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fob off our disgrace with a tale: butan 't please you, deliver.
Men. There was a time, when all the body's members Rebell'd against the belly; thus accus'd it :That only like a gulf it did remain l' the midst o'the body, idle and unactive, Still cupboarding the viand, never bearing Like labour with the rest; where the other instruments? Did see, and hear, devise, instruct, walk, feel, And, mutually participate,3 did minister Unto the appetite and affection common Of the whole body. The belly answered,
1 Cit. Well, sir, what answer made the belly?
Hystorie of Clyomon, Knight of the Golden Shield, &c. a play pub. lished in 1599:
“ The hugie-heapes of cares that lodged in my minde,
" Cut off his beard. “ Fye, fye; idle, idle; he's no Frenchman, to fret at the loss of a little scal'd hair.” In the North they say scale the corn, i. e. scatter it: scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. The two foregoing instances are taken from Mr. Lambe's notes on the old metrical history of Floddon Field.
Again, Holinshed, Vol. II, p. 499, speaking of the retreat of the Welshmen during the absence of Richard II, says: “- they would no longer abide, but scaled and departed away." So again, p. 530: “— whereupon their troops scaled, and fled their waies." In the learned Ruddiman's Glossary to Gawin Douglas's translation of Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail; but of a more general signification. Steevens.
Theobald reads--stale it. Malone.
I- disgrace with a tale :] Disgraces are hardships, injurics. Johnson. 2 — where the other instruments -] Where for whereas.
Johnson. We meet with the same expression in The Winter's Talë, Vol. VI, p. 205, n. 7:
“ As you feel, doing thus; and see withal
“ The instruments tbat feel.” Malone. 3- participate,] Here means participant, or participating.
Men. Sir, I shall tell you. With a kind of smile,
Your belly's answer: What!
What then? 'Fore me, this fellow speaks what then? what then?
i Cit. Should by the cormorant belly be restrain’d, Who is the sink o' the body, Men.
Well, what then? i Cit. The former agents, if they did complain, What could the belly answer? · Men.
I will tell you;
1 Cit. You are long about it. Men.
Note me this, good friend; Your most grave belly was deliberate, Not rash like his accusers, and thus answer'd. True is it, my incorporate friends, quoth he,
4 Which ne'er came from the lungs,] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt. Fohnson.
5 I may make the belly smile,] “ And so the belly, all this notwithstanding, laughed at their folly, and sayed,” &c. North's translation of Plutarch, p. 240, edit. 1579. Malone.
6 — even so most fitly --] i. e. exactly. Warburton.
7 They are not such as you.] I suppose we should read— They are not as you. So, in St. Luke, xviii, 11: “ God, I thank thee, I am not as this publican." The pronoun-such, only disorders the measure. Steevens.
8 The counsellor heart,] The heart was anciently esteemed the seat of prudence. 'Homo cordatus is a prudent man. Fohnson.
The heart was considered by Shakspeare as the seat of the understanding. See the next note. Malone.
That I receive the general food at first,
9 to the seat o' the brain ;] seems to me a very languid expression. I believe we should read, with the omission of a particle:
Even to the court, the heart, to the seat, the brain. He uses seat for throne, the royal seat, which the first editors probably not apprehending, corrupted the passage. It is thus used in Richard II, Act Iil, sc. iv:
“ Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills
“ Against thy seat." It should be observed too, that one of the Citizens had just before characterized these principal parts of the human fabrick by similar metaphors:
“ The kingly-crowned head, the vigilant eye,
« The counsellor heart, " Tyrwhitt. I have too great respect for even the conjectures of my respectable and very judicious friend, to suppress his note, though it appears to me erroneous. In the present instance I have not the smallest doubt, being clearly of opinion that the text is right. Brain is here used for reason or understanding. Shakspeare seems to have had Camden as well as Plutarch before him; the former of whom has told a similar story in his Remains, 1605, and has likewise made the heart the seat of the brain, or under. standing: “ Hereupon they all agreed to pine away their lasie and publike enemy. One day passed over, the second followed very tedious, but the third day was so grievous to them, that they called a common counsel. The eyes waxed dimme, the feete could not support the body, the armes waxed lazie, the tongue faltered, and could not lay open the matter. Therefore they all with one accord desired the advice of the heart. There Reason laid open before them,” &c. Remains, p. 109.
