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If I go to him, with my armed fist
Upon the pashed corses of the kings--Ibid., v. 5.
For she had a tongue with a tang,
Would cry to a sailor, “Go hang!”—Temp., ii. 2 (Song).
And like a dog that is compelled to fight,
Must tarre the mastiffs on, as 'twere their bone.-Tr. & Cr., i. 3.
Sometimes a thousand twangling instruments
Come whizzing in upon them.-Lear, iii. 6. There are a few peculiar words retained in most editions of Shakespeare, because they are the words printed in the first folio edition, and because they may possibly be the author's original expressions, coined by himself:
And soberly did mount an arm-gaunt steed.-Ant. & C., i. 5.
I would land-damn him.-W.T., ii. 1. If these three words be indeed Shakespeare's coinage, they may have been meant by him to signify thus: “Arm-gaunt" may be taken to convey the idea of 'gaunt from long being clad in armed caparisons, and from long bearing an armed rider'; “hebenon" may be accepted as a form of henbane (the oil of which, according to Pliny, disturbs the brain), or of ebony' (which was believed to possess soporific and poisonous qualities); and “land-damn” has been supposed to be a mode of succinctly expressing, either .condemn to quit the land, or .doom to the torture of being banked up in earth and left to die.'
COINS. In Shakespeare's works mention is made of several different coins formerly current; some of which have furnished him with occasion for a play upon the word :
Noble, or not I for an angel [a gold coin, worth about ten shillings]. --M. Ado, ii. 3.
They have in England a coin, that bears the figure of an angel stamped in gold but that's insculped upon.-Mer. of V., ii. 7.
This bottle makes an angel.-1 H. IV., iv. 2.
She has all the rule of her husband's purse; he hath a legion of angels. ... humour me the angels.—Merry W., i. 3.
I had myself twenty angels given me this morning; but I defy all angels. but in the way of honesty.-Ibid., ii. 2.
Here are the angels that you sent for, to deliver you.—Com. of E., iv. 3. When his fair angels would salute my palm.- John, ii. 2. See thou shake the bags of hoarding abbots; imprisoned angels set at iberty.Ibid., iii. 3.
Three or four thousand chequins [a coin of Italy, and also of Barbary; its original name, zecchini, being derived from zecca, a mint. The secchino was a gold coin of Venice, worth about seven or eight shillings) were as pretty a proportion.—Per., iv. 3.
Yet I should bear no cross [a coin (of which there were several, various in value) bearing the mark of a cross upon it], if I.-As You L., ij.
4. He speaks the mere contrary-crosses love not him.-Love's L. L., i. 2. Not a penny; you are too impatient to bear crosses.—2 H. IV., i. 2.
I had rather have lost my purse full of cruzadoes (Portuguese coins, of which there were three sorts; one with a long cross, one with a short cross, and one with the great cross of Portugal. They were of gold, and varied in value from six shillings and eightpence to nine shillings]. -Oth., iii.
4. You will not pay for the glasses you have burst ?—No, not a denier (an old French coin; value, the twelfth part of a sou, or halfpenny. It came to be used for expressing the lowest imaginable fraction of money).—Tam. of S., Induc. I.
I'll not pay a denier.—1 H. IV., iii. 3.
When they will not give a doit (a small coin, value the eighth part of a penny. Dutch, duyt; French, d'huit).-Temp., ii. 2.
And take no doit of usance for my moneys.-Mer. of V., i. 3.
A dollar (a Dutch and German coin ; value from about two shillings and sixpence to four shillings and sixpence. The original name was thaler, from thale, a dale or valley; the coin having, it is said, been first coined in the valley of St. Joachim]. Dolour comes to him, indeed: you have spoken truer than.-Temp., ii. 1.
To three thousand dollars a year.-M. for M., i. 2.
