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Slen. Nay, I will do as my cousin Shallow says: I pray you, pardon me; he's a justice of
peace in his country, simple though I stand here.
Eva. But that is not the question; the question is concerning your marriage.
SHAL. Ay, there's the point, fir.
Eva. Marry, is it; the very point of it; to mistress Anne Page.
Slen. Why, if it be so, I will marry her, upon any reasonable demands.
Ev A. But can you affection the 'oman? Let us command to know that of your mouth, or of your lips; for divers philosophers hold, that the lips is parcel of the mouth;?— Therefore, precisely, can you carry your good will to the maid? Shal. Cousin Abraham Slender, can you
SLEN. I hope, sir, I will do, as it shall become one that would do reason.
Eva. Nay, Got's lords and his ladies, you must
the lips is parcel of the mouth ;] Thus the old copies. The modern editors read~" parcel of the mind."
To be parcel of any thing, is an expression that often occurs in the old plays. So, in Decker's Satiromastix:
And make damnation parcel of your oath." Again, in Tamburlaine, 1590:
“ To make it parcel of my empery.” This paffage, however, might have been designed as a ridicule on another, in John Lyly's Midas, 1592 :
“ Pet. What lips hath she?
“ Li. Tush! Lips are no part of the head, only made for a desble-leaf door for the month." Steevens.
The word parcel, in this place, seems to be used in the fame fense as it was both formerly and at present in conveyances. “ Part, parcel, or member of any estate," are formal words still to be found in various deeds. Reed.
speak possitable, if you can carry her
desires towards her.
Shal. That you must: Will you, upon good dowry, marry her?
Slen. I will do a greater thing than that, upon your request, cousin, in any reason.
Shal. Nay, conceive me, conceive me, sweet coz; what I do, is to pleasure you, coz: Can you love the maid?
Slen. I will marry her, sir, at your request; but if there be no great love in the beginning, yet heaven may decrease it upon better acquaintance, when we are married, and have more occasion to know one another: I hope, upon familiarity will grow more contempt : 8 but if you say, marry her, I will marry her, that I am freely dissolved, and diffolutely.
Eva. It is a fery discretion answer; save, the faul is in the 'ort dissolutely: the 'ort is, according to our meaning, resolutely ;—his meaning is good.
SHAL. Ay, I think my cousin meant well.
: -I hope upon familiarity will grow more contempt:] The old copy
reads-content. STEEVENS. Certainly, the editors in their fagacity have murdered a jest here. It is designed, no doubt, that Slender should say decrease, instead of increase; and dissolved and disolutely, instead of resolved and resolutely : but to make him say, on the present occafion, that upon familiarity will grow more content, instead of contempt, is difarming the sentiment of all its falt and humour, and disappointing the audience of a reasonable cause for laughter. THEOBALD.
Theobald's conjecture may be supported by the fame intentional blunder in Love's Labour's Loft: “ Sir, the contempts thereof are as touching me."
Re-enter Anne Page.
Shal. Here comes fair mistress Anne :- Would I were young, for your fake, mistress Anne!
ANNĖ. The dinner is on the table; my father desires your worships' company.
Shal. I will wait on him, fair mistress Anne. Eva. Od's plessed will! I will not be absence
at the grace.
[Exeunt Shallow and Sir H. EVANS. Anne. Will't please your worship to come in, sir ?
Slen. No, I thank you, forsooth, heartily; I am very well.
Anne. The dinner attends you, fir.
Slen. I am not a-hungry, I thank you, forfooth :-Go, firrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my cousin Shallow :9 [Exit SIMPLE.) A justice of
be beholden to his friend for a man :-I keep but three men and a boy yet," till my mother be dead : But what though? yet I live like a poor gentleman born.
Anne. I may not go in without your worship: they will not sit, till you come.
9 Anne. The dinner attends you, fir.
Slen.—Go, firrah, for all you are my man, go, wait upon my
confin Shallow:] This paffage fnews that it was formerly the custom in England, as it is now in France, for persons to be attended at dinner by their own servants, wherever they dined.
