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Now, by this hand I swear, I scorn the term;
QUICK. No, by my troth, not long: for we cannot lodge and board a dozen or fourteen gentle. women, that live honestly by the prick of their needles, but it will be thought we keep a bawdyhouse straight. [NYM draws his sword.] O Lord! here's corporal Nym's '-now shall we have wilful
"Or bobtail tike, or trundle-tail."
This word is still employed in Yorkshire, and means a clown, or rustick. So, in Henry Carey's ballad opera, entitled, The Wonder, an Honest Yorkshireman, 1736:
"If you can like
"A Yorkshire like," &c.
66 a worme
STEEVENS. In Minsheu's Dictionary, 1617, tike is defined, that sucks the blood." It is now commonly spelt tick, an animal that infests sheep, dogs, &c. This may have been Pistol's term. Our author has the word in the sense Mr. Steevens has assigned to it, in King Lear; and it occurs with the other signification in Troilus and Cressida. Pistol's next speech, however, supports the former explanation. MALONE.
7 O Lord! here's corporal Nym's.] Before these words, the folio has, “O well-a-day, Lady, if he be not hewn now," which the following notes refer to. BOSWELL.
The folio-hewn. If he be not hewn must signify, if he be not cut down; and in that case the very thing is supposed which Quickly was apprehensive of. But I rather think her fright arises upon seeing the swords drawn, and I have ventured to make a slight alteration accordingly. "If he be not drawn," for, "if he has not his sword drawn," is an expression familiar to our poet. THEOBALD.
The quarto omits this obscure passage, and only gives us,"O Lord! here's corporal Nym's- -." But as it cannot be ascertained which words (or whether any) were designedly excluded, I have left both exclamations in the text. Mrs. Quickly, without deviation from her character, may be supposed to utter repeated outcries on the same alarm. And yet I think we might read,"if he be not hewing." To hack and hew is a common vulgar expression. So, in If you know not me you know Nobody, by Heywood, 1606: Bones o' me, he would hew it."
Again, in King Edward III. 1599:
"The sin is more to hack and hew poor men." Again, in Froissart's Chronicle, cap. ccclv. fol. ccxxxiiii.:
adultery and murder committed. Good lieutenant Bardolph,-good corporal, offer nothing here.
"For they all to hewed the maryners, and dyde putte out their eyen, and so sente them to Gaunte, maymed as they were."
After all (as the late Mr. Guthrie observed) to be hewn might mean, to be drunk. There is yet a low phrase in use on the same occasion, which is not much unlike it; viz. "he is cut.". "Such a one was cut a little last night."
So, in The Witty Fair One, by Shirley, 1633: Then, sir, there is the cut of your leg.that's when a man is drunk, is it not?
"Do not stagger in your judgment, for this cut is the grace of your body."
Again, in The London Chaunticleres, 1659: when the cups of canary have made our heads frisk; oh how we shall foot it when we can scarce stand, and caper when we are cut in the leg!" Again, in Decker's Guls Hornbook, 1609: - to accept the courtesy of the cellar when it is offered you by the drawers (and you must know that kindness never creepes upon them but when they see you almost cleft to the shoulders)," &c.
I have here followed the quarto, because it requires no emendation. Here's corporal Nym's sword drawn, the Hostess would say, but she breaks off abruptly.
The editor of the folio here, as in many other places, not understanding an abrupt passage, I believe, made out something that he conceived might have been intended. Instead of "Ö Lord," to avoid the penalty of the statute, he inserted, "O well a-day, lady," and added," if he be not hewn now." The latter word is evidently corrupt, and was probably printed, as Mr. Steevens conjectures, for hewing. But, for the reason already given, I have adhered to the quarto. MALONE.
How would the editor of the folio have escaped profaneness by substituting Lady for Lord? for Lady is an exclamation on our blessed Lady, the Virgin Mary. STEEVENS.
The answer is, that he would not have been subject to the penalty laid in the statute, which prohibits introducing on the stage the name of God, our Saviour, or the Trinity; but says not a word about the Virgin Mary. MALONE.
8 Good LIEUTENANT, &c.] This sentence (except the word Bardolph) is in the folio given to Bardolph, to whom it is evident these words cannot belong, for he is himself, in this play, the lieutenant. Mr. Steevens proposes to solve the difficulty by reading-good ancient, supposing Pistol to be the person addressed. But it is clear, I think, from the quarto, that these words belong to the speech of the Hostess, who, seeing Nym's sword drawn, con
PIST. Pish for thee, Iceland dog! thou prickeared cur' of Iceland!
jures him and his friend Bardolph to use no violence. In the quarto, the words, "Good corporal Nym, show the valour of a man," are immediately subjoined to-" now shall we have wilful adultery and murder committed." Bardolph was probably an interlineation, and erroneously inserted before the words, good lieutenant," instead of being placed, as it now is, after them, Hence, he was considered as the speaker, instead of the person addressed. MALONE.
9 ICELAND dog!] In the folio the word is spelt Island; in the quarto, Iseland. MALONE.
I believe we should read, Iceland dog. He seems to allude to an account credited in Elizabeth's time, that in the north there was a nation with human bodies and dogs' heads. JOHNSON. STEEVENS.
The quartos confirm Dr. Johnson's conjecture.
