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Queen. Alas, sweet lady, what imports this song?
At his heels a stone.
Queen. Nay, but Ophelia,
Pray you, mark.
Which bewept to the grave did go,
With true-love showers. King. How do you, pretty lady? Oph. Well, God 'ield you!2 They say, the owl was a
By his cockle hat and staff,
And his sandal shoon.] This is the description of a pilgrim. While this kind of devotion was in favour, love-intrigues were carried on under that mask. Hence the old ballads and novels made pilgrimages the subjects of their plots. The cockle-shell hat was one of the essential badges of this vocation : for the chief places of devotion being beyond sea, or on the coasts, the pilgrims were accustomed to put cockle-shells upon their hats, to denote the intention or performance of their devotion. Warburton. So, in Green's Never too late, 1616:
“ A hat of straw like to a swain,
“ With a scallop-shell before,” &c. Again, in The Old Wives Tale, by George Peele, 1595: “I will give thee a palmer's staff of yvorie, and a scallop-shell of beaten gold.” Steevens.
9 Larded all with sweet flowers ;] The expression is taken from cookery. Johnson.
dit go,] The old editions read-did not go. Corrected by Mr. Pope. Steevens.
2 Well, God 'ield you.'] i. e. Heaven reward you! So, in Antony and Cleopatra :
“ Tend me to-night two hours, I ask no more,
“ And the Gods yield you for 't!" So, Sir John Grey, 'in a letter in Ashmole's Appendix to his Account of the Garter, Numb. 46 : “ The king of his gracious lordshipe, God yeld him, hafe chosen me to be owne of his brethrene of the knyghts of the garter.” Theobald.
baker's daughter.3 Lord, we know what we are, but know not what we may be. God be at your table!
King. Conceit upon her father.
Oph. Pray, let us have no words of this, but when they ask you, what it means, say you this:
Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's day,
All in the morning betime,
To be your Valentine :
- the owl was a baker's daughter,] This was a metamorphosis of the common people, arising from the mealy appear. ance of the owl's feathers, and her guarding the bread from mice.
Warburton. To guard the bread from mice, is rather the office of a cat than an owl. In barns and granaries, indeed, the services of the owl are still acknowledged. This was, however, no metamorphosis of the common people, but a legendary story, which both Dr. Johnson and myself have read, yet in what book at least I cannot recollect.–Our Saviour being refused bread by the daughter of a baker, is described as punishing her by turning her into an owl.
Steevens. This is a common story among the vulgar in Gloucestershire, and is thus related : “Our Saviour went into a baker's shop where they were baking, and asked for some bread to eat. The mistress of the shop immediately put a piece of dough into the oven to bake for him; but was reprimanded by her daughter, who insisting that the piece of dough was too large, reduced it to a very small size. The dough, however, immediately afterwards began to swell, and presently became of a most enormous size. Whereupon, the baker's daughter cried out ‘Heugh, heugh, heugh,' which owl-like noise probably induced our Saviour for her wickedness to transform her into that bird." This story is often related to children, in order to deter them from such illiberal behaviour to poor people. Douce. * Good morrow, 'tis Saint Valentine's day,] Old copies :
To-morrow is E-c.
There is a rural tradition that about this time of year birds choose their mates. Bourne, in his Antiquities of the Common People, observes, that “it is a ceremony never omitted among the vulgar, to draw lots, which they term Valentines, on the eve before Valentine-day. The names of a select number of one sex are by an equal number of the other put into some vessel; and after that every one draws a name, which for the present is called their Valentine, and is also look'd upon as a good omen of their being man and wife afterwards.” Mr. Brand adds, that he has “ searched the legend of St. Valentine, but thinks there is no occurrence in his life, that could give rise to this ceremony.”.
Then up he rose, and don'd his clothes,
And dupp'd the chamber door ;5
Never departed more.
By Gis, and by Saint Charity,
Alack, and fy for shame!
By cock,8 they are to blame.
5 And dupp'd the chamber door ;] To dup, is to do up; to lift the latch. It were easy to write-And op'd. Johnson.
To dup, was a common contraction of to do up. So, in Damon and Pythias, 1582: “ the porters are drunk; will they not dup the gate to-day?" Lord Surrey, in his translation of the second Æneid, renders
Panduntur portæ &c.
