Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

Boyet. My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou marry, Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry. Finely put on!

Ros. Well then, I am the shooter.
Boyet.

And who is your deer?8
Ros. If we choose by the horns, yourself: come near.
Finely put on, indeed!
Mar. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes

at the brow. Boyet. But she herself is hit lower: Have I hit her now?

Ros. Shall I come upon thee with an old saying, that was a man when king Pepin of France was a little boy, as touching the hit it?

Biron. So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a woman when queen Guinevero of Britain was a little wench, as touching the hit it. Ros. Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it, [Singing.

Thou canst not hit it, my good man. Boyet. An I cannot, cannot, cannot,

another can.

[Exeunt Ros. and Kath. Cost. By my troth, most pleasant! how both did fit it! Mar. A mark marvellous well shot; for they both did

hit it. Boyet. A mark! O, mark but that mark; A mark,

says my lady! Let the mark have a prick in 't, 1 to mete at, if it may be.

An I cannot,

9

8 And who is your deer?] Our author has the same play on this word in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V. Again, in his Venus and Adonis :

I'll be thy park, and thou shalt be my deer." Malone.

-queen Guinever -] This was King Arthur's queen, not over famous for fidelity to her husband. Mordred the Pickt is supposed to have been her paramour.-See the song of The Boy and the Mantle, in Dr. Percy's Collection.

In Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, the elder Loveless addresses Abigail, the old incontinent waiting-woman, by this

Steevens 1 Let the mark have a prick in 't,] Thus, says the Princess Floripas in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 56:

sir Gye my love so free,
“ Thou kanste welle hit the pricke;
• He shall make no booste in his contre,

“ God gyfe him sorowe thikke."

name.

Mar. Wide o'the bow hand!? l' faith your hand is

out. Cost. Indeed, a'must shoot nearer, or he 'll ne'er hit

the clout.: Boyet. An if my hand be out, then, belike your hand

is in. Cost. Then will she get the upshot by cleaving the pin. Mar. Come, come, you talk greasily,5 your lips grow

foul. Cost. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir; challenge

her to bowl. Boyet. I fear too much rubbing;6 Good night, my good owl.

[Exeunt Boyer and Mar. Cost. By my soul, a swain! a most simple clown! Lord, lord! how the ladies and I have put him down! O’my troth, most sweet jests! most incony vulgar wit! When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it were,

so fit.

Armatho o’the one side,—0, a most dainty man!
To see him walk before a lady, and to bear her fan!?
To see him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a' will

swear!8_

3

4

2 Wide o' the bow hand!] i. e. a good deal to the left of the mark; a term still retained in modern archery. Douce.

- the clout.] The clout was the white mark at which arch. ers took their aim. The pin was the wooden nail that upheld it.

Steevens. - by cleaving the pin.] Honest Costard would have be. friended Dean Milles, whose note on a song in the Pseudo-Rowley's ELLA has exposed him to so much ridicule. See his book, p. 213. The present application of the word pin, might have led the Dean to suspect the qualities of the basket. But what has mirth to do with archæology? Steevens.

- you talk greasily,] i. e. grossly. So, in Marston's third Satire:

when greasy Aretine, - For his rank fico is simnam'd divine.” Steevens. 6 I fear too much rubbing :] To rub is one of the terms of the bowling green. Boyet's further meaning needs no comment.

Malone. 7 to bear her fan!] See a note on Romeo and Juliet, Act II, sc. iv, where Nurse asks Peter for her fan. Steevens.

- a' will swear!'] A line following this seems to have been lost Malone.

5

8

And his page o't other side, that handful of wit !
Ah, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit!
Sola, sola! [Shouting within.-Exit Cost. running.

SCENE II.

The same.

Enter HOLOFERNES,9 Sir NATHANIEL, and DULL.

Nath. Very reverent sport, truly; and done in the testimony of a good conscience.

9 Enter Holofernes,] There is very little personal reflexion in Shakspeare. Either the virtue of those times, or the candour of our author, has so affected, that his satire is, for the most part, general, and, as himself says:

- his taxing like a wild-goose flies, Unclaim'd of any man-;' The place before us seems to be an exception. For by Holofernes is designed a particular character, a pedant and schoolmaster of our author's time, one John Florio, a teacher of the Italian tongue in London, who has given us a small dictionary of that language under the title of A World of Words, which in his epistle dedicatory he tells us, is of little less value than Stephens's Treasure of the Greek Tongue, the most complete work that was ever yet compiled of its kind. In his preface, he calls those who criticised his works, sea-dogs or land-critics; monsters of men, if not beasts rather than men; whose teeth are canibals, their toongs adders forks, their lips aspes poison, their eyes basiliskes, their breath the breath of a grave, their words like swordes of Turks, that strive which shall dive deepest into a Christian lying bound before them. Well therefore might the mild Nathaniel desire Holofernes to abrogate scurrility. His profession too is the reason that Holo. fernes deals so much in Italian sentences.

