Ovid's Metamorphoses have taken, and their interpolations, are unaccountable. Some have caused Perseus at the instant of his birth, to bestride Pegasus, and travel away to Helicon. In the cuts to many of the early editions of Ovid, the designers have not only placed him on Pegasus in the adventure with Andromeda, but even in his attack upon Atlas. These facts may serve to account for the multiplied errors of artists, who, neglecting to consult proper authorities, have trusted to the erroneous examples of their predecessors. Achilles Tatius, in his third book of _The loves of Clitophon and Leucippe_, has described a picture of Perseus delivering Andromeda, in which he is made to descend by means of wings to his feet; and another on the same subject is spoken of by Lucian in his description of a house. In neither of these is there any mention of a horse.


SCENE 1. Page 276.

THER. ... an _assinego_ may tutor thee.

Some doubt having arisen whether an _assinego_ is an _ass_ or an _ass-driver_, the following passages from Ligon's _History of Barbadoes_, 1673, will serve to decide the question in favour of the _four-legged animal_; and demonstrate at the same time that the above term is not exclusively applied to a male ass, as Mr. Ritson had supposed. "We found it was far better for a man that had money, goods, or credit, to purchase a plantation there ready furnish'd, and stockt with servants, slaves, horses, cattle, _assinigoes_, camels, &c." And again, "And though I found at Barbadoes some who had musical minds; yet I found others, whose souls were so fixt upon, and so riveted to the earth, and the profits that arise out of it, as their souls were lifted no higher; and those men think, and have been heard to say, that three whip-sawes going all at once in a frame or pit, is the best and sweetest musick that can enter their ears; and to hear a cow of their own low, or an _assinigo bray_, no sound can please them better."--pp. 22, 107.

SCENE 3. Page 309.

ULYSS. Praise him that got thee, _she_ that gave thee suck.

This ungrammatical line, though perhaps the property of Shakspeare, might as well be corrected.

SCENE 3. Page 309.

ULYSS. Let Mars divide eternity in twain And give him half.

How Mars was to accomplish this the metaphysicians must decide. The idea is an odd compound of grandeur and absurdity. It might have turned to some account in the hands of the ingenious Edgworths.


SCENE 2. Page 329.

CRES. ... For to be wise, and love, Exceeds man's might; that dwells with gods above.

If this be Shakspeare's, he got it from Taverner's translation of _Publius Syrus_, at the end of _Catonis disticha_, 1553, 12mo, where it stands thus, "To be in love and to be wyse is scarce graunted to God. It is not one man's propertie both to love and also to be of a sounde mynde."

SCENE 2. Page 333.

PAN. ... let all pitiful _goers-between_ be call'd to the world's end after my name, call them all _Pandars_.

Although the above is, no doubt, the real etymology of the word _pandar_, the original use of it does not rest with Shakspeare. An earlier instance occurs in Gabriel Harvey's _Pierce's supererogation_, 1593, 4to, in which "the pandars stew" is mentioned. All other derivations must be rejected, because the term occurs in no language but our own. Nashe, in his _Have with you to Saffron Walden_, has most extravagantly deduced it from _Pandora_; and he adds that Sir Philip Sidney fetches it from Plautus. In Sir Philip's _Defence of poesie_, the author, speaking of Terence's _Gnatho_ and Chaucer's _Pandar_, says, "we now use their names to signifie their trades."

SCENE 3. Page 338.

CAL. ... But this Antenor I know is such a _wrest_ in their affairs.

If a former explanation should be thought to stand in need of further authority, the following may suffice.

In _A treatise between trouth and information_, by W. Cornishe, printed among the works of Skelton, are these lines:

"A harpe geveth sounde as it is sette, The harper may _wrest_ it untunablye; A harper with his _wrest_ may tune the harpe wrong, Mystunyng of an instrument shal hurt a true songe."

The same instrument was used for tuning other stringed instruments, as appears from the same poem:

"The claricord hath a tunely kynde, As the wyre is _wrested_ hye and lowe; So it turnyth to the players mynde, For as it is _wrested_ so must it nedes showe, Any instrument mystunyd shall hurt a trew song, Yet blame not the claricord the _wrester_ doth wrong."


"With golden strings such harmonie His harpe so sweet did _wrest_; That he reliev'd his phrenesie Whom wicked sprites possest."

Archb. Parker's _Psalter_, sign. B. 1. b.

In King James's edict against combats, &c., p. 45, is this passage, "this small instrument the tongue being kept in tune by the _wrest_ of awe," &c.

And in Swetnam's _Arraignment of women_, 1615, 4to, "They are always tempering their wits, as fidlers do their strings, who _wrest_ them so high, that many times they stretch them beyond time, tune, and reason."


SCENE 5. Page 383.

ULYSS. ... set them down For sluttish spoils of opportunity, And _daughters of the game_.

This expression seems borrowed from the _maister of the game_, the ancient title of the king's game-keeper. There was also a treatise on hunting, so called, which Shakspeare had often read of, or might perhaps have seen.


SCENE 3. Page 425.

TRO. Brother, you have a vice of mercy in you Which better fits a _lion_ than a man.

See a preceding note pp. 189, 190.

SCENE 9. Page 444.

HECT. I am unarm'd; forego this vantage, Greek.

The author of this play, in his account of the death of Hector, has undoubtedly departed from his original; and, as it should seem, without necessity. Mr. Steevens, on this occasion, takes notice of _Lydgate's_ vehement reprehension of Homer's praise of Achilles, and of his gross violation of the characters drawn by the Grecian poet; but he has censured the wrong person. Lydgate has only followed his predecessor Guido of Colonna, who, (or perhaps the original writer Benoit de Saint More,) adopting the statement in the prologue to Dares Phrygius, appears to regard the latter as a more correct and veracious historian than Homer.

SCENE 9. Page 451.

PAN. Some _galled goose of Winchester_ would hiss.

If Mr. Mason had accidentally consulted the English part of Littelton's excellent dictionary, he would not have doubted that "any symptom of the venereal disease was called a Winchester goose."


Of Lollius, the supposed inventor of this story, it will become every one to speak with diffidence. Until something decisive relating to him shall occur, it is better to conclude with Mr. Tyrwhitt, that Chaucer borrowed the greatest part of his admirable story from Boccaccio's Philostrato; and that he either invented the rest altogether, or obtained it from some completer copy of the Philostrato than that which we now possess. What Dryden has said of Lollius is entirely destitute of proof, and appears to be nothing more than an inference from Chaucer's own expressions.

It would be a matter of extreme difficulty to ascertain, with any sort of precision, when and in what manner the story of Troilus and Cressida first made its appearance. Whether the author of the Philostrato was the first who detailed it so minutely as it is there found, remains to be decided; but it is certain that so much of it as relates to the departure of Cressida from Troy, and her subsequent amour with Diomed, did exist long before the time of Boccaccio. The work in which it is most known at present is the _Troy book_ of Guido of Colonna, composed in 1287, and, _as he states_, from Dares Phrygius, and Dictys Cretensis, neither of whom mentions the name of Cressida. Mr. Tyrwhitt, as it has eventually proved, had, with his usual penetration and critical acuteness, suspected that Guido's Dares was in reality an old Norman French poet named _Benoit de Saint More_, who wrote in the reign of our Henry the Second, and who himself made use of Dares. This work seems to be the earliest authority now remaining. The task which Mr. Tyrwhitt had declined, has on this occasion been submitted to; and the comparison has shown that Guido, whose performance had long been regarded as original, has only translated the Norman writer into Latin. It is most probable that he found _Benoit's_ work when he came into England, as he is recorded to have done; and that pursuing a practice too prevalent in the middle ages, he dishonestly suppressed the mention of his real original. What has been advanced by Mr. Warton and some other writers respecting an old French romance under the name of Troilus and Cressida, will not carry the story a moment higher; because this French romance is in fact nothing more than a much later performance, about the year 1400, compiled by _Pierre de Beauvau_ from the Philostrato itself. This has been strangely confounded with several other French works on the Troy story related with great variety of circumstance, all or most of which were modelled on that of Guido of Colonna or his original; citing, as they had done, the supposititious histories of Dictys and Dares. It is worth while to embrace this opportunity of mentioning, for the first time, that there is a _prose_ French version of _Benoit's_ metrical romance; but when made, or by whom, does not appear in a MS. of it transcribed at Verona in 1320.

Lydgate professedly followed Guido of Colonna, occasionally making use of and citing other authorities. In a short time afterwards _Raoul le Fevre_ compiled from various materials his _Recueil des histoires de Troye_, which was translated into English and published by Caxton; but neither of these authors has given more of the story of Troilus and Cressida than any of the other romances on the war of Troy; Lydgate contenting himself with referring to Chaucer. Of _Raoul le Fevre's_ work, often printed, there is a fine MS. in the British museum, Bibl. Reg. 17, E. II., under the title of _Hercules_, that must have belonged to Edward the Fourth, in which _Raoul's_ name is entirely and unaccountably suppressed. The above may serve as a slight sketch of the romances on the history of the wars of Troy; to describe them all particularly would fill a volume.

It remains to inquire concerning the materials that were used in the construction of this play. Mr. Steevens informs us that Shakspeare received the greatest part of them from the _Troy book of Lydgate_. It is presumed that the learned commentator would have been nearer the fact had he substituted the _Troy book or recueyl_ translated by _Caxton_ from _Raoul le Fevre_; which, together with a translation of Homer, supplied the incidents of the Trojan war. Lydgate's work was becoming obsolete, whilst the other was at this time in the prime of its vigour. From its first publication to the year 1619, it had passed through six editions, and continued to be popular even in the eighteenth century. Mr. Steevens is still less accurate in stating _Le Fevre's_ work to be a translation from Guido of Colonna; for it is only in the latter part that he has made any use of him. Yet Guido actually had a French Translator before the time of Raoul: which translation, though never printed, is remaining in MS. under the whimsical title of "La _vie_ de la _piteuse destruction_ de la noble et supellative cité de Troye le grant. Translatée en Francois lan MCCCLXXX;" and at the end it is called "Listoire _tres plaisant_ de la destruction de Troye la grant." Such part of our play as relates to the loves of Troilus and Cressida was most probably taken from Chaucer, as no other work, accessible to Shakspeare, could have supplied him with what was necessary.



SCENE 1. Page 481.


"See this character of a cynic finely drawn by Lucian in his _Auction of the philosophers_; and how well Shakspeare has _copied_ it," says Dr. Warburton; who took it for granted that our author could read Lucian _out of English_. Until this can be proved, or that any English translation of the above piece existed in Shakspeare's time, we are at liberty to doubt how far Apemantus is a copy from Lucian, or rather to believe that he is a highly finished portrait after a very slight sketch by Plutarch.


SCENE 3. Page 587.

TIM. She, [her] whom the spital-house and ulcerous sores Would cast the gorge at, this embalms and spices To the _April day_ again.

It had been better to have withdrawn Dr. Johnson's note, for he has entirely misconceived the meaning of this part of Timon's speech. He has mistaken the _person_ who was to be _embalmed to the April day again_, and supposed, without reason, that the wedding day is here called _April_ or _fools day_. Mr. Tollett has already corrected the first of these errors, and properly explained the _April day_ to mean the _freshness_ of youth. See a description of April from an old calendar in p. 45. The word _day_ in this instance is equivalent with _time_.

SCENE 3. Page 593.

TIM. To the _tub-fast_ and the _diet_.

What this _diet_ was may be seen at large in Dr. Bullein's _Bulwarke of defence_, fo. 57 b. and in his _Booke of compoundes_, fo. 42, 43.

In a former note a conclusion was too hastily drawn, concerning the origin of _Cornelius's tub_. It was stated that it took its name from the hero of Randolph's pleasant comedy of _Cornelianum dolium_; but the term is much older, being mentioned in Lodge's _Wit's miserie_, 1599, 4to, sig. F iiij b. Its origin therefore remains in a state of uncertainty; for what Davenant has left us in his _Platonick lover_ can only be regarded as a piece of pleasantry.

SCIOLT. As for _Diogenes_ that fasted much, and took his habitation in a tub, to make the world believe he lov'd a strict and severe life, he took the diet, sir, and in that very tub swet for the French disease.

FRED. And some unlearned apothecary since, mistaking 's name, called it _Cornelius tub_.

Act iii.

There is yet another passage which may be worth inserting, as it throws a gleam of light on this obscure term. It is from _The law of drinking_, 1617, 12mo, p. 55. "Like ivie they cling close about _Cornelius' bulke_; till sleepe surprize them, oblivion divide them, and _brave Cornelius_ guide them to his _tub_."

SCENE 3. Page 624.

TIM. The sea's a thief, whose liquid surge resolves The moon into salt tears.

Some difficulty has arisen in the course of the notes on this passage to account for the manner in which the sea could despoil the moon of its moisture and change it into saline tears. It has been judiciously remarked by one of the commentators, that we are not to attend on these occasions merely to philosophical truth, but to consider what might have been the received or vulgar notions of the time: yet no example of such notions applicable to the present occasion has been produced. The following may perhaps serve to supply this defect, and to establish at the same time the genuineness of the text: "The moone gathereth deawe in the aire, for she printeth the vertue of hir moysture in the aire, and chaungeth the ayre in a manner that is unseene, and breedeth and gendereth deawe in the utter part thereof."--Bartholomæus _De propriet. rerum_, lib. viii, c. 29.


SCENE 5. Page 658.

ALCIB. Here lies a _wretched_ corse, &c.

There is a _fourth_ epitaph on Timon, which is scarcely worth mentioning, but as it perhaps completes the list, and might even, as well as that in Kendal and Painter, have suggested the slight alteration made by Shakspeare. It is in Pettie's translation of Guazzo's _Civile conversation_, 1586, 4to, fo. 5, as follows:

"Here doe I lie, ne am the same I heretofore was wont to bee; Thou reader never aske my name, A _wretched_ end God send to thee."


The fool in this play is a very obscure and insignificant character. Dr. Johnson's conjecture that he belongs to one of Alcibiades's mistresses is extremely probable. Many ancient prints conduce to show that women of this description were attended by buffoons; and there is good reason for supposing, partly from the same kind of evidence, that in most brothels such characters were maintained to amuse the guests by their broad jokes and seasonable antics. In _Measure for measure_ we have such a person, who is also a tapster; and in _Antony and Cleopatra_, Act I. Scene 1, we hear of a _strumpet's fool_.

The dress, in the present instance, should be a party-coloured garment, with a hood and asses' ears, and a cock's comb. He might also carry a bauble.



SCENE 1. Page 12.

MEN. Even to the court, the heart,--to the seat o' the brain.

Mr. Malone has most ingeniously shown that the _heart_ here signifies the _seat of the brain_, that is, of the understanding; and this is conformable to the old philosophy. Thus our English Pliny, Bartholomew Glanville, informs us, from Aristotle, that the substance of the brain being cold, it is placed before the well of heat, which is, the heart; and that small veins proceed from the heart, of which is made a marvellous caul wherein the brain is wrapped. _De propr. rerum_, lib. v. c. 3. On this ground, the heart has been very appositely made the seat of reason; and accordingly in another place, Glanville tells us that in the heart is "all business and knowing."

If the above able commentator be right in his chronology of this play, and there appears to be no reason for doubting that he is so, the present lines must have been imitated by a contemporary writer of great ability and poetical talents, though undeservedly obscure. This is W. Parkes, who calls himself a student of Barnard's inn. In his work entitled _The curtaine-drawer of the world_, 1612, 4to, he has two passages which bear so strong a resemblance, that a mere coincidence of thought is entirely out of the question. This is the first, in p. 6: "If any vice arise from the _court_, as from the _head_, it immediately discends to the cittie, _as the heart_, from thence drawes downe to the country, as the heele: and so like an endlesse issue or theame, runs through the whole land." The other is in p. 13: "For whereas that member was ordained for a light and window, and as a true interpreter to expresse and expound the consultations, and councels, and purposes of that hidden dumbe and secret privy-councellour that _sits within the throne and breast_ and bosome of every living man, it many times doth belye, and forge, and flatter, and speaks then most faire when the deepest deceit and treachery is intended: not the foot, nor the finger, nor the whole hand: no not the whole body, nor all the members thereof, either severally, by themselves, or joyntly together (this one onely excepted) that doth so stretch, and draw, and finger, and fold and unfold this curtaine or canopy to the daily use and deceit of itselfe and others, as it alone doth."

It is rather extraordinary that none of Shakspeare's commentators should have noticed the skilful manner in which he has diversified and expanded the well known apologue of _the belly and the members_, the origin of which it may be neither unentertaining nor unprofitable to investigate, as well as the manner in which it has been used, and by whom.

The composition has been generally ascribed to Menenius Agrippa; but as it occurs in a very ancient collection of Æsopian fables, there may be as much reason for supposing it the invention of Æsop as there is for making him the parent of many others. The first person who has introduced Menenius as reciting this fable is Dionysius of Halicarnassus, book 6. Then follow Livy, lib. 2; Plutarch, in the life of Coriolanus; Florus, lib. 1. cap. 23; each of whom gives it in his own manner. During the middle ages there appeared a collection of Latin fables in hexameter verse, that has agitated the opinions of the learned to little purpose in their endeavours to ascertain the real name of the compiler or versifier. He has been called Romulus, Accius and Salo. Nor is the time when he lived at all known. These fables are sometimes called _anonymous_, and have been published in various forms. An excellent edition by Nilant appeared in 1709, 12mo. Many of them were translated into French verse in the eleventh century by a French lady who calls herself _Marie de France_, in which form they have been happily preserved with many others extremely curious composed by the same ingenious person, on whose life and writings a most valuable memoir has been communicated to the Society of Antiquaries, by the author's truly learned and amiable friend the Abbé Gervase de la Rue, professor of history in the university of Caen. William Herman of Gouda, in Holland, reduced them into Latin prose about the year 1500, omitting some, and adding others. The works of Romulus and Herman of Gouda, have been published in a great variety of forms and languages, and constitute the set of Æsopian fables which commences with that of the cock and the precious stone; in all which the apologue of the belly and the members is to be found, and sometimes with considerable variation. What Camden has given is from John of Salisbury, who wrote in the reign of Henry the Second, and professes to have received it from Pope Hadrian IV. See his _Polycraticon, sive de nugis curialium_, 1. vi. c. 24. Camden has omitted the latter part; and the learned reader will do well to consult the original, where he will find some verses by Q. Serenus Sammonicus, a physician in the reign of Caracalla, that allude to the fable. John of Salisbury has himself composed two hundred Latin lines _De membris conspirantibus_, which are in the _first edition_ of his _Polycraticon_ printed at Brussels, without date, about 1470. These were reprinted by Andreas Rivinus at Leipsic, 1655, 8vo; and likewise at the end of the fourth volume of Fabricius's _Bibliotheca mediæ et infinæ ætatis_, Hamburg, 1735, 8vo. They are, most probably, the lines which are called in Sinner's catalogue of the MSS. at Berne, "Carmen _Ovidii_ de altercatione ventris et artuum," vol. iii. p. 116. Nor was this fable unknown in the Eastern world. Syntipas, a Persian fabulist, has placed it in his work, published, for the first time, from a MS. at Moscow, by Matthæus. Lips. 1781, 8vo. Lafontaine has related it in his own inimitable manner; and lastly, the editor of Baskerville and Dodsley's _Æsop_ has given it in a style not inferior perhaps to that of any of his predecessors.

SCENE 4. Page 35.

MAR. All the contagion of the _south_ light on you.

See the note on Caliban's similar wish, "A _south_-west blow on you," p. 5.


SCENE 1. Page 77.

BRU. The _napless_ vesture of humility.

"The players read the _Naples_," says Mr. Steevens; but the players are right, and the fault was with the printer in giving the word with a capital letter. The termination _less_ in old books is very frequently spelled with a single _s_; so that Mr. Rowe's change scarcely deserves the name of _a correction_.


SCENE 1. Page 159.

COR. I shall be lov'd when I am lack'd.

Thus Cæsar in _Antony and Cleopatra_, Act I. Scene 4, "And the ebb'd man comes dear'd by being lack'd." We have still preserved this proverbial saying in another form. Mother Cole says, "When people are miss'd, then they are mourn'd." It is, in fact, Horace's "extinctus amabitur idem."



SCENE 2. Page 254.

CAS. Now is it Rome indeed, and _room_ enough.

This jingle of words is deserving of notice on no other account than as it shows the pronunciation of _Rome_ in Shakspeare's time.

SCENE 3. Page 266.

CAS. Why old men fools, and children calculate.

In this manner has the former punctuation of the line, which had a comma after _men_, been disturbed at the suggestion of Sir W. Blackstone, and thereby rendered extremely uncouth if not unintelligible. He observes that there is no prodigy in old men's calculating from their past experience; but the poet means old dotards in a second state of childhood. With the supposed power of divination in _fools_, few are unacquainted. He that happens to be so may consult the popular history of Nixon, the Cheshire prophet.


SCENE 2. Page 299.

CAL. When beggars die, there are no comets seen; The heavens themselves blaze forth the death of princes.

This might have been suggested by what Suetonius has related of the blazing star which appeared for seven days together, during the celebration of games instituted by Augustus in honour of Julius. The common people believed that this comet indicated his reception among the gods; and not only his statues were accordingly ornamented with its figure, but medals were struck on which it was represented. One of these, struck by Augustus, is here exhibited.


Pliny relates that a comet appeared before the death of Claudius, lib. ii. c. 25; and Geffrey of Monmouth speaks of one that preceded the death of Aurelius Ambrosius; but the comets would have appeared though the men had not died, and the men would not have lived longer had the comets never been seen.

SCENE 2. Page 300.

SER. Plucking the entrails of an offering forth They could not find a heart within the beast.

CÆS. The gods do this in shame of cowardice: Cæsar should be a beast without a heart, If he should stay at home to day, for fear.

Dr. Johnson remarks on this occasion, that "the ancients did not place courage in the heart." He had forgotten his classics strangely.

"Nunc animis opus, Ænea, nunc _pectore firmo_."

_Æn._ vi. 261.

"... Juvenes, _fortissima_ frustra _Pectora_----."

_Æn._ ii. 263.

"... Teucrûm minantur _inertia corda_."

_Æn._ ix. 55.

"... excute, dicens, _Corde_ metum----"

Ovid. _Metam._ lib. iii. 689.

"_Corda pavent_ comitum, mihi mens interrita mansit."

Ovid. _Metam._ lib. xv. 514.

"_Cor pavet_ admonitu temeratæ sanguine noctis."

Ovid. _Epist._ xiv. 16.

"Nescio quæ _pavidum_ frigora _pectus_ habent."

Ovid. _Epist._ xix. 192.


SCENE 1. Page 329.

ANT. ... for mine eyes, Seeing those beads of sorrow stand in thine, Began to water.

We have a similar expression in _The tempest_, Act V. Scene 1, where Prospero says,

"Holy Gonzalo, honourable man, Mine eyes even sociable to the shew of thine, Fall fellowly drops."



SCENE 1. Page 410.

ANT. Let Rome in Tiber melt! and the _wide arch_ Of the _rang'd_ empire fall! Here is my space.

As _range_ signifies _compass_, _extent_, so the verb seems to be used, rather licentiously, in the present instance, in the sense of _spread_, _extended_. It may be doubted, at least, whether there be any allusion to a triumphal arch, as Dr. Warburton supposed, or even of a fabric standing on pillars, according to Dr. Johnson. The _wide arch_ may refer to the vast concave of the Roman world, its wide domains covered by _the arch of heaven_, which has been beautifully styled by some oriental writer "the star-built arch of heaven." See _The tales of Inatulla_ by Dow, vol. i. p. 78.

SCENE 3. Page 440.

CLEO. O my oblivion is a very Antony And I am _all_ forgotten.

She compares her memory to Antony, and says she is treacherously abandoned and neglected by _both_. Mr. Steevens's explanation of the first line is satisfactory; but one cannot well agree with him or Mason, that "I am all forgotten" can possibly mean, "I forget myself, or every thing."


SCENE 4. Page 490.

ANT. ... and his quails Ever beat mine, _inhoop'd_ at odds.

It may be doubted whether quail-fighting was practised in Shakspeare's time, though Dr. Farmer appears to have thought so; but when our poet speaks of their being _inhoop'd_, he might suppose that Cæsar's or Antony's quails, which he found in Plutarch, were trained to battle like game cocks in a _ring_ or _circle_. Hanmer plausibly reads _incoop'd_, but no change is necessary.

Quail combats were well known among the ancients, and especially at Athens. Julius Pollux relates that a circle was made in which the birds were placed, and he whose quail was driven out of this circle lost the stake, which was sometimes money, and occasionally the quails themselves. Another practice was to produce one of these birds, which being first smitten or filliped with the middle finger, a feather was then plucked from its head: if the quail bore this operation without flinching, his master gained the stake, but lost it if he ran away. The Chinese have been always extremely fond of quail-fighting, as appears from most of the accounts of that people, and particularly in Mr. Bell's excellent relation of his travels to China, where the reader will find much curious matter on the subject. See vol. i. p. 424, edit.. in 8vo. We are told by Mr. Marsden that the Sumatrans likewise use these birds in the manner of game cocks. The annexed copy from an elegant Chinese miniature painting represents some ladies engaged at this amusement, where the quails are actually _inhoop'd_.

SCENE 5. Page 493.

CHAR. ... 'Twas merry, when You wager'd on your angling; when your diver Did hang a salt-fish on his hook, which he With fervency drew up.

This incident, which, as Mr. Steevens has already remarked, was borrowed from Plutarch, probably suggested a story related by Nashe, "of a scholler in Cambridge, that standing angling on the towne bridge there, as the country people on the market day passed by, secretly bayted his hooke wyth a red herring wyth a bell about the necke, and so conveying it into the water that no man perceived it, all on the sodayn, when he had a competent throng gathered about hym, up he twicht it agayne, and layd it openly before them, whereat the gaping rurall fooles, driven into no lesse admiration than the common people about London some few yeares since were at the bubbling of Moore-ditch, sware by their christendomes that as many dayes and yeeres as they had lived, they never saw such a myracle of a red herring taken in the fresh water before."--_Lenten stuffe, or praise of the red herring_, 1599, 4to, p. 60. But Cleopatra's trick was of a different nature. Antony had fished unsuccessfully in her presence, and she had laughed at him. The next time therefore he directed the boatman to dive under the water and attach a fish to his hook. The queen perceived the stratagem, but affecting not to notice it, congratulated him on his success. Another time, however, she determined to laugh at him once more, and gave orders to her own people to get the start of his divers, and put some dried _salt-fish_ on his hook.

SCENE 5. Page 499.

CLEO. Some innocents 'scape not the thunder bolt.

This alludes to a superstitious notion among the ancients, that they who were stricken with lightning were honoured by Jupiter, and therefore to be accounted holy. Their bodies were supposed not to putrify; and after having been shown for a certain time to the people, were not burned in the usual manner, but buried on the spot where the lightning fell, and a monument erected over them. Some, however, held a contrary opinion. See the various notes on the line in Persius,

"Triste jaces lucis, evitandumque bidental," _Sat._ ii.

The ground also that had been smitten by a thunderbolt was accounted sacred, and afterwards inclosed: nor did any one presume to walk on it. This we learn from Festus, "fulguritum, id quod est fulmine ictum; qui locus statim fieri putabatur religiosus, quod eum Deus sibi dicasse videretur." These places were therefore consecrated to the gods, and could not in future become the property of any one.

SCENE 7. Page 512.

2. SER. I had as lief have a reed that will do me no service, as a _partizan_ I could not heave.

Dr. Johnson says the partizan is a pike, and so say many of our dictionaries; but it was in reality a weapon between a pike and a halbert. Not being so long as the former, it was made use of in trenches, in mounting a breach, and in attacking or defending a lodgment; on all which occasions the pike would have been unmanageable. Its upper extremity resembled that of a halbert, but was longer and broader. In more modern times it wanted the cutting axe which belongs to the halbert, though in that used by the old Switzers and Germans it seems to have had it. The etymology of the word has been much controverted, but appears to lie between the Latin _pertica_ and the German _bart_, an axe, whence _bardike_, a little axe. Shakspeare himself has distinguished it from the pike, "Let us make him with our _pikes and partizans_ a grave."--_Cymbeline_, Act IV. Scene 2.

SCENE 7. Page 518.

ENO. Drink thou; increase the _reels_.

Here is some corruption, and unless it was originally _revels_, the sense is irretrievable. In all events Mr. Steevens has erred in saying that "_reel_ was not, in our author's time, employed to signify a dance." The following passage in a book with which the learned editor was well acquainted, and which had escaped his excellent memory, proves the contrary:--"Agnis Tompson was after brought againe before the king's majestie and confessed that upon the night of Allhollon even last, she was accompanied with a great many witches to the number of two hundreth; and that all they together went by sea each one in a riddle or cive, and went in the same very substantially with flaggons of wine making merrie and drinking by the waye in the same riddles or cives, to the kerke of North Barrick in Lowthian, and that after they had landed, tooke hands on the land, and daunced this _reill or short daunce_, singing all with one voice,

'Commer goe ye before, commer goe ye, Gif ye will not goe before, commer let me.'

At which time she confessed, that Geilles Duncane did goe before them playing this _reill or daunce_ upon a small trump, call a Jewes trump, untill they entered into the kerk of North Barrick."--_Newes from Scotland declaring the damnable life and death of doctor Fian, a notable sorcerer, who was burned at Edenbrough in January last_, 1591, sign. B iij.


SCENE 6. Page 543.

CÆS. ... The wife of Antony Should have an army for an _usher_.

An _usher_ is a person who introduces others ceremoniously, though originally a door-keeper, from the French _huissier_, and that from _huis_, _ostium_. This is no otherwise worth the mention, than to mark the corrupt orthography of the word, which ought to be written _husher_. Thus Spencer,

"A gentle _husher_, vanitie by name, Made roome, and passage for them did prepare."

_Fairy queen_, B. i. Canto 4, st. 13.

Cavendish, the servant of Cardinal Wolsey, speaking of his master's arrest by the Earl of Northumberland, says, "he toke the Earle by the hande, and led him in to his bedchamber. And they being there all alone, save onely I _who kept the dore according to my dutye, being gentleman ussher_, &c."--_Life of Wolsey_, MS.

SCENE 6. Page 544.

CÆS. ... and have prevented The ostent of our love.

Mr. Steevens, in claiming the merit of this necessary change from _ostentation_, had forgotten that it had been already made by Sir Thomas Hanmer.

SCENE 6. Page 544.

CÆS. ... Which soon he granted, Being an _obstruct_ 'tween his lust and him.

The change was made by Dr. Warburton from _abstract_, which he declares to be absurd; but, as an eminent critic has remarked, it has been made very unnecessarily. The canon somewhere laid down, viz. that where the old text is capable of a meaning, no alteration should be hazarded, ought to have been observed in this instance. The sense is obviously, "Octavia drew away or _abstracted_ Cleopatra from Antony," and she might therefore be very properly called, in Shakspeare's bold language, an _abstract_.

Another reason for retaining the old reading is, that, generally speaking, Dr. Warburton's _emendations_ are inadmissible.

SCENE 11. Page 587.

ANT. If from the field I shall return once more To kiss these lips, I will appear in blood-- I will be treble-sinew'd, hearted, breath'd, And fight maliciously: for when mine hours Were _nice_ and lucky, men did ransom lives Of me for jests----

The word _nice_, sometimes used by Shakspeare in a sense bordering on that of _amorous_ or _wanton_, seems in the present instance to have precisely that meaning. Antony says that his former _luxurious_ hours with Cleopatra were fortunate to those who asked his favours, but that now he will appear in blood. The historian Stowe, in recording an accident that happened to one Mary Breame in the year 1583, says that she "had beene _accused_ by her husband to bee a _nice woman of her body_." We have also an old play entitled _The nice wanton_.

SCENE 11. Page 589.

ENO. ... and in that mood, The dove will peck the _estridge_.

i. e. the _falcon_. See note p. 268, &c.


SCENE 9. Page 611.

1. SOLD. ... so bad a prayer Was never yet for _sleeping_.

2. SOLD. Go we to him.

In the old copy _sleep_. The alteration is by Mr. Steevens, and, as he says, for the sake of _measure_; but that was already complete. The _harmony_ is certainly improved, as the accent is to be laid on _to_ in the ensuing line.

SCENE 12. Page 624.

ANT. My good _knave_, Eros, now thy captain is Even such a body: here I am Antony; Yet cannot hold this visible shape, my _knave_. I made these wars for Egypt; and the _queen_,-- Whose _heart_, I thought, I had, for she had mine; ... she, Eros, has _Pack'd cards_ with Cæsar, and _false play'd_ my glory Unto an enemy's _triumph_.

One should really suppose that Shakspeare had written this speech just after having lost a game at cards, and before the manner in which it had been played was out of his mind. Dr. Warburton's explanation is too superficial to merit the commendation which Dr. Johnson has bestowed on it. That of Mr. Malone is much more judicious and satisfactory; but it has not been perceived that a marked and particular allusion is intended. This is to the old card game of _trump_, which bore a very strong resemblance to our modern whist. It was played by two against two, and sometimes by three against three. It is thus mentioned in _Gammer Gurton's needle_, Act II. Scene 2: "We be fast set at _trump_ man, hard by the fire;" and like wise in Dekkar's _Belman of London_, among other card games. In Eliot's _Fruits for the French_, 1593, p. 53, it is called "a verie common alehouse game in England;" and Rice, in his _Invective against vices_, 12mo, b. l. n. d. but printed before 1600, speaking of sharpers' tricks at cards, mentions "renouncyng the _trompe_ and comming in againe." The Italians call it _triomphetto_; see Florio's dictionary. In Capitolo's poem on Primero, another card game, 1526, 8vo, it is called _trionfi_, and consigned to the peasants. Minsheu, in his _Spanish dialogues_, p. 25, makes it a game for old men. We, in all probability, received it from the French _triomphe_, which occurs in Rabelais as one of Gargantua's games. The term indicates a winning or _triumphant_ card; and therefore there can be no pretence for deriving it from _tromper_, whatever Ben Jonson might have thought to the contrary, who, in reality, seems only to indulge in a pun upon the word.

SCENE 12. Page 627.

ANT. I will o'ertake thee, Cleopatra, and Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now All _length_ is torture.

Mr. Steevens suspects that the author wrote _life_; surely without reason. Length is _extension_ or _protraction of life_.


He is a mere country fellow; but Shakspeare, in compliance with the usual expectations of the audience, has bestowed on him a due portion of wit and satire.



SCENE 2. Page 18.

IMO. ... he is A man worth any woman; overbuys me Almost the sum he pays.

This has already been so ingeniously interpreted, that there is considerable hazard in the offer of any other conjecture on the subject; yet, may not Imogen mean, "the possession of me is much too dearly bought by the _banishment_ to which you sentence him; he has almost nothing for so large a price."

SCENE 5. Page 27.


Mr. Malone having shown that this name is borrowed from the Italian _Giacomo_, it should be printed _Jachimo_, in order to prevent any mistake in the pronunciation.


SCENE 2. Page 65.

IMO. From fairies and the tempters of the night, Guard me, beseech ye!

See p. 128.

SCENE 3. Page 72.

Hark, hark, the lark at heaven's gate sings.

The frequent mention of the lark, especially among our older poets, has been already exemplified in a variety of corresponding passages with the above, which either Shakspeare might have imitated, or which are imitations from him. To these the following may be added:--

"On morowe tho the dai sprong And the larke bigan her song."

Romance of _Sir Oluel_. MS.

"Even at the twelyght in the dawnynge Whan the larke of custome gynneth synge For to salue in her heavenly laye The lusty goddesse of the morowe graye."

Lydgate's _Sege of Troye_, B. i.

"Whan the larke messager of day Of custome aye Aurora doth salue, With sondry notes hir sorowe to transmue, Or Phebus ryse to joye and gladnesse."

Lydgate's _Sege of Troye_, B. iii.

"Upsprang the golden candle matutyne, With cleir depurit bemys chrystallyne, Glading the mirry fowlis in thair nest: Or Phebus was in purpour kaip revest Upsprang the lark, the hevene's mynstral syne In may intill a morrow mirth fullest."

Dunbar's _Golden terge_.

"With merry note her loud salutes the mounting lark."

Spenser's _Fairy queen_, B. I. Canto xi. st. 51.

"Early, cheerful, mounting lark, Light's gentle usher, morning's clerk, In merry notes delighting; Stint awhile thy song, and hark, And learn my new inditing.

"Bear up this hymn, to heav'n it bear E'en up to heav'n, and sing it there," &c.

Davies's _Acrostick hymns_, 1599.

"... and then my state, (Like to the lark, at break of day arising From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate."

Shakspeare's 29th _Sonnet_.

"The larke that left her food, her nest, her yong, And early mounting, first with her sweet song Saluted heaven."

Niccolls's _London Artillery_, 1616, 4to.

"And the lark from out the furrow, Soars upright on matin wings, And at the gate of heaven sings."

_Penshurst._ In Dodsley's collection, vol. iv.

SCENE 4. Page 88.

IACH. The roof o' the chamber With _golden cherubims_ is fretted; her andirons (I had forgot them) were two winking Cupids Of silver, each on one foot standing, nicely Depending on their brands.

Mr. Steevens calls the _golden cherubims_ a tawdry image, and proceeds, justly enough, to ridicule an idle representation of the heavenly choirs; but the poet must be cleared from any imputation of blame. He is not accountable for the fashions or follies of his age, and has, in this instance, given a faithful description of the mode in which the rooms in great houses were sometimes ornamented. That _brands_ were those parts of the andirons which supported the wood, according to Mr. Whalley, remains to be proved. The Cupids would not lean or hang over these bars, but rather stand with their faces turned from them, and opposite to the spectator. The brands are more likely to have been the inverted torches mentioned by Mr. Steevens.

SCENE 5. Page 94.

POST. Me of my lawful pleasure she restrain'd, And pray'd me, oft, forbearance: did it With a pudency so rosy, &c.

A useless note on this speech, which would make our poet equally vulgar and obscene, when he was expressing a sentiment of the most refined delicacy, may be well dispensed with in any future edition.


SCENE 1. Page 99.

CYM. Our ancestor was that Mulmutius, which Ordain'd our laws ... ... Mulmutius, Who was the first of Britain, &c.

The judicious and necessary omission of the words "made our laws," after the second Mulmutius, originally belongs to Sir Thomas Hanmer, who would have deserved more thanks from his readers for his regulations of Shakspeare's metre, if they had not been too frequently made without a proper regard to the accuracy of the text.

SCENE 1. Page 100.

CYM. Thy Cæsar _knighted_ me.

Although our old writers frequently make mention of _Roman knights_, that is, military chieftains, it is very much to be apprehended that the present expression must be regarded as a downright anachronism, as well as another similar passage, in p. 213, where Cymbeline addresses Belarius and his sons: "Bow your knees; arise my _knights_ of the battle, &c." The word _knight_ was formerly used with great latitude. Dr. Bullein calls Dioscorides "that olde famous Egyptian _knyghte_."

SCENE 2. Page 105.

IMO. (Some griefs are med'cinable;) that is one of them, For it doth physick love;----

The _whole_ of this should be included in the parenthesis, as in Mr. Malone's edition. No reason has been assigned by Mr. Steevens for the variation, which may be an error of the press.

SCENE 3. Page 117.

BEL. ... _Euriphile_, Thou wast their nurse----

The above name might have been borrowed from the story of Amphiaraus and _Eriphile_, in Pettie's _Petite palace_, 1598, 4to.

SCENE 4. Page 120.

PIS. ... whose tongue Outvenoms all the worms of Nile.

So in the anonymous play of _Wily beguilde_,

"Whose tongue more venom than the serpent's sting."

It is difficult to say which is the imitation.


SCENE 2. Page 154.

GUI. But his neat _cookery_.

This speech has exercised the talents of a certain ingenious female _illustrator_ of Shakspeare, who has endeavoured to ridicule the character of Imogen, and indeed the whole of the play. She degrades our heroine into a mere kitchen wench, and adverts to what she calls her _œconomical education_. Now what is this but to expose her own ignorance of ancient manners? If she had missed the advantage of qualifying herself as a commentator on Shakspeare's plots by a perusal of our old romances, she ought at least to have remembered, what every well informed woman of the present age is acquainted with, the education of the princesses in Homer's _Odyssey_. It is idle to attempt to judge of ancient simplicity by a mere knowledge of modern manners; and such fastidious critics had better close the book of Shakspeare for ever. In another part of her critique on this play, she condemns the giving of the drug to Imogen which Pisanio had received from the queen, from an idea that he was sufficiently warned of its soporific quality; and she positively states that the physician had, by a whisper, informed Pisanio of its property; not one word of which is to be found in Shakspeare. So much for the criticism and accuracy of a work to which Dr. Johnson condescended to write a dedication. He has likewise too often confided in its opinions in the course of several of his remarks on Shakspeare's plays.

SCENE 2. Page 156.

CLO. Know'st me not by my clothes?

GUI. _No_, nor thy tailor, rascal.

Mr. Steevens's correct ear has on this, perhaps single, occasion been deceived. He objects to the negation _no_, as "at once superfluous and injurious to the metre;" yet it is impossible to read the line harmoniously without it. Nor does it constitute the superfluity of the metre, which has, exclusively, two redundant syllables. If any alteration were allowable, it might be the following:--

"Know'st not my clothes? No, nor thy tailor, rascal."

SCENE 2. Page 164.

BEL. O thou goddess, Thou divine nature, _how_ thyself thou blazon'st----

This judicious emendation from _thou_ thyself, &c., claimed by one learned gentleman and adopted by another, is the original property of Sir Thomas Hanmer.

SCENE 2. Page 168.

GUI. With _female_ fairies will his tomb be haunted.

i. e. harmless and protecting spirits, not fairies of a mischievous nature.

SCENE 2. Page 169.

GUI. And worms will not come to _thee_.

Mr. Steevens imputes _great violence_ to this change of person, and would read "come to _him_;" but there is no impropriety in Guiderius's sudden address to the _body itself_. It might indeed be ascribed to our author's careless manner, of which an instance like the present occurs at the beginning of the next act, where Posthumus says,

"... _you_ married ones, If each of _you_ would take this course, how many Must murder wives much better than _themselves_."

SCENE 2. Page 169.

