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When flesh is cheap and females dear?,
Shal. Give master Bardolph some wine, Davy.
Davy. Sweet sir, sit; [Seating BARDOLPH and the Page at another table.] I'll be with you anon :most sweet sir, sit.--Master page, good master page, sit: proface * ! What you want in meat, we'll
2 - and females dear, &c.] This very natural character of Justice Silence is not sufficiently observed. He would scarcely speak a word before, and now there is no possibility of stopping his mouth. He has a catch for every occasion :
“ When flesh is cheap and females dear.” Here the double sense of the word dear must be remembered.
FARMER. 3 And EVER AMONG so merrily.] Ever among is used by Chaucer in The Romaunt of the Rose :
“ Ever among (sothly to saine)
“ I suffre noie and mochil paine.” FARMER. Of the phrase—ever among, I find an example in the old MS. romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne :
“ Thai eten and dronken right inowe,
“ Howe of sorowe was his songe.” It is observable that this phrase, in both instances, is applied to the purpose of festivity. Steevens. It occurs in the Not-browne Mayd : “ Be it right or wrong, these men among,
“On women do complain.” Which Dr. Farmer proposed, erroneously, I think, to correct, “s 'tis men among,” supposing it a Latinism. See Percy's Reliques, vol. ii. p. 28, edit. 1794. So, Turbervile's Tragical Tales, p. 132, where it is certainly not applied to the purpose of festivity: “ And whipt him now and then among.
Boswell. 4 — proface !] Italian, from profaccia ; that is, much good may it do you. Hanmer.
Sir Thomas Hanmer (says Dr. Farmer) is right, yet it is no argument for his author's Italian knowledge.
Old Heywood, the epigrammatist, addressed his readers long before :
have in drink. But you must bear; The heart's all 5.
[Exit. Shal. Be merry, master Bardolph ;--and my little soldier there, be merry. Sil. Be merry, be merry, my wife has allo;
&c. So, Taylor, the Water-poet, in the title of a poem prefixed to his Praise of Hempseed: "A preamble, preatrot, preagallop, preapace, or preface; and proface, my masters, if your stomach serve.”
Decker, in his comedy of If this be not a good play the Devil is in it, makes Shackle-soule, in the character of Friar Rush, tempt his brethren “ with choice of dishes :"
“ To which proface ; with blythe lookes sit yee." I am still much in doubt whether there be such an Italian word as profaccia. Baretti has it not, and it is more probable that we received it from the French; proface being a colloquial abbreviation of the phrase. prou
leur face,” i. e. 'Much good may it do them. See Cotgrave, in voce Prou.
To the instances produced by Dr. Farmer, I may add one more from Springes for Woodcocks, a collection of epigrams, 1606, Ep. 110:
Proface, quoth Fulvius, fill us t’other quart.” And another from Heywood's Epigrams :
“ I came to be merry, wherewith merrily
Proface. Have among you," &c. Again, in Stowe’s Chronicle, p. 528 : - the cardinall came in booted and spurred, all sodainly amongst them, and bade them proface." Steevens.
So, in Nashe's Apologie for Pierce Penniless, 1593 : “ A preface to courteous minds, -as much as to say proface, much good may it do you ! would it were better for you!”
Sir T. Hanmer, (as an ingenious friend observes to me,) was mistaken in supposing profaccia a regular Italian word; the proper expression being buon pro vi faccia, much good may it do you ! Profaccia is, however, as I am informed, a cant term used by the common people in Italy, though it is not inserted in the best Italian dictionaries. MALONE.
– The heart's all.] That is, the intention with which the entertainment is given. The humour consists in making Davy act as master of the house. Johnson.
my wife's as all ;] Old copy—has all. Dr. Farmer very acutely observes, that we should read-my wife's as all
, i. e. as all This affords a natural introduction to what follows.
For women are shrews, both short and tall:
in hall, when beards wag allo, And welcome merry shrove-tide7. Be merry, be merry, &c.
FAL. I did not think, master Silence had been a man of this mettle.
Sil. Who I? I have been merry twice and once,
My wife has all” is an equally good introduction to what follows. It is a proof that she is a shrew. BoswELL.
in hall, when beards wag all,] Mr. Warton, in his History of English Poetry, observes, that this rhyme is poem by Adam Davie, called The Life of Alexander :
Merry swithe it is in halle,
" When the berdes waveth alle.” STEEVENS. This song is mentioned by a contemporary
author : which done, grace said, and the table taken up, the plate presently conveyed into the pantrie, the hall summons this consort of companions (upon payne to dyne with duke Humphfrie, or to kisse the hare's foot) to appear at the first call: where a song is to be şung, the under song or holding whereof is, It is merrie in haul where beards wag all." The Serving-man's Comfort, 1598,
Again : “ It is a common proverbe It is merry in hall, when beardes wag all."
all.” Briefe Conceipte of English Pollicye, by William Stafford, 1581. Reprinted 1751, as a work of Shakspeare's.
