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For your conversing. 3 Now your traveller,
3 Now your traveller.] It is said in All's well that ends well, that a traveller is a good thing after dinner. In that age of newly excited curiosity, one of the entertainments at great tables seems to have been the discourse of a traveller. Johnson.
4 He and his tooth-pick-] It has been already remarked, that to pick the tooth, and wear a piqued beard, were, in that time, marks of a man affecting foreign fashions. JOHNSON.
Among Gascoigne's poems I find one entitled, Councell given to maister Bartholomew Witbipoll a little before his latter journey to Geane, 1572. The following lines may perhaps be acceptable to the reader who is curious enough to enquire about the fathionable follies imported in that age:
“ Now, Sir, if I shall see your mastership
“ A curtolde slipper and a short filk hose," & c. So Fletcher You that trust in travel
“ You that enhance the daily price of toothpicks." Again, in Shirley's Grateful Servant, 1630.
“ I will continue my state-posture, use my toothpick with dif“cretion,” & C.
Again, in The Tragedy of Hoffman, 1631. -" this matter “ will trouble us more than all your poem on picktooths.”
So again, in Cinthia's Revels by Ben Jonson, 1601.
-"A traveller, one so made out of the mixture and freds " and forms that himself is truly deformed. He walks most " commonly with a clove or picktooth in his mouth.” So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Wild Goose Chase. “ Their very pick-teeth speak more man than we do.” Again, in The Honest Man's Fortune by B. and Fletcher.
“ You have travell'd like a fidler to make faces and brought " home nothing but a case of toothpicks.” STEEVENS.
s My piked man of countries :) The word piked may not refer to the beard, but to the shoes, which were once worn of an immoderate length. To this fashion our author has alluded in
(Thus leaning on my elbow, I begin)
King Lear, where the reader may find a more ample explanation of this pafiage. Piked may however mean only spruce in dress.
Chaucer lays in one of his prologuesą“ Fresh and new her “ geare ypiked was.” And in the Merchaunts Tale.—“ He « kempeth him, and proineth him, and piketh.” In Hyrd's translation of Vives's Instruktion of a Chrisian Woman, printed in 1591. we meet with “ picked and apparelled goodly-goodly w and pickedly arrayed.-Licurgus, when he would have wo“ men of his country to be regarded by their virtue and not " their ornaments, banished out of the country by the law all “ painting, and commanded out of the town all crafty men of " picking and apparelling.” Again, in a comedy called All Fools, by Chapman, 1602.
:r 'Tis such a picked fellow, not a haire
“ About his whole bulk, but it stands in print.” My picked man of countries may fignify my spruce traveller, or, if a comma be placed after the word man, “I catechize
« My picked man, of countries.” the passage will mean," I catechize my selected man, about the “ countries through which he travelled." STEVENS.
o Like an a, b, c book.] An a, b, c book, or, as they spoke and wrote it, an absey book, is a catechism. JOHNSON.
? And so, e'er answer knows what queßion would,
SAVING in dialogue of compliment ;] In this fine speech, Faulconbridge would hew the advantages and prerogatives of men of worship. He observes, particularly, that he has the traveller at command (people at that time, when a new world was discovering, in the highest estimation). At the first intimation of his desire to hear itrange stories, the traveller complies, and will scarce give him leave to make his question, but “e'er an“ swer knows what question would"-What then, why, according to the present reading, it grows towards supper-time : and is * not this worshipful society ?” To spend all the time between dinner and supper before either of them knows what the other would be at. Road Serving instead of saving, and all this nonsense is avoided ; and the account stands thus, “ E'er
And talking of the Alps and Apennines,
" answer knows what question would be at, my traveller serves “ in his dialogue of compliment, which is his standing dish at “ all tables; then he comes to talk of the Alps and Apennines, “ &c. and, by the time this discourse concludes, it draws to“ wards supper." All this is sensible and humorous; and the phrase of serving in is a very pleasant one to denote that this was his worship's second course. What follows thews the romantic turn of the voyagers of that time; how greedily their relations were swallowed, which he calls “ sweet poison for the age's “ tooth ;” and how acceptable it made men at court--" Forit “ fhall strew the footsteps of my rising." And yet the Oxford editor says, by this “ sweet poison” is meant" flattery.”
