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Robert Shallow, choose what office thou wilt in the land, 'tis thine.-Pistol, I will double-charge thee with dignities.
BARD. O joyful day!—I would not take a knighthood for my fortune.
Pist. What? I do bring good news?
Fal. Carry master Silence to bed.-Master Shallow, my lord Shallow, be what thou wilt, I am fortune's steward. Get on thy boots; we'll ride all night :-0, sweet Pistol:--Away, Bardolph. [Exit Bard.]—Come, Pistol, utter more to me; and, withal, devise something, to do thyself good.Boot, boot, master Shallow; I know, the young king is sick for me. Let us take any man's horses; the laws of England are at my commandment. Happy are they which have been my friends; and woe to my lord chief justice!
Pist. Let vultures vile seize on his lungs also! Where is the life that late I led, say they®: Why, here it is ; Welcome these pleasant days”.
Enter Beadles, dragging in Hostess Quickly, and
8 Where is the life that late I led, &c.] Words of an old ballad. WARBURTON.
The same has been already introduced in The Taming of the Shrew. Steevens.
Welcome these pleasant days.] Perhaps, (as Sir Thomas Hanmer suggests,) the poet concluded this scene with a rhyming couplet, and therefore wrote:
Welcome this pleasant day.” Steevens.
die, that I might have thee hanged: thou hast drawn my shoulder out of joint.
1 Bead. The constables have delivered her over to me; and she shall have whipping-cheer’ enough, I warrant her : There hath been a man or two lately killed about her.
Dol. Nut-hook, nut-hook ", you lie.
edit. of 1600, stands thus: “ Enter Sincklo, and three or four Oficers.” And the name of Sincklo is prefixed to those speeches, which in the later editions are given to the Beadle. This is an additional proof that Sincklo was the name of one of the players. See the note on The Taming of the Shrew, vol. v. p. 367, n. 7.
TYRWHITT. ? - whipping-cheer-) So, in Thomas Newton's Herball to the Bible, 8vo. 1587 : in wedlocke all pensive sullenes and lowring-cheer ought to be utterly excluded,” &c. Again, in an ancient bl. 1. ballad, intitled, 0, Yes, &c. :
“ And if he chance to scape the rope,
“ He shall have whipping-cheere.” STEEVENS. 3 Nut-hook, &c.] It has been already observed, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, that nut-hook seems to have been in those times a name of reproach for a catchpoll. Johnson.
A nut-hook was, I believe, a person who stole linen, &c. out at windows, by means of a poll with a hook at the end of it. Greene, in his Arte of Coney-catching, has given a very particular account of this kind of fraud ; so that nut-hook was probably as common a term of reproach as rogue is at present. In an old comedy intitled Match'me in London, 1631, I find the following passage: "She's the king's nut-hook, that when any filbert is ripe, pulls down the bravest boughs to his hand.”
Again, in The Three Ladies of London, 1584 : “ To go a fishing with a cranke through a window, or to set lime-twigs to catch å pan, pot, or dish.” Again, in Albumazar, 1615:
picking of locks and hooking cloaths out of window." Again, in 'The Jew of Malta, by Marlowe, 1633 :
I saw some bags of money, and in the night
I'll tell thee what, thou damned tripe-visaged rascal; an the child I now go with, do miscarry, thou hadst better thou hadst struck thy mother, thou paper-faced villain.
Host. O the Lord, that sir John were come! he would make this a bloody day to somebody. But I pray
God the fruit of her womb miscarry! i Bead. If it do, you shall have a dozen of cushions * again; you have but eleven now. Come, I charge you both go with me; for the man is dead, that you
and Pistol beat among you. Dol. I'll tell thee what, thou thin man in a censer! I will have you as soundly swinged for
or anglers; and Decker, in The Bell-man of London, 5th edit. 1640, describes this species of robbery in particular. Steevens.
a dozen of cushions—] That' is, to stuff her out that she might counterfeit pregnancy, So, in Massinger's Old Law: " I said I was with child, &c. Thou said'st it was a cushion," &c.
Again, in Greene's Disputation between a He Coneycatcher, &c. 1592: " to wear a cushion under her own kirtle, and to faine herself with child.” STBEVENS.
5- thou thin man in a censer!] 'These old censers of thin metal had generally at the bottom the figure of some saint raised
with a hammer, in a barbarous kind of imbossed or chased work. The hunger-starved headle is compared, in substance, to one of these thin raised figures, by the same kind of humour that Pistol, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, calls Slender a latter bilboe. WARBURTON.
Dr. Warburton's explanation is erroneous. figure to which Doll refers, was in the middle of the pierced cottvex lid of the censer; and not at the bottom, where it must have been out of sight.