REED. 9 And welcome merry SHROVE-TIDE.]
Shrove-tide was formerly a season of extraordinary sport and feasting. In the Romish church there was anciently a feast immediately preceding Lent, which lasted many days, called Carniscapium. See Carpentier in v. Supp. Lat. Gloss. Du Cange, tom. i. p. 381.
In some cities of France, an officer was annually chosen, called Le Prince D'Amoreux, who presided over the sports of the youth for six days before Ash-Wednesday. Ibid. v. Amoratus, p. 195 ; and v. Cardinalis, p. 818. Also, v. Spinetum, tom. iii. 848. Some traces of these festivities still remain in our universities. In The Percy Houshold-book, 1512, it appears, "that the clergy and officers of Lord Percy's chapel performed a play before his lordship upon Shrowftewesday at night.” P. 345.
T. WARTON. See also Dodsley's Collection of Old Plays, vol. xii. p. 403, last edition. REED,
[Setting them before BARDOLPH. Shal. Davy,—
Davy. Your worship ?—I'll be with you straight. [To Barn.]-A cup of wine, sir ?
Sil. A cup of wine, that's brisk and fine,
And a merry heart lives long-a'.
Sil. And we shall be merry ;-now comes in the sweet of the night'.
Fal. Health and long life to you, master Silence.
Shal. Honest Bardolph, welcome: If thou wantest any thing, and wilt not call, beshrew thy heart.-Welcome, my little tiny thief; [To the Page.] and welcome, indeed, too.—I'll drink to
8 - leather-coats —). The apple commonly denominated russetine, in Devonshire, is called the buff-coat. Henley.
9 - a merry heart lives long-a.] “ A merry heart is the life of the flesh.” Proverbs, xiv. 30. “ Gladness prolongs his days." Eccles. xxx. 22. STEEVENS.
now comes in the sweet of the night.] So Falstaff, in a former scene of this play: " Now comes in the sweetest morsel of the night." STEEVENS.
I believe the latter words (those in the speech of Silence] make part of some old ballad. In one of Autolycus's songs we find
Why then comes in the sweet of the year." The words, “ And we shall be merry,” have a reference to a song, of which Silence has already sung a stanza. His speeches in this scene are, for the most part, fragments of ballads. Though his imagination did not furnish him with any thing original to say, he could repeat the verses of others. MALONE.
? Fill the cup, &c.] This passage has hitherto been printed as prose, but I am told that it makes a part of an old song, and have therefore restored it to its metrical form. STEEVENS.
master Bardolph, and to all the cavaleroes 8 about London.
Davy. I hope to see London once ere I die *.
SHAL. By the mass, you'll crack a quart together. Ha! will you not, master Bardolph ?
BARD. Yes, sir, in a pottle pot.
Shal. I thank thee :—The knave will stick by thee, I can assure thee that: he will not out; he is true bred.
BARD. And I'll stick by him, sir.
Shal. Why, there spoke a king. Lack nothing: be merry. [Knocking heard.] Look who's at door there : Ho! who knocks ?
[Exit Davy. Fal. Why, now you have done me right.
[TO SILENCE, who drinks a bumper. Sil. Do me right',
[Singing And dub me knighto :
Samingo? Ist not so ?
cavaleroes - ] This was the term by which an airy, splendid, irregular fellow was distinguished. The soldiers of King Charles were called Cavaliers from the gaiety which they affected in opposition to the sour faction of the parliament.
Johnson. 4 I hope to see London once ere I die.] Once, I believe, here signifies some time, or-one time or another. So, in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Fenton says : “ I pray thee, once tonight
give my sweet Nan this ring.' STEEVENS. Ś Do me right.] To do a man right, and to do him reason, were formerly the usual expressions in pledging healths. He who drank a bumper, expected a bumper should be drank to his toast.
So, in Ben Jonson's Silent Woman, Captain Otter says in the drinking scene : · Ha' you
done me right, gentlemen ? " Again, in The Bondman, by Massinger :
“These glasses contain nothing ;-do me right,
“ As ere you hope for liberty. STEEVENS. 6 And dub me knight :] It was the custom of the good fellows