WARBURTON. This passage is obscure; but such an irregularity and perplexity runs through the whole speech, that I think this emendation not necessary. JOHNSON.
8 Which though, &c.] The construction will be mended, if instead of “ which though,” we read “ this though.” JOHNSON.
9 But who comes here-] Milton, in his tragedy, introduces Delilah with such an interrogatory exclamation. JOHNSON.
? To blow a horn-] He means, that a woman who travelled. about like a post was likely to horn her husband. JOHNSON.
Enter lady Faulconbridge and James Gurney. Lady. Where is that save, thy brother? where is he, That holds in chase mine honour up and down?
Phil. My brother Robert ? old Sir Robert's fon? 2 Colbrand the giant, that same mighty man? Is it Sir Robert's son, that you seek fo?
Lady. Sir Robert's fon! ay, thou unreverend boy, Sir Robert's son: why scorn'st thou at Sir Robert ? He is Sir Robert's son, and so art thou.
Phil. James Gurney, wilt thou give us leave a while?
Phil. 3 Philip!- sparrow!- James,
[Exit James. Madam, I was not old Sir Robert's son ; Sir Robert 5 might have eat his part in me Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his fast: Sir Robert could do well ; marry, confess! Could he get me? Sir Robert could not do it;
. ? Colbrand was a Danish giant, whom Guy of Warwick difcomfited in the presence of king Athelstan. The combat is very pompously described by Drayton in his Polyolbion. Johnson.
3 Philip!- sparrow! - James,] I think the poet wrote,
“ Philip! spare me, James,” i.e. don't affront me with an appellation that comes from a family which I disdain. WARB.
* The old reading is far more agreeable to the character of the speaker. Dr. Gray observes, that Skelton has a poem to the memory of Philip Sparrow; and Mr. Pope in a short note remarks, that a Sparrow is called Philip. Johnson.
Gascoigne has likewise a poem entitled, The Praise of Philip Sparrow. STEEVENS.
+ There's toys abroad, &c.] i. e. idle reports. So in B. Jonson's Sejanus.
" Toys, mere toys, “ What wisdom's in the streets." Steevens. s might have eat his part in me
Upon Good-Friday, and ne'er broke his faft :) This thought oc. curs in Heywood's Dialogues upon Proverbs, 1562.
- " he may his parte on good fridaie eate
We knew his handy-work: therefore, good mother,
Lady. Haft thou conspired with thy brother too, That, for thine own gain, should'st defend mine lio
nour ? What means this scorn, thou most untoward knave ? Phil. 6 Knight, knight, good mother- Basilisco
Lady. Hast thou deny'd thyself a Faulconbridge ?
o Knight, knight,good mother, Bafili co like.] Thus muit this passage be pointed ; and, to come at the humour of it, I muit clear up an old circumstance of stage-history. Faulconbridge's words here carry a concealed piece of satire on a stupid drama of that age, printed in 1599, and called Soliman and Perjeda. In this piece there is the character of a bragging cowardly knight, called Basilisco. His pretension to valour is so blown and seen through, that Piston, a buffoon-furvant in the play, jumps upon his back, and will not disengage him, till he makes Baślisco swear upon his dudgeon dagger to the contents, and in the terms he dictates to him: as, for instance,
Bas. « O, I swear, I swear.”
So that it is clear, our poet is sneering at this play; and makes Philip, when his mother calls him knave, thow off that reproach by humouroully laying claim to his new dignity of knighthood; as Bafilisco arrogantly insists on his title of knight in the passage above quoted. The old play is an execrable bad one; and, I suppose, was sufficiently exploded in the representation : which might make this circumstance so well known, as to become the butt for a fage-farcasm. THEOBALD.