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And his page o't other side, that handful of wit !
The same. Enter HOLOFERNES, Sir NATHANIEL, and Dull.
Nath. Very reverent sport, truly; and done in the testimony of a good conscience.
9 Enter Holofernes,] There is very little personal reflexion in Shakspeare. Either the virtue of those times, or the candour of our author, has so affected, that his satire is, for the most part, general, and, as himself says:
- his taxing like a wild-goose flies, « Unclaim'd of any man-; The place before us seems to be an exception. For by Holofernes is designed a particular character, a pedant and school. master of our author's time, one John Florio, a teacher of the Italian tongue in London, who has given us a small dictionary of that language under the title of A World of Words, which in his epistle dedicatory he tells us, is of little less value than Stephens's Treasure of the Greek Tongue, the most complete work that was ever yet compiled of its kind. In his preface, he calls those who criticised his works, sea-dogs or land-critics; monsters of men, if not beasts rather than men; whose teeth are canibals, their toongs ad. ders forks, their lips aspes poison, their eyes basiliskes, their breath the breath of a grave, their words like swordes of Turks, that strive which shall dive deepest into a Christian lying bound before them. Well therefore might the mild Nathaniel desire Holofernes to abrogate scurrility. His profession too is the reason that Holo. fernes deals so much in Italian sentences.
There is an edition of Love's Labour's Lost, printed in 1598, and said to be presented before her Highness this last Christmas, 1597. The next year 1598, comes out our John Florio, with his World of Words, recentibus odiis; and in the preface, quoted above, falls upon the comic poet for bringing him on the stage. There is another sort of leering curs, that rather snarle than bite, whereof I could instance in one, who lighting on a good sonnet of a gentleman's, a friend of mine, that loved better to be a poet than to be counted so, called the author a Rymer.--Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and scowre their mouths on Socrates, those very mouths they make to vilifie, shall be the means to amplifie his virtue, &c. Here Shakspeare is so plainly marked out as not to be mistaken. As to the sonnet of the gentleman his friend, we may be assured it was no other than his own. And without doubt was paro. died in the very sonnet beginning with The praiseful princess, Hol. The deer was, as you know, in sanguis,_blood;i
&c. in which our author makes Holofernes say, He will something affect the letter, for it argues facility. And how much John Florio thought this affectation argued facility, or quickness of wit, we see in this preface where he falls upon his enemy, H. S. His name is H. S. Do not take it for the Roman H. S. unless it be as H. S. is twice as much and an half, as half an AS. With a great deal more to the same purpose; concluding his preface in these words, The resolute John Florio. From the ferocity of this man's temper it was, that Shakspeare chose for him the name which Rabelais gives to his pedant, of Thubal Holoferne. Warburton.
I am not of the learned commentator's opinion, that the satire of Shakspeare is so seldom personal. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unintelligible; and the author that gratifies private malice, animam in vulnere ponit, destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the esteem of succeeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms, which, perhaps, in our author's time, set the playhouse in a roar, are now lost among general re. flections. Yet, whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. Warburton's conjecture, inclined to doubt. Every man adheres as long as he can to his own pre-conceptions. Before I read this note I considered the character of Holofernes as borrowed from the Rhombus of Sir Philip Sidney, who, in a kind of pastoral entertainment, exhibited to Queen Elizabeth, has introduced a schoolmaster so called, speaking a leash of languages at once, and puzzling himse and his auditors with a jargon like that of Holofernes in the present play. Sidney himself might bring the character from Italy; for as Peacham observes, the schoolmaster has long been one of the ridiculous personages in the farces of that country. Fohnson.
Dr. Warburton is certainly right in his supposition that Florio is meant by the character of Holofernes. Florio had given the first affront. .« The plaies, says he, that they plaie in England, are neither right comedies, nor right tragedies ; but representations of histories without any decorum.”—The scraps of Latin and Italian are transcribed from his works, particularly the proverb about Venice, which has been corrupted so much. The affectation of the letter, which argues facilitie, is likewise a copy of his
We meet with much of it in the sonnets to his patrons : “ In Italie your lordship well hath seene “ Their manners, monuments, magnificence, 6. Their language learnt, in sound, in style, in sense, “ Prooving by profiting, where you have beene.
To adde to fore-learn'd facultie, facilitie.” We see, then, the character of the schoolmaster might be written with less learning, than Mr. Colman conjectured: nor is
ripe as a pomewater,? who now hangeth like a jewel in
the use of the word thrasonical, (See this play, Act V, sc. i,] any argument that the author had read Terence. It was introduced to our language long before Shakspeare's time. Stanyhurst writes, in a translation of one of Sir Thomas More's Epigrams :
“Lynckt was in wedlocke a loftye thrasonical hufsnuffe.” It can scarcely be necessary to animadvert any further upon what Mr. Colman has advanced in the appendix to his Terence. If this gentleman, at his leisure from modern plays, will condescend to open a few old ones, he will soon be satisfied that Shakspeare was obliged to learn and repeat in the course of his profession, such Latin fragments as are met with in his works. The formidable one, ira furor brevis est, which is quoted from Timon, may be found, not in plays only, but in every tritical essay from that of King James to that of Dean Swift inclusive. I will only add, that if Mr. Colman had previously looked at the panegyric on Cartwright, he could not so strangely have misre. presented my argument from it; but thus it must ever be with the most ingenious men, when they talk without-book. Let me, however, take this opportunity of acknowledging the very genteel language which he has been pleased to use on this occasion.
