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Stew. Why dost thou use me thus? I know thee not.
Kent. A knave; a rascal, an eater of broken meats; a base, proud, shallow, beggarly, three-suited, hundredpound,4 filthy worsted-stocking knave; a lily-liver'd, action-taking knave ;5 a whorson, glass-gazing, superserviceable, finical rogue; one-trunk-inheriting slave; one that would'st be a bawd, in way of good service, and art nothing but the composition of a knave, beggar, coward, pandar, and the son and heir of a mongrel bitch: one whom I will beat into clamorous whining, if thou deny'st the least syllable of thy addition.7
from Stubbs's Anatomie of Abuses, printed in 1595) were remarkably expensive, and scarce any other kind than silk were worn, even (as this author says) by those who had not above forty shillings a year wages.--So, in an old comedy, called The Hog hath lost its Pearl, 1614, by R. Tailor: -- - good parts are no more set by in these times, than a good leg in a woollen stocking." Again, in The Captain, by Beaumont and Fletcher:
« Green sicknesses and serving-men light on you,
“ With greasy breeches, and in woollen stockings.” Again, in The Miseries of inforc'd Marriage, 1607, two sober young men come to claim their portion from their elder brother who is a spendthrift, and tell him: “ Our birth-right, good brother: this town craves maintenance; silk stockings must be had,” &c.
Silk stockings were not made in England till 1560, the second year of queen Elizabeth's reign. Of this extravagance Drayton takes no. tice in the 16th song of his Polyolbion:
“ Which our plain fathers erst would have accounted sin,
“ Before the costly coach and silken stock came in.”. Steevens. This term of reproach also'occurs in The Phoenix, by Middleton, 1607 : “ Mettreza Auriola keeps her love with half the cost that I am at; her friend can go afoot, like a good husband; walk in worsted stockings, and inquire for the sixpenny ordinary.” Malone.
hundred- d-pound,] A hundre.l-pound gentleman is a term of reproach used in Middleton's Phoenix, 1607. Steevens.
action-taking knave ;] i. e. a fellow, who, if you beat him, would bring an action for the assault, instead of resenting it like a man of courage. M. Mason.
- a whorson, glass-gazing rogue;] This epithet none of the commentators have explained ; nor am I sure that I understand it. In Timon of Athens, “the glass-fac'd fiatterer is mentioned, that is, says Dr. Johnson, “ he that shows in his own look, as by reflection, the looks of his patron.”-Glass-gazing may be licentiously used for one enamoured of hinsell; who gazes ofien at his own person in glass. Malone
Stew. Why, what a monstrous fellow art thou, thus to rail on one, that is neither known of thee, nor knows thee?
Kent. What a brazen-faced varlet art thou, to deny thou know’st me? Is it two days ago, since I tripp'd up thy heels, and beat thee, before the king ? Draw, you rogue: for, though it be night, the moon shines; I'll make a sop o'the moonshine of you:8 Draw, you whorson cullionly barber-monger, draw. [Drawing his Sword.
addition.] i. e. titles. The Statute 1 Hen. V, ch. 5, which directs that in certain writs a description should be added to the name of the defendant, expressive of his estate, mystery, degree, &c. is called the statute of Additions. Malone.
Kent is not only boisterous in his manners, but abusive in his language. His excessive ribaldry proceeds from an over solicitude to prevent being discovered: like St. Peter's swearing from a similar inotive. Henley.
-I'll make a sop o' the moonstiine of you :] This is equivalent to our modern phrase of making the sun shine through any one. But, alluding to the natural philosophy of that time, it is obscure. The Peripatetics thought, though falsely, that the rays of the moon were cold and moist. The speaker therefore says, he would make a sop of his antagonist, which should absorb the humidity of the moon's rays, by letting them into his guts. For this reason Shakspeare, in Romeo and Juliet, says:
the moonshine's watry beams."
Warburton. I much question if our author had so deep a meaning as is here imputed to him by his more erudite commentator. Steevens.
I'll make a sop o' the moonshine of you.] Perhaps here an equivoque was intended. In The Old Shepherd's Kalendar, among the dishes recommended for Prymetyne, “ One is egges in moneshine.”
- Could I those whitely stars go nigh,
" To make my Delia a curious mess." Steevens.
• And make a sop of all this solid globe." Malone.
Stew. Away; I have nothing to do with thee.
Kent. Draw, you rascal: you come with letters against the king; and take vanity the puppet's part,2 against the royalty of her father: Draw, you rogue, or I'll so carbonado your shanks :-draw, you rascal; come your ways.
Stew. Help, ho! murder! help!
Kent. Strike, you slave; stand, rogue, stand; you neat slave, strike.
[Beating him. Stew. Help, ho! murder! murder! Enter EDMUND, CORNWALL, REGAN, GLOSTER,
and Servants. Edm. How now? What's the matter? Part.
Kent. With you, goodman boy, if you please; come, I'll flesh you; come on, young master.
Glo. Weapons! arms! What's the matter here?
Corn. Keep peace, upon your lives;
Reg. The messengers from our sister and the king.
difference? speak. Stew. I am scarce in breath, my lord.
Kent. No marvel, you have so bestirr’d your valour. You cowardly rascal, nature disclaims in thee;4 a tailor made thee.
upon the steward, as taking fees for a recommendation to the business of the family. Farmer.