That do prize their hours at a crack'd drachm! [A contracted form of drachma; which was an old Grecian coin, used also in Rome, worth four sesterces, about sevenpence
There were silver drachmas and brass drachmas; one of the latter probably being here intended.]-Coriol., i. v.
To every several man, seventy-five drachmas.-Jul. C., iii. 2.
No, not so much as a ducat sa coin so named from having originally been minted by dukes. A silver ducat was worth about four shillings and sixpence; a gold ducat, nine shillings and sixpence] for delivering your letter.—Two G. of V., i. 1.
But fare thee well; there is a ducat for thee.-Mer. of V.,
Who, wanting gilders (sometimes spelt 'guilder'; worth from one shilling and sixpence to two shillings] to redeem their lives.-Com. of E., i. 1.
But that I am bound to Persia, and want gilders for my voyage.--Ibid., iv. 1.
A half-fac'd groat (a silver groat worth fourpence with the king's profile on it ; the custom previously having been to give the monarch's countenance as a full face] five hundred pounds a-year !-Fohn, i. i.
There is a groat to heal your pate.-Me a groat ! I take thy groat in earnest of revenge.-H. V., v. i.
What money is in my purse ?-Seven groats and twopence.—2 H. IV.,
And here is four Harry ten shillings (a coin of this value in the reigns of Henry VII. and Henry VIII., bearing the head of the sovereign upon it; and Shakespeare allows the word “Harry” here to pass for signifying Henry IV.) in French crowns (coins stamped with a crown, and worth five shillings) for you.—2 H. IV., iii. 2.
I have lost a seal-ring of my grandfather's worth forty mark [a mark was a coin worth thirteen shillings and fourpence].-1 H. IV., iii. 3.
A hundred mark is a long one for a poor lone woman.—2 H. IV., ii. 1.
Of seven groats in mill-sixpences (coins that were the first milled money made in England, and which were frequently used for counters].-Merry W., i. 1.
Moy (supposed to be a contraction of .moidore'; a Portuguese coin, worth about twenty-seven shillings) shall not serve; I will have forty moys; ... is that a ton of moys ?-H. V., iv. 4.
I shall have my eight shillings I won of you at betting ?-A noble (a coin worth six shillings and eightpence] shalt thou have, and present pay.—Ibid., ii. 1. Hail royal (there was a coin thus called, worth ten shillings) prince !
Thanks, noble peer;
That scarce, some two days since, were worth a noble.-R. III., i. 3. Nor thou camest not of the blood royal, if thou darest not stand for ten shillings.1 H. IV., i. 2.
My lord, there is a nobleman of the court at door would speak with you: he says he comes from your father.-Give him as much as will make him a royal man, and send him back again.-Ibid., ii. 4.
Item bread —ob. [the abbreviated form of obolum, the Greek word for a small coin; which abbreviation was used in Shakespeare's time as the mode of stating a halfpenny). Oh, monstrous ! but one halfpenny worth of bread.-Ibid., ii. 4.
Sir, for a quart d'écu (a French coin, known in England, where it was sometimes spelt cardecue.' It means ' quarter of a crown;' and some authorities state it to have been the fourth part of the French gold crown, when it was worth eighteenpence ; while others say that it was a fourth of the smaller French crown, and worth eightpence] he will sell the fee-simple of his salvation.-All's W., iv. 3.
There's a quart d'écu for you. All's W., V. 2.
And two Edward shovel-boards (the broad shillings of Edward VI., used at the game of shovel-board or shuffle-board), that cost me two shillings and twopence a-piece of Yead Miller.-Merry W., i. 1.
Quoit him down, Bardolph, like a shove-groat shilling. [At the game of “shovegroat” smooth coins, such as silver groats or shillings, were in great request for playing with; and were named in reference to the game at which they were used.] – 2 H. IV., ii. 4.
Here's three solidares [believed to be coins, the name of which was originally derived from the Latin, solidatus, a soldier in pay] for thee: good boy, wink at me, and say:—Timon, iii, 1.
