Page images

Boyet. A mark! O, mark but that mark; A mark, says

my lady! Let the mark have a prick in't, to mete at, if it may

be. Mar. Wide o' th' bow hand! 3 l'faith,


hand is out. Cost. Indeed, a' must shoot nearer, or he'll ne'er hit

the clout. Boyet. An if my hand be out, then, belike your hand

is in. Cost. Then will she get the upshot by cleaving the pin. Mar. Come, come, you talk greasily, your lips grow

foul. Cost. She's too hard for you at pricks, sir ; challenge

her to bowl. Boyet. I fear too much rubbing ; Good night, my good owl.

[Exeunt Boyer and MARIA. Cost. By my soul, a swain ! a most simple clown! Lord, Lord! how the ladies and I have put him down ! O' my troth, most sweet jests ! most incony vulgar wit ! When it comes so smoothly off, so obscenely, as it were,

so fit.

To see

Armatho o' th' one side,-0, a most dainty man!
To see him walk before a lady, and to bear her fan !

him kiss his hand! and how most sweetly a' will

swear! And his page o' t'other side, that handful of wit ! sh, heavens, it is a most pathetical nit ! Sola, sola! [Shouting within.

Exit Cost. running,

SCENE II. The same. Enter HOLOFERNES, Sir NATHANIEL, and Dull.

Nath. Very reverent sport, truly; and done in the testimony of a good conscience.

Hol.* The deer was, as you know, in sanguis, blood";

(3) i. e. a good deal to the left of the mark; a term still retained in modern archery. DOUCE.

(4] There is very little personal reflection in Shakespeare. Either the virtue of those times, or the candour of our author, hag so affected, that bis satire is, for the most part, general, and, as himself says:

-his taxing like a wild-goose flies, Uncluim'd of any man.The place before us seems to be an exception. For by Holofernes is designed a particular character, a pedant and schoolmaster of our author's time, one Jobo Florio, a teacher of the Italian tongue in London, who has given us a small dictionary of that language under the title of A World of Words, which in his epistle dedicatory, he tells us, " is of little less value than Stephens's Treasure of

ripe as a pomewater-who now hangeth like a jewel in the ear of cælo,—the sky, the welkin, the heaven ; and anon falleth like a crab, on the face of terra,—the soil, the land, the earth.

Nath. Truly, master Holofernes, the epithets are sweetly varied, like a scholar at the least : But, sir, I assure ye, it was a buck of the first head.

Hol. Sir Nathaniel, haud credo.
Dull. 'Twas not a haud credo, 'twas a pricket.

Hol. Most barbarous intimation! yet a kind of insinua tion, as it were, in via, in way, of explication; facere, as it were, replication—or, rather, ostentare, to show, as it were, his inclination-after his undressed, unpolished, uneducated, unpruned, untrained, or rather, unlettered, or, ratherest, unconfirmed fashion,—to insert again my haud credo for a deer.

the Greek tongue," the most complete work that was ever yet compiled of its sind. In his preface, be calls those who criticised his works,“ sea-dogs, or landcritics; monsters of men if not beasts rather than men ; whose teeth are canibals, their toongs adders forks, their lips aspes poison, their eyes basiliskes, their breath the breath of a grave, their words like swordes of Turks, that strive which shali dive deepest into a christian lying bound before them.” Well therefore might the mild Nathaniel desire Holofernes to abrogate scurrility. His profession too is the reason that Holofernes deals so much in Italian sentences. There is an edition of Love's Labour's Lost, printed in 1598, and said to be presented before her highness this last Christmas, 1597. The next year, 1598, comes out our John Florio, with his World of Words, recentihus odiis; and in the preface, falls upon the comic poet or bringing him on the stage. “ There is another sort of leering curs, that rather

:rle thao bite, whereof I could instance in one who lighting on a good sonnet of a "Sebue man's, a frierd of mine, that loved better to be a poet than to be counted so, ca'ind the author a Rymer. -Let Aristophanes and his comedians make plaies, and scowre their mouths on Socrates: those very mouths they make to vilifie, shall be the means to amplifie bis virtue," &c Here Shakespeare is so plainly marked out as not to be mistaken. As to the sonnet of the gentleman his friend,' we may be assured it was no other than his own. And without doubt was parodied in the very sonnet beginning with The praiseful princess, &c. in which our author makes Holofernes say, he will something affect the letter; for it argues facility. From the ferocity of this man's temper it was, that Shakespeare chose for him the same which Rabelais gives to his pedant of Thubal Holoferne. WARBURTON.

