صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

Pift. He hears with ears.

Eva. The tevil and his tam! what phrafe is this, He hears with ear? Why, it is affectations,

Fal. Pistol, did you pick master Slender's purse?

Slen. Ay, by these gloves, did he, (or I would I might never come in mine own great chamber again else) of feven groats in mill-lixpences ', and two · Edward shovel-boards, that cost me two fhilling and two pence a piece of Yead Miller, by these gloves.

Fal. Is this true, Pistol ?
Eva. No; it is false, if it is a pick-purse,
Pift. Ha, thou mountain-foreigner ! -Sir John,

and master mine,
* I combat challenge of this latten bilboe :

Word

[ocr errors]

9- -mill-fixpences,] It appears from a passage in Sir W. Davenant's News from Plimouth, that these milld-fixpences were used by way of counters to cast up money :

A few milld fixpences with which
“ My purser casts accompt." STEEVENS.

-Edward Novel-boards, -] By this term, I believe, are meant brass castors, such as are shoveled on a board, with king Edward's face stamped upon them. Johnson.

One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611:-“ away ilid I my man, like a lovel-board filling," &c. STEEVENS.

Edward Shovel-boards," were not brass castors, but the broad Shillings of Edw. VI.

Taylor, the water-poet, in his Travel of Twelve-pence, makes him complain :

the unthrift every day
With my face downwards do at haave-board play ;
66 That had I had a beard, you may suppose,

* They had worne it off, as they have done iny nose.”. And in a note he tells us : “ Edw. shillings for the most part are ufed at hoave-board." FARMER.

* I combat challenge of this Latin bilboe:] Our modern editors have distinguished this word Latin in Italic characters, as if it was addressed to Sir Hugh, and meant to call him podantic blade, on - account of his being a schoolmaster, and teaching Latin. But I'IL be bold to say, in this they do not take the poet's conceit. Piftpl barely calls Sir Hugh mountain-foreigner, because he had inter

posed

3 Word of denial in thy labra's here ;
Word of denial : froth and scum, thou-ly'ft.

Slen,

posed in the dispute : but then immediately demands the combat of Slender, for having charged him with picking his pocket. The old quartos write it latten, as it should be, in the common characters: and as a proof that the author designed this should be ad dressed to Slender, Sir Hugh does not there interpose one word in the quarrel. But what then fignifies latten bilboe? Why, Pistol, seeing Slender such a flim, puny wight, would intimate, that he is as thin as a plate of that compound metal, which is called latten: and which was, as we are told, the old orịchali. Monsieur Dacier, upon this verse in Horace's epistle de Arte Poetica,

" Tibia non ut nunc orichalco vincta," &c. fays, C'est une espece de cuivre de montagne, comme son nom mesme le temoigne ; c'est ce que nous appellons aujourd'huy du leton. “ It is a sort of mountain-copper, as its very name iinports, and which we at this time of day call latten." THEOBALD.

After all this display of learning in Mr. Theobald's note, I be. lieve our poet had a much more obvious meaning. Latten inay fignify no more than as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no b in it; and Ray, in his Dic. of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the north of England.

Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom, with a dagger of lath. A laiten bilboe" means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath-a vice's dagger,

Theobald, however, is right in his assertion that latten was a metal. So Turbervile, in his Book of Falconry, 1575: “-you must set her a latten balon, or a vessel of stone or earth.” Again, in Old Fortunatus, 1600 : " Whether it were lead or lattin that hafp'd down those winking casements, I know not." Again, irr the old metrical Romance of Syr Bevis of Hampton, b. 1. no date :

" Windowes of latin were set with glasse.” Latten is still a common word for tin in the North STEEVENS.

I believe Theobald has given the true sense of latton, though he is wrong in suppofing, that the allusion is to Slender's thinness. It is rather to his softness or weakness. TYRWHITT.

3 Word of denial in thy labra's here ;] I suppose it should rather be read :

Word of denial in my labra's hear;
that is, bear the word of denial in my lips. Thou l'A.

Johnson,

[ocr errors]

Slen. By these gloves, then 'twas he.

Nym. Be avis'd, Sir, and pass good humours: I will say, * marry trap, with you, if you run the nuthook's humour on me; that is the very note of it.

Şlen. By this hat, then he in the red face had it : for though I cannot remember what I did when you made me drunk, yet I am not altogether an ass.

Fal. What fay you, Scarlet and John

Bard, Why, fir, for my part, I say, the gentleman had drunk himself out of his five sentences.

Eva. It is his five senses : fie, what the ignorance is !