ARV. ... the ruddock would, With charitable bill,--bring thee all this; Yea and furr'd moss besides, when flowers are none To _winter-ground_ thy corse.

The question made by Dr. Percy, whether the notion of the redbreast covering dead bodies be older than the celebrated ballad of the babes of the wood, has been satisfactorily answered in the affirmative by Mr. Reed's note. In Dekker's _Villanies discovered by lanthorn and candle light_, 1616, 4to, it is said, "They that cheere up a prisoner but with their sight, are Robin red breasts that bring strawes in their bils to cover a dead man in extremitie." See chap. xv.

With respect to _winter-ground_; until some other example of the use of this word be produced, there will be no impropriety in offering a substitute in _winter-green_, that is, "to preserve thy tomb green with moss in the winter season, when there will be no flowers wherewith to deck it." Such a verb might have been suggested to Shakspeare, who often coins in this way, by the plant _winter-green_, the _pyrola_.

_Ruddock_ was the Saxon name ꞃuꝺꝺuc, for the redbreast, and long continued to be so. In Bullokar's _Æsop_, 1585, 12mo, there is a fable "Of a fowlor and the bird cale'd Robin-red-brest," which concludes in these words: "Then the fowlor, hop of-taking many being lost, when it waz now tym too-rest, drawing the netz, he cauht only on _Robin-ruddok_, which being unhappy [unlucky] had abydd stil in the shrap."

SCENE 2. Page 175.

IMO. 'Od's pittikins!

Mr. Steevens's derivation from God's _my_ pity, is not quite correct. It is rather from _God's pity_, diminutively used by the addition of _kin_. In this manner we have _'od's bodikins_.


For the plot of Cymbeline, Shakspeare has been almost exclusively indebted to Boccaccio's novel of Bernabo Lomellin, Day 2, novel 9, as Mr. Malone has proved beyond the possibility of doubt. Unless we suppose, what is not probable, that Shakspeare was acquainted with the Italian language, or that he had heard the above novel read by some person in English, a difficulty arises in accounting for the manner in which he got access to it. The earliest English translation of the _whole of the Decameron_ was first printed in 1620, by Isaac Jaggard, in folio, and in two parts, the first of which was republished under the title of _The modell of wit, mirth, eloquence, and conversation, framed in ten days of an hundred curious pieces, by seven honourable ladies, and three noble gentlemen, preserved to posterity by the renowned John Boccacio, the first refiner of Italian prose, and now translated into English_, 1625, in folio. See more on this subject in a preceding note, p. 102. Had Shakspeare been intimately acquainted with Boccaccio's _Decameron_, one should have expected that he would have made considerable use of that work; but this is the only play in which the most material part of the plot has been extracted from it. There are indeed one or two instances in which a very slight use has been made of it, but then evidently through the medium of an English translation. Is it not possible that our author might have known French enough to have occasionally read the Decameron in that language?



SCENE 1. Page 276.

AAR. And faster bound to Aaron's _charming_ eyes.

He is not here commending the _beauty_ of his eyes, but adverting to their power of _fascination_. This was anciently supposed a peculiar quality of the eye, and many remedies or amulets were used to charm away its power.

SCENE 3. Page 287.

TAM. While hounds, and horns, and sweet melodious birds, Be unto us, as is a nurse's song Of _lullaby_, to bring her babe asleep.

We have here a curious lullaby note, which, as well as the present, may possibly have a drowsy effect on all readers but staunch antiquaries and etymologists. For the benefit therefore of the latter it may be observed, that Dr. Johnson is probably mistaken in supposing that the nurse's word _by_ signifies sleep, otherwise than as a contraction of _lullaby_. It is to be wished that Mr. Holt White had favoured us with some proof that to _lull_ originally signified to _sleep_, and that its present sense, _to compose to sleep by a pleasing sound_, is but a secondary one, retained after the primitive import had become obsolete. The same ingenious critic proceeds to state that _by_ means _house_, and therefore _lullaby_ is to _go to house or cradle_. There is so much plausibility in this conjecture that it is almost a pity to be obliged to dissent from it. Though it cannot be disputed that _by_ signifies a _dwelling_, it is presumed that this sense is as unconnected with the word in question as Dr. Johnson's _sleep_. It would be a hopeless task to trace the origin of the northern verb _to lull_, which means _to sing gently_; but it is evidently connected with the Greek λαλεω, loquor, or λαλλη, the sound made by the beach at sea. Thus much is certain, that the Roman nurses used the word _lalla_ to quiet their children, and that they feigned a deity called _Lallus_, whom they invoked on that occasion; the lullaby or tune itself was called by the same name. As _lallare_ meant to _sing lalla_, to _lull_ might in like manner denote the singing of the nurse's lullaby to induce the child to sleep. Thus in an ancient carol composed in the fifteenth century, and preserved among the Sloane MSS. No. 2593:

"che song a slepe wᵗ. her _lullynge_ here dere sone our savyoure."

In another old ballad printed by Mr. Ritson in his _Ancient songs_, p. 198, the burden is "lully, lully, lullaby, lullyby, sweete baby, &c.;" from which it seems probable that _lullaby_ is only a comparatively modern contraction of _lully baby_, the first word being the legitimate offspring of the Roman _lalla_. In another of these pieces still more ancient, and printed in the same collection, we have, "lullay, lullow, lully, _bewy_, lulla baw baw." The welsh appear to have been famous for their lullaby songs. Jones, in his _Arte and science of preserving bodie and soule_, 1579, 4to, says, "The best nurses, but especially the trim and skilfull Welch women, doe use to sing some preaty sonets, wherwith their copious tong is plentifully stoared of divers pretie tunes and pleasaunt ditties, that the children disquieted might be brought to reste: but translated never so well, they want their grace in Englishe, for lacke of proper words: so that I will omit them, as I wishe they would theyr lascivious _Dymes_, wanton _Lullies_, and amorous _Englins_."

Mr. White, in reviewing his opinion of the etymology of _good-by_, will perhaps incline to think it a contraction, when properly written _good b'ye_, of _God be with you_, and not "may your _house_ prosper!"

To add to the stock of our old lullaby songs, two are here subjoined. The first is from a pageant of _The slaughter of the innocents_, acted at Coventry in the reign of Henry the Eighth, by the taylors and shearers of that city, and most obligingly communicated by Mr. Sharpe. The other is from the curious volume of songs mentioned before in p. 262. Both exhibit the simplicity of ancient manners.

"Lully, lulla, thou littell tine childe, By by lully lullay, Lully lullay thou littell tyne child, By by lully lullay.

O sisters too, how may we do, For to preserve this day This pore yongling, for whom we do singe By by lully lullay.

Herod the king, in his raging, Chargid he hath this day; His men of might, in his owne sight, All yonge children to slay.

That wo is me, pore child for thee, And ever morne and say; For thi parting, nether say nor sing, By by lully lullay."

* * * * *

"By by lullaby Rockyd I my chyld In a drē late as I lay Me thought I hard a maydyn say And spak thes wordys mylde, My lytil sone with the I play And ever she song by lullay. Thus rockyd she hyr chyld By by lullabi, Rockid I my child by by. Then merveld I ryght sore of thys A mayde to have a chyld I wys, By by lullay. Thus rockyd she her chyld By by lullaby, rockyd I my chyld."


SCENE 3. Page 290.

TAM. O'ercome with moss and _baleful_ misletoe.

This epithet is extremely appropriate either conformably to an ancient, but erroneous, opinion, that the berries of the misletoe were poisonous; or on account of the use made of this plant by the Druids during their detestable human sacrifices.


SCENE 1. Page 305.

TIT. Speak my Lavinia, what accursed hand Hath made thee handless in thy father's _sight_?

Dr. Warburton says, "we should read _spight_;" but there is no reason for a change for the worse. Titus had made no attempt to _prevent_ the mutilation of his unhappy daughter, nor had it taken place in _despite_, i. e. contempt or hatred of him.


SCENE 3. Page 338.

TIT. And sith there is no justice in earth nor hell, We will solicit heaven, and move the Gods.

Notwithstanding the difference in arrangement, it will hardly be questioned that the author is here indebted to Virgil's

"Flectere si nequeo superos, Acheronta movebo."

This may be added to the list of classical allusions at the end of the play.


SCENE 1. Page 351.

AAR. An idiot holds his _bauble_ for a God, And keeps the oath which by that God he swears.

Even though the bauble here mentioned had been actually of that kind which is alluded to in the course of a note in _All's well that ends well_, Act IV., his imagination would be deemed not a little fanciful, who would connect it with the object of the singular oath in _Genesis_ xxiv. 9. There cannot however be a doubt that Aaron refers to that sort of bauble or sceptre which was usually carried in the hand by natural idiots and allowed jesters, and by which, it may be supposed, they would sometimes swear. The resemblance which it bore to an image or idol suggested the poet's comparison.

SCENE 2. Page 363.

TIT. So, now bring them in, for I will play the cook.

This redundant line ought to be thus arranged and printed:

So, Now bring them in, for I will play the cook.

SCENE 3. Page 364.

MAR. Rome's emperor, and nephew, _break_ the parle.

Dr. Johnson makes the sense "_begin_ the parley." Is it not rather "_break off_ this sort of discourse!"? for Lucius and Saturninus had already _begun_ the parley by sparring language: to prevent the continuance of it Marcus interferes, by declaring that their quarrels must be adjusted by gentle _words_.

Throughout this play the name _Andrŏnĭcus_ is improperly accented. It should have been _Andronīcus_.


He is nothing more than a shrewd rustic, performing the office of a messenger.


Page 388.


"This," says Mr. Steevens, "is an imaginary _city_, and its name might have been borrowed from some romance. We meet, indeed, in history with _Pentapolitana regio_, a country in Africa, and from thence perhaps some novelist furnished the sounding title of _Pentapolis_," &c. But there was no absolute reason for supposing it a _city_ in this play, as Gower in the _Confessio amantis_ had done, a circumstance which had probably misled Mr. Steevens. In the original Latin romance of Apollonius Tyrius, it is most accurately called _Pentapolis Cyrenorum_, and was, as both Strabo and Ptolemy inform us, a _district_ of Cyrenaica in Africa, comprising _five cities_, of which Cyrene was one.


GOWER. To sing a song _of old_ was sung.

The editor, having very properly adopted Mr. Malone's amendment in the text, has forgotten to mention that the former reading was _that old_, and the note is consequently rendered obscure.

SCENE 1. Page 397.

PER. See where she comes, apparell'd like the spring, Graces her subjects, and her thoughts the king Of every virtue----

A transposition of _spring_ and _king_ has been suggested, but on no solid foundation; nor, it is presumed, is the passage _incurably depraved_, or even any change necessary. Mr. Steevens asks, "With what propriety can a lady's thoughts be styled the king of every virtue?" For this the poet must answer, who evidently designed an antithesis in _king_ and _subjects_.

SCENE 1. Page 402.

ANT. Read the _conclusion_ then; Which read and not expounded, 'tis decreed, As these before thee, thou thyself shalt bleed.

_Conclusion_, which formerly signified a trial or _experiment_, is here put for _riddle_, itself a trial of skill. The practice of proposing such riddles, with the penalty for not expounding them, is borrowed from ancient romances. In that of _Tristan de Leonnois_, there is a giant who detains all passengers that he meets, and puts them to the test of unfolding a riddle. If they fail, he kills them. A hero at length presents himself, who, after explaining the riddle, proposes one in his turn; the giant not being able to expound it, is himself put to death. The construction of these riddles is the same as that in the play, as will appear from the following specimen:--

"Je d'un arbre jouy jadis Que j'aimois mieux que paradis; C'est arbre bel fruict m'apporta Que sa grand' beauté m'entorta Tellement que la fleur en pris: Et puis du fruist tant je mespris Qu'a le manger fu irrité. Dy moy du cas la verité, La me disant la vie auras; Si non sois seur que tu mourras."

SCENE 1. Page 402.

DAUGH. _In all save that_, may'st thou prove prosperous!

This reading has been adopted in preference to that of the old copy, which was, _of all said yet_; and in support of it Mr. Mason has offered the following argument.

_She cannot wish him more prosperous in expounding the riddle than those who had preceded him; because his success would cause the publication of her own shame. Feeling a regard for the prince, she deprecates his fate, and wishes he may not succeed in solving the riddle; but that his failure may be attended with prosperous consequences._ Now she must have very well known that the failure in question could be attended with no other consequences than the forfeiture of his life, a condition that had been just before expressly declared. Nor was such a wish on the part of the lady likely to operate as an inducement to the prince to try his chance. The words "save that" appear to have no regular antecedent. Would it not therefore be more charitable towards the lady to suppose that her mind revolted at the guilty situation she was placed in; and that a sudden affection for the prince, and a desire to be honourably united to such a man, might take possession of her mind, and induce her to wish, according to a sense which may be extracted from the old reading, that, _as to all which had been uttered_, he might prove successful? It should be remembered too, that this idea corresponds entirely with the character of the princess in Gower. Should this interpretation be thought just, the present speech must be supposed to be _privately_ addressed to the prince.

SCENE 1. Page 410.

PER. ... for wisdom sees, those men Blush not in actions blacker than the night, Will _shun_ no course to keep them from the light.

The old reading was _show_ no course, which is equivalent with _take no means_; and the construction is, "they who blush not for bad actions will take no means to conceal them."

SCENE 2. Page 413.

PER. Let none disturb us: why this _charge_ of thoughts?

Both the old editions have _change_, which, as Mr. Mason has shown, may very well stand; and even the redundant word _should_, in the old copies, might be retained without diminishing the harmony of the line. The sense would then be, "Let none disturb us: why should this change of sentiment [disturb us]?"

SCENE 4. Page 426.

CLE. If _heaven_ slumber while _their_ creatures want, They may awake _their_ helps to comfort them.

As these lines stand they are ungrammatical. The original reading was, no doubt, _if the Gods slumber_, which was altered by the licencer of the press. This should either be restored, or the whole rendered correct.


Page 438.

GOW. ... what shall be next, Pardon old Gower; this _longs_ the text.

Which Mr. Steevens thus explains: "Excuse old Gower from telling you what follows. The very text to it has proved of too considerable a length already." But has he not missed the meaning of this elliptical mode of expression, which seems to be, "Excuse old Gower from relating what follows; this _belongs_ to the text, i. e. the play itself, not to me the commentator?" In the third Act he uses a similar speech,

"I will relate; action may Conveniently the rest convey."

_Longs_ should be printed _'longs_, as we have _'lated_ for _belated_ in _Macbeth_, Act. III. Scene 3.

SCENE 1. Page 450.

PER. ... I yet am unprovided Of a pair of _bases_.

These were a sort of petticoat that hung down to the knees, and were suggested by the Roman military dress, in which they seem to have been separate and parallel slips of cloth or leather. Gayton in his _Festivous notes on Don Quixote_, p. 218, says, that "all heroick persons are _pictured_ in _bases_ and buskins." In the celebrated story of _Friar John and Friar Richard_, as related in Heywood's _History of women_, p. 253, the skirts of the _armed_ friar's gown are made to serve as _bases_. At the justs that were held in honour of Queen Catherine in the second year of Henry VIII., some of the knights had "their _basses_ and trappers of cloth of golde, every of them his name embroudered on his _basse_ and trapper."--Halle's _Chronicle_. But here the term seems applied to the furniture of the horses. The bases appear to have been made of various materials. If in tilting they fell to the ground, the heralds claimed them as a fee, unless redeemed by money; this indeed was the case with respect to any piece of armour that happened to be detached from the owner. Sometimes _bases_ denoted the hose merely; as in the comedy of _Lingua_, 1607, where _Auditus_, one of the characters, is dressed in "a cloth of silver mantle upon a pair of sattin _bases_." In Rider's Latin Dictionary, 1659, _bases_ are rendered _palliolum curtum_. The term seems to have been borrowed from the French, who at a very early period used _bache_ for a woman's petticoat.--See Carpentier _Glossar. medii ævi_.

SCENE 2. Page 454.

THAISA. And his device, a _wreath_ of chivalry The word, _Me pompæ provexit apex_.

_Pompæ_, and not _Pompei_, is undoubtedly the true word; and the whole of Mr. Steevens's reasoning in favour of the latter is at once disposed of by referring to the work which appears to have furnished the author of the play with this and the two subsequent devices of the knights. It is a scarce little volume entitled, _The heroicall devises of M. Claudius Paradin canon of Beaujeu, whereunto are added the lord Gabriel Symeon's and others. Translated out of Latin into English, by P. S._ 1591, 24mo. The _sixth_ device, from its peculiar reference to the situation of Pericles, may perhaps have been altered from one in the same collection used by Diana of Poictiers. It is a green branch issuing from a tomb with the motto SOLA VIVIT IN ILLO. The following are what have been immediately borrowed from Paradin; but it is also proper to state that the torch and the hand issuing from a cloud are to be found in Whitney's _Emblems_, 1586, 4to. As they are all more elegantly engraved in the original editions of Paradin and Symeon than in the English book above mentioned, the copies here given have been made from the former.





SCENE 2. Page 498.

1. GENT. Or tie my treasure up in silken bags, To please the _fool and death_.

The notes on this passage having got into some little confusion by the introduction of the lines in _Measure for measure_ which relate to the _fool and death_ and the supplemental remarks on it, it will be necessary in all future editions to keep them separate, as it seems almost certain that they have no connection with each other.

Cerimon in most express terms declares that he feels more real satisfaction in his liberal employment as a physician, than he should in the uncertain pursuit of honour, or in the mere accumulation of wealth; which would assimilate him to a miser, the result of whose labour is merely to entertain the fool and death. But how was such amusement as this to affect those personages in the _other_ instance, where the vain attempts of a fool to escape the jaws of his adversary form the whole of the subject? The allusion therefore is to some such print as Mr. Steevens happily remembered to have seen, in which death plunders the miser of his money bags, whilst the fool is grinning at the process. It may be presumed that these subjects were common in Shakspeare's time. They might have ornamented the poor man's cottage in the shape of rude prints, or have been introduced into halfpenny ballads long since consigned to oblivion. The miser is at all times fair game; and to prove that this is not a chimerical opinion, and at the same time to show the extensive range of this popular subject, a few prints of the kind shall be mentioned. 1. Death and the two misers, by Michael Pregel. 2. An old couple counting their money, death and two devils attending, a mezzotint by Vander Bruggen. 3. A similar mezzotint by Meheux without the devils. 4. An old print on a _single sheet_ of a dance of death, on which both the _miser_ and the _fool_ are exhibited in the clutches of the grim monarch.

The rear may be closed with the same subject as represented in the various _dances of death_ that still remain. Nor should it be concluded that because these prints exhibit no fool to grin at the impending scene, others might not have done so. The satirical introduction of this character on many occasions supports the probability that they did. Thus in a painting of the school of Holbein, an old man makes love to a girl, attended by a fool and death, to show, in the first instance, the folly of the thing, and in the next, its consequences. It is unnecessary to pursue the argument, as every print of the above kind that may in future occur, will itself speak much more forcibly than any thing which can here be added.


SCENE 3. Page 539.

The two last lines in the quotation from _The wife for a month_ should be printed thus:

Hung up _my_ picture in a market place, And sold _me_ to vile bawds.

SCENE 3. Page 540.

BAWD. ... to scatter his _crowns in the sun_.

"There is here," says Mr. Malone, "perhaps, some allusion to the _lues venerea_, though the words _French crowns_ in their literal acceptation were certainly also in Boult's thoughts." Mr. Mason sees no allusion whatever to the above disease. That a French crown did signify the _lues venerea_ cannot be doubted; but Mr. Mason's difference of opinion might be further supported by reflecting that if the Frenchman came to _renovate_[18] his malady, he could not well be said to scatter it. It must therefore be inferred that he was to scatter nothing but his money. As Mr. Mason has not favoured us with an explanation of the coins in question, it is necessary to state that they were _crowns of the sun_ specifically so called, _écus du soleil_; and in this instance, for the sake of antithesis, termed crowns _in_ the sun. They were of gold, originally coined by Louis XI. Their name was derived from the mint mark of a sun; and they were current in this kingdom by weight, in the same manner as certain English coins were in France.

SCENE 3. Page 541.

BOULT. ... we should lodge them with _this sign_.

_This sign_ is properly referred by Mr. Malone to the person of Marina, and cannot, for the reasons in the last note, allude to the _sun_, according to Mr. Mason's second explanation. Nor is this gentleman's argument supported by the instance adduced of the sun having been used as the sign of a brothel. It was by no means exclusively, or even particularly so. The following passage from Dekker's _Villanies discovered, or the belman's night walks_, may throw some light on the subject before us. "He saw the doores of notorious _carted bawdes_ (like hell gates) stand night and day wide open, with a _paire of harlots_ in taffata gownes (like two painted posts) garnishing out those doores, being better to the house then a _double signe_."

SCENE 6. Page 567.

MAR. Thou 'rt the damn'd door-keeper to every coystrel That hither comes enquiring for his _tib_.

Mr. Malone thinks _Tib_ a contraction of Tabitha; but quære if not of Isabel? In all events it was a name given to any lewd woman. In _Pasquil's mad cappe_, 1626, 4to, an excellent satire, mention is made of _a tinker and his tibbe_. Why this name was exclusively applied to a loose woman, or how it got into the game of gleek, does not appear.


SCENE 3. Page 607.

PER. Heav'ns make a _star_ of him!

So in 1 _Henry VI._ Act I.

"A far more glorious star thy soul will make Than Julius Cæsar----"

This notion is borrowed from the ancients, who expressed their mode of conferring divine honours and immortality on men, by placing them among the stars. Thus on a medal of Hadrian the adopted son of Trajan and Plotina, the divinity of his parents is expressed by placing a star over their heads; and in like manner the consecration medals of Faustina the elder exhibit her on an eagle, her head surrounded with stars. Other similar medals have the moon and stars; and some of Faustina the younger the inscription SIDERIBVS RECEPTA.


Although Boult, the servant to the pandar and his wife, is not termed a _clown_ in the _dramatis personæ_, it should seem that he has an equal claim to the appellation with several other low characters that have been introduced into plays for the purpose of amusing the audience. He bears some affinity to the tapster in _Measure for measure_; but there is nothing that immediately constitutes him the jester to a brothel. See what has been said on such a character in the article relating to the clown in _Measure for measure_.


As the very great popularity of this play in former times may be supposed to have originated rather from the interest which the _story_, replete with incident, must have excited, than from any intrinsic merit as _a dramatic composition_, it may be worth while, and even interesting to many, to give the subject more ample discussion. To trace it beyond the period in which the favourite romance of _Apollonius Tyrius_ was composed, would be a vain attempt. That was the probable original; but of its author nothing decisive has been discovered. The following circumstance, however, has led to a conjecture concerning him, which shall be stated with as much brevity as possible. When Tarsia, the Marina of Pericles, has finished the song which she addresses to her unknown father Apollonius, she receives from him a hundred pieces of gold, with a command to leave him. Athenagoras, the Lysimachus of Pericles, afterwards meets her, gives her two hundred pieces, and prevails on her to make another effort to sooth the melancholy of Apollonius. She returns to him, requests permission to renew their conversation, and insists on his taking back his money, unless he can expound certain riddles which she proceeds to state. Now these riddles, three in number, are to be found in a work entitled _Symposii ænigmata_. The original editor of this book, Pierre Pithou, thought fit, without the smallest authority, to entitle the supposed author Cælius Firmianus Symposius. Heuman, a subsequent editor, placing implicit confidence in this name, maintained that this person could be no other than the celebrated father of the church Cælius Firmianus Lactantius; for having found that he had written a work, now lost, under the title of _Symposium_, he concluded that the name of _Symposius_, which occurs at the beginning of the ænigmas, was a mistake, and that he had therefore proved his point. But this futile reasoning was easily subverted by the superior critical talents of the truly learned Fabricius, who demonstrated the impossibility of such an error, and that Heuman had even misconceived the meaning of the word _Symposium_, which could not apply to a work like the ænigmas. Besides, the evidence of Saint Jerome remained to show that the symposium was not written, like the ænigmas, in hexameter verses. Lactantius is therefore out of the question; and though there is no immediate proof respecting the time in which Symposius lived, it appears that it must have been before the eighth century, as bishop Aldhelm, who died in 709, quotes the ænigmas _as composed by Symposius the poet_. This, and many other circumstances, sufficiently identify him against the ill-founded assertions of Heuman, who regarded him as a nonentity. Aldhelm himself wrote ænigmas so much in the manner of Symposius, that one might reasonably enough infer there was no great difference in their respective ages. The learned Barthius (see his _Adversaria_, lib. lviii. c. 1.), fully persuaded of the reality of Symposius, and acquainted with the occurrence of the riddles in the history of _Apollonius Tyrius_, concluded, with other learned men, that Symposius wrote the latter; and he justly terms the author _dulcis scriptor et eruditus_, as will be evident to any one who will take the trouble of reading it in Velser's edition, which is printed from a better manuscript than those used in the _Gesta Romanorum_. If, as Velser maintains, and Barthius admits, it was originally written in Greek, a difficulty arises with respect to Symposius, unless he be regarded as the translator. But, to say the truth, there does not appear to be any solid reason for supposing him the author, or even translator. It is not very probable that in either character he would have introduced his own matter from another work; and therefore, until some more fortunate discovery shall occur, the romance of Apollonius Tyrius must remain anonymous.

With respect to the language in which it was composed, Velser was of opinion, from certain Græco-Latin words which it contains, that this was Greek, and he speaks rather obscurely of a manuscript of it in that language at Constantinople. He seems to think that the translator was a Christian, living about the period of the decline of the Roman empire. Barthius conceived him to have been a monk of the sixth century. The _Saxon_ translation mentioned in Wanley's list of manuscripts, and now in Bennett College, Cambridge, is doubtless from the Latin, and is alone a sufficient testimony of the antiquity of the work. At what time it was made must be left to the decision of those who are critically skilled in the Saxon language. One Constantine is said to have translated it into modern Greek verse about the year 1500; and this is probably the manuscript mentioned in Dufresne's index of authors, and afterwards printed at Venice in 1563. Mr. Tyrwhitt has observed that Velser was not aware of its having been already published in the _Gesta Romanorum_; and it may be added that it had been printed separately at Augsburg in 1471; perhaps as early as in the _Gesta Romanorum_; a fact that cannot well be ascertained, because there are editions of the latter without date which might have been printed before. Mr. Warton has committed a slight mistake in supposing that Alamannus Rinucinus made a Latin translation corrected by Beroaldus about the year 1520.[19] Vossius, whom he had misconceived, was speaking of a translation of Philostratus's life of Apollonius _Tyaneus_. What Mr. Malone has said of the _English_ translations precludes the necessity of any further notice of them; but with respect to that gentleman's supposition, that there might have been an early prose translation from the _Gesta Romanorum, in which the name of Apollonius was changed to Pericles_, it becomes necessary to state that there are very good reasons for concluding that the story of _Apollonius Tyrius_, from the _Gesta Romanorum_, never was translated into English; and even that the _Gesta Romanorum in question_ did not appear in our language till the beginning of the eighteenth century, and then but a small portion of it.[20] The name of Pericles has been very well accounted for by Mr. Steevens.

To render this article as complete as possible, and to facilitate the reference to a story once so celebrated, a list of the various manuscripts and printed copies is subjoined.


Those in _Latin_ are, two in Bennett Coll. Cambridge; see Nasmith's _Catal._ Nos. cccxviii. ccccli.--Two in the Bodleian libr. Nos. 2435, 2540; see _Catal. MSS. Angliæ_, pp. 125, 134. Mr. Warton mentions a third, in _H. E. Poetry_, vol. i. p. 350, note h. A fourth is in the same library among Archb. Laud's MSS. No. 1302, _Catal. MSS. Angliæ_, p. 70; on what authority this is said to have been translated from the Greek, remains to be examined.

In Magdal. Coll. Ox. No. 2191, _Catal. MSS. Angliæ_, p. 72.--In Vossius's collection, No. 2409, _Catal. MSS. Angliæ_, p. 64.--In the Norfolk collection, now in the library of the Royal Society, No. 3181, _Catal. MSS. Angliæ_, p. 80.--Two in the Sloanian library; see Ascough's _Catal._ p. 854.--Two in the Vatican. See Montfaucon _Bibl. bibliothecarum_, i. 20, Nos. 275, 284.--In the Medicean library, Montfaucon _Bibl. bibl._ i. 372, No. xl.--In the royal library at Paris; Montfaucon _Bibl. bibl._ ii. 756, No. 5251.

A _Saxon_ translation. Bennett Coll. Camb. See Nasmith's _Catal._ No. cci. and Wanley, Libror. vett. septentrional. catal. apud Hickesij _Thesaur._ p. 146.

A _French_ translation is among the royal MSS. in the British museum, 20 c. ii. evidently made from the Latin about the 15th century.

A fragment in old _English_ verse, probably by Thomas Vicary of Wimborn minster in Dorsetshire, on the story of _Apollonius Tyrius_, was in the possession of the late reverend and learned Dr. Farmer of Cambridge. See it noticed in the present vol. of Mr. Steevens's Shakspeare, pp. 381, 609.


_Apollonii Tyrii_ historia, no date, but before 1500, 8vo.

The same published by Velser, 1595, 4to.

In modern Greek verse. Venice, 1563, 1601, 1696, 8vo.

In Italian rime. Venice, 1486, and without place, 1489, 4to.

In Italian prose, _reformed_; and published for the benefit of the common people, _per piacer del popolo_, Milan, 1492, 4to.

In Spanish, in the _Patrañas_ of Juan Timoneda, Alcala, 1576, and Bilbao, 1580, 8vo. This translation may be presumed to have been made from the _Gesta Romanorum_, as other stories from it are in the same work.

In German, Augsburg, 1471, folio, and 1476, 4to.

In Dutch, Delft, 1493, 4to.

In French, b. l. Geneva, 4to, n. d. Again, transl. by Gilles Corrozet, Paris, 1530, 8vo. Again, Amst. 1710, _Paris_, 1711, 12mo, modernized by M. Le Brun. It is abridged in _Melanges tirées d'une grande bibliotheque_, vol. lxiv. p. 265. It is also among the _Hist. tragiques_ de Belleforest, tom. vii. 1604, 12mo.

In Engl. transl. by Rob. Copland from the French, and printed by Wynkyn de Worde, 1510.

_The patterne of painful adventures &c. that befell unto Prince_ APPOLONIUS, &c. translated by T. Twine, 1607, Originally published by W. Howe, 1576.

In Gower's _Confessio amantis_, 1483, 1532, and 1554, folio, from Godfrey of Viterbo.

In the _Pantheon_ or _universal chronicle_ of Godfrey of Viterbo, compiled in Latin in the 12th century. First printed at Basil, 1569, folio, and afterwards in Pistorius's collection of German historians.

And lastly, in _most_ of the editions of the _Gesta Romanorum_, in which it makes the 153rd chapter. In comparing this with Velser's work, it will be perceived that it is the same, making allowance for the usual difference of manuscripts. In short, there is but one story.

A few years after the publication of this play, there appeared on the French stage a tragi-comedy on the same story, entitled _Les heureuses infortunes_. It is in two parts, each of five acts, and composed by Francois Bernier de la Brousse. It might be worth while to examine whether he had made any use of the English Pericles.

However unworthy of Shakspeare's pen this drama, as an _entire_ composition, may be considered, many will be of opinion that it contains more that _he might have written_ than either _Love's labour's lost_, or _All's well that ends well_.


[18] It is necessary that the reader should review Mr. Malone's preceding and satisfactory note.

[19] Hist. of Engl. poetry, III. lxiv.

[20] See the subsequent Dissertation on the Gesta Romanorum.



SCENE 1. Page 11.

COR. ... I am sure, my love's More richer than _my_ tongue.

Dr. Warburton would have it _their_ tongue, meaning her sisters', which would be very good sense. Dr. Johnson is content with the present reading, but gives no explanation. Cordelia means to say, "My love is greater than my powers of language can express." In like manner she soon afterwards says, "I cannot heave my heart into my mouth."

SCENE 1. Page 12.

LEAR. Nothing can come of nothing.

In the fourth Scene of this Act, Lear uses the same expression in answer to the fool, who had asked him if he could "make no use of nothing." For this ancient saying of one of the philosophers, Shakspeare might have been indebted to the following passage in _The prayse of nothing_, by E. D. 1585, 4to. "The prophane antiquitie therefore, unlesse by casuall meanes, entreated little hereof, as of that which by their rule, that _nihil ex nihilo fit_, conteined not matter of profit or commendation: for which those philosophers hunted, as ambicious men for dominion and empire."

SCENE 4. Page 60.

FOOL. That such a king should play _bo-peep_.

Mr. Steevens remarks that little more of this _game_ than its mere denomination remains. He had forgotten the amusements of his nursery. In Sherwood's _Dictionary_ it is defined, "Jeu d'enfant; ou (plustost) des nourrices aux petits enfans; se cachans le visage et puis se monstrant." The Italians say _far bau bau_, or _baco baco_, and _bauccare_; which shows that there must at some time or other have been a connexion between the nurse's _terriculamentum_, the _boggle or buggy bo_, and the present expression. See the note in p. 202. Minsheu's derivation of _bo-peep_ from the noise which chickens make when they come out of the shell, is more whimsical than just.

SCENE 4. Page 65.

LEAR. Lear's shadow?

We are told that "the folio has given these words to the fool." And so they certainly should be, without the mark of interrogation. They are of no use whatever in Lear's speech; and without this arrangement, the fool's next words, "which they will make an obedient father," are unintelligible. It will likewise dispose of Mr. Steevens's subsequent charge against Shakspeare, of inattention to the rules of grammar.


SCENE 2. Page 92.

KENT. I'll make a _sop o' the moonshine_ of you.

It is certain that an equivoque is here intended by an allusion to the old dish of _eggs in moonshine_, which was eggs broken and boiled in salad oil till the yolks became hard. They were eaten with _slices_ of onions fried in oil, butter, verjuice, nutmeg and salt.

SCENE 3. Page 109.

EDG. Pins, _wooden pricks_, &c.

Rightly explained _skewers_. Greene, in his admirable satire, _A quip for an upstart courtier_, speaking of the tricks played by the butchers in his time, makes one of his characters exclaim, "I pray you, goodman Kilcalfe, have you not your artificial knaveries to set out your meate with _pricks_?" The brewers and bakers come in also for their share of abuse.

SCENE 3. Page 110.

EDGAR. Poor Turlygood!

Warburton would read _Turlupin_, and Hanmer _Turluru_; but there is a better reason for rejecting both these terms than for preferring either; viz. that _Turlygood_ is the _corrupted_ word in _our_ language. The Turlupins were a fanatical sect that overran France, Italy, and Germany, in the thirteenth and fourteenth centuries. They were at first known by the names of _Beghards_ or _Beghins_, and brethren and sisters of the free spirit. Their manners and appearance exhibited the strongest indications of lunacy and distraction. The common people alone called them _Turlupins_; a name which, though it has excited much doubt and controversy, seems obviously to be connected with the _wolvish howlings_ which these people in all probability would make when influenced by their religious ravings. Their subsequent appellation of _the fraternity of poor men_ might have been the cause why the wandering rogues called _Bedlam beggars_, and one of whom Edgar personates, assumed or obtained the title of _Turlupins_ or _Turlygoods_, especially if their mode of asking alms was accompanied by the gesticulations of madmen. _Turlupino_ and _Turluru_ are old Italian terms for a fool or madman; and the Flemings had a proverb, _As unfortunate as Turlupin and his children_.

SCENE 4. Page 113.

LEAR. To do upon respect such violent outrage.

Explained by Dr. Johnson, "to violate the character of a messenger from the king." It is rather "to do outrage to that respect which is due to the king." This, in part, agrees with the ensuing note.

SCENE 4. Page 114.

KENT. They summon'd up their _meiny_.

_Meiny_, signifying _a family_, _household_, or _retinue of servants_, is certainly from the French _meinie_, or, as it was anciently and more properly written, _mesnie_; which word has been regarded, with great probability, by a celebrated French glossarist and antiquary, as equivalent with _mesonie_ or _maisonie_, from _maison_: in modern French _ménage_. See glossary to Villehardouin, edit. 1657, folio.

Mr. Holt White has cited Dryden's line,

"The _many_ rend the skies with loud applause,"

as supplying the use of _many_ in Kent's sense of _train_ or _retinue_. With great deference, the word is quite unconnected with _meiny_, and simply denotes any _multitude_ or collection of people. It is not only used at present in its common adjective form for _several_, _divers_, _multi_, but even substantively: for in the Northern parts of England they still say _a many_, and _a many people_, i. e. _of_ people. In this sense it is never found in the French language; but we have received it directly, as an adjective, from the Saxon manɩ manɩᵹ, and as a substantive from menɩu, mænɩᵹeo, menɩᵹo, &c. &c.; for in that language the word is found written not less than twenty different ways. It is the same as the Latin _manus_. Horace uses _manus poetarum_; and Quintilian _oratorum ingens manus_. It does not appear that the Saxons used _many_ for a _family_ or household.

SCENE 4. Page 121.

FOOL. Cry to it nuncle, as the _cockney_ did to the eels.

The difficulties that have attended all inquiries concerning this term, have been not a little augmented by an expectation of finding an uniformity which it does not possess, and by not reflecting that it is in reality susceptible of very different explanations.

There is hardly a doubt that it originates in an Utopian region of indolence and luxury, formerly denominated the country of _cocaigne_,[21] which, as some have thought, was intimately connected with the art of _cookery_; whilst others, with equal plausibility, relate that the little pellets of woad, a commodity in which Languedoc was remarkably fertile, being called by the above name, the province itself acquired the appellation of the kingdom of _cocaigne_ or of plenty, where the inhabitants lived in the utmost happiness, and exempt from every sort of care and anxiety. Hence the name came to be applied to any rich country. Boileau calls Paris _un pays de cocagne_. The French have likewise some theatrical pieces under this title. The Italians have many allusions to it; and there is said to be a small district between Rome and Loretto so called from its cheapness and fertility. With us the lines cited by Camden in his _Britannia_, vol. i. col. 451,

"Were I in my castle of Bungey Upon the river of Waveney I would ne care for the king of _Cockeney_,"

whencesoever they come, indicate that London was formerly known by this satirical name; _and hence a Londoner came to be called a cockney_. The French have an equivalent word, _coqueliner_, to pamper, cherish, or dandle, whence our _cocker_.

From the above circumstances it is probable that a cockney became at length a term of contempt; one of the earliest proofs of which is Chaucer's use of it in the _Reve's tale_, v. 4206: "I shall be halden a daffe or a _cokenay_." In the _Promptuarium parvulorum_, 1516, 4to, it is explained to be a term of derision. In Shakspeare's time it signified a child tenderly brought up, a dearling, a wanton. See Barret's _Alvearie_; and a little before it had been used in a bad sense, from an obvious corruption. See Hulæt's _Abcedarium_, 1552, folio. In this place too Mr. Steevens's quotations from Meres and Deckar might be introduced.

The next sense in which _cockney_ was used seems to be conveyed in the line cited by Mr. Tyrwhitt from _Pierce Plowman's Visions_:

"And yet I say by my soule I have no salt bacon, Ne no _cokeney_ by Christe coloppes to make:"

as well as in those from the tournament of Tottenham;

"At that feast were they served in rich array, Every five and five had a _cokeney_:"

where in both instances, with deference to the respectable authorities of Dr. Percy and Mr. Tyrwhitt, it signifies a _little cock_. In the latter quotation it might mean a peacock, a favourite dish among our ancestors; and this conjecture is countenanced by the words _served in rich array_. This mode of forming a diminutive with respect to animals is not unfrequent. Thus in the _Canterbury tales_, l. 3267: "She was a primerole, a _piggesnie_." And here again some apology may be necessary for differing from Mr. Tyrwhitt, who supposes that Chaucer "meant no more than _ocellus_, the eyes of that animal being remarkably small, and the Romans using _oculus_ as a term of endearment." But the objection to this ingenious explanation is, that _nie_ cannot well be put for _eye_; that in this case the word would have been _pigseye_, and that it is rather formed from the A. S. pɩᵹa, a girl. See Lye's _Saxon dict._ Similar words were afterwards constructed, but without due regard to the above etymology. For example, "Prythee sweet _birdsnye_, be content."--Davenport's _City night cap_, Act III. Scene 1. "Jella, why frownst thou? say sweet _biddiesnie_?"--Davies's _Scourge of folly_. "Ay _birdsneys_, she's a quean."--Shadwell's _Virtuoso_, Act III. And in Congreve's _Old bachelor_, Fondlewife calls his mate _cockey_.

It is observable that in all the above instances these appellations are only used to females. It is not improbable therefore, that, in an abstract sense, _cockney_ might sometimes be used in speaking to male children as a term of endearment; and it may be necessary to make this remark here, for the purpose of anticipating any suggestion that it is connected with the present subject.

It remains only to notice the _cockneys_ or _sugar pellet_ which Mr. Steevens's old lady remembered to have eaten in her childhood. The French formerly used a kind of perfumed pastry made of the powdered Iris flower, sugar, musk, and rose-water; these were called _pastilles_; and from the similitude of the word to _pastel_, or the Languedoc woad mentioned at the beginning of this note as the produce of the _pays de cocagne_, it is not improbable that some latent affinity may exist. The animal involved in the English term might indeed be thought sufficient to indicate the form. Had the old lady, happily for us, described the shape of these comfits, and which motives of delicacy might have prevented, we could possibly have traced them from our Gallic neighbours in another descent of a very singular nature. The following extract from _Legrand's Vie privée des Francois_, tom. ii. p. 268, will explain this: "Croira-t-on qu'il a existé en France un tems ou l'on a donné aux menues pâtisseries de table les formes les plus obscenes, et les noms les plus infâmes? Croira-t-on que cet incroyable excés de depravation a duré plus de deux siécles? Aussi sont ce moins les noms de ces pâtisseries qu'il faut blâmer que les formes qu'on leur donnait. Champier, apres avoir décrit les differentes pâtisseries usitées de son temps, dit, _Quædam pudenda muliebria, aliæ virilia (si diis placet) representant. Sunt quos c... saccharatos appellitent. Adeò degeneravere boni mores, ut etiam Christianis obscœna et pudenda in cibis placeant._"

Minsheu's tale of the cock neighing, and Casaubon's derivation of cockney from οικογενης, i. e. domi natus, may serve to increase those smiles of compassion which it is to be feared some of the present remarks may have already excited.