There is an edition of Love's Labour's Lost, printed in 1598, and said to be presented before her Highness this last Christmas, 1597. The next year 1598, comes out our John Florio, with his World of Words, recentibus odiis; and in the preface, quoted above, falls upon the comic poet for bringing him on the stage. There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle 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 Rymer.-Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and scowre their mouths on Socrates, those very mouths they make to vilife, shall be the means to amplifie his virtue, &c. Here Shakspeare is so plainly marked out as not to be mistaken. As to the sonnet of the gentleman his friend, we may be assured it was no other than his own. And without doubt was paro. died in the very sonnet beginning with The praiseful princess,

Hol. The deer was, as you know, in sanguis,-blood;'

&c. in which our author makes Holofernes say, He will something affect the letter, for it argues facility. And how much John Florio thought this affectation argued facility, or quickness of wit, we see in this preface where he talls upon his enemy, H. S. His name is H. S. Do not take it for the Roman H. S. unless it be as H. S. is twice as much and an half, as half an AS. With a great deal more to the same purpose; concluding his preface in these words, The resolute John Florio. From the ferocity of this man's temper it was, that Shakspeare chose for him the name which Rabelais gives to his pedant, of Thubal Holoferne. Warburton.

I am not of the learned commentator's opinion, that the satire of Shakspeare is so seldom personal. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unintelligible; and the author that gratifies private malice, animam in vulnere ponit, destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the estcem of succeeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms, which, perhaps, in our author's time, set the playhouse in a roar, are now lost among general re. flections. Yet, whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, inclined to doubt. Every man adheres as long as he can to his own pre-conceptions. Before I read this note I considered the character of Holofernes as borrowed from the Rhombus of Sir Philip Sidney, who, in a kind of pastoral entertainment, exhibited to Queen Elizabeth, has introduced a schoolmaster so called, speaking a leash of languages at once, and puzzling himself and his auditors with a jargon like that of Holofernes in the present play. Sidney himself might bring the character from Italy; for as Peacham observes, the schoolmaster has long been one of the ridiculous personages in the farces of that country. Johnson.

Dr. Warburton is certainly right in his supposition that Florio is meant by the character of Holofernes. Florio had given the first affront. “ The plaies, says he, that they plaie in England, are neither right comedies, nor right tragerlies ; but representations of histories without any decorum.”—The scraps of Latin and Italian are transcribed from his works, particularly the proverb about Venice, which has been corrupted so much. The affectation of the letter, which argues facilitie, is likewise a copy of his manner. We meet with much of it in the sonnets to his patrons :

“In Italie your lordship well hath seene
" Their manners, monuments, magnificence,
“ Their language learnt, in sound, in style, in sense,
Prooving by profiting, where you have beene.

To adde to fore-learn'd facultie, facilitie.We see, then, the character of the schoolmaster might be written with less learning, than Mr. Colman conjectured: nor is

VOL. IV.

ripe as a pomewater, who now hangeth like a jewel in

the use of the word thrasonical, (See this play, Act V, sc.i,] any argument that the author had read Terence. It was introduced to our language long before Shakspeare's time. Stanyhurst writes, in a translation of one of Sir Thomas More's Epigrams:

“ Lynckt was in wedlocke a loftye thrasonical hufsnuffe.” It can scarcely be necessary to animadvert any further upon what Mr. Colman has advanced in the appendix to his Terence. If this gentleman, at his leisure from modern plays, will condescend to open a few old ones, he will soon be satisfied that Shakspeare was obliged to learn and repeat in the course of his profession, such Latin fragments as are met with in his works. The formidable one, ira furor brevis est, which is quoted from Timon, may be found, not in plays only, but in every tritical essay from that of King James to that of Dean Swift inclusive. I will only add, that if Mr. Colman had previously looked at the panegyric on Cartwright, he could not so strangely have misre. presented my argument from it: but thus it must ever be with the most ingenious men, when they talk without-book. Let me, however, take this opportunity of acknowledging the very gen. teel language which he has been pleased to use on this occasion.

Mr. Warton informs us in his Life of Sir Thomas Pope, that there was an old play of Holophernes acted before the Princess Elizabeth in the year 1556. Farmer. The verses above cited, are prefixed to Florio's Dict. 1598.

Malone. In support of Dr. Farmer's opinion, the following passage from Orlando Furioso, 1594, may be brought: “— - Knowing him to be a Thrasonical mad cap, they have sent me a Gnathonical companion,” &c. Greene, in the dedication to his Arcadia, has the same word:

-as of some thrasonical huffe-snuffe.” Florio's first work is registered on the books of the Stationers' Company, under the following title: “ Aug. 1578. Florio his First Frute, being Dialogues in Italian and English, with certen Instructions, &c. to the learning the Italian Tonge.” In 1595, he dedicated his Italian and English Dictionary to the Earl of Southampton. In the year 1600, he published his translation of Montaigne. Florio pointed his ridicule not only at dramatic performances, but even at performers. Thus, in his preface to this work: "

-- as if an owle should represent an eagle, or some tararag player should act the princely Telephus with a voyce as rag'd as his clothes, a grace as bad as his voyce." Steevens.

in sanguis,-blood;] The old copies read-sanguis in blood. The transposition was proposed by Mr. Steevens, and is, I think, warranted by the following words, which are arranged in the same manner: “-in the ear of cælo, the sky,” &c. The same expression occurs in King Henry VI, P. I:

« If we be English deer, be then in blood." Malone.

1

« ZurückWeiter »