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Prin. Doth this man serve God?
Arm. That's all one, my fair, sweet, honey monarch: for, I protest, the school-master is exceeding fantastical; too, too vain; too, too vain: But we will put it, as they say, to fortuna della guerra. I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement!
[Exit ARM King. Here is like to be a good presence of worthies: He presents Hector of Troy; the swain, Pompey the great; the parish curate, Alexander; Armado's page, Hercules; the pedant, Judas Machabæus, And if these four worthies’ in their first show thrive, These four will change habits, and present the other five.
Biron. There is five in the first show.
Biron. The pedant, the braggart, the hedge-priest,
[Seats brought for the King, Princess, &C.
1 I wish you the peace of mind, most royal couplement!] This singular word is again used by our author in his 21st Sonnet:
“Making a couplement of proud compare —" Malone. 2 And if these four worthies &c.] These two lines might have been designed as a ridicule on the conclusion of Selimus, a tragedy, 1594:
“ If this first part, gentles, do like you well,
“ The second part shall greater murders tell.” Steevens. I rather think Shakspeare alludes to the shifts to which the actors were reduced in the old theatres, one person often performing two or three parts. Malone.
3 Abate a throw at novum ;] Novum (or novem) appears from the following passage in Green's Art of Legerdemain, 1612, to have been some game at dice: “ The principal use of them (the dice) is at rooum,
" &c. Again, in The Bell-man of London, by Decker, 5th edit. 1640: “ The principal use of langrets, is at novum; for so long as a payre of bard cater treas be walking, so long can you cast neither 5 nor 9—for without cater treay, 5 or 9, you can never come.” Again, in A Woman never vex'd: "What ware deal you in? cards, dice, bowls, or pigeon-holes; sort them yourselves, either passage, nouum, or mum-chance.” Steevens.
Abate throw-is the reading of the original and authentick co. pies; the quarto, 1598, and the folio, 1623.
Pageant of the Nine Worthies.5
Enter Costard arm’d, for Pompey.
You lie, you are not he.
With libbard's head on knee.6
A bare throw, &c. was an arbitrary alteration made by the editor of the second folio. I have added only the article, which seems to have been inadvertently omitted. I suppose the meaning is, Except or put the chance of the dice out of the question, and the world cannot produce five such as these. Abate, from the Fr. abatre, is used again by our author, in the same sense, in All's well that ends well:
- those 'bated, that inherit but the fall “Of the last monarchy.” “A bare throw at novum” is to me unintelligible. Malone.
4 Cannot prick out &c.] Dr. Grey proposes to read-pick out. So, in King Henry IV, P. I: “Could the world pick thee out three such enemies again ?" The old reading, however, may be. right. To prick out, is a phrase still in use among gardeners. To prick may likewise have reference to vein. Steevens,
Pick is the reading of the quarto, 1598: Cannot prick out,that of the folio, 1623. Our author uses the same phrase in his 20th Sonnet, in the same sense ;-cannot point out by a puncture or mark. Again, in Julius Cæsar :
“Will you be prick'd in number of our friends?" Malone. To prick out, means to choose out, or to mark as chosen. The word, in this sense, frequently occurs in The Second Part of King Henry IV, where Falstaff receives his recruits from Justice Shal. low:
“ Here's Wart-Shall I prick him, Sir John?
“ Shadow will serve for summer. Prick him.” M. Mason. Pageant of the Nine Worthies.] In MS. Harl. 2057, p. 31, is " The order of a showe intended to be made Aug. 1, 1621.”
“ First, 2 woodmen, &c.
“ The 9 worthies in compleat armor with crownes of gould on their heads, every one having his esquires to beare before him his shield and penon of armes, dressed according as these lords were accustomed to be: 3 Assaralits, 3 Infidels, 3 Christians.
“ After them, a Fame, to declare the rare virtues and noble decdes of the 9 worthye women.”
Such a pageant as this, we may suppose it was the design of Shakspeare to ridicule. Steevens.
“ This sort of procession was the usual recreation of our ancestors at Christmas and other festive seasons. Such things, be.
Biron. Well said, old mocker; I must needs be friends with thee.
Cost. I Pompey am, Pompey surnam'd the big, -
Cost. It is great, sir;-Pompey surnam'd the great ; That oft in field, with targe and shield, did make my foe to And, travelling along this coast, I here am come by chance ; And lay my arms before the legs of this sweet lass of France. If your ladyship would say, Thanks, Pompey, I had done.