It is worth remarking, although not immediately connected with the present subject, that in the Celtic languages _coeg_, and _kok_, signified anything foolish or good for nothing. They seem connected with the radical word for a _cuckow_, a silly bird, which has thus transmitted its appellation to persons of a similar nature. See the words _cog_ in the Welsh dictionaries, and _cok_ in Pryce's Cornish vocabulary. In the North they call the cuckow a gowk, whence _genkit_, foolish, and _gawky_. Our term _cokes_, for a fool, is of the same family, and, perhaps, _cuckold_.

SCENE 4. Page 132.

LEAR. Thou art a _boil_.

The note on this word states that it was written _byle_ in the old copies, which all the modern editors have too strictly followed; that the mistake arose from the word _boil_ being often pronounced as if written _bile_; and that in the folio we find in _Coriolanus_ the same _false_ spelling as here.--But this charge against the editors seems to have originated in a misconception. The ancient and true orthography is _byle_ and _bile_, and such was the common pronunciation. The modern _boyl_ and _boil_ are corruptions. Thus in the _Promptuarium parvulorum_, 1516, we have "_Byle_ sore,--Pustula." In Mathews's bible, 1551, "Satan smote Job with marvelous soore _byles_." In Whetstone's _Mirour for magestrates of cyties_, 1584, 4to, "Dicyng houses are of the substance of other buildinges, but within are the botches and _byles_ of abhomination." _Bile_ is pure Saxon, and is so given in most of the old dictionaries.

SCENE 4. Page 135.

LEAR. ... but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws.

On the word _flaws_ we have the following note: "A _flaw_, signifying a crack or other similar imperfection; our author, with his accustomed license, uses the word here for a _small broken particle_. So again in the fifth Act,

'... but his _flaw'd_ heart Burst smilingly.'"

Now there is some reason for supposing that _flaw_ might signify a _fragment_ in Shakspeare's time, as well as a mere crack; because among the Saxons it certainly had that meaning, as may be seen in Somner's _Diction. Saxon._ voce ꝼloh. It is to be observed that the quartos read _flowes_, approaching nearer to the original. In the above quotation _flaw'd_ seems to be used in the _modern_ sense.


SCENE 2. Page 147.

FOOL. Marry, here's grace, and a _cod-piece_; that's a wise man and a _fool_.

Shakspeare has with some humour applied the above name to the fool, who, for obvious reasons, was usually provided with this unseemly part of dress in a more remarkable manner than other persons. To the custom Gayton thus alludes, when speaking of the decline of the stage: "No fooles with _Harry codpieces appeare_."--_Festivous notes upon Don Quixote_, p. 270.

SCENE 2. Page 150.

FOOL. No hereticks _burn'd_ but wenches suitors.

Dr. Johnson has very well explained why _wenches suitors_ were _burned_; but Mr. Steevens's quotation from Isaiah iii. 24, "--and _burning_ instead of beauty," has not been applied on this occasion with his usual discernment. Not to mention the improbability that the _burning_ in question should have existed in the time of Isaiah, the expression itself is involved in the deepest obscurity. Saint Jerome has entirely omitted it; and if the Hebrew word, which in some translations has been rendered _adustio_, be susceptible of any fair meaning, it is that of _shrivelled_ or _dried up by heat_. It is, therefore, in the bishop's bible and some foreign translations paraphrastically given, "and for their bewty witherednesse and _sunne burning_." The manuscript regulations for the stews in Southwark, printed but abridged in Stowe's Annals, would have furnished the learned commentator with a far more apposite illustration. In these it is said, "no stewholder shall keep any woman that hath the perilous infirmity of _burning_."

SCENE 4. Page 160.

EDG. _Pillicock_ sat on pillicock's hill.

In the metrical romance of _Sir Gawain and Sir Galaron_, there is this line,

"His polemous with _pelicocus_ were poudred to pay."

Pinkerton's _Scotish poems_, vol. iii. 214.

In the comedy of _Ignoramus_ by Ruggles, Act III. Scene 6, Cupes talks of "quimbiblos, indenturas, _pilicoccos_, calimancas;" where it is perhaps a new-fangled term for any kind of stuff or cloth. There is an attempt to explain the word in Warner's _Letter to Garrick_, p. 30; but whoever would be certain of finding the exact meaning, may consult, besides the article in Minsheu, 9299, the following books: Durfey's _Pills to purge melancholy_, iv. 311.--The _Nightingale_, (a collection of songs) 1738, p. 380.--Lyndsay's _Works_, as edited by Mr. Chalmers, ii. 145, and the excellent glossary.--Florio's _Italian dictionary_, 1611, under the articles _piviolo_, and _rozzone_.

SCENE 4. Page 162.

EDG. Keep thy pen from _lenders books_.

When spendthrifts and distressed persons resorted to usurers or tradesmen for the purpose of raising money by means of shop-goods or _brown paper commodities_, they usually entered their promissory notes or other similar obligations in books kept for that purpose. It is to this practice that Edgar alludes.

In Lodge's _Looking-glasse for London and Englande_, 1598, 4to, a usurer says to a gentleman, "I have thy hand set to my book that thou received'st fortie pounds of me in money." To which the other answers, "It was your device, to colour the statute, but your conscience knowes what I had." Parke, in his _Curtaine-drawer of the world_, speaking of a country gentleman, alludes to the extravagance of his back, which had got him into _the mercer's book_.

SCENE 4. Page 163.

EDG. ... ha, no nonny.

This was the burden of many old songs. One of these, being connected with Mr. Henley's curious note, is here presented to the reader. It is taken from a scarce collection, entitled _Melismata. Musicall phansies, fitting the court, citie and countrey humours, To 3, 4, and 5 voyces_, 1611, 4to. In Playford's _Musical companion_, p. 55, the words are set to a different tune.


E that will an Ale-house keepe must have three things in store, a Chamber and a feather Bed, a Chimney and a hey no-ny no-ny hay no-ny no-ny, hey nony no, hey nony no, hey nony no.]

SCENE 4. Page 164.

LEAR. ... unaccommodated man is no more but such a poor, bare, _forked_ animal as thou art.

_Forked_ is a very strange epithet, but must be taken literally. See a note by Mr. Steevens in Act IV. Scene 6, of this play. The Chinese in their _written_ language represent a man by the following character.


SCENE 6. Page 176.

FOOL. He's mad that trusts in the tameness of a wolf, a horse's _health_, a boy's love, or a whore's oath.

Though _health_ will certainly do, it has probably been substituted for _heels_, by some person who regarded it as an improved reading. There are several proverbs of this kind. That in the text has not been found elsewhere, and may be the invention of Shakspeare. The Italians say, _Of a woman beware before, of a mule beware behind, and of a monk beware on all sides_; the French, _Beware of a bull's front, of a mule's hinder parts, and of all sides of a woman_. In Samuel Rowland's excellent and amusing work, entitled _The choice of change, containing the triplicity of divinitie, philosophie, and poetrie_, 1585, 4to, we meet with this proverbial saying, "Trust not 3 thinges, dogs teeth, horses feete, womens protestations."

SCENE 6. Page 184.

EDG. Poor Tom, _thy horn is dry_.

On this speech Dr. Johnson has remarked that men who begged under pretence of lunacy, used formerly to carry a horn and blow it through the streets. To account for Edgar's horn being _dry_, we must likewise suppose that the lunatics in question made use of this utensil to drink out of, which seems preferable to the opinion of Mr. Steevens, that these words are "a proverbial expression, introduced when a man has nothing further to offer, when he has said all he has to say," the learned commentator not having adduced any example of its use. An opportunity here presents itself of suggesting a more correct mode of exhibiting the theatrical dress of Poor Tom than we usually see, on the authority of Randle Holme in his most curious and useful work _The academy of armory_, book III. ch. iii. p. 161, where he says that the _Bedlam_ has "a long staff and a cow or ox-horn by his side; his cloathing fantastic and ridiculous; for being a madman, he is madly decked and dressed all over with rubins, feathers, cuttings of cloth, and what not, to make him seem a madman or one distracted, when he is no other than a dissembling knave." It is said that about the year 1760 a poor idiot called _Cude Yeddy_, went about the streets of Hawick in Scotland habited much in the above manner, and rattling a cow's horn against his teeth. Something like this costume may be seen in the portrait of that precious knave _Mull'd Sack_, who carries a _drinking horn_ on his staff. See Caulfield's _Portraits, memoirs, and characters of remarkable persons_, vol. ii.


SCENE 2. Page 209.

ALE. Humanity must perforce _prey on itself_, Like monsters of the deep.

"Fishes," says Dr. Johnson, "are the _only_ animals that are known to prey upon their own species." But Shakspeare did not mean to insinuate this; for he has elsewhere spoken of "cannibals that each other eat." He only wanted a comparison. Many of the insect tribes prey on their own species, as spiders, scorpions, beetles, earwigs, blattæ, &c.

SCENE 4. Page 233.

LEAR. That fellow handles his bow like a _crow keeper_.

The notes on this passage serve only to _identify the character_ of a crow-keeper; but the _comparison_ still remains to be explained. On this occasion we must consult our sole preceptor in the manly and too much neglected science of archery, the venerable Ascham. In speaking of awkward shooters he says, "Another coureth downe and layeth out his buttockes, as thoughe hee should _shoote at crowes_."

SCENE 4. Page 234.

LEAR. O well-flown bird!

The notes are at variance as to whether Lear allude to archery or falconry. Certainly to the latter. In an old song on hawking, set for four voices by Thomas Ravenscroft, _O well flown_ is a frequent address to the hawk.

SCENE 4. Page 239.

LEAR. Hark, in thine ear: change places: and _handy-dandy_, which is the justice, which is the thief?

Mr. Malone's explanation of this children's sport is confirmed by the following extract from _A free discourse touching the murmurers of the tymes_, MS. "They hould safe your childrens patrymony, and play with your majestie as men play with little children at _handye dandye, which hand will you have_, when they are disposed to keep any thinge from them." The above _discourse_ is a very bold and libellous address to King James I. on his pacific character, written, anonymously, with great powers of composition.

SCENE 4. Page 240.

LEAR. There thou might'st behold the great image of authority: a dog's obey'd in office.---- Thou rascal beadle, hold thy bloody hand: Why dost thou lash that whore? Strip thine own back; Thou hotly lust'st to use her in that kind, For which thou whip'st her. The usurer hangs the cozener. Through tatter'd clothes small vices do appear: Robes and furr'd gowns hide all.

This admirable speech has a remarkable coincidence with the following passage from "Parke's _Curtaine-drawer of the world_," 1612, 4to, p. 16, a work of very considerable merit. "The potency and power of magnificence and greatnesse dare looke sinne openly in the face in the very market place, and the eye of authority never takes notice thereof: the poore harlot must be stript and whipt for the crime that the courtly wanton and the citie-sinner ruffle out, and passe over and glory in, and account as nothing. The poore thiefe is hanged many times that hath stolne but the prise of a dinner, when sometimes hee that robbes both church and commonwealth is seene to ride on his footecloth." If this book was written according to its date, and Mr. Malone be right as to that of Lear, a fact which is not meant to be controverted, the merit of originality will rest with Shakspeare.

SCENE 4. Page 241.

EDG. O, matter and _impertinency_ mix'd.

This word was not used in its modern and corrupted sense of _sauciness_ or _intrusion_, but merely to express _something not belonging to the subject_. Thus, an old collection of domestic recipes, &c., entitled, _The treasurie of commodious conceits_, 1594, is said to be "not _impertinent_ for every good huswife to use in her house amongst her own familie." It does not seem to have been used in the sense of _rude_ or _unmannerly_ till the middle of the seventeenth century; nor in that of _saucy_ till a considerable time afterwards.

SCENE 4. Page 241.

LEAR. ... we came crying hither. Thou know'st, the first time that we smell the air, We _wawl and cry_:----

Evidently taken from Pliny as translated by Philemon Holland. "Man alone, poor wretch [nature] hath laid all naked upon the bare earth, even on his birth day _to cry and wrawle_ presently from the very first houre that he is borne into this world."--_Proeme_ to book 7.


The fool in this play is the genuine domestic buffoon: but notwithstanding his sarcastical flashes of wit, for which we must give the poet credit, and ascribe them in some degree to what is called stage effect, he is a mere _natural_ with a considerable share of cunning. Thus Edgar calls him _an innocent_, and every one will immediately distinguish him from such a character as Touchstone. His dress on the stage should be parti-coloured; his hood crested either with a cock's comb, to which he often alludes, or with the cock's head and neck. His bauble should have a head like his own with a grinning countenance, for the purpose of exciting mirth in those to whom he occasionally presents it.

The kindness which Lear manifests towards his fool, and the latter's extreme familiarity with his master in the midst of the most poignant grief and affliction, may excite surprise in those who are not intimately acquainted with the simple manners of our forefathers. An almost contemporary writer has preserved to us a curious anecdote of William duke of Normandy, afterwards William I. of England, whose life was saved by the attachment and address of his fool. An ancient Flemish chronicle among the royal MSS. in the British Museum, 16, F. iii., commences with the exile of Salvard lord of Roussillon and his family from Burgundy. In passing through a forest they are attacked by a cruel giant, who kills Salvard and several of his people; his wife Emergard and a few others only escaping. This scene the illuminator of the manuscript, which is of the fifteenth century, has chosen to exhibit. He has represented Emergard as driven away in a covered cart or waggon by one of the servants. She is attended by a female, and in the front of the cart is placed her fool, with a countenance expressive of the utmost alarm at the impending danger. Nor would it be difficult to adduce, if necessary, similar instances of the reciprocal affection between these singular personages and those who retained them.


To the account already given of the materials which Shakspeare used, nothing perhaps of any moment can be added; but for the sake of rendering this article more complete, it may be worth while to add that the _unpublished Latin Gesta Romanorum_ contains the history of Lear and his daughters under different names, and with some little variety of circumstance. As it is not tedious, and has never been printed, at least as far as we know at present, it is here subjoined in its English form. The manuscript used on this occasion is No. 7333, in the Harleian collection.

"Theodosius regned, a wys emperour in the cite of Rome and myghti he was of power; the whiche emperour had thre doughters. So hit liked to this emperour to knowe which of his doughters lovid him best. And tho he seid to the eldest doughter, how moche lovist thou me? fforsoth, quod she, more than I do myself, therfore, quod he, thou shalt be hily avaunsed, and maried her to a riche and myghti kyng. Tho he cam to the secund, and seid to her, doughter, how moche lovist thou me? As moche forsoth, she seid, as I do myself. So the emperour maried her to a duc. And tho he seid to the thrid doughter, how moche lovist thou me? fforsoth, quod she, as moche as ye beth worthi, and no more. Tho seid the emperour, doughter, sith thou lovist me no more, thou shalt not be maried so richely as thi susters beth. And tho he maried her to an erle. Aftir this it happid that the emperour held bataile ayend the king of Egypt. And the kyng drove the emperour oute of the empire, in so moche that the emperour had no place to abide ynne. So he wrote lettres ensealed with his ryng to his first doughter that seid that she lovid him more than herself, for to pray her of socouryng in that grete nede, bycause he was put oute of his empire. And when the doughter had red thes lettres, she told hit to the kyng her husbond. Tho, quod the kyng, it is good that we socour him in this nede. I shal, quod he, gadern an host and help him in all that I can or may, and that will not he do withoute grete costage. Yee, quod she, hit were sufficiant if that we wold graunt him V knyghts to be in felashyp wᵗ him while he is oute of his empire. And so hit was ydo indede. And the doughter wrote ayen to the fader, that other help myght he not have but V knyghts of the kyng to be in his felashyp at the cost of the kyng her husbond. And when the emperour herd this, he was hevy in his hert, and seid, alas! alas! all my trust was in her, for she seid she lovid me more than herself, and therfore I avaunced her so hye.

"Then he wrote to the seconde that seid she lovid him as moche as hirself, and when she had herd his lettres, she shewid his erand to hir husbond, and yaf him in counseil that he shuld fynde him mete and drink and clothing honestly, as for the state of such a lorde during tyme of his nede. And when this was graunted, she wrote lettres agein to hir fadir. The emperour was hevy wᵗ this answere, and seid, sith my two doughters have thus yhevid me, sothely I shal preve the third. And so he wrote to the thrid that seid she lovid him as moche as he was worthi, and praied her of socour in his nede, and tolde her the answere of her two sustris. So the thrid doughter when she had considered the myschief of her ffader, she told her husbond in this fourme: my worshipfull lord do socour me now in this grete nede, my fadir is put oute of his empire and his heritage. Then spake he, what were thi will I did therto. That ye gadre a grete oste, quod she, and helpe him to fight ayens his enemys. I shal fulfill thi will, seide the erle, and gaderid a grete oste and yede with the emperoure at his owne costage to the bataile, and had the victorye, and set the emperour ayen in his heritage. And then seid the emperour, blessed be the hour I gate my yongist doughter: I lovid her lesse than eni of the othir, and now in my nede she hath socoured me, and the othir have yfailed me; and therefore aftir my deth she shal have myn empire. And so hit was ydo in dede; for aftir the deth of the emperour, the yongist doughter regned in his sted and ended pesibly."

The same story is to be found in the formerly celebrated English chronicle erroneously supposed to have been written by Caxton, the early part of which was copied from Geoffrey of Monmouth. The circumstance of its having been printed by Caxton more than once, with a continuation to his own time, probably by himself, seems to have occasioned the mistake. See what has been said of it before, p. 261.


[21] This country has been humorously described by an old French fablier, from whose work an extract may be found in Mons. Legrand's entertaining collection of _Fabliaux_, tom. i. p. 251; and which verifies Mr. Tyrwhitt's conjecture, that the old English poem first published by Hickes, _G. A. Sax_. p. 231, was a translation from the French. See _Cant. tales_, vol. iv. p. 254.



SCENE 1. Page 325.

SAM. Gregory, o' my word, we'll not _carry coals_.

GRE. No, for then we should be colliers.

Of the various conjectures on the origin and real meaning of this phrase, that by Mr. Steevens seems deserving of the preference. In a rare little pamphlet entitled _The cold yeare_, 1614, 4to, being a dialogue in which the casualties that happened in the great fall of snow are enumerated, one of the interlocutors, a North-country man, relates that on his approach to London he overtooke a collier and his team, "walking as stately as if they scorned to _carry coales_." It was therefore a term of reproach to be called a collier; and thence, to _carry coals_ was metaphorically used for any low or servile action. Barnaby Googe, in his _New yeares gift to the Pope's holinesse_, 1579, 4to, says he "had rather be a _collyer at Croydon_ than a Pope at Rome."

A hint had been given, by a gentleman whose opinions are on all occasions entitled to the highest respect and attention, that the phrase in question might have originated from Proverbs xxv. 22. "If thine enemy be hungry, give him bread to eat; and if he be thirsty, give him water to drink; for thou shalt _heap coals_ of fire upon his head." But this is a metaphor expressive of the pain which a man shall suffer from the reproaches of his conscience, and as such, has been adopted into our language. Thus, in _Newes from the North, otherwise called The conference between Simon Certain and Pierce Plowman_, 1579, 4to, "Now God forbid that ever a lawyer should _heap coales upon a merchant's head_, or that a merchant should not be as willing and as ready to doo a goodly deed as a lawyer."

SCENE 2. Page 347.

CAP. Such comfort, as do _lusty young men feel_ When well-apparell'd _April_ on the heel Of limping winter treads.

Two of the commentators would read _lusty yeomen_, and make the passage refer to the sensations of the farmer on the return of spring. One of them, Dr. Johnson, to render the present text objectionable, has been obliged to _invert_ the comparison. Capulet, in speaking of the delight which Paris is to receive in the society of the young ladies invited to his house, compares it to that which the month of April usually afforded to the youth of both sexes, when assembled in the green fields to enjoy their accustomed recreations. Independently of the frequent allusions in the writings of our old poets to April, as the season of youthful pleasures, and which probably occurred to Shakspeare's recollection, he might besides have had in view the decorations which accompany the above month in some of the manuscript and printed calendars, where the young folks are represented as sitting together on the grass; the men ornamenting the girls with chaplets of flowers. From the following lines in one of these, the passage in question seems to derive considerable illustration.

"The next VI. yere maketh foure and twenty And fygured is to _joly Apryll_ The tyme of pleasures man hath moost plenty Fresshe and lovyng his _lustes_ to fulfyll."

SCENE 4. Pages 364, 367.

ROM. Give me a torch---- I'll be a candle-holder, and look on.

Froissart, describing a dinner on Christmas day in the hall of the castle of Gaston Earl of Foix, at Ortern, in the year 1388, has these words: "At mydnyght when he came out of his chambre into the halle to supper, he had ever before hym _twelve torches_ brennyng, _borne by twelve varlettes_ standyng before his table all supper." In Rankin's _Mirrour of monsters_, 1587, 4to, is the following passage: "This _maske_ thus ended, wyth visardes accordingly appointed, there were certain petty fellows ready, as the custome is, _in maskes to carry torches_, &c." In the _Weiss kunig_, being a collection of wood engravings representing the actions of Maximilian the First, there is a very curious exhibition of a masque before the emperor, in which the performers appear with their visards, and one of them holds a torch in his hand. There is another print on the same subject by Albert Durer. The practice of carrying torch lights at entertainments continued even after the time of Shakspeare. See a future note on Hamlet, Act III. Scene 2.

SCENE 4. Page 368.

MER. If thou art dun, we'll draw thee from the mire.

There is no doubt that this is an allusion to some now forgotten sport or game, which gave rise to a proverbial expression, _Dun is in the mire_, used when a person was at a stand, or plunged into any difficulty. We find it as early as Chaucer's time in the Manciple's prologue:

"Ther gan our hoste to jape and to play, And sayde; sires, what? _Dun is in the mire._"

How the above sport was practised we have still to learn. _Dun_ is, no doubt, the name of a horse or an ass. There is an equivalent phrase, _Nothing is bolder than blynde Bayard which falleth oft in the mire_. See Dr. Bullein's _dialogue between soarenesse and chirurgi_, fo. 10; and there is also a proverb, _As dull as Dun in the mire_.

SCENE 4. Page 376.

MER. ... This is that very Mab _That plats the manes of horses in the night_.

No attempt has hitherto been made to explain this line, which alludes to a very singular superstition not yet forgotten in some parts of the country. It was believed that certain malignant spirits, whose delight was to wander in groves and pleasant places, assumed occasionally the likenesses of women clothed in white; that in this character they sometimes haunted stables in the night time, carrying in their hands tapers of wax, which they dropped on the horses' manes, thereby plaiting them in inextricable knots, to the great annoyance of the poor animals, and vexation of their masters. These hags are mentioned in the works of William of Auvergne, bishop of Paris in the 13th century. There is a very uncommon old print by Hans Burgmair relating to this subject. A witch enters the stable with a lighted torch: and previously to the operation of entangling the horse's mane, practises her enchantments on the groom, who is lying asleep on his back, and apparently influenced by the night-mare. The _Belemnites_, or elf-stones, were regarded as charms against the last-mentioned disease, and against evil spirits of all kinds; but the _cerauniæ_ or _bætuli_, and all perforated flint-stones, were not only used for the same purpose, but more particularly for the protection of horses and other cattle, by suspending them in stables, or tying them round the necks of the animals.

The next line,

"And bakes the elf-locks in foul sluttish hairs,"

seems to be unconnected with the preceding, and to mark a superstition which, as Dr. Warburton has observed, may have originated from the _plica Polonica_, which was supposed to be the operation of wicked elves; whence the clotted hair was called _elf-locks_ and _elf-knots_. Thus Edgar talks of "_elfing_ all his hair in _knots_." Lodge, in his _Wit's miserie_, 1599, 4to, describing a devil whom he names _Brawling-contention_, says, "his ordinary apparell is a little low-crown'd hat with a fether in it like a forehorse; his haires are curld, and full of _elves locks_ and nitty for want of kembing."


SCENE 2. Page 398.

ROM. It is the East, and Juliet is the sun.

This line in particular, and perhaps the whole of the Scene, has been imitated by the ingenious author of the Latin comedy of _Labyrinthus_. In Act III. Scene 4, two lovers meet at night, and the Romeo of the piece says to his mistress, "Quid mihi noctem commemoras, mea salus? Splendens nunc subitò illuxit dies, ubi tu primum, mea lux, oculorum radiis hasce dispulisti tenebras." This excellent play was acted before King James I. at Cambridge, and for bustle and contrivance has perhaps never been exceeded.

SCENE 2. Page 398.

JUL. Thou art thyself _though_, not a Montagu.

Dr. Johnson would have substituted _then_ for _though_; but without necessity, because _in that sense_ the latter word was anciently written _tho_: unskilful printers, deceived by sound, substituted _though_; whence the ambiguity has arisen. Thus Chaucer in his _Canterbury tales_, v. 2214,

"Yet sang the larke, and Palamon right _tho_ With holy herte and with a high corāge He rose."

And again, v. 2392,

"For thilk sorrow that was _tho_ in thyn herte."

Thus much in explanation of _though_, if put here for _then_, which is by no means clear. Mr. Malone's quotations on the other side of the question carry great weight with them.

SCENE 2. Page 400.

ROM. When he bestrides the lazy-pacing clouds And sails upon the bosom of the air.

On this occasion Shakspeare recollected the 104th _psalm_, "Who maketh the clouds his charet, who walketh upon the wings of the winde."

SCENE 2. Page 405.

JUL. ... at lovers perjuries, They say, Jove laughs.

This Shakspeare found in Ovid's _Art of love_, perhaps in Marlow's translation, book I,

"For Jove himself sits in the azure skies, _And laughs below at lovers perjuries_."

With the following beautiful antithesis to the above lines, every reader of taste will be gratified. It is given _memoriter_ from some old play, the name of which is forgotten;

"_When lovers swear true faith_, the list'ning angels Stand on the golden battlements of heaven, And waft their vows to the eternal throne."

SCENE 2. Page 410.

ROM. How _silver-sweet_ sound lovers tongues by night.

In _Pericles_, Act V., we have _silver-voic'd_. Perhaps these epithets have been formed from the common notion that silver mixed with bells softens and improves their tone. We say likewise that a person is _silver-tongued_.

SCENE 3. Page 414.

FRI. O mickle is the powerful grace, that lies In herbs, plants, stones, and their true qualities: For nought so vile that on the earth doth live, But to the earth some special good doth give; Nor aught so good, but strain'd from that fair use Revolts from true birth, stumbling on abuse.

Thus all the copies. But in Swan's _Speculum mundi_, the first edition of which was published in 1635, they are quoted with the following variations;

"O mickle is the powerful _good_ that lies In herbs, _trees_, stones, and their true qualities: For nought so vile that on the earth doth live, But to the earth some _secret_ good doth give. _And nought so rich on either rock or shelf; But, if unknown, lies uselesse to itself._"

SCENE 4. Page 427.

MER. ... for this driveling love is like a great natural, that runs lolling up and down _to hide his bauble in a hole_.

When the physical conformation of idiots is considered, the latent but obscene allusion which this speech conveys will be instantly perceived. What follows is still less worthy of _particular_ illustration. Mercutio riots in this sort of language. The epithet _driveling_ is applied to love as a _slavering idiot_; but Sir Philip Sidney has made Cupid an _old drivell_. See the lines quoted from the Arcadia by Dr. Farmer, _Much ado about nothing_, Act III. Scene 2.

SCENE 4. Page 431.

NURSE. I pray you sir, what saucy merchant was this, that was so full of his _ropery_?

Mr. Steevens has justly observed that the term _merchant_ was anciently used in contradistinction to _gentleman_. _Whetstone_, in his _Mirour for majestrates of cyties_, 1584, 4to, speaking of the usurious practices of the citizens of London who attended the gaming-houses for the purpose of supplying the gentlemen players with money, has the following remark: "The extremity of these men's dealings hath beene and is so cruell as there is a natural malice generally impressed in the hearts of the gentlemen of England towards the citizens of London, insomuch as if they odiously name a man, they foorthwith call him, a _trimme merchaunt_. In like despight the citizen calleth every rascall _a joly gentleman_. And truly this mortall envie betweene these two woorthie estates, was first engendred of the cruell usage of covetous merchaunts in hard bargaines gotten of gentlemen, and nourished with malitious words and revenges taken of both parties."

With respect to _ropery_,--the word seems to have been deemed unworthy of a place in our early dictionaries, and was probably coined in the mint of the slang or canting crew. It savours strongly of the halter, and appears to have signified a low kind of knavish waggery. From some other words of similar import, it may derive illustration. Thus a _rope-rype_ is defined in Hulæt's _Abcedarium_ to be "an ungracious waghalter, _nequam_;" and in Minsheu's dictionary, "one ripe for a rope, or for whom the gallowes grones." A _roper_ has nearly the same definition in the English vocabulary at the end of Thomasii _Dictionarium_, 1615, 4to; but the word occasionally denoted a crafty fellow, or one who would practise a fraud against another (for which he might deserve hanging). So in the book of blasing of arms or coat armour, ascribed to Dame Juliana Bernes, the author says, "which crosse I saw but late in tharmes of a noble man: the whiche in very dede was somtyme _a crafty man, a roper_, as he himself sayd," sig. Aij. b. _Roper_ had also another sense, which, though rather foreign to the present purpose, is so quaintly expressed in one of our old dictionaries, that the insertion of it will doubtless be excused:--"Roper, _restio_, is he that loketh in at John Roper's window by translation, he that hangeth himselfe."--Hulæt's _Abcedarium_ Anglico-Latinum, 1552, folio. _Rope-tricks_, elsewhere used by Shakspeare, belongs also to this family.

SCENE 4. Page 431.

NURSE. I am none of his skains-mates.

This has been explained _cut-throat companions_, and _frequenters of the fencing school_, from _skein_, a knife or dagger. The objection to this interpretation is, that the nurse could not very well compare herself with characters which it is presumed would scarcely be found among females of any description. One commentator thinks that she uses _skains-mates_ for _kins-mates_, and _ropery_ for _roguery_; but the latter words have been already shown to be synonymous, and the existence of such a term as _kins-mate_ may be questioned. Besides, the nurse blunders only in the use of less obvious words.

The following conjecture is therefore offered, but not with entire confidence in its propriety. It will be recollected that there are _skains of thread_; so that the good nurse may perhaps mean nothing more than _sempstresses_, a word not always used in the most honourable acceptation. She had before stated that she was "none of his flirt-gills."


SCENE 1. Page 452.

ROM. O! I am fortune's fool!

"I am always running in the way of evil fortune, _like the fool in the play_," says Dr. Johnson. There is certainly no allusion to any _play_. See the note in p. 146.

SCENE 2. Page 456.

JUL. That _run-away's eyes_ may wink.

A great deal of ingenious criticism has been expended in endeavouring to ascertain the meaning of this expression. Dr. Warburton thought the _runaway_ in question was the _sun_; but Mr. Heath has most completely disproved this opinion. Mr. Steevens considers the passage as extremely elliptical, and regards the _night_ as the _runaway_; making Juliet wish that its eyes, the stars, might retire to prevent discovery. Mr. Justice Blackstone can perceive nothing _optative_ in the lines, but simply a _reason_ for Juliet's wish for a cloudy night; yet according to this construction of the passage, the grammar of it is not very easily to be discovered.

Whoever attentively reads over Juliet's speech will be inclined to think, or even be altogether satisfied, that the _whole tenor_ of it is _optative_. With respect to calling the night a runaway, one might surely ask how it can possibly be so termed in _an abstract point of view_? Is it a greater fugitive than the morning, the noon, or the evening? Mr. Steevens lays great stress on Shakspeare's having before called the night a runaway in _The Merchant of Venice_,

"For the close night doth play the _runaway_;"

but there it was already far advanced, and might therefore with great propriety be said to _play the runaway_; here it was not begun. The same remark will apply to the other passage cited by Mr. Steevens from _The fair maid of the Exchange_. Where then is this _runaway_ to be found? or can it be Juliet herself? She who had just been secretly married to the enemy of her parents might with some propriety be termed a _runaway from her duty_; but she had not abandoned her native pudency. She therefore invokes the night to veil those rites which she was about to perform, and to bring her Romeo to her arms in darkness and in silence. The lines that immediately follow may be thought to favour this interpretation; and the whole Scene may possibly bring to the reader's recollection an interesting part in the beautiful story of Cupid and Psyche.

SCENE 5. Page 483.

JUL. Hunting thee hence with _hunt's-up_ to the day.

Of the notes on this line, that by Mr. Malone is most to the point. He has shown from Cotgrave, that the _hunt's-up_ was "a morning song to a new married woman, &c.;" and it was, no doubt, an imitation of the tune to wake the hunters, noticed by Mr. Steevens, as was that in the celebrated Scotish _booke of godly and spirituall songs_, beginning,

"With hunts up, with huntis up, It is now perfite day: Jesus our king is gane in hunting, Quha likes to speed they may."

It is not improbable that the following was the identical song composed by the person of the name of Gray mentioned in Mr. Ritson's note. It occurs in a collection entitled _Hunting, hawking, &c._, already cited in the course of the remarks on _The merry wives of Windsor_. There was likewise a country dance with a similar title.

CHO. { The hunt is up, the hunt is up, { Sing merrily wee, the hunt is up; The birds they sing, The Deare they fling, Hey, nony nony-no: The hounds they crye, The hunters flye, Hey trolilo, trololilo. The hunt is up, _ut supra_.

The wood resounds To heere the hounds, Hey, nony nony-no: The rocks report This merry sport, Hey, trolilo, trololilo. CHO. { The hunt is up, the hunt is up, { Sing merrily wee, the hunt is up.

Then hye apace, Unto the chase, Hey nony, nony-no; Whilst every thing Doth sweetly sing, Hey trolilo, trololilo. CHO. { The hunt is up, the hunt is up, { Sing merrily wee, the hunt is up.

SCENE 5. Page 496.

NURSE. ... an eagle, madam, Hath not so _green_, so quick, so fair an eye.

Besides the authorities already produced in favour of _green_ eyes, and which show the impropriety of Hanmer's alteration to _keen_, a hundred others might, if necessary, be given. The early French poets are extremely fond of alluding to them under the title of _yeux vers_, which Mons. Le Grand has in vain attempted to convert into _yeux vairs_, or grey eyes.[22] It must be confessed that the scarcity, if not total absence of such eyes in modern times, might well have excited the doubts of the above intelligent and agreeable writer. For this let naturalists, if they can, account. It is certain that green eyes were found among the ancients. Plautus thus alludes to them in his _Curculio_:

"Qui hic est homo Cum collativo ventre, atque oculis _herbeis_?"

Lord Verulam says, "Great eyes with a _green circle_ between the white and the white of the eye, signify long life."--_Hist. of life and death_, p. 124. Villa Real, a Portuguese, has written a treatise in praise of them, and they are even said to exist now among his countrymen. See Pinkerton's _Geography_, vol. i. p. 556, and Steevens's Shakspeare, vol. v. 164, 203.


SCENE 2. Page 508.

CAP. Where have you been _gadding_?

Mr. Steevens remarks that "the primitive sense of this word was to straggle from house to house and collect money under pretence of singing carols to the blessed Virgin;" and he quotes a note on Milton's Lycidas by Mr. Warton: but this derivation seems too refined. Mr. Warton's authority is an old register at Gadderston, in these words: "Receyvid at the _gadyng_ with Saynte Mary songe at Crismas." If the original were attentively examined, it would perhaps turn out that the word in question has some mark of contraction over it, which would convert it into _gaderyng_, i. e. gathering or collecting money, and not simply _going about from house to house_ according to Mr. Warton's explanation.

SCENE 5. Page 525.

FRI. ... and stick your _rosemary_ On this fair corse----

This plant was used in various ways at funerals. Being an evergreen, it was regarded as an emblem of the soul's immortality. Thus in Cartwright's _Ordinary_, Act V. Scene 1:

"... If there be Any so kind as to accompany My body to the earth, let them not want For entertainment; pr'ythee see they have A _sprig of rosemary_ dip'd in common water To smell to as they walk along the streets."

In an obituary kept by Mr. Smith, secondary of one of the Compters, and preserved among the Sloanian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 886, is the following entry: "Janʸ. 2. 1671. Mr. Cornelius Bee bookseller in Little Britain died; buried Jan. 4. at Great St. Bartholomew's without a sermon, without wine or wafers, only gloves and _rosmary_."

And Mr. Gay, when describing Blouzelinda's funeral, records that

"Sprigg'd rosemary the lads and lasses bore."

SCENE 5. Page 528.

PET. No money, on my faith; but the _gleek_: I will _give_ you the _minstrel_.

From what has been said in page 118, it becomes necessary to withdraw so much of a former note as relates to the _game_ of gleek. _To give the minstrel_, is no more than a punning phrase for _giving the gleek_. Minstrels and jesters were anciently called _gleekmen_ or _gligmen_.

SCENE 5. Page 529.

PET. When _griping grief_ the heart doth wound And _doleful dumps_ the mind oppress.

The following stanza from one of Whitney's _Emblems_, 1586, 4to, is not very dissimilar from that of Richard Edwards, communicated in the note by Sir John Hawkins, and may serve to confirm the propriety of Mr. Steevens's observation, that the epithet _griping_ was not calculated to excite laughter in the time of Shakspeare.

"If griping greifes have harbour in thie breste And pininge cares laie seige unto the same, Or straunge conceiptes doe reave thee of thie rest, And daie and nighte do bringe thee out of frame: Then choose a freinde, and doe his counsaile crave, Least secret sighes, doe bringe untimelie grave."

_Griping griefs_ and _doleful dumps_ are very thickly interspersed in Grange's _Golden Aphroditis_, 1577, 4to, and in many other places. They were great favourites; but griefs were not always _griping_. Thus in Turbervile's translation of _Ovid's epistle from Hero to Leander_;

"Which if I heard, of troth For _grunting_ griefe I die."


SCENE 1. Page 536.

ROM. An _alligator_ stuff'd----

Our dictionaries supply no materials towards the etymology of this word, which was probably introduced into the language by some of our early voyagers to the Spanish or Portuguese settlements in the newly discovered world. They would hear the Spaniards discoursing of the animal by the name of _el lagarto_, or the lizard; Lat. _lacerta_; and on their return home, they would inform their countrymen that this sort of crocodile was called an _alligator_. It would not be difficult to trace other corrupted words in a similar manner.


It has hitherto remained unnoticed, that one of the material incidents in this drama is to be found in _The love adventures of Abrocomas and Anthia_, usually called the _Ephesiacs_ of Xenophon of Ephesus. The heroine of this romance, separated, by a series of misfortunes, from her husband, falls into the hands of robbers, from whom she is rescued by a young nobleman called Perilaus. He becomes enamoured of her; and she, fearing violence, affects to consent to marry him; but on the arrival of the appointed time, swallows a poisonous draught which she had procured from Eudoxus, an old physician and the friend of Perilaus, to whom she had communicated the secret of her history. Much lamentation is made for her death, and she is conveyed with great pomp to a sepulchre. As she had only taken a sleeping potion, she soon awakes in the tomb, which, on account of the riches it contained, is plundered by some thieves, who also carry her off. This work was certainly not published nor translated in the time of Luigi da Porto, the original narrator of the story of _Romeo and Juliet_; but there is no reason why he might not have seen a copy of the original in manuscript.

Two incidents in this Greek romance are likewise to be found in _Cymbeline_; one of which is the following: Anthia having become the slave of Manto and her husband, he is captivated with her beauty; and this coming to the knowledge of the jealous Manto, she orders a trusty servant to carry Anthia into a wood and put her to death. This man, like the servant in Boccaccio, and Pisanio in Shakspeare, commiserates the situation of Anthia, spares her life, and provides the means for her future safety. A similar occurrence is introduced into some of the tales of the middle ages. The other is the above-mentioned draught of poison swallowed by Imogen, as by Anthia, though not with precisely the same effect. As it is not to be found either in Boccaccio or in the old story-book of _Westward for smelts_, one might suspect that some novel, imitated from the _Ephesiacs_, was existing in the time of Shakspeare, though now unknown.


[22] Fabliaux ou contes, tom. iv. p. 215.



SCENE 1. Page 9.

MAR. Thou art a _scholar_, speak to it, Horatio.

The reason why the common people believed that ghosts were only to be addressed by scholars seems to have been, that the exorcisms of troublesome spirits were usually performed in _Latin_.

SCENE 1. Page 21.

HOR. The _cock_ that is the _trumpet to the morn_, Doth with his lofty and shrill-sounding throat _Awake the God of day_; and at his warning, Whether in sea or fire, in earth or air, _The extravagant and erring spirit hies To his confine_.

Besides the hymn of Prudentius referred to in Dr. Farmer's note, there is another said to have been composed by Saint Ambrose, and formerly used in the Salisbury service. It contains the following lines, which so much resemble Horatio's speech, that one might almost suppose Shakspeare had seen them:

"_Preco diei jam sonat_, Noctis profundæ pervigil; Nocturna lux viantibus, A nocte noctem segregans. _Hoc excitatus Lucifer, Solvit polum caligine; Hoc omnis errorum chorus Viam nocendi deserit. Gallo canente_ spes redit, &c."

See _Expositio hymnorum secundum usum Sarum_, pr. by R. Pynson, n. d. 4to, fo. vii. b. The epithets _extravagant_ and _erring_ are highly poetical and appropriate, and seem to prove that Shakspeare was not altogether ignorant of the Latin language.

SCENE 2. Page 35.

HAM. Or that the Everlasting had not fix'd His _canon_ 'gainst self slaughter.

Mr. Steevens says, "there are yet those who suppose the old reading (cannon, in the sense of artillery) to be the true one." He himself was not of the number. It must be owned that _fixing a cannon_ is an odd mode of vengeance on the part of the Deity; yet it is still more difficult to conceive in what manner this instrument could operate in avenging _suicide_. The pedants of Hierocles, who were the Gothamites of their time, might, if now existing, be competent to explain all this; or, indeed, we might ourselves suppose that suicides could be blown into atoms as the seapoys sometimes are, by tying them to the cannon's mouth, a method equally humane with the practice of driving stakes through their bodies. Mr. Malone's happy quotation has for ever _fixed_ the proper meaning.

SCENE 2. Page 40.

HAM. ... the _funeral bak'd meats_ Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.

