« PreviousContinue »
Moth. Master, will
your love with a French brawl?s
ARM. How mean'st thou? brawling in French ?
Moth. No, my complete master: but to jig off a tune at the tongue's end, canary to it with your feet, humour it with turning up your eye-lids; figh a note, and sing a note; sometime through the throat, as if you swallowed love with singing love; sometime through the nose, as if you snuff'd up love by smelling love; with your hat penthouse. like, o'er the shop of your eyes; with your arms cross'd on your thin belly-doublet, like a rabbit on a spit; or your hands in your pocket, like a man after the old painting;? and keep not too long in
a French brawl?] A brawl is a kind of dance, and (as Mr. M. Mason observes) seems to be what we now call a cotillon.
In The Malcontent of Marston, I meet with the following account of it: “ The brawl! why 'tis but two singles to the left, iwo'on the right, three doubles forwards, a traverse of fix rounds : do this twice, three singles fide galliard trick of twenty coranto pace; a figure of eight, three singles broken down, come up, meet twò doubles, fall back, and then honour. Again, in Ben Jonson's masque of Time Vindicated :
6. The Graces did them footing teach;
“ They danc'd your mother down. STEEVENS. So, in Massinger's Pięture, A& II. sc. ii :
< 'Tis á French brawl, an apilh imitation
canary to it with your feet, ] Canary was the name of a spritely nimble dance. THEOBALD.
like a man after the old painting ;] It was a common trick among some of the most indolent of the ancient malters, to place the hands in the bosom or the pockets, or conceal them in some other part of the drapery, to avoid the labour of representing them, or to disguise their own want of skill to employ them with grace and propriety. STEEVENS. Vol. VII,
one tune, but a snip and away: These are comple-
Arm. How hast thou purchased this experience?
These are complements, ] Dr. Warburton has here changed complements to complishments, for accomplishments, but unnecessarily.
JOHNSON. 9 these betray, &c.] The former editors :--thefe betray nice wenches, that would be betray'd without these, and make them men
But who will ever believe, that the old attitudes and af. fedations of lovers, by which they betray young wenches, should have power to make these young wenches, men of note? His mean. ing is, that they not only inveigle the young girls, but make the men taken notice of 100, who affe& them. THEOBALD,
and make then men of note, (do you note, men?) that are most affedted to these. ) i. e, and make those men who are most affeded to such accomplishments, men of note. Mr. Theobald, without any neceflity, reads and make the men of note, &c. which was, I think, too hastily adopted in the subsequent editions.
One of the modern editors, instead of - w do you note, men?" with great probability reads do you note me?" MALONE.
3. By my penny of observation.] Thus Sir T. Hanmer, and his reading is certainly righi. The allusion is to the famous old piece, called a Penniworth of Wit. The old copy reads — pen. FARMER.
The story Dr. Farmer refers to, was certainly printed before Shakspeare's time. See Langdam's Letter, &c. RITSON. + Arm. But 0, but 0,
Moth. the hobby-horse is forgot. ] In the celebration of May. day, besides the sports now used o! hanging a pole with garlands, and dancing round it, formerly a boy was dreiled up representing Maid Marian; another like a friar; and another rode on a hobbyhorse, with bells jingling, and painted fireamers, After the Reformation took place, and precisions multiplied, these latter rites were looked upon to favour of paganism ; and then Maid Marian, the frian, and the poor hobby-hoise, were turned out of the games.
Arm. Call'st thou my love, hobby horse ?
Moth. No master; the hobby-horse is but a colt,' and your love, perhaps, a hackney. But have you forgot your love?
ARM. Almoft I had.
I will prove.
ARM. What wilt thou prove?
Moth. A man, if I live; and this, by, in, and without, upon the instant: By heart you love her, because your heart cannot come by her: in heart you love her, because your heart is in love with her; and out of heart you love her, being out of heart that you cannot enjoy her.
ARM. I am all these three.
Moth. And three times as much more, and yet nothing at all.
Arm. Fetch hither the swain; he must carry me a letter.
Moth. A message well sympathised; a horse to be embaffador for an ass!
Some who were not so wisely precise, but regretted the disuse of the hobby-horse, no doubt, 'satirized this suspicion of idolatry, and archly wrote the epitaph above alluded to. Now Moth, hearing Armado groan ridiculousy, and cry out But oh! but oh! - humoroully pieces out his exclamation with the sequel of this epitaph.
THEOBALD. The same line is repeated in Hamlet. See note on A& III. (c. ii. STEEVENS. 5
but a colt, ] Colt is a hot, mad-brained, unbroken young fellow; or sometimes an old fellow with youthful desires.
Arm. Ha, ha! what sayest thou ?
Moth. Marry, fir, you must send the ass upon the horse, for he is very slow-gaited: But I go.
ARM. The way is but short; away.
Arm. Thy meaning, pretty ingenious ?
ter, no. Arm. I say, lead is slow.
MOTH. You are too swift, fir to say so:6 Is that lead slow which is fir'd from a gun ?
ARM. Sweet smoke of rhetorick! Hereputes me a cannon; and the bullet, that's he:
6 You are too swift, sir, to say fo :) How is he too swift for saying that lead is flow? fancy we should read, as well to supply the Thyme as the sense :
You are too swift, sir, to say so so soon:
JOHNSON. The meaning, I believe, is, You do not give yourself time to think, if you say so; or, as Mr. M. Mason explains the passage, You are too hafty in saying that: you have not sufficiently considered it.'
Swist, however, means ready at replies. . So, in Marston's Mal. content, 1604:
" I have eaten but two spoonfuls, and methinks I could discourse both swiftly and wittily, already. STEEVENS.
Swift is here used, as in other places, synonymously with witty. I suppose the meaning of Atalanta's better part, in As You Like It, is her wit -- the swiftness of her mind. FARMER.
So, in As you like it : “ He is very swift and sententious." Again in Much aio about nothing :
Having ro swift and excellent a wit." On reading the letter which contained an intimation of the Gunpowder-plot in 1605, King James said, that " the style was more quick and pithic than was usual in pasquils and libels."
I shoot thee at the swain.
Thump then, and I flee. [Exit. ARM. A most acute juvenal; voluble and free of
grace ! By thy favour, sweet welkin, ' I must sigh in thy
face: Most rude melancholy, valour, gives thee place. My herald is return'd,
Re-enter Moth. and Costard.
Moth. A wonder, master; here's a Costard bro.
ken - in a shin. Arm. Some enigma, fome riddle: come,--thy
l'envoy ;-begin. Cost. No egma, no riddle, no l'envoy;' no salve in the mail, fir: O fir, plantain, a plain plan
? By thy favour, fwect welkin, ] Welkin is the sky, to which Armado, with the false dignity of a Spaniard, makes an apology for fighing in its face. Johnson.
here's a Costard broken- ] i. e. a head. So, in Hycke Scorner : " I wyll rappe you on the coftard with my horne."
STEEVENS. no l'envoy;] The l'envoy is a term borrowed from the old French poetry. It appeared always at the head of a few concluding verses to each piece, which either served to convey the moral, or to address the poem to some particular person. It was frequently adopted by the ancient English writers.
So, in Monsieur D’Olive, 1606:
66 Well said: now to the L'Envoy. All the Tragedies of John Bochas, tranlated by Lidgate, are followed by a L'Envoy.
STEEVENS. no salve in the mail, sir:] The old folio reads - no salve in thee male, sir, which, in another folio, is, no Salve in the male, for. What it can mean, is not eally discovered: if mail for a packet or bug was a word then in use, no Salve in the mail may mean, 10,