“ The gates cast up, we issued out to play.” The phrase seems to have been adopted either from doing up the latch, or drawing up the portcullis. So, in the ancient MS. romance of The Sowdon of Babyloyne, p. 40:
" To the prison she hyed hir swyth,
“ The prison dore up she doth." Again, in The Cooke's Play, in the Chester collection of mysteries, MS. Harl. 1013, p. 140:
“ Open up hell-gates anon." It appears from Martin Mark-all's Apologie to the Bel-man of London, 1610, that in the cant of gypsies, &c. Dup the gigger, signified to open the doore. Steevens. 6 By Gis,] I rather imagine it should be read:
- by Saint Charity,] Saint Charity is a known saint among the Roman Catholicks. Spenser mentions her, Eclog. V, 255:
“ Ah dear lord, and sweet Saint Charity!” Again, in The Downfall of Robert Earl of Huntington, 1601:
"Therefore, sweet master, for Saint Charity.” Again, in A lytell Geste of Robyn Hode :
“ Lete me go, then sayd the sheryf,
“ For saint Charytè, _." Again, ibid:
“ Gyve us some of your spendynge,
“ For saynt Charytè.” I find, by Gisse, used as an adjuration, both by Gascoigne in his Poems, by Preston in his Cambyses, and in the comedy of See me and see me not, 1618:
Quoth she, before you tumbled me,
An thou hadst not come to my bed. ling. How long hath she been thus?
Oph. I hope, all will be well. We must be patient: but I cannot choose but weep, to think, they should lay him i' the cold ground: My brother shall know of it, and so I thank you for your good counsel. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies;' good night, sweet ladies: good night, good night.
“ By Gisse I swear, were I so fairly wed,” &c. Again, in King Edward III, 1599 :
“ By Gis, fair lords, ere many daies be past,” &c. Again, in Heyword's 234 Epigram, Fourth Hundred: “ Nay, by Gis, he looketh on you maister, quoth he.”
Steevens. Mr. Steevens's first assertion, though disputed by a catholick friend, can be supported by infallible authority. “ We read,” savs Dr. Douglas, “in the martyrology on the first of August Rome passio sanctarum virginum, Fidei, Spei, et CHARITATIS, quæ sub Hadriano principe martyriæ coronam adeptæ sunt."
Criterion, p. 68. Ritson. In the scene between the Bastard Faulconbridge and the fri. ars and nunne, in the First Part of The troublesome Raigne of King Fohn, (edit. 1779, p. 256, &c.) “the nunne swears by Gis, and the friers pray to Saint Withold (another obsolete saint mentioned in King Lear, Vel. XIV,) and adjure him by Saint Charitie to hear them.” Blackstone.
By Gis,] There is not the least mention of any saint whose name corresponds with this, either in the Roman Calendar, the service in Usum Sarum, or in the Benedictionary of Bishop Athelwold. I believe the word to be only a corrupted abbreviation of Jesus, the letters J. H. S. being anciently all that was set down to denote that sacred name, on altars, the covers of books, &c. Ridley.
Though' Gis may be, and I believe is, only a contraction of Jesus, there is certainly a Saint Gislen, with whose name it corresponds. Ritson.
By cock,] This is likewise a corruption of the sacred name. Many instances of it are given in a note at the beginning of the fifth Act of The Second Part of King Henry IV. Steevens. 9 He answers.] These words I have added from the quartos.
Steevens. Come, my coach! Good night, ladies ; &c.] In Marlowe's Tamburlaine, 1590, Zabina in her frenzy uses the same expres
King. Follow her close; give her good watch, I pray you.
[Exit Hor. 0! this is the poison of deep grief; it springs All from her father's death: And now behold, O Gertrude, Gertrude, When sorrows come,2 they come not single spies, But in battalions! First, her father slain; Next, your son gone; and he most violent author Of his own just remove: The people muddied, Thick and unwholesome in their thoughts, and whispers, For good Polonius' death; and we have done but greenly,3 In hugger-mugger to inter him :4 Poor Ophelia Divided from herself, and her fair judgment;
sion: “ Hell, make ready my coach, my chair, my jewels, I come, I come.” Malone.
2 When sorrows come, &c.] In Ray's Proverbs we find, fortunes seldom come alone,” as a piove bial phrase. Reed.
but greenly, ] But unskilfully; with greenness; that is, without maturity of judgment. Johnson.
4 In hugger-mugger to inter him:] All the modern editions that I have consulted, give it:
In private to inter him : That the words now replaced are better, I do not undertake to prove; it is sufficient that they are Shakspeare's: if phraseology is to be changed as words grow uncouth by disuse, or gross by vulgarity, the history of every language will be lost; we shall no longer have the words of any author; and, as these alterations will be often unskilfully made, we shall in time have very little of his meaning. Fohnson.
On this just observation I ground the restoration of a gross and unpleasing word in a preceding passage, for which Mr. Pope substituted
See p. 131, n. 9. The alteration in the present instance was made by the same editor. Malone. This expression is used in The Revenger's Tragedy, 1609 :
he died like a politician, “ In hugger-mugger.” Again, in Harrington's Ariosto:
“ So that it might be done in hugger-mugger." Shakspeare probably took the expression from the following passage in Sir Thomas North's translation of Plutarch:-“ Antonius thinking that his body should be honourably buried, and not in hugger-mugger.”
It appears from Greene's Groundwork of Goneycatching, 1592, that to hugger was to lurk about. Steevens.
The meaning of the expression is ascertained by Florio's Italian Dictionary, 1598 : “ Dinascoso, Secretly, hiddenly, in huggerinugger.” Malone.