The practice of making entertainments at funerals which prevailed in this and other countries, and which is not even at present quite disused in some of the northern counties of England, was certainly borrowed from the _cœna feralis_ of the Romans, alluded to in Juvenal's fifth satire, and in the laws of the twelve tables. It consisted of an offering of a small plate of milk, honey, wine, flowers, &c., to the ghost of the deceased. In the instances of heroes and other great characters, the same custom appears to have prevailed among the Greeks. With us the appetites of the living are consulted on this occasion. In the North this feast is called an _arval_ or _arvil-supper_; and the loaves that are sometimes distributed among the poor, _arval-bread_. Not many years since one of these arvals was celebrated in a village in Yorkshire at a public-house, the sign of which was the family arms of a nobleman whose motto is VIRTUS POST FUNERA VIVIT. The undertaker, who, though a clerk, was no scholar, requested a gentleman present to explain to him the meaning of these Latin words, which he readily and facetiously did in the following manner: _Virtus_, a parish clerk, _vivit_, lives well, _post funera_, at an _arval_. The latter word is apparently derived from some lost Teutonic term that indicated a funeral pile on which the body was burned in times of Paganism. Thus _ærill_ in Islandic signifies the inside of an oven. The common parent seems to have been _ar_, fire; whence _ara_, an altar of fire, _ardeo_, _aridus_, &c. &c. So the pile itself was called _ara_ by Virgil, Æn. vi. 177:

"Haud mora, festinant flentes; _aramque sepulchri_ Congerere arboribus, cœloque educere certant."

SCENE 2. Page 41.

HAM. He was a man, take him for all in all, _I_ shall not look upon his like again.

In further support of the proposed elegant emendation, "_Eye_ shall not look, &c.," this passage in 1 Corinth. ch ii. v. 9, may be adduced, "_Eye_ hath not seen, nor ear heard, the things which he hath prepared for them that love him." An objection of some weight may however be made to this change; which is, that in recitation some ambiguity might arise, or at least the force of it would not be perceived; whereas the other reading could not be mistaken.

SCENE 3. Page 51.

POL. But do not dull thy palm with entertainment Of each new-hatch'd, unfledg'd comrade.

In Taverner's _Proverbes or Adagies, gathered out of the Chiliades of Erasmus_, 1569, 12mo, is the following adage: "_Ne cuivis porrigas dexteram._ Holde not forth thy hande to every man. He meaneth wee should not unadvisedlie admitte every body into our frendship and familiaritie." In the margin of the copy from which this extract is made, some person has _written_ the above lines from Hamlet, on which the whole serves as an excellent comment, supporting Dr. Johnson's explanation of them in a remarkable manner.

SCENE 4. Page 59.

HAM. The king doth wake to-night, and takes his _rouse_.

This word is used in the various significations of a riotous noise, a drunken debauch, and a large portion of liquor. We had it probably from our Saxon or Danish progenitors; and though the original word is lost it remains in the German _rausch_. Hence our _carouse_; _roister_ is of the same family, and perhaps the word _row_, which was very much used a few years since. The Greeks too had their καρωσις, _nimia ebrietas_.

SCENE 4. Page 60.

HAM. And as he drains his draughts of Rhenish down, The kettle-drum and trumpet thus bray out The triumph of his pledge.

Thus Cleaveland in his _Fuscara, or The bee errant_,

"Tuning his draughts with drowsie hums _As Danes carowse by kettle-drums_."

SCENE 4. Page 60.

HAM. Keeps _wassel_----

As the whole that appertains to this ancient, and, as connected with convivial manners, interesting word, lies scattered in various places, and has been detailed by writers whose opinions are extremely discordant, an attempt seemed necessary to digest within a reasonable compass the most valuable of the materials on the subject. There cannot be the smallest doubt that the term itself is to be sought for in the well-known story of Vortigern and Rowena, or Ronix, the daughter of Hengist; the earliest authority for which is that of Walter Calenius, who supplied the materials for Geoffrey of Monmouth's history. He relates that on Vortigern's first interview with the lady, she kneeled before him, and presenting a cup of wine, said to him, "Lord king, _wacht heil_," or in purer Saxon _wæs hæl_; literally, be health, or health be to you! As the king was unacquainted with the Saxon language, he inquired the meaning of these words; and being told that they wished him health, and that he should answer them by saying _drinc heil_, he did so, and commanded Rowena to drink. Then, taking the cup from her hand, he kissed the damsel and pledged her. The historian adds, that from that time to his own the custom remained in Britain that whoever drank to another at a feast said _wacht heil_, and he that immediately after received the cup answered _drinc heil_. Robert of Brunne, in translating this part of Geoffrey of Monmouth, has preserved a curious addition to it. He states that Vortigern, not comprehending the words of Rowena, demanded their meaning from one of his Britons, who immediately explained to him the Saxon custom as follows:

"This es ther custom and ther gest, Whan thei are at the ale or fest, Ilk man that lovis qware him think, Salle say _Wosseille_, and to him drink. He that bidis salle say, _Wassaile_; The tother salle say again, _Drink haille_. That sais _Wosseille_ drinkis of the cop, Kissand his felaw he gives it up; _Drinheille_, he sais, and drinks therof, Kissand him in bourd and skof. The king said as the knight gan ken _Drinkheille_, smiland on Rouewen, Rouwen drank as hire list, And gave the king, sine him kist. There was the first wassaille in dede And that first of fame yede Of that wassaille men told grete tale, And wassaille whan thei were at ale And drinkheille to tham that drank Thus was wassaille tane to thank."

An old metrical fragment preserved by Hearne in his glossary to Robert of Gloucester's chronicle, carries the practice of wassailing much higher, even to the time of Saint Alban in the third century:

"In that tyme weteth welle, Cam ferst wassayle and drynkehayl In to this londe, withowte wene, Thurghe a mayde, brygh and schene Sche was cleput mayde Ynge."

The chronicler proceeds to relate a story of this Ynge, who quitted Saxony with several others of her countrymen on account of hunger, and, arriving in Britain, obtained of the king as much land as she should be able to cover with a bull's hide. She afterwards invited the king and his nobles to a feast, and _giving him wassel_, treacherously slew him, her companions following the example by murdering the nobles. By these means she obtained possession of the whole kingdom, which was from her afterwards called _Yngland_. This statement is unworthy of notice in an historical point of view, being manifestly a corrupt account of the arrival of Hengist as related by Geoffrey of Monmouth. But the story of Vortigern is not improbable, and has at least furnished the origin of the words _wæs hæl_ and _drinc hæl_, as used at convivial meetings in this country; for whatever may have been said or imagined concerning any previous custom of health-drinking among the Saxons or other German nations, it is certain that no equivalent term with our _wassel_ is to be found in any of the Teutonic dialects.

Among other valuable remarks that have already been made in some notes on this word by Messrs. Steevens and Malone, it has been observed that the _wassel_ bowl was particularly used at the season of Christmas, and that in process of time _wassel_ came to signify not only meetings of rustic mirth, but also general riot, intemperance, and festivity. In the eleventh volume of _Archæologia_, the learned Dr. Milner has exhibited and described an ancient oaken cup, formerly belonging to the abbey of Glastonbury, which with great probability he supposes to be of Saxon times, and to have been used for wasselling. In _The antiquarian repertory_, vol. i. p. 217, there is an account, accompanied with an engraving, of an oaken chimney-piece in a very old house at Berlen near Snodland in Kent, on which is carved a wassel bowl resting on the branches of an apple-tree, alluding, probably, to part of the materials of which the liquor was composed. On one side is the word ~was̀s̀heíl~, and on the other ~dríncheíle~. This is certainly a very great curiosity of its kind, and at least as old as the fourteenth century. Edmund Mortimer, Earl of March, in his will gave to Sir John Briddlewood a silver cup called _wassail_; and it appears that John Duke of Bedford, the regent, by his first will bequeathed to John Barton, his maitre d'hotel, a silver cup and cover, on which was inscribed WASHAYL. During the Christmas holidays these wassel-bowls were often carried from house to house by the common people with a view to collect money. There are, besides, other significations of the word _wassel_ that deserve to be noticed. These are, 1. A drinking song sung on the eve of Twelfth-day. 2. A custom of throwing toast to apple-trees for the purpose of procuring a fruitful year; which, says Mr. Grose, who has mentioned this practice in his provincial glossary, seems to be a relic of the heathen sacrifice to Pomona. 3. The contents of the wassel-cup, which were of different materials, as spiced wine or ale, with roasted apples and sugar, mead, or metheglin, &c. There was also what was called _wassel_, or more properly _wastel-bread_, which may be deserving of particular notice, as there is much diversity of opinion among those who have mentioned it. Bishop Lowth, in his Life of William Wykeham, had supposed that the term was derived from the _wastell_, _vessell or basket in which the bread was made, or carried or weighed_; an etymology which is with great reason contested by Dr. Milner in his paper on the Glastonbury cup. The latter writer is of opinion, that during the times of wasselling a finer sort of bread was provided, which on that account was called _wassel-bread_; and other persons had already conceived that the bread in question took its name from being dipped in the wassel-bowl. As a preliminary objection to these conjectures, it must be observed that the genuine orthography of the word is _wastel_, and not _wassel_, which is undoubtedly a corruption, and has led to much misconception. The earliest instance in which mention is made of wastel-bread is the statute 51 Henry III., entitled _Assisa panis et cerevisiæ_; where it is coupled with the _simnel bread_, which was made of the very finest flour, and twice baked. It appears from the same statute that _wastel-bread_ was next in fineness to the simnel, and is described as _white bread well baked_. There does not seem therefore any reason for concluding that the wastel-bread was in _particular_, but in _general use at all seasons_. We are told by Hoveden the historian, that at an interview which took place between William king of Scotland and Richard the First, at Northampton, a charter was granted to the Scotish monarch, in which it was agreed, that, whenever he should be summoned to the English court for the performance of homage, his daily allowance, among other things, should consist of twelve simnels and as many _wastels_. In Matthew Paris's history of the abbots of Saint Alban's, p. 141, it is said of the abbot; "Solus in refectorio prandebit supremus, habens _vastellum_." It is surprising how Mr. Watts the editor should misconceive the meaning of this word so much as to call it a _canopy_; nor is it indeed much less extraordinary that Dr. Milner, who is so well skilled in ecclesiastical antiquities, should have supposed it to signify a _wassel-bowl_. The regulation is general, and it had escaped the learned writer's recollection that wasselling was of a particular season; for it could not be applied in its subordinate sense of revelling or rioting, to so grave a person as an abbot. The Doctor might have been misled by the authority of Mr. Blount in his edition of Cowel's law dictionary, where the conjecture on the part of Mr. Somner, that the wastel bread might have been derived from _pastillus_, is termed _unlucky_; but, as it is presumed, without sufficient reason, although it may not be the exact origin of the expression. Chaucer, speaking of his Prioress, says,

"Of smale houndes hadde she, that she fedde With rosted flesh, and milk, and _wastel-brede_."

We cannot suppose that these animals would have been regaled with a food which was set apart for particular festivities, but rather with what was to be procured at all times, though of a more delicate and expensive nature. In short, what seems to be the most probable original of this much disputed word is the French _gasteau_, anciently written _gastel_, in the Picard language _ouastel_ or _watel_, and signifying _a cake_; a name which might with great propriety have been applied to this sort of bread on account of its superior quality, in like manner as the _simnel_ bread was so termed from the Latin _simila_, the finest part of the flour. The cake-like form, too, of this kind of bread seems to be alluded to in the following extract from the register of William of Wykeham, which has been quoted by Bishop Lowth for a very different, but, as it is submitted, inapplicable purpose: "Octo panes _in wastellis_, ponderis cujuslibet wastelli unius miche conventualis," i. e. eight loaves in the form of _wastels_ or cakes, the weight of each being that of a conventual manchet. And to conclude this part of the subject, in the old French language the term _wastelier_ is used for a pastry-cook or maker of _wastiaux_, where it is not likely that there could have been any connection with our _wassel_ in its Saxon and legitimate construction. What the heralds call _torteauxes_, in reality little cakes, from the French _tourte_, were likewise termed _wastels_, as we learn from the old book on coat armour ascribed to Dame Juliana Bernes, the celebrated abbess of Sopewell near Saint Albans.

The _wassel songs_ were sung during the festivities of Christmas, and, in earlier times, principally by those itinerant minstrels who frequented the houses of the gentry, where they were always certain of the most welcome reception. It has indeed been the chief purpose in discussing the present subject, to introduce to the reader's notice a composition of this kind, which is perhaps at the same time to be regarded as the most ancient drinking song, composed in England, that is extant. This singular curiosity has been written on a spare leaf in the middle of a valuable miscellaneous manuscript of the fourteenth century, preserved in the British Museum, Bibl. Reg. 16, E. viii. It is probably more than a century older than the manuscript itself, and must have been composed at a time when the Norman language was very familiar in England. In the endeavour to translate it, some difficulties were to be encountered; but it has been an object to preserve the whole and sometimes literal sense of the original, whilst from the nature of the English stanza it was impossible to dispense with amplification.


Seignors ore entendez a nus, De loinz sumes venuz a wous, Pur quere NOEL; Car lem nus dit que en cest hostel Soleit tenir sa feste anuel A hi cest jur. Deu doint a tus icels joie d'amurs Qi a DANZ NOEL ferunt honors.

Seignors jo vus di por veir Ke DANZ NOEL ne velt aveir Si joie non; E repleni sa maison, De payn, de char & de peison, Por faire honor Deu doint a tuz ces joie damur.

Seignors il est crié en lost, Qe cil qui despent bien et tost, E largement; E fet les granz honors sovent Deu li duble quanque il despent Por faire honor. Deu doint a.

Seignors escriez les malveis, Car vus nel les troverez jameis De bone part: Botun, batun, ferun gruinard, Car tot dis a le quer cuuard Por faire honor. Deu doint.

NOEL beyt bien li vin Engleis E li Gascoin & li Franceys E l'Angevin: NOEL fait beivre son veisin, Si quil se dort, le chief enclin, Sovent le jor. Deu doint a tuz cels.

Seignors jo vus di par NOEL, E par li sires de cest hostel, Car bevez ben: E jo primes beurai le men, Et pois apres chescon le soen, Par mon conseil, Si jo vus di trestoz _Wesseyl_ Dehaiz eit qui ne dirra _Drincheyl_!


Lordings, from a distant home, To seek old CHRISTMAS we are come, Who loves our minstrelsy: And here, unless report mis-say, The grey-beard dwells; and on this day Keeps yearly wassel, ever gay, With festive mirth and glee.

To all who honour CHRISTMAS, and commend our lays, Love will his blessings send, and crown with joy their days.[23]

Lordings list, for we tell you true; CHRISTMAS loves the jolly crew That cloudy care defy: His liberal board is deftly spread With manchet loaves and wastel-bread; His guests with fish and flesh are fed, Nor lack the stately pye.[24]

Lordings, you know that far and near The saying is, "Who gives good cheer, And freely spends his treasure; On him will bounteous heaven bestow Twice treble blessings here below, His happy hours shall sweetly flow In never-ceasing pleasure."

Lordings, believe us, knaves abound; In every place are flatterers found; May all their arts be vain! But chiefly from these scenes of joy Chase sordid souls that mirth annoy, And all who with their base alloy Turn pleasure into pain.

CHRISTMAS quaffs our English wines,[25] Nor Gascoigne juice, nor French declines, Nor liquor of Anjou: He puts th' insidious goblet round, Till all the guests in sleep are drown'd, Then wakes 'em with the tabor's sound, And plays the prank anew.

Lordings, it is our host's command, And CHRISTMAS joins him hand in hand, To drain the brimming bowl: And I'll be foremost to obey; Then pledge me sirs, and drink away, For CHRISTMAS revels here to day, And sways without control.

Now WASSEL to you all! and merry may ye be! But foul that wight befall, who DRINKS not HEALTH to me!

SCENE 4. Page 60.

HAM. This heavy-headed revel, east and west, Makes us traduc'd, and tax'd of other nations: _They clepe us drunkards_.

Dr. Johnson has noticed the frequent allusions in this play to the king's intemperance, a failing that seems to have been too common among the Danish sovereigns as well as their subjects. A lively French traveller being asked what he had seen in Denmark, replied, "rien de singulier, sinon qu'on y chante tous les jours, _le roy boit_;" alluding to the French mode of celebrating Twelfth-day. See De Brieux, _Origines de quelques coutûmes_, p. 56. Heywood in his _Philocothonista, or The drunkard opened, dissected, and anatomized_, 1635, 4to, speaking of what he calls the _vinosity of nations_, says of the Danes, that "they have made a profession thereof from antiquity, and are the first upon record that brought their wassell-bowles and elbowe-deep healthes into this land."

SCENE 4. Page 68.

HAM. That thou, dead corse, again, in _cómplete_ steel----

This word is accented in both ways by our old poets as suited the metre. Thus in Sylvester's _Du Bartas_, edit. folio, 1621, p. 120:

"Who arms himself so cómplete every way."

But in _King John_, Act II., we have,

"Such as she is, in beauty, virtue, birth, Is the young Dauphin, every way compléte: If not compléte, oh say, he is not she."

SCENE 4. Page 68.

HAM. Say why is this, wherefore, _what should we do_?

This interrogation is perfectly consistent with the opinions entertained by our forefathers concerning ghosts, which they believed had some particular motive for quitting the mansions of the dead; such as a desire that their bodies, if unburied, should receive Christian rites of sepulture; that a murderer might be brought to due punishment, as in the present instance; with various other reasons. On this account Horatio had already thus invoked the ghost:

"If there be any good thing to be done, That may _do ease to thee_ and grace to me, Speak to me."

Some of the superstitions have been transmitted from the earliest times. It was the established opinion among the ancient Greeks, that such as had not received the funeral rites would be excluded from Elysium, and that on this account the departed spirits continued in a restless state until their bodies underwent the usual ceremony. Thus the wandering and rejected shade of Patroclus appears to Achilles in his sleep, and demands the performance of his funeral. The Hecuba of Euripides supplies another instance of a troubled ghost. In like manner the unburied Palinurus complains to Æneas.[26] In Plautus's _Mostellaria_, the cunning servant endeavours to persuade his master that the house is haunted by the ghost of a man who had been murdered, and whose body remained without sepulture. The younger Pliny has a story of a haunted house at Athens, in which a ghost played many pranks on account of his funeral rites being neglected. Nor were ghosts supposed to be less turbulent, even after burial, whenever the party had died a premature death, as we learn from Tertullian, in his treatise _De anima_, cap. 56, where he says, "Aiunt et immatura morte præventos eousque vagari isthic, donec reliquatio compleatur ætatis qua cum pervixissent si non intempestivé obiissent."

SCENE 5. Page 72.

HAM. Speak, I am bound to hear.

GHOST. So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear.

These words have been turned into ridicule by Fletcher in his _Woman-hater_, Act II.;

"LAZ. Speak, I am bound.

"COUNT. So art thou to revenge when thou shalt hear the fish-head is gone, and we know not whither." #/

SCENE 5. Page 72.

GHOST. And for the day, confin'd _to fast in fires_. 'Till the foul crimes, &c.

A member of the church of Rome might be disposed to regard this expression as simply referring to a _mental_ privation of all intercourse with the Deity. Such an idea would remove the inconsistency of ascribing corporeal sensations to the ghost, and might derive support from these lines in an ancient Christian hymn. See _Expositio hymnorum_, sec. usum Sarum.

"Sic corpus extra conteri, Dona per abstinentiam, _Jejunet ut mens sobria A labe prorsus criminum_."

The whole of the ghost's speech is remarkable for its terrific grandeur.

SCENE 5. Page 75.

GHOST. And _duller_ should'st thou be than the fat weed That rots itself in ease on _Lethe's_ wharf.

The plant here alluded to might have been _henbane_, of which Gerarde says that it causes drowsiness, and stupefies and _dulls_ the senses.

SCENE 5. Page 76.

HAM. O, my prophetick soul! my uncle!

Copied, perhaps maliciously, in Beaumont and Fletcher's _Double marriage_, Act II.

"SES. Oh my prophetique soul!"

SCENE 5. Page 77

GHOST. But soft, methinks I scent the morning air-- The glow-worm shows the matin to be near.

It was the popular belief that ghosts could not endure the light, and consequently disappeared at the dawn of day. This superstition is derived from our northern ancestors, who held that the sun and every thing containing _light or fire_ had the property of expelling demons and spirits of all kinds. With them it seems to have originated in the stories that are related in the Edda concerning the battles of Thor against the giants and evil demons, wherein he made use of his dreadful mallet of iron, which he hurled against them as Jupiter did his thunderbolts against the Titans. Many of the _transparent_ precious stones were supposed to have the power of expelling evil spirits; and the flint and other stones found in the tombs of the northern nations, and from which fire might be extracted, were imagined, in like manner, to be efficacious in confining the manes of the dead to their proper habitations. They were called Thor's hammers.

SCENE 5. Page 77.

GHOST. With juice of cursed _hebenon_ in a vial, And in the porches of mine ear did pour, &c.

Dr. Grey had ingeniously supposed this word to be a _metathesis_ for _henebon_ or _henbane_; but the best part of his note on the subject has been omitted, which is his reference to Pliny, who says that the oil of henbane _dropped into the ears_ disturbs the brain. Yet it does not appear that henbane was ever called _henebon_. The line cited by Mr. Steevens from Marlow's _Jew of Malta_, shows that the _juice_ of _hebon_, i. e. _ebony_, was accounted poisonous; and in the English edition by Batman, of _Bartholomæus de proprietatibus rerum_, so often cited in these observations as a Shakspearean book, the article for the wood ebony is entitled, "Of _Ebeno_, chap. 52." This comes so near to the text, that it is presumed very little doubt will now remain on the occasion. It is not surprising that the _dropping into the ears_ should occur, because Shakspeare was perfectly well acquainted with the supposed properties of henbane as recorded in Holland's translation of Pliny and elsewhere, and might apply this mode of use to any other poison.

SCENE 5. Page 77.

GHOST. ... it doth posset And curd, like _eager_ droppings into milk.

Many readers may require to be told that _eager_ means _sour_, from the French _aigre_. In the preceding Scene it is used in the sense of _sharp_, and is there properly so explained; but the quotation of the present passage on that occasion seems misapplied.

SCENE 5. Page 79.

GHOST. ... and sent to my account With all my imperfections on my head.

Heywood, a contemporary writer, has imitated this in his play of _A woman kill'd with kindness_;

"... and send them, laden With all their scarlet sins upon their backs Unto a fearful judgment."

SCENE 5. Page 81.

HAM. My tables,--meet it is, I set it down.


It is remarkable that neither public nor private museums should furnish any specimens of these table-books, which seem to have been very common in the time of Shakspeare; nor does any attempt appear to have been made towards ascertaining exactly the materials of which they were composed. Certain it is, however, that they were sometimes made of slate in the form of a small portable book with leaves and clasps. Such a one is fortunately engraved in Gesner's treatise _De rerum fossilium figuris_, &c. Tigur. 1565, 12mo, which is not to be found in the folio collection of his works on natural history. The learned author thus describes it: "Pugillaris è laminis saxi nigri fissilis, cum stylo ex eodem." His figure of it is here copied.

To such a table-book the Archbishop of York seems thus to allude in _The second part of King Henry IV._, Act IV. Scene 1:

"And therefore will he _wipe his tables clean_ And keep no tell-tale to his memory----"

In the middle ages the leaves of these table-books were made of ivory. Montfaucon has engraved one of them in the third volume of his "Antiquities," plate cxciv., the subject of which clearly shows that the learned writer has committed an error in ascribing them to remoter times. In Chaucer's _Sompnour's tale_ one of the friars is provided with

"A pair of tables all of _ivory_, And a pointel ypolished fetishly, And wrote alway the names, as he stood, Of alle folk that yave hem any good."

The Roman practice of writing on wax tablets with a stile was continued also during the middle-ages. In several of the monastic libraries in France specimens of wooden tables filled with wax and constructed in the fourteenth century were preserved. Some of these contained the household expenses of the sovereigns, &c., and consisted of as many as twenty pages, formed into a book by means of parchment bands glued to the backs of the leaves. One remaining in the abbey of St. Germain des préz at Paris, recorded the expenses of Philip le Bel, during a journey that he made in the year 1307, on a visit to Pope Clement V. A single leaf of this table-book is exhibited in the _Nouveau traité de diplomatique_, tom. i. p. 468.

SCENE 5. Page 85.

HAM. Swear by my sword.

In consequence of the practice of occasionally swearing by a sword, or rather by the cross or upper end of it, the name of _Jesus_ was sometimes inscribed on the handle or some other part. Such an instance occurs on the monument of a crusader in the vestry of the church at Winchelsea. See likewise the tomb of John duke of Somerset engraved in Sandford's _Genealogical history_, p. 314, and Gough's _Sepulchral monuments_, Pref. ccxiii. Introd. cxlviii. vol. i. p. 171, vol. ii. p. 362.


SCENE 2. Page 115.

POL. Though this be madness, yet there's method in it.

This is precisely Horace's,

"Insanire paret certo ratione modoque."

SCENE 2. Page 121.

HAM. The clown shall make those laugh whose lungs are _tickled o' the sere_.

_Sere_ is _dry_. Thus in _Macbeth_,

"He is deformed, crooked, old and _sere_."

Among the Saxons June was called the _sere_ month. In the present instance _sere_ appears to be used as a substantive. The same expression occurs in Howard's _Defensative against the poyson of supposed prophecies_, 1620, folio: "Discovering the moods and humors of the vulgar sort to be so loose and _tickle of the seare_," &c., fo. 31. Every one has felt that dry tickling in the throat and lungs which excites coughing. Hamlet's meaning may therefore be, _the clown by his merriment shall convert even their coughing into laughter_.

SCENE 2. Page 131.

HAM. Buz, Buz.

Minsheu says, "To _buzze_, or hum as bees, _buzze, buzze_;" and again, in his Spanish dictionary, "when two standing or kneeling together, holding their hands upon their cheekes and ears, and so cry, _buzze buzze_, and hitting one another a good box on the eare, if he pull not his head away quickly." Selden in his _Table talk_, speaking of witches, says, "If any should profess that by turning his hat thrice, and crying _buz_, he could take away a man's life, (though in truth he could do no such thing) yet this were a just law made by the state, that whosoever should turn his hat thrice, and cry _buz_, with an intention to take away a man's life, shall be put to death." The expression has already exercised the skill of the critics, and may continue to do so, if they are disposed to pursue the game through the following mazes: "Anno DCCCXL Ludovicus imperator ad mortem infirmatur, cujus cibus per XL dies solummodo die dominica dominicum corpus fecit. Cum vidisset dæmonem astare, dixit _buez, buez_, quod significat _foras, foras_."--Alberici monachi trium fontium _chronicon_, Leips. 1698. Ducange under the article _Buzi_, says, "Interpretatur despectus vel contemptus. Papias. [Ab Hebraico _Bus_ vel _bouz_, sprevit.]"

SCENE 2. Page 135.

HAM. Your ladyship is nearer to heaven, than when I saw you last, by the altitude of a _chopine_.

In Raymond's _Voyage through Italy_, 1648, 12mo, a work which is said to have been partly written by Dr. Bargrave, prebendary of Canterbury, the following curious account of the _chopine_ occurs: "This place [Venice] is much frequented by the walking may poles, I meane the women. They weare their coats halfe too long for their bodies, being mounted on their _chippeens_, (which are as high as a man's leg) they walke between two handmaids, majestickly deliberating of every step they take. This fashion was invented and appropriated to the noble Venetians wives, to bee constant to distinguish them from the courtesans, who goe covered in a vaile of white taffety."

James Howell, speaking of the Venetian women, says, "They are low and of small statures for the most part, which makes them to rayse their bodies upon high shoes called _chapins_, which gave one occasion to say that the Venetian ladies were made of three things, one part of them was wood, meaning their chapins, another part was their apparrell, and the third part was a woman; The Senat hath often endeavour'd to take away the wearing of those high shooes, but all women are so passionately delighted with this kind of state that no law can weane them from it."

Some have supposed that the jealousy of Italian husbands gave rise to the invention of the _chopine_. Limojon de Saint Didier, a lively French writer on the republic of Venice, mentions a conversation with some of the doge's counsellors of state on this subject, in which it was remarked that smaller shoes would certainly be found more convenient; which induced one of the counsellors to say, putting on at the same time a very austere look, _pur troppo commodi, pur troppo_. The first ladies who rejected the use of the chopine were the daughters of the Doge Dominico Contareno, about the year 1670. It was impossible to set one foot before the other without leaning on the shoulders of two waiting women, and those who used them must have stalked along like boys in stilts.

The choppine or some kind of high shoe was occasionally used in England. Bulwer in his _Artificial changeling_, p. 550, complains of this fashion as a monstrous affectation, and says that his countrywomen therein imitated the Venetian and Persian ladies. In Sandys's travels, 1615, there is a figure of a Turkish lady with chopines; and it is not improbable that the Venetians might have borrowed them from the _Greek_ islands in the Archipelago. We know that something similar was in use among the ancient Greeks. Xenophon in his œconomics, introduces the wife of Ischomachus, as having high shoes for the purpose of increasing her stature. They are still worn by the women in many parts of Turkey, but more particularly at Aleppo. As the figure of an object is often better than twenty pages of description, one is here given from a real Venetian chopine.


SCENE 2. Page 135.

HAM. Pray God, your voice, like a piece of uncurrent gold, be not _crack'd within the ring_.

It is to be observed, that there was a ring or circle on the coin, within which the sovereign's head was placed; if the crack extended from the edge beyond this ring, the coin was rendered unfit for currency. Such pieces were hoarded by the usurers of the time, and lent out as lawful money. Of this we are informed by Roger Fenton in his _Treatise of usury_, 1611, 4to, p. 23. "A poore man desireth a goldsmith to lend him such a summe, but he is not able to pay him interest. If such as I can spare (saith the goldsmith) will pleasure you, you shall have it for three or foure moneths. Now, hee hath a number of light, clipt, _crackt_ peeces (for such he useth to take in change with consideration for their defects:) this summe of money is repaid by the poore man at the time appointed in good and lawfull money. This is usurie." And again, "It is a common custome of his [the usurer's] to buy up _crackt angels_ at nine shillings the piece. Now sir, if a gentleman (on good assurance) request him of mony, Good sir (saith hee, with a counterfait sigh) I would be glad to please your worship, but my _good_ mony is abroad, and that I have, I dare not put in your hands. The gentleman thinking this conscience, where it is subtilty, and being beside that in some necessity, ventures on the _crackt angels_, some of which cannot flie, for soldering, and paies double interest to the miser under the cloake of honesty."--Lodge's _Wit's miserie_, 1596, 4to, p. 28. So much for the cracked gold. The cracking of the _human voice_ proceeded from some alteration in the larynx, which is here compared to a ring.

As metaphors are sometimes double, the present may be of that kind. A piece of cracked metal is spoiled for the _ringing of it_; so the human voice, when cracked, may be said to lose the clearness of its _tone_. All Mr. Steevens's quotations, except the last, are obscene, and none of them apply to Hamlet's simile.

SCENE 2. Page 137.

HAM. 't was _caviare_ to the general.

This word has been frequently mispronounced _caveer_ on the stage. The other mode of spelling it in Mr. Reed's note, viz. _caveary_, as well as the Italian term in the text, which should rather be _caviaro_, would have been sufficient for the purpose of demonstrating how it should be accented; but the following line from Sir J. Harrington's 33rd epigram of the third book leaves no uncertainty in the matter:

"And căvĕārĕ, but it little boots."

Dr. Ramsey, physician to King Charles the Second, wrote a curious treatise on the worms of the human body, in which he says, "_Caviale_ also is a fond dish of the Italians, made of the roes of sturgion, and altogether as unwholsome, if not much worse; invented by idle brains, and fansied by none but such as are ignorant what it is; wherefore I would have them consider the Italian proverb,

Chi mangia di _Caviale_, Mangia moschi, merdi, & sale.

Which may be Englished thus,

He that eats Cavialies, Eats salt, dung, and flies.

For it is only (as was said) the roes of sturgion powdred, pickled, and finely denominated _Caviale_, to be a bait for such woodcocks and dotrils that account every exotick fansie a real good." This commodity is still common in the North of Europe, and was formerly a considerable article of commerce between England and Russia.

SCENE 2. Page 145.

1 PLAY. Would have made _milch_ the burning eyes of heaven.

i. e. would have drawn tears from them. _Milche-hearted_, in Hulæt's _Abcedarium_, 1552, is rendered _lemosus_; and in _Bibliotheca Eliotæ_, 1545, we find "_lemosi_, they that _wepe_ lyghtly." The word is from the Saxon melce, milky.


SCENE 1. Page 158.

HAM. ... To die,--to sleep,-- No more;----

There is a good deal on this subject in Cardanus's _Comforte_, 1576, 4to, a book which Shakspeare had certainly read. In fo. 30, it is said, "In the holy scripture, death is not accompted other than sleape, and to dye is sayde to sleape."

SCENE 1. Page 162.

HAM. The undiscovered country, from whose bourn No traveller returns.

The resemblance of this passage to the lines cited by Mr. Steevens from Catullus is very remarkable, yet no translation of that author into English is known to have been made. It is true, they might have occurred to our poet in his native language through the medium of some quotation; yet it is equally possible that both the writers have casually adopted the same sentiment. This is a circumstance that more frequently happens than they are aware of who hunt after imitations even in writers of the most original genius. Many of Shakspeare's commentators might seem to be implicated in this charge, if it were not that they have rather designed to mark coincidence than imitation. On the present occasion our author alludes to a country altogether unknown to mortals. That of the Pagan poet is happily illustrated by Seneca, who cites the lines from Catullus, when he causes Mercury to drag the emperor Claudius into the _infernal regions_. "Nec mora, Cyllenius illum collo obtorto trahit _ad inferos_."--_Lud. de morte Claudii._

Dekker, in his _Seven deadlie sinns of London_, 1606, 4to, apostrophizing that city, exclaims, "Art thou now not cruell against thyselfe, in not providing (before the land-waters of affliction come downe againe upon thee) more and more convenient cabins to lay those in, _that are to goe into such farre countries, who never looke to come back againe_? If thou should'st deny it, the graves when they open, will be witnesses against thee."

In the _History of Valentine and Orson_, p. 63, edit. 1694, 4to, is this passage: "I shall send some of you here present _into such a country, that you shall scarcely ever return again_ to bring tydings of your valour." As Watson, the translator of this romance, translated also _The ship of fools_ into prose, which was printed by Wynkyn de Worde, it is probable that there was an edition of _Valentine and Orson_ in Shakspeare's time, though none such is supposed now to remain. Perhaps the oldest we know of is that of 1649, printed by Robert Ibbitson. In 1586, _The old book of Valentine and Orson_ was licensed to T. Purfoot.

SCENE 1. Page 166.

HAM. I have heard of your _paintings_ too, well enough; God hath given you one _face_, and you make yourselves another; you jig, you amble, and you lisp and nickname God's creatures, and make your wantonness your ignorance.

The folio reads _prattlings_, and _pace_; the quarto as in the text, which Dr. Johnson thinks best, though he admits that Shakspeare might have written both. Other very good reasons have been given for preferring the present reading; yet whoever will reflect on the typographical errors for which the quarto plays of Shakspeare are remarkable, may be disposed to think that the folio editors had good reason for their variation. Our author's bible might here, as in many other instances, have furnished his materials. "Moreover thus saith the Lorde: seyng the daughters of Sion are become so proude and come in with stretched oute neckes, and with vayne wanton eyes; seynge they come in trippynge so nicely with their fete; therefore, &c."--Isaiah, ch. iii. ver. 16. It has not been observed that _lisp_ seems to refer to _prattling_, as _jig_ and _amble_ do to _pace_.

SCENE 2. Page 173.

HAM. ... it out-herods Herod.

The violence of Herod in the old mysteries has been already exemplified by some extracts from the Chester and Coventry plays. One of the latter, of which some account has been given in the preceding pages, may truly be said on the present occasion to completely _out-herod_ the others. It exhibits the fury of the monarch to so much advantage, that every zealous amateur of theatrical manners must be gratified with the following extracts.

His majesty's entrance is announced by a herald in the vilest French jargon that can be conceived. He commences by enjoining silence on the part of the spectators, and ends with sending them all to the devil. "La gran deaboly vos umport." He then makes a speech, which begins in bad Latin, and thus proceeds:

"[I am] the myghtyst conquerowre that ever walkid on grownd, For I am evyn he that made bothe hevin and hell, And of my myghte power holdith up the world rownd; _Magog_ and _Madroke_ bothe thes did I confownde, And in this bryght bronde[27] there bonis I brak on sunder, That all the wyde worlde on those rappis[28] did wonder. I am the cawse of this grett lyght and thunder; Yt ys throgh my fure[29] that the[30] soche noyse doth make; My feyrefull contenance the cloudis so doth incumber, That oftymes for drede therof the verre[31] yerth doth quake. Loke when I with males[32] this bryght brond doth shake, All the whole world from the north to the sowthe, I ma them dystroie with won worde of my mouthe. To recownt unto you myn inewmerabull substance, Thatt were to moche for any tong to tell; For all the whole orent[33] ys under myn obbeydeance, And prince am I of purgatorre and chef capten of hell; And thase tyranees trayturs be force ma I compell Myne enemys to vanquese, and evyn to duste them dryve, And with a twynke of myn iee not won to be left alyve. Behald my contenance and my colur, Bryghter than the sun in the meddis of the dey. Where can you have a more grettur succur Then to behold my person that ys so gaye? My fawcun[34] and my fassion with my gorgis[35] araye? He that had the grace allwey theron to thynke, Lyve the myght allwey withowt othur meyte or drynke; And thys my tryomfande fame most hylist doth abownde Throgh owt this world in all reygeons abrod, Reysemelyng the favour of that most myght _Mahownd_. From _Jubytor_ be desent[36] and cosyn to the grett God, And namyd the most reydowndid[37] kyng _Eyrodde_, Wycche that all pryncis hath undr subjeccion, And all their whole powar undur my proteccion; And therefore my hareode[38], here called _Calcas_, Warne thow eyvyry porte that noo schyppis aryve; Nor also aloond[39] stranger throgh my realme pas, But the for there truage do pay markis fyve. Now spede the forthe hastele, For the that wyll the contrare, Upon a galowse hangid schal be, And be _Mahownde_ of me they gett noo grace."

When he hears of the flight of the messengers, he exclaims,

"I stampe, I stare, I loke all abowt, Myght I them take I schuld them bren at a glede[40], I ren, I rawe[41], and now I am wode[42], A that these velen trayturs hath mard this my mode The schal be hangid yf I ma cum them to."

The stage direction is, "Here _Erode_ ragis in the pagond and in the strete also." He consults with his knights on putting the children to death; and on their dissuading him from it as likely to excite an insurrection, he says,

"A rysyng, owt, owt, owt."

There _Erode_ ragis ageyne and then seyth thus:

"Out velen wrychis har apon[43] you I cry, My wyll utturly loke that yt be wroght, Or apon a gallowse bothe you schall dye Be _Mahownde_ most myghtyst that me dere hath boght."

At length the knights consent to slay the children, and _Herod_ says,

"And then wyll I for fayne trypp lyke a doo."

The bodies of the children are brought to him in carts; but he is told that all his deeds are come to nothing, as the child whom he particularly sought after had escaped into Egypt. He once more falls into a violent passion, orders his palfrey to be saddled, and hurries away in pursuit of the infant. Here the piece ends. It was performed by the taylors and shearmen in the year 1534; but the composition is of much greater antiquity.

SCENE 2. Page 179.

HAM. ... Give me that man That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him In my heart's core, ay in my heart of heart.

From this speech Anthony Scoloker, in his _Daiphantus, or The passions of love_, 1604, 4to, has stolen the following line:

"Oh, I would weare her in my heart's-heart-gore."

SCENE 2. Page 179.

HAM. It is a _damned ghost_ that we have seen.

i. e. the ghost of a person sentenced for his wickedness to damnation, and which has in this instance deceived us. Thus Spenser,

"What voice of _damned ghost_ from Limbo lake Or _guileful spright_ wandering in empty ayre, Sends to my _doubtful eares_ these speeches rare?"

_Fairy Queen_, book i. canto 2, st. 32.

"He show'd him painted in a table plain The _damned ghosts_----" "Nor _damned ghosts_ cald up with mightie spels."

_Epithalamion_, st. 19.

SCENE 2. Page 182.

HAM. Lady, shall I lie in your lap?

[_Lying down at_ OPHELIA'S _feet_.]

Mr. Steevens has noticed the practice of lying at the feet of a mistress during dramatic representations; yet we are not to conclude that it prevailed at the public theatres. The instances which have occurred seem to be confined to entertainments at the houses of the nobility and gentry. These were plays, masques, masquerades, balls, concerts, &c. Many old pictures and engravings furnish examples of the above custom, the young men being often seen sitting or lying on the ground in conversation with their mistresses, and sometimes in Hamlet's situation. One of these shall be described more particularly. It is an extremely neat little print, belonging to a set designed to contrast the sufferings of Christ with the vanities of the world. The scene is a ball-room. In the background are the musicians and torch-bearers. In front a lady and gentleman are performing a dance before some standing spectators. In various parts of the room pairs of young gallants and their mistresses are seated on the floor, apparently more attentive to their own concerns than to the dancing; and one youth is sitting on the spread petticoat of his companion. The costume is French, and of the time of Louis the Thirteenth.

SCENE 2. Page 198.

HAM. With two _provencial roses_ on my razed shoes.

The old copies read _provincial_, which led Mr. Warton to ask, why provincial roses? and to conclude that roses of _Provence_ were meant, on which conclusion the text has been _most unnecessarily_ changed; because the old reading was certainly correct. There is no evidence to show that _Provence_ was ever remarkable for its roses; but it is well known that _Provins_, in _La Basse Brie_, about forty miles from Paris, was formerly very celebrated for the growth of this flower, of which the best cataplasms are said to have been made. It was, according to tradition, imported into that country from Syria, by a count De Brie. See Guillemeau _Histoire naturelle de la rose_. It is probable that this kind of rose, which in our old herbals is called the Great Holland or _Province_ rose, was imported into this country both from Holland and France, from which latter country the Dutch might have first procured it. There is an elegant cut of the Provins rose, with a good account of it, in the first edition of Pomet _Hist. des drogues_, 1694, folio, p. 174.

