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The folio reads prattlings, and pace; the quarto as in the text, which Dr. Johnson thinks best, though he admits that Shakspeare might have written both. Other very good reasons have been given for preferring the present reading; yet whoever will reflect on the typographical errors for which the quarto plays of Shakspeare are remarkable, may be disposed to think that the folio editors had good reason for their variation. Our author's bible might here, as in many other instances, have furnished his materials. "Moreover thus saith the Lorde: seyng the daughters of Sion are become so proude and come in with stretched oute neckes, and with vayne wanton eyes; seynge they come in trippynge so nicely with. their fete; therefore, &c." Isaiah ch. iii. ver. 16. It has not been observed that lisp seems to refer to prattling, as jig and amble do to pace.
The violence of Herod in the old mysteries has been already exemplified by some extracts from the Chester and Coventry plays. One of the latter, of which some account has been given in the preceding pages, may truly be said on the
present occasion to completely out-herod the others. It exhibits the fury of the monarch to so much advantage, that every zealous amateur of theatrical manners must be gratified with the following extracts.
His majesty's entrance is announced by a herald in the vilest French jargon that can be conceived. He commences by injoining silence on the part of the spectators, and ends with sending them all to the devil. "La gran deaboly vos umport." He then makes a speech, which begins in bad Latin, and thus proceeds;
[I am] the myghtyst conquerowre that ever walkid on grownd,
For I am evyn he that made bothe hevin and hell,
And of my myghte power holdith up the world rownd;
* sword. & they.
+ fury. ¶malice.
To recownt unto you myn inewmerabull substance,
For all the whole orent* ys under myn obbeydeance,
Bryghter than the sun in the meddis of the dey.
Then to behold my person that ys so gaye?
My fawcunt and my fassion with my gorgist araye?
Lyve the myght allwey withowt othur meyte or drynke ;
For the that wyll the contrare,
Upon a galowse hangid schal be,
And be Mahownde of me they gett noo grace."
+ falcon, or perhaps falchion
I am descended. || renowned.
When he hears of the flight of the messengers,
"I stampe, I stare, I loke all abowt,
Myght I them take I schuld them bren at a glede*,
A that these velen trayturs bath mard this my mode
The stage direction is, "Here Erode ragis in the pagond and in the strete also." He consults with his knights on putting the children to death; and on their dissuading him from it as likely to excite an insurrection, he says
"A rysyng, owt, owt, owt."
"There Erode ragis ageyne and then seyth thus:"
"Out velen wrychis har apon§ you I cry, My wyll utturly loke that yt be wroght,
Or apon a gallowse bothe you schall dye
Be Mahownde most myghtyst that me dere hath boght."
At length the knights consent to slay the children, and Herod says;
"And then wyll I for fayne trypp lyke a doo."
The bodies of the children are brought to him
* burn on live coals.
§ here upon, or perhaps haro f
in carts; but he is told that all his deeds are come to nothing, as the child whom he particularly sought after had escaped into Egypt. He once more falls into a violent passion, orders his palfrey to be saddled, and hurries away in pursuit of the infant. Here the piece ends. It was performed by the taylors and shearmen in the year 1534; but the composition is of much greater antiquity.
Sc. 2. p. 179.
Give me that man
That is not passion's slave, and I will wear him
From this speech Anthony Scoloker, in his Daiphantus, or The passions of love, 1604, 4to, has stolen the following line,
"Oh, I would weare her in my
Sc. 2. p. 179.
HAM. It is a damned ghost that we have seen.
i. e. the ghost of a person sentenced for his wickedness to damnation, and which has in this instance deceived us. Thus Spenser,
"What voice of damned ghost from Limbo lake
Fairy Queen, book i. canto 2, st. 32,