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“ Dost thou think, because thou art virtuous, there shall be no more cakes and ale?"_Act II. Sc. 3.
It was the custom on saint's days and holidays, to make cakes in honour of the day. The Puritans thought this a superstition, and Maria says, that “ Malvolio is sometimes a kind of Puritan.”—LETHERLAND.
-" Rub your chain with crums."—Act II. Sc. 3. Stewards in great families were formerly distinguished by wearing a gold chain. The usual mode of cleaning this ornament was by rubbing it with bread crumbs. See Webster's Duchess of Malfy, 1623. “ Yea, and the chippings of the buttery fly after him, to scouer his gold chain."
STEEVENA. Having come from a day-bed.”—Act II. Sc. 5. It was usual in Shakspeare's time, for the rich to have day-beds or couches. Spenser, in his Fairy Queen, has dropped a stroke of satire on this lazy fashion :
“So was that chamber clad in goodly wize,
And round about it many beds were dight,
STEEVENS. “ Wind up my watch."-Act II. Sc. 5. Pocket watches were first brought from Germany about the year 1580, so that in Shakspeare's time they were very uncommon.
When Guy Faux was taken, it was urged as a circumstance of suspicion, that a watch was found upon him.-JOHNSON.
“ Yellow stockings.”—Act II. Sc. 5. Before the civil wars, yellow slockings were much worn. two passages to prove this:
-since she cannot
The WORLD Toss'd at TENNIS. And in the Honest Whore, by Decker: "What stockings have you put on this morning, madam? if they be not yellow, change them."
STEEVENS. * Clown with a tabor."-Act III. Sc. 1. Tarleton, the celebrated fool or clown of the stage before Shakspeare's time, is exhibited in a print prefixed to his jests, 1611, with a labor. Perhaps, in imitation of him, the subsequent dramatic clowns usually appeared with one.—MALONE. “ If thou thou'st him some thrice, it shall not be amiss."
Act III. Sc. 2. Alluding to a passage in the speech of the attorney-general Coke, at the trial of Sir Walter Raleigh. “All that he did was by thy instigation, thou viper; for I thou thee, thou traytor.”—THEOBALD.
“ He does smile his face into more lines, than are in the new map, with the augmentation of the Indies." -Act III. Sc. 3.
A clear allusion to a map engraved for Linschoten's Voyages, an English translation of which was published in 1598. This map is multi
lineal in the extreme, and is the first in which the Eastern Islands are included.-STEEVENS.
Why dost thou smile so, and kiss thy hand so oft?"
Act III. Sc. 4. This fantastical custom is taken notice of by Barnaby Rice, in Faults, and Nothing but Faults, 1606. — “And these Flowers of Courtesie, as they are full of affectation, so are they no less formal in their speeches, full of fustian phrases, many times delivering such sentences as do betray and lay open their masters' ignorance; and they are so frequent with the kisse on the hand, that word shall not passe their mouthes, till they have clapt their fingers over their lippes."-REED.
“ He is a knight, dubbid with unhatch'd rapier, and on carpet consideration."--Act III. Sc. 4.
That is, he is no soldier by profession, not a knight-banneret, dubbed on the field of battle, but on carpet consideration, at a festivity, or on some peaceable occasion, when knights receive their dignity kneeling; not in war, but on a carpet. This is, I believe, the original of the contemptuous term, a carpet knight, who was naturally held in scorn by the men of war.-JOHNSON.
"Are empty trunks, o'erflourished by the devil.”-Act III. Sc. 4. In the time of Shakspeare, trunks, which are now deposited in lumber-rooms, were part of the furniture in apartments where company was received. They were richly ornamented on the top and sides with scroll work and emblematical devices, and were elevated on feet.—STEEVENS.
" Why should I not, had I the heart to do it,
Kill what I love?"-Act V. Sc. 1. This Egyptian thief was Thyamis, who was a native of Memphis, and at the head of a band of robbers. Thea genes and Chariclea falling into their hands, Thyamis fell desperately in love with the lady, and would have married her. Soon after, a stronger body of robbers coming down upon Thyamis's party, he was in such fears for his mistress, that he had her shut into a cave with his treasure. It was customary with those barbarians, " when they despaired of their own safety, first to make away with those whom they held dear,” and desired for companions in the next life: Thyamis, therefore, benetted round with his enemies, raging with love, jealousy, and anger, went to the cave, and calling aloud in the Egyptian tongue, as soon as he heard himself answered towards the cave's mouth by a Grecian, making to the person by the direction of the voice, he caught her by the hair with his left hand, and (supposing her to be Chariclea) with the right hand plunged his sword into her breast. This story is taken from Heliodorus's Æthiopics, of which a translation by Thomas Underdowne appeared in 1587.—THEOBALD.
