Page images

Adr. Where is thy master, Dromio? is he well?

Dro. S. No, he's in Tartar limbo, worse than hell: A devil in an everlasting garment' hath him, One, whose hard heart is button'd up with steel; A fiend, a fairy, pitiless and rough; A wolf, nay, worse, a fellow all in buff; A back-friend, a shoulder-clapper, one that coun

termands The passages of alleys, creeks, and narrow lands;* A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot

well;5 One that, before the judgment, carries poor

souls to hell.

an everlasting garment -] The sergeants, in those days, were clad in buff, as Dromio tells us the man was who arrested Antipholus. Buff is also a cant expression for a man's skin, a covering which lasts him as long as his life. Dromio therefore calls buff an everlasting garment: and in pursuance of this quibble on the word buff, he calls the sergeant, in the next scene, the “ Picture of old Adam ;" that is, of Adam before his fall, whilst he remained unclad: « What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?

and narrow lands;] Lands, I believe, in the present instance, mean, what we now call landing-places at the water-side.

5 A hound that runs counter, and yet draws dry-foot well;] To run counter is to run backward, by mistaking the course of the animal pursued; to draw dry-foot is, I believe, to pursue by the track or prick of the foot; to run counter and draw dry-foot well are, therefore, inconsistent. The jest consists in the ambiguity of the word counter, which means the wrong way in the chace, and a prison in London. The officer that arrested him was a sergeant of the counter. For the congruity of this jest with the scene of action, let our author answer. JOHNSON.

A hound that draws dry-foot, means what is usually called a blood-hound, trained to follow men by the scent. The expression occurs in an Irish Statute of the 10th of William III. for preservation of the game, which enacts, that all persons licensed for making and training up of setting dogs, shall, in every two years, during the continuance of their licence, be compelled to train up, teach, and make, one or more hounds, to hunt on dry-foot. The

ice of keeping blood-hounds was long continued in Ireland, and they were found of great use in detecting murderers and robbers. M. Mason.

Adr. Why, man, what is the matter?
Dro. S. I do not know the matter; he is 'rested

on the case. Adr. What, is he arrested? tell me, at whose

suit. Dro. S. I know not at whose suit he is arrested,

well; But he's in a suit of buff, which 'rested him, that

can I tell: Will you

send him, mistress, redemption, the money

in the desk? Adr. Go fetch it, sister.—This I wonder at,

[Exit Luciana.

poor souls to hell.] Hell was the cant term for an obscure dungeon in any of our prisons.

There was likewise a place of this name under the Exchequer Chamber, where the king's debtors were confined till they had “ paid the uttermost farthing." STEEVENS.

An account of the local situation of Hell may be found in the Journals of the House of Commons, Vol. X. p. 83, as the Commons passed through it to King William and Queen Mary's Coronation, and gave directions concerning it. In Queen Elizabeth's time the office of Clerk of the Treasury was situated there, as I find in Sir James Dyer's Reports, fol. 245, A, where mention is made of “ one Christopher Hole Secondary del Treasurie, et un auncient attorney and practiser in le office del Clerke del Treasurie al HELL.

This I take to be the Treasury of the Court of Common Pleas, of which Sir James Dyer was Chief Justice, and which is now kept immediately under the Court of Exchequer. The Office of the Tally-Court of the Chamberlain of the Exchequer is still there, and tallies for many centuries back are piled up and preserved in this office. Two or three adjacent apartments have within a few years been converted to hold the Vouchers of the public Accounts, which had become so numerous as to overstock the place in which they were kept at Lincoln's Inn. These, therefore, belong to the Auditors of public Accounts. Other rooms are turned into coalcellars.-- There is a pump still standing of excellent water, called Hell Pump:—And the place is to this day well known by the name of Hell. VAILLANT.

That he, unknown to me, should be in debt:-
Tell me, was he arrested on a band ??

Dro. S. Not on a band, but on a stronger thing; A chain, a chain; do you not hear it ring?