SCENE 2. Page 200.

HAM. A very, very,--_peacock_.

The word that was in the original of Hamlet's quotation would have been too coarse to be applied to royalty; and therefore he substitutes another, which there is good reason to suppose was _peacock_. Dr. Farmer has given proof that this term was proverbial for a fool. Reginald Scot, speaking of Pope Julius the Third, says that he blasphemed Christ, and cursed his mother for a _peacock_. _Disc. of witchcraft_, b. 2, ch. viii. The bird in question is at once _proud_ and _silly_.

SCENE 2. Page 205.

Enter the players with _recorders_.

"i. e." says Mr. Steevens, "a kind of _large_ flute." Yet the former note, to which he refers, vol. v. p. 149, describes this instrument as a _small_ flute. Sir J. Hawkins, in vol. iv. p. 479, of his valuable History of music, has offered very good proofs that the recorder was a _flagelet_, and he maintains that the flute was improperly termed a recorder, and that the expressions have been confounded: yet his opinion that the books of instructions entitled 'for the recorder' belong in reality to the flute, seems rather doubtful. The confusion is in having blended the genus with the species. In the _Promptuarium parvulorum_, 1516, 4to, a recorder is defined to be a "lytell pype." In _Udall's flowres for Latine spekyng selected oute of Terence_, 1532, 12mo, the line from Virgil's Bucolics,

"Nec te pæniteat _calamo_ trivisse labellum,"

is rendered, "and thynke it not a smalle thynge to have lerned to playe on the _pype_ or the _recorder_:" and it is not a little curious that in modern cant language the recorders of corporations are termed _flutes_. The following story in _Wits fits and fancies_, 1595, 4to, shows that the pipe and recorder were different; such is the uncertainty of definition among old writers: "A merrie recorder of London mistaking the name of one _Pepper_, call'd him _Piper_: whereunto the partie excepting, and saying: Sir, you mistake, my name is _Pepper_, not _Piper_: hee answered: Why, what difference is there (I pray thee) between _Piper_ in Latin, and _Pepper_ in English; is it not all one? No, sir (reply'd the other) there is even as much difference betweene them, as is between a _Pipe_ and a _Recorder_."

SCENE 2. Page 207.

HAM. Do you think I am easier to be play'd on than a pipe? Call me what instrument you will, though you can _fret_ me, you cannot play upon me.

A _fret_ is the stop or key of a musical instrument, and consequently here is a play on words, and a double meaning. Hamlet says, _though you can vex me, you cannot impose on me; though you can stop the instrument, you cannot play on it_.

SCENE 3. Page 216.

HAM. ... that his soul may be as damn'd and black As hell, whereto it goes.

To the stories collected in the notes that illustrate Hamlet's shocking design of killing the king at his prayers, may be added one in Howel's _Parley of the beasts_, p. 91, and another related in Chetwind's _Historical collections_, p. 77.

SCENE 4. Page 231.

HAM. ... a _vice_ of kings.

"A low mimick of kings. The vice is the fool of a _farce_, from whence the modern _punch_ is descended." Thus far Dr. Johnson. The first position in his note is questionable, the others erroneous. The _vice_ belonged to the old moralities; and the modern _Punch_ is most certainly not descended from him, but legitimately from a character well known in the theatres of ancient Rome. _We_ have borrowed him from the Italian _Polichinello_. With respect to the former part of the note, Hamlet's expression may be quite literal. Thus in _King Henry the Fifth_, we have "this _grace_ of kings." Afterwards indeed, Shakspeare, in his usual manner, recollecting the ambiguity of the term, takes up another simile, and makes Hamlet call his uncle _a king of shreds and patches_. See a former note in p. 287.


SCENE 2. Page 248.

HAM. The body is with the king, but the king is not with the body.

Hamlet's riddle seems still unresolved. Can this be its meaning? Instead of giving a direct answer to the inquiry after the body of Polonius, he seizes the opportunity of venting his sarcasm against the king, by saying that the body, i. e. the external appearance or person of the monarch, is with his uncle; but that the real and lawful king is not in that body.

SCENE 5. Page 262.

OPH. To be your _Valentine_.

The custom of choosing _Valentines_ is of very long standing, and, like many others of a popular nature, is no more than a corruption of something similar that had prevailed in the times of paganism. It was the practice in ancient Rome, during a great part of the month of February, to celebrate the _Lupercalia_, which were feasts in honour of Pan and Juno, whence the latter deity was named _februata_, _februalis_, and _februlla_. On this occasion, amidst a variety of ceremonies, the names of young women were put into a box, from which they were drawn by the men as chance directed. The pastors of the early Christian church, who by every possible means endeavoured to eradicate the vestiges of Pagan superstitions, and chiefly by some commutation of their forms, substituted, in the present instance, the names of particular saints, instead of those of the women: and as the festival of the _Lupercalia_ had commenced about the middle of February, they appear to have chosen Saint Valentine's day for celebrating the new feast; because it occurred nearly at the same time. This is, in part, the opinion of a learned and rational compiler of the lives of the saints, the Reverend Alban Butler. It should seem, however, that it was utterly impossible to extirpate altogether any ceremony to which the common people had been much accustomed; a fact which it were easy to prove in tracing the origin of various other popular superstitions: and accordingly the outline of the ancient ceremonies was preserved, but modified by some adaptation to the Christian system. It is reasonable to suppose that the above practice of choosing mates would gradually become reciprocal in the sexes; and that all persons so chosen would be called _Valentines_, from the day on which the ceremony took place. There is another opinion on the origin of choosing _Valentines_, which has been formed on a tradition among the common people, that at the above season of the year birds choose their mates, a circumstance that is frequently alluded to by poets, and particularly by Chaucer; yet this seems to be a mere poetical idea, borrowed in all probability from the practice in question. Again, it has been supposed that the custom originated in the following manner: During carnival time, which usually happens about Saint Valentine's day, great numbers of knights assembled together in the various courts of Europe to entertain the ladies with feasts and tournaments, when each lady made choice of a knight who usually enlisted in her service for a whole year, during which period he bound himself to perform, at the instance of his mistress, whatever was consistent with propriety. One employment was the writing verses full of tenderness; not that it was requisite for the heart to be at all concerned in the matter. A little reflection, however, may serve to show that even this practice is only derivative from the older one.

It is presumed that the earliest specimens remaining of poetical _Valentines_ are those preserved in the works of Charles duke of Orleans, a prince of high accomplishments, and the father of Louis the Twelfth of France. He was taken prisoner at the battle of Agincourt, and remained a captive in this country twenty-five years, during which time he wrote several thousand lines of poetry, a few of them in English. Many of these poems are written on Saint _Valentine's_ day, and in some of them his mistress is called his _Valentine_. In the Royal library of manuscripts, now in the British museum, there is a magnificent volume containing probably all that the duke wrote whilst in England. It belonged to King Henry the Seventh, for whom it had been copied from some older manuscript, and is beautifully illuminated. In one of the paintings the duke is represented in the White tower sitting at a writing table with guards attending him. In another part of it he is looking out of a window; and in a third he is going out of the tower to meet some person who has just alighted from his horse. At a distance is London bridge with the houses on it, and the curious chapel, all very distinct, and probably faithful copies. Besides the above work, this fine manuscript contains some compositions by the celebrated Eloisa, and other matters of less consequence.

In one of the duke's poems, he feigns that on Saint Valentine's day _Youth_ appears to him with an invitation to the temple of love. On the same day he devotes himself to the service of several ladies, according to what he states to have been the custom in England. The following extracts from some of his poems are given, as containing allusions to the subject immediately before us:

"A ce jour de Saint _Valentin_ Que chascun doit choisir son per, Amours demourrai-je non per Sans partir à vostre butin? A mon reveillier au matin Je n'y ay cessè de penser A ce jour de saint _Valentin_."

It appears from the following songs, that when Ash Wednesday happened to fall on Saint Valentine's day, the knights and their ladies assembled only in the afternoon, the morning being necessarily devoted to pious purposes.

"Saint _Valentin_ quant vous venez En caresme au commencement, Receu ne serez vrayement Ainsi que accoustumè avez

Saint _Valentin_ dit, veez me ça, Et apporte pers a choysir: Viegne qui y devra venir, C'est la coustume de pieça. Quand le jour des cendres, hola, Respond, auquel doit-on faillir? Saint _Valentin_ dit, veez me ça, Et apporte pers à choysir. Au fort au matin convendra En devotion se tenir, Et après disner à loysir, Choysisse qui choisir vouldra; Saint _Valentin_ dit, veez me ça, Et apporte pers à choysir."

Another French _Valentine_, composed by John Gower, is quoted by Mr. Warton in his _History of English poetry_, add. to vol. ii. p. 31, from a manuscript in the library of Lord Gower. In this the poet tells his mistress that in choosing her he had followed the example of the birds.

Madame Royale, the daughter of Henry the Fourth of France, built a palace near Turin which was called _the Valentine_, on account of the great veneration in which the saint was held in that country. At the first entertainment given there by the princess, who was naturally of a gallant disposition, she directed that the ladies should choose their lovers _for the year_ by lots. The only difference with respect to herself was, that she should be at liberty to fix on her own partner. At every ball during the year each lady received from her gallant a nosegay; and at every tournament the lady furnished his horse's trappings, the prize obtained being hers. From this circumstance Monsieur Menage, to whom we are indebted for the above information, infers that in Piedmont, the parties were called _Valentines_; but the learned writer was not aware of the circumstances already stated, nor of the antiquity of the custom in his own country. See Menage _Dict. étymologique_, art. _Valentin_.

In an old English ballad the lasses are directed to pray _cross-legged_ to Saint _Valentine_, for good luck. For the modern ceremonies on choosing, _Valentines_, the reader may consult Brand's _Popular antiquities_, and No. 56 of _The connoisseur_.

SCENE 5. Page 263.

OPH. Let in the maid, that out a maid, Never departed more.

In an Album that belonged in 1598 to a Dutch lady named Theodora Van Wassenaer, there is the following pretty French ballad addressed to her. The conclusion resembles the above lines in Ophelia's song:

"Au jardin de mon pere Un oranger il y a, Qui est si chargè d'orenges Je croy qu'il en rompra. Mignone tant je vous ayme, Mais vous ne m'aymez pas.

Elle demanda à son pere Quand on le cueillera, Ma fille, ma fille, Quand la saison viendra. Mignone, &c.

La saison est venue Le cueillerons nous pas? Elle prend une echelle, Un panier à son bras. Mignone, &c.

Elle cueillit les plus meures, Les verds elle y laissa; Elle les alloit porter vendre Au marcher de Damas. Mignone, &c.

En son chemin rencontroit Le fils d'un avocat; Que portez vous la belle Dans ce panier couvert? Mignone, &c.

Monsieur ce sont des orenges Ne vous en plait-il pas? Il en prend une couple, Dans son sein il les metta. Mignone, &c.

Venez vous en la belle, On vous les payera; _Elle y entra pucelle Grossette elle en sorta_. Mignone tant je vous ayme, Mais vous ne m'aymez pas."

SCENE 5. Page 263.

OPH. By _Gis_, and by Saint Charity.

The frequent occurrence of this adjuration sufficiently proves that Dr. Johnson's proposed change to _Cis_ is unnecessary; nor indeed would the name of Saint Cecilia be proper to swear by. Mr. Ritson's _Gislen_, an obscure _Irish_ saint, is equally out of the question. In the interlude of _Mary Magdelain_, she is made to say,

"Nay by Gis, twentie shillings I dare holde That there is not a gentlewoman in this land More propre than I in the waste, I dare be bolde."

In _Promos and Cassandra_, Dalia swears by _Gys_; and in _Gammer Gurton's needle_ and some other old plays, the same expression occurs. Mr. Ridley's conjecture that _Jesus_ is the corrupted word is the true one; but the corruption is not in the way that he has stated. The letters IHS would not be pronounced _Gis_, even by those who understood them as a Greek contraction.


SCENE 1. Page 297.

2 CLO. ... therefore make her grave _straight_.

Dr. Johnson thought this meant "From East to West, in a direct line parallel to the church; not from North to South, athwart the regular line." The frequency of the above mode of expression in Shakspeare's plays sufficiently indicates that if he had alluded to the mode of burial contended for by Dr. Johnson, he would have adopted some other. It has occurred upwards of a hundred times already in the sense of _immediately_. Nor would it be easy to show that to make a grave _straight_, or in a direct line, was to make it East and West; or that it was the designation of Christian burial. The first clown rather adverts to the _place_ where the grave should be made than to its _form_. Suicides were buried on the North side of the church, in ground purposely _unconsecrated_.

Much of this scene has been imitated in the _Valiant Welshman_, by R. A. [q. Robert Armin] 1663. See Act IV.

SCENE 1. Page 299.

2. CLO. If this had not been a gentlewoman, she should have been bury'd out of Christian burial.

We have here a manifest satire on the partial verdicts of coroners' juries, where the suicide has been above the common condition of life. Judge Blackstone has hinted at them in his Commentaries. Nothing, however, but the partiality is reprehensible; the rest is an amiable tenderness towards the living, calculated to resist a law that justly deserves to be abhorred for a savage and impotent revenge so far as it regards the dead.

SCENE 1. Page 299.

1 CLO. Come; my _spade_. There is no ancient gentlemen but gardeners, ditchers and grave-makers; they hold up _Adam's_ profession.

2 CLO. Was he a _gentleman_?

1 CLO. He was the first that ever bore arms.

This is undoubtedly in ridicule of heraldry. Gerard Leigh, one of the oldest writers on that subject, speaks of "Jesus Christ, a _gentleman_ of great linage, and king of the Jewes." And again, "For that it might be known that even anon after the creation of Adam, there was both _gentlenes_, and _ungentlenes_, you shall understand that the second man that was born was a _gentleman_, whose name was Abell. I say a gentleman both of vertue and of lignage, with whose sacrifice God was much pleased. His brother Cain was _ungentle_, for he offered God the worst of his fruites," &c.--_Accedence of armorie_, 1591, 4to, fo. 13. Another morsel of satire against the above science lurks in the very ancient proverbial saying,

"When Adam delv'd and Eve span, Where was then the gentleman?"

which is found in almost every European language. It was the text on which the rebel priest John Balle preached his sermon during the insurrection of Wat Tyler. Although the first clown afterwards explains why Adam bore arms, by means of a punning allusion to his digging with arms, there is still a concealed piece of wit with respect to the _spade_. Adam's spade is set down in some of the books of heraldry as _the most ancient form of escutcheons_: nor is it improbable that the lower part of this utensil suggested the well-known form of the old triangular shields; whilst from the spindle of Eve might have originated the lozenge-like escutcheon on which the arms of females are usually emblazoned.

SCENE 1. Page 308.

HAM. ... the age is grown so _picked_, that the toe of the peasant, &c.

Mr. Malone's note, in exclusion of the others, is sufficiently satisfactory. The fashion of wearing pointed shoes, to which Hamlet had been supposed to allude, had ceased long before the time of Shakspeare; nor is it probable that he would have transferred it to the age of Hamlet. We still say _a person treads close on the heels of another_, in the same signification as in the text.

SCENE 1. Page 310.

1 CLO. This same scull, sir, was _Yorick's_ scull, the king's jester.

The frequency of such names as _Eric_ and _Roric_ in the Danish history, might have suggested that of the jester in question, but in a manner that may not very easily be discovered. _Roric_ was the name of the king of Denmark contemporary with Hamlet, according to Saxo Grammaticus.

SCENE 1. Page 311.

HAM. Now get you to my lady's chamber, and tell her, let her paint an inch thick, to this favour she must come; make her laugh at that.----

There is good reason for supposing that Shakspeare borrowed this thought from some print or picture that he had seen. There are several which represent a lady at her toilet, and an old man presenting a scull before the mirror. A print by Goltzius exhibits _Vanity_ as a lady sitting in her chamber with jewels, &c. before her, and surprised by the appearance of Death. In one of Henry the Eighth's wardrobe accounts, a picture at Westminster is thus described: "Item a table with the picture of a woman playing upon a lute, and an olde manne holding a glasse in th'one hande and a deadde mannes headde in th'other hande."--Harl. MS. No. 1419.

* * * * *

In a poem written by Anthony Scoloker, a printer, entitled _Daiphantus, or The passions of love, comicall to reade, but tragicall to act, as full of wit, as experience_, 1604, 4to, and recently quoted in p. 465, there are the following allusions to the play of _Hamlet_: In a quaint dedication he says, "It [the epistle] should be like the _never-too-well read Arcadia_, where the _prose_ and _verse_ (_matter_ and _words_) are like his _mistresses_ eyes, one still excelling another and without Corivall: or to come home to the vulgars element, like _friendly Shake-speare's tragedies_, where the _commedian_ rides, when the _tragedian_ stands on tiptoe: _Faith it should please all, like prince Hamlet_. But in sadnesse, then it were to be feared _he would runne mad_. In sooth I will not be moonesicke, to please: nor out of my wits though I displeased all."

"His breath he thinkes the smoke; his tongue a cole, Then calls for bottell ale; to quench his thirst. Runs to his Inke pot, drinkes, then stops the hole, And thus growes madder, then he was at first. Tasso he finds, by that of _Hamlet_, thinkes, Tearmes him a _mad-man_; than of his Inkhorne drinks.

"_Calls players fooles_, the foole he judgeth wisest, _Will learne them action_, out of Chaucers Pander: Proves of their poets bawdes even in the highest, Then drinkes a health; and sweares it is no slander, Puts off his cloathes; his shirt he onely weares, Much like _mad-Hamlet_; thus as passion teares."


[23] These two lines seem intended, in the original, as a kind of burden or chorus at the end of each stanza; but as they only intrude upon the measure, the translation were perhaps better without them.

[24] It was the custom at this time to serve up at entertainments peacock and pheasant pies, the forms of those elegant birds being externally preserved, and much pomp bestowed on their appearance. See what has been already said on this subject in p. 291.

[25] This is a stubborn fact against the opinion of those who maintain that wine was not made in England. See the controversy on this subject in _Archæologia_, vol. iii.

[26] The late Rev. Mr. Hole of Faringdon in Devonshire, whose loss is deplored by all who knew him, has left an essay on the character of Ulysses, which has been recently published by some kind and grateful friends. In this elegant morsel the learned author has noticed the anxiety which Homer's favourite heroes constantly manifest to give their enemies a prey to dogs, and thereby prevent the advantage of obtaining admission into the regions of happiness.

[27] sword.

[28] raps, blows.

[29] fury.

[30] they.

[31] very.

[32] malice.

[33] orient.

[34] falcon, or perhaps falchion.

[35] gorgeous.

[36] I am descended.

[37] renowned.

[38] herald.

[39] allow.

[40] burn on live coals.

[41] rave.

[42] mad.

[43] here upon, or perhaps _haro_!



SCENE 3. Page 422.

OTH. Wherein of antres vast and desarts _idle_.

Dr. Johnson has very properly taken notice of Mr. Pope's _inadvertency_ in substituting _wild_ for _idle_; but whether he is strictly right in regarding this word as "poetically beautiful," according to Shakspeare's use of it, may admit of some doubt. Perhaps in a modern writer it would be poetical, where designed to express _infertility_. It may be worth while to examine how it was originally used.

In Ælfric's version of Genesis, ch. i. ver. 1, the _inanis et vacua_ of the Vulgate is rendered ẏꝺel ⁊ æmꞇɩᵹ. Now it is conceived that _inanis_ never signified _infertile_, but _useless_, _unprofitable_; and such appears to be the meaning of _idle_. In two or three of the early Latin and English dictionaries, _inanis_ is rendered _idle_; and in this sense the latter word is used by Shakspeare in _Richard the third_, Act III.:

"You said that _idle weeds_ were fast in growth."

It is clear that in the last instance _infertility_ is out of the question: but _useless_ and _unprofitable_ well denote the poet's meaning, or rather that of the inventor of the proverb, which was afterwards corrupted into "_ill_ weeds," &c.

It is conceived therefore that Dr. Johnson is not accurate in his opinion, that _idle_ in the before-cited Saxon translation is an epithet expressive of the _infertility_ of the chaotic state. Wicliffe has not adopted this term; he has preferred _vain_: but in the first page of the English _Golden legend_, which contains a part of the first chapter of Genesis, we have--"the erth was _ydle_ and voyde." Here Caxton the translator must have followed the _Vulgate_, corroborating what is already stated on the construction of _idle_. The learned reader will not want to be informed why this term could not occur in any of the subsequent English versions of the Bible.

SCENE 3. Page 447.

IAGO. ... the food that to him now is as luscious as locusts, shall be to him shortly as bitter as coloquintida.

There is another phrase of this kind, viz. _to exchange Herb John for coloquintida_. It is used in Osborne's _Memoirs of James I._, and elsewhere. The pedantic Tomlinson, in his translation of Renodæus's _Dispensatory_, says, that many superstitious persons call mugwort Saint John's herb, "wherewith he circumcinged his loyns on holidays," p. 317. Shakspeare, who was extremely well acquainted with popular superstitions, might have recollected this circumstance, when, for reasons best known to himself, he chose to vary the phrase by substituting the _luscious locusts_ of the Baptist. Whether these were the fruit of the tree so called, or the well known insect, is not likely to be determined.


SCENE 4. Page 556.

DES. ... I had rather have lost my purse Full of _cruzadoes_.

The following account of this Portuguese coin is presumed to be more correct than that already given. The cruzado was not current, as it should seem, at Venice, though it certainly was in England in the time of Shakspeare, who has here indulged his usual practice of departing from national costume. It was of gold, and weighed two penny-weights six grains, or nine shillings English. The following varieties of it as to type, are given from an English almanac of the year 1586, whence also the weight has been taken. The sovereigns who struck this coin were Emanuel and his son John.


SCENE 4. Page 558.

OTH. ... The hearts, of old, gave hands; But now new heraldry is--hands, not hearts.

There cannot be a doubt that the text is right, and that there is a punning allusion to the _new heraldry of hands_ in the baronets' arms. The plain meaning is--_formerly the heart gave away the hand in marriage; but now, as in the new heraldry, we have hands only: no cordiality nor affection_. In _The tempest_, Ferdinand says to Miranda, "Here's my hand;" to which she answers, "And mine _with my heart in it_." In this latter instance, Shakspeare, not Miranda, might recollect the gemmel rings, some of which had engraven on them a hand with a heart in it.


SCENE 2. Page 601.

OTH. The bawdy wind, that kisses all it meets.

The same image occurs more delicately, but less strongly, in a beautiful "Song to a forsaken mistresse," written by an anonymous author, about the time of Charles the First, and published in Playford's _Select ayres_, 1659, folio. As most persons of taste already possess the whole of it in Mr Ellis's _Specimens of the early English poets_, it is unnecessary to give more in this place than the stanza in which the above image occurs:

"I do confess thou'rt sweet, yet find Thee such an unthrift of thy sweets; Thy favours are but _like the wind, Which kisseth every thing it meets_: And since thou can'st with more than one, Th'art worthy to be kiss'd by none."

SCENE 2. Page 635.

OTH. Had all his hairs been lives, my great revenge Had stomach for them all.

The same sentiment occurs in the third part of _King Henry the Sixth_, where Clifford says,

"Had I thy brethren here, their lives and thine, Were not revenge sufficient for me."

SCENE 2. Page 653.

OTH. _Blow me about in winds!_ roast me in sulphur!

Again, in _Measure for measure_,

"To be imprison'd in the viewless winds, And blown with restless violence round about The pendent world."


He appears but twice in the play, and was certainly intended to be an allowed or domestic _fool_ in the service of Othello and Desdemona.


Page 37. The _tune_ of the old ballad of _Green sleeves_ may be seen in Sir John Hawkins's _Hist. of musick_, vol. v. Append., and is still used in _The beggar's opera_, in the song of "Since laws were made for every degree."

Page 53. Cupid's _golden shaft_ is again mentioned in the _Midsummer night's dream_, Act I. Scene 1:

"HERM. by his _best_ arrow with the _golden_ head."

Page 96. To the list of imitations, &c. of the story of _Measure for measure_, add the novel of _Waldburgh and Belanca_, in Reynolds's _God's revenge against adultery_. This is the substance of it: In the reign of Gustavus Adolphus king of Sweden, Moruffi, a Danish general, in attacking the castle of Colmar, was taken prisoner by the governor count Waldbourg. Belanca, the wife of Moruffi, obtained a promise from the count to liberate her husband on the terms of her submitting to his unlawful desires. The unfortunate woman was afterwards inhumanly presented with the head of her husband. When Gustavus heard of the fact, he compelled the count to marry the injured lady, and then condemned him to death. Reynolds pretended that all his stories in this and his other once celebrated work, _God's revenge against murder_, were originals, and that he had collected the materials for them in the course of his travels.

Page 119. The recipe here given for making men seem like horses or asses, from Scot's _Discoverie of witchcraft_, where Shakspeare might have seen it, is the real property of Baptista Porta, in the serious refutation of whom the Jesuit Kircher has wasted too much time. See his treatise _De luce et umbra_.

In the _Prodromo apologetico alii studi Chircheriani_ of Petrucci, there are similar receipts, and especially one in which an oil is directed to be made from the semen of a horse, which being used in a lamp, the company present will appear to have horses' heads. It is accompanied with a curious engraving of a Houyhnhnm party engaged in conversation, among whom there is the figure of an _equus togatus_, that will not fail to make a due impression on such readers as are acquainted with the trick put by Mr. Spence, the author of _Polymetis_; on Dr. Cooke, the provost of King's College Cambridge, a sour pedant who had offended him. See the tail-piece to the 17th dialogue in the _first_ edition of the above work.

Page 123. The blessing of the bridal bed had doubtless, during the dark ages that preceded the promulgation of the gospel in many parts of Europe, been deemed the immediate office of fairies and other supernatural beings. The object of it was to make the issue of the marriage happy, and to avert deformity. In this, as in numerous other instances, the priests felt themselves obliged, in their attempt to do away a Pagan superstition, which, as we see, continued notwithstanding to maintain its influence, to substitute some congenial ceremony that should console the deluded people; but their particular enmity to fairies on the present occasion seems manifest in the passage cited from the Salisbury manual, in the words "ab omnibus fantasmaticis demonum illusionibus;" unless they should be thought rather to allude to the subject which is particularly noticed in the subsequent remarks on the night-spells.

The above ceremony is thus mentioned by Chaucer in his description of the marriage of January and May:

"The bride is brought a-bed as stil as ston; And whan the bed was with the preest yblessed, Out of the chambre hath every wight him dressed."

_Marchantes tale_, v. 9692.

On the evidence relating to the consummation of the marriage between prince Arthur and the Lady Catharine, Robert Viscount Fitzwater deposed that "the prince was then about fifteen, and queen Katherine elder, and that the next day after being in bed together (_which he remembred after they entered to have been solemnly bless'd_), he waited at breakfast on prince Arthur, &c."--Lord Herbert's _Life of Henry the Eighth_, p. 243. It is said that some vestiges of this custom still remain among the Presbyterians in Scotland.

Page 169. There is a story of _two_ caskets, &c., in Morlini _novellæ_, nov. 5.

Quære if the general construction of all these stories have not been borrowed from the trick related to have been put by Prometheus on Jupiter with the two bull-skins filled with flesh and bones?

Page 178 (note). Dr. Taylor, in his treatise _De inope debitore in partes dissecando_, has offered some strong arguments against the supposed mutilation of the debtor's body, and endeavoured to show that the law in question demanded nothing more than that the produce of his servitude should be divided among the creditors. Yet Aulus Gellius was of a different opinion. At a very early period, among the Jews, the creditor had a right to make a slave of the debtor. See 2 Kings, chap. iv. ver. 1.

Page 185. To the explanation of _sans_, add that in the early editions of the dictionaries of Coles and Littelton the word is printed _sance_.

Page 214. Morgan the herald must be acquitted of having conveyed to us the _original_ information that "Jesus Christ was a gentleman and bore arms." He was indebted for it to Dame Julian Berners, who, in her treatise on coat armour, speaks of "the gentyl Jesus," and states that "Cryst [was] a gentylman of his mother's behalf and bare cote armure." She also tells us that "Cain became a churl from the curse of God, and Seth a _gentleman_ through his father and mother's blessing." So that we find J. C. was not the _first_ gentleman.

Page 317. In further confirmation of the opinion here expressed, the curious reader is referred to Wlson de Colombiere's _Vray theatre d'honneur_, vol. ii. p. 313, for the account of a duel on appeal for murder which was fought at Valenciennes in the year 1454, where the dead body of the vanquished party was adjudged to be hanged on a gallows as a convicted murderer.

The frequent use which has been made in the course of these remarks of a work cited under the title of Bartholomæus _de proprietatibus rerum_, may require that a more particular description of it should be given. It is a general history of nature, composed in Latin by Bartholomew Glanvile, an English Minorite or Franciscan, of the family of the earls of Suffolk. He flourished about the year 1360, and appears to have been the Pliny of his time. It was several times printed abroad in the infancy of the typographic art, and translated into the English, French, Dutch, and Spanish languages. The English version was made by John Trevisa, a Cornish man, and vicar of Barkley in Gloucestershire, at the request of his patron Thomas Lord Barkley, in the year 1398, and originally printed by Wynkyn de Worde; for there is no evidence that it came from Caxton's press in English, though it has been so asserted. Neither is the date of Wynkyn de Worde's edition, if it ever had any, been ascertained. The next edition was printed in 1535, by Thomas Berthelette, in folio. The last was published under the title of _Batman uppon Bartholome_, his _Booke de proprietatibus rerum_, &c. Printed by Thomas East, 1582, in folio. Stephen Batman appears to have been a worthy and pious character, and was chaplain to Lord Hunsdon. His additions were compiled from Gesner and other writers of his own time. In a manuscript diary of expenses in the reign of Elizabeth, the price of this book is stated to have been eight shillings.







The transgressions against the rules of chronology committed by those who, in recording the events of preceding ages, introduce matters which have originated in subsequent periods, seem almost exclusively to belong to authors whose works, in point of date, are to be separated from those admirable compositions which are usually styled the Classics. In the latter, such instances seldom, if ever, occur; whilst in the writers, as well as the artists, of the middle ages, they are innumerable. Nor do these absurdities diminish as we approach periods more enlightened as to general science. From the time of Chaucer to that of Shakspeare, there is scarcely an author to be found who is not implicated in this accusation; and about the age of Elizabeth, the dramatists in particular seem to have been remarkably inattentive to the unities of time and place. It has been observed that Ben Jonson is almost the only writer against whom the charge of uniting dissimilar manners and discordant periods is not to be laid; and though the poets of the ensuing century are not wholly free from the imputation in question, it is certain that from about the reign of king James the First more care was taken to preserve a due attention to the manners and customs of particular ages, or at least to avoid any very palpable anachronisms, than had already been done. But whilst the compositions of dramatic writers remained pretty free from these blemishes, the directors of the theatres continued to practise their, perhaps innocent, impostures on the public; and every absurdity that could be devised, or distortion of reality in costume, still continued to disgrace the stage. We were not indeed more absurd in this respect than other European nations, nor was it until a short time before the late revolution that the French theatre had reformed itself in this respect. Many persons now recollect the state of the English stage in Garrick's time, when that excellent performer used to exhibit his Hamlet in a common French suit of black velvet and a cocked hat, and his Macbeth in a scarlet coat with broad gold lace like the uniform of a modern general. Quin is said to have played Othello in a flowing powdered periwig. How Shakspeare's characters were habited on the stage in his time, would be difficult or even impossible to ascertain with accuracy at present, except in a few instances; but we have no reason to suppose that much propriety was manifested on the occasion. Unluckily for us it was not then the practice to decorate the printed plays with frontispieces; and the theatrical prints and pictures even of succeeding times are not very commonly to be met with. It is on this account that the cuts to Mr. Rowe's edition of Shakspeare, and those to the first octavo edition of the works of Beaumont and Fletcher, are at present extremely valuable, as they serve to record many pleasant absurdities that will not fail to excite a smile in the beholder.

It was reserved for the great actor who to the scenic talents of a Garrick unites that managerial skill and judgment in the costume of nations which the other wanted, to reform these follies; and, by exhibiting to us times as they were, to render the stage what it should be, a true and perfect mirror of history and manners.

The above very slight notice of the subject before us may perhaps be sufficient for the purpose of introducing the mention of those anachronisms that are ascribable to Shakspeare: and this has not been done with any view to exhibit him as more culpable in this respect than most of his contemporaries, but solely for the purpose of collecting them together as an object of amusement: nothing however could have been less judicious than the conduct of Mr. Pope when he placed them to the account of the publishers. Nor is the catalogue offered as a complete one; the diligent and critical reader will discover some that are here unnoticed.

But the negligence of writers in the due observance of costume is but trifling, when compared with what is to be laid to the charge of painters and other artists. Volumes have been professedly filled, and the number might still be augmented, with the errors of even the best of the old painters. Nor are the modern by any means to be acquitted on this score. We too frequently see works of the greatest intrinsic worth, both in composition and execution, depreciated by the most absurd violations of historical accuracy and a want of adherence to the manners of the times they refer to. In this case they are not what they profess to be; and whilst they delight the eye, they delude the understanding. It is extremely pleasing to observe the zeal which manifests itself among the leading artists of the present day to obtain correct notions of the manners of former times whenever they have occasion to depict them. The works of many of our best painters will not only excite the admiration but the gratitude of posterity for the faithful delineation of their subjects, and the labours of future antiquaries will be reduced in proportion as pictures of this kind shall increase.[44]

To return to Shakspeare. In the _dramatis personæ_ of many of his plays we find a medley of ancient and modern names that is often extremely ridiculous. At Ephesus we meet with _Pinch_, a schoolmaster; at Mitylene with _Boult_, a clown; and at Athens with _Snug_, _Bottom_, _Snout_, _Quince_, &c. In his later stories English names are given to foreigners. Thus at Vienna we have _Froth_ and _Elbow_; in Navarre, _Dull_, _Costard_, and _Moth_; and in Illyria, _Sir Toby Belch_ and _Sir Andrew Aguecheek_. But these, strictly speaking, are not anachronisms, but, on the whole, justifiable licences; for it would have been impossible to transmit the humour of such characters as the above to an English audience under the disguise of foreign names, though it must be admitted that mere English characters as well as names are sometimes introduced. Nor is Shakspeare always responsible for such whimsicalities, for they are occasionally to be traced in the materials whereof his plays were constructed; and others belong to those authors whom he had only assisted in dramas the whole composition of which had been improperly ascribed to him.


The incidents in this play are supposed to belong to the reign of Henry the Fourth, and consequently the introduction of the _shillings of Edward the Sixth_, and the mention of _Machiavel_, are improper; as well as the then newly-introduced terms of the fencing-school ridiculed by Shallow. Perhaps _Ancient_ Pistol and _Corporal_ Nym are objectionable titles. The allusions to _Guiana_ and the _West Indies_ by Falstaff are obvious anachronisms.


The introduction of the _bed of Ware_ may be justified, because it is referred to as in England; but the same defence cannot be made for _the bells of Saint Bennet_, as they are specifically alluded to.


We have here an English jury in a German court of justice.


The scene of this play lies at Athens, in the time of Theseus, but we find the mention of _guns_; of _French-crowns_ and _French-crown-coloured beards_; of _church-yards_ and _coats in heraldry_; of clean _linen_, new _ribbons to pumps_, and _masks_; of _Jack and Gill_, the _nine-mens morris_, and _blessing the bridal bed_. _Carols_, inasmuch as they are applicable to songs in general, and, in an antiquated sense, to dances, may be doubtful, though the allusion was in all probability to Christmas carols. Hermia is made to speak of the fire which burned the _Carthage queen_.


English juries are introduced into the Venetian republic.


The transactions of this play arise in Sicily and Bohemia; and though the characters are imaginary, they are supposed to exist in Pagan times. Notwithstanding this we have _Whitson_ pastorals, _Christian_ burial, a _hobby-horse_, an emperor of _Russia_, and an Italian printer of the _fifteenth century_.


In the _ancient_ city of Ephesus we have _ducats_, _marks_, and _guilders_, and the _abbess of a nunnery_. Mention is also made of several _modern_ European kingdoms, and of _America_; of _Henry the Fourth of France_, of _Turkish_ tapestry, a _rapier_, and a _striking clock_; of _Lapland_ sorcerers, _Satan_, and even of _Adam_ and _Noah_. In one place Antipholis calls himself a _Christian_. As we are unacquainted with the immediate source whence this play was derived, it is impossible to ascertain whether Shakspeare is responsible for these anachronisms.


The errors here are confined to the introduction of _cannon_ and of _dollars_.


In this play we also find _cannon_, with _angels_, _half-fac'd groats_, and _three-farthing pieces_. _Cards_ too are introduced, and _Basilisco_, a character of the time of Shakspeare.


The anachronisms are very numerous in the plays on this reign. We have _pistols_ and _silk_ stockings; _gilt two-pences_, and _ten-shilling-pieces_; a ballad with a _picture_ on it, evidently alluding to the wood-cuts on those compositions; the game of _shove-groat_ or _slide shrift_, which was not invented before the reign of Henry the Eighth. Mention is also made of _John_ Scogan jester to Edward the Fourth, and of _Arthur's show_, though not introduced till a long time afterwards.


The Turks are put into possession of Constantinople, which did not fall into their hands till upwards of thirty years after Henry's death.


Machiavel, who was not born till 1469, is twice introduced in these plays. Printing is also prematurely mentioned.


An old woman is made to talk of bow'd _three-pences_; but these pieces were not known in England till the reign of Edward the Sixth, though some are said to have been coined in Ireland during that of Edward the Fourth.


Hector quotes _Aristotle_; Ulysses speaks of the bull-bearing _Milo_, and Pandarus of a man born in _April_. _Friday_ and _Sunday_, and even _minced-pies_ with dates in them are introduced.


_Paper_ is mentioned in this play. In a Roman drama it might have passed; but we have no evidence that the Greeks used the papyrus plant at this early period.


_Alexander_, _Cato_, and _Galen_, are improperly alluded to, all being posterior to the time of Coriolanus. Other anachronisms are--the mention of graves in a holy _church-yard_; _groats_, _mummers_, _lockram_, and a kitchen _malkin_. Coriolanus describes the populace by the names of _Hob and Dick_.


Cassius speaks of a _masker_ and _reveller_, and of the _clock striking three_.


Antony talks of _packing cards_, and deals out his _knaves_, _queens_, _hearts_, and _trumps_, as if he were a whist-player. His bestowing the epithet of _gipsy_ on Cleopatra is whimsical, but may perhaps admit of defence.


The British tribute being estimated at three thousand pounds, strikes on the ear as a modern computation. Imogen calls her supposed master, a valiant ancient Briton, by the name of _Richard Du Champ_. We find mention of the recreation of _bowling_; of _paper_; of _rushes_ strewed in apartments; of a _striking clock_; of _cherubims_, and a _chapel_ as a _burial place_. Cymbeline is made to knight Bellario and his sons on the field of battle by _dubbing_ them according to the fashion of the middle ages.


The period in which the incidents in this play are supposed to have happened (for they are all fictitious) is difficult to ascertain. There was an usurper called Saturninus during the reigns of Gallien and Aurelian, but he was not the son of any Roman emperor, as stated in the _dramatis personæ_. From the introduction of the Goths, the author perhaps adverted to the time of the above sovereigns. In all events the play has many absurdities to answer for. A child is sent to Aaron the Moor to be _christened_ by him. He accuses Lucius of twenty _Popish_ tricks; talks of an _idiot's bauble_; and says he can blush "like a black dog, as the saying is." A clown invokes "God and _Saint Stephen_." Aaron calls for _clubs_, as if addressing the _London 'prentices_; and Demetrius speaks of a _dancing rapier_. _Cards_ and a _monastery_ are also introduced.


The story, though altogether fabulous, belongs to a period a little antecedent to the Christian æra; and therefore it is a manifest inconsistency to introduce _crowns of the sun_; _sequins_; a _pistol_; _cambrick_; a _Spanish ruff_; _signs_ of inns; _Monsieur Veroles a French knight_; a _Spanish_ name and motto, and the _lues Venerea_. Amidst numerous invocations to Heathen Gods, there is an immediate allusion to the unity of the Deity.


We have here a plentiful crop of blunders. Kent talks, like a good Protestant, of _eating no fish_; and Gloster, of not standing in need of _spectacles_. We have _Turks_, _Bedlam_ beggars, _child Roland_, _Saint Withold_, a _Marshal of France_, _steeples_, _dollars_, _paper_, _holy water_, and the _French disease_. There is an allusion to the old theatrical _moralities_; and _Nero_, who did not live till several hundred years after Lear, is mentioned by Edgar as an angler in the lake of darkness.


The Danish history has placed Hamlet in fabulous times, long before the introduction of Christianity into the North of Europe; and therefore there is great impropriety in the frequent allusion to Christian customs. Hamlet swears by _Saint Patrick_; and converses with Guildenstern on the _children of the chapel of Saint Paul's_. In several places _cannon_ are introduced, and a good deal of the theatrical manners of Shakspeare's own time. We have a Danish _seal royal_ long before seals were used; a _university_ at Wittemberg; _Swiss_ guards; _serjeants_ or _bailiffs_; _bells_; _ducats_; _crown-pieces_; _modern heraldry_; _rapiers_, and terms of _modern fencing_.

[Illustration: _Published by T. Tegg Cheapside, Sept.ʳ 1839._]


[44] Mr. Stothard, the most unassuming of men, but with every claim to superior talent, has recently finished a painting of the procession of Chaucer's Canterbury pilgrims, which may be classed among the choicest morsels of its kind. The attention to accuracy of costume which it displays has never been exceeded, and but very seldom so well directed.



The ensuing dissertation originated from the opinion of a late eminent critic and antiquary that the subject was deserving of particular consideration. How imperfectly it must be executed will best be felt by those who are already accustomed to obscure inquiries; and little more can here be offered, or reasonably expected, than some attempt to arrange a few materials that have occurred during a course of reading immediately connected with the history of ancient manners. The critic above alluded to had remarked, that Shakspeare has most judiciously varied and discriminated his fools.[45] Without doubting that great writer's capacity to have done so, it certainly remains to be proved that he has; or it might even be maintained that on some occasions he has left his sketches so imperfect as to render it by no means an easy matter to comprehend them. It has already been thought better to make the attempt in a separate note to the plays in which a clown or fool is introduced, and to direct what is now offered to a more general view of the subject.