That Doll "Tear-sheet, however, may not be suspected of acquaintance with the censers mentioned in Scripture, and confined to sacred use, it should be remarked, that the consummate sluttery of ancient houses rendered censers or fire-pans, in which coarse perfumes were burnt, most necessary utensils. In Much Ado about Nothing, Act I. Sc. III. Borachio says he had been “ entertained for a perfumer to smoke a musty room at Leonato's: and in a Letter from the Lords of the Council, in the reign of King Edward VI. (see Lodge's Illustrations of British History, &c.
this, you blue-bottle * rogue ! you filthy famished correctioner! if you be not swinged, I'll forswear half-kirtles ?.
* Folio, blew-bottled, vol. i. p. 141,) we are told that Lord Paget's house was so small, that, is after one month it would wax unsavery for hym to contynue in," &c. Again, from the Correspondence of the Earl of Shrewsbury with Lord Burleigh, during the confinement of Mary Queen of Scots at Sheffield-castle, in 1572, (see vol. ii. p. 68.) we learn that her Majesty was to be removed for five or six days“ to klense her chambar, being kept very unklenly."
Again, in a Memoir written by Anne, Countess of Dorset, Pembroke, and Montgomery, 1603 : we all went to Tibbals to see the Kinge, who used my mother and my aunt very gratiouslie; but we all saw a great chaunge betweene the fashion of the Court as it was now, and of y' in ye Queene's, for we were all loruzy by siltinge in S". Thomas Erskin's chamber," See Mr. Seward's Anecdotes, &c. vol. iv. p. 305. STEEVENS.
6 -- blue-bottle-rogue !] A name, I suppose, given to the beadle, from the colour of his livery. Johnson.
Dr. Johnson is right with respect to the livery, but the allusion seems to be to the great flesh-fly, commonly called a blue-botile.
FARMER The same allusion is in Northward Hoe, 1607 :
“ Now blue-bottle! what flutter you for, sea-pie?" The serving men were anciently habited in blue, and this is spoken on the entry of one of them. It was natural for Doll to have an aversion to the colour, as a blue gown was the dress in which a strumpet did penance. So, in The Northern Lass, 1633:
let all the good you intended me be a loekram coif, a bler gown, a wheel, and a clean whip.” Mr. Malone confirms Dr. Johnson's remark on the dress of the beadle, by the following quotation from Michaelmas Term, by Middleton, 1607 : “ And to be free from the interruption of blue beadles and other bawdy officers, he most politickly lodges her in a constable's house."
Steevens. 7 - half-kirtles.] Probably the dress of the prostitutes of that time. JOHNSON,
A half-kirtle was perhaps the same kind of thing as we call at present a short-gown, or a bed-gown. There is a proverbial expression now in use which may serve to confirm it. When a person is loosely dressed, the vulgar say-Such a one looks like a
in a bed-gown. See Westward Hoe, by Decker and Webster, 1607: - forty shillings I lent her to redeem two half-silk kirtles.” Steevens.
The dress of the courtezans of the time confirms Mr. Steevens's
1 Bead. Come, come, you she knight-errant, come.
Host. O, that right should thus overcome might! Well; of sufferance comes ease.
Dol. Come, you rogue, come; bring me to a justice.
Host. Ay; come, you starved blood-hound.
observation. So, in Michaelmas Term, by Middleton, 1607: “ Dost dream of virginity now? remember a loose-bodied gown, wench, and let it go." Again, in Skialetheia, or a Shadow of Truth in certain Epigrammes and Satires, 1598 :
“ To women's loose gowns suiting her loose rhimes.” Yet, from the description of a kirtle already given, (see p. 98, n. 3,) a half-kirtle should seem to be a short cloak, rather than a short gown. Perhaps such a cloak, without sleeves, was here meant. Malone.
8 Thou ATOMY thou !) Atomy for anatomy. Atomy or otamy is sometimes used by the ancient writers where no blunder or depravation is designed. So, in Look About You, 1600 :
“ For thee, for thee, thou otamie of honour,
“ Thou worm of majesty-.” STEEVENS. The preceding expression seems to confirm Mr. Steevens's explanation. But whether the otamies of Surgeons' Hall were known at this time, may perhaps be questioned. Atomy is perhaps here the motes or atoms in the sun beams, as the
him. self calls them, speaking of Queen Mab's chariot :
“ Drawn with a team of little atomies." Romeo and Juliet. And otamie of honour, may very easily be so understood.
WHALLEY. Shakspeare himself furnishes us with a proof that the word in his time, bore the sense which we now frequently affix to it
, having employed it in The Comedy of Errors precisely with the signification in which the Hostess here uses atomy:
“ They brought one Pinch, a hungry lean-fac'd villain,
“ A living dead man.” Again, in King John :
“ And rouse from sleep that fell anatomy.” Malone.