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were perishing with fear and hunger) the tents curiously orna. mented, and the young men practising themselves and their horses in tilting against shields hung upon poles. In the oldest edition of this writer, instead of “ quintana luclus," it is “ludus equestris.” However, this is certainly not the quintain that is here wanted, and therefore Mr. Malone has substituted another, copied indeed from a contemporary writer, but still not illustrative of the passage in question. I shall beg leave then to present the reader with some others, from which it will appear, that the quintain was a military exercise in Shakspeare's time, and not a mere rustic sport, as Mr. Malone imagines.
One kind of quintain is the figure of a man placed upon the trunk of a tree, holding in one hand a shield, in the other a bag of sand. Another figure is that of a Saracen, armed with a broken sword, raised in defence, with a shield and a quiver of arrows at his back, this was called the Saracen quintain, described by Pluvinel, instruction du Roi Louis XIII, dans l'exercise de monter à cheval. This sort of quintain, according to Menestrier, was invented by the Germans, who, from their frequent wars with the Turks, accustomed their soldiers to point their lances against the figure of their enemy. The skill consisted in shivering the lance to pieces, by striking it against the head of the man, for if it touched the shield, the figure turned round and generally struck the horseman a violent blow with his sword. The Flem. ish quintain is differently formed, and is called La bague Flamunde, from the ring which the figure holds in his left hand; and here the object was to take away the ring with the point of the lance, for if it struck any other part, the man turned round and hit the rider with a sand-bag, which he held in his right hand. This is a mixture of the quintain and running at the ring, which two sports have been some how or other in like manner confounded by the Italians, who sometimes express the running at the ring by correre alla quintana. The principle of all these was the same, viz. to avoid the blow of the sword or sand-bag, by striking the quintain in a particular place.
It might have been expected that some instance had been given of the use of these quintains in England; and for want of it an objection may be taken to this method of illustrating the present subject: but let it be remembered, that Shakspeare has indiscriminately blended the usages of all nations; that he has oftentimes availed himself of hearsay evidence; and again, that as our manners and customs have at all times been borrowed from the French and other nations, there is every reason to infer that this species of the quintain had found its way into England. It is hardly needful to add, that a knowledge of very many of our ancient sports and domestic employments is not now to be attained. Historians have contented themselves to record the vices of kings and princes, and the minutiæ of battles and sieges; and, with very few exceptions, they have considered the discussion of private manners (a theme perhaps equally interesting to posteri. ty) as beneath their notice, and of little or no importance.
As a military sport or exercise, the use of the quintain is very ancient, and may be traced even among the Romans. It is mentioned in Justinian's Code, Lib. III, tit. 43; and its most proba. ble etymology is from “ Quintus,” the name of its inventor. In the days of chivalry it was the substitute or rehearsal of tilts and tournaments, and was at length adopted, though in a ruder way, by the common people, becoming amongst them a very favourite amusement. Many instances occur of its use in several parts of France, particularly as a seignorial right exacted from millers, watermen, new-married men, and others; when the party was obliged, under some penalty, to run at the quintain upon Whitsunday and other particular times, at the lord's castle, for his diversion. Sometimes it was practised upon the water, and then the quintain was either placed in a boat, or erected in the middle of the river. Something of this kind is described from Fitzstephen by Stowe in his Survey, p. 143, edit. 1618, 4to. and still continues to be practised upon the Seine at Paris. Froissart mentions, that the shield quintain was used in Ireland in the reign of Richard II. In Wales it is still practised at weddings, and at the village of Offham, near Town Malling in Kent, there is now standing a quintain, resembling that described by Stowe, opposite the dwelling-house of a family that is obliged under some tenure to support it; but I do not find that any use has been ever made of it within the recollection of the inhabitants.
Shakspeare then has most probably alluded to that sort of quintain which resembled the human figure; and if this be the case, the speech of Orlando may be thus explained: “I am unable to thank you; for, surprized and subdued by love, my intellectual powers, which are my better parts, fail me; and I resemble the quintain, whose human or active part being thrown down, there remains nothing but the lifeless trunk or block which once up
Or, if better parts do not refer to the quintain, “ that which here stands up” means the human part of the quintain, which may be also not unaptly called a lifeless block. Douce.
King of France.
the Florentine war.
servants to the countess of Rousillon. A page.
Countess of Rousillon mother to Bertram.
neighbours and friends to the widow.
Lords, attending on the king; officers, soldiers, &c. French
i The persons were first enumerated by Mr. Rowe. 2 Lafeu,] We should read--Lefeu. Steevens.
3 Parolles,] I suppose we should write this name-Paroles, i. e. a creature made up of empty words. Steevens.
4 Violenta only enters once, and then she neither speaks, nor is spoken to. This name appears to be borrowed from an old metrical history, entitled Didaco and Violenta, 1576. Steevens.