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cent. His expectations will be often disappointed who shall seek an exact meaning from some particular mode of orthography in ancient writers. There does not perhaps exist a more fallible rule; and it was reserved for the superior accuracy of modern times to affix any thing like uniformity of spelling, and consequently of sense, to our language.
It is impossible at this time to collect precisely what the author of the lines in question intended. The only guide we have is the passage quoted by Mr. Malone from another part of this play, "You all consented unto Salisbury's death." Yet, had the poet written concented, the sense in both places might be, you all acted in concert, or jointly in unison, to accomplish the death &c. This accords with the following passage in Pericles, Act i. Sc. 1.
"The senate house of planets all did sit
To knit in her their best perfections."
An opportunity here presents itself of remarking how injudiciously we have discarded the more expressive and legitimate term consort, as a com pany of musicians playing together, for the new fangled Italian concert! The other would be vulgar to a modern ear, and is now marked in our dictionaries as a corrupt spelling.
Scene 1. Page 584.
MAY. The bishop's and the duke of Gloster's men,
Have fill'd their pockets full of pebble stones, &c.
This fact is borrowed, with some variation, from Stowe or Fabian. "Men being forbidden to bring swords or other weapons, brought great battes and staves on their neckes; and when those weapons were inhibited them, they took stones and plomets of lead, &c."
Sc. 1. p. 587.
WAR. Sweet king!-the bishop hath a kindly gird.
Mr. Steevens has on this occasion, for the sake of the last word, introduced two notes which might very well have been spared. There is no doubt that Warwick means to say that the young king has given Winchester a gentle reproof. This is the plain and obvious meaning of gird. Dr. Johnson is wide, very wide, of the mark.
Scene 3. Page 645.
Puc. You speedy helpers, that are substitutes
The monarch of the North was Zimimar, one of the four principal devils invoked by witches. The others were, Amaimon king of the East, Gorson king of the South, and Goap king of the West. Under these devil kings were devil marquesses, dukes, prelates, knights, presidents and earls. They are all enumerated, from Wier De præstigiis dæmonum, in Scot's Discoverie of witchcraft, book xv, c. 2 and 3.
KING HENRY VI. PART II.
Scene 2. Page 20.
Ducn. With Margery Jourdain, the cunning witch.
It appears from Rymer's Fœdera, vol. x. p. 505, that in the tenth year of King Henry the Sixth, Margery Jourdemayn, John Virley clerk, and friar John Ashwell were, on on the ninth of May 1433, brought from Windsor by the constable of the castle, to which they had been committed for sorcery, before the council at Westminster, and afterwards, by an order of council, delivered into the custody of the lord chancellor. The same day it was ordered by the lords of council that whenever the said Virley and Ashwell should find security for their good behaviour they should be set at liberty, and in like manner that Jourdemayn should be discharged on her husband's finding security. This woman was
afterwards burned in Smithfield, as stated in the play and also in the chronicles.
Scene 3. Page 64.
PET. Here Robin, an if I die, I give thee my apron.
Minsheu and others conceived that this word was derived from afore one, an etymology that perfectly accords with the burlesque manner of Dean Swift. It has been also deduced from the Greek words προ and περι; the Latin porro and operio, &c. &c. Skinner, with more plausibility, has suggested the Saxon apopan. After all, an apron is no more than a corruption of a napron, the old and genuine orthography. Thus in The mery adventure of the pardonere and tapstere :
and therwith to wepe
She made, and with her napron feir and white ywash
As grete as any mylstone"
Urry's Chaucer, p. 594.
We have borrowed the word from the old French naperon, a large cloth. See Carpentier
Suppl. ad Cangium, v. Naperii. So napkin,