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* The luce is the fresh fish; the salt fish is an old coat.] I see no consequence in this answer. Perhaps we may read, the salt fish is not an old coat. That is, the fresh fish is the coat of an ancient family, and the salt fish is the coat of a merchant grown rich by trading over the sea.
JOHNSON. The luce is a pike or jack.
-your vizaments in that.]i. e. consider that well. Vizanent is put for advisement, a word also now no longer in use.
6 — he was out-run on Cotsale.] Cotswold, a village in Worcestershire, or Warwickshire, was famous for rural exercises, and sports of all sorts. WARTON.
? Good worts! good cabbage.] Worts and cabbages were formerly synonimous terms.
8 coney-catching] A coney-catcher was, in the time of Elizabeth, a common name for a cheat or sharper. Green, one of the first among us who made a trade of writing pamphlets, published A Detection of the Frauds and Tricks of Coney-catchers and Couzeners.
JOHNSON 9 You Banbury cheese !] This is said in allusion to the thin carcase of Slender. The same thought occurs in Jack Drums Entertainment, 1601.—“ You. are like a Banbury cheese - nothing but paring." So Heywood, in his collection of epigrams :
“I never saw Banbury cheese thick enough,
spirit or familiar in the old story-book of Sir John Faustus, or John Faust.
WARTON. 11 Edward shovel-boards,] By this term, I believe, are meant brass castors, such as are shoveled on a board, with king Edward's face stamped upon them.
JOHNSON. One of these pieces of metal is mentioned in Middleton's comedy of The Roaring Girl, 1611.
away slid I my man, like a shovel-board shilling,” &c.
12 —this latten bilbo :] Latten may signify as thin as a lath. The word in some counties is still pronounced as if there was no h in it; and Ray, in his Dict. of North Country Words, affirms it to be spelt lat in the north of England.
Falstaff threatens, in another play, to drive prince Henry out of his kingdom, with a dagger of lath. A latten bilbo means therefore, I believe, no more than a blade as thin as a lath—a vice's dagger.
13 Word of denial in thy labras here;] I suppose it should rather be read,
Word of denial in my labras hear; that is, hear the word of denial in my lips. Thou ly'st.
We often talk of giving the lie in a man's teeth, or in his throat. Pistol chooses to throw the word of denial in the lips of his adversary. STEEVENS.
14 --marry trap,] When a man was caught in his
own stratagem, I suppose the exclamation of insult was marry, trup!
JOHNSON. run the nuthook's humour-] Read, puss the nuthook’s humour. Nuthook was a term of reproach in the vulgar way, and in cant strain. In The Second Part of Henry IV. Dol Tearsheet says to the beadle, “ Nuthook, Nuthook, you lie.” Probably it was a name given to a bailiff or catchpole, very odious to the common people.
HANMER. 16 Scarlet and John?] The names of two of Robin Hood's companions; but the humour consists in the allusion to Bardolph's red face ; concerning which see The Second Part of Henry IV. WARBURTON.
17 And being fap,] Fap I believe means drunk : the word is not to be found, however, in any old comedies.
18 -pass'd the careires.] I believe this strange word is nothing but the French cariere ; and the expression means, that the common bounds of good behaviour were overpressed.
JOHNSON. To pass the cariere was a military phrase. I find it in one of Sir John Smythe's Discourses, 1589, where, speaking of horses wounded, he says—" they after the first shrink at the entering of the bullet doo pass their carriere, as though they had verie little hurt."
19 — three veneys—] i. e. three venues, French : three different set-to's, attacks; a technical term. So in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster : -" thou wouldst be loth to play half a dozen venies at Wasters
with a good fellow for a broken head." So also in our author's Love's Labour's Lost :
-"a quick venew of wit.” STEEVENS. 20 Sackerson] Seckerson is likewise the name of a bear in the old comedy of Sir Giles Goosecap.
STEEVENS. 21 — it pass'd :] It pass’d, or this passes, was a way of speaking customary heretofore, to signify the excess, or extraordinary degree, of a thing. The sentence completed would be, This. passes all erpression, or perhaps, This passes all things. We still use passing well, passing strange. WARBURTON.
22 Kaisar) Keiser is emperor in High German ; so “der kaiser von Deutchland-the emperor of Germany."
23 Pheezar.] Mine host creates a term here in the style of his accustomed pomposity ; the primitive word is to pheeze.
24 Let me see thee froth, and lime :) Frothing beer and liming sack were tricks practised in the time of Shakspeare. The first was done by putting soap into the bottom of the tankard when they drew the beer; the other, by mixing lime with the sack (i. e. sherry) to make it sparkle in the glass. Falstaff himself complains of limed sack.
STEEVENS. 25 O base Gongarian weight !] This is a parody on a line taken from one of the old bombast plays, beginning,
“O base Gongarian, wilt thou the distaff wield?” I had marked the passage down, but forgot to note the play.
STEEVENS. 26 a fico for the phrase !] i, e. a fig for the phrase.
27 eyliads :) This word is differently spelt in allthe copies. I suppose we should write očillades, French.
28 she is a region in Guiana, all gold and bounty.] The mention of Guiana, then so lately discovered to the English, was a very happy compliment to Sir Walter Raleigh, who did not begin his expedition for South America till 1595, and returned from it in 1596, with an advantageous account of the great wealth of Guiana. Such an address of the poet was likely, I imagine, to have a proper impression on the people, when the intelligence of such a golden country was fresh in their minds, and gave them expectations of immense gain.
THEOBALD. 29 I will be cheater to them both, and they shall be exchequers to me ;] The same joke is intended here, as in the Second Part of Henry the Fourth, act ii.
“I will bar no honest man my house, nor no Cheater." By which is meant Escheatour, an officer in the Ex-. chequer, in no good repute with the common people.
WARBURTON.. 30 — for gourd, and fullam holds, And high and low beguile the rich and poor:] Fullamis a cant term for false dice, high and low. Torriano, in his Italian Dictionary, interprets pise by false dice, high and low men, high fullams and low fullams. Gourd, or rather gord, was another instrument of gaming, as appears from Beaumont and Fletcher's Scornful Lady:— And thy dry bones can reach at nothing now, but gords or nine-pins.
WARBURTON. 31-the revolt of mien-] The revolt of mine is the