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cruelty of his fate, and the distraction of the scene around him."
(15) The courtier's, soldier's, scholar's, eye, tongue, sword.] Dr. Farmer has shewn, that the collocation of words in exact correspondence with each other, was not insisted upon by our author; and that even Quintilian, a classical and critical author, thought such scrupulous arrangement unnecessary, though: writing in prose.
• Princes are the glass, the school, the book,
Tarq. and Lucrece. And in Quintilian : “ Multum agit sexus, ætas, conditio; ut in fæminis, senibus, pupillis, liberos, parentes, conjuges, alligantibus.”
(16) That unmatch'd form and feature of blown youth,
Blasted with ecstasy :) That matchless form of blooming youth mildewed and distracted, “ The feature or fashion, or the proportion and figure of the whole body. Conformatio quædam et figura totius oris et corporis, oumjetpia," Baret's Alvearie, fo. 1580. In the sense of the entire figure it is used in Cymb. V. 5. Iach.
“ For feature laming
“ Thus when they had the witch disrobed quite,
“ Which the fair feature of her limbs did bide." Ib. III.9. Blown is ripe, out of the bud. For feature the quartos read stature. Ecstasy is being carried out of oneself, distraction, alienation of mind. “ Nor sense to ecstasy was e'er so thrall’d."
III. 4. Haml. Mr. Steevens quotes Gaw. Dougl.
" In ecstasy she stood, and mad almaist."
(17) robustious perriwig-pated fellow] Boisterous and pompous : in deportment and dress making a false and extravagant show of passion. Mr. Steevens cites Every Woman in her Humour, 1609: " as none wear hoods but monks and ladies, and feathers but fore-horses, &c. none perriwigs but players and pictures."
(18) groundlings] to our upper gallery.
The part of the audience that answered
Ben Jonson mentions the groundlings with contempt: The understanding gentlemen of the ground here." And in The Case is Alter'd, 1609: “— a rude barbarous crew that have no brains, and yet grounded judgements; they will hiss any thing that mounts above their grounded capacities.”
“ Be your stage-curtains artificially drawn, and so covertly shrowded that the squint-eyed groundling may not peep in?” Lady Alimony, 1659.
In our early play-houses the pit had neither floor nor benches.
The groundling, in its primitive signification, means a fish which always keeps at the bottom of the water. Steevens.
The groundling and gallery commoner are classed together in Decker's Guls Hornbook, 1609, p. 27.
(19) capable of nothing but inexplicable dumb shows, and noise) i. e. have a capacity for nothing but dumb shows; understand nothing else. So, in Heywood's History of Women, 1624: “ I have therein imitated our historical and comical poets, that write to the stage; who, lest the auditory should be dulled with serious discourses, in every act present some zany, with his mimick gesture, to breed in the less capable mirth and laughter.” MALONE.
These are shows too confusedly conducted to explain themselves.
In Heywood's play of the Four Prentices of London, 1015, the Presenter says:
“I must entreat your patience to forbear
“ Their infant fortunes I will soon express :" &c. Then follow the dumb shows, which well deserve the character Hamlet has already given of this species of entertainment, as may be seen from the following passage : “ Enter Tancred, with Bella Franca richly attired, she somewhat affecting him, though she makes no show of it.” Surely this may be called an inerplicable dumb show. STEEVENS.
For the order of these dumb shews Mr. Steevens refers to Gascoigne and Kilwolmersh's Jocasta, 1566.
(20) Termagant] Termagaunt (says Dr. Percy, at the end of K. Estmere, vol. I.) is the name given in the old romances to the god of the Sarazens; in which he is constantly linked with Mahound, or Mohammed. Thus, in the legend of SYR Guy, the Soudan swears :
“So helpe me Mahowne of might,
Hall, Sat. 1. And
“ let whirlwinds and confusion teare
“ Shake heaven's vault.” Marston, Sat. VII. Termagant is also mentioned by Spenser in his Fairy Queen, and by Chaucer in The Tale of Sir Topas : and by Beaumont and Fletcher, in King or no King, as follows: “ This would make a saint swear like a soldier, and a soldier like Termagant." And in Massinger's Picture:
a hundred thousand Turks “ Assail'd him, every one a Termagaunt.” SteeVENS. And in Bale's Acts of English Votaries : ; “Grennyng upon her, lyke Termagauntes in a play."
