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ale-houses, and bid those that are drunk 6
them to bed.
About Shakspeare's time halberds were the weapons borne by the watchmen, as appears from Blount's Voyage to the Levant : " - certaine Janizaries, who with great ftaves guard each street, as our night watchmen with holberds in London." REED.
The weapons to which the care of Dogberry extends, arc mentioned in Glapthorne's Wit in a Constable, 1639:
Well said, neighbours ;
" As becomes watchmen of discretion." Again, in Arden of Feversham, 1592 :
the watch “ Are coming tow'rd our house with glaives and bills." The following representation of a watchman, with his lill on his shoulder, is copied from the title-page to Decker's O per fe 0, &c. 4to. 1612:
STEEVENSE 6 m bid those that are drunk —] Thus the quarto, 1600. The folio, 1623. reads bid them that," kic. STEEVENS,
2 WATCH. How if they will not? Dogs. Why then, let them alone till they are fober; if they make you not then the better answer, you may say, they are not the men you took them for.
2 WATCH. Well, fir.
Dogs. If you meet a thief, you may suspect him, by virtue of your office, to be no true man:-and, for such kind of men, ihe less you meddle or make with them, why, the more is for your honesty.
2 WATCH. If we know him to be a thief, shall we not lay hands on him ?
DOGB. Truly, by your office, you may; but, I think, they that touch pitch will be defiled: the most peaceable way for you, if you do take a thief, is, to let him show himself what he is, and steal out of your company.
VERG. You have been always called a merciful man, partner.
Doce. Truly, I would not hang a dog by my will; much more a man who hath any honesty in him.
Verg. If you hear a child cry in the night, you must call to the nurse, and bid her still it.
7. If you hear a child cry &c.] It is not impossible but that part of this scene was intended as a burlesque on The Statutes of the Streets, imprinted by Wolfe, in 1595. Among these I find the following:
22. “ No man shall blowe any horne in the night, within this citie, or whistle after the houre of nyue of the clock in the night, under paine of imprisonment.
23, 6. No 'man shall use to go with visourės, or disguised by night, under like paine of imprisonment.
24. "Made that night-walkers, and evisdroppers, like punishment.
25. * No hammer-man, as a smith, a pewterer, a founder, aad all artificers making great sound, shall not worke after the houre of nyne at night, &c. Vol. VI.
2 WATCH. How if the nurse be asleep, and will not hear us?
Dogs. Why then, depart in peace, and let the child wake her with crying: for the ewe that will not hear her lamb when it baes, will never answer a calf when he bleats.
VERG. 'Tis very true.
Dogs. This is the end of the charge. You, constable, are to present the prince's own person ; if you meet the prince in the night, you may slay him.
VERG. Nay by’r lady, that, I think, he cannot.
Dogb. Five shillings to one on't, with any man that knows the statues,' he may stay him: marry, not without the prince be willing: for, indeed, the watch ought to offend no man; and it is an offence to stay a man against his will.
VERG. By’r lady, I think, it be fo.
Dogb. Ha, ha, ha! Well, masters, good night: an there be any matter of weight chances, call up
30. "No man shåll, after the houre of nyne at night, keepe any rule, whereby any such suddaine outcry be made in the still of the night, as making any affray, or beating his wyfe, or fervant, or finging, or revyling in his house, to the disturbaunce of his neighbours, under payne of iii s. iiii d.” &c. &c.
Ben Jonson, however, appears to have ridiculed this scene in the Induđion to his Bartholomew - Fair:
16 And then a substantial watch to have stole in upon 'em, and taken them away with mistaking words, as the fashion is in the stage pradice." STEEVENS.
Mr. Steevens observes, and I believe justly, that Ben Jonson intended to ridicule this scene in his Induction to Bartholomew-Fair: yet in his Tale of a Tub, he makes his wise men of Finsbury speak just in the fame style, and blunder in the same manner, without any such intention. M. MASON.
the ftatues,] Thus the folio, 1623. The quarto, 1600, reads " the ftatutes." But whether the blunder was designed by the poet, or created by the printer, must be left to the confideration of our readers. STEEVENS.
me: keep your fellows' counsels and your own, 8 and good night, - Come, neighbour.
2 WATCH. Well, masters, we hear our charge: let us go fit here upon the church-bench till two, and then all to-bed.
Dogs. Onewordmore, honest neighbours: I pray you, watch about fignior Leonato's door; for the wedding being there to-morrow, there is a great coil to-night: Adieu, be vigitant, I beseech you. ,
Exeunt DOGBERRY and VERGES.
Enter BORACHIO and .CONRADE.
BORA. What! Conrade.
BORA. Mass, and my elbow itch'd; I thought, there would a scab follow.
Con. I will owe thee an answer for that; and now forward with thy tale.
BORA. Stand the close then under this penthouse, for it drizzles rain; and I will, like a true drunkard, ' utter all to thee.
WATCH. [Aside.] Some treason, masters; yet ftand close.
BORA. Therefore know, I have earned of Don John a thousand ducats.
keep your fellows' cornfels and your own, ] This is part of the oath of a grand juryman ; and is one of many proofs of Shakspeare's having been very conversant, at some period of his life, with legal proceedings and courts of justice. MALONE.
like a true drunkard, ] I suppose, it was on this account that Shakspeare called him Borachio , from Borracho, Spanish, a drunkard; or Borracha, a leathern receptacie for wine. STEEVENS,
Con.Is it poflible that any villainyshould be so dear?
BORA. Thou should'st rather ask, if it were possible any villainy should be so rich ;' for when rich villains have need of poor ones, poor ones may make what price they will.
Con. I wonder at it.
BORA. That shows, thou art unconfirm'd: Thou knoweft, that the fashion of a doublet, or a hat, or a cloak, is nothing to a man.
Con. Yes, it is apparel.
BORA. Tush! I may as well say, the fool's the fool. But see'st thou not what a deformed thief this fashion is?
WATCH. I know that Deformed; he has been a vile thief this seven year; he goes up and down like a gentleman: I remember his name.
Borå. Didst thou not hear somebody?
BORA. Seest thou not, I say, what a deformed thief this fashion is ? how giddily he turns about all the hot bloods, between fourteen and five and thirty? sometime, fashioning them like Pharaoh's foldiers in the reechy painting; sometime, like god
any villainy should be so rich; ] The sense absolutely requires us to read, villain. WARBURTON. The old reading may stand. STEEVENS.
thou art unconfirm’d:) i. e. unpra&tised in the ways of the worla. WARBURTON.
3_rcechy painting ; ] Is painting discoloured by smoke. in Hans Beer Pot's Invisible Comedy, 1618 :
he look'd so recchily, " Like bacon hanging on the chimney's roof." from Recan, Anglo-Saxon, lo reck, fumare. STEEVENS.