« PreviousContinue »
I. i. p. 17. Philostrate.—The name taken by Arcite in Chaucer's “ Knight's Tale."
I. i. p. 18. Egeus.—The name taken from Plutarch ; it is tri-syllabic.
I. i. p. 19. Stolen the impression of her fantasy.Impressed himself secretly upon her imagination.
I. i. p. 24. Observance to a morn of May.—There is frequent allusion in Chaucer to these pleasant rites performed by our ancestors. Stowe mentions how they used to go out into “ the sweet meadows and green woods, there to rejoice their spirits with the beauty and savour of sweet flowers, and with the harmony of birds praising God in their kind.”
I. i. p. 25. The Carthage queen.-Elissa, surnamed Dido, stabbed herself upon a funeral pyre in preference to marrying again, after having vowed fidelity to her murdered husband, Sichæus.
I. ii. p. 30. Play Ercles tear a cat make all split. — The labours of Hercules were a common subject of popular stage-plays, in which Hercules figured as a ranting hero. These phrases were currently applied to bombastic acting.
I. ii. p. 33. Hold or cut bow-strings. -A form of pledge for an archery meeting, meaning “I will hold to my word, or you may cut my bow-strings." The phrase passed into common use as a promise to keep an appointment.
II. ii. p. 36. Perigenia.—She is mentioned in North’s Plutarch as Perigouna,” where Shakspere also found
Ægle, Ariadne, and Antiopa mentioned as victims of the conqueror's power.
II. ii. p. 37. Nine men's morris.-A game played by two persons, with nine men or pieces each. It was played indoors on a board; out of doors on a square of turf, with lines marked and holes cut, which in rainy weather would become “filled up with mud.” The game originated in France under the name of Merelles, afterwards corrupted in England to “morris.”
II. ii. p. 43. Daphne.-A nymph, who, when pursued by Apollo, besought the assistance of the gods and was transformed into a bay laurel tree.
III. ii. p. 71. Two of the first, like coats in heraldry. Their two bodies having but one heart between them, are like the coat-of-arms of a married couple, which are emblazoned as two, yet are surmounted by but one crest.
III. ii. p. 79. Night's swift dragons.—The car of Night was fabled to be drawn by dragons or winged serpents.
III. ii. p. 79. In crossways and floods have burial. -The ghosts of those who were buried in cross-roads, and of those who were drowned without the rights of sepulture having been bestowed upon their bodies, were supposed to be condemned to wander for a hundred years. All the wandering ghosts were believed to return to their earthy beds at the approach of dawn.
III. . p. 80. The Morning's love.-Cephalus, a prince of Thessaly, and a famous huntsman. He was married to Procris, but the goddess Aurora cast an eye of favour upon him and strove to make him false to his marriage vows. (See Note to Shafalus, V. i. p. 107.)
IV. i. p. 90. Saint Valentine. - Meaning his day, when birds were thought to mate.
V. i. p. 97. Brow of Egypt.--Shakspere means swarthy gipsy brow. It was then erroneously believed that gipsies came from Egypt. See Borde's Introduction of Knowledge (ed. Furnivall, Ē. E. T. S.), where the author
gives the first record of the gipsy language as the language of the people of Egypt. A dark complexion was very unpopular in the Elizabethan times.
V. i. p. 99. Centaurs.-Referring to the attack of the Centaurs on Hercules when he was hunting the Erymanthian boar.
V. i. p. 99. My kinsman Hercules.-Shakspere found the statement that Theseus and Hercules were related to each other in North’s Plutarch : “ They were near kinsmen, being cousins removed by the mother's side. Æthra was the daughter of Pittheus, and Alcmena (mother of Hercules) was the daughter of Lysidice, who was half-sister to Pittheus, both children of Pelops and his wife Hippodamia.”
V. i. p. 99. The Thracian singer.-Orpheus, who in grief for the loss of his wife Eurydice, secluded himself from female society, and thereby so offended the women of Thrace that, while celebrating the orgies of Bacchus, they attacked him, tore him to pieces, and threw his head into the river Hebrus.
V. i. p. 104. Ninus.—The husband of Semiramis, Queen of Babylon.
V. i. p. 106. Limander.—Leander, who swam the Hellespont to reach Hero (Helen).
V. i. p. 107. Shafalus.Cephalus, husband of Procris (Procrus), to whom he remained true in spite of the wooing of Aurora.
V. i. p. 108. A lion fell.No lion fell: the negative being understood from the following nor. Lion means to say,
'I am not a fierce lion.' V. i. p. 113. Bergomask dance.—A dance called in Italian à Bergomasco, because it was originally danced by the Bergamese, peasants of Bergamo, capital of the province of Bergamasco in Venetia.
V. i. p. 115. Triple Hecate.-In her triple capacity, as Luna in heaven, Diana on earth, and Hecate in hell.
Abridgment: a brief perform Brief: short note. V. i. p. 99. ance. V. 1. p. 99.
Broached : stabbed, pierced. V. Aby it dear: pay dearly for it. i. p. 104. III. ii. p. 70.
Bully: comrade (a term of goodAcheron: one of the rivers of fellowship). III. i. p. 53. Hades. III. ii. p. 78.
Buskined : wearing a buskin, a Adamant: lode-stone. II. ii. p. high-heeled boot worn in hunt41.
ing. II. ii. p. 36. Addrest: prepared, ready. V. By'r lakin: an oath.
“By our i. p. 102.
Ladykin," i.e., the Virgin Mary. Admirable: wonderful. V. i. p. III. i. p. 53. 98.
Cankers: worms that infest and Advised :“be”consider, I. i. eat flowers. II. iii. p. 45. p. 19.
Cavalery: cavalier. IV. i. p. 85. After-supper: rere-supper, des Changeling: a fairy substituted sert. V. i. p. 98.
for a human child. II. i. p. 34. Aggravate: subdue. I. ii. p. 32. Cheer : countenance. III. ii. p. Apprehend: conceive, perceive. 66. V. i. p. 97.
Childing : fruitful.
II. ii. p. 38. Approve: prove. II. iii. p. 48. Choughs: crows. III. ii. p. 63. Apricocks: apricots. III. i. p. 60. Churl: a rustic, or ill-bred per. Argument: subject for mockery. son, II. iii. p. 49. III. ii. p. 72.
Coil: disturbance, turmoil. III. Artificial: creative. III, ii. p.
ii. p. 77. 71.
Collied : pitch dark. I. i. p. 24. Aunt: gossip. II. i. p. 35.
Compact: composed. V. i. p. Barm: yeast. II, i. p. 35.
9. Barren: dull, brainless. III. ii. Companion: fellow (used as a
term of disparagement). I. i. p. Bated : left out, omitted. I, i. 18.
Con : Saxon connan, to learn by Beshrew; ill betide. II. iii. p. rote. I. ii. 48.
Conceits: devices. I. i. p. 19. Beteem: pour forth, supply. Concern : suit. I. i. p. 20. 1. i. p. 23.
Condole: lament. I. ii. p. 29. Bootless: vain, useless. II. ii. Confusion: destruction. I. i. p. pp. 34 and 43.
24. Bottle of hay: bundle, truss of Constancy: consistency. V. i.
hay. (Old Fr., botel, diminu
tive of botte.) IV. i. p. 85. Continents: banks. II. ii. p. 37. Brake: thorny thicket. II. ii, Counsel: secrets, confidences. p. 43; III. i. p. 55.
III, ii. p. 71. Brave touch: glorious feat. III. Courageous : fortunate. IV. ii. ii. p. 64.