Iceland dog is probably the true reading; yet in Hakluyt's Voyages, we often meet with island. Drayton, in his Moon-calf, mentions water-dogs, and islands. And John Taylor dedicates his Sculler "To the whole kennel of Antichrist's hounds, priests, friars, monks, and jesuites, mastiffs, mongrels, islands, bloodhounds, bob-taile tikes. Farmer.
Perhaps this kind of dog was then in vogue for the ladies to carry about with them.
So, in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611:
you shall have jewels,
"A baboon, a parrot, and an Izeland dog."
Again, in Two Wise Men, and all the rest Fools, 1619: "Enter Levitia, cum Pedisequa, her periwig of dog's hair white,
"Insa. A woman? 'tis not a woman. The head is a dog; 'tis a mermaid, half dog, half woman.
"Par. No, 'tis but the hair of a dog in fashion, pulled from these Iceland dogs."
Again: "for torturing of these Iceland imps, with eradicating their fleeces, thereby to enjoy the roots."
Again, in the Preface to Swetnam's Arraignment of Women, 1617: " But if I had brought little dogs from Iceland, or fine glasses from Venice," &c.
It appears from a Proclamation in Rymer's Foedera, that in the reign of Henry V. the English had a fishery on the coasts of Norway and Iceland; and Holinshed, in his Description of Britain, p. 231, says, we have sholts or curs dailie brought out of Iseland." STEEVENS.
Island [that is, Iceland] cur is again used as a term of con
QUICK. Good corporal Nym, show the valour of a man, and put up thy sword.
NYм. Will you shog off? I would have you solus. [Sheathing his sword.
PIST. Solus, egregious dog? O viper vile! The solus in thy most marvellous face; The solus in thy teeth, and in thy throat, And in thy hateful lungs, yea, in thy maw, perdy3;
tempt in Epigrams served out in Fifty-two several Dishes, no date, but apparently written in the time of James the First: "He wears a gown lac'd round, laid down with furre, 'Or, miser-like, a pouch, where never man "Could thrust his finger, but this island curre.” See also Britannia Triumphans, a masque, 1636: she who hath been bred to stand
Near chair of queen, with Island shock in hand."
prick-eared cur -] A prick-eared cur is likewise in the list of dogs enumerated in The Booke of Huntyng, &c. bl. 1. no date :
trundle-tails and prick-eared curs." STEEVENS. "There were newly come to the citie two young men that were Romans, which ranged up and downe the streetes, with their ears This is said of two upright." Painter's Palace of Pleasure. sharpers, and seems to explain the term prick-eared.
2 Will you SHOG off?] This cant word is used in Beaumont and Fletcher's Coxcomb:
"Come, pr'ythee, let us shog off."
Again, in Pasquill and Katharine, 1601:
thus it shogges," i. e. thus it goes. Thus, also, in Arthur Hall's Translation of the 4th Iliad, 4to. 1581:
these fained wordes agog
"So set the goddesses, that they in anger gan to shog."
in thy hateful lungs, yea, in thy мAW, perdy;] Such was the coarse language once in use among vulgar brawlers. So, in The Life and Death of William Summers, &c. :
Thou lyest in thy throat and in thy guts." STEEVENS. So, in Marston's Fawne, the Page says of his master Herod Frappatore, that he boasted of having lyen with that, and that, and tother lady, &c. when poore I know all this while he only lied in his throat. BOSWELL.
And, which is worse, within thy nasty mouth *!
NYM. I am not Barbason; you cannot conjure me. I have an humour to knock you indifferently well: If you grow foul with me, Pistol, I will scour you with my rapier, as I may, in fair terms: if you would walk off, I would prick your guts a little, in good terms, as I may; and that's the humour of it.
PIST. O braggard vile, and damned furious wight!
The grave doth gape, and doting death is near"; Therefore exhale ". [PISTOL and NYм draw.
4thy NASTY mouth !] The quartos read: messful mouth. STEEVENS.
5 For I can TAKE,] I know not well what he can take. The quarto reads talk. In our author "to take," is sometimes 'to blast,' which sense may serve in this place. JOHNSON.
The old reading, "I can take," is right, and means, I can take fire.' Though Pistol's cock was up, yet if he did not take fire, no flashing could ensue. The whole sentence consists in allusions to his name. M. MASON.
The folio here, as in two other places, corruptly reads-take. See vol. xi. p. 137, n. 6. MALONE.
6 I am not BARBASON; you cannot CONJURE me.] Barbason is the name of a demon mentioned in The Merry Wives of Windsor, vol. viii. p. 91, n. 2. The unmeaning tumour of Pistol's speech very naturally reminds Nym of the sounding nonsense uttered by conjurers. STEEVENS.
-DOTING death is near;] Thus the folio. The quarto has groaning death. JOHNSON.
8 Therefore EXHALE.] Exhale, I believe, here signifies draw, or, in Pistol's language, hale or lug out. The stage-direction in the old quarto, [They drawe.] confirms this explanation.
"Therefore exhale" means only-' therefore breathe your last, or die,' a threat common enough among dramatick heroes of a higher rank than Pistol, who only expresses this idea in the fantastick language peculiar to his character.
In Chapman's version of the eighteenth Iliad, we are told that