A barber-monger; i.e. a fop, who deals much with barbers, to ad. just his hair and beard. M. Mason.
Barber-monger perhaps means one who consorts much with barbers. Malone.
vanity the puppet's part,] Alluding to the mysteries or alle. gorical shows, in which vanity, iniquity, and other vices, were personified. Johnson. So, in Volpone, or the Fox :
“ Get you a cittern, Lady Vanity.” Steevens. The description is applicable only to the old moralities, between which and the mysteries there was an essential difference. Ritson.
- neat slave,] You mere slave, you very slave. Johnson. You neat slave, I believe, means no more than you finical rascal, you who are an assemblage of foppery and poverty. Ben Jonson uses the same epithet in his Poetaster: “ By thy leave, my neat scoundrel.”
Steevens. 3 He dies, that strikes again:] So, in Othello:
" He that stirs next to carve for his own rage,
Corn. Thou art a strange fellow : a tailor make a man?
Kent. Ay, a tailor, sir: a stone-cutter, or a painter, could not have made him so ill, though they had been but two hours at the trade.
Corn. Speak yet, how grew your quarrel?
Stew. This ancient ruffian, sir, whose life I have spar'd, At suit of his grey beard,
Kent. Thou whorson zed ! thou unnecessary letter!5My lord, if you will give me leave, I will tread this unbolted villaino into mortar, and daub the wall of a jakes with him.--Spare my grey beard, you wagtail?
Corn. Peace, sirrah !
Kent. Yes, sir ; but anger has a privilege.s
nature disclaims in thee;] So the quartos and the folio. The modern editors read, without authority:
- nature disclaims her share in thee. The old reading is the true one. So, in R. Brome's Northern Lass, 1633 :
- I will disclaim in your favour hereafter." Again, in The Case is Alter'd, by Ben Jonson, 1609 :
“ Thus to disclaim in all th’ effects of pleasure.” Again:
“ No, I disclaim in her, I spit at her.” Stecvens. 5 Thou whorson zed! thou unnecessary letter !'] Zed is here probably used as a term of contempt, because it is the last letter in the English alphabet, and as its place may be supplied S, and the Roman alphabet has it not; neither is it read in any word originally Teutonick. In Barret's Alvearie, or Quadruple Dictionary, 1580, it is quite omitted, as the author affirms it to be rather a syllable than a letter. C (as Dr. Johnson supposed) cannot be the unnecessary let. ter, as there are many words in which its place will not be supplied with any other, as charity, chastity, &c. Steevens.
This is taken from the grammarians of the time. Mulcaster says, “ Z is much harder amongst us, and seldom seen :---S is become its lieutenant-general. It is lightlie expressed in English, saving in foren enfranchisements." Farmer.
this unbolted villain --] i. e. unrefined by education, the bran yet in him. Metaphor from the bakehouse. Warburton.
into mortar,] This expression was much in use in our author's time. So, Massinger, in his New Way to pay old Debts, Act 1, sc.i:
I will help your memory, 66 And tread thee into mortar." Stecvens. Unbolted mortar is mortar made of unsifted lime, and therefore to break the lumps it is necessary to tread it by men in wooden shoes. This unbolted villain is therefore this coarse rascal. Tollete
Corn. Why art thou angry?
Kent. That such a slave as this should wear a sword, Who wears no honesty. Such smiling rogues as these, Like rats, oft bite the holy cords in twain Which are too intrinse t' unloose:1 smooth every pas
: Yes, sir; but anger has a privilege.] So, in King John:
“ Sir, sir, impatience hath its privilege.” Steevens.
Such smiling rogues as these,] The words—as these, are, in my opinion, a manifest interpolation, and derange the metre without the least improvement of the sense. Steevens. 1 Like rats, ofe bite the holy cords in twain
Which are too intrinse ť unlouse :] By these holy cords the poet means the natural union between parents and children. The metaphor is taken from the cords of the sanctuary ; and the fomenters of family differences are compared to these sacrilegious rats. The expression is fine and noble. Warburton.
The quartos read-to intrench. The folio-t intrince. Intrinse, for so it should be written, I suppose was used by Shakspeare for intrinsecate, a word which, as Theobald has observed, he has used in An. tony and Cleopatra:
Come, mortal wretch,
6. Of life at once untie.”
“ Season your admiration for a while
“ With an attent ear.” The word intrinsecate was but newly introduced into our language, when this play was written. See the preface to Marston's Scourge of Villanie, 1598: “I know he will vouchsafe it some of his new-minted epithets; as real, intrinsecate, Delphicke,” &c.
I doubt whether Dr. Warburton has not, as usual, seen more in this passage than the poet intended. In the quartos the word holy is not found, and I suspect it to be an interpolation made in the folio edition. We might perhaps better read, with the elder copy:
Like rats, oft bite those cords in twain, which are
smooth every passion -) So the old copies; for which Mr. Pope and the subsequent editors substituted sooth. The verb to smooth occurs frequently in our elder writers. So, in Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, 1592:
" For since he learn'd to use the poet's pen
“ He learn'd likewise with smoothing words to feign." Again, in Titus Andronicus :
“ Yield to his humour, smooth, and speak him fair.” Again, in our poet's King Richard III:
“ Smile in men's faces, smooth, deceive, and cog.” Malone.