Imagens da página
PDF
ePub

Nrm. My humour shall not cool: I will incense Page? to deal with poison; I will possess him with yellowness, for the revolt of mien' is dangerous : that is my true humour.

Pist. Thou art the Mars of malcontents: I second thee; troop on.

[Exeunt.

7 I will incense Page, &c.] So, in K. Henry VIII:

I have
" Incens'd the lords of the council, that he is

A moft arch heretic-"
In both passages, to incenfe has the same meaning as to instigate.

Steevens. 8

-yellowness,] Yellowness is jealousy. Johnson. So, in Law Tricks, &c. 1608:

“ If you have me, you must not put on yellows."
Again, in The Arraignment of Paris, 1584:

-Flora well, perdie,
“ Did paint her yellow for her jealousy." STEVENS.

- the revolt of mien -] The revolt of mine is the old reading. Revolt of mien, is change of countenance, one of the effects he has just been ascribing to jealousy. STEVENS.

This, Mr. Steevens truly observes to be the old reading, and it is authority enough for the revolt of mien in modern orthography. “ Know you that fellow that walketh there? says Eliot, 1593 he is an alchymift by his mine, and hath multiplied all to moonThine.” FARMER.

Nym means, I think, to say, that kind of change in the complexion, which is caused by jealousy, renders the perfon podeled by such a palfron dangerous; confequently Ford will be likely to revenge himself on Falstaff, and I fall be gratified. I believe our author wrote that revolt, &c. though I have not disturbed the text. ye and yt in the Mss. of his time were easily confounded, Malone.

[merged small][ocr errors]

SCENE IV.

A Room in Dr. Caius's House.

Enter Mrs. QUICKLY, SIMPLE, and Rugby.'

Quick. What; John Rugby!—I pray thee, go to the casement, and see if you can see my master, master Doctor Caius, coming: if he do, i’faith, and find any body in the house, here will be an old abusing of God's patience, and the king's English. Rug. I'll go watch.

[Exit Rugby. Quick. Go; and we'll have a poffet for’t soon at night, in faith, at the latter end of a sea-coal fire. An honest, willing, kind fellow, as ever servant shall come in house withal; and, I warrant you, no tell-tale, nor no breed-bate : 4 his worst fault is, that he is given to prayer; he is something peevish that way :s but nobody but has his fault;

3

Rugby.) This domestic of Dr. Caius received his name from a town in Warwickshire, STEEVÈN'S.

at the latter end, &c.] That is, when my master is in bed. JOHNSON.

4 no breed-bate :) Bate is an obsolete word, signifying ftrife, contention. So, in the Countess of Pembroke's Antonius, 1595:

" Shall ever civil bate

“ Gnaw and devour our state ?" Again, in Acolaftus, a comedy, 1540:

We hall not fall at bate, or ftryve for this matter." Stanyhurst, in his translation of Virgil, 1582, calls Erinnys a make-bate. STEEVENS.

S-he is fomething peevish that way :] Peevish is foolish. So, in Cymbeline, Act II: "- he's strange and peevill.' Steevens.

I believe, this is one of dame Quickly's blunders, and that she means precise. Malone.

—but let that pass. Peter Simple, you say your name is?

Sim, Ay, for fault of a better.
Quick. And master Slender's your master?
Sim. Ay, forsooth.

Quick. Does he not wear a great round beard, like a glover's paring-knife?

Sim. No, forsooth: he hath but a little wee face, with a little yellow beard; a Cain-colour'd beard.8

6

[ocr errors]

- a great round beard, &c.] See a note on K. Henry V. Act III. sc. vi: “And what a beard of the general's cut,” &c. Malonę.

7 a little wee face,] Wee, in the northern dialect, signifies very little. Thus, in the Scottish proverb that apologizes for a little woman's marriage with a big man: A wee mouse will creep under a mickle cornstack.” Collins.

So, in Heywood's Fair Maid of the Wej, a comedy, 1631: “ He was nothing so tall as I; but a little wee man, and somewhat hutch-back'd.” Again, in The Wisdom of Doctor Dodypoll, 1600 :

« Some two miles, and a wee bit, fir." Wee is derived from weenig, Dutch. On the authority of the 4to, 1619, we might be led to read whey-face: “ – Somewhat of a weakly man, and has as it were a whey-coloured beard." Macbeth calls one of the messengers Whey-face. Steevens.

