Page images
[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors]

Line 13. ONE word, good citizens.

1 Cit. We are accounted poor citizens; the patrici ans, good.] Good is here used in the mercantile sense. So, Touchstone in Eastward Hoe :

-known good men, well monied."' FARMER, Again, in the Merchant of Venice : “ Antonio's a good man.

MALONE. 17. -but they think, we are too dear: -] They think that the charge of maintaining us is more than we are worth.

Johnson. -Let us revenge this with our pikes, ere we become rakes :] It was Shakspere's design to make this. fellow quibble all the way. But time, who has done A ij



[ocr errors]


greater things, has here stifled a miserable joke; which was then the same as if it had been now wrote, Let us now revenge this with forks, ere we become rakes: for pikes then signified the same as forks do now. So Jewel in his own translation of his Apology, turns Christianos ad furcas condemnare, to— To condemn Christians to the pikes.

WARBURTON. ere we become rakes:] I believe the proverb, as lean as a rake, owes its origin simply to the thin taper form of the instrument made use of by haymakers. Chaucer has this simile in his description of the clerk's horse in the prologue to the Canterbury Tales, late edit. v. 288:

“ As lene was his hors as is a rake." Spenser introduces it in the second book of his Faery Queen, Canto II. “His body lean and meagre as a rake."

Steevens. I will venture To scale't a little more.] To scale is to disperse. The sense of the old reading is, Though some of you have heard the story, I will spread it yet wider, and diffuse it among the rest.

A measure of wine spilt, is called-6 à scald pottle of wine" in Decker's comedy of The Honest Whore, 1604. In the North they say scale the corn, i.e. scat, ter it: scale the muck well, i. e. spread the dung well. See Mr. Lamb's notes on the old metrical history of Flodden Field. In the Glossary to Gawin Douglas's Translation of



[ocr errors]



Virgil, the following account of the word is given. Skail, skale, to scatter, to spread, perhaps from the Fr. escheveler, Ital. scapigliare, crines passos, seu sparsos habere. All from the Latin capillus. Thus escheveler, schevel, skail ; but of a more general signification.

STEEVENS. 93. disgrace with a tale : -] Disgraces are hardships, injuries.

JOHNSON. where the other instruments] Where for whereas.

JOHNSON. 107. Which ne'er came from the lungs,

-] With a smile not indicating pleasure, but contempt.

JOHNSON -even so most fitly] i. e. exactly,

WARBURTON 116. The counsellor heart, -] The heart was an. ciently esteemed the seat of prudence. Homo cordatu, is a prudent man.

JOHNSON 140. to the seat o' the brain;] seems to me a, very languid expression. I believe we should read, with the omission of a particle:

Even to the court, the heart, to the seat, the brain. He uses seat for throne, the royal seat, which the first editors probably not apprehending, corrupted the passage. It is thus used in Richard II. act iii. line 163.

" Yea, distaff-women manage rusty bills

Against thy seat." It should be observed too, that one of the Citizens had just before characterised these principal parts of the hunian fabrick by similar metaphors:



[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]

The kingly-crouined head, the vigilant eye,
The counsellor heart,

TYRWHITT. 164. Thou rascal, that art worst in blood, to run

Lead'st first, to win some vantage. -]
I think, we may better read, by an easy change,

Thcu rascal that art worst, in blood, to ruin

Lead'st first, to win, &c. Thou that art the meanest by birth, art the formost to lead thy fellows to ruin, in hope of some advantage. The meaning, however, is perhaps only this, Thou that art a hound, or running dog of the lowest breed, lead'st the pack, when any thing is to be gotten. JOHNSON.

Worst in blood may be true reading. In K. Henry VI. P. I.

“ If we be English deer, be then in blood," i.e. high spirits. Again in this play of Coriolanus, act iv. sc. v. when they shall see his crest up again, and the man in blood, &c."

STEEVENS. To win some vantage, is to get the start, or to begin the chace before another dog.

TOLLET, Ought not this passage rather to be pointed thus?

Thou rascal, that art worst in blood to run,

Lead'st firstThou, that are in the worst condition for running, takest the lead, &c.

MALONE. 168. The one side must have bale. -] Bale is an old Saxon word, for misery or calamity. “For light she hated as the bale,"

Spenser's Fairy Queen.


« But


[ocr errors]
« PreviousContinue »