“ After a passy measure, or a pavin.”-Act V. Sc. 1. Tho pavan, from pavo, a peacock, is a grave and majestic dance. The method of dancing it was by gentlemen dressed with cap and sword, by tnose of the long robe in their gowns, by princes in their mantles, and by ladies in gowns with long trains, the motion whereof, in the dance, resembled that of a peacock's tail.-Sır J. HAWKINS.
MEASURE FOR MEASURE.
“ Some run from brakes of vice."--Act II. Sc. 1. The brake was an engine of torture; we find the following passage in Holinshed :—" The said Hawkins was cast into the Tower, and at length brought to the brake, called in derision the duke of Exeter's daughter;" that nobleman having invented it. A part of this horrid engine still remains in the Tower. It consists of a strong iron frame about six feet long, with three rollers of wood within it; the middle one of these, which has iron teeth at each end, is governed by two stops of iron, and was, probably, that part of the machine which suspended the powers of the rest, when the unhappy sufferer was sufficiently strained by the cords, &c., to begin confession.—STEEVENS.
" Greatest thing about you.”— Act II. Sc. 1. Harrison, in his description of Britain, condemns the excess of apparel among luis countrymen, and thus proceeds: "Neither can we be more justly burdened with any reproche than inordinate behaviour in apparell, for which most nations deride us; as also for that we men doe seem to bestowe most cost upon our arses, and much more than upon all the rest of our bodies, as women do likewise upon their heades and shoulders.” Wide breeches were extremely fashionable in Shakspeare's days, as we may learn from this stanza in an old ballad :
As now, of late, in lesser thinges,
To furnyshe forthe theare pryde;
And yet run'st toward him still.”—Act III. Sc. 1. In the old Moralities, the fool of the piece, in order to show the inevitable approaches of death, is made to employ all his stratagems to avoid him; which, as the matter is ordered, bring the fool at every turn into his very jaws.—WARBURTON.
“And his use was, lo put a ducat in her clack-dish.”—Act III. Sc. 2.
The beggars, two or three centuries ago, used to proclaim their wants by a wooden dish with a moveable cover, which they clacked, to show that their vessels were empty.-STEEVENS.
“And tie the beard.”-Act IV. Sc. 2. The Revisal recommends Simpson's emendation, die the beard, but the present reading may stand. Perhaps it was usual to tie up the beard before decollation. It should, however, be remembered, that it was usual to die beards. So in the old comedy of Ram Alley, 1611:
“What colour'd beard comes next by the window ?
A black man's, I think.
I think, a red; for that is most in fashion." And in the Silent Woman: “I have fitted my divine and canonist, dyed their beards and all.”-STEEVENS.
“ You know the course is common."-Act IV. Sc. 2. P. Mathieu, in his Heroy ke Life and Deplorable Death of Henry the Fourthe of France, says, that Ravaillac, in the midst of his tortures, lifted up his head and shook a spark of fire from his beard. “This unprofitable care (he adds) to save it, being noted, afforded mater to divers io praise the custome in Germany, Switzerland, and divers other places, to shave off, and then to burn, all the haire from all parts of the bodies of those who are convicted for any notorious crimes.”—REED.
“ First, here's young master Rash; he's in for a commodity of brown paper and old ginger, ninescore and seventeen pounds.”—Aci IV. Sc. 3.
An allusion is here made to the abominable practices of money-lenders in our poet's age, of which an account is given by Nashe in a pamphlet called Christ's Tears over Jerusalem, 1594. “ He (a usurer) talls acquainted with gentlemen, frequents ordinaries and dancing-houses dayly, where when some of them at play have lost all their money, he is very diligent at hand, on their chaines, bracelets, or jewels, to lend them half the value. Now this is the nature of young gentlemen, that where they have broke the ice, and borrowed once, they will come againe the second time; and that these young foxes know as well as the beggar knows his dish. But at the second time of their coming, it is doubtful to say whether they shall have money or no. The world goes hard, and wee all are mortal; let him make any assurance before judge, and they shall have some hundred pound per consequence, in silks and velvets. The third time if they come, they shall have baser commodities; the fourth time, lule-strings and grey paper.”—MALONE. “Show your sheep-biting face, and be hang'd an hour." — Act V. Sc. 1.
