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Fal. "Tis so.
Sil. Is't so? Why, then say, an old man can do somewhat.
of Shakspeare's days to drink a very large draught of wine, and sometimes a less palatable potation, on their knees, to the health of their mistress. He who performed this exploit was dubb’d a knight for the evening.
So, in The Yorkshire Tragedy, 1608 : “ They call it knighting in London, when they drink upon their knees. ---Come follow me; I'll give you all the degrees of it in order.” Malone.
7 Samingo.] He means to say, San Domingo. Hanmer.
In one of Nashe's plays, entitled Summer's last Will and Testament, 1600, Bacchus sings the following catch :
“ Monsieur Mingo for quaffing doth surpass
« Domingo." Domingo is only the burthen of the song
Again, in The letting of Humours Blood in the Head-vaine : with a new Morisco, daunced by seaven Satyres, upon the Bottome of Diogenes Tubbe, 1600:
“For muche experience he hath lately got,
“ Than may be found in any vintner's pot ;
Why then he sweares,--Now by the Lorde I thinke, “ All beere in Europe is not worth a figge;
cuppe of clarret is the only drinke.
STEEVENS. Samingo, that is, San Domingo, as some of the commentators have rightly observed. But what is the meaning and propriety of the name here, has not yet been shown. Justice Silence is here introduced as in the midst of his cups : and I remember a blackletter ballad, in which either a San Domingo, or a signior Domingo, is celebrated for his miraculous feats in drinking. Silence, in the abundance of his festivity, touches upon some old song,
in which this convivial saint or signior was the burden. Perhaps too the pronunciation is here suited to the character. T. Warton.
Re-enter Davy. Davy. An it please your worship, there's one Pistol come from the court with news. Fal. From the court ? let him come in.
How now, Pistol ?
Prst. God save you, sir John!
Pist. Not the ill wind which blows no man to good 8.-Sweet knight, thou art now one of the greatest men in the realm.
Sı. By'r lady, I think ’a be; but goodman Puff of Barson 9.
p. cxxxi. :
That is, to the present situation of Silence; who has drunk so deeply at supper, that Falstaff afterwards orders him to be carried to bed. MALONE.
Of the gluttony and drunkenness of the Dominicans, one of their own order says thus in Weever's Funeral Monuments,
“ Sanctus Dominicus sit nobis semper amicus, cui canimus—siccatis ante lagenis-fratres qui non curant nisi ventres." Hence Domingo might (as Mr. Steevens remarks) become the burden of a drinking song. Tollet. In Marston's Antonio and Mellida, we meet with “ Do me right, and dub me knight, Ballurdo."
FARMER. no man to good.] I once thought that we should readwhich blows to no man good. But a more attentive review of ancient Pistol's language has convinced me that it is very dangerous to correct it. He who in quoting from Marlowe's Tamburlaine, introduces hollow-pamper'd jades, instead of “ Holla, ye pamper'd jades,” may be allowed to change the order of the words in this common proverbial saying.
Since this note was written, I have found that I suspected Pistol of inaccuracy without reason. He quotes the proverb as it was used by our old English writers, though the words are now differently arranged. So, in A Dialogue both pleasaunt and pietifull, by William Bulleyne, 1564, sig. F 5: No winde but it doth turn some man to good.”
Malone. - but goodman Puff of Barson.] A little before, William
Pist. Puff? Puff in thy teeth, most recreant coward base !-Sir John, I am thy Pistol, and thy friend, And helter-skelter have I rode to thee; And tidings do I bring, and lucky joys, And golden times, and happy news of price.
FAL. I pr’ythee now, deliver them like a man of this world. Pist. A foutra for the world, and worldlings
base! I speak of Africa, and golden joys.
Fal. O base Assyrian knight, what is thy news ? Let king Cophetua know the truth thereof i.
Visor of Woncot is mentioned. Woodmancot and Barton (says Mr. Edwards's MSS.) which I suppose are these two places, and are represented to be in the neighbourhood of Justice Shallow, are both of them in Berkeley hundred in Glostershire. This, I imagine, was done to disguise the satire a little ; for Sir Thomas Lucy, who, by the coat of arms he bears, must be the real Justice Shallow, lived at Charlecot, near Stratford, in Warwickshire. Stevens.
Barston is a village in Warwickshire, lying between Coventry and Solyhull. Percy.
Mr. Tollet has the same observation, and adds that Woncot may be put for Wolphmancote, vulgarly Ovencote, in the same county. Shakspeare might be unwilling to disguise the satire too much, and therefore mentioned places within the jurisdiction of Sir Thomas Lucy. Steevens.