Prin. Great thanks, great Pompey.
Cost. 'Tis not so much worth; but, I hope, I was perfect: I made a little fault in, great.
Biron. My hat to a halfpenny, Pompey proves the best worthy.
Enter NATHANIEL arm’d, for Alexander. Nath. When in the world I liv’d, I was the world's
commander; By east, west, north, and south, I spread my conquering might: My ’scutcheon plain declares, that I am Alisander.
ing chiefly plotted and composed by ignorant people, were seldom committed to writing, at least with the view of preservation, and are of course rarely discovered in the researches of even the most industrious antiquaries. And it is certain that nothing of the kind (except the speeches in this scene, which were intended to burlesque them) ever appeared in print.” This observation belongs to Mr. Ritson, who has printed a genuine specimen of the poetry and manner of this rude and ancient drama, from an original manuscript of Edward the Fourth's time. (Tanner's MSS. 407.) Reed.
o With libbard's head on knee.] This alludes to the old heroic habits, which on the knees and shoulders had usually by way of ornament, the resemblance of a leopard's or lion's head. Warburton.
In the church of Westley Waterless, Cambridgeshire, the brass figure of Sir John de Creke, has libbards faces
at the joints of his shoulders and elbows.
The libbard, as some of the old English glossaries inform us, is the male of the panther:
This ornament is mentioned is Sir Giles Goosecap, 1606:
“ — posset cuppes carved with libbard's faces, and lyon's heads with spouts in their mouths, to let out the posset-ale most artificially." Again, in the metrical Chronicle of Robert de Brunne :
"Upon his shoulders a shelde of stele,
Boyet. Your nose says, no, you are not; for it stands
too right." Biron. Your nose smells, no, in this, most tender
Your servant, and Costárd.
Alisander. Cost. O, sir, [to Nath.] you have overthrown Alisander the conqueror! You will be scraped out of the painted cloth for this: your lion, that holds his poll-ax sitting on a close-stool,8 will be given to A-jax:' he will be the ninth worthy. A conqueror, and afеard to speak! run away for shame, Alisander, [Nath. retires.] There, an 't shall please you; a foolish mild man; an honest man, look you, and soon dash'd! He is a marvellous good neighbour, insooth; and a very good bowler: but, for Alisander, alas, you see, how ’tis ;-a little o’erparted:1-But there are worthies a coming will speak their mind in some other sort.
it stands too right.] It should be remembered, to relish this joke, that the head of Alexander was obliquely placed on his shoulders. Steevens. 8
- lion, that holds his poll-ax sitting on a close-stool,] This alludes to the arms given in the old history of The Nine Worthies, to " Alexander, the
which did beare geules, a lion, or seiante in a chayer, holding a battle-ax argent.” Leigh's Accidence of Armory, 1597, p. 23. Tollet. - A-jax ;] There is a conceit of Ajax and a jakes.
Fohnson. This conceit, paltry as it is, was used by Ben Jonson, and Camden the antiquary. Ben, among his Epigrains, has these two lines:
“ And I could wish, for their eternis'd sakes,
“My muse had plough'd with his that sung A-jax." So, Camden, in his Remains, having mentioned the French word pet, says, “Enquire, if you understand it not, of Cloacina's chaplains, or such as are well read in A-jax.” Steevens.
ia little o'er-parted :] That is, the part or character allotted to him in this piece is too considerable. Malone.
Prin. Stand aside, good Pompey. Enter HOLOFERNES arm’d, for Judas, and Moth arm’d,
for Hercules. Hol. Great Hercules is presented by this imp,
Whose club kill'd Cerberus, that three-headed canus; And, when was a babe, a child, a shrimp,
Thus did he strangle serpents in his manus:
Hol. Judas I am,-
Hol. Not Iscariot, sir.-
Dum. Judas Machabæus clipt, is plain Judas.
2 A cittern head.] So, in Fancies Chaste and Noble, 1638:
A cittern-headed gew-gaw.” Again, in Decker's Match me in London, 1631: “Fiddling on a cittern with a man's broken head at it.” Again, in Ford's Lover's Melancholy, 1629: “I hope the chronicles will rear me one day for a head-piece"
“Of woodcock without brains in it; barbers shall wear thee on their citterns, &c. Steedens.
on a flask.] i. e. a soldier's powder-horn. So, in Romeo and Juliet:
like powder in a skilless soldier's flask, “ Is set on fire.” Steevens.