I am not of the learned commentator's opinion, that the satire of Shakespeare is 60 seldom personai. It is of the nature of personal invectives to be soon unior telligible; and the author that gratifies private malice, animam in vulnere ponit, destroys the future efficacy of his own writings, and sacrifices the esteem of suc ceeding times to the laughter of a day. It is no wonder, therefore, that the sarcasms which perhaps in our author's time set the play-house in a roar, are now Host among general reflections. Yet whether the character of Holofernes was pointed at any particular man, I am, notwithstanding the plausibility of Dr. W conjecture, inclined to doubt. JOHNSON.

Dr. Warburton is certainly ight in his supposition that Florio is meant by the character of Holofernes. Florio had given the first affront. “ The plaies, says he that they plaie in England, are neither right comedies, por right tragedies ; but representations of histories without any decorum." The scraps of Latin and Italian are transcribed from his works, particularly the proverb about Venice, wbich das been corrupted so much. FARMER. 1 [5] A species of apple formerly much esteemed. Mulus carbonaria, STE.

Dull. I said, the deer was not a haud credo ; 'twas a pricket.

Hot. Twice sod simplicity, bis coctus!- thou monster ignorance, how deformed dost thou look !

Nath. Sir, he hath never fed of the dainties that are bred in a book ; he hath not eat paper, as it were; he hath not drunk ink : his intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller parts ; And such barren plants are set before us, that we thank

ful should be (Which we of taste and feeling are) for those parts that

do fructify in us more than he.? For as it would ill become me to be vain, indiscreet, or a

fool, So, were there a patche set on learning, to see him in a

school :
But, omne bene, say I ; being of an old father's mind,
Many can brook the weather, that love not the wind.
Dull. You two are book-men : Can

you tell by your wit, What was a month old at Cain's birth, that's not five

weeks old as yet ? Hol. Dictynna, good man Dull; Dictynna, good man Dull.

Dull. What is Dictynna ?
Nath. A title to Phoebe, to Luna, to the moon.
Hol. The moon was a month old, when Adam was no

more ; And raught not to five weeks, when he came to five score. The allusion holds in the exchange.

Dull. 'Tis true indeed; the collusion holds in the exchange.

Hol. God comfort thy capacity! I say, the allusion holds in the exchange.

[6] In a play called The Return from Parnassus, 1666, I find the foll ping account of the different appellations of deer at their different ages :

Amoretto. I caused the keeper to sever the rascal deer from the bucks the first head. Now, sir, a buck is, the first year, a fawn; the second year, a pricket ; the third year, a sorrel ; the fourth year, a soare; the fifth, a buck of the first head; the sixth year, a compleat buck. Likewise your hart is the first year a calfe ; the second year, a brocket; the third year, a spade ; the fourth year, a stag; the sixth year, a hart. A roe-buck is the first year, a kid; the second year, a gird; the third year, a hemuse; and these are your special beasts for chase.”

STEEVENS. [7] The length of these lines was no novelty on the English stage.

JOHNSON. [8] The meaning is, to be in a school would ill become a patch, or low fellow, as folly would become me. JOHNSON.

(9) i. e. the riddle is as good when I use the name of Adam, as when you use the name of Cain, WARBURTON,


Moralities afford scenes of the like measure.

Dull. And I say the pollusion holds in the exchange; for the moon is never but a month old : and I say beside, that 'twas a pricket that the princess kill'd.

Hol. Sir Nathaniel, will you hear an extemporal epitaph on the death of the deer? and, to humour the ignorant, I have call’d the deer the princess kill'd, a pricket.

Nath. Perge, good master Holofernes, perge ; so it shall please you to abrogate scurrility.

