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Arm. By the north pole, I do challenge thee.
Cost. I will not fight with a pole, like a northern man; ? I'll flash; I'll do it by the sword :- I pray you, let me borrow my arms' again.
DUM. Room for the incensed worthies.
MOTH. Master, let me take you a button-hole lower. Do you not fee, Pompey is uncasing for the combat? What mean you? you will lose your reputation.
ARM. Gentlemen, and soldiers, pardon me; I will not combat in my shirt.
DUM. You may not deny it; Pompey hath made the challenge.
ARM. Sweet bloods, I both may and will.
for’t ? ARM. The naked truth of it is, I have no shirt; I go
woolward for penance. Boyet. True, and it was enjoin'd him in Rome for want of linen: 4 since when, l'll be sworn, he
like a northern man; ] Vir Borealis, a clown. See Glossary to Urry's Chaucer. FARMER. 3
my arms — ] The weapons and armour which he wore in the chara&er of Pompey. Johnson.
it was enjoin'd him in Rome for want of linen : &c. ) . This mav poflibly allude to a story well known in our author's time, to this eife&t. A Spaniard at Rome falling in a duel, as he lay expiring, an intimate friend, by chance, came by, and offered him his best services. The dying man told him he had but one request to make him, but conjured him, by the memory of their past friendship, punctually to comply with it, which was not to suffer hiin to be ftript, but to bury him as he lay, in the habit he then hard on. When this was promised, the Spaniard closed his eyes, and expired with great composure and refignation. But his friend's curiosity prevailing over his good faith, he had him ftript, and found, 10 his great surprise, that he was without a shirt. WARBURTON.
wore none, but a dish-clout of Jaquenetta's; and that 'a wears next his heart, for a favour.
Boyet. True, and it was enjoin'd him in Rome for want of linen:
This is a plain reference to the following story in Slowe's Annals, p. 98. (in the time of Et ward the Confessor. ) 6 Next after tris (king Edward's first cure of ihe king's evil) mine authors aflirm, that a certain man, named Vifunius Spileorne, the son of Ulmore of Nutzarthall, who, when he hewed tinber in the wood of Brutheullena, laying him down 10 leep after his fore labour, the blood and humours of his head so congealed about his eyes, that he was thereof blind, for the space of nineteen years; but then (as he had been moved in his sleep) he went woolward and bare-footed to inany churches, in every of them to pray to God for help in his blind. ness." DR. GREY.
The same custom is alluded to in an old colle&ion of Satyres, Epigrams, &c.
" And when his shirt's a washing, then he must
16 That worth two shirts his laundress should him fee." Again, in A Mery Gelte of Robyn Hoode, bl. l. no date :
Barefoot, woolward bave I light,
66 Thether for to go." Again, in Powell's History of Wales, 1584: "The Angles and Saxons flew 1000 priests and monks of Bangor, with a great number of lay-brethren, &c. who were come bare-footed and woolward to crave mercy,
&c. STEEVENS. In Lodge's Incarnate Devils, 1596, we have the chara&er of a fwashbuckler: " His common course is to go always untrust; except when his shirt is a washing, and then he gocs woolward."
Woolward - ] “I have no shirt: I go woolward for penance. The learned Dr. Grey, whose accurate knowledge of our old historians has often thrown much light on Shakspeare, supposes that this passage is a plain reference to a story in Stowe's Annals, p. 98. But where is the connexion or resemblance between this monkish tale and the passage before us? There is nothing in the story, as here related by Stowe, that would even put us in mind of this dia. logue between Boyet and Armado, except the fingular expresion go woolward; ,which, at the same time is not explained by the annotator, nor illustrated by his quotation. To go woolward, I believe, was a phrase appropriated to pilgrims and penitentiaries. In this sense it seems to be used in Pierce Plowman's Visons, Paff. xviii. fol. 96. b. edit. 1550 :
PRIN. Welcome, Mercade ;
Mer. I am sarry, madam; for the news I bring, Is heavy in my tongue. The king your father
Prin. Dead, for my life.
Biron. Worthies, away; the scene begins to cloud.
ARM. For mine own part, I breathe free breath : I have seen the day of wrong through the little hole of discretion,' and I will right myself like a foldier.