I agree, however, entirely with Mr. Tyrwhitt, in thinking that seat means here the royal seat, the throne. The seat of the brain, is put in opposition with the heart, and is descriptive of it. “I send it, (says the belly) through the blood, even to the royal residence, the heart, in which the kingly-crowned understanding sits enthroned. So, in King Henry VI, P. II:
“ The rightful heir to England's royal seat." In like manner in Twelfth Night, our author bas erected the throne of love in the heart :
“ It gives a very echo to the seat
" Where love is throned." Again, in Othello:
And, through the cranks and offices of man,
1 Cit. Ay, sir; well, well. Men.
Though all at once cannot See what I do deliver out to each; Yet I can make my audit up, that all From me do back receive the flour of all, And leave me but the bran. What say you to 't?
1 Cit. It was an answer: How apply you this?
Men. The senators of Rome are this good belly, And you the mutinous members: For examine Their counsels, and their cares; digest things rightly, Touching the weal o' the common; you shall find, No public benefit, which you receive, But it proceeds, or comes, from them to you, And no way from yourselves. What do you think? You, the great toe of this assembly?
i Cit. I the great toe? Why the great toe?
Men. For that being one o' the lowest, basest, poorest, Of this most wise rebellion, thou go'st foremost: Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run Lead'st first, to win some vantage.com
“ Yield up, O love, thy crown and hearted throne." See also a passage in King Henry V, where seat is used in the same sense as here; Vol. IX, p. 227, n. 4. Malone.
1- the cranks and offices of man,] Cranks are the meandrous ducts of the human body. Steevens. Cranks are windings. So, in Venus and Adonis: “He cranks and crosses, with a thousand doubles.”
Malons. 2 Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run.
Lead'st first, to win some vantage.] I think, we may better read, by an easy change :
Thou rascal that art worst in blood, to ruin
Lead'st first, to win &c. Thou that art the meanest by birth, art the foremost to lead thy fellows to ruin, in hope of some advantage. The meaning, however, is perhaps only this, Thou that art a hound, or running dog of the lowest breed, lead'st the pack, when any thing is to be gotten. Johnson.
Worst in blood may be the true reading. In King Henry VI, P. I:
But make you ready your stiff bats and clubs;
Enter Caius MARCIUS.
We have ever your good word. Mar. He that will give good words to thee, will flatter Beneath abhorring.- What would you have, you curs,
“If we be English deer, be then in blood." i. e. high spirits, in vigour.
Again, in this play of Coriolanus, Act IV, sc. v: “ But when they shall see his crest up again, and the man in blood,” &c.
Mr. M. Mason judiciously observes that blood, in all these passages, is applied to deer, for a lean deer is called a rascal; and that « worst in blood,” is least in vigour. Steevens.
Both rascal and in blood are terms of the forest. Rascal meant a lean deer, and is here used equivocally. The phrase in blood has been proved in a former note to be a phrase of the forest. See Vol. X, p. 86, n. 7.
Our author seldom is careful that his comparisons should answer on both sides. He seems to mean here, thou, worthless scoundrel, though, like a deer not in blood, thou art in the worst condition for running of all the herd of plebeians, takest the lead in this tumult, in order to obtain some private advantage to your. self. What advantage the foremost of a herd of deer could ob. tain, is not easy to point out, nor did Shakspeare, I believe, consider. Perhaps indeed he only uses rascal in its ordinary sense. So afterwards
“ From rascals worse than they." Dr. Johnson's interpretation appears to me inadmissible; as the term, though it is applicable both in its original and metaphorical sense to a man; cannot, I think, be applied to a dog; nor have I found any instance of the term in blood being applied to the canine species. Malone.
3 The one side must have bale.] Bale is an old Saxon word, for misery or calamity: “For light she hated as the deadly bale."
Spenser's Fairy Queen. Mr. M. Mason observes that "bale, as well as bane, signified poison in Shakspeare's days. So, in Romeo and Juliet: “ With baleful weeds and precious-juiced flowers."
Steevens. This word was antiquated in Shakspeare's time, being marked as obsolete by Bullokar, in his English Expositor, 1616. Matone.