Tester [' sixpence': the original French coin was so called, from its bearing a head -teste, or tête-upon it] I'll have in pouch, when thou shalt lack.-Merry W., i. 3.
Hold, there's a tester for thee.—2 H. IV., iii. 2.
Come on; there is sixpence for you ; let's have a song.–There's a testril of me too.-Tw. N., ii. 3.
My face so thin,
Lest men should say, “Look, where three-farthings (small thin pieces of silver worth this much were coined by Queen Elizabeth, bearing her face and the emblematic rose of England on them; and it was a court mode for fashionable gallants, as well as ladies, to wear a rose stuck behind the ear]
goes!”-John, i. 1.
In Shakespeare's plays we meet with several purposed corruptions of words; either to indicate familiar and popular mode of parlance in a contracted form of word, or to mark blundering diction on the part of some ill-educated speaker (See PRONUNCIATION], or for the sake of a humorous rhyme, or as producing facetious effect.
I've heard him utter to his son-in-law,
Come apace, good Audrey [* Ethelreda ']: I will fetch up your goats, Audrey. And how, Audrey ? am I.-As You L., iii. 3.
I think he be, but goodman Puff of Barson (* Barston '].--2 H. IV., V. 3.
You have brought her into such a canaries [' quandary': which is itself a corruption of the French phrase, qu'en dirai-je] could never have brought her to such a canary [* quandary'].-Merry W., ii. 2.
Whose club killed Cerberus, that three-headed canus [' canis '].-Love's L. L., V. 2. I will be cheater ['escheator '] to them both, and they.-Merry W., i. 3.
Cheater, call you him ? I will bar no honest man my house, nor no cheater; but I do not love swaggering.—2 H. IV., ii. 4.
I heard say, he was outrun on Cotsall [*Cotswold '].—Merry W., i. 1.
• It is a moot point whether the corrupt form or the correct form was here used by Shakespeare; as the folio prints the word in this passage, “ Dauintry.”
By this at Daintry, with a puissant troop.—3 H. VI., V. I.
I could play Ercles [* Hercules '] rarely, ... This is Ercles' vein, a tyrant's vein.-Mid. N. D., i. 2.
Since my exion † ['action ') is entered, and my case.—2 H. IV., ii. 1.
When the wind is southerly, I know a hawk from a handsaw [hernshaw'l.Hamlet, ii. 2.
The papist, howsome'er [' howsoe'er'], their hearts are.-All's W., i. 3.
To the Lubbar's [libbard's' or leopard's '], in Lumbert (* Lombard'] Street.2 H. IV., ii. 1.
And how doth the martlemas [Martinmas '], your master ?-Ibid., ii. 2.
now, nuncle ! [uncle) ... Mark it, nuncle.—Lear, i. 4. Swithold [' Saint Withold'] footed thrice the old ['wold '].-Ibid., iii. 4 (Song). Burgomasters, great oneyers ('ones;' as 'one-ers' in modern familiar phraseology. There seems formerly to have been a fashion of introducing a y into a word, for jocular effect; as may be seen in “Yedward,” subsequently cited here), such as can hold in.-1 H. IV., ii. 1.
By'rlakin [by our lady kin) a parlous [' perilous '] fear.—Mid. N. D., iii. 1.
3. Then he's a rogue and a passy-measures ('passamezzo'] pavin: I hate a drunken rogue.-Tw. N., v. i.
If I be ta'en, I'll peach [' impeach'] for this.—1 H. IV., Which now peaches ['impeaches '] him a beggar.-M. for M., iv. 3. * In both these two first passages wherein the word " dolphin" is used, it is punningly employed; as the name of the fish so-called, and as the popular corrupted form of " Dauphin."
+ That in this same scene Hostess Quickly pronounces "action" correctly is consistent with Shakespeare's mode of making such variations in the diction of imperfect speakers (See VARIATIONS] ; also “canaries” and “canary” above cited.