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* Why, sir,” said Campbell, "you should live at the sign of The Pronouncing Dictionary.” “And you," he replied, "should be my first purchaser.”—The poet was delighted with the man's ready wit.'-Life and Letters of Thomas Campbell, by Dr W. Beattie. The glover probably knew his Shakespeare well.
5 Guinever. King Arthur's queen, famous in song and romance. 6 The clout was the white mark at which archers took aim.
7 Enter Holofernes, &c. In this character, Shakespeare is supposed to have drawn a satirical portrait of John Florio, the son of an Italian refugee, who was some time teacher of French and Italian in Magdalen College, Oxford; and author of various works-viz., First Fruits, which yield Familiar Speech, Merry Proverbs, Witty Sentences, and Golden Sayings, 1578; Florio's Second Fruits, to which is annexed his Garden of Recreation, yielding Six Thousand Italian Proverbs, 1591; and A World of Words, or Dictionary of Italian and English, 1598. Of the Dictionary, an enlarged edition appeared in 1611, entitled Queen Anna's New World of Words, Florio being then Italian reader to the Queen of James I., with a stipend of £100 a year. This pedantic scholar also translated Montaigne's Essays, 1603; and in the library of the British Museum is a copy of this translation, bearing on the fly-leaf the name of 'William Shakespeare,' believed to be a genuine autograph. Florio died in 1625. Warburton was the first who maintained that by Holofernes the poet designed John Florio. The latter, in his Second Fruits, 1591, had said that 'the plays they play in England are neither right comedies nor right tragedies, but representations of history without any decorum,' and this 'affront' is supposed to have prompted the satire. The comedy of Shakespeare was performed before the queen at Christmas, 1597, and next year Florio published his World of Words, and in the preface 'fell upon the comic poet,' according to Warburton, 'for bringing him on the stage : “There is another sort of leering curs that rather snarl than bite, whereof I could instance in one, who lighting on a good sonnet of a gentleman's, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a poet than to be counted so, called the author a rhymer. Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plays, and scour their mouths on Socrates; those very mouths they make to vilify shall be the means to amplify his virtue.”' The sonnet referred to, Warburton conceived to be Florio's own, and the identical one parodied in Love's Labour's Lost (Act IV. sc. 2), beginning
"The praiseful princess pierc'd and prick'd.' All this, however, is mere conjecture. Pedantic phrases and alliteration were the literary vices of the age, and Shakespeare's ridicule would apply to twenty other writers of the sixteenth century. Steevens, for
example, quotes two lines from a commemoration of Queen Anne Boleyn which closely resembles the style of Shakespeare's parody:
• Whose princely praise hath pierc'd the prick
And price of endless fame.' Florio, however, must have been a vain braggart, for besides his 'threepiled hyperboles,' he makes furious attacks on his critics, and signs himself “The Resolute John Florio.' Farmer says that most of Shakespeare's scraps of Latin and Italian in this play are taken from Florio's works, including the proverb about Venice. Act IV. sc. 2. Venegia, Venegia,' &c.
8 Ripe as a pomewater. The pomewater was a species of apple formerly much esteemed : Malus Carbonaria,
9 A young fawn was called a pricket.
13 If a talent be a claw. Talent is here synonymous with talon. Both were then written alike.
1+ Venegia, &c. 'Our author,' says Theobald, 'is applying the praises of Mantuanus to a common proverbial sentence said of Venice: Venegia, Venegia, que non te vedi, ci non te pregia—O Venice, Venice, he who has never seen thee, has thee not in esteem.'
15? Tired horse—the signification, here, is obviously attired, caparisoned.
16 Shakespeare forgot himself in this passage, as Monck Mason pointed out. Jaquenetta knew nothing of Biron, and had said, just before, that the letter had been sent to her from Don Armatho, and given to her by Costard.'
17 Pitch-an allusion to Rosaline's dark complexion.
18 A perjure-a perjurer. The punishment of perjury was to wear on the breast a paper expressing the crime. 'Perjure' for perjurer, occurs in the old play of King John.
19 Your eyes do make no coaches. This refers to the phrase in the king's sonnet: 'No drop but as a coach doth carry thee.'
