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To the prince, and his book-mates.
Who gave thee this letter?
Thou, fellow, a word:
I told you; my lord.
In Nash's Have With You to Saffron-Walden, &c. 1595, I meet with the same allusion :- "but now he was an insulting monarch above Monarcho the Italian, that ware crownes in his shoes, and quite renounced his natural English accents, and gestures, and wrested himself wholly to the Italian punctilios," &c.
But one of the epitaphs written by Thomas Churchyard, and printed in a collection called his Chance, 4to. 1580, will afford the most ample account of this extraordinary character. I do not therefore apologize for the length of the following extract:
"The Phantasticall Monarckes Epitaphe.
Though Dant be dedde, and Marrot lies in graue,
"To keepe old course with vains of verses newe:
Thy climyng mynde aspierd beyonde the starrs,
Thy tauntyng tong was pleasant sharpe and sore. "And though thy pride and pompe was somewhat vaine, "The Monarcke had a deepe discoursyng braine: "Alone with freend he could of wonders treate,
In publike place pronounce a sentence greate.
Of judgement quicke, of comely forme and port.
"Yet garments bare could never daunt his minde:
PRIN. To whom shouldst thou give it?
“And still he saied, the strong thrusts weake to wall,
His forme of life who lists to look upon,
"Did shewe some witte, though follie fedde his will :
A local allusion employed by a poet like Shakspeare, resembles the mortal steed that drew in the chariot of Achilles. But short services could be expected from either. STEEVens.
The succeeding quotations will afford some further intelligence concerning this fantastick being : I could use an incident for this, which though it may seem of small weight, yet may it have his misterie with this act, who, being of base condition, placed himself (without any purturbation of minde) in the royall seat of Alexander, which the Chaldeans prognosticated to portend the death of Alexander.
"The actors were, that Bergamasco (for his phantastick humors) named Monarcho, and two of the Spanish embassadors retinue, who being about foure and twentie yeares past, in Paules Church in London, contended who was soveraigne of the world: the Monarcho maintained himself to be he, and named their king to be but his viceroy for Spain: the other two with great fury denying it. At which myself, and some of good account, now dead, wondred in respect of the subject they handled, and that want of judgment we looked not for in the Spaniards. Yet this, moreover, we noted, that notwithstanding the weight of their controversie they kept in their walk the Spanish turne; which is, that he which goeth at the right hand, shall at every end of the walke turne in the midst; the which place the Monarcho was loth to yeald (but as they compelled him, though they gave him sometimes that romthe) in respect of his supposed majestie; but I would this were the worst of their ceremonies; the same keeping some decorum concerning equalitie." A briefe Discourse of the Spanish State, with a Dialogue annexed, intituled Philobasilis, 4to. 1590, p. 39.
COST. From my lord Birón, a good master of
To a lady of France, that he call'd Rosaline. PRIN. Thou hast mistaken his letter. lords, away 9.
Here, sweet, put up this; 'twill be thine another [Exeunt Princess and Train. BOYET. Who is the suitor1? who is the suitor? Shall I teach you to know?
The reader will pardon one further notice:
heere comes a souldier, for my life it is a captain Swag: tis even he indeede, I do knowe him by his plume and his scarffe; he looks like a Monarcho of a very cholericke complexion, and as teasty as a goose that hath young goslings," &c. B. Riche's Faults and nothing but Faults, p. 12. REED.
Mr. Steevens has conjectured, that an account of Monarcho was probably contained in a poetical tract by Robert Armin, called, "The Italian Taylor and his Boy." But he was mistaken: the tract to which he has alluded, has been republished within these few years, and is on a totally different subject. BosWELL. - Come, LORDS, away.] Perhaps the princess said rather: ·Come, ladies, away.
The rest of the scene deserves no care.
Who is the SUITOR?] The old copies read—
"Who is the shooter?"
But it should be, Who is the suitor? and this occasions the quibble. Finely put on," &c. seem only marginal observations.