Adr. What, the chain?
Dro, S. No, no, the bell: 'tis time, that I were

gone. It was two ere I left him, and now the clock strikes

one. Adr. The hours come back! that did I never

hear. Dro. S. O yes, If any hour meet a sergeant,

a'turns back for very fear. Adr. As if time were in debt! how fondly dost

thou reason? Dro. S. Time is a very bankrupt, and owes more

than he's worth, to season. Nay, he's a thief too: Have you not heard men say, That time comes stealing on by night and day? If he be in debt, and theft, and a sergeant in the

way, Hath he not reason to turn back an hour in a day?


Adr. Go, Dromio; there's the money, bear it

And bring thy master home immediately.-
Come, sister; I am press'd down with conceit;8
Conceit, my comfort, and my injury.


1 was he arrested on a band?] A bond, i. e. an obligatory writing to pay a sum of money, was anciently spelt band. A band is likewise a neckcloth. On this circumstance the humour of the passage turns.

conceit;] i. e. fanciful conception.



The same.

Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Syracuse.
Ant. S. There's not a man I meet, but doth

salute me
As if I were their well-acquainted friend;
And every one doth call me by my name.
Some tender money to me, some invite me;
Some other give me thanks for kindnesses;
Some offer me commodities to buy:
Even now a tailor call’d me in his shop,
And show'd me silks that he had bought for me,
And, therewithal, took measure of my body.
Sure, these are but imaginary wiles,
And Lapland sorcerers inhabit here.

Enter DroMIO of Syracuse. Dro. S. Master, here's the gold you sent me for: What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled? Ant. S. What gold is this? What Adam dost

thou mean? Dro. S. Not that Adam, that kept the paradise, but that Adam, that keeps the prison: he that goes in the calf's-skin that was killed for the prodigal; he that came behind you, sir, like an evil angel, and bid you forsake

your liberty.

What, have you got the picture of old Adam new apparelled?) The allusion is to Adam, in his state of innocence, going naked; and immediately after the fall, being clothed in a frock of skins. Thus he was new apparelled: and, in like manner, the Sergeants of the Counter were formerly clad in buff, or calf's skin, as the author humorously a little lower calls it. These jests on Adam's dress are common among our old writers.

Ant. S. I understand thee not.

Dro. S. No? why, 'tis a plain case: he that went like a base-viol, in a case of leather; the man, sir, that, when gentlemen are tired, gives them a fob, and 'rests them; he, sir, that takes pity on decayed men, and gives them suits of durance; he that sets up his rest to do more exploits with his mace, than a morris-pike.'

Ant. S. What! thou mean'st an officer?

Dro. S. Ay, sir, the sergeant of the band; he, that brings any man to answer it, that breaks his band; one that thinks a man always going to bed, and says, God give you good rest!

Ant. S. Well, sir, there rest in your foolery. Is there any ship puts forth to-night? may we be gone?

Dro. S. Why, sir, I brought you word an hour since, that the bark Expedition put forth to-night; and then were you hindered by the sergeant, to tarry for the hoy, Delay: Here are the angels that you sent for, to deliver you.



he that sets up his rest to do more exploits with his mace, than a morris-pike.] The rest of a pike was a common term, and signified, I believe, the manner in which it was fixed to receive the rush of the enemy. A morris-pike was a pike used in a morris or a military dance, and with which great exploits were done, that is, great feats of dexterity were shown. Johnson.

There is, I believe, no authority for Dr. Johnson's assertion, that the Morris-Pike was used in the Morris-dance. Swords were sometimes used upon that occasion. It certainly means the Moorish-pike, which was very common in the 16th century. See Grose's History of the English Army, Vol. I. p. 135. Douce.

The phrase—he that sets up his rest, in this instance, signifies only, I believe, “ he that trusts"—is confident in his expectation. Thus, Bacon: “ Sea-fights have been final to the war, but this is, when Princes set up their rest upon the battle.” Again, Clarendon : “ they therefore resolved to set up their rest upon that stake, and to go through with it, or perish.” This figure of speech is certainly derived from the military exercise, as that was the only kind of rest which was ever set up. Henley,

« PreviousContinue »