20 Teen-grief or care.
21 With men like you, men of inconstancy. In the old copies, 'With men of inconstancie.' Mason read, “With moon-like men of strange inconstancy. We have adopted Sidney Walker's emendation, sanctioned by Dyce.
22 Capell suggested that the lines we have marked with inverted commas should be omitted, as the same ideas are afterwards given with greater correctness. Dyce concurs: 'According to the earliest editions,
the quarto of 1598, Love's Labour's Lost was newly “ corrected and augmented” by the author; and nothing can be plainer than that in this speech we have two passages both in their original and in their altered shape—the compositor having confounded the new matter with the old. The play as it stands in the folio was reprinted from the quarto.'
23 Away, away! no time shall be omitted,
That will befit, and may by us be fitted. The old copies read the second of these lines: "That will be time and may by us be fitted.' We have ventured to substitute befit, which, at least, makes sense of the passage.
24 Cockle. A plant or weed that grows among corn—the corn-rose, a species of Agrostemma. It is also applicd to the Lolium or DarnelImp. Dict.
| Your reasons at dinner, &c. 'It may be proper just to note, that reason here, and in many other places, signifies discourse; and that “ audacious” is used in a good sense for spirited, animated, confident. “Opinion” is the same with obstinacy or opiniâtreté.”—JOHNSON. Also affection' for affectation.
? Thrasonical-boastful, bragging; an appellation taken from Terence.
3 Such insociable and point-devise—such particularly nice and exact companions.
4 A flap-dragon. This was a small inflammable substance, which topers swallow in a glass of wine. A game at flap-dragon was snatching raisins out of burning brandy. 5 A venew is the technical term for a bout at the fencing-school. If this fadge not--if this suit not; pass not into action.
70, that I knew he were but in by the week !
How I would make him fawn, and beg, and seck. This coquettish speech of Rosaline includes a phrase which is variously interpreted. 'In by the week' was supposed by Steevens to be an expression taken from hiring servants or artificers; meaning, I wish I was as sure of his service for any time limited as if I had hired him. It would seem, however, to have been applied to persons love-sick, and Mr Staunton points attention to a passage in the old comedy of Roister Doister (written half a century or more before Love's Labour's Lost), in which the expression occurs in the same sense as that used by Rosaline. Ralph Roister is in love, and says he is weary of his life, on which Merygreeke exclaims : He is in by the week, we shall have sport anon.'
8 Hests. In the old copies, devices--an obvious error.
9 To cog, signifies to falsify the dice, and to falsify a narrative, to lie.JOHNSON.
10 O poverty in wit, kingly-poor flout. Mr Singer suggests, 'stung by poor flout'
11 Statute-caps. Johnson thinks this an allusion to the statute-caps of the universities; Steevens, that it means better wits inay be found among the citizens, who wore a kind of woollen-cap by statute.
12 Tables. The old name for backgammon,
14 Lord have mercy on us. This was the inscription put upon the door of the houses affected with the plague.
15 Consent ; a conspiracy or agreement.
18 You cannot beg us. This signifies, we are not fools; and therefore you cannot beg the wardship of our persons and fortunes.
19 Pageant of the Nine Worthies. The nine worthies were Joshua, David, Maccabæus, Hector, Alexander, Julius Cæsar, Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bulloigne. They were very early made the subject of dramatic representation.
20 Libbard's head. 'Libbard' signifies leopard.
21 It stands too right. It should be remembered, to relish this joke, that the head of Alexander was obliquely placed on his shoulders. STEEVENS. Hence Pope's line :
"Great Ammon's son one shoulder had too high.' The fact, however, is doubted. Montaigne says, it was an affectation arising from his beauty which made Alexander lean his head a little to one side.
22 To go woolward for penance, was to be without linen, as was the custom with pilgrims wearing woollen garments on their penitential journeys.
23 The lines with inverted commas appear to be a part of the poet's first draft, retained by mistake in the corrected and augmented edition. See a previous note.
24 Lady-smocks; the cardamine pratensis, a common plant.
25 Cuckoo-buds; the ranunculus bulbosus. There are four species of ranunculus, all of which have yellow flowers similar to each other.
26 Keel the pot-cool the pot.