Imagens das páginas
PDF
ePub

wars.

But how many hath he killed ? for, indeed, I promised to eat all of his killing.

LEON. Faith, niece, you tax fignior Benedick too much; but he'll be meet with you,

2 I doubt it not.

Mess. He hath done good service, lady, in these

Beat. You had musty victual, and he hath holp to eat it: he is a very valiant trencher-man, he hath an excellent stomach.

Mess. And a good soldier too, lady.

Beat. And a good soldier to a lady; But what is he to a lord?

Mess. A lord to a lord, a man to a man; stuffed with all honourable virtues.

BEAT. It is so, indeed; he is no less than a stuffed. man: but for the stuffing, - Well, we are all mortal.*

3

used by Fools, who, for obvious reasons, were not permitted to shoot with pointed arrows: Whence the proverb 66 A fool's bolt is soon shot. Douce..

he'll be meet with you, ] This is a very common expreslion in the midland counties, and fignifies hi'll be your match, he'll be even with you. So, in TEXNOTAMIA, by B, Holiday, 1618:

" Go meet her, or else she'll be meet with me." STEEVENS. 3 stuffed with all honourable virtues. ] Stuffed, in this first instance, has no ridiculous meaning. Mr. Edwards observes, that Mede in his Discourses on Scripture, speaking of Adam, says

he whom God had flujjed with so many excellent qualities." Edwards's MS. Again, in The Winter's Tale:

whom you know " of stuffed fufficiency. " Un homme bien étoffé, signifies, in French, a man in good cito cumstances. STEEVENS.

he is no lefs than a stuffed man: but for the stufùng, - Well, we are all morial.] Mr. Theobald plumed himself much on the

[ocr errors]

LEON. You must not, fir, mistake my niece: there is a kind of merry war betwixt fignior Benedick and her: they never meet, but there is a skirmish of wit between them.

Beat. Alas, he gets nothing by that. In our last conflict, four of his five wits' 'went halting off, and now is the whole man governed with one: so that if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference between himself and his horse; 6 for it is all the wealth that he hath left, to

[ocr errors]

pointing of this passage; which, by the way, he might learn from, D'Avenant: but he says not a word, nor any one else that I know of, about the reason of this abruption. The truth is, Beatrice starts an idea at the words fuff d man; and prudently checks here self in the pursuit of it. A jiuff'd man was one of the many cant phrases for a cuckold. In Lily's Midas, we 'have an inventory of Motto's moveables : " Item, says Petulus, one paire of hornes in the bride-chamber on the bed's head. - The beast's hicad, observes Licio; for Motto is ftu f'd in the head, and these are among unmoveable goods." "Farmer.

for of his five wits-] In our author's time wit was the general term for intelle&ual powers. So, Dari's on the Soul :

Wit, seeking truth from cause to cause ascends,

66 And never refts till it the first attain;
66 Will, seeking good, finds many 'middle ends,

" But never stays till it the last do gain. ' And, in another part:

56 But if a phrenzy do possess the brain,

" .It so disturbs and blots the forms of things, " As fantasy proves altogether vain,

5. And to the wit no true relation brings. " Then doth the wit, admitting all for true,

• Build fond conclusions on those idle grounds; The wits seem to have been reckoned five, by analogy to the five senses, or the five inlets of ideas. Johnson.

if he have wit enough to keep himself warm, let him bear it for a difference, &c.] Such a one has wit enough to keep himself warm, is a proverbial expression.

So, in The Wise Woman of Hogfden, 1638: 66 You are the wise woman, are you? and have wit to keep yourself warm enough, I warrant you. Again, in Cynthia's' Revels, by Ben Jonson:

6

[ocr errors]

be known a reasonable creature.Who is his companion now? He hath every month a new sworn brother. 6

Mess. Is it possible?

Bear. Very easily possible: he wears his faith? but as the fashion of his hat, it ever changes with the next block. Mess. I fee, lady, the gentleman is not in

your books.

8

[ocr errors]

C

6

7

8

your whole self cannot but be perfeâly wise; for your hands have wit enough to keep themselves warm.

To bear any thing for a difference, is a term in heraldry. So, in Hamlet, Ophelia says: you may wear your rue with a difference.

STEEVENS. sworn brother. ] i. e. one with whom he hath sworn (as was anciently the custom among adventurers) lo hare fortunes. See Mr. Whalley's note on “ we'll be all three sworn-brothers to France,” in King Henry V. Ad II. sc. i. STEEVENS.

he wears his faith -] Not religious profession, but profefjon of friendship; for the speaker gives it as the reason of her asking, who was now his companion ? that he had every month a swota brother. WARBURTON.

with the next block. ] A block is the mould on which a hat is formed. So, in Decker's Satiromafiix:

“ Of what fashion is this knight's wit? of what block ! See à note on K. Lear, Ad iv. sc. vi. The old writers sometimes use the word block, for the hat itself.

