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Of all the kingdom.
--to the mere undoing--] Mere is absolute. STELT.
* To the mere undoing. Mere' cap at no time hase the sense of absolute. I suppose it would be mure (mur fr.) complete, total. B.'
Wol. That his bones,
-a tomb of orphans' teurs wept on them! The chancellor is the general guardian of orphans. A tomb of tears is very harsh. Joux.
'A tomb of orpbans' 'tears.' Johnson very properly objects to • a tomb of tears the image is indeed ridiculous. I read, 'a coomb of tears :' a coomb is a liquid measure containing forty gallons. Thus the expression which was before absurd becomes forcible and just. B.
Kath. Pry'thee, good Griffith, tell me how he dy'd :
--he stepp'd before me, happily,
For my example.) Happily seems to mean on this occasion-peradventure, haply. I have been more than once of this opinion, when I have met with the same word thus spelt in other passages. STEEV. "He stepp'd before me happily. This passage is wrong pointed,
If well, be stepp'd before me happily
For my example.' • He stepp'd before me in a happy or fortunate hour, as a pattern or example.' B.
Lov. As for Cromwell, -
Stands in the gap and trade of more preferments,] Trade is the practised method, the general course. Joux.
Stands in the gap and trade.' "Gap and trade' is scarcely right. The images are no way congruous. To stand in a trade, is likewise harsh. I therefore read, gap and trode. Trode is the old word for path or road. B. Gard. I think, I have Incens'd the lords o' the council, that he is A most arch heretick,
A most arch heretick,
I have incens'd the lords of the council, for that he is, i. e. because. STEEV.
• lucens'd the lords, &c.' Incens'd,' that he is,' is not English. May we not suppose that Shakspeare has here forined a verb from sense and written insensed, i. e. informed, made known to. Glanville has sensed, a participle. We may therefore read with hiin:
..Sensed the lords of the council.. For Gardiner to say that he had “incensed or angered the lords,' makes directly against the rest of his argument. B.
Chan. But we all are men,
Of our flesh, few are angels:] If this passage means any thing, it may mean, few are perfect, while they . remuin in their mortal capacity. Mal.
May not Shakespeare have written frail and culpable? The ehauge is easy. I would read and point thus:
We all are men, .. .
Port. Is this Morefields, to muster in ? or have we some strange Indian with the great lool come to court,
Some strange Indian To what circumstance this refers, perhaps cannot now be exactly known. A similar one occurs in Ram-Alley, or Merry Tricks, 1611 :
You shall see the strange nature of an outlandish beast
Lately brought from the land of Cataia.'
The Bavian with long tail and eke long tool. Col. Fig. I. in the print of Morris-dancers, at the end of King Henry IV. has a bib wbich extends below the doublet; and its length might be calculated for the concealment of the phallic obscenity mentioned by Beaumont and Fletcher, of which perhaps the Bavian fool exhibited an occasional view for the diversion of our indelicate ancestors. Tol. • Port. · Or bave we some strange Indian with the great tool come to Court.' Mr. Tollet's glowing imagination, like a will o' the wisp, has led him astray. I must first observe of the tool' here set down, that it is probably the touaille of the French, and which is sometimes written by our early writers toule, i, e. covering cloth or apron. But to explain the matter fully, I must advert to the line in Fletcher, “The Bavian with long tail, and eke long tool. · tool,' is here, I believe, the toule (cloth or apron) and which it was usual for the character in question to wear. But what, I would ask, are we to say of the tail of this Bavian, or driveller, as the word im.
plies : for as to his being furnished with such kind of appendage, not even Lord Mouboddo himself would, I think, maintain. The line, I conceive, should run thus, “The Bavian with long taille, and eke long touaill.' taille fr. shape or make. Long taille will therefore mean awkwardly tall, or ill-made. The ungainly Bavian with his lung apron or slabbering bib.' The conceit is merely in regard to sound, taille and touaille. In the present drama, the porter, who is speaking of an Indian, and who had heard that a toule or apron was the only covering of the savage generally, and which is indeed · the fact, sports with the words toule and tool for the amusement of a rude and indelicate people, as were those of the 16th century. This man, I say, plays upon the expressions wantonly; and if it is at all allowable to use such language and to make such allusion, it must be in him or some such description of person. It should at the same time be remembered, in favor of Shakspeare, that he is frequently under the necessity, and we may be sure against his better judgment, not only to quibble, but to have recourse to indecency or double entendre, in order to fall in with the taste of the times. Yet to mårk or stigmatize the reigning grossness, and in the bope of inducing to a change of manners, he has in Hamlet, and when speaking of a well written play, but which failed of success in the representation, observed, I remember one said there were no saletés in the lines to make the matter savoury,' &c. This sufficiently proves that it is not the poet who delights in impurities, but his audience, with whose humor, as he wrote for bread, he was, as I before remarked, obliged to comply. Such kind of drollery may perhaps be pardoned in our ancient dramatists, and for the reasons just alleged ; but Mr. Tollet's loose interpretation of the line in Fletcher, is not to be warranted. It were impossible indeed, for any people whatever to sit at an exhibition like to that which he has supposed in his note. No: however great the number of barren' spectators might be, I repeat, it is wholly impossible that they should ever tolerate it. B.