Mr. Warton informs us in his Life of Sir Thomas Pope, that there was an old play of Holophernes acted before the Princess Elizabeth in the year 1556. Farmer. The verses above cited, are prefixed to Florio's Dict. 1598.
Malone. In support of Dr. Farmer's opinion, the following passage from Orlando Furioso, 1594, may be brought: “ — · Knowing him to be a Thrasonical mad cap, they have sent me a Gnathonical companion,” &c. Greene, in the dedication to his Arcadia, has the same word:
as of some thrasonical huffe-snuffe.” Florio's first work is registered on the books of the Stationers' Company, under the following title: “ Aug. 1578. Florio his First Frute, being Dialogues in Italian and English, with certen Instructions, &c. to the learning the Italian Tonge.” In 1595, he dedicated his Italian and English Dictionary to the Earl of Southampton. In the year 1600, le published his translation of Montaigne. Florio pointed his ridicule not only at dramatic performances, but even at performers. Thus, in his preface to this work: ”- as if an owle should represent an eagle, or some tara. rag player should act the princely Telephus with a voyce as rag'd as his clothes, a grace as bad as his voyce.” Steevens.
1-in sanguis,blood;] The old copies read-sanguis in blood. The transposition was proposed by Mr. Steevens, and is, I think, warranted by the following words, which are arranged in the same manner: “-in the ear of cælo, the sky,” &c. The same expression occurs in King Henry VI, P. I:
"If we be English deer, be then in blood." Malone.
the ear of cælo, 3—the sky, the welkin, the heaven; and anon falleth like a crab, on the face of terra,—the soil, the land, the earth.
Nath. Truly, master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least: But, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head. 4
Hol. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
Hol. Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinuation, as it were, in via, in way, of explication; facere, as it were, replication, or, rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclination,-after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather unlettered,
2 — ripe as a pomewater,] A species of apple formerly much esteemed. Malus Carbonaria. See Gerard's Herbal, edit. 1597,
Again, in the old ballad of Blew Cap for Me: " Whose cheeks did resemble two rosting pomewaters.”
Steevens. In the first Act of The Puritan, Pyeboard says to Nicholas; “The captain loving you so dearly, aye as the pome-water of his eye.”—Meaning the pupil, or apple of it, as it is vulgarly called.
M. Mason. 3— in the ear of coelo, Sc.] In Florio's Italian Dictionary, Cielo is defined “heaven, the skie, firmament, or welkin," and terra is explained thus: “ The element called earth; anie ground, earth, countrie,-land, soile,” &c. If there was any edition of this Dictionary, prior to the appearance of Love's Labour's Lost, this might add some little strength to Dr. Warburton's conjec. ture, though it would by no means be decisive; but my edition is dated 1598, (posterior to the exhibition of this play) and it appears to be the first. Malone. - But, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.
'twas a pricket.) In a play called The Return from Parnassus, 1606, I find the following account of the different appellations of deer, at their different ages:
“ Amoretto. I caused the keeper to sever the rascal deer from the bucks of the first head. Now, sir, a buck is the first year, a fawn; the second year, a PRICKET; the third year, a SORRELL; the fourth year, a soare; the fifth, a buck of the FIRST HEAD; the sixth year, a compleat buck. Likewise your hart is the first year, a calfe; the second year, a brocket; the third year, a spade; the fourth year, a stag; the sixth year, a hart.. A roe-buck is the first year a kid; the second year, a gird; the third year, a hemuse; and these are your special beasts for chase.”
Again, in A Christian turn'd Turk, 1612: “I am but a pricket, a mere sorell; my head's not harden'd yet.” Steevens.
or, ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,—to insert again my haud credo for a deer.
Dull. I said, the deer was not a haud credo; 'twas a pricket.
Hol. Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!-O thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou look!
Nath. Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink: his intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts; And such barren plants are set before us, that we thank
ful should be (Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts that
do fructify in us more than he.5 For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or
a fool, So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a
5 And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be (Which we of taste and feeling are)
for those parts that do fructify in us more than he.] The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage. The Moralities afford scenes of the like measure. Johnson.
This stubborn piece of nonsense, as somebody has called it, wants only a particle, I think, to make it sense. I would read:
And such barren plants are set before us, that we thankful should be, (Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts, that fructify
in us more than he. Which in this passage has the force of as, according to an idiom of our language, not uncommon, though not strictly grammatical. What follows is still more irregular; for I am afraid our poet, for the sake of his rhyme, has put he for him, or rather in him. If he had been writing prose, he would have expressed his meaning, I believe, more clearly thus--that do fructify in us more than in him. Tyrwhitt.
The old copies read~" which we taste and feeling -—" &c. I have placed Mr. Tyrwhitt's emendation in the text. Steevens.
Mr. Tyrwhitt's last observation is fully supported by a subse. quent passage:
and then we, Following the signs, woo'd but the sign of she." Malone. 6 For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a fool,
So, were there a patch set on learning, to see him in a school :] The meaning is, to be in a school would, as ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would become me. Fohnson.