It appears that suitor was anciently pronounced shooter. So, in The Puritan, 1605: the maid informs her mistress that some archers are come to wait on her. She supposes them to be fletchers, or arrow-smiths:
"Enter the suters," &c.
Why do you not see them before you? are not these archers, what do you call them, shooters? Shooters and archers are all one, I hope? STEEVENS.
Wherever Shakspeare uses words equivocally, as in the present instance, he lays his editor under some embarrassment. When he told Ben Jonson he would stand Godfather to his child, " and give him a dozen latten spoons," if we write the word as we have now done, the conceit, such as it is, is lost, at least does not at once appear; if we write it Latin, it becomes absurd. So, in Much Ado About Nothing, Dogberry says, "if justice cannot tame you, she shall ne'er weigh more reasons in her balance." If we
BOYET. Ay, my continent of beauty.
Finely put off!
Why, she that bears the bow.
BOYET. My lady goes to kill horns; but, if thou
Hang me by the neck, if horns that year miscarry. Finely put on!
Ros. Well then, I am the shooter.
And who is your deer?? Ros. If we choose by the horns, yourself: come
Finely put on, indeed!—
MAR. You still wrangle with her, Boyet, and she strikes at the brow.
BOYET. But she herself is hit lower: Have I hit her now?
Ros. Shall I come upon thee with an old saying,
write the word thus, the constable's equivoque, poor as it is, is lost, at least to the eye. If we write raisons, (between which word and reasons, there was, I believe, no difference at that time of pronunciation,) we write nonsense. In the passage before us an equivoque was certainly intended; the word shooter and suitor being (as Mr. Steevens has observed) pronounced alike in Shakspeare's time. So, in Essays and Characters of a Prison and Prisoners, by G. M. 1618: The king's guard are counted the strongest archers, but here are better suitors." Again, in Antony and Cleopatra, edit. 1623, (owing probably to the transcriber's ear having deceived him,)—
a grief that suits My very heart at root
instead of a grief that shoots.
In Ireland, where, I believe, much of the pronunciation of Queen Elizabeth's age is yet retained, the word suitor is at this day pronounced by the vulgar as if it were written shooter. However, I have followed the spelling of the old copy, as it is sufficiently intelligible. MALONE.
2 And who is your DEER?] Our author has the same play on this word in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Act V. Again, in his Venus and Adonis :
"I'll be thy park, and thou shalt be my deer."
that was a man when king Pepin of France was a little boy, as touching the hit it?
BIRON. So I may answer thee with one as old, that was a woman when queen Guinever3 of Britain was a little wench, as touching the hit it. Ros. Thou canst not hit it, hit it, hit it, [Singing. Thou canst not hit it, my good man.
BOYET. An I cannot, cannot, cannot,
An I cannot, another can.
Exeunt Ros. and KATH.
COST. By my troth, most pleasant! how both did
MAR. A mark marvellous well shot; for they both did hit it.
BOYET. A mark! O, mark but that mark; A mark, says my lady!
Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may be.
MAR. Wide o' the bow hand'! I'faith your hand
COST. Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or he'll ne'er hit the clout "..
queen Guinever] This was King Arthur's queen, not over famous for fidelity to her husband. Mordred the Pict is supposed to have been her paramour.-See the song of The Boy and the Mantle, in Dr. Percy's Collection.
In Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady, the elder Loveless addresses Abigail, the old incontinent waiting woman, by this name. STEEVENS.
4 Let the mark have a PRICK in't,] Thus, says the Princess Floripas in the ancient metrical romance of the Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 56:
sir Gye my love so free,
"Thou kanste welle hit the pricke;
"He shall make no booste in his contre,
"God gyfe him sorowe thikke." STEEVENS.
5 Wide o' the bow hand!] i. e. a good deal to the left of the mark; a term still retained in modern archery. DOUCE.
-the CLOUT.] The clout was the white mark at which