Bard, And being fap?, fir, was, as they say, ca. shier'd; and so conclusions pass'd the 8 careires.

Slen. We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his throat, Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adverJary, and is supposed to point to them as he speaks, STEEVENS,

marry trap, -] When a man was caught in his own Stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was marry, trap!

JOHNSON Sutbook's humour -] Read, pass the nutbook's humour, Nuthook was a term of reproach in the vulgar way, and in cant strain. In The Second Part of Hen. IV, Dol Tearsheet says to the beadle, Nuthook, Nuthook, you lie. Probably it was a name giren to a bailiff or catchpole, very odious to the common people.

HANMER. Netbook is the reading of the folio, and the third quarto. The second quarto reads, baje humour,

If you run the Nuthook's humour on me, is in plain English, if you say I am a Thief Enough is said on the subject of hooking moveables oyt at windows, in a note op K, Henry IV.

STEEVENS. Scarlet and John?] The names of apo of Robin Hood's companions ; but the humour confifts in the allufion to Bardolph's red face; concerning which, see The Second Part af Hen. IV.

WARBURTON. ? And being fap, ~) I know not the exact meaning of this cant word, neither have I met with it in any of our old dramatic pieces, which have aften proved the beft comments on Shake speare's vulgarisms. STEEVENS.

-careires - 1 I believe this strange word is nothing but the French cariere; and the expression means, that the commox bounds of good behaviour were overpassed. Johnson.

8

+

Şlen. Ay, you spake in Latin then too; but 'tis no matter : I'll never be drunk whilft I live again, but in honest, civil, godly company, for this trick : if I be drunk, I'll be drunk with those that have the fear of God, and not with drunken knaves.

Eva. So Got 'udge me, that is a virtuous mind.

Fal. You hear all these matters deny'd, gentler men ; you hear it.

Enter mistress Anne Page with wine; mistress Ford and

mistress Page following Page. Nay, daughter, carry the wine in; we'll drink within.

[Exit Anne Page. Slen. O heaven! this is mistress Anne Page. Page. How now, mistress Ford ?

Fal. Mistress Ford, by my tsoth, you are very well met : by your leave, good mistress. [Kiling her.

Page. Wife, bid these gentlemen welcome :Come, we have a hot venison pasty to dinner; come, gentlemen, I hope we shall drink down all unkindness.

(Exe. all but Shal. Slend, and Evans. Slen. I had rather than forty thillings, I had my book of songs and sonnets here :

Enter Simples How now, Simple; where have you been ; I muft wait on myself, must I? You have not the book of riddles about you, have you?

to pass the cariere was a military phrase. I find it in one of Sir John Smythe's Difcourses, 1589, where, {peaking of horses wounded, he says" they, after the first fhrink at the entering of the bullet, doo pass their carriere, as though they had verie little hurt.” Again, in Harrington's translation of Ariosto, book xxxviii. “ To stop, to start, to pass carier, to bound.”

STEEVENS.

Stanza 35.

Sim.

Sini. Book of riddles! why, did you not lend it to Alice Shortcake' upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?

Shal. Come, coz; come, coz; we stay for you. A word with you, coz: marry, this, coz; There is, as 'twere, a tender, a kind of tender, made afar off by fir Hugh here ;-Do you understand me?

Slen. Ay, fir, you shall find me reasonable; if it be so, I shall do that that is reason.

Shal. Nay, but understand me.
Slen. So I do, fir.

Eva. Give ear to his motions, master Slender : I will description the matter to you,

if

you be capacity of it.

Slen. Nay, I will do, as my cousin Shallow says: I pray' you, pardon me; he's a justice of peace in his country, simple though I stand here.

Eva. But that is not the question ; the question is concerning your marriage.

Shal. Ay, there's the point, sir.

Eva. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to mistress Anne Page.

Slen. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.

Eva. But can you affection the 'oman ? let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that' the lips is parcel

y upon Allhallowmas laft, a fortnight afore Michaelmas ?] Sure, Simple's a little out in his reckoning. Allhallowmas is almost five weeks after Michaelmas. But may it not be urged, it is designed Simple should appear thus ignorant, to keep up the character? I think not. The fimplest creatures (nay, even naturals) generally are very precise in the knowledge of festivals, and marking how the seasons run: and therefore I have ventured to suspect our poet wrote Martlemas, as the vulgar call it: which is near a fortnight after All-Saint's day, i. e. eleven days, both inclusive. THEOBALD.

This correction, thus seriously and wisely enforced, is received by fir Tho. Hanmer; but probably Shakespeare intended a blunder, JOHNSON

of

« السابقةمتابعة »