The poet evidently refers to the ancient mode of punishing by collistrigium, or the original pillory, made like that part of the pillory at present, which receives the neck, only it was placed horizontally, so that the culprit hung suspended in it by his chin and the back of his head.
HENLEY. “ Stand like the forfeits in a barber's shop,
As much in mock as mark."--Act V. Sc. 1. Barber's shops were at all times the resort of idle people: formerly with us the better sort of folks went to the barber's to be trimmed, who then practised the under parts of surgery, so that he had occasion for numerous instruments, which lay there ready for use; and the idle persons, with whom his shop was crowded, would be perpetually handling and misusing them. To remedy which, there was placed up against the wall a table of forfeitures, adapted to every offence of this sort; which it is not likely would long preserve its authority.-WARBURTON.
MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING.
“At the rd-1 l."- Act I. Sc. 1. The bird-bolt is a short thick arrow without a point, and spreading at the extremity so much as to leave a flat surface about the breadth of a shilling.–STEEVENS.
“And he that hits me, let him be clapped on the shoulder, and called Adam."-Act I. Sc. 1.
Why should he be called Adam? A quotation or two may explain : In Law Tricks, or, Who Would Have Thought It? we find this speech: “Adam Bell, a substantial outlaw, and a pussing good archer, yet no tobacconist." Adam Bell, Clyme of the Cloughe, and Wyllyam of Cloudesle, were, says Dr. Percy, three noted outlaws, whose skill in archery rendered them as famous in the north of England, as Robin Hood and his fellows were in the midland counties.
STEEVENS and THEOBALD. “If I do, hang me in a bottle like a cat."--Act I. Sc. 1. In some counties of England, a cat was formerly closed up with a quantity of soot in a wooden bottle, (such as that in which shepherds carry their liquor) and was suspended on a line. He who beat out the bottom as he ran under it, and was nimble enough to escape its contents, was regarded as the hero of this inhuman diversion.-STEEVENS.
“ Smoking a musly room.”—Act I. Sc. 3. The neglect of cleanliness among our ancestors rendered such precautions too often necessary. In a paper of directions drawn up by Sir John Pickering's steward, relative to Suffolk Place, before Elizabeth's visits to it in 1594, the fifteenth article is, “ The swerynynge of the house in all places by any meanes.” Again, in Burton's Anatomie of Melancholie, 1632: "The smouke of juniper is in great request with us at Oxford, to sweeten our chambers." -STEEVENS.
“ Hundred merry tales.”—Act II. Sc. I. In the London Chaunticleres, 1659, this work, among others, is cried for sale by a ballad man: The Seven Wise Men of Gotham; a Hundred Merry Tales ; Scoggin's Jests, &c.”. Of this collection there are frequent entries in the register of the Stationers' Company.-STEEVENS.
“Carving the fashion of a new doublet.”—Act II. Sc. 3. “We are almost as fantastic as the English gentleman, that is painted naked, with a paire of sheares in his hand, as not being resolved after what fashion to have his coat cut.”—Greene's FarewELL TO FOLLY, 1617.
“ Her hair shall be of what colour it please God.”—Act II. Sc. 3. The practice of dying the hair was so common a fashion in Elizabeth's reign, as to be thought a fit subject of animadversion from the pulpit. In a homily against gaudy apparel, 1547, the preacher breaks out into the following invective: “Who can paynt her face, and curle her heere, and change it into an unnatural colour, but therein doth work reprofe to her Maker, who made her ? as thoughe she could make herselfe more comelye than God hath appointed the measure of her beautie. What do these women, but go about to reforme that which God hath made ? not knowinge that all things naturall is the worke of God; and thynges disguysed and unnaturall be the workes of the devyll.”—REED.
“ Press me lo death."—Act III. Sc. 1. The allusion is to an ancient punishment of our law, called peine-fort et dure, which was formerly inflicted on those persons who, being indicted, refused to plead. In consequence of their silence, they were pressed to death by a heavy weight laid on the stomach.—MALONE.