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One should really suppose that Shakspeare had written this speech just after having lost a game at cards, and before the manner in which it had been played was out of his mind. Dr. Warburton's explanation is too superficial to merit the commendation which Dr. Johnson has bestowed on it. That of Mr. Malone is much more judicious and satisfactory; but it has not been perceived that a marked and particular allusion is intended. This is to the old card game of trump, which bore a very strong resemblance to our modern whist. It was played by two against two, and sometimes by three against three. It is thus mentioned in Gammer Gurton's needle, Act ii. Sc. 2. "We be fast set at trump man, hard by the fire;" and likewise in Dekkar's Belman of London, among other card games. In Eliot's Fruits for the French, 1593, p. 53, it is called "a verie common alehouse game in England;" and Rice, in his Invective against vices, 12mo, b. 1. n. d. but printed before 1600, speaking of sharpers' tricks at cards, mentions "renouncyng the trompe and comming in againe." The Italians call it triomphetto; see Florio's dictionary. In Capitolo's poem on Primero, another card game, 1526, 8vo, it is called trionfi, and consigned to the peasants.
Minsheu, in his
Spanish dialogues, p. 25, makes it a game old men. We, in all probability, received it from the French triomphe, which occurs in Rabelais as one of Gargantua's games. The term indicates a winning or triumphant card; and therefore there can be no pretence for deriving it from tromper, whatever Ben Jonson might have thought to the contrary, who, in reality, seems only to indulge in a pun upon the word.
Sc. 12. p. 627.
ANT. I will o'ertake thee, Cleopatra, and
Weep for my pardon. So it must be, for now
Mr. Steevens suspects that the author wrote life; surely without reason. Length is extension or protraction of life.
He is a mere country fellow; but Shakspeare, in compliance with the usual expectations of the audience, has bestowed on him a due portion of wit and satire.
Scene 2. Page 18..
A man worth any woman; overbuys me
THIS has already been so ingeniously interpreted,
that there is considerable hazard in the offer of any other conjecture on the subject; yet, may not Imogen mean, "the possession of me is much too dearly bought by the banishment to which you sentence him; he has almost nothing for so large a price."
Sc. 5. p. 27.
Enter PHILARIO, IACHIMO &c.
Mr. Malone having shown that this name is borrowed from the Italian Giacomo, it should be printed Jachimo, in order to prevent any mistake in the pronunciation.
Scene 2. Page 65.
IMO. From fairies and the tempters of the night,
See vol. i. p. 207.
Sc. 3. p. 72.
Hark, hark, the lark at heaven's gate sings.
The frequent mention of the lark, especially among our older poets, has been already exemplified in a variety of corresponding passages with the above, which either Shakspeare might have imitated, or which are imitations from him. To these the following may be added.
"On morowe tho the dai sprong
And the larke bigan her song."
Romance of Sir Oluel. MS.
"Even at the twelyght in the dawnynge
For to salue in her heavenly laye
The lusty goddesse of the morowe graye."
Lydgate's Sege of Troye, B. i.
"Whan the larke messager of day
Of custome aye Aurora doth salue,
Lydgate's Sege of Troye, B. iii.
"Upsprang the golden candle matutyne, -
Dunbar's Golden terge.
"With merry note her loud salutes the mounting lark." Spenser's Fairy queen, B. I. Canto xi. st. 51.
"Early, cheerful, mounting lark,
Light's gentle usher, morning's clerk,
In merry notes delighting;
Stint awhile thy song, and hark,
And learn my new inditing
"Bear up this hymn, to heav'n it bear
E'en up to heav'n, and sing it there," &c.
Davies's Acrostick hymns, 1599.
and then my state,
(Like to the lark,
at break of day arising
From sullen earth) sings hymns at heaven's gate."
Shakspeare's 29th Sonnet.
"The larke that left her food, ber nest, her yong, And early mounting, first with her sweet song Saluted heaven."
Niccolls's London artillery, 1616, 4to.