« Wolward and wetshod went I forth after
" And yedeforth like a lorell," &c. Skinner derives woolward from the Saxon wol, plague, secoudarily any great distress, and weard, toward. Thus, says he, it fignifies, " in magno discrimine & expectatione magni mali conftiiutus. I rather thiuk it should be written woolward, and that it means cloathed in wool, and not in linen. This appears, not only from Shakspeare's context, but more particularly from a historian who relates the legend before cited, and whose words Stowe has evidently translated. This is Ailred abbot of Rievaulx, who says, that our blind man was admonished, " Ecclesias numero o&oginta nudis pedibus & absque linteis circumire." Dec. Scriptor. 392. 50. The same story is told by William of Malmsbury, Geft. Reg. Angl. lib. ii. p. 91. edit. 1601. And in Caxton's Legenda Aurea, fol. 307. edit. 1493. By the way it appears, that Stowe's Vifunius Spileorge, son of Ulmore of Nutgarlhall, ought to be Wulwin, surnamed de Spillicote, son of Wulmar de Lutegarshelle, now Ludgershall: and thc' wood of Brutheullena is the forest of Bruelle, now called Brill, in Buckinghamshire. · T. WARTON.
To this speech in the old copy Bog. is prçfixed, by which defignation most of Moth's speeches are marked. The name of Boyet is generally printed at length. It seems better suited to Armado's page than to Boyet, to whom it has been given in the modern edi. tions. MALONE.
? I have seen the day of wrong through the little hole of discretion, ] This has no meaning. We should read, the day of right, i. c. I
King. How fares your majesty?
Prin. Prepare, I say.--I thank you, gracious lords,
have seen that a day will come when I shall have justice donc me, and therefore I prudently reserve myself for that time.
WARBURTON. I believe it rather mcans, I have hitherto looked on the indignities I have received, with the eyes of discretion, (i. e. not been too forward to resent them) and Mall infijt on such satisfaction as will not disgrace my character, which is that of a soldier. To have decided the quarrel in the manner proposed by his antagonist, would have been at once a derogation from the honour of a soldier, and the pride of a Spaniard.
“ One may see day at a little hole," is a proverb in Ray's Colleco tion : “ Day-light will peep through a little hole,” in Kelly's. Again, in Churchyard's Charge, 1590. p. 9:
- At little hoales the daie is Jeen. STEEVENS. The passage is faulty; but Warburton has niiltaken the meaning of it, and the place in which the error lies.
Armado means to say, in his affected style, that she had discovered that he was wronged, and was deiermined to rigic himself as a soldier;" and this meaning will be clearly expressed if we read it thus, with a very flight alteration: so I have seen the day of wrong, through the little hole of fcretion. M. MASON.
liberal -] Free to excess. So, in The Merchant of Venice:
there they show Something too liberal.' STEEVENS. 7 In the converse of breath, ] Perhaps converse may, in this line, mean interchange. Johnson.
Converse of breath means no more than conversation " made up of breath, as our author expresses himself in Othello. Thus alla in The Merchant of Venice:
6. Thereforç I fçant this breathing courtesy." STEEVENS.
Was guilty of it.— Farewell, worthy lord!
KING. The extreme parts of time extremely form
8 A heavy heart bears not an humble tongue: ] Thus all the edi. tions; but, surely, without cither (euse or truth. Tone are more humble in speech, than they who labour under any oppreflion. The princess is deGring her grief may apologize for her noi expresing her obligations at large ; and my corredion is conformable to that sentiment. Besides, there is an antithesis between heary and nimble; but between heavy and humble, there is none. THEOBALD.
The following paffage in King John, inclines me to dispute the propriety of Mr. Theobald's emendation!
grief is proud, and makes his owner Rout. By humble, the princess seems to mean obfequiously thankful.
STEEVENS. So, in The Merchant of Venice :
" Shall I bend low, and in a bondman's key
" With 'bated breath, and whispering humbleness," &c. A heavy heart, says the princess, does not admit of that verbal obeisance which is paid by the humble to those whom they address. Farewell therefore at once. MALONE.
9 And often, at his very loose, decides, &c.] At his very 100%, may mean, at the monient of his parting, i. e. of his getting loose, or away from us.
So in some ancient poem, of which I forgot to preserve either the date or title:
" Envy discharging all her pois'nous darts,
" The valiant mind is temper'd with that fire, “ At her fierce loose that weakly never parts, " But in despight doth force her 10 retire." STEEVENS. which fain it would convince; ] We must read :
which fain would it convince ; that is, the entrcaties of love which would fair over-power grief.