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"and wrested himself wholly to the Italian pun"tilio's, &c."
An allusion of a similar kind remains unexplained in Ben Jonson's Alchemist, Act I. Scene I. -and a face cut for thee,
"Worse than Gamaliel Ratsey's."
Gamaliel Ratsey was a famous highwayman, who always robbed in a mask. I once had in my possession a pamphlet containing his life and exploits, in the title page of which he is represented with this ugly visor on his face.
Queen Guinever.] This was king Arthur's queen, not over famous for fidelity to her husband. See the song of the Boy and the Mantle in Dr. Percy's collection.
27 Enter HOLOFERNES.] There is very little personal reflexion in Shakspeare. Either the virtue of those times, or the candour of our author, has so effected, that his satire is, for the most part, general, and, as himself says,
-his taxing like a wild goose flies,
Unclaim'd of any man.
The place before us seems to be an exception. For by Holofernes is designed a particular character, a pedant and schoolmaster of our author's time, one John Florio, a teacher of the Italian tongue in London, who has given us a small dictionary of that language under the title of A World of Words, which in his epistle dedicatory he tells us, is of little less value than Stephens's Treasure of the Greek Tongue, the
most complete work that was ever yet compiled of its kind. In his preface, he calls those who had criticized his works sea-dogs or land-critics; monsters of men, if not beasts rather than men; whose teeth are canibals, their toongs addars forks, their lips aspes poison, their eyes basiliskes, their breath the breath of a grave, their words like swordes of Turks, that strive which shall dive deepest into a Christian lying bound before them. Well therefore might the mild Nathaniel desire Holofernes to abrogate scurrility. His profession too is the reason that Holofernes deals so much in Italian sentences. There is an edition of Love's Labour's Lost, printed 1598, and said to be presented before her highness this last Christmas, 1597. The next year 1598, comes out our John Florio, with his World of Words, recentibus odiis; and in the preface, quoted above, falls upon the comic poet for bringing him on the stage. There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle than bite, whereof I could instance in one, who lighting on a good sonnet of a gentleman's, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a poet than to be counted so, called the author a rymer- -Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and scowre their mouths on Socrates; those very mouths they make to vilifie shall be the means to amplifie his virtue, &c. Here Shakspeare is so plainly marked out as not to be mistaken. As to the sonnet of the gentleman his friend, we may be assured it was no other than his own. And without doubt was parodied in the very sonnet beginning with The praise
ful princess, &c. in which our author makes Holofernes say, He will something affect the letter; for it argues facility. And how much John Florio thought this affectation argued facility, or quickness of wit, we see in this preface where he falls upon his enemy, H. S. His name is H. S. Do not take it for the Roman H. S. unless it be as H. S. is twice as much and an half, as half an AS. With a great deal more to the same purpose; concluding his preface in these words, The resolute John Florio. From the ferocity of this man's temper it was, that Shakspeare chose for him the name which Rabelais gives to his pedant of Thubal, Holoferne. WARBURTON.
28 -a pricket.] In a play called The Return from Parnassus, 1606, I find the following account of the different appellations of deer, at their different ages.
"Amoretto. I caused the keeper to sever the "rascal deer from the bucks of the first head. Now, "sir, a buck is, the first year, a fawn; the second "year, a pricket; the third year, a sorell; the fourth "year, a soare; the fifth, a buck of the first head; "the sixth year, a compleat buck. Likewise your "hart is, the first year, a calfe; the second year, a "brocket; the third year, a spade; the fourth year,
a stag; the sixth year, a hart. A roe-buck is the "first year, a kid; the second year, a girl; the third "year, a hemuse; and these are your special beasts "" for chase."
So in A Christian turn'd Turk, 1612.– "am but a pricket, a mere sorell; my head's not har"den'd yet."
29 -makes fifty sores; O sore L,] we should read, of sore L, alluding to L being the numeral for 50.
30 if their daughters be capable, &c.] Of this double entendre, despicable as it is, Mr. Pope and his coadjutors availed themselves, in their unsuccessful comedy called Three Hours after Marriage.
31 Fauste, precor, gelida, &c.] A note of La Monnoye's on these very words in Les Contes des Periers, Nov. 42, will explain the humour of the quotation, and shew how well Shakspeare has sussained the character of his pedant.Il designe le Carme Baptiste Mantuan, dont au commencement du 16 siecle on lisoit publiquement à Paris les Poesies; si celebres alors, que, comme dit plaisamment Farnabe dans sa preface sur Martial, les Pedans ne faisoient nulle difficulté de preferer à le Arma virumque cano, le Fauste precor gelida, c'est-a-dire, à l'Eneide de Virgile les Eclogues de Mantuan, la premiere desquelles commence par Fauste, precor gelida.
Chi non te vedi, ei non te pregia.] In old editions: Venechi, veneche a, qui non te vide, i non te piaech. And thus Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope. But that poets, scholars, and linguists, could not restore this little scrap of true Italian, is to me unaccountable. Our author is applying the praises of Mantuanus to a common proverbial sentence, said of Venice. Vinegia, Vinegia! qui non te vedi, ei non te pregia.
O Venice, Venice, he who has never seen thee, has thee not in esteem.
33 Disfigure not his slop.] Slops meant large and wide-kneed breeches. The slop-shops took their name from the sale of these articles of dress.
34 Some tricks, some quillets, how to cheat the devil.] Quillet is the peculiar word applied to lawchicane. I imagine the original to be this, in the French pleadings, every several allegation in the plaintiff's charge, and every distinct plea in the defendant's answer, began with the words qu'il est ;-from whence was formed the word quillet, to signify a false charge or an evasive answer.
A man at
-affection's men at arms:] arms, is a soldier armed at all points both offensively and defensively. It is no more than, Ye soldiers of affection.
36 The nimble spirits in the arteries;] In the old system of physic they gave the same office to the arteries as is now given to the nerves; as appears from the name, which is derived from aɛga Tygery.
37 Your reasons at dinner have been, &c.] I know not well what degree of respect Shakspeare intends to obtain for this vicar, but he has here put into his mouth a finished representation of colloquial excellence. It is very difficult to add any thing to this character of the school-master's table-talk, and perhaps all the precepts of Castiglione will scarcely be found to comprehend a rule for conversation so justly delineated, so widely dilated, and so nicely limited.