Hol. I will something affect the letter; for it argues facility. The praiseful princess pierc'd and prick'd a pretty pleasing

pricket; Some say, a sore ; but not a sore, till now made sore with

shooting The dogs did yell; put I to sore, then sorel jumps from thicket,

Or pricket, sore, or else sorel; the people fall a hooting. If sore be sore, then L to sore makes fifty sores ; 0 sore L! Of one sore I an hundred

ake, by adding but one more L. Nath. A rare talent !

Dull. If a talent be a claw, look how he claws bim with a talent.?

Hol. This is a gift that I have, simple, simple ; a foolish extravagant spirit, full of forms, figures, shapes, objects, ideas, apprehensions, motions, revolutions: these are begot in the ventricle of memory, nourished in the womb of pia mater; and deliver'd upon the mellowing of occasion : But the gift is good in those in whom it is acute, and I am thankful for it.

Nath. Sir, I praise the Lord for you ; and so may my parishioners; for their sons are well tutor'd by you, and their daughters profit very greatly under you : you are a good member of the commonwealth.

Hol. Mehercle, if their sons be ingenious, they shall want no instruction : if their daughters be capable,9 1

[5] We should read, -of sore L;--alluding to L being the numeral for ofty.

WARBURTON. [6] In our author's time the talon of a bird was frequently written talent. Hence the quibble bere, and in Twelfth Night, " let them use their talents."

MALONE. (7) Honest Dull quibbles. One of the senses of to claw, is to flatter. STEE.

[8] of this double entendre, despicable as it is, Mr. Pope and his coadjutors availed themselves in their unsuccessful comedy called Three Hours After Marriage. STEEV.-Capable is used equivocally. One of its senses was reasonable; endorsed with a ready capacity to learn. The other wants po explanation.


will put it to them : But, vir sapit, qui pauca loquitur : a soul feminine saluteth us.

Enter JAQUENETTA and CostaRD.
Jaq. God give you good-morrow, master person.
Hol. Master person,-quasi pers-on.

And if one should be pierced, which is the one ?

Cost. Marry, master schoolmaster, he that is likest to a hogshead.

Hol. Of piercing a hogshead ! a good lustre of conceit in a turf of earth; fire enough for a flint, pearl enough for a swine : 'tis pretty ; it is well.

Jaq. Good master parson, be so good as read me this letter; it was given me by Costard, and sent me from Don Armatho : I beseech you, read it. Hol. Fauste, precor gelidâ quando pecus omne sub

umbrâ. Ruminat,—and so forth. Ah, good old Mantuan ! I may speak of thee as the traveller doth of Venice :

-Vinegia, Vinegia,

Chi non te vede, ei non te pregia. Old Mantuan ! old Mantuan !. Who understandeth thee not, loves thee not.--Ut, re, sol, la, mi, fa.-Under pardon, sir, what are the contents ? or, rather, as Horace says in his-What, my soul, verses ? Nath. Ay, sir, and very learned.

Hol. Let me hear a staff, a stanza, a verse ; Lege, domine. Nath. If love make me forsworn, how shall I swear to

love ? Ah, never faith could hold, if not to beauty vowed !

[ocr errors]

(9) So in Holinshed, p: 953, “ Garrard was person of Honie-lane." I believe, however, we should write the word--pers-one. The same play on the word pierce is put into the mouth of Falstaff. ŠTEEV. The words one and on were, I believe, pronounced nearly alike, at least in some counties, in our author's time; the quibble, therefore, that Mr. Steevens has noted, may have been intended as the text now stands. In the same style afterwards Moth says: “Offer'd by a child to an old man, which is wit-old.Person, as Sir W. Blackstone observes in his Commentaries, is the original and proper term; Persona ecclesiæ. • MALONE.

(1l Though all the editions concur to give this speech to sir Nathaniel, yet, as Dr. Thirlby ingeniously observed to me, it is evident it must belong to Holofernes. The curate is employed in reading the letter to himself; and while he is doing so, that the stage may not stand still, Holofernes either pulls out a book, or, repeating some verse by heart from Mantuanus, comments upon the character of that poet. Baptista Spagnolus, sirnamed Mantuanus from the place of his birth, was a writer of poems, who fourisbed towards the latter end of the 15th century. THEO. 13

Vol. III


« PreviousContinue »