Mr. Warton, in a note on The Taming of the Shrew, says, that Wilnecote, (or Wincot,) is a village in Warwickshire, near Stratford. I suppose, therefore, in a former scene, we should read Wincot instead of Woncot. MALONE.
Sir John Suckling, in his letter from the wine-drinkers to the water-drinkers, has this passage: "Him captain Puffe of Barton shall follow with all expedition with two or three regiments of claret.” Tonson's edit. 1719, p. 124. BoswELL.
· Let king CopheTUA, &c.] Lines taken from an old bombast play of King Cophetua ; of whom we learn from Shakspeare, there were ballads too. WARBURTON.
This is mere conjecture, for no such play is extant. From a passage in King Richard II. it may indeed be surmized that there was such a piece. See vol. xvi. p. 156, n. 9. The ballad of The
Sil. And Robin Hood, Scarlet, and John?.
[Sings. Pist. Shall dunghill curs confront the Helicons ? And shall good news be baffled ? Then, Pistol, lay thy head in Furies' lap 8. Shal. Honest gentleman, I know not your breed
ing. Pist. Why then, lament therefore 4.
Shal. Give me pardon, sir ;-If, sir, you come with news from the court, I take it, there is but two ways; either to utter them, or to conceal them. I am, sir, under the king, in some authority. Pist. Under which king, Bezonian? speak, or
die. SHAL. Under king Harry.
King (Cophetua) and the Beggar, may be found in Percy's
Scarlet, and John.] This scrap (as Dr. Percy has observed in the first volume of his Reliques of Ancient English Poetry,) is taken from a stanza in the old ballad of Robin Hood and the Pindar of Wakefield. STEEVENS. in Furies' lap.] Should not we read ?-in Fury's lap.
Ritson. 4 Why then, LAMENT THEREFORE,] So, in Marlowe's Massacre of Paris :
“The Guise is slain, and I rejoice therefore." MALONE.
Bezonian?] So again, Suffolk says, in The Second Part of Henry VI. :
“ Great men oft die by vile Bezonians." It is a term of reproach, frequent in the writers contemporary with our poet. Bisognoso, a needy person ; thence metaphorically, a base scoundrel. THEOBALD.
Nash, in Pierce Pennilesse his Supplication, &c. 1595, says: “ Proud lordes do tumble from the towers of their high descents and be trod under feet of every inferior Besonian.”
In The Widow's Tears, a comedy, by Chapman, 1612, the primitive word is used :
spurn’d out by grooms, like a base Besogno ?” And again, in Sir Giles Goosecap, a comedy, 1606 : “ - If he come like to your Besogno, your boor, so he be rich, they care not.”
Harry the fourth ? or fifth ? SHAI. Harry the fourth. Pist.
A foutra for thine office !
Fa. What is the old king dead ?
just. Fal. Away, Bardolph; saddle my horse.--Master
FIG me, like The bragging Spaniard.] To fig, in Spanish, higas dar, is to insult by putting the thumb between the fore and middle finger. From this Spanish custom we yet say in contempt, a fig for you."
Johnson. So, in The Shepherd's Slumber, a song published in England's Helicon, 1600 :
“ With scowling browes their follies checke,
* And so give them the fig ; " &c. See my note on Romeo and Juliet, Act I. Sc. I. Steevens.
Dr. Johnson has properly explained this phrase; but it should be added that it is of Italian origin. When the Milanese revolted against the Emperor Frederick Barbarossa, they placed the empress his wife upon a mule with her head towards the tail, and ignominiously expelled her their city. Frederick afterwards besieged and took the place, and compelled every one of his prisoners on pain of death to take with his teeth a fig from the posteriors of a mule. The party was at the same time obliged to repeat to the executioner the words “ ecco la fica.” From this circumstance 6. far la fica became a term of derision, and was adopted by other nations. The French say likewise “ faire la figue.”
Douce. See this phrase fully explained in Mr. Douce's Illustrations of Shakspeare. BOSWELL. 7 Fal. What! is the old king dead ?
Pist. As NAIL IN DOOR:] This proverbial expression is oftener used than understood. The door nail is the nail on which in ancient doors the knocker strikes. It is therefore used as a comparison to any one irrecoverably dead, one who has fallen (as Virgil says) multâ morte, i. e. with abundant death, such as reiteration of strokes on the head would naturally produce.
Steevens. VOL. XVII.