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Hoft. I know my remedy; I must go fetch the thirdborough.
Sly. Third, or fourth, or fifth borough, I'll answer him by law: l'll not budge an inch, boy; let him come, and kindly.
(Falls asleep. Wind horns. Enter a Lord from bunting, with a train. Lord. Huntsman, I charge thee, tender well my
hounds : Brach Merriman, the poor cur is imboft ; –7
So Sly here, not caring to be dun'd by the Hoftels, cries to her in effect, “Don't be troublesome, don't interrupt me, go, by ;" and to fix the fatire in his allufion, pleasantly calls her Jeronymo.
THEOBALD. 6-I must go fi'ch the Headborough.
Sly, Third, or fourth, or fifth Borough, &c.] This corrupt reading had pass'd down through all the copies, and none of the editors pretended to guess at the poet's conceit. What an insipid, unmeaning reply does Sly make to his Hostess? How do third, or fourth, or fiftb Borough relate to Headborough? The author intended but a poor witticism, and even that is loft. The Hostess would say, that she'll fetch a constable : and this officer she calls by his other name, a Third-borough: and upon this term Sly founds the conundrum in his answer to her. Who does not perceive, at a single glance, some conceit started by this certain correction? There is an attempt at wit, tolerable enough for a tinker, and one drunk too. Third-borough is a Saxon term fuficiently explained by the glossaries : and in our statute-books, no farther back than the 28th year of Henry VIII. we find it used to signify a confiable. THEOBALD.
Theobald took his explanation of Tbird-borougb, from Cowels Law Diet. which at the same time might have taught him to doubt of its propriety. In the Personæ Dramatis to Ben Jonson's Tale of a Tub, the high-confiable, the party conflabl, the bead borugb, and the third-borough, are enumerated as distinct charac
It is difficult to say precisely what the office of a bird-berough was. STEEVENS.
7 Brach. Merriman, the poor cur is emboft,
And couple Clowder with the deep-mouth'd Brach. Saw'st thou not, boy, how Silver made it good
Here, says Pope, bracb fignifies a degenerate hound: but Ed. wards explains it a hound in general.
That the latter of these criticks is right, will appear from the use of the word brach in Sir J. Mores's Comfort against Tribulation, book iii. ch. 24. “Here it must be known of some men that “ can skill of hunting, whether that we mistake not our terms, “ for then are we utterly alhamed, as ye wott well,- And I am “ so cunning, that I cannot tell, whether among them a bitche be “ a bitche or no; but as I remember she is no bitche but a bracke." The meaning of the latter part of the paragraph seems to be, “ I “ am so little skilled in hunting, that I can hardly tell whether a “ bitch be a bitch or not; my judgment goes no further, than "just to direct me to call either dog or bitch by their general “ 'name-Hound.” I am aware that Spelman acquaints his reader, that brache was used in his days for a lurcher, and that Shake. fpeare himself has made it a dog of a particular species.
Maftif greybound, mungrill grim,
K. LEAR, act ii. fc 5. But it is manifest from the passage of More just cited, that it was sometimes applied in a general sense, and may therefore be so understood in the passage before us; and it may be added, that bracbe appears to be used in the same sense by Beaumont and Fletcher. “ A. Is that your brother ? E. Yes, have you loft “ your memory? 4. As I live he is a pretty fellow. 1. O this “ is a sweet bracbe." Scornful Lady, act i. sc. I.
WARTON. Sir T. Hanmer reads, Leech Merriman, that is, apply fome remedies to Merriman, the poor cur has bis joints (welled. Perhaps we might read, barle Merriman, which is I believe the common practice of huntsmen, but the present reading may stand :
tender well hounds :
Johnson. I believe brach Merriman means only Merriman the brach. So ir the old song,
“ Cow Grumbocke is a very good cow.” Brach however appears to have been a particular fort of hound.
At the hedge-corner in the coldest fault ?
Hun. Why, Belman is as good as he, my lord ;
Lord. Thou art a fool; if Eccho were as feet,
Hun. I will, my lord.
doth he breathe ?
warm'd with ale,
Lord. O monstrous beast ! how like a swine he lies!
i Hun. Believe me, Lord, I think he cannot chuse.
wak'd. Lord. Even as a Aattering dream, or worthless
fancy. Then take him up, and manage well the jest :Carry him gently to my faireft chamber,
In an old metrical charter, granted by Edward the Confeffor to
“ Four greyhounds & fix Bratches,
And hang it round with all my wanton pictures:
And when he says he is, - say that be dreams.
For he is nothing but a mighty lord.] One can hardly conceive that he would confess himself to be lunatic; neither is lunacy a thing incompatible with the condition of a lord. I lould rather think that Shakespeare wrote,
“ Aod when he says he's poor,--say, that he dreams.". The dignity of a lord is then fignificantly opposed to the poverty which it would be natural for him to acknowledge.
STEEVENS. If any thing should be inserted, it may be done thus,
“And when he says he's Sly, say that he dreams." The likeness in writing of Sly and say produced the omiffion.
If it be husbanded with modestyo 1 Hun. My lord, I warrant you,' we'll play our
part, As he shall think, by our true diligence, He is no less than what we say he is.
Lord. Take him up gently, and to bed with him ; And each one to his office, when he wakes.
[Some bear out Sly. Sound trumpets. Sirrah, go see what trumpet 'tis that sounds. Belike, some noble gentleman, that means,
[Exit Servant. Travelling some journey, to repose him here.
Re-enter a Servant. How now? who is it?
Ser. Ali't please your honour, players, That offer service to your lordship.
Lord. Bid them come near :
Enter Players. Now, fellows, you are welcome.
Play. We thank your honour. Lord. Do you intend to stay with me to night? 2 Play. So please your lordship to accept our
Lord. With all my heart. This fellow I remember, Since once he play'd a farmer's eldest son :'Twas where you woo'd the gentlewoman fo well: I have forgot your name ; but sure, that part Was aptly fitted, and naturally perform’d.
-modefty.) By modesty is meant moderation, withou suffering our merriment to break into an excess. JOHNSON.
-80 accept our duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great koules. JOHNSON