It is so exceedingly clear that the terms _clown_ and _fool_ were used, however improperly, as synonymous by our old writers, that it would be an unnecessary occupation of the reader's time to adduce examples. Their confused introduction in the dramatis personæ might indeed render this position doubtful to any one who had not well considered the matter; but although the _fool_ of our old plays denoted either a mere idiot or natural, or else a witty hireling or artificial fool, both retained for the purpose of making sport for their employers, the _clown_ was certainly a character of much greater variety. He occasionally represented one of the above personages; sometimes he was a mere rustic, and very often no more than a shrewd and witty domestic. There are some instances in which any low character in a play served to amuse the audience with his sallies of coarse buffoonery, and thus became the _clown_ of the piece. In short, the theatrical clown or fool seems to have been a kind of heterogeneous character, drawn in part from real life, but very considerably heightened in order to produce stage effect; an opinion that derives considerable support from what Shakspeare has put into the mouth of Hamlet, when he makes him admonish those who play the clowns to speak no more than is set down for them. Indeed, the great dramatist himself cannot be absolved from the imputation of having given too high a colouring to the characters in question, unless we suppose, what is extremely probable, that his plays have been very much interpolated with the extemporaneous nonsense of the players. To this licentious practice the author of an excellent and well written satire, entitled _Pasquil's mad-cappe, throwne at the corruptions of these times_, 1626, 4to, alludes in the following lines:

"Tell country players, that old paltry jests Pronounced in a painted motley coate, Filles all the world so full of cuckoes nests, That nightingales can scarcely sing a note: Oh bid them turne their minds to better meanings; Fields are ill sowne that give no better gleanings."

Among other grave writers of the age, Sir Philip Sidney has reprobated the practice of introducing fools on the theatre. He remarks that the plays of his time were neither right tragedies nor right comedies, but that the authors mingled kings and clowns, "not," says he, "because the matter so carieth it, but thrust in the _clowne_ by head and shoulders to play a part in majestical matters, with neither decencie nor discretion: so as neither the admiration and commiseration, nor the right sportfulnesse is by their mongrell tragi-comedie obtained."[46] William Rankin, a puritan, and contemporary with Shakspeare, has left us a most virulent attack on plays, and players, whom he calls monsters: "And whie monsters," says he, "Bicause under colour of humanitie they present nothing but prodigious vanitie. These are wels without water, dead branches fit for fuell, cockle amongst corne, unwholesome weedes amongst sweete hearbes, and finallie, feends that are crept into the worlde by stealth, and holde possession by subtill invasion." In another place, describing the performers at a fictitious banquet in Terralbon, [England] he says, "Some transformed themselves to roges, other to ruffians, some other to _clownes_, a fourth to _fooles_ ... the roges were ready, the ruffians were rude, _theyr clownes cladde_ as well with country condition, as in ruffe russet; theyr _fooles as fonde as might be_," &c.[47] The latter passage is interesting, because the clown is properly distinguished from the fool, as he always should have been.

It may be the means of affording a clearer view of the present subject, if something like a classification of the different sorts of fools and clowns be given. The following is therefore offered as a substitute for a better.

I. _The general domestic fool_, often, but as it should seem improperly, termed a clown. He was, 1. a mere natural, or idiot. 2. Silly by nature, yet cunning and sarcastical. 3. Artificial. Puttenham, speaking of the latter, says, "A buffoune or counterfet foole, to here him speake wisely which is like himselfe, it is no sport at all; but for such a counterfait to talke and looke foolishly it maketh us laugh, because it is no part of his naturall."[48] All these officiated occasionally as menial servants.

II. _The clown_, who was, 1. a mere country booby. 2. A witty rustic. 3. Any servant of a shrewd and witty disposition, and who, like a similar character in our modern plays, was made to treat his master with great familiarity in order to produce stage effect.

III. _The female fool_, who was generally an idiot.

IV. _The city or corporation fool_, whose office was to assist at public entertainments and in pageants. To this class belong perhaps the Lord Mayor's state fool, and those employed by the companies of trades, &c.

V. _Tavern fools._ These seem to have been retained to amuse the customers. We learn from one of Ben Jonson's plays that they exhibited with a Jew's harp, mounted on a joint-stool,[49] and in another of them he has preserved the name of such a character:[50] they were sometimes qualified to sing after the Italian manner.[51] Fools were also employed in the common brothels.[52]

VI. _The fool of the ancient theatrical mysteries and moralities._ He was, more properly speaking, the _Vice_, a singular character, that would afford sufficient matter for much better dissertations than those of Warburton or Upton. Being generally dressed in a fool's habit, he appears to have been gradually and undistinguishably blended with the domestic fool; yet he was certainly a buffoon of a different sort. He was always a bitter enemy to the Devil, and a part of his employment consisted in teazing and tormenting the poor fiend on every occasion. He ceased to be in fashion at the end of the sixteenth century.[53]

VII. _The fool in the old dumb shows exhibited at fairs and perhaps at inns_, in which he was generally engaged in a struggle with Death; a fact that seems alluded to more than once in Shakspeare's plays. It is possible that some casual vestiges of this species of entertainment might have suggested the modern English pantomimes.

VIII. _The fool in the Whitsun ales and Morris dance._

IX. _The mountebank's fool, or merry Andrew._

There may be others introduced into our old dramas of an indefinite and irregular kind, and not reducible to any of the above classes; but to exemplify these or many of the above by a specific reference to authorities is not within the scope of the present essay. It is hoped that what has been just stated may contribute to assist the readers of old plays in forming some judgment of their own whenever the necessity shall arise.

A general investigation of that most singular and eccentric character, the real domestic fool, would occupy more space than could here have been spared. It would indeed extend to a length that few will conceive; but should the same laudable spirit of curiosity respecting the manners of former times which at present constitutes much of the amusement of an enlightened public continue to maintain its influence, encouragement would not be wanting to resume the subject more at large. In the mean time it may be sufficient to remark that the practice of retaining fools can be traced in very remote times throughout almost all civilized and even among some barbarous nations. It prevailed from the palace to the brothel. The pope had his fool, and the bawd her's; and ladies entertained them of both sexes. With respect to the antiquity of this custom in our own country, there is reason to suppose that it existed even during the period of our Saxon history; but we are quite certain of the fact in the reign of William the Conqueror. An almost contemporary historian, Maitre Wace, has left us a curious account of the preservation of William's life when he was only duke of Normandy by his fool _Goles_.[54] Mention is made in Domesday of _Berdic joculator regis_; and although this term was unquestionably applied in numerous instances to denote a minstrel, much evidence might be adduced to show that on this occasion it signified a buffoon. Latin terms were used by the middle-age writers so licentiously and with such extreme carelessness, that in many cases it is difficult to obtain a precise idea of their meaning. Thus the jesters and minstrels were indefinitely expressed by the words _joculator_, _scurra_, _mimus_, _ministrallus_, &c., a practice that may admit of justification when we consider that in early times the minstrel and buffoon characters were sometimes united in one person. It must be allowed, however, that in an etymological point of view the term _joculator_ is much better adapted to the jester than the minstrel.

The accounts of the household expenses of our sovereigns contain many payments and rewards to fools both foreign and domestic, the motives for which do not appear, but might perhaps have been some witty speech or comic action that had pleased the donors. Some of these payments are annual gifts at Christmas. Dr. Fuller, speaking of the court jester, whom he says some count a necessary evil, remarks, in his usual quaint manner, that it is an office which none but he that hath wit can perform, and none but he that wants it will perform.[55] A great many names of these buffoons have been preserved; and sufficient materials remain to furnish a separate biography of them, which might afford even more amusement than can be found in the lives of many of their betters. They continued an appurtenance to the English court to a late period. Muckle John, the fool of Charles the First, and the successor of Archee Armstrong, is perhaps the last regular personage of the kind.[56] The national troubles that produced the downfall of regal power, and the puritanical manners that ensued, at once determined the existence of an office that had so long maintained its ground at court: and when Charles the Second resumed the throne, it was probably deemed a matter of no moment to restore it. The common stories that relate to Killigrew as jester to Charles, rest on no sufficient authority; and although he might have contributed to amuse the witty monarch with his jokes, it is certain that he had no regular appointment to such an office. Mr. Granger has justly observed that the wit of the buffoons became the highest recommendation of a courtier in the time of Charles the Second.[57]

The discontinuance of the court fool had a considerable influence on the manners of private life; and we learn from one of Shadwell's plays, that it was then "out of fashion for great men to keep fools."[58] But the practice was by no means abolished; it maintained its ground in this country so late as the beginning of the last century; and we have an epitaph, written by Dean Swift, on Dicky Pearce the Earl of Suffolk's fool, who was buried in Berkley church-yard, June 18, 1728.[59] This person was an idiot. Lord Chancellor Talbot kept a Welsh jester named Rees Pengelding. He was a very shrewd fellow, and rented a farm of his master. Being distrained on for his rent by an oppressive steward, who had been a tailor and bore him a grudge, the surly fellow said to him on this occasion, "I'll fit you, sirrah."

"Then," replied Rees, "it will be the first time in your life that you ever fitted any one." Another Welshman called Will the taborer was retained in a similar capacity, about the beginning of the last century, by Sir Edward Stradling, of St. Donat's castle, in Glamorganshire. He is said to have been a very witty fellow, and man of strong intellects. Lord Bussy Mansel, of Margam, had likewise in his service one Robin Rush, an idiot by nature, but who often said very witty things. There are people now alive in Wales, or lately were, who well remembered him.

The sort of entertainment that fools were expected to afford, may be collected in great variety from our old plays, and particularly from those of Shakspeare; but perhaps no better idea can be formed of their general mode of conduct than from the following passage in a singular tract by Lodge, entitled _Wit's miserie_, 1599, 4to: "Immoderate and disordinate joy became incorporate in the bodie of a jeaster; this fellow in person is comely, in apparell courtly, but in behaviour a very ape, and no man; his studie is to coine bitter jeasts, or to shew antique motions, or to sing baudie sonnets and ballads: give him a little wine in his head, he is continually flearing and making of mouthes: he laughs intemperately at every little occasion, and dances about the house, leaps over tables, out-skips mens heads, trips up his companions heeles, burns sack with a candle, and hath all the feats of a lord of misrule in the countrie: feed him in his humor, you shall have his heart, in meere kindness he will hug you in his armes, kisse you on the cheeke, and rapping out an horrible oth, crie God's soule Tum, I love you, you know my poore heart, come to my chamber for a pipe of tabacco, there lives not a man in this world that I more honor. In these ceremonies you shall know his courting, and it is a speciall mark of him at the table, he sits and makes faces: keep not this fellow company, for in _jugling_ with him, your wardropes shall be wasted, your credits crackt, your crownes consumed, and time (the most precious riches of the world) utterly lost." This is the picture of a real hireling or artificial fool.

As the profession of these hirelings required a considerable degree of skill and dexterity to amuse their employers, so it would in some instances fail of success, and the want of the above talents would excite considerable disgust and dissatisfaction. Cardinal Perron being one day in company with the duke of Mantua, the latter, speaking of his fool, said that he was _un magro buffone & non haver spirito_. The cardinal remarked that nevertheless he had wit. "Why so?" demanded the duke. "Because," replied the other, "he lives by a trade which he does not understand."[60] The liberties allowed them were necessarily very great; but this was not always a protection to them. Every one knows the disgracefully severe conduct of archbishop Laud to poor Archee. The duke d'Espernon, though a man of great haughtiness of spirit, conducted himself on a similar occasion with much more discretion. His Gascon accent was a constant subject of raillery on the part of Maret, the fool of Louis XIII., whose great talent lay in mimicry. Cardinal Richelieu, who took upon him to give the duke some pointed admonitions, ordered him among other things to endeavour to get rid of his provincial tones, at the same time counterfeiting his speech, and sarcastically intreating him not to take his advice in bad part. "But why should I," replied the duke, "when I bear as much every day from the king's fool, who mocks me in your presence?"[61] Selden has remarked, on a similar occasion, that a gallant man is above ill words, and has left us a story of the forbearance of the old lord Salisbury, whom he calls a great wise man, towards Stone, a celebrated fool in the reign of James the First.[62] Fools, however, did not always escape with impunity; they were liable to, and often experienced, very severe domestic castigation. Whipping was the punishment generally inflicted.[63] On the other hand they appear to have been sometimes used with great tenderness. This is very feelingly exemplified in the conduct of Lear. Stafford in his _Guide of honour_, 1634, 18mo, tells us, that he "had knowne a great and competently wise man who would much respect any man that was good to his foole." An opportunity here presents itself of explaining the old proverb of "five pounds; you've bled a fool," which, adverting to the usual privilege or allowance belonging to this character, seems to demand a forfeit from whoever had infringed it by inflicting an improper and unlawful chastisement. This exposition derives support from a passage in Ben Jonson's _Fox_, and also contributes to its illustration. In the second Act there is a song describing a fool, in which it is said that he "speaks truth free from slaughter." This has been with some ingenuity supposed to mean "_free_ from hurting any one." The other construction may perhaps be thought as plausible.

With respect to his office on the stage, we may suppose it would be nearly the same as in reality; the difference might be that his wit was more highly seasoned. Mr. Malone has already cited a very curious passage on this subject from the play of _The careless shepherdess_, 1656.[64] In Middleton's _Mayor of Quinborough_, a company of actors with a clown make their appearance, and the following dialogue ensues:


This is our clown, sir.


Fye, fye, your company Must fall upon him and beat him; he's too fair, i' faith To make the people laugh.


Not as he may be dress'd sir.


'Faith, dress him how you will, I'll give him That gift, he will never look half scurvily enough. Oh, the clowns that I have seen in my time. The very peeping out of one of them would have Made a young heir laugh, though his father lay a dying; A man undone in law the day before (The saddest case that can be) might for his second Have burst himself with laughing, and ended all His miseries. Here was a merry world, my masters! Some talk of things of state, of puling stuff; There's nothing in a play like to a clown, If he have the grace to hit on it, that's the thing indeed.


Away then, shift; clown to thy _motley_ crupper.

Whoever is desirous of obtaining general and accurate information concerning the great variety of dresses that belong to some of the characters in question at different periods, must study ancient prints and paintings, and especially the miniatures that embellish manuscripts. These will afford sufficient specimens; but the difficulty of ascertaining how the _theatrical fools and clowns_ of Shakspeare's time were _always_ habited, is insuperable. In some instances the plays themselves assist by peculiar references that leave but little doubt; but this is not the case in general. It is to be lamented that our artists did not appropriate more of their labours to the representation of theatrical subjects, and the fortunate discovery of a single ancient painting of this kind would be of more importance than a volume of conjectural dissertations. As it may be presumed that former theatrical managers exhibited with fidelity on the stage, the manners of their own times, a reference to the materials which remain to illustrate the dress of the real fools, may supply the defect before alluded to.

It may be collected both from the plays themselves, and from various other authorities, that the costume of the domestic fool in Shakspeare's time was of two sorts. In the first of these the coat was motley or parti-coloured, and attached to the body by a girdle, with bells at the skirts and elbows, though not always. The breeches and hose close, and sometimes each leg of a different colour. A hood resembling a monk's cowl, which, at a very early period, it was certainly designed to imitate, covered the head entirely, and fell down over part of the breast and shoulders. It was sometimes decorated with asses ears, or else terminated in the neck and head of a cock,[65] a fashion as old as the fourteenth century. It often had the comb or crest only of the animal,[66] whence the term _cockscomb_ or _coxcomb_ was afterwards used to denote any silly upstart. This fool usually carried in his hand an official scepter or bauble, which was a short stick ornamented at the end with the figure of a fool's head, or sometimes with that of a doll or puppet.[67] To this instrument there was frequently annexed an inflated skin or bladder, with which the fool belaboured those who offended him, or with whom he was inclined to make sport; this was often used by itself, in lieu, as it should seem, of a bauble.[68] The form of it varied, and in some instances was obscene in the highest degree. It was not always filled with air, but occasionally with sand, or peas. Sometimes a strong bat or club was substituted for the bauble.[69] In the second tale of the priests of Peblis, a man who counterfeits a fool is described "with _club_ and bel and partie cote with eiris;" but it afterwards appears that he had both a club and a bauble. In an inventory of the goods of the ancient company of Saint George at Norwich, mention is made of "two habits, one for the _club-bearer_, another for his man, who are now called fools;"[70] and the author of _Tarlton's newes out of purgatory_, 1630, 4to, describes a dream in which he saw "one attired in russet with a button'd cap on his head, a great bag by his side, and a _strong bat_ in his hand, so artificially attired for a clowne, as I began to call Tarlton's woonted shape to remembrance."

In some old prints the fool is represented with a sort of flapper or rattle ornamented with bells. It seems to have been constructed of two round and flat pieces of wood or pasteboard, and is no doubt a vestige of the crotalum used by the Roman mimes or dancers.[71] This implement was used for the same purpose as the bladder, and occasionally for correcting the fool himself whenever he behaved with too much licentiousness. Such a castigation is actually exhibited in one ancient German edition of the _Ship of fools_, by Sebastian Brandt; but the usual punishment on this occasion was a simple whipping. In some old plays the fool's _dagger_ is mentioned, perhaps the same instrument as was carried by the _Vice_ or buffoon of the Moralities; and it may be as well to observe in this place that the domestic fool is sometimes, though it is presumed improperly, called the Vice.[72] The dagger of the latter was made of a thin piece of lath; and the use he generally made of it was to belabour the Devil. It appears that in Queen Elizabeth's time the archbishop of Canterbury's fool had a wooden dagger and coxcomb.[73] In Greene's play of _Fryer Bacon_, the fool speaks of his dagger. In Beaumont and Fletcher's _Noble gentleman_, a person being compared to a fool, it is added that he should wear a guarded coat and a _great wooden dagger_. In Chapman's _Widows tears_, an upstart governor is termed "a wooden dagger _gilded_ o'er;" and Rabelais has made Panurge give Triboulet the fool a wooden sword. In an old German print a fool is represented with a sword like a _saw_.[74]

The other dress, and which seems to have been more common in the time of Shakspeare, was the long petticoat.[75] This originally appertained to the idiot or natural fool, and was obviously adopted for the purposes of cleanliness and concealment. Why it came to be used for the allowed fool is not so apparent. It was, like the first, of various colours, the materials often costly, as of velvet, and guarded or fringed with yellow.[76] In one instance we have a _yellow leather_ doublet.[77] In Bancroft's _Epigrams_, 1639, quarto, there is one addressed "to a giglot with her greene sicknesse," in which are these lines,

"Thy sicknesse mocks thy pride, that's seldom seene But in _foole's yellow_, and the lover's greene."

And a manuscript note in the time of the commonwealth states yellow to have been the _fool's colour_. This petticoat dress continued to a late period, and has been seen not many years since in some of the interludes exhibited in Wales.

But the above were by no means the only modes in which the domestic fools were habited. Many variations can be traced. The hood was not always surmounted with the cocks comb, in lieu of which a single bell and occasionally more appeared.[78] Sometimes a feather was added to the comb.[79] In the old morality of _The longer thou livest the more foole thou art_, Moros the fool says,

"By my trouth the thing that I desire most Is in my cappe to have a _goodly feather_."

The head was frequently shaved in imitation or perhaps ridicule of a monk's crown. This practice is very ancient, and can be traced to the twelfth century. In one instance the hair exhibits a sort of triple or Papal crown.[80] The tails of foxes or squirrels were often suspended to the garment. Godfrey Gobilive, the fool in Hawes's _Pastime of pleasure_, 1517, 4to, is described as so habited. In _The pope's funerall_, 1605, 4to, the author says, "I shall prove him such a noddy before I leave him that all the world will deeme him worthy to weare in his forehead a coxcombe for his foolishness, and on his back, a _fox tayle_ for his badge." It was likewise the dress of the fool in the plough pageant and morris dance.[81] One might almost conclude that this custom was designed to ridicule a fashion that prevailed among the ladies in the reign of Edward the Third, and which is mentioned by the author of the old chronicle of England, erroneously ascribed to Caxton the printer, in the following terms: "And the women more nysely yet passed the men in aray and coriouslaker, for they were so streyt clothed that they let hange _fox tailles_ sowed bineth within hir clothes for to hele and hide thir a--, the which disguysinges and pride paradventure afterward brouzt forth and encaused many myshappes and meschief in the reame of Englond." The idiot or natural was often clothed in a calf or sheep's skin.[82]

A large purse or wallet at the girdle is a very ancient part of the fool's dress. Tarlton, who personated the clowns in Shakspeare's time, appears to have worn it.[83] The budget given by Panurge to Triboulet the fool is described as made of a tortoise shell.[84]

We may suppose that the same variety of dress was observed on the stage which we know to have actually prevailed in common life. The fools, however, did not always appear in a discriminative habit, and some of their portraits still remaining confirm this observation. A very fine painting by Holbein, in Kensington palace, represents Will Somers the fool of Henry the Eighth, in a common dress.[85] In a wardrobe account of that sovereign, we find these articles: "For making a dubblette of wursteede lyned with canvas and cotton, for William Som'ar oure foole. Item for making of a coote and a cappe of grene clothe fringed with red crule and lyned with fryse, for our saide foole. Item for making of a dublette of fustian, lyned with cotton and canvas for oure same foole." Yet he sometimes wore the usual hood instead of a cap; for in the same account is an article "For making of a coote of grene clothe with a _hoode_ to the same, fringed with white crule lyned with fryse and bokerham, for oure foole aforesaid;"[86] and there is a print of him after a picture by Holbein, in which he is represented in a long tunic with a chain and horn in his hand.[87] In the celebrated picture of Sir Thomas More's family by Holbein, Patenson the fool is not distinguished by any peculiarity of dress, and, in one instance at least, the same remark applies to Archy, the fool of James I.[88] In those families where the fool acted as a menial servant, it is possible that he might have reserved his official habit for particular occasions. The paucity of materials that illustrate the theatrical character in question, must necessarily leave this part of the subject still more imperfect than the rest; but the plays of Shakspeare have furnished more information than those of any other writer. It is surprising, on the whole, that the character of the domestic fool is so seldom found in the old dramas that remain; because it was not only capable of affording considerable mirth to the unrefined part of the audience, but of giving the authors an opportunity of displaying a great deal of ingenuity so far as regarded extemporary wit. It is certain that the fools in Shakspeare's plays were pre-eminent above all others. For this we have the authority of Shadwell, who makes one of his characters say that they had more wit than any of the wits and critics of his time.[89] Beaumont and Fletcher have but rarely introduced them; Ben Jonson and Massinger never. Indeed, the originals had rapidly declined at the period in which most of their plays were written, and another character of a mixed nature been substituted in their room. This was the witty servant or clown (Class II. No. 3.), and of course his dress was not distinguished by any peculiarity.

The practice of introducing the fools and clowns between the acts and scenes, and after the play was finished, to amuse the audience with extemporaneous wit and buffoonery, has been so well illustrated by the able historian of the English stage, that very little can remain to be said on the subject.[90] It has been traced from the Greek and Roman theatres; and, as their usages were undoubtedly preserved in those of the middle ages that belonged to the countries where Roman influence had been spread, it would not of course be peculiar to the early stage in England. Indeed, the records of the French theatre amply demonstrate the truth of this position, and furnish several examples of the practice in question. In the mystery of _Saint Barbara_ we find this stage direction, "Pausa. Vadant, et Stultus loquitur;" and he is several times introduced in like manner between the scenes, in order that the amusement of the spectators might not be suspended whilst something was in agitation for the further prosecution of the piece.[91] Perhaps the most singular _pause_ in any dramatic composition whatsoever is one which occurs in the very rare morality of _La condamnation des banquetz_ in the following words: "Pause pour pisser le fol. Il prent ung coffinet en lieu de orinal & pisse dedans, et tout coule par bas," sign. M iiij. Nor was the English stage in Shakspeare's time allowed to remain empty. Lupton has related a story of the clown at the Red Bull theatre, who was suddenly called for between the acts, and forgot his fool's cap.[92] Puttenham, speaking of verses that rhime in the middle and end, observes that "they were more commodiously uttered by the buffoons or vices in plays than by any other person."[93] It was likewise part of the stage fool's office to introduce at his own discretion a great many old songs, or at least the fragments of them.[94]

The first symptoms of the decline of the domestic fools, and the causes of it, have been already touched on; and the same reasons may partly be assigned for their exile from the stage. In the præludium to Goffe's _Careless shepherdess_, 1656, 4to, there is a panegyric on them,[95] and some concern is manifested for the fool's absence in the play itself. It is likewise expressly stated that "the motly coat was banish'd with trunk-hose." Yet during the reign of Charles the Second occasional efforts were made to restore the character. In the tragedy of _Thorney abbey, or the London maid_, 1662, 12mo, the prologue is spoken by a fool who uses these words, "the poet's a fool who made the tragedy to tell a story of a king and a court and leave a fool out on't, when in Pacy's and Sommer's and Patche's and Archee's times, my venerable predecessours, a fool was alwaies the principal verb." Shadwell's play of _The woman captain_, 1680, is perhaps the last in which a regular fool is introduced, and even there his master is made to say that the character was then exploded on the stage.

The following is some additional and necessary explanation of the cuts belonging to this dissertation.

Plate II. fig. 1, is from _Catzii emblemata_. Fig. 2 is the duke of Suffolk's fool in the time of Henry VIII., copied from a print in Mr. Brydges's _Memoirs of the peers of England_. Figs. 3 and 4 are from paintings in the author's possession. The centre fig. is from a print by Breughel.

Plate III. All these instruments, excepting fig. 3, before described, are taken from various Dutch and German prints.

Plate IV. fig. 1, is from an old German print by an unknown master.

[Illustration: Plate IV.

_Published by T. Tegg, Cheapside, Sept.ʳ 1839._]

[Illustration: Plate III.

_Published by T. Tegg, Cheapside, Sept.ʳ 1839._]

[Illustration: Plate II.

_Published by T. Tegg. Cheapside, Sept.ʳ 1839._]

Figs. 1 and 3 below are from _A booke of Christian prayers_, &c., 1590, 4to, being figures belonging to a dance of Death. Fig. 2 is from the frontispiece to Heywood's comedy of _The fair maid of the exchange_. Similar figures of the costume of fools in the time of James I., or Charles I., may be seen in _The life of Will Summers_, compiled long after his time. Figs. 4 and 5 are from _La grant danse Macabre_, printed at Troyes without date, but about the year 1500, in folio, a book of uncommon rarity and curiosity. Fig. 6 is from the _Stultarum virginum scaphæ, seu naviculæ_ of Badius Ascensius, another work of much rarity, and far exceeding that of the ship of fools by Sebastian Brandt. In all the editions of the latter, a great variety of the fools of the fifteenth century will be found. Fig. 7 is from a French translation of St. Augustine on the city of God, printed at Abbeville 1486. It exemplifies the use of the tabor and pipe by fools; a practice that seems to have been revived by Tarlton in the time of Elizabeth. Figures 3, 4, and 6, have been introduced to show the costume of female fools. Among others of this kind that might deserve notice is a very interesting one in the picture, by Holbein, of Henry the Eighth's family already mentioned.

[Illustration: 1]

[Illustration: 2]

[Illustration: 3]

[Illustration: 4]

[Illustration: 5]

[Illustration: 6]

[Illustration: 7]


[45] See a note by Mr. Ritson in _Twelfth night_, Act II. Scene 3, edit. Steevens, vol. iv. p. 53.

[46] Defence of poesie, near the end.

[47] Mirrour of monsters, 1587, 4to, fo. 7.

[48] Arte of English poesie, 1589, 4to, fo. 243.

[49] _The devil is an ass_, Sc. 1.

[50] _The fox_, Act II. Sc. 1.

[51] Marston's Malcontent, Sc. 7.

[52] See p. 94.

[53] _The devil is an ass_, Sc. 1.

[54] Roman des ducs de Normandie, MS. Reg. 4, C. xi.

[55] Holy state, p. 182.

[56] This person was probably the subject of the following lines in Bancroft's _Epigrams_, 1639, 4to:

"How plumpe's the libertine! how rich and trimme! He jests with others, fortune jests with him."

Mr. Garrard, in a letter to lord Strafford, says, "There is a new fool in his [Archee's] place, Muckle John, but he will ne'er be so rich, for he cannot abide money."--_Strafford papers_, ii. 154.

[57] Biogr. hist. of England, i. 116.

[58] _The woman captain_, 1680, Sc. i.

[59] Bigland's _Collect. for Gloucest._

[60] Perroniana, inter Scaligerana, &c. i. 115.

[61] Vigneul de Marville, Mêlanges, ii. 50.

[62] Table talk, Art. Evil-speaking.

[63] This appears from many of our old plays. Lear threatens his fool with the whip, Act I. Scene 4; and see _As you like it_, Act I. Scene 2. In Dr. Turner's _New booke of spirituall physik_, 1555, 12mo, fo. 8, there is a very curious story of John of Low, the king of Scotland's fool, which throws light on the subject in question. Yet the chastising of the poor fools seems to have been a very unfair practice, when it is considered that they were a privileged class with respect to their wit and satire. Olivia, in _Twelfth night_, says, that "there is no slander in an allowed fool though he do nothing but rail;" and Jaques, in _As you like it_, alludes to the above privilege. See likewise other instances in Reed's _Old plays_, iii. 253, and xi. 417. Yet in cases where the free discourse of fools gave just offence to the ears of modest females they seem to have been treated without mercy, and to have forfeited their usual privilege. This we learn from Brantôme, who, at the end of his _Dames galantes_, relates a story of a fool belonging to Elizabeth of France, who got a whipping in the kitchen for a licentious speech to his mistress. A representation of the manner in which the flagellation of fools was performed may be seen in a German edition of Petrarch _De remediis utriusque fortunæ_, published more than once at Frankfort, in the sixteenth century, part ii. chap. 100.

[64] See his note in _All's well that ends well_, Act I. Scene 3.

[65] Plate II. fig. 1; also figs. 2 and 3, p. 516; and fig. 4, p. 517.

[66] Plate II. fig. 3.

[67] Plate III. figs. 7, 8, 9; also the centre fig. in Plate II. Hence the French call a bauble _marotte_, from _Marionnette_, or little Mary; but if the learned reader should prefer to derive the word from the Greek μορος, or the Latin _morio_, he is at full liberty to do so; and indeed such preference would be supported by the comparatively modern figure of the child's head, which the term _marotte_ might have suggested. The bauble originally used in King Lear is said to have been extant so late as the time of Garrick, and the figure of it would certainly have been worth preserving. To supply its place a representation is given of the head of a real bauble very finely carved in ivory. See Plate IV. figs. 3, 4. A bauble is very often improperly put into the hands of Momus.

[68] Plate III. figs. 2, 6, 7, 9; also figs. 1 and 3, p. 516.

[69] Plate III. fig. 4; and see Strutt's _Dress and habits of the people of England_, Plate LXXI.

[70] Blomefield's _History of Norfolk_, ii. 737.

[71] Plate III. fig. 1. In the Imperial library at Vienna, there is a manuscript calendar, said to have been written in the time of Constantius the son of Constantine the great, with drawings of the twelve months. April is represented as a man dancing with a _crotalum_ in each hand. This instrument was probably constructed of brass, in order to make a rattling noise. See it represented in Plate III. fig. 3, which is copied from a print in _Lambecii Bill. Cæsar. Vindobon._ tom. iv. p. 291. These months are also given in Montfaucon's antiquities.

[72] See Ben Jonson's _Devil is an ass_, Scene 1.

[73] Penry's _O read over John Bridges_, fo. 48.

[74] Plate III. fig. 5. copied from Schopperi ΠΑΝΟΠΛΙΑ, _omnium illiberalium artium genera continens_, &c. Francof. 1568, 12mo, sign. O. 8.

[75] Figs. 1 and 2, p. 516.

[76] Prologue to _King Henry the Eighth_. Marston's _Malcontent_, Act I. Scene 7, and Act III. Scene 1.

[77] Malone's Shakspeare, vol. i. part ii. p. 301.

[78] Plate II. fig. 4. Plate IV. fig. 1.

[79] Plate IV. fig. 1.

[80] Plate II. fig. 2.

[81] Coryat's _Crudities_, p. 9. edit. 1611, 4to. Brand's _Observ. on popular antiquities_, p. 176.

[82] See the notes on a passage in _King John_. Steevens's _Shakspeare_, viii. p. 79, edit. 1793. "The scribe claims the manor of Noverinte, by providing _sheep-skins and calves skins to wrappe his highness wards_ and idiotts in."--_Gesta Grayorum_, 1688, 4to.

[83] See the quotation from Tarlton's _Newes out of purgatory_ given in a preceding page (509). The portrait of Tarlton in Hardinge's _Biographical mirror_, and a print in the title of Greene's _Tu quoque, or the cittie gallant_, show the costume of the purse and feather. See likewise Plate IV. fig. 2; and the centre fig. in Plate II.

[84] Rabelais, book iii. ch 45.

[85] This picture is very well engraven in Caulfield's _Portraits of remarkable persons_, vol. ii. There is a beautifully illuminated psalter preserved among the royal manuscripts in the British Museum, 2 A xvi, written by John Mallard the chaplain and secretary of Henry the Eighth, with several marginal notes in the king's own hand-writing, some of which are in pencil. Prefixed to psalm 52, "Dixit insipiens," according to a very ancient custom, are the figures of king David and a fool, in this instance evidently the portraits of Henry and his favourite Will Somers. That of the latter person is here copied in Plate IV. fig. 2, but rather enlarged. The countenance bears a strong resemblance to that of the figure in Holbein's picture of Henry the Eighth and his family, already noticed in p. 336.

[86] Archæologia, ix. p. 249.

[87] In Tatham's play of The Scot's _figgaries_, 1652, 4to, the king's fool is described as habited in a long coat with a gold rope or chain about his neck.

[88] See the print of Archy engraved by Cecill and prefixed to his _Jests_, in which, unless Mr. Granger could have been certain with respect to what he has called "a parti-coloured tunic," there is nothing discriminative of the fool's dress. This portrait has been copied in Caulfield's above-cited work.

[89] _The woman captain_, Scene I.

[90] See Mr. Malone's _Historical account of the English Stage_.

[91] Parfait, _Histoire du theatre François_, II. pp. 27, 46, 62.

[92] See Mr. Steevens's note at the end of the second act of _The taming of the shrew_.

[93] Arte of English poesie, 69.

[94] See Mr. Steevens's note in _King Lear_, Act III. Scene 6.

[95] See Mr. Malone's note in _All's well that ends well_, Act I. Scene 3.



Enquiries like the present, however unimportant to the generality of readers, will not fail of being duly appreciated by those who take an interest in tracing the origin and progress of literary genius, which has perhaps been never more successfully, and even laudably, employed, than in the composition of such works as combine amusement with instruction. Of these the simple and engaging apologues of many ancient writers form a considerable portion, and have always been justly and generally esteemed. This mode of conveying instruction became so attractive in the middle ages, that the ecclesiastics themselves were under the necessity of introducing narrations both historical and imaginary into their discourses, in order to acquire that degree of popularity and attention which might otherwise have been wanting, and also for the purpose of enforcing their morality by such examples as should touch the feelings of the hearers, and operate, with respect at least to ruder minds, more efficaciously than precept. The work before us was designed to answer these purposes; and it not only proceeded on this ground in common with others of a similar nature, but has even furnished the materials to some of the best writers, and more especially poets, of ancient and modern times.

It will perhaps be expected that some reason should be assigned why the present essay has been attempted, after the labours of Mr. Warton on the same subject, which some may think has been amply and satisfactorily treated, if not exhausted; and if the judgment and accuracy of that pleasing and elegant writer had been commensurate with his taste and industry, the expectation had been exceedingly well founded. This however is, unfortunately, not the case. He has, in this and many other instances, left much to be done and undone; but we ought to feel very grateful to him for having founded a school that has already produced some accomplished pupils, and will, no doubt, contribute to form many a future one. Thus much seems due to an amiable man and excellent character, who has been most undeservedly insulted for errors of small moment, and censured for opinions of the most innocuous kind. Even his antiquarian dullness and perseverance have been arraigned, as if in a work like the history of English poetry, genius should have occupied the place of industry, and have created those facts which honest men are content to discover; a method not uncommon with some writers who have derived too much of their importance from the indolence and superficiality of their readers, and who are unwilling to submit to those laws of providence which justly impose on man the duty of penetrating to the mine before he be permitted to enjoy the precious metal. Such was not Warton. His taste and research will remain the admiration of future ages, when the flimsy compositions of some of his opponents shall be totally forgotten. He has effected, however imperfectly, more for the illustration of English poetry than any or all of his predecessors, or than has hitherto been, accomplished for the poetry of other nations, by any writer whatever.

Mr. Warton's dissertation would, no doubt, have been rendered more perfect, had he been aware of a fact which had not only escaped his own attention, but even that of Mr. Tyrwhitt. Neither of these gentlemen, in consulting the manuscripts of the _Gesta Romanorum_, had perceived that there were _two_ works so entitled, totally distinct from each other, except as to imitation, and certainly compiled by different persons. Of that treated of by Mr. Warton, it is presumed _no manuscript has been yet described_; of the other several manuscripts remain, _but it has never been printed, except in some translated extracts_. It will be better to postpone for the present any further mention of the latter, and to proceed to submit some additional remarks on the other. And first of its use and design.

A particular mode of instruction from the pulpit has been already hinted at, and will admit of some enlargement. Mr. Warton has mentioned one of the earliest instances of introducing Æsop's fables, as recorded by Vincent of Beauvais in the thirteenth century.[96] Supplies of another kind were furnished to those who might be more scrupulous as to the use of profane examples, not only in that great repertory of pious fictions, _The golden legend_, but in multitudes of similar stories, denominated in France _contes devots_, and composed for the purpose of counteracting the great influence which the witty and licentious stories of the minstrels had obtained, of which they were palpable imitations both in construction and versification. Most of these were founded on miracles supposed to have been operated by the Virgin Mary. The earliest known specimens of them were composed in the twelfth century by Hugues Farsi, a monk of St. John de Vignes at Soissons, who was soon followed by many imitators both in prose and verse.[97] His own work was turned into French verse by Gautier de Coinsi, another monk of Soissons, about 1230. A similar collection is the _Lives of the holy fathers_, chiefly from Saint Jerome, and anonymously composed in French verse by some person whose name deserved to have been recorded on account of the great merit of the work, which would be deemed an ornament to any period, for the excellence of the poetry.

The promptuary of examples for the use of preachers, at the end of Herolt's _Sermones discipuli_, composed in 1418, has been already mentioned by Mr. Warton, who has given a curious and correct account of that work; but he has omitted to notice, that, among a multitude of pious authors cited in it, the name of Ovid appears. This practice of indiscriminate quotation became afterwards very common. It was, indeed, sanctioned by a preceding custom, among religious writers, of _moralizing_ works of all denominations. Thus, to mention only a few, Thomas Walleys, a Welsh Dominican friar, had published his moralizations of Ovid's metamorphoses, in the fourteenth century.[98] The _Bestiarium_, a treatise on animals, is, as well as the _Gesta Romanorum_, perhaps an earlier instance. Afterwards the celebrated, but licentious, _Romance of the rose_ was moralized by Jean Molinet. Even the game of chess was moralized; for the reader who may take up Caxton's translation of Jacobus de Cæsolis, will be grievously disappointed should he expect to find any didactic or even historical information. We are not to wonder, therefore, if on the restoration of letters, a system of morality was extracted from Æsop and other fabulists; and, accordingly, some of the early printed editions of Æsop were published under the title of _Æsopus moralizatus_, and this, no doubt, led the way to the moral applications to his fables which afterwards appeared in other languages.

Among the preachers who interspersed their sermons with narrations of various kinds, a Carthusian monk of the fifteenth century deserves particular mention. With as much quaintness as humility, he styles himself _Guillelmus Hilacensis quondam simplex cordatus pauperculus discalciatus ac contemptibilis denudatus, sapientissimorum rudissimus, electorum infimus, et minorum minimus_. He has left a volume of sermons on the Lord's prayer, with stories in every page.[99] In the British Museum there is a very curious collection of Latin sermons, compiled about the reign of Henry the Sixth, by a person who calls himself a vicar of Magdalen college, Oxford. They abound with stories from Æsop, Cicero, Seneca, Valerius Maximus, Saint Austin, venerable Bede, &c.[100] Stephen Baron, an English Minorite in the reign of Henry the Eighth, has left a similar volume of sermons preached before the university of Cambridge.[101]

Among the most remarkable persons of this description who soon followed, were fathers Menot, Maillard, Barelete, Raulin, Vincent Ferrier, Pierre de Boves, &c., whose discourses are filled with quotations from Virgil, Valerius Maximus, Apuleius, Dante, Petrarch, and the _Gesta Romanorum_. Erasmus, ridiculing the absurdities of some of the theologians, mentions their practice of quoting the _Speculum historiale_ and _Gesta Romanorum_.[102] Schelhorn speaks of a copy of the latter in his possession, dated 1499, in which some former possessor had marked against many of the stories the year in which he had used them in his sermons.[103] Even in the eighteenth century the Italians had not left off this custom. Grosley states, that he heard a buffoon preacher at Rome, who stuffed his discourse with a thousand tales, among which was that of father Philip's geese, from Boccaccio.[104]

There is a remarkable work to which the preachers of the middle ages appear to have been indebted, and which deserves mention here not only on that account, but also from its having hitherto remained in unmerited obscurity. This may be partly owing to its having never been printed. It is a collection of tales and fables that has been ascribed to Odo de Ceriton, Shirton, or Cirington, for all these names are mentioned, a Cistercian monk of the twelfth century. In one manuscript they are called _proverbs_, and given to Hugo de Sancto Victore, of the monastery of Saint Victoire at Paris, and who lived much about the last-named period.[105] There is perhaps no task more difficult than that of ascertaining the real authors of many works of the middle ages, especially where, as in the present instance, there occurs any thing satirical against religious abuses. The evidence with respect to authorship is in favour of the Englishman, because in some of the stories English sentences are found. Nor do the sarcasms against the clergy militate in the least against ecclesiastical manufacture. Numerous instances could be brought to show the satirical spirit of the clergy, frequently towards each other, and generally against the church of Rome.

