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Dro. S. I never spake with her in all my
life. Ant. S. How can she thus then call us by our namesy Unless it be by inspiration?
Adr. How ill agrees it with your gravity,
- you are from me exempt,] Exempt, separated, parted, The sense is, If I am doomed to suffer the wrong of separation, yet injure not with contempt me who am alreadv injured Fohnson.
Johnson says that exempt means separated, parted; and the use of the word in that sense may be supported by a passage in Beaumont and Fletcher's Triumph of honour, where Valerius, in the character of Mercury, says
“ To shew rash vows cannot bind destiny,
“ They fix you there a rock, whence they're exempt.” Yet I think that Adriana does not use the word exempt in that sense, but means to say, that as he was her husband she had no power over him, and that he was privileged to do her wrong.
M Mason. 3 Thou art an elm, my husband, I a vine ; &c.] Thus, in Ovid's tale of Vertumnus and Pomona:
“Ulmus erat contra, spatiosa tumentibus uvis:
Complexum.” Catull. 57.
They led the vine
- stronger state,] The old copy has stranger. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Malone.
Who, all for want of pruning, with intrusion
Luc. Dromio, go bid the servants spread for dinner.
idle moss;] i.e. moss that produces no fruit, but being unfertile is useless. So, in Othello:
antres vast and desarts idle." Steevens. the offer'd fallacy,] The old copy has:
the free'd fallacy. Which perhaps was only, by mistake, for
the offer'd fallacy." This conjecture is from an anonymous correspondent. Mr. Pope reads--favour'd fallacy. Steevens.
7 We talk with goblins, owls, and elvish sprites ;] Here Mr. Theobald calls out, in the name of Nonsense, the first time he had formally invoked her, to tell him how owls could suck their breath, and pinch them black and blue. He therefore alters owls to ouphs, and dares say, that his readers will acquiesce in the justness of his emendation. But, for all this, we must not part with the old reading. He did not know it to be an old popular superstition, that the screech-owl sucked out the breath and blood of infants in the cradle. On this account, the Italians called witches, who were supposed to be in like manner mischievously bent against children, strega from strix the screech-owl. This superstition they had derived from their pagan ancestors, as appears from this
“Sunt avidæ volucres; non quæ Phineïa mensis
“ Guttura fraudabant ; sed ĝenus inde trahunt.
“ Canities pennis, unguibus hamus inest.
“ Et vitiant cunis corpora rapta suis.
“Et plenum poto sanguine guttur habent.
Warburton. Ghastly owls accompany elvish ghosts, in Spenser's Shepherd's Calendar for Fune. So, in Sherringham's Discerptatio de Anglorum Gentis Origine, p. 333: “Lares, Lemures, Stryges, Lamiæ, Maner
passage of Ovid:
If we obey them not, this will ensue,
Luc. Why prat'st thou to thyself, and answer'st not? Dromio, thou drone, thou snail, thou slug, thou sot!8
Dro. S. I am transformed, master, am not I?9
No, I am an ape.
(Gastæ dicti) et similes monstrorum Greges, Elvarum Chorea dicebatur.” Much the same is said in Olaus Magnus de Gentibus Septentrionalibus, p. 112, 113. Tollet.
Owls are also mentioned in Cornucopiæ, or Pasquil's Night-cap, or Antidote for the Headach, 1623, p. 38:
“ Dreading no dangers of the darksome night,
Steevens. How, it is objected, should Shakspeare know that striges or screech-owls were considered by the Romans as witches? The notes of Mr. Tollet and Mr. Steevens, as well as the following passage in The London Proligal, a comedy, 1605, afford the best answer to this question: “'Soul, I think, I am sure crossd or witch'd with an owl." Malone.
The epithet elvish is not in the first folio, but the second has— elves, which certainly was meant for elvish. Steevens.
All the emendations made in the second folio having been merely arbitrary, any other suitable epithet of two syllables may have been the poet's word. Mr. Rowe first introduced-elvish.
Malone. I am satisfied with the epithet-elvish. It was probably inserted in the second folio on some authority which cannot now be ascertained. It occurs again, in King Richard III:
“ Thou elvish-mark'd abortive, rooting 'hog." Why should a book, which has often judiciously filled such vacuities, and rectified such errors, as disgrace the the folio 1623, be so perpetually distrusted? Steevens. 8 Dromio, thou drone, &c.] The old copy reads
Dromio, thou Dromio, snail, thou slug, thou sot! Steevens. This verse is half a foot too long; my correction cures that fault; besides, drone corresponds with the other appellations of reproach. Theobald.
Drone is also a term of reproach applied by Shylock to Launcelot, in The Merchant of Venice:
he sleeps by day
Steedens. - am not 1?] Old copy-am I not? Corrected by Mr. Theobald. Malone.
Luc. If thou art chang'd to aught, 'tis to an ass.
Dro. S. 'Tis true; she rides me, and I long for grass. 'Tis so, I am an ass; eise it could never be, But I should know her as well as she knows me.
Adr. Come, come, no longer will I be a fool,
Ant. S. Am I in earth, in heaven, or in hell?
Dro. S. Master, shall I be porter at the gate?
ACT III.....SCENE I.
Enter ANTIPHOLUS of Ephesus, DROMIO of Ephesus,
ANGELO, and BALTHAZAR.
Ant. E. Good signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;: My wife is shrewish, when I keep not hours: Say, that I linger'd with you at your shop,
1 And shrive you — ] That is, I will call you to confession, and make
you tell your tricks. Johnson. So, in Hamlet: “ - not shriving time allow'd.” Steevens.
2 Goat signior Angelo, you must excuse us all;] I suppose, the word-all, which overloads the measure, without improvement of the sense, might be safely omitted, as an interpolation.
To see the making of her carkanet, 3
know: That you beat me at the mart, I have your hand to show: If the skin were parchment, and the blows you gave
Ant. E. I think, thou art an ass.
Marry, so it doth appear By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.“
carkanet,] Seems to have been a necklace, or rather chain, perhaps hanging down double from the neck. So, Love. lace, in his poem:
“ The empress spreads her carcanets.” Johnson. “ Quarquan, ornement d'or qu'on mit au col des damoiselles."
Le grand Dict. de Nicot. A carkanet seems to have been a necklace set with stones, or strung with pearls. Thus, in Partheneia Sacra, &c. 1633: “ Seeke not vermillion or ceruse in the face, bracelets of oriental pearls on the wrist, rubie carkanets on the neck, and a most exquisite fan of feathers in the hand." Again, in Histriomastix, or the Player whipt, 1610:
“Nay, I ll be matchless for a curcanet,
« Shall circle this fair neck to set it forth."
she sat on a rich Persian quilt
“Bigger than pigeons eggs."
the drops “ Shew like a carkanet of pearl upon it.”. In the play of Soliman and Perseda, 1599, the word carcanet
eight or nine times. Steevens. 4 Marry, so it doth appear
By the wrongs I suffer, and the blows I bear.] Thus all the printed copies, but, certainly, this is cross-purposes in reasoning. It appears, Dromio is an ass by his making no resistance; because an ass, being kicked, kicks again. Our author never argues at this wild rate, where his text is genuine. Theobald.