Ritson. “ This Saracen deity is constantly called Tervagan in an old romance in the Bodleian library (and Ritson derives it from ter and vagans, the action of turning three times round in ancient magical incantatious) says Tyrwhitt: and Ritson quotes Ariosto:
“ Bestemmiando, Macone*, et Trivigante." And Mr. Todd adds :
“ Invocando Apollino, et Trivigante,
1553. c. xxvii. p. 167. « And Mahound and Termagant come against us, we'll fight with them.” Hist. of the Tryall of Chevalry, 4to. Lond. printed by Simon Stafford. " And oftentimes by T'ermagant and Mahound swore."
F. Q. VI. VII. 47. Spens. VII. 28. See Ritson's Metrical Romances, I. 260.
(21) - out-herods Herod] The character of Herod in the ancient mysteries, was always a violent one.
See the Coventriæ Ludus among the Cotton MSS. Vespasian D. VIII :
“ Now I regne lyk a kyng arrayd ful rych,
“ My dedys be full dowty demyd be day.'
“ I kynge of kynges, non soe keene,
« For I am kinge of all mankinde,
See The Vintner's Play, p. 67. Chaucer, describing a parish clerk, in his Miller's Tale, says:
“ He plaieth Herode on a skaffold high.” The parish clerks and other subordinate ecclesiasticks appear to have been our first actors, and to have represented their cha. racters on distinct pulpits or scaffolds. Thus, in one of the stage-directions to the 27th pageant in the Coventry collection already mentioned: “What tyme that processyon is entered into yi place, and the Herowdys taken his schaffalde, and Annas and Cayphas their schaffaldys,” &c. Steevens.,
“ Of bewte and of boldnes I ber evermore the belle,
Coventry's Plays, Cotton MSS. p. 92. Malone. And in The Unluckie Firmentie, by G. Kyttes, 4to. bl. 1.:
“ But he was in such a rage .
“ The part of Herude playe.” Ritson. See Douce's Illustrat. II. 241.
(22) in your allowance, o’erweigh a whole theatre of others] By your admission preponderate, &c. The text is in the spelling of the quartos. The folio of 1632 reads ore-sway. Mr. Malone observes, Ben Jonson seems to have imitated this passage in his Poetaster, 1601 :
- I will try
(23) not to speak it profanely, that, neither having accent nor gait, &c. &c.] Entering his protest that he did not mean to speak profanely by saying, that there could be any such thing as a journeyman Creator, he says " the voice and carriage of these execrable mimics is so unnatural, so vile a copy of their original ; that, not to speak it profanely, I have thought in what they exhibited, from the sample they gave, so far as these were specimens of their workmanship, that Nature's journeymen had been making men; inasmuch as such as these could not have been the handywork of God." But profane was certainly at that time very generally used for any thing gross, licentious, or indelicate. See Braban. to lago. Othel. 1, 1.
(24) speak no more than is set down for them]
“ you, sir, are incorrigible, and
Brome's Antipodes, 1638.
“ Before the stage was purg'd from barbarism." Ib. Stowe informs us, that among the twelve players who were sworn the queen's servants in 1583, “ were two rare men, viz. Thomas Wilson, for a quick delicate refined extemporall witte ; and Richard Tarleton, for a wondrous plentifull, pleasant extemporell witt.” 1615. p. 697.
“- I absented myself from all plaies, as wanting that merrye Roscius of plaiers, that famosed all comedies so with his pleasant and extemporall invention.” Tarleton's Newes from Purgatory.
STEEVENS. The clown very often addressed the audience in the middle of the play, and entered into a contest of raillery and sarcasm with such of the audience as chose to engage with him. It is to this absurd practice that Shakespeare alludes. See Historical Account of our Old English Theatres. Malone.
(25) some quantity of barren spectators] Dull, unapprehensive, unpregnant. 6 Why laugh you at such a burren rascal.”
Tw. N. I. 5. Malv. “ The shallowest thickskin of that barren sort.”
Mids. N. Dr. III. 2. Puck. See Tw. N. I. 3. Maria.
(26) For what advancement may I hope from thee,
" What shalt thou expect,
Cymb. I. 6. Queen,