The work in question is an extraordinary mixture of Æsopian fables with pious and profane histories in great variety. One or two specimens have been already given,[106] but the reader may not regret the trouble of perusing the following in addition. "There is a kind of wren, named after Saint Martin, with very long and slender legs. This bird sitting one day in a tree, in the fullness of his pride suddenly exclaimed; 'It matters not to me though the heavens fall; for with the aid of my strong legs I shall be able to support them.' Presently a leaf fell upon the foolish boaster, who immediately flew away in great terror, exclaiming, 'O Saint Martin, Saint Martin, help your poor bird!'" The moral compares Saint Peter denying Christ to this wren, which it also assimilates to certain pot-valiant soldiers, who boast, in their cups, that each of them can beat three of the stoutest Frenchmen. Again: "Isengrin the wolf, to expiate his sins, became a monk. His brethren endeavoured to teach him his letters, that he might say _Pater noster_; but all that they were able to get from him was, 'lamb, lamb.' They told him to look up to the cross, but could never make him turn his eyes from the sheep. In like manner do the monks cry out for good wine, and fix their eyes on dainty viands and full trenchers; whence the English proverb, _Yf alle that the wolf unto the prest worthe and be sette on to boke salmes to ler, ȝit is ever hys onne eye to the wodeward_."[107] To conclude with one more, "The wolf being dead, the lion assembled the rest of the beasts to celebrate his obsequies. The hare carried the holy water, and the hedge-hogs the wax tapers. The goats tolled the bells; the badger dug the grave; the fox carried the coffin; Berengarius the bear celebrated mass; the ox read the gospels, and the ass the epistles. Mass being finished, and Isengrin duly buried, the beasts partook of a splendid feast, the expense of which was defrayed out of the deceased's property. The parties wished for nothing better than a similar ceremony. So, says the moral, on the death of any rich usurer, the abbots assemble all the _beasts_ of the monastery; for in general, the black and white monks are really brutes, that is, lions in pride; foxes in cunning; hogs in gluttony; goats in luxury; asses in sloth; and hares in cowardice."

Besides the storehouses of this sort of knowledge that have been already described, there were doubtless many others that are now lost; but there is one that ought not to be passed over without some notice. It is the _Summa prædicantium_ of John Bromyard, an English preacher, and a violent opponent of Wicliffe. It is an immense repertory of matter for the use of the clergy, every page containing stories and examples in all possible variety.[108] It is divided into classes of such subjects as were adapted to the pulpit, and must have been a work of immense labour, and the result of much reading. In the article _rapina_ he has a story resembling chap. viii. of the _Gesta Romanorum_, which he probably cites under the title of _Antiqua gesta_.

Although most of these works were undoubtedly composed for the immediate purpose of assisting the preachers, it by no means follows that they were exclusively so, or that other uses might not be made of some of them. Not that they could be accessible to the laity in any great degree, inasmuch as they were wrapped up in a learned language. But the private readings of the monks would not be always of a serious and ascetic nature. They might be disposed occasionally to recreate their minds with subjects of a lighter and more amusing nature; and what could be more innocent or delightful than the stories of the _Gesta Romanorum_? They might even have indulged in this kind of recreation during their continuance in the refectory after meals. For this purpose one of the fraternity, more eminently qualified than the rest, might entertain them with the recital of matters that would admit of some moral application to be made by the reader, or which was already attached to the subject. The word _carissimi_, so frequently to be found in the moralizations, seems as much adapted to this purpose, as to the addressing of an auditory from the pulpit. Perhaps the same idea had occurred to him who chose to apply the term _liber monasticus_ to the _Gesta Romanorum_.[109]

The excellent analytical account that has been given of this work would admit of no other improvement than some augmentation of the sources of the stories, and of their several imitations; but with respect to the author of it, some further inquiry may be necessary. Mr. Warton has attempted to show, with considerable ingenuity as well as plausibility, that the _Gesta Romanorum_ was composed by Peter Bercheur, a native of Poitou, and prior of the convent of Saint Eloy at Paris, where he died in 1362.[110] He has founded this opinion on a passage in the _Philologia sacra_ of Salomon Glassius, who, in his chapter _de allegoriis fabularum_, after censuring those writers who not only employed themselves in allegorizing the scriptures, but affected to discover in profane stories and poetical fictions certain matters that seemed to illustrate the mysteries of the Christian faith, makes the following observation: "Hoc in studio excelluit quidam _Petrus Berchorius_ Pictaviensis, ordinis Divi Benedicti: qui _peculiari_ libro, _Gesta Romanorum_, necnon legendas patrum, aliasque aniles fabulas, allegoricè ac mysticè exposuit." On this single testimony, or rather assertion, which is unaccompanied by any proof or reference to authority, Mr. Warton proceeds to assign _his_ reasons for concluding that Bercheur was the author of the _Gesta_, and they are principally these: 1. A general coincidence between the manner and execution of the works of Bercheur and the _Gesta_. 2. A resemblance in their titles. 3. The introduction of some of the stories of the Gesta into the _Repertorium morale_ of Bercheur.[111] 4. His having allegorized the Metamorphoses of Ovid. And 5. His writings being full of allusions to the Roman history. To these might have been added the quotations common to both the _Gesta_ and the _Repertorium_ from Pliny, Seneca, Solinus, and Gervase of Tilbury, and the time in which Berchorius lived, which certainly corresponds with that of the composition of the _Gesta Romanorum_, as far as can be collected from internal evidence. It may be remarked in this place, that Mr. Tyrwhitt, in supposing it to have been written at the end of the 12th or the beginning of the 13th century, has fixed on too early a date.[112] It could not have been written before 1256, because the chronicle of Albertus, which is cited in one of the chapters, terminates with that year.

It might be supposed that very little could be urged in opposition to the foregoing reasons, nor is it here intended to deny absolutely that Bercheur was the author of the _Gesta_: but certain doubts having arisen on the subject, they shall be submitted to the reader, that he may then be enabled to use his own judgment and discretion in deciding the question. With respect to the similitude between the works of Berchorius and the _Gesta Romanorum_, no one would think of maintaining, on this ground alone, that any two compositions, the one anonymous, were written by the same author. It shows, generally speaking, nothing more than coincidence, or, what is more likely, simple imitation; and it is as probable that the author of one of the works should have imitated the other, as that one person should have written both. Perhaps the other reasons might be disposed of in the same way, but it will be better to state specific objections to them; and here Mr. Warton's own evidence might be turned against himself. He had stated on a former occasion,[113] his having seen a manuscript of the _Gesta in almost Saxon characters_; but it is certain that this manuscript had doubly deceived him, and that his eye had caught one or two of the Saxon letters which continued to be used in writing long after Saxon times.

In the preface to the _Repertorium morale_ Bercheur tells us that he was by birth a Frenchman, a Benedictine monk, and the familiar servant of Cardinal de Pratis, or Des Prez, to whom he was indebted for books and other necessaries towards the completion of his works. Now throughout the ponderous tomes that have been consulted for this purpose, there are no Gallicisms to be traced, nor any other symptom of French authorship. On the other hand, there are strong marks that the _Gesta Romanorum_ was composed by a German. In the moralization to chapter 144, there is, in most of the early editions, a German proverb; and, in chapter 142, several German names of Dogs. Many of the stories are extracted from German authors, as Cesarius, Albert of Stade, and Gervase of Tilbury, who wrote his book _De otiis imperialibus_, in Germany. In this country likewise the earliest editions of the _Gesta_ were printed.

Mr. Warton, anticipating an objection that might be taken from the omission of any mention of the _Gesta_ by the biographers of Bercheur, has remarked, that it might have been among his smaller pieces, or proscribed by graver writers, or even discarded by its author as a juvenile performance, unsuitable to his character and abounding in fantastic and unedifying narration. But this description does not accord with the _general_ use that we know to have been made of it in the pulpit; nor can it come under the denomination of a work that is not altogether grave, serious, and moral, nor likely to have been the effusion of a glowing or youthful mind. Besides, the biographers of Bercheur are not alone silent as to the _Gesta_; the editors of his printed works were entirely unacquainted with it as his composition, and they were more likely to have been better informed on the subject than Glassius, whose opinion, like Mr. Warton's, seems to have been mere inference, and unsupported by any evidence. But what is more to the point, Bercheur has himself, in the prologue to his _Repertorium_, and in the preface to a French translation of Livy, given a very particular account of his works, among which his moralizations of the _Fabulæ poetarum_, never printed, are mentioned; yet this is certainly not the _Gesta Romanorum_, any more than the _Chronicon_ mentioned by Mr. Warton.[114] Again; most of the known works of Bercheur are still existing in manuscript, but not a single manuscript that can be pronounced to be the _Gesta Romanorum in question_ has occurred after the most diligent research. Such indeed might be supplied from the libraries in Germany, and possibly throw new light on this difficult and mysterious inquiry. Some stress has been laid on the circumstance of four of the stories in the _Gesta_ being related in the _Repertorium morale_,[115] but they are not told in the same words, and the moralizations are entirely different. This has very much the appearance of different authorship. The title of _Reductorium_ to some of the editions of the _Gesta_, together with many other matters, might have been borrowed from the writings of Bercheur by some German Monk, whose name has been irretrievably consigned to oblivion. It is scarcely worth while to mention the blunder that Foppens has committed in ascribing the composition instead of the printing of the _Gesta_, to Gerard De Leeu, of Gouda in Holland.[116]

It remains to offer some account of the various forms in which this once popular and celebrated work has appeared; and the rather, because what has been said on this subject is widely scattered, unconnected, and frequently erroneous.

MANUSCRIPTS.--It is a fact as remarkable as the obscurity which exists concerning the author of the _Gesta_, that no manuscript of this work, that can with certainty be pronounced as such, has been hitherto described. If the vast stores of manuscripts that are contained in the monastic and other libraries of Germany, Switzerland, Italy, and Spain, were examined, there is scarcely a doubt that some original of a work so often printed would be discovered. Father Montfaucon has indeed mentioned a manuscript _Gesta Romanorum_ in the Vatican;[117] but it may be either a transcript from the printed copy, or a different work under the same title, that will presently be noticed.

PRINTED EDITIONS.--The titles of these are different, and are as follows:

No. 1. "Incipiunt hystorie collecte ex gestis romanorum et quibusdam aliis libris cum applicationibus eorundem."

The colophon. "Et sic est finis."

No. 2. "Incipiunt historie notabiles atque magis principales collecte ex gestis romanorum et quibusdam aliis notabilibus gestis cum moralizationibus eorundem."

The colophon. "Et sic est finis."

No. 3. "Ex gestis romanorum hystorie notabiles de viciis virtutibusque tractantes cum applicacionibus moralisatis et misticis incipiunt feliciter."

The colophon. "Gesta romanorum cum quibus aliis historiis eisdem annexis ad moralitates dilucide reducta hic finem habent. Que diligenter correctis aliorum viciis impressit Johannes de Westphalia &c."

No. 4. "Recollectorium ex gestis romanorum cum pluribus applicatis historiis."

No. 5. "Ex gestis romanorum hystorie notabiles collecte de viciis virtutibusque tractantes cum applicacionibus moralisatis et mysticis incipiunt _fideliter_." (sometimes _feliciter_.)

The colophon. "Ex gestis Romanorum cum pluribus applicatis hystoriis de virtutibus et viciis mystice ad intellectum transumptis recollectorii finis."

It is impossible to speak with certainty as to the _first edition_, on account of the omission of dates, places, and printers' names in some of the early copies. There are two editions so circumstanced, with the titles No. 1 and 2, in folio, and containing 152 chapters only. There is a third printed without date by Nicolas Ketelaer and Gerard de Leempt at Utrecht, in folio, with 152 chapters, to which Lambinet has inaccurately assigned the date of 1473.[118] One of these three is probably the first edition. They are all excessively rare, and a copy containing 152 chapters only would not easily be found in this country.

Of the editions without date, place, or printer, that contain 181 chapters, there are three, and perhaps more. One of these, in folio, is in the British Museum, but imperfect. It was certainly printed with the types used by Ulric Zell, about 1475. Two others, the one in folio, the other in quarto, were printed without date at Louvain, by John of Westphalia. He is said to have printed one edition with the date 1473; but this is probably a mistake copied from one book into another, as Lambinet assures us that the copy in the royal library at Paris has the above date, but in _manuscript only_.[119] The following editions with dates can be spoken of with more confidence.

1. 1480, no place, nor printer. In folio. 2. 1480, at Gouda, by Gerard Leeu. In folio. 3. 1481, at Hasselt, no printer. In folio. 4. 1482, no place, nor printer. In quarto. This is doubtful, being taken from a bookseller's catalogue. 5. 1488, no place, nor printer. In folio. 6. 1489, no place, nor printer. In folio. 7. 1489, at Strasburg, no printer. In folio. 8. 1490, at Gouda, by Gerard Leeu. In folio. 9. 1493, no place, nor printer. In folio. 10. 1494, no place, nor printer. In quarto. 11. 1494, at Louvain, no printer.... 12. 1497, no place, nor printer. In quarto. 13. 1497, at Strasburg, by John Knoblouch. In quarto. 14. 1498, no place, nor printer. In folio. 15. 1499, no place, nor printer. In folio. 16. 1499, at Paris, no printer. In quarto. 17. 1506, at Paris, by Jean Petit. In 12mo. 18. 1508, at Hagenau, by Henry Gran. In folio. 19. 1509, at Paris, by Francois Regnault. In 12mo. 20. 1512, at Venice, no printer. In 12mo. 21. 1515, at Paris, by Jean Petit. In 12mo. 22. 1516, at Venice, by George de Rusconibus. In 8vo. 23. 1517, at Paris, no printer. In 12mo. 24. 1517, at Hagenau, by Henry Gran. In folio. 25. 1520, at Venice, by A. de Bindonis. In 8vo. 26. 1521, at Paris, by Jean Petit. In 12mo. 27. 1521, at Rouen.... 28. 1555, at Lyons, no printer. In 12mo.

GERMAN TRANSLATION.--Of this only one edition has occurred, printed at Augsburg, by John Schopser, 1489, in folio.

DUTCH TRANSLATION.--Two editions are mentioned, the one printed at Gouda, by Gerard Leeu, 1481, and the other at Zwollis, by Peter Van Os, 1484; both in folio.

FRENCH TRANSLATION.--It does not appear who was the author of the translation into this language, which is entitled _Le violier[120] des hystoires Rommaines: moralisez sur les nobles gestes faitz vertueulx et anciennes chroniques de toutes nations de gens, fort recreatif et moral_. It contains only one hundred and forty-nine stories. About the year 1516, Pierre Gringore, herald to the duke of Lorraine, and the author of several moralities and other works, published a book called _Les fantasies de mere sote_, which is only a translation in prose, intermixed with verse, of some twenty or thirty stories in the _Gesta Romanorum_, with their moralizations. He has suppressed all mention of his original, and insinuated in the privilege that he was himself the inventor. This work seems to have preceded the anonymous translation above mentioned, of which it is possible that Gringore might have likewise been the author. There is another French _Gestes Romaines_ by Gaguin the historian, which has been mistaken for a translation of the _Gesta_; but it is nothing more than an extract from the history of the Roman republic. The editions of the _Violier_ are, 1. without date, printed at Paris, by Philip Le Noir, in quarto; 2. 1521, printed at Paris, by Jean de la Garde, in folio; and 3. 1529, printed also at Paris, for Denis Janot, in quarto.

ENGLISH TRANSLATION.--In 1703 was published a little volume entitled _Gesta Romanorum_: or _Forty-five histories originally (as 't is said) collected from the Roman records, with applications or morals for the suppressing vice, and encouraging virtue and the love of God. Vol. I. newly and with care translated from the Latin edition, printed, A.D. M.D.XIV._ This seems to be the first English translation, and the translator B. P. has remarked in his preface that most of the matters contained in his book had, as he understood, appeared already in the English tongue; and therefore he desires the reader, if he should discover a great difference in names, sense, and expression, to compare each work with the Latin copy, by which comparison he conceives it will be found that _his_ translation is faithful. He was not aware that the preceding translation to which he alludes had been made from a different work. The stories are here extracted without attention to the original arrangement, but with a reference in each to the Latin copy. The editor, whoever he was, designed an extension of his labours to other volumes. Next followed an edition of the same work, without date, 18mo, but printed about 1720. It wants the references to the Latin copy, and the former preface is abridged. It contains fourteen additional stories that do not belong to the _original Gesta_. Of this another edition, with the language much altered, was printed in 1722, 18mo, with the same number of stories. The editor signs himself A. B., perhaps Bettesworth the printer.

It is now time to proceed to the description of _another Gesta Romanorum_, and which has indeed been the principal cause of the present dissertation. This work was undoubtedly composed in England in imitation of the other; and therefore it will be necessary for the future to distinguish the two works by the respective appellations of the _original_ and the _English Gesta_.

It is remarkable that neither Mr. Tyrwhitt nor Mr. Warton, both of whom had frequent occasion to inspect the work in question, and to notice certain variations between what they have too loosely termed the _printed copies_ and the _manuscripts_, should not have perceived that the latter were in reality a different performance. Mr. Tyrwhitt indeed, for want of this perception, has made use of certain English features in the manuscripts as an argument to prove that the _original Gesta_ was composed in England.[121]

From the great celebrity of the _original Gesta_, it could not fail of being known to the English clergy, and accordingly we find that it was used by them in the pulpit as in other countries. If the numerous volumes of the sermons of the middle ages that still remain in our college and cathedral libraries were examined, a task by no means here recommended, it would, no doubt, be found, that they had been indebted to it among other similar authorities for many of their _examples_; and to show that this is not a mere conjecture, there is a collection of ancient sermons in the British Museum that affords a solitary instance of the introduction of a story from the _original Gesta_.[122] It is the thirty-ninth story, of two brothers at enmity with each other. Though anonymous, there is no doubt that these sermons were composed by some Englishman, who has cited a multitude of authors, and among other matters the well-known story of the Jew who refused to be delivered from a jakes into which he had fallen on the sabbath day.

It is natural to suppose that a work like the _original Gesta_ would stimulate some person to the compilation of one that should emulate if not altogether supersede it; and accordingly this design was accomplished at a very early period by some Englishman, in all probability a monk. There is a considerable difficulty even in forming a conjecture as to the precise time in which this was done. One of the earliest manuscripts appears to have been written about the reign of Richard the Second, nor is there any internal evidence in this work that places its composition below that period. That its purpose was similar to that of the other is manifest from its being quoted no less than five times in a collection of sermons by a preacher at Magdalen college already mentioned, who has likewise introduced the moralizations generally in the very words of his original. If additional proofs were wanting of the English origin of the work before us, it might be stated, 1. That no manuscript of it appears to exist in any of the catalogues of continental libraries; whereas there are many in those of this country.[123] 2. That in one of the chapters there are some English verses,[124] and in another some English proper names.[125] 3. That it has a few English terms and modes of speech, as _parliament_, _livery of seizin_, &c.

The construction resembles that of the _original Gesta_, from which a great many stories have been retained; but these are always newly written, and sometimes materially altered. The moralizations are uniformly different, and the proper names generally changed. The best manuscripts contain one hundred and two stories, out of which there are upwards of forty that are not in the original work, none of which have been ever printed in the _Latin_ of this _Gesta_, and but few of them in an English translation. The sources from which many of them were taken cannot easily be traced, whilst others are extracted from works that will hereafter be mentioned.

In the following analysis of the additional stories to this _Gesta_, the plan of Mr. Warton has been adopted. Though it should fail in exciting much pleasurable sensation in the reader, it may at least serve to throw a ray or two of light on the manners of the middle ages. The arrangement of the chapters is from MS. Harl. 2270, but the copy used is one of equal value in the author's possession. The variety in these is very inconsiderable.

CHAP. I.--The emperor Anselmus bore a silver shield with five red roses. He had three sons equally beloved by him. His continual wars with the king of Egypt had reduced him so low, that of all his temporal goods only a single tree remained. Being mortally wounded in one of his battles, he called his sons before him, and bequeathed to the eldest all that was under the earth and above the earth belonging to the tree; to the second, all that was great and small in it; and to the youngest, all that was wet and dry in it. On the king's death a dispute arose between his sons concerning the possession of the tree, which by mutual consent was referred for decision to the king of Reason. He caused all the young men to be bled, and ordered that a bone, taken from the breast of their dead father, should be dipped in the blood and afterwards washed. The blood of the two elder sons was easily discharged, but that of the youngest remained. The king declared that he was of the true blood and nature of the bone, and the others bastards; to him therefore the tree was adjudged.

CHAP. II.--The emperor Diocletian, desirous to know what bird had the greatest affection for its young, goes into a wood and returns to his palace with an ostrich's nest, which he places under a glass vessel. The dam follows him, and finding it impossible to get at her offspring, proceeds to a desert, where she remains thirty-four days, and then comes home with a worm called Thurnar; this she kills on the vessel, which being broken by the blood of the animal, her young ones are set at liberty. At this conduct of the bird Diocletian expresses much pleasure.

CHAP. IV.--The emperor Gauterus, reflecting on the vanities of the world, resolves to find a situation where there is nothing but happiness. He leaves his kingdom, and meets a beautiful woman who had lost her husband. She offers him marriage, and abundance of wealth; but on inspecting the nuptial chamber, the emperor is startled and disgusted at the appearance of several serpents and a lion that threaten him with destruction. The lady informs him that he may possibly survive a night or two, but that the animals will afterwards devour him, as they had her husband. The emperor declines the honour of this marriage, and proceeds to another country, where the nobles are desirous to elect him king in the room of their deceased monarch; but finding a bedchamber like the former, he instantly departs, and arrives at a third place, where he is offered the kingdom on similar terms. At length he meets an old man, sitting near a ladder with three steps raised against a wall. He is interrogated as to his wishes, and answers that he sought three things, viz. joy without sorrow, abundance without want, and light without darkness. He is desired to ascend the ladder, when he finds what he had wished for, and continues on the spot during the rest of his life. This is, in substance, the 101st story in the other _Gesta_, but here related with much variety.

CHAP. XVIII.--A knight falls in love with Aglae, the daughter of the emperor Polentius, and being obliged to be absent in the Holy Land for seven years, the lady agrees not to marry till his return. In the mean time the emperor promises his daughter to the king of Hungary, who being deeply in love with her, consents, at her request, to postpone the marriage. On the day before the appointed time, the king of Hungary, riding to the emperor's court in great pomp to celebrate his nuptials, is met by the knight, with whom he enters into conversation, and a violent rain coming on, the king's fine clothes are presently spoiled. The knight remarks that he should have brought his house with him. The king is struck with the singularity of the admonition. They arrive at a deep water, and the king plunging in with his horse, is nearly drowned. The knight tells him that he should have brought his bridge with him. Shortly after the king inquires what time of day it is; his companion replies that it is time to eat, and offers a cake, which is accepted. He then observes to the king that he had acted unwisely in omitting to bring his father and mother with him. As they approach the emperor's palace, the knight requests leave of the king to take another road, meaning to get to the court by a nearer way that was known to him, and carry off the lady before the king should arrive. On being asked what road he intended to take, he declares he will speak the truth. He says, that on that day seven years he had spread a net in a certain place to which he was then going; that if he should find it broken he shall leave it, but if whole, that he shall take it with him. The king arrives at the palace, and is kindly entertained. The emperor interrogates him concerning the particulars of his journey, and on hearing the strange observations that the knight had made, commends him as a wise man, and informs the king that by the house he had meant nothing more than a cloak; that the bridge he talked of, signified the attendants who should have been sent before to ascertain the depth of the water; and that by the king's father and mother, he intimated the bread and wine that he should have brought with him. But when the emperor came to reflect on the meaning of the net which had been spread seven years since, he perceived that his daughter was in danger, and on commanding her chamber to be examined, found his suspicions verified. The king being deceived by the knight and the damsel, returned in disgrace to his own country.

CHAP. XXI.--This is the story of king Lear under the name of Theodosius, emperor of Rome. It has been already given from the old English translation in manuscript. See page 420.

CHAP. XXIV.--Antonius made a law at Rome, that whenever a fire happened in the city a sentinel should cry out to the people to ring all the bells, and secure the gates. A certain warrior was desirous of becoming master of the city, and, apprised of this law, consulted with his companions how it should be evaded. One advised that they should enter the city peaceably, and proclaim a general feast, at which a certain liquor should be used that would set all the guests asleep. The stratagem is adopted, the city fired, the inhabitants carried off, and not one person left to comply with the emperor's edict.

CHAP. XXV.--A certain knight is unjustly accused before an emperor, who, when he finds that the accusation cannot be maintained, endeavours to perplex him with intricate questions, which he is obliged to answer on pain of death. Among these are, the distance of a sigh from the heart? the number of flaggons of salt water in the sea? the depth of it? which are the most honourable and poorest professions? &c. These are all answered satisfactorily, and the knight dismissed with commendation.

CHAP. XXVI.--A sick emperor sends into a foreign country for the physician Averrhoes, who cures him of his disease. This excites the envy of three other physicians, and they resolve to effect his ruin. For this purpose they deceive him into a belief that he is become leprous, and he returns with great sorrow to the emperor, to acquaint him with his misfortune. Being offered all the consolation that the emperor can afford him, he requests that he may have the use of a bath made of goat's blood. By this remedy he is restored to health; and the emperor, wondering at the suddenness with which he had been attacked, is informed by Averrhoes that three leprous persons of his own profession had terrified him, and thereby communicated their disease. They are immediately punished with death.

CHAP. XXVII.--Antony, emperor of Rome, is fond of chess. Playing once at this game, he observed that when the men were replaced as usual in the bag, the king was indiscriminately confounded with the rest of the pieces. This suggests to him his mortal state, and that he himself shall be eventually blended with others in the grave. He divides his kingdom into three parts; one he gives to the king of Jerusalem, another to his nobles, and the third to the poor. He then retires to the Holy Land to end his days in peace.

CHAP. XXX.--The emperor Averrhoes proclaims a tournament, and that the conquerer shall marry his daughter after his decease. Decius, a knight who excelled in arms, had two infant sons. Hearing of the proclamation, he goes one morning into a forest where a nightingale was singing very sweetly. He expresses a wish to know the meaning of the song, and an old man, suddenly appearing to him, explains it. The bird had directed him to go to the tournament, but in his way thither he is to meet with some heavy misfortune, which he is recommended to support with constancy and patience, because, eventually, his sorrow is to be turned to joy. The old man then disappears, and the nightingale flies away. Decius returns home and acquaints his wife with the adventure. She advises him to go to the tournament with herself and children; and he had no sooner finished the preparations for his journey, than his house and all his goods are consumed by fire. Not discouraged, he embarks on board a vessel, and on his arrival in the country to which he was going, the captain of the ship demands the price of his passage. The knight confesses his present inability to comply with the requisition, but promises on his return from the tournament to satisfy him fully. The captain, who had in the meantime conceived an improper passion for the lady, demands her as an hostage, refusing an offer of the children. The poor knight, finding no remedy, affectionately takes leave of his wife, and departs in great sorrow with his children. The mariner in vain attempts the accomplishment of his purpose with the lady, and after having accompanied her to some strange country, dies. She is reduced to great misery, and obliged to beg her bread from door to door. The story then returns to the knight, who, proceeding in his journey to the emperor's palace, meets with a deep piece of water, which it was necessary to cross. Not being able to carry over both the children together, he leaves one of them on the ground. On his return for his child, a lion springs from a wood, seizes the infant before he could arrive at the spot, and carries it away. He endeavours in vain to pursue the ravisher, and at length goes back to his other child. But here again his ill fortune attends him; a bear had seized it, and was in the act of carrying it to a neighbouring forest. He now gives way to his grief, and exclaims bitterly against the nightingale and her song, but resolves to proceed to the tournament. Here he has better luck, and repeatedly carries away the prize. The emperor takes him into great favour, and places him at the head of his armies. Walking one day through a certain city, he finds a precious stone of three colours. On carrying it to a lapidary, he is informed that he possesses a great treasure; that the stone has the power of making the owner completely happy, of enabling him to find what he might have lost, and of converting his poverty into wealth, and his sorrows into joy. Soon afterwards he has occasion to raise troops for the emperor's service, and in the course of the war two young soldiers eminently distinguish themselves by their valour. As they are sitting one night at supper, they make inquiries of each other respecting their parents; and from certain matters that are detailed, they are recognized by their mother, who happens to be present. This discovery soon leads to that of their father, who is known by his wife, from a particular mark in his forehead. All the parties return to their own country, and end their days happily.

The burning of the knight's house, and the manner in which he was deprived of his children, have been borrowed from the romance of _Sir Isumbras_.[126]

CHAP. XXXI.--A law was made at Rome that the sentinels of the city should each night examine what was passing in all the houses, so that no private murders might be committed, nor any thing done whereby the city should be endangered. It happened that an old knight named Josias had married a young and beautiful woman, who, by the sweetness of her singing, attracted many persons to his house, several of whom came for the purpose of making love to her. Among these were three young men who were high in the emperor's favour. They respectively agreed with the woman for a private assignation for which she was to receive twenty marks. She discloses the matter to her husband, but not choosing to give up the money, prevails on him to consent to the murder of the gallants, and the robbing of their persons. This is accomplished, and the bodies deposited in a cellar. The woman, mindful of the new law that had been made, sends for one of the sentinels, who was her brother, pretends that her husband had killed a man in a quarrel, and prevails on him, for a reward, to dispose of the dead body. She then delivers to him the first of the young men, whom he puts into a sack and throws into the sea. On his return to the sister, she pretends to go into the cellar to draw wine, and cries out for help. When the sentinel comes to her, she tells him that the dead man is returned. At this he of course expresses much surprise, but putting the second body into his sack ties a stone round its neck and plunges it into the sea. Returning once more, the woman, with additional arts, plays the same part again. Again he is deceived, and taking away the third body, carries it into a forest, makes a fire, and consumes it. During this operation he has occasion to retire, and in the meantime a knight on horseback, who was going to a tournament, passes by, and alights to warm himself at the fire. On the other's return the knight is mistaken for the dead man, and with many bitter words thrown into the fire, horse and all. The sentinel goes back to his sister, and receives the stipulated reward. A hue and cry had now been made after the young men who were missing. The husband and wife engage in a quarrel, and the murder is of course discovered.

This story has been immediately taken from _The seven wise masters_, where it forms the _example_ of the sixth master. The ground-work is, no doubt, oriental, and may be found, perhaps in its most ancient form, in _The little hunchbacked taylor_ of _The Arabian nights_. It was imported into Europe very early, and fell into the hands of the lively and entertaining French minstrels, who have treated it in various ways, as may be seen in Le Grand, _Fabliaux et contes_, tom. iv., where it is related five times. The several imitations of it from _The seven wise masters_ may be found in all the editions of _Prince Erastus_, an Italian modification of the _Wise masters_. It forms the substance of a well constructed and entertaining story of two friars, John and Richard, who are said to have resided at Norwich in the reign of Henry the Fifth. This is related in Heywood's _History of women_ under the title of _The faire ladie of Norwich_,[127] and has crept into Blomefield's _History of Norfolk_ in a very extraordinary manner, unaccompanied with any comment, but with the addition of the murderer's name, who is unaccountably stated to be Sir Thomas Erpingham, a well-known character.[128] In the Bodleian library there is an old English poem entitled _A merry jest of Dane Hew munk of Leicestre, and how he was foure times slain and once hanged_. Printed at London by J. Allde, in 4to, without date. This is probably the same story, which has certainly been borrowed from one of those related by the Norman minstrels.[129]

CHAP. XXXII.--Folliculus, a knight, was fond of hunting and tournaments. He had an only son, for whom three nurses were provided. Next to this child he loved his falcon and his greyhound. It happened one day that he was called to a tournament, whither his wife and domestics went also, leaving the child in a cradle, the greyhound lying by him, and the falcon on his perch. A serpent that inhabited a hole near the castle, taking advantage of the profound silence that reigned, crept from his habitation, and advanced towards the cradle to devour the child. The falcon, perceiving the danger, fluttered with his wings till he awoke the dog, who instantly attacked the invader, and after a fierce conflict, in which he was sorely wounded, killed him. He then lay down on the ground to lick and heal his wounds. When the nurses returned they found the cradle overturned, the child thrown out, and the ground covered with blood as well as the dog, who they immediately concluded had killed the child. Terrified at the idea of meeting the anger of the parents, they determined to escape, but in their flight fell in with their mistress, to whom they were compelled to relate the supposed murder of the child by the greyhound. The knight soon arrived to hear the sad story, and, maddened with fury, rushed forward to the spot. The poor wounded and faithful animal made an effort to rise, and welcome his master with his accustomed fondness; but the enraged knight received him on the point of his sword, and he fell lifeless to the ground. On examination of the cradle the infant was found alive and unhurt, and the dead serpent lying by him. The knight now perceived what had happened, lamented bitterly over his faithful dog, and blamed himself for having depended too hastily on the words of his wife. Abandoning the profession of arms he broke his lance into three pieces, and vowed a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, where he spent the rest of his days in peace.

This tale is likewise borrowed by the compiler of the _Gesta_, from the Seven wise masters, and of oriental construction. It is originally in Pilpay's fables, being that of _The Santon and the broken pitcher_.[130]

There is a very extraordinary tradition in North Wales, of an incident resembling that in our story having happened to prince Llewellyn about the year 1205. He is said to have erected a tomb over his faithful dog, still known in Carnarvonshire by the name of _Cilhart's grave_.[131] This tradition is the subject of an elegant ballad by the honourable Mr. Spencer, privately printed in a single sheet, under the title of _Beth Gêlert, or The grave of the greyhound_. At Abergavenny priory church there is said to be the figure of an armed knight with a dog at his feet; and with this person, whoever he was, the story of _Cilhart_ has also been connected. But the dog, as well as other animals, is frequently found at the feet of figures on old monuments. On the whole, the subject appears not undeserving of the consideration of Welsh antiquaries. It would be proper however, on any such occasion, to bear in mind the numerous applications of circumstances altogether fabulous to real persons; one example of which has occurred in the story from the _Gesta_ that immediately precedes the present.

It may be thought worth adding that Virgil's _Original Gnat_ resembled in its outline, as given by Donatus, the story in the _Gesta_. A shepherd there falls asleep in a marshy spot of ground; a serpent approaches, and is about to kill him. At this moment a gnat settles on the shepherd's face, stings, and awakens him. He instinctively applies his hand to the wounded part, and crushes the gnat. He soon perceives that he had destroyed his benefactor, and, as the only recompense in his power, erects a tomb to his memory.

CHAP. XXXVI.--A king having educated his three sons under a celebrated philosopher, interrogates each of them as to what kind of a God he should prefer; for it was the custom of the country that every man should make his own choice on this occasion. The eldest chooses Jupiter for his power, the second Jupiter also for his wisdom, the third Mercury for his piety and mercy. The king recommends a Deity who should unite all these properties, and who is compared to Jesus Christ, &c.

CHAP. XLVI.--The emperor Alexander made a law that no man should turn a flat-fish on his plate, so as to eat the other side, under pain of death; it being nevertheless permitted him to ask three things before his execution. The son of an offender against this law saves his father's life by his ingenuity, and contrives to marry the emperor's daughter.

CHAP. XLVII.--A law was made that if any child should die, or even be hurt by the negligence of the person to whose care it were committed, such person should suffer death. A knight requested as a reward for some services, that he might have the care of the king's son. This was accordingly granted, and the child delivered over to nurses. In their absence at a fair, a wolf entered the house and carried off the infant towards a wood. A shepherd gathering fruit in an orchard saw the affair and gave the alarm. The child was recovered, but not till it had received a bite that left a mark in its forehead. When the king had received back his son, he discovered the wound, and menaced the knight with the punishment of the law. The knight asserted that he was not a God, nor able to control the effect of nature. The king maintained that the mark was not natural, but produced by accident; and the knight at length confessed the fact, and threw himself on the king's mercy. He was only enjoined to do exclusive homage to the king, and taken into favour.

In the moral, God is the maker of the law. He delivers man's soul to him pure and unspotted, to be nourished in deeds of virtue. The ecclesiastics are the nurses, who instead of attending to their duty, frequent the worldly fairs of wickedness and vanity. The wolf is the devil, who seizes the soul and endeavours to precipitate it into hell; but the good preacher sitting in the arbour of the holy scriptures, gives the alarm, and delivers it from the clutches of the devil, &c.

CHAP. XLVIII.--This story has been given from the old English translation in manuscript, at the end of the notes to the Merchant of Venice. See p. 173.

CHAP. XLIX.--An emperor made a law that whoever violated a Virgin should lose both his eyes. His own son is found guilty of the crime, and the emperor, notwithstanding the entreaties of his nobles, enforces punishment, but consents to divide the loss of sight with the aggressor.

CHAP. L.--This story is in the other _Gesta_, but differently related. A king on some domestic difference with his wife, had been told by her that one only of her three sons was legitimate; but which of them was so she refused to discover. This gave him much uneasiness; and his death soon afterwards approaching, he called his children together, and declared in the presence of witnesses, that he left a ring which had very singular properties to him that should be found to be his lawful son. On his death a dispute arose between the youths, and it was at length agreed to refer its decision to the king of Jerusalem. He immediately ordered that the dead body of the father should be taken up and tied to a tree: that each of the sons should shoot an arrow at it, and that he who penetrated the deepest should have the ring. The eldest shot first, and the arrow went far into the body; the second shot also, and deeper than the other. The youngest son stood at a distance, and wept bitterly; but the king said to him, "Young man, take your arrow and shoot as your brothers have done." He answered, "Far be it from me to commit so great a crime. I would not for the whole world disfigure the body of my father." The king said, "Without doubt you are his son, and the others only bastards; to you therefore I adjudge the ring."

This story has been entitled _The judgment of Solomon_, and is probably of oriental origin.[132] It is often represented in that illumination which in the ancient manuscripts of the French translation of the Bible by Guiars des Moulins is prefixed to the proverbs of Solomon, although the story itself does not occur in that bible, nor in the original commentary by Petrus Comestor. It appears to have been a great favourite in the middle ages, and was often related from the pulpit.[133] The original _judgment of Solomon_ in the first book of Kings had probably reached the continent of India at some very early period, as it is imitated in the following story which occurs in one of the books belonging to the kingdom of Pegu. Two women went out together to bathe, each accompanied by her child. Whilst they were in the water, the children being left on the bank of the river, an alligator seized one of them and carried it away. A dispute arose between the women for the possession of the remaining infant, and they at length agreed to go before the judge. To determine the controversy, the judge ordered one of the women to lay hold of the child's head, and the other of its heels, and thus to pull for it. In the course of the struggle, the child was hurt, and cried out; one of the women instantly quitted her hold, and the other carried off the prize. The judge ordered her to be brought back, and told her that as she had manifested so little compassion for the sufferings of the child, she could not possibly be its mother. The infant was restored to the other woman.[134] There is another ingenious adjudication by the emperor Claudius, scarcely inferior to Solomon's. A woman had refused to acknowledge her son: and, the arguments on each side being doubtful, Claudius ordered that the parties should be married. The mother was compelled to a confession. See Sueton. in Claud. cap. 15.

CHAP. LI.--Archillaus, a Roman emperor of an elegant person and lofty stature, was desirous to have a shirt made by the hands of a pure and spotless virgin, in such a skilful and subtile manner as to prolong the duration of his life. After the strictest search no such virgin could be found; or at least, says the story, no female whose talents were competent to the task. Some time afterwards the emperor walking in his orchard, and meditating on the above matter, was accosted by a certain person who told him that he believed there was one young woman remaining in the country who was in all respects capable of performing what he desired. A messenger was immediately despatched by the emperor on this pleasing mission, with instructions to salute the lady most honourably on his part, and to present her with a particular piece of cloth three inches only in length and breadth, and to request that she would convert it into the shirt required; with a promise that if she succeeded, she should become his wife. The messenger faithfully executed his instructions; but when the damsel saw the cloth, she told him that it was impossible with such a quantity to make a shirt that would fit the emperor in the manner required, but undertook notwithstanding to make one according to the best of her ability. When the emperor heard the answer he sent a pure and handsome vessel to the lady, in which she manufactured a shirt that gave him satisfaction. He performed his promise and married her. This very silly and obscure story is allegorized into the miraculous conception of the Virgin Mary.

CHAP. LIV.--Is also in the other _Gesta_, but here related with much greater variety of circumstance, and in all respects improved. The story has been very properly termed by Mr. Warton, a beautiful one; but he has not been equally accurate in his statement that "Occleve has literally followed the book before us (i. e. the original _Gesta_,) and has even translated into English prose the moralisation annexed." Occleve's immediate model was our English _Gesta_; nor is it improbable that he might even be the translator of it; the moralisation also is entirely different.[135] Mr. Warton has omitted to notice that this story corresponds with that of Fortunatus; which, unless itself of oriental origin, might have been taken from it.[136]

CHAP. LVI.--An emperor who had only a daughter, hunting one day in a forest, lost his way, and was obliged to seek shelter in the cottage of a forester. He was kindly and hospitably received, and after taking some refreshment, retired to rest without disclosing to the man who he was. As he lay in bed he thought he heard a voice that said to him, "take, take, take;" presently after, another that cried, "give, give, give;" and then a third that still more emphatically pronounced these words, "fly, fly, fly; for this night a child is born who shall succeed to your empire." When he arose in the morning, he inquired of the forester if any child had been born during the night, who informed him that his wife had just been delivered of a son. The emperor then discovered himself, examined a mark on the child's forehead, and told the man that he should send for it the next day, as he designed to have it bred up at his court. On his return home he directed some confidential servants to take away the child from the forester's cottage, to put it to death, and to bring back its heart, that he might be satisfied that his orders were obeyed. A contention arose among the domestics about destroying the infant,[137] and one more humane than the rest, proposed the killing of a pig in its stead, and delivering the heart to the king. This was at length acceded to by the others. The child was wrapped up in some linen, and placed in a hollow tree for present shelter. When the emperor received the supposed heart of the child he cast it into the fire, and mocked the idle dreams that had tormented him. Shortly after, as an earl was hunting in the above forest, the dogs discovered the child, which was taken home and committed to the care of the earl's wife, whom he prevailed on to acknowledge it as their own, and to give out that she had just been delivered of it. When thirteen years had elapsed from this time, the emperor proclaimed a great feast, to which, among others, the earl was invited, who carried the boy with him as a squire to attend his person. When the youth came into the presence of the emperor, the latter instantly perceived the mark on his forehead, and in great anger interrogated the earl so strictly that he confessed the manner in which he had discovered the child. But the emperor's indignation was still more excited against the servants whom he had employed. He sent for them and commanded them on their oaths to speak the truth. The emperor, now satisfied of the identity of the youth, informed the earl that he should retain him at his court, and that he himself was at liberty to return home. It happened that at this time the empress was in a foreign kingdom with her daughter. The emperor therefore sent the youth to her with a letter in which he commanded her to cause him to be put to death in the most cruel and ignominious manner. In the prosecution of his journey, the poor young man came to the castle of a knight whom he humbly entreated to afford him lodging; and being hospitably received, laid himself down to sleep, placing near him a box in which he had deposited the letter. The knight accidentally seeing the box, became anxious to know its contents; and having opened it immediately perceived the emperor's signet. This he very carefully put aside, and, reading the letter, was moved with compassion for the youth. He immediately resolved to save his life, and substituted another letter, in which the king was made to direct the empress to marry her daughter to the young man with great solemnity, and to detain him with her until he should himself arrive. This letter was delivered to the empress, and the supposed directions of the emperor complied with. The youth by his deportment engaged the affections of all. Some time afterwards the emperor resolved to visit the empress, and on his arrival she went out to meet him accompanied by her children. As soon as the emperor saw the young man, he again recognized him; and, beholding his wife with looks of fury and indignation, he demanded of her why she had omitted to obey his commands. She maintained that they had been obeyed by the marriage of the youth to their daughter, who then stood before him, and, as she perceived, with child. The anger of the emperor was now mitigated, and he exclaimed, "The will of the Lord be done, for I see it is in vain to oppose it." He saluted his children with great affection, and they succeeded happily to his throne.