M. MASON. I keep but three men and a boy yet,] As great a fool as the poet has made Slender, it appears, by his boasting of his wealth, his breeding and his courage, that he knew how to win a woman. This is a fine inftance of Shakspeare's knowledge of nature.
šlen. l'faith, I'll eat nothing; I thank you as much as though I did.
Anne. I pray you, fir, walk in.
I bruis'd my shin the other day with playing at sword and dagger with a master of fence, three veneys for a dish of stew'd prunes ;+ and, by my troth, I cannot abide the smell of hot meat fince. Why do your dogs bark so? be there bears i' the town?
- a master of fence,] Master of defence, on this occafion, does not simply mean a profeffor of the art of fencing, but a person who had taken his master's degree in it. I learn from one of the Sloanian MSS. (now in the British Museum, No. 2530, xxvi. D.) which seems to be the fragment of a register formerly belonging to some of our schools where the “ Noble Science of Defence,” was taught from the year 1568 to 1583, that in this art there were three degrees, viz. a Master's, a Provoft's, and a Scholar's. For each of these a prize was played, as exercises are kept in universities for fimilar purposes. The weapons they used were the axe, the pike, rapier and target, rapier and cloke, two swords, the twohand sword, the bastard sword, the dagger and staff, the sword and buckler, the rapier and dagger, &c. The places where they exercised were commonly theatres, halls, or other enclosures fufficient to contain a number of spectators; as Ely-Place in Holborn, the Bell Savage on Ludgate-Hill, the Curtain in Hollywell, the Gray Friars within Newgate, Hampton Court, the Bull in Bishopsgate-Street, the Clink, Duke's Place, Salisbury-Court, Bridewell, the Artillery garden, &c. &c. &c. Among those who distinguished themselves in this science, I find Tarlton the Comedian, who was allowed a master” the 23d of October, 1587 [I suppose, either as grand compounder, or by mandamus], he being • ordinary grome of her majefties chamber," and Robert Greene, who “plaide his maister's prize at Leadenhall with three weapons, &c. The book from which these extracts are made, is a singular curiosity, as it contains the oaths, cuftoms, regulations, prizes, summonses, &c. of this once fashionable society. K. Henry VIII. K. Edward VI. Philip and Mary, and queen Elizabeth, were frequent spectators of their skill and activity. Steevens.
three veneys for a dish, &c.] i. e. three venues, French. 'Three different set-to's, bouts, (or hits, as Mr. Malone, perhaps
Anne. I think, there are, fir; I heard them talk'd of.
Slen. I love the sport well; but I shall as soon quarrel at it, as any man in England :—You are afraid, if you see the bear loose, are you not?
Anne. Ay, indeed, fir.
SLEN. That's meat and drink to me now :5 I have seen Sackerson“ loose, twenty times; and
more properly, explains the word,) a technical term. So, in our author's Love's Labour's Loft: “a quick venew of wit.” Again, in Beaumont and Fletcher's Philaster :-“ thou wouldnt be loth to play half a dozen venies at Wafters with a good fellow for a broken head.” Again, in The Two Maids of More-clacke, 1609: “ This was a pass, 'twas fencer's play, and for the after veny, let me use my skill." So, in The Famous Hiftory, &c. of Capt. Tho. Stukely, 1605:
for forfeits and venneys given upon a wager at the ninth button of your doublet."
Again, in the MSS. mentioned in the preceding note, “and at any prize whether it be maister's prize, &c. whosoever doth play agaynste the prizer, and doth strike his blowe and close with ali, so that the prizer cannot strike his blowe after agayne, shall wynne no game for any veneye fo given, althoughe it shold breake the prizer's head." STEVENS.
s That's meat and drink to me now:] Dekkar has this proverbial phrase in his Satiromastix : “ Yes faith, 'tis meat and drink to me.”
WHALLEY. Sackerson--] Seckarson is likewise the name of a bear in the old comedy of Sir Giles Goofecap. Steevens.
Saikerfon, or Sacarson, was the name of a bear that was exhibited in our author's time at Paris-Garden in Southwark. See an old collection of Epigrams [by Sir John Davies] printed at Middlebourg (without date, but in or before 1598 :)
“ Publius, a student of the common law,
“ To see old Harry Hunkes and Sacarson.”