Page images
PDF
EPUB

there any reason for puzzling the king and playing with his passions; but it was much easier than to make a pathetical interview between Helen and her husband, her mother, and the king.

JOHNSON. Line 465. exorcist -] This word is used not very properly for enchanter.

JOHNSON.

END OF THE ANNOTATIONS ON ALL'S WELL THAT ENDS

WELL.

ANNOTATIONS

ON

THE TAMING OF THE SHREW.

INDUCTION. SCENE I.

Line 1. I'll pheese you,] To pheeze or fease, is to separate a twist into single threads. In the figurative sense it may well enough be taken, like teaze or toze, for to harass, to plague. Perhaps I'll pheeze you, may be equivalent to I'll comb your head, a phrase vulgarly used by persons of Sly's character on like occasions.

JOHNSON. Line 2. —no rogues :) That is, vagrants, no mean fellows, but gentlemen.

JOHNSON Line 5. -paucas pallabris ;] Sly, as an ignorant fellow, is purposely made to aim at languages out of his knowledge, and knock the words out of joint. The Spaniards say, pocas palabras, i. e. few words : as they do likewise, Cessa, i. e. be quiet. TheoB. Line 7.

-you have burst?] To burst and to break were anciently synonimous. Falstaff says that John of Gaunt burst Shallow's head for crowding in among the marshal's men. Steev.

Line 11. - I must go fetch the thirdborough.] In the old copies

Line 91.

headborough. i. e, a constable ; of what class it is useless to demonstrate, though the commentators have taken great pains to ascertain.

Line 18. Brach Merriman,-the poor cur is eniboss'd,] Here, says Pope, brach signifies a degenerate hound: but Edwards explains it a hound in general.

The meaning of the latter part of the paragraph seems to be, I am so little skilled in hunting, that I can hardly tell whether a “ bitch be a bitch or not; my judgment goes no further, than just to direct me to call either dog or bitch by their general name “ -Hound.”

WARTON. Line 71. And, when he says he is,-say, that he dreams,

For he is nothing but a mighty lord.) Sir T. Hanmer thinks that Shakspeare wrote,

And when he says he 's poor --, say, that he dreams." The dignity of a lord is then significantly opposed to the poverty which it would be natural for him to acknowledge. STEEVENS.

Line 75. -modesty.) By modesty is meant moderation, without suffering our merriment to break into an excess. JOHNS.

to accept our duty.] It was in those times the custom of players to travel in companies, and offer their service at great houses.

JOHNSON. Line 97. I think, 't was Soto - ] I take our author here to be paying a compliment to Beaumont and Fletcher's Women pleusid, in which comedy there is the character of Soto, who is a farmer's son, and a very facetious serving-man. Mr. Rowe and Mr. Pope prefix the name of Sim to the line here spoken ; but the first folio has it Sincklo; which, no doubt, was the name of one of the players here introduced, and who had played the part of Soto with applause.

THEOBALD. Line 112. in the world.] Here follows an insertion made by Mr. Pope from the old play, which is neither found in the quarto, 1631, nor in the folio, 1623. I have therefore sunk it into a note, as we have no proof that the first sketch of the play was written by Shakspeare.

2 Play. [to the otber] Go, get a dish-clout to make clean your shoes, and I'll speak for the properties *.

[Exit Player. * Property) in the language of a playhouse, is every implement necessary to the exhibition.

JOHNSON.

“My lord, we must have a shoulder of mutton for a property, " and a little vinegar to make our devil roart.”

The shoulder of mutton was indeed necessary afterwards for the dinner of Petruchio, but there is no devil in the piece, neither were the players yet informed what comedy they should represent. Steev.

Line 137. An onion—] It is not unlikely that the onion was an expedient used by the actors of interludes. JOHNSON. So in Anthony and Cleopatra: The tears live in an onion that should water

STEEVENS.

This sorrow.

Line 171.

SCENE II.

of Burton-heath ;--- Marian Hacket, the fat alewife of Wincot.] I suspect we should read Barton-heath. Burton and Woodmancot, or, as it is vulgarly pronounced, Woncot, are both of them in Glostershire, near the residence of Shakspeare's old enemy, Justice Shallow. Very probably too, this fat ale-wife might be a real character.

STEEVENS. I am not bestraught :) i. e. mad. - 248. -leet,] As the Court leet, or courts of the manor,

JOHNSON. Line 307. Is not a commonty, a Christmas gambol, or a tumbling trick?] Thus the old copies; the modern ones read, It is not a commodity, &c. Commonty for comedy, &c.

STEEV ENS.

Line 178.

ACT I. SCENE I. Line 9. -ingenious—] I rather think it was written ingenuous studies, but of this and a thousand such observations there is little

JOHNSON.

certainty.

+- a little vinegar to make our devil roar.) When the acting the mysteries of the Old and New Testament was in vogue ; at the representation of the mystery of the Passion, Judas and the Devil made a part. And the Devil, wherever he came, was always to suffer some disgrace, to make the people laugh: as here the buffoonery was to apply the gall and vinegar to make him roar. And the Passion being that, of all the mysteries, which was most frequently represented, vinegar became at length the standing implement to torment the devil; and used for this purpose even after the mysteries ceased, and the moralities came in vogue; where the Devil continued to have a considerable part. The mention of it here was to ridicule so absurd a circumstance in these old farces.

WARBURTON.

« PreviousContinue »