Man. When I might see from far some forty truncheoneers draw. to her succour, which were the hope of the strand, where she was quarter'd.
-the hope of the strand,] Hanmer reads, the forlorn hope. Joon.
• The hope of the strand.' • Hope' should be holpe, i, e, support, B.
ACT I. SCENE I.
i Cit. Let us revenge this with our pikes, cre we become rakes :
ere we become rakes :) It is plain that, in our author's time, we had the proverb, as lean as a rake. Of this proverb the original is obscure. Rake now signifies a dissolute man, a man worn out with disease and debauchery. But the signification is, I think, much more modern than the proverb. Rækel, in Islandick, is said to mean à cur-dog, and this was probably the first use among us of the word rake; as lean as a rake is, therefore, as lean as a dog too worthless to be fed. Joun. · It may be so: and yet I believe the proverb, as lean as a rake, owes its origin simply to the thin taper form of the instrument made use of by hay-makers. STEEV.
• Ere we become rakes. The proverb as lean as a rake owes its origin to the thin taper form of the instrument made use of by baymakers.' Was there ever such absurdity! But the proverb has nothing to do with the present business. We must read the passage thús: Let us revenge this with our pikes ere we becoine rake. Rake in old language is rash, mad. The citizen's meaning is, Let us seek for satisfaction by means of our arms, ere we grow mad. The context will shew that I am right. B. .
Men. But since it serves my purpose, I will venture
I will denture To scale't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The word is still used in the North. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, ard diffuse it among the rest. STEEV.
* To scale't a little more. This interpretation of to scale't might be admitted, but that a better, a more obvious meaning (to weigh it) occurs. I will examine ; I will consider it a little farther, says Menenius. B.
2. Cit. Well, I'll hear it, sir : yet you must not think to fob off our disgrace with a tale: i
-disgrace with a tale:) Disgraces are hardships, injuries. Joux. *Disgrace with a tale.' 'Disgrace,' is disgracious treatment. He means that their complaints were not attended to. B. Mar. What would you have, you curs, That like nor peace, nor war ? the one affrights you, The other makes you proud. .
That like nor peace, nor war? The one affrights you,
The other makes you proud That they did not like war is evident from the reason assigned, of its frighting them ; but why they should not like peace ( and the reason of that too is assigned) will be very hard to conceive. Peace, he says, made them proud, by bringing with it an increase of wealth and power, for those are what make a people proud; but then those are what they like but too well, and so must needs like peace the parent of them. This bcing contrary to what the text says, we may be assured it is corrupt, and that Shakspeare wrote :
That likes not peace nor war 2i. e. whom neither peace nor war fits or agrees with, as making then either proud or cowardly. By this reading, peace and war, from being the accusatives to likes, become the nominatives. But the editors not understanding tbis construction, and seeing likes a verb singular, to curs a noun plural, which they supposed the nominative to it, would, in order to shew their skill in grammar, alter it to like ; but likes for pleases was common with the writers of this time. WARB.
Tirat to like is to pleasc, every one knows, but in that sense it is as hard to say why peace should not like the people, as, in the other sense, why the people should not like peace. The truth is, that Coriolanus does not use the two sentences consequentially, but first reproaches thern with unsteadiness, then with their other occasional vices. Jour.
What would ye have, ye curs, that like nor peace nor war ? War. burton has discovered that the passage is corrupt, but he sees not where the corruption lies. It is in the word proud, which should be prow. As to the sentences, the one affrights you, the other makes, &c. they are not, as Johnson has remarked, illative. The words of Marcius are merely descriptive, merely characteristie of the common people. They are pointed, and conse with singular propriety from the lips of a soldier. I read and point as follows:
What would ye have, ye curs ?