Little wee is certainly the right reading; it implies fomething extremely diminutive, and is a very common vulgar idiom in the North. Wee alone, has only the fignification of litle. Thus Cleveland:

A Yorkshire wee bit, longer than a mile.” The proverb is a mile and a wee bit; i. e. about a league and a half. Ritson.

8 a Cain-colour'd beard.] Cain and Judas, in the tapestries and pictures of old, were represented with yellow beards,

THEOBALD. Theobald's conjecture may be countenanced by a parallel expression in an old play called Blurt Master Constable, or, The Spaniard's Night-Walk, 1602 :

over all,
“ A goodly, long, thick, Abraham-colour'd beard.”

Quick. A softly-sprighted man, is he not?

Sim. Ay, forsooth: but he is as tall a man of his hands, as any is between this and his head; he hath fought with a warrener.

Again, in Soliman and Perseda, 1599, Bafilisco says:

where is the eldest son of Priam, “ That Abraham-colour'd Trojan?". I am not however, certain, but that Abraham may be a corruption of auburn. Again, in The Spanish Tragedy, 1603 :

“ And let their beards be of Judas his own colour,Again, in A Chriftian turn'd Turk, 1612 :

“ That's he in the Judas beard.". Again, in The Insatiate Countess, 1613 :

“ I ever thought by his red beard he would prove a Judas." In an age, when but a small part of the nation could read, ideas were frequently borrowed from representations in painting or tapeftry. A cane-colour'd beard however, [the reading of the quarto,] might fignify a beard of the colour of cane, i. e. a fickly yellow; for Araw-coloured beards are mentioned in A Midsummer Night's Dream. Steevens.

The words of the quarto,—a whey-colour'd beard, strongly favour this reading; for whey and cane are nearly of the same colour.

MALONE. The new edition of Leland's Colle&tanea, Vol. V. p. 295, alferts, that painters conftantly represented Judas the traytor with a red head. Dr. Plot's Oxfordshire, p. 353, says the same. This conceit is thought to have arisen in England, from our ancient grudge to the red-haired Danes. Tollet. See my quotation in King Henry VIII. Ad V. sc. i.

STEEVENS. - as tall a man of his hands,] Perhaps this is an allufion to the jockey measure, so many hands high, used by grooms when speaking of horses. Tall, in our author's time, signified not only height of ftature, but ftoutness of body. The ambiguity of the phrase seems intended. Percy.

Whatever be the origin of this phrase, it is very ancient, being used by Gower :

“ A worthie knight was of his honde,
“ There was none suche in all the londe."
De Confeffione Amantis, lib. v. fol. 118. b.

STEEVENS.

8

Quick. How fay you?-0, I should remember him ; Does he not hold up his head, as it were ? and strut in his gait?

Sim. Yes, indeed, does he.

Quick. Well, heaven send Anne Page no worse fortune! Tell master parson Evans, I will do what I can for your master: Anne is a good girl, and I with

Re-enter RUGBY.

Rug. Out, alas ! here comes my master.

Quick. We shall all be fhent :' Run in here, good young man; go into this closet. [Shuts Simple in the closet.] He will not stay long.–What, John Rugby! John, what, John, I say !-Go, John, go enquire for my master; I doubt, he be not well, that he comes not home :-and down, down, adown-a, &c.

[lings.

The tall man of the old dramatick writers, was a man of a bold, intrepid disposition, and inclined to quarrel; such as is described by Steevens in the second scene of the third act of this play,

M. Mason. “ A tall man of his hands” sometimes meant quick-handed, active; and as Simple is here commending his master for his gymnaftick abilities, perhaps the phrase is here used in that sense. See Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598, in v. Manesco. Nimble or quick-handed; a tall man of his hands." · Malone.

9 We shall all be fhent:] i. e. Scolded, roughly treated. So, in the old Interlude of Nature, bl. 1. no date :

I can tell thee one thyng,
“ In fayth you wyll be fhent." STEVENS.

- and down, down, adown-a, &c.] To deceive her master, The fings as if at her work. Sir J. Hawkins.

This appears to have been the burden of some song then well known. In Every Woman in her Humour, 1609, sign. E 1. one of the characters says, “ Hey good boies ! i'faith now a three man's

« AnteriorContinuar »