CHAP. LXII.--Cornelius seduces an emperor's daughter, murders her infant, and abandons her. The emperor expostulates to no purpose. He then proclaims a tournament in which the wicked knight is overcome. The princess is brought back to her father.

CHAP. LXVIII.--An emperor in his old age foolishly married a young wife, who carried on an intrigue with a certain knight. He resolved to make a journey to the Holy Land, and, setting out immediately, left his kingdom in the custody of the empress and his nobles. The captain of the ship in which he embarked, having received a large bribe for the purpose, threw the unfortunate emperor into the sea, and returned home with the news of his death, to the great joy of the wicked empress. The old monarch, who had been a good swimmer from his youth, fortunately reached an island which he found inhabited only by wild beasts. The third day after his arrival, he saw in a wood a young lion fighting with a strong and full-grown leopard; and compassionating the lion, who was nearly overpowered by his adversary, he drew his sword and killed the leopard. The grateful lion remained with him, and every day brought him as food some animal that he had hunted, which the emperor dressed by means of a fire that he contrived to make. After some time had elapsed, as he was one day walking on the shore, he perceived a ship, and making signals of distress, was taken on board. The faithful lion plunged after him into the sea, and swam by the side of the vessel, till some of the sailors, perceiving that he was exhausted with fatigue and about to sink, lifted him into the ship. On the emperor's arrival in his own kingdom he handsomely rewarded the captain, and proceeded to his palace accompanied by the lion. When he arrived there, he heard the sound of musical instruments, and perceived other demonstrations of joy. On inquiry he learned that the empress had been just married, and that his subjects believed he had perished in his voyage to the Holy Land. He then applied to one of the domestics of the palace to report him to the new emperor as a minstrel newly arrived, and to request that he might be permitted to entertain him with the tricks of his lion. He was ordered to appear before the new sovereign; whom the lion no sooner beheld than he instantly tore him in pieces, and immediately afterwards the empress. The nobles, astonished at what they saw, were now preparing to make their escape, when the emperor discovered himself, and desired them to lay aside their fear, as the vengeance of God had been accomplished. After relating his adventures, he reassumed his government.

CHAP. LXX.--Josias, a warlike king, was married to the king of Apulia's daughter, who had vowed she would unite herself to that man only who had obtained the victory in all his battles. Walking one day in his garden he saw it written in a star, that he should undertake as many wars for the love of Christ as he had for that of his lady, to whom he communicated the vision. She was extremely afflicted at the news, and threatened to destroy herself and the infant in her womb, but was comforted by her husband with a promise of returning as soon as he had conquered all the enemies of Christ. He then departed in company with Tirius, a valiant knight to whom he was attached, and they shortly arrived in Ethiopia. The king desired his friend to remain there, and subdue the country, whilst he should accomplish other conquests. Tirius requested of the king that he would send him occasional tidings of himself, and directions how to act in his absence. This was promised; and the knight received at the same time a ring from his master, as a pledge whereby to remember him. The king took his departure, and went to the Holy Land. In his absence a certain tyrant named Acharon, made war against Tirius; and finding it impossible to subdue him, accused him of treason to the king of Ethiopia, who deprived him of all his possessions, so that he became very poor and was obliged to beg his bread. Josias soon afterwards returned from the Holy Land to Ethiopia, in the character of a pilgrim, and by chance met Tirius, whom he immediately recognized, but remained himself unknown. He put many questions to his friend, who related to him his misfortunes, and added, that he was in daily expectation of the speedy return of his own sovereign, whose token he still preserved, and whom he described as the better half of his soul. Josias told him that he had travelled far on account of the love he also bore to the same person; that he was exceedingly fatigued, and requested of him to sit down that he might repose his head on his bosom. Tirius answered, that he would do this and much more for him. Whilst Josias was asleep, a white weasel issued from his mouth, and proceeding towards a mountain, walked round it. It then returned, and again entered the mouth of the king. Tirius wondered much at this, and when the king awoke was interrogated as to what he had seen. Josias, on being informed, said, "Let us go to the mountain, perhaps we may behold more wonders." On their coming to a hollow place in the mountain, they found a dragon lying dead, with a large quantity of gold in his belly, and a sharp sword, on which was inscribed, "By my power, and with the king's assistance, the knight Tirius shall once more possess his lands." Josias then discovered himself to his friend, who fell on the ground and kissed his feet. The king gave all the gold to Tirius, but reserved the sword for himself, and commanded the knight not to disclose who he was until they should have accomplished their purpose. Josias then proceeded in his pilgrim's habit to the king's palace, where he found the tyrant Acharon, and sat himself down before the largest table. The king inquired of him whence he came and what tidings he brought. The pilgrim answered, "I come from the Holy Land, where many persons recommend your soul to Christ for having despoiled a worthy knight of his lands on the lying accusation of a tyrant." Acharon then exclaimed, "Why hast thou uttered these things? I would thou wert able to defend thyself, that I might fight with thee." The pilgrim requested leave to accept the challenge, which the king granted, and promised that if he obtained the victory he should not only receive all the lost lands of the knight, but be made the second man in his kingdom. The day of battle was appointed, and the combatants respectively maintained the contest with considerable valour. At length Acharon, exhausted with fatigue, was about to yield, when he said to the pilgrim, "You are doubtless a generous adversary, I die with thirst; suffer me to go once to the river and drink." The pilgrim acquiesced on the like conditions for himself. When Acharon had quenched his thirst, his strength returned; he renewed the combat with vigour, and Josias, in his turn, sorely pressed, requested permission to drink. His treacherous enemy not only refused him, but compelled him to fight his way to the water, into which he plunged and assuaged his thirst. Having recovered his strength, the battle was continued till the evening; and when Acharon was once more about to yield the victory, the king parted the combatants, and appointed the next day to renew the battle. At night the king sent for the pilgrim, commended his valour, and desired his daughter to take him under her care, and provide him with all necessaries, that he might be able to maintain the combat on the following day. The damsel then led him to a chamber, bathed him,[138] prepared his supper, and afterwards placed him in a bed with four feet, so that it could be easily moved from place to place. In the mean time Acharon called together his four sons, all of them robust young men; told them of the danger his life would be in if he should renew the contest with the pilgrim on the ensuing day, and prevailed with them to seize him in his chamber whilst he slept, and throw him into the sea. It happened that a fisherman from his vessel perceived by the light of the moon the floating bed, and to his great astonishment a man lying upon it. Josias also awoke, and wondered much at seeing the stars over his head. The fisherman cried out to the king, and the king to him for assistance, telling him he was the person who had the day before been engaged in combat with the tyrant. The fisherman took him on board his vessel, and afterwards to his dwelling, where he was again put to bed. On the morrow Acharon armed himself and went to the palace, exclaiming aloud, "Bring forth the traitor pilgrim, that I may this day present his head to our lord the king." When the princess was ordered by her father to awake the pilgrim, she was astonished to find him gone, together with the bed; and when the king heard the strange news he was much grieved, for he loved the pilgrim, and detested the tyrant. The fisherman at length appeared and related what had happened. Josias returned to the palace, armed himself, once more attacked his adversary, who was by this time quite dejected, and cutting off his head, presented it to the king. He was then desired to name the reward that he wished for, when he requested that the lands which Tirius had acquired by his valour might be again restored to him. Josias afterwards took leave of his friend, returned to his own kingdom, and ended his days in peace.[139]

CHAP. LXXI.--An emperor committed the education of his only son to one of his knights, who had obtained a victory at a tournament. The child was placed in a chamber, round which the seven liberal sciences were depicted, so that when he lay awake in bed he could be gathering all kinds of knowledge. Near the bed was a fountain, in which the child could bathe, and beyond the fountain a window to admit the sun. It happened that a bear, finding the door open, entered the chamber and washed himself in the fountain, so that the water was much infected with his filth. The knight and his wife soon afterwards drank of the fountain, and became leprous. An eagle also flew in at the window, and carried off the king's son. At length a skilful physician was consulted, who cured the parties of their leprosy, and instructed them how to recover the child.

CHAP. LXXII.--A king hears the song of a nightingale. He is desirous of knowing what it means; and, applying to a wise knight, is informed that it directs him to seek three things, viz. joy without sorrow, abundance without want, and light without darkness. The king sets out in pursuit of them, and arrives in a kingdom where the sovereign was just dead, leaving his throne to his sister. She becomes enamoured of the royal traveller and offers him marriage. Here the story is discontinued, but the narrator refers to chap. iv. as containing the same matter.

CHAP. LXXVII.--In the castle of an emperor was a fountain, the water of which had the property of curing drunkenness. To this vice, which the emperor particularly detested, one of his knights, named Ydronicus, was much addicted; but whenever he perceived the consequences of his intemperance, he repaired to the fountain, and drinking a hearty draught, recovered himself in such a manner that the emperor, who was extremely attached to him, had never yet discovered his failing. It happened that the emperor had found a bird in his forest which sang so sweetly, that, being fond of melody, he repaired daily to the spot to hear it. The particular attention which the emperor bestowed on these two favourites had excited the envy of his courtiers, among whom one wiser than the rest at length undertook their ruin. He first sealed up the fountain, so that when Ydronicus next became intoxicated he was deprived of his usual remedy; and the emperor, perceiving his condition, was filled with indignation, and instantly decreed his banishment. The insidious courtier then repaired to the forest; and watching attentively the motions of the bird, perceived that her mate often came to visit her, but that in his absence she committed infidelities with strange birds, and then bathing herself in an adjacent well, deceived her mate on his return. He therefore closed up the well, and the unfaithful bird being soon detected by her mate, he tore her to pieces. The latter part of this story seems borrowed from the last chapter of the original _Gesta_.

CHAP. LXXVIII.--A law was made at Rome, that no man should marry for beauty, but for riches only; and that no woman should be united to a poor man, unless he should by some means acquire wealth equal to her own. A certain poor knight solicited the hand of a rich lady, but she reminded him of the law, and desired him to use the best means of complying with it, in order to effect their union. He departed in great sorrow, and after much inquiry, was informed of a rich duke who had been blind from the day of his birth. Him he resolved to murder, and obtain his wealth; but found that he was protected in the day-time by several armed domestics, and at night by the vigilance of a faithful dog. He contrived however to kill the dog with an arrow, and immediately afterwards the master, with whose money he returned to the lady. He informed her that he had accomplished his purpose; and being interrogated how this had been done in so short a space of time, he related all that had happened. The lady desired, before the marriage should take place, that he would go to the spot where the duke was buried, lay himself on his tomb, listen to what he might hear, and then report it to her. The knight armed himself, and went accordingly. In the middle of the night he heard a voice saying, "O duke, that liest here, what asketh thou that I can do for thee?" The answer was, "O Jesus, thou upright judge, all that I require is vengeance for my blood unjustly spilt." The voice rejoined, "Thirty years from this time thy wish shall be fulfilled." The knight, extremely terrified, returned with the news to the lady. She reflected that thirty years were a long period, and resolved on the marriage. During the whole of the above time the parties remained in perfect happiness.

When the thirty years were nearly elapsed, the knight built a very strong castle, and over one of the gates, in a conspicuous place, caused the following verses to be written:

"In my distress, religion's aid I sought; But my distress reliev'd, I held it nought. The wolf was sick, a lamb he seem'd to be; But health restor'd, the wolf again we see."

Interrogated as to the meaning of these enigmatical lines, the knight at once explained them by relating his own story, and added that in eight days time the thirty years would expire. He invited all his friends to a feast at that period; and when the day was arrived, the guests placed at table, and the minstrels attuning their instruments of music, a beautiful bird flew in at the window and began to sing with uncommon sweetness. The knight listened attentively, and said, "I fear this bird prognosticates misfortune." He then took his bow, and shot an arrow into it in the presence of all the company. Instantly the castle divided in two parts, and, with the knight, his wife, and all who were in it, was precipitated to the lowest depth of the infernal regions. The story adds, that on the spot where the castle stood, there is now a spacious lake, on which no substance whatever floats, but is immediately plunged to the bottom.

CHAP. LXXIX.--The emperor Miremius had an only son, on whose birth the wise men being consulted as to his future destiny, declared that he would not live except he were brought up for seven years under ground, where the light of the sun could never come. This was accordingly done; and at the expiration of the time the young prince was taken out of his subterraneous confinement, and became the admiration of all men for his virtues and good disposition. In due time he was married to a daughter of the king of Hungary. At each corner of the nuptial bed was placed a little dog to watch, and near it a burning lamp, which by the emperor's special command was to be lighted only by the hands of a pure virgin. The prince coming one night into the chamber found the lamp extinguished, and made a solemn vow that he would never more enter the bed until the lamp were rekindled; but after many inquiries no virgin could be found for the purpose. The prince determined to make search himself, and taking affectionate leave of his wife, proceeded on his expedition. He presently overtook a lion, whose foot had been wounded by a thorn, which he extracted, and the animal followed him. Arriving at the castle of a king who had a virgin daughter, the prince fell in love with and demanded her in marriage. The king consented, on condition that he would destroy a horrible dragon, who had nearly devoured all the sheep and oxen in the country, and for whose future supply it would soon be necessary to draw lots in the king's own family. The prince agreed to the proposal, and waited till the period arrived when the lot had fallen on the king's daughter. He then became exceedingly terrified, but ventured to attack the dragon, who was on the point of destroying him, when the lion came to his assistance, and speedily killed his adversary. The virgin was delivered to the prince, who took her home to his wife. The lamp was rekindled, to the great joy of the parties, and the virgin treated with all possible kindness and attention. The dog and the lamp in this story are introduced in chap. i. of the other _Gesta_, but the tales have nothing else in common.

CHAP. LXXX.--There was a law at Rome, that every woman at her purification should write some words on the church door, for the edification of the people, and then return home with due solemnity. The empress on this occasion writes, "I am a king governing the age; all the world is mine." Some time afterwards a noble lady attended by several musicians comes to be purified. She inscribes on the door, "I am an infant at the breast whose milk is wine," and returns home to prepare a feast. The empress is much offended, and sends for her. She procures two serpents, and compels the lady to suckle them, &c. The substance of this story is incorporated with the old ballad of "A warning piece to England, or the fall of queen Eleanor."[140]

CHAP. LXXXI.--A city is infested with dragons and other venomous animals that destroy the inhabitants. A philosopher advises the emperor to hang a live lion on a cross, and thus terrify the other creatures from molesting the city.

CHAP. LXXXII.--A law was made, that if any one could escape from prison and fly to the king's palace he should receive protection. An imprisoned knight is visited by a bird, who leaves a precious stone, by the touch of which his fetters are loosed and he escapes, &c.

CHAP. LXXXIV.--A dispute arose between the three sons of an emperor respecting the succession. The nobles decided that they should run a race on horseback, and that he whose horse neighed should inherit the throne. A cunning servant of one of the princes contrived that his master should win, by placing in the horse's way a mare that he remembered. This is the well-known story of Darius.

CHAP. XC.--Of a law that whoever violated a virgin without making atonement to her father within a certain time should suffer death.

CHAP. XCII.--Of a madman who tore his flesh every day, and was poisoned by his father.

CHAP. XCIII.--An empress falls in love with a young knight; and becoming extremely sick, the physicians inform her husband that there is no mode of cure, but the bathing her with the knight's blood.

CHAP. XCIV.--A poor man is promoted by an emperor to great honours, but soon becomes proud, and rebels against his sovereign. He is banished with his accomplices. These invite their successors to a poisoned banquet. The emperor is recommended by his son to apply to a damsel who possesses a well with miraculous powers. By means of its water the dead men are restored to life. The prince is rewarded with a crown of gold.

CHAP. XCVII.--Jonathas, having contrived to keep fire and water in his house, at a time when his fellow citizens had been plundered of them by a tyrant named Eulopius, is rewarded by having the education of the emperor of Rome's son committed to him. He builds a chamber for the young prince, and causes various images and inscriptions to be placed in it, which keep him attentive to his charge. He is finally promoted to great honour.

CHAP. XCVIII.--The emperor Martin had brought up his nephew Fulgentius as his page and cup-bearer; but his steward soon became envious of the young man, and resolved to effect his ruin. For this purpose he prevailed on the emperor to believe that Fulgentius had ungratefully circulated many ill reports of him, and particularly that he was leprous to such a degree that it was unsafe to approach his person or administer his drink to him. He then went to the young man, related to him that the emperor had made great complaint of the foulness of his breath, and advised him, when he performed the duties of his office, to take special care to turn his head aside. The innocent Fulgentius pursued this insidious counsel, and, the emperor's anger being excited, he struck his nephew violently on the breast, and drove him from his presence. He then consulted with the steward how he should deprive the youth of life; and it was settled that some men who lived near at hand, and kept a furnace to burn stones for cement, should immediately be directed to throw into their fire, without the least ceremony, that person who should come early on the morrow, and desire them to fulfil the emperor's commands. Measures were then taken that Fulgentius should be the victim; but in his progress to the lime-kiln he was induced by the sound of a church bell to deviate from his road, and attend the celebration of the mass. During the service he fell asleep, and when it was finished no efforts of the priest could for a very considerable time awake him. In the meanwhile the steward, solicitous to hear of the young man's death, repaired to the spot, and inquiring if the emperor's commands had been executed, was seized by the workmen, who, in spite of all his entreaties and remonstrances, threw him into the furnace. Fulgentius himself soon afterwards arrived, delivered his message, and was surprised to hear of the steward's death, and the miraculous manner in which he himself had escaped. He then returned thanks to God for his preservation, and went back to the palace. The emperor in great anger demanded why he had not executed his commands. Fulgentius related what had happened, and this leading to a mutual explanation, he was restored to his uncle's favour, and ended his days honourably. This story may have come from the East.[141] It is likewise extremely well related in the _Contes devots_ or _Miracles of the Virgin_,[142] and in other places.[143]

CHAP. XCIX.--A marriage was proposed between the son of Anselmus, emperor of Rome, and the daughter of the king of Apulia. The young lady in her voyage was shipwrecked and swallowed by a whale. In this situation she contrived to make a fire and to wound the animal with a knife, so that he was driven towards the shore, and slain by an earl named Pirius, who delivered the princess and took her under his protection. On relating her story she was conveyed to the emperor. In order to prove whether she was worthy to receive the hand of his son, he placed before her three vessels. The first was of gold, and filled with dead men's bones; on it was this inscription; _who chuses me shall find what he deserves_. The second was of silver filled with earth, and thus inscribed; _who chuses me shall find what nature covets_. The third vessel was of lead, but filled with precious stones. It had this inscription; _who chuses me shall find what God hath placed_. The emperor then commanded her to chuse one of the vessels, informing her that if she made choice of that which should profit herself and others, she would obtain his son; if of what should profit neither herself nor others, she would lose him. The princess after praying to God for assistance, preferred the leaden vessel. The emperor informed her that she had chosen as he wished, and immediately united her with his son. This is obviously the story which had supplied the caskets in the _Merchant of Venice_. See the note at the end of that play, p. 169.

CHAP. C.--A king hunting in a forest loses his attendants, and is left alone. He meets a lame lion, who stretches out his foot to him, as if soliciting assistance. The king, perceiving a thorn, extracts it, and binds up the wound with certain herbs. Finding no way out of the wood, he is obliged to take shelter in the lion's den, where he is supplied with food by the grateful animal. After remaining here some time a bear comes to the den. The rest of the story will not admit of being told. What has been stated is evidently grafted on the well-known tale of Androcles.

CHAP. CI.--A certain emperor made a pilgrimage to the Holy Land, leaving the care of the kingdom in his absence to his wife, a wise and beautiful woman. The emperor's brother not only oppressed and persecuted many of his subjects, but had even the temerity to make unlawful love to the empress. On consulting with her counsellors, they advised her to cast him into prison, which was accordingly done. Here he lay until rumours were spread of the emperor's intended return; and fearing that if his unworthy conduct were reported to his brother he should be sentenced to die, he entreated mercy of the empress, and made such solemn promises of future good behaviour that she consented to release him. On the emperor's arrival, his wife and brother went out to meet him; but in passing through a forest, a stag springing up, diverted the attention of the domestics who accompanied them, and they were left entirely by themselves. The wicked brother now renewed his solicitations to the empress; but receiving from her the most positive refusal of compliance, and menaced with the vengeance of her husband, he inhumanly tied her by the hair to a tree, leaving her palfrey by the side of her. He then rejoined the attendants, and pretended that a multitude of armed men had attacked him and carried off the empress. Shortly afterwards the unfortunate lady was discovered by an earl who was hunting in the forest, taken home to his castle, and by her own consent appointed to superintend the care of his infant daughter. Here a certain seneschal fell in love with her, but his addresses being rejected, he determined on speedy revenge. For this purpose he contrived to get into the castle at night, and proceeding to the earl's chamber, found the empress in bed and asleep with the child. After murdering the infant, he placed the bloody knife in the empress's hand. During the night the earl's wife awoke, and perceiving by the light of the lamp what had happened, accused the empress of the murder in the most bitter terms, and entreated her husband to inflict immediate punishment. The earl, however, thought fit to spare the empress's life, and contented himself with dismissing her from his castle. The poor lady mounted her palfrey, and had not proceeded far, when she met a robber going to execution. Her compassion led her to ransom the man by means of a sum of money; and, depending on his gratitude, she sent him before her to the next city to provide lodging and other necessaries. All the inhabitants of the place admired her beauty, and many persons in vain solicited her love. It happened that a ship arrived in the harbour of this city laden with merchandize, and the empress despatched her servant to the captain, requesting him to attend her for the purpose of negociating for the articles she might want. The captain came, received her orders, and promised to send the goods; but he was also captivated with the beauty of the empress, and desired her servant to follow him. He then offered the man a large reward to assist him in getting his mistress on board the vessel, that he might thus have her in his power, and carry her away. The fellow consented; and, telling his lady that the captain would only permit his merchandize to be examined on board the ship, prevailed on her to accompany him thither, and she immediately became a prisoner. The vessel sailed, the commander earnestly pressed his unlawful solicitations, and threatened death in case of refusal. The empress requested a short respite, and addressed her prayers to heaven for assistance. A tempest instantly arose, the ship sunk to the bottom, and all perished except the empress and the captain. Each of them had clung to a piece of timber, but they were cast on different shores; and the empress, without her knowledge, on that of her own country. Here she soon found shelter in a convent, and applying herself to the study of healing the sick, soon became so skilful that her fame spread throughout the land. About this time the emperor's wicked brother had become a loathsome leper; the earl whose daughter had been killed was blind and paralytic; the treacherous servant became lame and gouty, and otherwise diseased; and the master of the ship had lost his reason. When the emperor heard of the lady's skill in curing diseases, he accompanied his brother to the convent, where the others had also come to be healed. The empress, preserving her disguise, informed them that she had no power of relieving them unless they previously, and in the presence of each other, made a fall and solemn confession of their sins, and repented of them sincerely. This was accordingly done; and when the innocence of the empress was clearly manifested, to the great and mutual surprise of all the parties, she first performed her promise to the sick, and then discovered herself to the emperor. He conducted her to the palace with much joy, and they finished their days happily.

Occleve has related this story in verse from the present work,[144] and it is also to be found in the _Patrañas_ of Timoneda.[145] The outline has been borrowed from one of the _Contes devots_, or miracles of the Virgin Mary.[146] The incident of the bloody knife occurs likewise in Chaucer's _Man of law's tale_, and in a story related by Gower.[147]

The author of this _Gesta_ has been nowhere recorded; but it may be necessary on this occasion to lay before the reader part of a note prefixed to the Merchant of Venice, in which Dr. Farmer has corrected one mistake, but inadvertently fallen into another. He says, "In a MS. of _Lidgate_, I find a _tale of two marchants of Egipt_ and of _Baldad, ex Gestis Romanorum_. _Leland_ therefore could not be the original author _as Bishop Tanner suspected_. He lived a century after Lidgate." The inference is perfectly just; but the suspicion was not Bishop Tanner's, who has only retailed that of another writer, Richard Robinson, and he in reality seems to have regarded Leland merely as a _translator_, as will presently appear.[148] Dr. Farmer had been deceived by the mode of printing Robinson's words, which have much the appearance of belonging to the bishop. There would have been more probability in a conjecture that either Walleis or Bromyard might have been the fabricator of the _English Gesta_. The moralizations to Ovid's metamorphoses, which the former of these persons composed, adapt him extremely well to the purpose; but though the date of his existence is, on the whole, uncertain, he seems to have lived about half a century too early, viz. towards the beginning of the fourteenth century.[149] From what has already been said of Bromyard, it will appear that he was no less qualified than the other for the authorship of the work in question.

TRANSLATION.--As this work was not circulated in foreign countries, no translation of it appears to have been made in any other language than the English; and in that, not of the whole. There is a very fine manuscript in the Harleian collection, written in the reign of Henry the Sixth, containing seventy stories only.[150] In this manuscript are several pieces by Lydgate, and some tales from Gower's _Confessio amantis_. As the _English Gesta_ appears to have been extremely well known to both these writers, and also to Occleve, it is by no means improbable that the above translation was made by one or the other of them. Whether it has ever been _printed_ is another question. Mr. Warton has twice mentioned an addition without date by Wynkyn de Worde;[151] and Dr. Farmer has also, in a note prefixed to the Merchant of Venice, referred to the same edition. It had escaped the researches of the industrious Herbert, who has only mentioned it after Mr. Warton,[152] and has in vain been sought for on the present occasion. The fortunate possessor of it may have the means of ascertaining whether it be the same as the above manuscript, by referring to the stories that have been given in the present volume at the end of the remarks on the plays of King Lear, and the Merchant of Venice.

Among the manuscripts in the Royal Library, now in the British Museum, there is one entitled "_Eupolemia; Archippus and Panoplia_; that ys to say. His good warrfare agenst Satan and his malignant spirites; his good soldyer agenst the flesh, the lustes and concupiscences therof: And his complet harness agenst the worlde and the wickednes and wretchednes therof. Conteyning a true catalogue of all his pore paynefull laboures, translated, collected, allso printed and published and præsented in English, by authority. Shewyng allso what good Benifactors hee hathe had, for meyntenance of his sayde pore study and peine, and what hynderances hee hathe had othirwyse from the yeare of oure Savyour Christe 1576, untill this yeare 1602, for 26 yeares. Newly written oute to the glory of God, honour of the Queenes most excellent Majesty, comfort of the faythfull and convertion or subvertion of their enemyes. By _R. Robinson_, London." This strange work has a great number of scriptural quotations in Latin and English, in the several margins. The dedication is here given for its singularity. "Sacrosanctæ beatæque Trinitati, simulque serenissimæ ac pientiss. regis majestati sacrum. Pro relevio professionis Christianæ ac remedio oppressionis inhumanæ. Cum impressione presentis codicilli." Then follows a dedication to Queen Elizabeth, made up of scraps from the sacred writings, and from Tibullus, Ovid and Juvenal; next, another to King James, entirely scriptural and in Latin verse. Afterwards we have a list of the author's works, which he divides into three columns, the first containing their titles, the second the allowance and printing, and the third patrons and benevolences. Among these is the following: "1577. A record of ancyent historyes intituled in Latin _Gesta Romanorum_, translated (auctore ut supponitur Johane Leylando antiquario) by mee perused corrected and bettered. Perused further by the wardens of the stationers and printed first and last by Thomas Easte in Aldersgate streete 6 tymes to this yeare 1601,[153] cont. 21 shetes. Dedicated for 5 impressions to the R. honorable Lady Margaret Countess of Lyneux, who gave me for her booke 13_s._ 4_d._ besydes sale of 25 boks. Dedicated last to the wardens of the Lether sellers,[154] who with others have given mee xx_s._ Dedicated last of all anno 1602 to D. Watson B. of Chichester and B. Almoner to the Queenes Majesty who, (not so thankfull to mee as I deserved) gave me but ijs. for my booke dedicatory."[155] If Leland made any translation of the _Gesta_, it must have been that printed by Wynkyn de Worde, which Robinson perhaps alludes to, when he says that he had _perused bettered and corrected_ the work; for it is very clear that the older translation in the Harleian manuscript was not known to him.

MANUSCRIPTS.--Of these many are still remaining. They are, in general, written during the reigns of the Fifth and Sixth Henries, though one or two appear to be as old as that of Richard the Second. As the work was a great favourite, many of the stories are found in some of those miscellaneous volumes, which, in all probability, constituted the private libraries of the monks. If these were carefully examined, there is no doubt that many might be added to the following, necessarily imperfect, list:--


1. Harl. 206. 37. 47. contains 26 stories. 2. 219. 15 stories. 3. 406. 37 stories. 4. 2270. 102 stories. 5. 3132. 81 stories. 6. 5259. 101 stories. 7. 5369. 43 stories. 8. Sloane, 4029. 95 stories. 9. Bibl. Reg. 8 F. vi.


10. Bodl. 1986. or B. 3. 10. 11. 2760. or MS. sup. O. i. Art. 17. 12. 3826. but query? 13. Coll. Lincoln. lib. theolog. 60. 14. Magdal. 13. 15. 60. 16. Joh. Bapt. C. 31. 17. G. 48.


18. Worcester Cathedral. 80. 19. Hereford Cathedral. 74. 20. MSS. Rob. Burscough, 82, in Catal. MSS. Angliæ. 21. MSS. Symonds D'Ewes, 150. Catal. MSS. Angliæ. 22. Trin. Coll. Dublin, G. 326. 23. In the author's possession. 101 stories. 24. Ibid. 50 stories. 25. Ibid. 34 stories.

PRINTED EDITIONS.--It has been already stated that the Latin copy of this work has never been printed. The following are all translations into English, No. 1 may be that ascribed to Leland; the rest are by Robinson.

1. No date, printed by Wynkyn de Worde.... 2. 1577. T. East. From Robinson's Eupolemia, as above. 3. 1595. T. East. 12mo. In the author's possession. Contains 43 stories. 4. No date. R. Bishop. 12mo. 5. No date. Stansby. 12mo. 6. 1648. R. Bishop. 12mo. 44 stories. 7. 1663. J. B. for A. Crook. 12mo. 8. 1668. A. J. for A. Crook. 12mo. 44 stories. 9. 1672. E. Crowch, for A. Crook. 12mo. 10. 1689. for T. Bassett, &c. 12mo. 44 stories. 11. 1703. for R. Chiswell. 12mo. The same as that of 1668.


[96] p. j. For the benefit of those who may have an opportunity of consulting the original, a mistake in Mr. Warton's reference to the _Speculum historiale_ is corrected, which should be lib. IV. c. viii.

[97] A fine collection of them, in verse, was in the library of the Duke de la Valliere. One volume is in MS., Harl. 4401, two others in the author's possession, as well as a third in prose, beautifully painted in camaieu gris. Some of those in prose have been printed. See a memoir by Racine in the _Acad. des inscript._ tom. xviii. p. 360. Specimens of them may be seen in the fifth volume of that very entertaining work, the _Fabliaux et contes_ of M. Le Grand.

[98] There is a great deal of confusion respecting this man, some making him an English Jacobin of the fourteenth century. He has been mistaken for other persons of the same name, and his works are by no means well ascertained, being often confounded with those of Nicolas Trivet and others. In his Ovid he has been indebted to a preceding work by Alexander Neckam. Another allegorical work on Ovid's metamorphoses was written about 1370, by Giovanni Buonsignore di Castello, and a tropological explanation of them was published by Pierre Lavigne, about 1500. There is also a manuscript in the Royal library at Paris, entitled _Ovidii metamorphosis moralisata, per Johannem Bourgauldum_. See Labbe _nova bibl. MSS._, p. 321.

[99] It was printed at Paris, 1494, in 12mo, by Geringard Rembolt.

[100] MS. Harl. 5396. This manuscript contains another similar collection; and these are the more worthy of being noticed, as we have very few of the kind printed in England.

[101] These were printed by Wynkyn de Worde, and at Paris, without date.

[102] "Hic mihi stultam aliquam et indoctam fabulam, ex Speculo opinor historiali, aut Gestis Romanorum, in medium adferunt, et eandem interpretantur allegoricè, tropologicè, et anagogicè."--_Stultitiæ laus._ Basil. 1780, 8vo, p. 261.

[103] Amœnit. eccles., i. 807.

[104] Observ. on Italy, ii. 108.

[105] This MS. is in the author's possession, as well as another of the same work with considerable variations. A third is in the library of the Royal Society, No. 292, and there ascribed to Odo de Ceriton. Concerning this person, who was tutor in theology to the celebrated John of Salisbury, see Bale, _Script. Brytann. catal._ pars i. p. 221, edit. 1559. Tanner, _Bibl. Britannico-Hibernic._ p. 560. A great deal of confusion, and yet not more than is often found on similar occasions, has been made concerning this work and its author. It has been confounded with a moral treatise on natural history called _Bestiarium_, from which it is totally different. If the reader be desirous of perplexing himself with further inquiries concerning this subject, he may consult Fabricius, _Bibl. med. ætat._, i. 93, & v. 466, edit. 1734. Cave, _Script. eccles._ p. 572. Pitts, p. 245. There is another similar but anonymous work among the Harl. MSS., No. 219, that has some fables not in the others, and wants many in both.

[106] See pp. 157, 334.

[107] That is, "Though the wolf come to the priest, and be set to his book to learn psalms, yet is one of his eyes ever turned towards the wood." A similar fable is among those composed by Marie de France in the twelfth century. A curate having tamed a wolf, undertook to teach him to read. "Now," says he to the scholar, "repeat after me, A." The wolf articulated A. "Good," says the curate; "now say B." The wolf cried "bee, bee;" but thinking he heard the bleating of the sheep, away he ran to the fold. This apologue is probably from the East. See the story of _Bohetzad and his ten vizirs_ in the continuation of the Arabian nights' entertainments. The other seems to have been borrowed from the celebrated and interesting romance of Reynard the Fox, evidently composed long before the twelfth century.

[108] Printed at Nuremberg, 1485. Paris, 1500. Basil, sine anno, in folio.

[109] Michael Neander, apud Schelhorn. _Amœnit. ecclesiast._ i. 798.

[110] Diss. on the Gesta Romanorum, p. lxxxvi.

[111] The _Repertorium_ or _Reductorium morale_ is an extraordinary performance for the time in which it was composed. It contains a system of natural history that may be consulted with advantage, even by modern students; but it is obscured by unlimited credulity and the grossest absurdities, which may nevertheless have their use in exhibiting the folly of learning when unaccompanied by judgment. The good monk is even occasionally witty, but without design. In speaking of the noise which frogs make, he compares them to the lawyers, "Tales sunt causidici et advocati quod vero isti sunt _clamosi_, quia clamando litigant ad invicem."

[112] Canterbury tales, iv. 331.

[113] Vol. ii. p. 14.

[114] Diss. on the Gesta Romanorum, p. xc.

[115] Ubi supr. p. lxxxviii.

[116] Biblioth. Belgic. i. 353.

[117] Biblioth. MSS. tom. i. p. 17. No. 172.

[118] Recherches sur l'origine de l'imprimerie. Bruxelles, an vii. 8vo, p. 246.

[119] Recherches, &c. p. 205.

[120] An obsolete word that signifies a flower-pot.

[121] Cant. tales, IV. 331.

[122] MS. Harl. 5396.

[123] There may perhaps be one exception in the Vatican MS. mentioned before in p. 531.

[124] MS. Harl. 2270, chap. 53.

[125] MS. Harl. 5259, chap. 28; but in most of the MSS. they are omitted.

[126] See Mr. Ellis's _Metrical romances_, vol. iii. pp. 155, 157.

[127] P. 253, folio edit.

[128] Vol. iii. p. 647. Mr. Gough speaks of it as separately printed. _Brit. Topogr._ ii. 27. It is also copied in Burton's _Unparallelled varieties_, p. 159, edit. 1699, 12mo, and _The gentleman's magazine_, vol. 1. p. 310. It has been twice versified: 1. anonymously, under the title of _A hue and cry after the priest, or the convent, a tale_, 1749, 8vo; and 2. by Mr. Jodrell under that of _The knight and friars_, 1785, 4to.

[129] The curious reader may also consult the following authorities, where he will find the above story in some shape or other. Fauchet, _Anciens poetes Francois_, chap. lxxxix. Barbasan, _Fabliaux et contes_, ii. 125. The first novel of Masuccio. Straparole, _Piacevole notte_, N. v. fab. 3. _Patrañas_ di Timoneda, patr. 3. _Comptes du monde adventureux_, 1595, 18mo, compte xxiii. Guellette _Contes Tartares_, in the story of _Les 3 bossus de Damas. Histoire des larrons_, tom. i. pp. 2, 239. _Biblioth. amus. et instructive_, tom. ii. p. 14. _Bibl._ de Du Verdier et La croix du Maine, par Juvigny, tom. iv. p. 376. _Pasquil's Jests_, or _Mother Bunch's merriments_, p. 51; and Marlow's _Jew of Malta_, in Reed's _Old plays_, vol. viii. p. 366.

[130] This fable is only to be found in Mons. de Cardonne's translation, book V.; Galland's and the English edition having no more than the first 4 books. It occurs also in that exceedingly rare and curious work, the _Directorium vitæ humanæ_, printed in Germany, without date, place, or name of printer, at the end of the fifteenth century; and in its imitation, the _Moral. philosophia_ of Doni, part ii. p. 68, in the English translation of which, printed by Denham, 1570, 4to, it has been omitted. It is also in Starkij _Specimen sapientiæ Indorum_, 1697, 12mo, p. 339. The two last works are in fact the fables of Pilpay under different forms, or rather the _Heetopades_ of Veeshnu Sarma, the Hindoo fabulist, who appears to be the parent of all.

The same story occurs likewise in the following works. Le Grand, _Fabliaux et contes_, tom. iii. p. 168. Sansovino, _Cento novelle_, giorn. 9, nov. 1. _Les facetieuses journées_, p. 287. Lestrange's _Æsop_, vol. i. fab. 464, 8vo edition. _Asiatic miscellany_, 12mo, 1787, p. 73, from the _Ayar Danish_ of Abulfazel, which seems to have been extracted from, or at least much resembles, the oriental work that forms the seventh chapter in the _Directorium humanæ vitæ_.

[131] Jones's _Relics of the Welsh bards_, p. 75, where there is an old Welsh song, or _Englyn_ on the subject.

[132] See Le Grand, _Fabliaux et contes_, ii. 426, who quotes the _Tartarian tales_ for a similar story.

[133] See the exempla at the end of the _Sermones discipuli_, ex. ix. de. B. The _Sermones fratris Gulielmi Cartusiensis_, 1494, 12mo, sig. V. 7 b. An ancient collection of Latin sermons in the Harl. coll. No. 5396. See likewise _A christen exhortation unto customable swearers_, at the end of _The christen state of matrimonye_, 1543, 12mo, p. 28, the author of which cites the _Preceptorium Johannis Beets_, a German preacher about 1450; and Burton's _Unparellelled varieties_, p. 21.

[134] From _Memorandums in India by John Marshall_, beginning Sep. 11th, 1678, preserved among the Harleian MSS. in the British Museum, No. 4523. The above person appears to have been a very curious and intelligent traveller, and many of his observations on the manners of the Indians would be exceedingly well worth publishing. Marshall was educated at Cambridge, had a great desire to travel, and by the interest of Lord Craven, went out 1667, in the India ship the Unicorn, in the Company's service.

[135] The _whole_ of Occleve's poem may be seen in MS. Reg. 17 D. vi. with the moralisation, omitted by Browne, who has otherwise mutilated the poem.

[136] One reason for suspecting it might have originated in the East is that it forms the subject of one of the old French _fabliaux_, many of which came in with the Crusades. See Sinner, _Catal. des MSS. de Berne_, iii. 389. It has been likewise imitated by La Harpe in his _Pied de nez_. Some traces of resemblance may be found in the stories of _Ahmed, and the enchanted horse_ in the Arabian nights entertainments.

[137] This incident has been introduced into the popular old ballad of _The children in the wood_.

[138] This was a common practice in the times of chivalry, and many examples of it may be found in ancient romances. The ladies not only assisted in bathing the knights, after the fatigues of battle, but administered proper medicines to heal their wounds. Similar instances occur in the writings of Homer. In the Odyssey, Polycaste, one of the daughters of Nestor, bathes Telemachus; and it appears that Helen herself had performed the like office for Ulysses.

[139] The incident of the weasel in this story is manifestly borrowed from a similar relation in the chronicle of Helinandus, a monk of the twelfth century, from which it is inserted in Wierus _De præstigiis dæmonum_, lib. i. cap. 14, as in allusion of t