STEEVENS. 9- the gentleman is not in your books. ] This is a phrase used, I believe, by more than understand it. To be in one's books is to be in one's codicils or will, to be among friends Jet down for legacies.

JOHNSON. I rather think that the books alluded to, are memorandum-books, like the visiting books of the present age. So, in Decker's Honeft Whore, Part II. 1630:

" I am sure her name was in my table-book once." Or, perhaps the allusion is to matriculation at the University. So, in Ariflippus, or The Jovial Philosopher, 1630:

“ You must be matriculated, and have your name recorded in Albo Academie."

1

Beat. No: an he were, I would burn my study. But, I pray you, who is his companion? Is there no

[ocr errors]

Again: 6. What have you enrolled him in albo ? Have you fully admitted him into the society? to be a member of the body academic?"

Again : '" And if I be not entred, and have my name admitted into fomę of their books, let, &c.

And yet I think the following passage in The Maid's Revenge, by Shirley, 1639, will fufficiently support my firtt fuppolition:

" Pox of your compliment, you were beft not wrile in her table-books.

It appears to have been anciently the custom to chronicle the small beer of every occurrence, whether literary or domestic, in iablebooks. So, in the play last quoted:

" Devolve itself! that word is not in my tabic-books." Hamlet likewise has, my tables, &c. Again, in The Whore of Babylon, 1607:

Campeius! - Babylon " His name hath in her tables. Again, in Acolajus, a comedy, 1540:

We weyl haunse thee, or set thy name into'our felowship boke, with clappynge of handes,” &c.

I know not exa&ly to what custom this last quoted pallage refers, unless to the album : for just after, the same expression occurs again: that “ – from hencefoithe thou may'ft have a place worthy for thee in our whyte: from hence thou may'st have thy name wri!ten in our boke.

It should seem from the following passage in The Taming of a Shrew, that this phrase might have originated from the Herald's Office:

" A herald, Kate ! oh, put me in thy books!"
After all, the following note in one of the Harleian MSS. No.
847, may be the best illustration:
" W. C, to Henry Fradsham, Gent. the owner of this book:

66 Some write their fantasies in verse
" In theire bookes where they friendshippe Thewe,
" Whercin oft iynies they doe rehearse

" The great good will that they do owc, &c. STEEVENS.
This phrase has not been exaâly interpreted. To be in a man's
books, originally meant to be in the lift of his retainers., Sir John
Mandeville tells us, "alle the myostrelles that comen before the
great Chan ben witholden with him, as of his houshold, and entred
in his bookes, as for his own men. FARMER.
A jeivant and a lover were in Cupid's Vocabulary, synonymous.

young squarer now, that will make a voyage with him to the devil?

MESS. He is most in the company of the right noble Claudio.

BEAT. O Lord! he will hang upon him like a disease: he is sooner caught than the pestilence, and the taker runs presently mad. God help the noble Claudio! if he have caught the Benedick, it will cost him a thousand pound ere he be cured.

Mess. I will hold friends with you, lady.
BEAT. Do, good friend.
LEON. You will never run mad, niece.
BEAT. No, not till a hot January.
Mess. Don Pedro is approach’d.

Enter Don PEDRO, attended by BALTHAZAR and others; Don John, Claudio, and BENEDICK.

D. PEDRO. Good fignior Leonato, you are come to meet your trouble: the fashion of the world is to avoid cost, and you encounter it.

LEON. Never came trouble to my house in the likeness of your grace: for trouble being gońc, comfort should remain; but, when you depart from me, sorrow abides, and happiness takes his leave.

Hence perhaps the phrase -- to be in a person's books was applied cqually to the lover and the meniál attendant. MALONE.

There is a MS. of Lord Burleigl's, in the Marquis of Lansdowne's library, wherein, among many other household concerns, he has entered the names of all his servants, &c. DOUCE.

young Iquarer --] A Squarer I take to be a cholerick, quarrelsonne fellow, for in this, sense Shakspeare uses the word to Square. So, in A Midsummer Night's Dream, it is faid of Oberon and Titania, that they never meet but they square. So the sense may be, Is there no hot-blooded youth that will keep him company through all his mad pranks? JOHNS

2

NSON.

« AnteriorContinuar »